Democracy and Schooling in California: The Legacy of Helen by Kathleen Weiler (auth.)

By Kathleen Weiler (auth.)

This e-book examines the fight over public schooling in mid-twentieth century the US throughout the lens of a joint biography of those remarkable girls, Heffernan, the California Commissioner of Rural and basic schooling among 1926 and 1965, and Seeds, the Director of the collage simple institution at UCLA among 1925 and 1957.

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Extra info for Democracy and Schooling in California: The Legacy of Helen Heffernan and Corinne Seeds

Sample text

The school did not explore different philosophies of education or approaches to pedagogy; instead, it came to exemplify one model— Seeds’s interpretation of Kilpatrick’s project method based on Dewey’s philosophy. 30 UES in essence became a demonstration school, providing students at UCLA the opportunity to see Seeds’s version of progressive education in action. As well as serving as principal of the Training School, Seeds was appointed assistant professor in 1928. That same year she began teaching a course in educational methods that came to be required of all students in elementary education.

Still, surely the deciding factor must have been her recommendations and performance at the interview. Despite her young age and relatively limited experience, she was appointed to the position of overseeing all the public elementary schools in California. Commissioner of Elementary Education Helen Heffernan was just thirty years old in 1926 when she was appointed commissioner of elementary education for the state of California. Heffernan’s formative years had been spent in small towns and cities in the mining and farming West.

It prepared them for work as classroom teachers and introduced them to other capable and ambitious young women. Women normal-school students have not been looked at as intellectuals, because they were preparing to be teachers, because they were women, and because they frequently came from working-class and lower-middle-class families. The daughters of highly educated, professional, or wealthy families in this period attended elite women’s colleges or coeducational universities. But as feminist historians have argued, normal schools need to be considered as sites in which young women were prepared for meaningful work and came to envision themselves as actors in the world.

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