When Was the US Education System on Its High?

When was the US education system on its highs? It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment, but it has certainly been a long time since higher education received a boost from public support. Between the early 1980s and the mid-2010s, higher education in the US went through an incredible rollercoaster of financial difficulty. States hoped to boost economic development by expanding higher education, and ambitious presidents took advantage of the opportunity to “buy the best” by mortgage-backed debt. As a result, declining state revenue and stock market loans revealed the institutions’ financial trouble.

By the late nineteenth century, American educators and policy-makers had begun applying the principles of industrial organization to education. As a result, public schools’ share of high school students rose from two-thirds to ninety percent. That ratio has remained constant since then. During the last few decades of the nineteenth century, public education had steadily expanded as a locally controlled phenomenon. The aim was to instill common culture and democratic values.

By the middle of the century, the progressive movement had gained considerable clout in public education. The progressives were concerned with eliminating corruption and wanted government decision-making to be more professional. The child welfare movement sought to address societal problems and advocated for public education and head start programs. These efforts had a profound effect on the way children were taught and assessed in school. However, these changes have had mixed effects.

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