In the United States, there are several major philosophies built around education. One important philosophy is the idea of essentialism. Essentialism emphasizes on academics and promotes students to master the materials they are taught. Academics are to be rigorous, the students should not taught the best and take the most out of the challenging materials they are learning. Also essentialism believes that the administrators and the teachers should determine the curriculum. Essentialism is reflected in the schools in that there is a high demand for academics to be challenging and demanding. Teachers want to get the most out of their students, that way they reach their potential. In schools, the emphasis should be on academics and the curriculums that are instated should be based upon a wide variety of mastery materials.
Another philosophy in education is the idea of perennialism, which focuses on classic ideas. Perennialism is the idea of developing reason and more qualities amongst the students and the emphasis is on humanities and the great books. In this philosophy the focus is more towards concepts rather than learning and memorizing straight facts. Teachers should set the curriculum is the idea for this philosophy, as well as the emphasis that learning should occur for learning’s sake, rather then being forced. Perennialism is not as controlled and structured as essentialism, however there are several valid points to this philosophy as well. Perennialism is used in schools for students to develop moral qualities and the ability to be reasonable. It is very important for students to have standards and moral qualities, which is why focusing on these ideas will be beneficial to them in everyday life. Learning for learning’s sake is also a great idea, because generally students learn and absorb information that is useless to them. Learning should be done for purpose and to have general knowledge, rather then be forced upon the students.
Although essentialism and perennialism are two very different philosophies, they both have their own visions and reasoning behind their beliefs. There are several philosophies of education in the United States today, besides these two as well. Others include progressivism, existentialism, and constructivism. It is up to the school district, the administrators, and the teachers to decide and embrace their own philosophy in order to successfully educate their students.