Americanization Through Education

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Booker Evans

Ed 300 Research Proposal

Research Question: How has education contributed to the Americanization of different minorities and immigrants? Why is this socialization important for the growth of a unified nation? Have advances in education provided equal opportunities for advancement in society for all races or is there still more to be done?

Relevance: This semester I am enrolled in this class about Education Reform as well as Education & Anthropology. I have noticed through the assigned readings in these two classes that the process of education is one that forces students to assimilate to a certain set of rules in order to be successful. Sometimes students are forced to alter their personal beliefs and/or change their morals with the intent of pleasing the administration and getting “good grades”. In our most recent reading Education for Extinction: American Indians and the Boarding School Experience by David Adams we learned about how groups of American Indians were shipped off to boarding schools, had their haircut and had to go through a set of somewhat degrading rule changes that stripped them of their former identity. I want to look at how this socialization process through the education system has happened to the American Indians in addition to immigrants, blacks, Hispanics and Asians. I want to find out why this happened and is still happening and why this process has been necessary for the growth of American society. Finally, after defining the Americanization process through education and why it happens I am interested in finding remedies for this emotionally damaging tradition. Is there a middle ground? For example, is there a possibility of keeping your native American traditions while being a successful student in this day and age. Where does the compromise stop?

Research Strategy: I want to investigate a large period of the history of education in America. It might be good to use Google Scholar and Pro Quest. I topic like this might be best found in books around the library. I can review the readings that I already have from the classes that I’m in. It may be good to contact a librarian for more information on what I want to look for.


David Adams, Education for Extinction: American Indians and the Boarding School Experience, 1875-1928. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1995

need more sources….

4 thoughts on “Americanization Through Education”

  1. Booker, as we briefly discussed during our meeting, your proposed research question explores an interesting topic about Americanization and socialization of different minorities and immigrant groups, but needs to be more focused to meet the requirements for this course. For example, one strategy would be to compare how two specific groups experienced cultural change and education during a particular time period. If that interests you, then revise your research question and list appropriate sources here in the comments or in a new post.

    An alternative strategy would be to write a research question on change/continuity over time regarding another topic we discussed this week, such as athletics and education (see early chapters of Bowen and Shulman, Game of Life). If you choose this direction, then post a new research question and appropriate sources.

    Either way, I wish to clarify that one of my expectations for this Educ 300 assignment is for students to find appropriate source materials beyond what we have already covered in the course syllabus. Whichever route you decide to follow, be sure to spell out a clearly defined research question and relevant sources, as soon as possible, to make sure that you’re headed in the right direction for this major assignment.

  2. I want to continue my proposed research by comparing how African Americans experienced cultural change and education in relation to Native Americans during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I have gained an interest in this topic through our assigned readings. This time period saw the rise of the common school movement which changed American education forever. The common school movement led to the collective socialization of the American population. Native Americans and African Americans have a similarity in that they were conquered and marginalized by whites. Thus, an Americanization process was inevitable. I think it will be interesting to look at the similarities and differences between the two cultures and the way they were educated in historical terms.

    What are the common techniques used by the American Education system when attempting to assimilate ethnic minorities (African American & American Indian) into Western Culture?

    My research has started with David Wallace Adam’s “Education for extinction” which looks at the boarding school experience. Ronald E. Butchart’s “Schooling the freed people” looks at the black experience in the 19th century. “A History of Indian Education” gives me an in depth anthology of the Indian expericence in education. is a reading that focuses on access to education from a multicultural viewpoint.

    Am I going in the right direction with this? Do you think my research question is reasonable? Are my sources good enough for the research that I am pursuing?

  3. Booker, your revised proposal is more focused than the first version. You may wish to narrow it even further (and make your research more manageable) by focusing on a particular school — Hampton Institute (now Hampton Univ, VA) — which sought to reshape both African Americans and Native Americans. For instance, your research question could be something like this: “How and why did the leaders of Hampton Institute attempt to assimilate Native Americans and African Americans (particularly during 1870s-1900), and how similar or different were the experiences of the two groups of students?”

    If you decide to focus on this type of topic, it’s perfectly fine to start with Hampton’s Wikipedia page, then delve into selected scholarly articles or books, such as:

    Adams, David Wallace (1995). Education for Extinction: American Indians and the Boarding School Experience, 1875-1928. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas

    Anderson, James D. (1988). The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860-1935. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. (see selected chapters)

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