Course Description:

Cultural and Social Foundations of American Education in the United States is a core course for all students in K-12 or secondary teacher preparation programs at Guidance College. This course is designed to examine educational practice from diverse historical, philosophical, sociological, economic, and legal perspectives. The course will address issues of educational equity, sociocultural influences on teaching and learning, and how teachers and schools can contribute to interpersonal and intercultural understanding and respect, social justice, and democratic citizenship. Students will explore the nature of school environments, the fundamental goals of education in the American public school. We will probe and critique education in the U.S. through historical overview, theory on the various functions of education in society, and in-depth examinations of the structures of curriculum, teaching, privilege, and inequity. We will look at how schools both reproduce and transform society and how society both reproduces and transforms schools. The class will be both theoretical and applied: with use of system-thinking to identify points of intervention for creating empowering and equitable schools.

Course Code: MAIE760

Credit hours: 3

Pre-Requisites: None


Learning Objectives:

The purpose of this course is to provide students with an overview of the historical, philosophical, sociological, political, economic, and legal foundations of American public education system. To introduce students to the concept and process of compiling a transfer portfolio and to continue their progress through the teacher candidate program at Guidance College. Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to demonstrate the objectives listed below. Acquisition and retention of these objectives is dependent on the student being a reflective participant in the course. Appropriate objectives are linked to the Texas Teacher Standards and the Texas Standards for the Preparation of Educators.

The student will:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of cultural diversity and the potential for bias in teaching.
  • Analyze the historical, philosophical, and sociological foundations of schooling in the United States to understand their effects on current educational practices and issues.
  • Demonstrate a basic knowledge of how differing philosophic views imply different approaches to learning.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of curriculum, instructional alignment, national and state standards.
  • Demonstrate an understanding that students from varied cultural backgrounds may differ in their approaches to learning.
  • Recognize the influence of classroom, school, and community culture on student relationships and the impact on the classroom environment and learning.
  • Recognize legal and ethical practices and the influence of district policies and school procedures on professional practice.
  • Identify strategies for fostering appropriate collaboration with colleagues and school personnel.
  • Recognize the importance of developing relationships and applying services with students, families, and communities in support of student learning.

Course Outline:

Foundations of Education in a Diverse Society

  • Introduction: Applying History to Education Today.
  • Shaping the Schools: Philosophical, Social, and Psychological Foundation
  • American Education: Our European Heritage and the Colonial Influence
  • American Education: The American Revolution
  • American Education: 1812-1865
  • American Education: 1865-1918
  • Development of Modern American Education After 1918
  • American Education: 1960- Present
  • Educational Reform after 1980: The Search for Excellence
  • Issues in Modern American Education
  • Globalization, Trends, and Gaining Perspective