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|Title:||From Chautauqua to Wastelands: The Bestors and American education - 1905-1955|
|Author(s):||Wentworth, Marlene M.|
|Doctoral Committee Chair(s):||Karier, Clarence J.|
|Department / Program:||Education|
|Degree Granting Institution:||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign|
|Subject(s):||Education, Adult and Continuing
Education, History of
Education, Philosophy of
|Abstract:||This thesis is a historical study of some of the forces which have helped to shape American attitudes towards learning and schooling. In an attempt better to explain these forces, it looks in depth at a particular educational controversy which took place in the 1950s, and at the philosophy of education of one of the participants in that controversy.
In 1953 Arthur Bestor, then of the faculty of the department of history at the University of Illinois, published Educational Wastelands. In this book Bestor criticized the policies governing this country's public high schools, arguing that it was the birthright of all American children to be given a liberal education.
To aid the reader in understanding the issues involved in Bestor's criticisms of public school education, the study looks first at the growth and development of two systems of American education: (1) the expansion of the high schools in the early decades of the twentieth century and (2) the emergence and decline of the Chautauqua system of popular education. Juxtaposing these two traditions of education sets the stage for the main discussion of the thesis--an examination of the manner and extent to which the long involvement of Arthur E. Bestor, Sr. with Chautauqua Institution and adult education not only molded his own philosophy of education but had considerable impact upon the way his son viewed our educational heritage.
Arthur Bestor attacked educationists--by whom he meant those involved with the processes of public school education, i.e. administrators at the local, state, and federal levels in boards of education and professors of education in this country's colleges of education--particularly those who endorsed life adjustment education. He charged that, although the American public had entrusted the schools with the intellectual development of their children, the differentiated curricula under which schools operated were detrimental to such development. Not only was this undemocratic, he said, but it served to promote anti-intellectualism, the antithesis of the role for which the schools had been created.
|Rights Information:||Copyright 1992 Wentworth, Marlene M.|
|Date Available in IDEALS:||2011-05-07|
|Identifier in Online Catalog:||AAI9215905|