Purpose of Education

  • Shift from the focus on the study of philosophy as a discipline to experimental research.
  • Promoted the idea that students should become independent thinkers, creative, and expressive about their feelings.
  • Elimination of standards for school curriculum with more emphasis on teaching what the student desired to learn.
  • Dramatic expansion in the numbers of schools and students.
  • Americanization of new immigrants.
  • Progressive reforms emphasizing scientific, industrial and agricultural education (Booker T. Washington).
  • Realization of the student’s full potential and ability to use those skills. (John Dewey)[1]

Historical Events and Educational Influences

Educators and Reformists

Interactive Websites

Teacher Resources

Gareth Morgan's Images of Organization

Morgan’s organization as a political metaphor would best describe the Progressive Era of Education. Morgan describes this image as focusing on different viewpoints and conflicting interests with power plays influencing and shaping the activities of the organization. In this half-century time period shifts in political power due to civil and global events transpired influencing the direction and extent political involvement in education. This period is highlighted with a dramatic expansion in the number of schools and students with increases in high school graduates. The notable theorists, John Dewey, was the leading advocate for progressive movement of education from an arena whose purpose served solely as an institution for the acquisition of content knowledge, but also as a place to recognize the full potential and ability of oneself and to use skills to excel in living. Involvement of public and private parties weighed heavy impacts on educational social justices granted to minorities groups during the time period. Influential funding provided by the federal government to states expanded options for higher education and vocational learning. Overall, political views and strategic power plays by both private and governmental affiliations shaped reforms to education during the Progressive Era.[2]


  1. ^ http://www.k12academics.com/history-education-united-states/progressive-era
  2. ^