New Questioning of Old Values
Decline in U.S. Public Confidence in Education
American public education is going through a period of agonizing reappraisal. A mood of disenchantment has replaced the enthusiasm with which Americans once embraced their educational system. There is a growing feeling that somehow the schools, with their fancy equipment, scores of specialists and high-sounding ideas about the latest breakthroughs in methodology, have failed to do their job.
Public education has always had a special function in American society. Schools have been regarded not only as institutions of learning but as vehicles of social mobility—the means of providing equal opportunity for all Americans to move into the mainstream of American economic and social life. Education would be, in the words of Horace Mann, “the great ...