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Unformatted text preview: ach in public schools. In so holding, the Court emphasized the inculcative nature of k-12 education: "The importance of public schools in the preparation of individuals for participation as citizens, and in the preservation of the values on which our society rests, long has been recognized by our decisions ... . Other authorities have perceived public schools as an "assimilative force" by which diverse and conflicting elements in our society are brought together on a broad but common ground. These perceptions of the public schools as inculcating fundamental values necessary to the maintenance of a democratic political system have been confirmed by the observations of social scientists." The Court's reliance on these social scientists is somewhat misplaced; they offered little support for the Court's statement. Nevertheless, the justices have continued to voice their support for inculcative education. This role for public schools is firmly ingrained in American history. The deliberate inculcation of "correct" values has historically been a major function of American public education: For example, "the Massachusetts Education Act of 1647 explicitly sets forth its purpose to thwart "Satan' by teaching children to read the Bible and to educate youth "not only in good literature, but in sound doctrine.'" Horace Mann, an education pioneer and the first Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education (1837-1848), stressed the importance of education in controlling and restraining the populace so that they would not threaten social harmony. He expressed concern that educators too often ignored students' "moral natures" and "social affections." He therefore called for greater state control over school curricula and practices. Similar sentiment is evident in the Nebraska Supreme Court's rejection, in the early 1920s, of a constitutional challenge to a statute barring the teaching of foreign languages in public schools. Although the U.S. Supreme Court subsequently struck down the same statute on First Amendment grounds, the state court's reasoning was illustrative of contemporary attitudes. The Nebraska...
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This document was uploaded on 11/20/2013.
- Fall '13