The 1900s Education: Headline Makers
The 1900s Education: Headline MakersCharles William Eliot
Margaret A. Haley
Edward Lee Thorndike
Charles William Eliot (1834–1926) During his forty years as president of Harvard University, Charles William Eliot introduced innovative techniques that were adopted by other universities around the country. Eliot's principal innovation was the "elective system," which eliminated the traditional college practice of mandating a set curriculum for all students and gave students a greater role in determining their own education. He also shaped the development of the nation's secondary and elementary schools through his frequent writings, speeches, and involvement in educational reform panels.
Margaret A. Haley (1861–1939) Margaret A. Haley headed the Chicago Teachers' Federation (CTF), the most militant teachers' organization in the United States. She fought tirelessly for better working conditions and pay for Chicago's elementary school teachers. Haley discovered that many of the shortages in Chicago's education budget were due to tax evasion by many of Chicago's largest corporations. Her efforts led to a court ruling that forced the corporations to pay their taxes, which provided more money for school improvements and teacher salaries.
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John Hope (1868–1936) Born to a wealthy Scottish immigrant father and an African American mother, educator John Hope had blond hair, blue eyes, and a fair complexion. Despite his appearance, Hope identified himself as black. After a successful teaching career, Hope was chosen president of Morehouse College in 1906, the first black man to hold the position. Within months of his appointment, Hope faced a crisis as race riots gripped Atlanta. His firm leadership encouraged black students to return to campus. Hope was a strong voice for political and social equality for black Americans. He is considered one of the century's greatest advocates of black intellectual excellence.
Edward Lee Thorndike (1874–1949) Psychologist Edward Lee Thorndike advocated the application of scientific theories and techniques to a wide range of educational problems. He applied the results of animal experiments to human psychology by stating that students learn best when rewarded for correct responses. In 1909, Thorndike created a rating scale for tests measuring reading comprehension, geography, composition, arithmetic, spelling, and reasoning. Public school administrators and teachers began applying Thorndike's vision of learning theory, testing, and school efficiency in their schools by measuring and quantifying students' achievements.