Alabama & Giddings School illustrations
used by permission of C. William Brubaker, Perkins & Will & McGraw-Hill, from the
book "Planning & Designing Schools."
Patterns in Educational Facilities
INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY (1850-1949) page 3 of 5
Second Wave Societal Trends
Although today the Industrial Society personifies oppression, dreariness and psychological repression, at the time this period was seen by many as a time of fantastic extensions of human hope. Many believed that poverty, hunger, disease and tyranny might be overthrown. Utopian writers of this period saw the potential for peace, harmony, equality and opportunity.
The integration of the market economy, the technology of mechanization and the rise of the corporation provided drivers that fueled the Second Wave. The corporation, the Immortal Being, was a legal entity that could outlive its inventors and not owned by family, individual or partnership. The corporation was a new organizational form that could pool large amounts of capital needed for industrial projects. Production shifted from the farm to the factory and accelerated. Higher levels of interdependency required collective efforts, highly specialized division of labor, coordination and integration of many different skills from unskilled to an industrial caste system of technicians, secretaries and clerks. Correspondingly, in the public sector, an abrupt shift from autocracies and monarchies to highly centralized, hierarchical bureaucracies based outwardly on representative democracy but influenced by powerfully organized special interest groups.
Populations shifted from rural to urban, from village to city. In the First Wave only 2% of the population was urban, in the Second Wave as many as 75% of the US population were urban, while the rest of the world was 40% urban. Urban life provided a forum for balancing private interests against public good, created a powerful school of social learning, and created a common ground for meeting strangers while at the same time creating alienation, anonymity and a lack of consensus on values experienced in the village.
The nuclear family replaced the extended family based on economic and social pressures. Procreation needs decreased as a result of raised health standards and the lack of need for extra farm hands. Work was now taking place in other settings creating a work/home split. The rise of social institutions to standardize and centralize the care of the population segregated the entire society: the young in schools, the elderly in nursing homes, the sick in hospitals, the social deviants in prisons, and the workers in offices and factories.
Energy sources are quickly concentrated and centralized in the hands of a few large public utilities. Mass-transit created a highly mobile population that moved quickly from the isolated villages to the cities. The postal service was the first institutional framework to send messages to a mass audience. It broke the communications monopoly long held by the elite. Mass media became an image factory.
Educational Approaches during the Second Wave
The overt curriculum of reading, writing, arithmetic and history was overlaid on a covert curriculum of punctuality, obedience, rote and repetitive work. Formal compulsory education started younger and younger and for longer lengths of time. The goal of the educational system was an overt attempt to prepare students for the workplace. The School-to-Work Program is the best example of a Second Wave educational program operating today. In this context, arguments for year-round schools and summer enrichment programs could be seen as Second Wave initiatives. Arguments for summer school programs emphasized that children are not used in the fields anymore, a First Wave activity. In addition, having students in structured activities year-round benefits two-parent working families; the family structure presently idealized in a Second Wave society.
Standardization in educational programs closely follows Second Wave societal principles. Psychological testing (IQ) is introduced during this period. Based on work done in France for the purpose of military use, these tests are adapted for use in school placement. Compartmentalized learning becomes prevalent in the Second Wave and fits well into the factory model approach in the economic sector. The G.I. bill provided increased assess to college for millions of Americans with the college degree becoming the symbol of success.
During this period, a new universal purpose of education was formulated that focused on the enhancement of the individual. Maria Montessori developed her program for the poorest of the poor children in Italy. Carnegie Units were developed as a way to count credits and give access for college entrance to more people. John Dewey launched his progressive movement based on the assumption that all children could learn if they were immersed in active learning environments.
Second Wave Facility Responses
Starting in the mid-19th century, urban schools could be found on tight sites of less than ¼ acre with no landscaping. Students were segregated by age into a graded organization. As many as 100 students might be housed in one classroom. The classroom, other than corridor spaces, was often the only type of space in the school. Multiple levels consisted of stacking one-room schoolhouses on top of each other. Most schools were constructed of masonry and wood frames with brick walls and pitched roofs and towers. The average class size was around 55, with desks often bolted to floors in row and column arrangements. These characteristics of the schoolhouse were the most common into the first half of the 20th century.
Toward the end of the 19th century, school buildings began to be designed and constructed with other functional considerations. Hallways were widened to accommodate increased traffic flows, auditoriums were built to support whole-school events, administrative offices included and cloak rooms were added to classroom layouts. Expanded offerings in art and science begin to dictate the development of specialty classrooms.
During the first quarter of the 20th century, sites were set aside for school facilities increased in size along with the buildings themselves. Buildings designed to specialize in the housing of junior high school and high school educational programs were constructed, and many more types of auxiliary spaces were added. Auditoriums, laboratories, art studios, gymnasiums for physical education, and home arts spaces were routinely added to the educational building program.