This had led to suggestions of gathering up all children and forcing them into schools. This history to a large extent influenced the American education system to grow to what it is today. Examining that history gives a glimpse of its achievements so far, and provides a view of the yet to be achieved goals. Among the aspects that influenced this growth include religion, technology, funding and technology, among others (Coulson, 1999). American education and religion Originally, education in America started as a religious affair in the early 1846. The Protestants began it with the sole purpose of teaching their followers on how to study God’s word. This was driven by the belief that every individual had a unique relationship with God. Hence, each person needed to interpret Gods word in their own way. To become closer to God, every individual had to be educated. This was seen in Massachusetts where compulsory schooling was put in place. Initially, Latin academies were put in place later leading to grammar schools, then high schools. This eventually led to the existing system of elementary, middle and high schools. Religion can hence be argued to be the main origin of the American education system (Boers, 2007). Religion also influenced social empowerment and equality in the provision of education. This formed the basis of civil rights activism of the year 1964. It emphasized on the desegregation of schools and treating all men as equals. It also influenced efforts towards eradication of racism. This ensured education for all. American education and students with special needs (disabled and “gifted”) In the year 1975, education for all handicapped children act was passed into law. It required the provision of quality, fair and appropriate education to all students that were physically challenged. This was supported by the courts and eventually led to a large increase in special education classes. The role of the children with special needs in the education system was hence appreciated. This is especially because many of these children are gifted in various fields and the education system would greatly help in tapping this resource. The challenge only remained in mainstreaming of children with special needs in schools (Shiber, 1999). American education and funding At around 1826, there was the ‘encouraging era’ whereby the government encouraged the establishment of school districts and went ahead to raise the tax revenues to support them. This trend entailed building government-run elementary schools in districts that agreed to own and operate those public schools. Those districts that did not agree to own such schools were allowed to use public funds to pay for the cost of students who came from the district but schooled in a private, parochial or religious school of their parents choice. This encouraged the development of early education as even those who lacked enough funds would benefit from such an arrangement. Private investors in the education system would also be encouraged to put more investments in the provision of education The high school movement also had support at the grass root level of local cities and school systems. After the year 1916, the federal government involved itself in vocational education funding. Teacher training colleges were funded by states and religious bodies. These were often called the “normal schools”
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