Rites of Passage: Introduction

Part Two, Lessons of a Century

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

Americans in the 20th century have made tremendous efforts to create, in the words of Noah Webster, "a system of education that should embrace every part of the community."

In this issue, Education Week continues its yearlong series chronicling the successes and setbacks in those efforts over the past 100 years. "Lessons of a Century" will appear in 10 monthly installments in place of the On Assignment section. Stories by staff reporters will examine aspects of the educational landscape--people, trends, historical milestones, enduring controversies--with an emphasis on their continuing relevance as the century draws to a close. Essays by leading scholars and other observers will offer additional perspective.

The first part ("Lessons of a Century -- Part 1") explored how the United States in this century built on foundations envisioned by Webster and others soon after the American Revolution and laid down during the 1800s. Though most Americans already were receiving some formal schooling before 1900, policy decisions and social and economic forces since then have brought millions more students into the public schools, for longer periods of time and for more varied purposes. But while access has been assured, questions remain about the quality of schooling and the value of a diploma.

In Part 2, Education Week looks at the changing place of teenagers and children in our society and its schools. Included are depictions of 20th-century school life in American literature and popular culture, a look at the history of school sports, and a guest essy by the child-development scholar David Elkind.


Vol. 18, Issue 24

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories