Enlightenment featured a period which greatly impacted education in history. Based on arguments between two parties, the ideologies held can be used to better explain the nature of this era. On one side, the ancients existed. This party represented those who were in support of a form of education that was based on canonized knowledge drawn straight from the ancient authors and textbooks. The methods used assumed that all knowledge that was needed was already present. On the other side, the other party known as the moderns existed. The people in this party believed that education was so much more than just merely memorizing and regurgitating the canonized knowledge. They supported a form of education which was open for future possibilities and changes. Therefore, they believed in research and the production of new knowledge obtained from findings. The modern party was responsible for bringing about changes to education in history.
Another era that greatly impacted education was the antebellum era. This period was characterized by a desire to improve and expand the system of education. It was always the subject of political, social, and economic impulses. The main ideas were to introduce education for both the man and woman, greater access to higher education especially for the women, and free schools for the African Americans. It was at this point that the minority group started gaining attention with regards to education.
Lastly, the progressive era represents a time when urban education gained significant attention. Advancements in public education were experienced at this point. The high schools started becoming widespread to many regions, urban education became adopted, and teachers started undergoing training to align their skills with the expected outcomes.
Although some ideas and practices of education have remained the same, there are large scale changes which influenced a change in the purpose of education. Initially, education had the main intention of bringing man closer to God. However, there was a need to conduct education by focusing on the society in which man existed in. That represents a strength of the modern ideas since it is important for individuals to adapt to the changing environments. Therefore, education was shaped in the sense that it started focusing on more aspects rather than religion alone. A weakness is noted by how many philosophies were abandoned to pave way for the modern approach to education.
The antebellum era had a series of benefits. It was due to these changes that women and the African Americans were considered worthy of education just like everyone else. If not for this era, education would still be considered a factor that only the white men would enjoy. The other minority groups would not have gotten the chance to experience the same. However, it has a weakness since it did not introduce equality. The education for these minority groups was not of the same level as that of the white man. Therefore, discrimination was still evident even after the introduction of the said changes.
Lastly, the progressive era which is the final stage features a series of advantages. It encouraged change in terms of equal access no matter the gender and race of an individual. However, even though public education became widespread, weaknesses are still experienced in relation to the quality of education offered in these institutions. Some states suffer from poor quality education since the level of training offered to teachers tends to vary.
In conclusion, all the three eras contributed significantly to the change in the education system. The changes in the earlier years simply acted by paving way for the future changes that would be experienced to improve the nature of education. Today, the education system is quite improved. However, there are some challenges of equality and difference in quality of education offered.
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