Harvard Educational Review
  1. Fall 1976 Issue »

    Before Home Start

    Notes toward a History of Parent Education in America, 1897-1929

    Steven L. Schlossman
    Hailed as an entirely new approach to addressing developmental deprivation in children, parent education to upgrade child-care practices in the home shows signs of becoming the pet educational reform of the 1970s. But is parent education as new as its proponents claim? In this article, Steven L. Schlossman notes that it is not and traces part of its long history in this country. He concentrates primarily on the development of the first nationwide parent-education organization, which became the PTA, and on the contributions of behavioral science to its mission. From an initial emphasis on changing society by organizing mothers of the nation in common cause, the PTA—joined by other groups—changed in the 1920s to become a movement of and for the middle class. Schlossman explores this evolution, concluding that current policy on parent education will be much the poorer for ignoring this history, that the value choices in behavioral science must be made clear, and that current efforts in parent education—while promising—can no more be an educational panacea than were past reforms.

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    Fall 1976 Issue


    The History of the History of American Education, 1900-1976
    The Uses of the Past
    Sol Cohen
    The Role of Education in American History
    A Memorandum for the Committee Advising the Fund for the Advancement of Education in Regard to This Subject
    Richard J. Storr
    Ways of Seeing
    An Essay on the History of Compulsory Schooling
    David B. Tyack
    Conflict and Consensus Revisited
    Notes toward a Reinterpretation of American Educational History
    Carl F. Kaestle
    From Religion to Politics
    Debates and Confrontations over American College Governance in the Mid-Eighteenth Century
    Jurgen Herbst
    Education for Freedom
    Children's Fiction in Jacksonian America
    Anne Scott MacLeod
    Before Home Start
    Notes toward a History of Parent Education in America, 1897-1929
    Steven L. Schlossman
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