The 1910s Education: Headline Makers

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The 1910s Education: Headline Makers

Felix Adler
Fannie Fern Phillips Andrews
Charles Austin Beard
Lucy Sprague Mitchell
Robert Russa Moton
Carter Godwin Woodson

Felix Adler (1851–1933) Felix Adler advocated progressive education, calling for free kindergartens and vocational training. He held a professorship in Social and Political Ethics at Columbia University from 1902 until 1933. Adler was a strong proponent of educational, housing, and child labor reforms. In 1876, he founded the Ethical Culture Movement in New York City, which he helped to spread throughout the world. He planned a community founded on ethical living, rather than the worship of a supernatural deity, believing that ethical principles are not necessarily tied to philosophical or religious dogma (teachings).

Fannie Fern Phillips Andrews (1867–1950) From childhood, Fannie Fern Phillips Andrews wanted to teach. She graduated from the Salem (Massachusetts) Normal School, taught in the Boston school system for six years, and then received a degree in psychology and education from Radcliffe College in 1902. Andrews founded the American Peace League (later called the American School Citizenship League) in 1908 to promote peace and "international justice." It was her belief that those who could communicate and negotiate with persons different from themselves would avoid going to war to settle misunderstandings. From 1912 to 1921, she was active in the International Bureau of Education, which was formed according to her plan.

Charles Austin Beard (1874–1948) Historian Charles Austin Beard believed in free speech and self-expression. During his tenure as a Columbia University professor (1904–17), he maintained a strong stance on civil liberties. When several colleagues were dismissed for opposing the U.S. entry into World War I, Beard resigned his position. He later helped found the New School for Social Research. His most controversial publication came in 1913. In this work, titled An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States, Beard admired the wisdom of the authors of the Constitution but saw them as property owners who were safeguarding their own wealth, rather than representing the concerns of the majority.

Lucy Sprague Mitchell (1878–1967) After earning a degree in philosophy from Radcliffe College in 1900, Lucy Sprague Mitchell went on to become Dean of Women at the University of California, Berkeley. She was a forward-looking administrator who even encouraged sex hygiene instruction at a time when that was considered an inappropriate subject for classroom discussion. After moving to New York, she used a generous inheritance to found the Bureau of Educational Experiments, which became The Bank Street School of Education in 1950. Here, she implemented the theories of progressive education. She used intelligence tests with all students, including mentally retarded children, and masterminded innovations in early childhood education.

Robert Russa Moton (1867–1940) In 1890, Robert Russa Moton graduated from the Hampton Institute, an industrial school for African Americans in Virginia, and by 1893 became the institute's Commandant of Cadets, serving in that top administrative post until 1915. That year, he succeeded Booker T. Washington as principal of the Tuskegee Institute, and raised the curriculum from vocational to college level. He raised millions of dollars for black education and supervised the construction of hundreds of new school buildings. During World War I, Moton successfully defended black soldiers accused of a rape crime. In 1930, he was appointed to education commissions in Haiti and Liberia.

Carter Godwin Woodson (1875–1950) In 1915, Carter Godwin Woodson established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in order to collect, preserve, and publish documents of the African American experience. At a time when black history was told with bias, if it was told at all, Woodson's work helped to create a scholarly record. The son of a former slave, Woodson grew up in poverty and did not attend high school until the age of twenty. Still, he went on to study at Berea College, the University of Chicago, the Sorbonne in Paris, and Harvard University, where he earned a doctorate in philosophy (Ph.D.) in 1912.

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The 1910s Education: Headline Makers

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The 1910s Education: Headline Makers