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The National Council of Teachers of English and Cold War Education Policies

Author: Curtis Mason
Date: February 1, 2020
Language: English
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Abstract: The launching of Sputnik in 1957 sparked an education movement that stressed the importance of curricular rigor and standardization as a means to improve education and bolster national defense. Within six months of Sputnik's launch, Congress passed the National Defense Education Act (NDEA) that approved an unprecedented amount of federal funding toward the math, science, and foreign language disciplines. The teaching of English was left out and through the leadership of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), the discipline maneuvered public relations and political connections in its quest to acquire federal funds. In doing so, the NCTE mimicked strategies that galvanized funding for math, science, and foreign language disciplines by arguing the importance of the teaching of English for national security and advocating for a teaching model that aligned with Cold War Era pedagogical trends. These tactics marked a major shift in how the NCTE advocated for the teaching of English.
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Publisher: Information Age
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