The "Whig interpretation" viewed "much of history, through British Whig eyes," as the best way to progress, "away from savagery and ignorance towards peace, prosperity, and science" (Hayes, 2002). This is view self-limiting, and is inherently, thus, incapable of presenting a true and balanced picture.
The social perspective of history, influenced mainly by Bailyn (1960), stands apart from 'Whig history' and analyzes the system of informal education, prevalent earlier to the advent of public schooling, as provided by the family, community and the Church. With more emphasis on the importance of informal education, this interpretation recognizes that "schools are but one aspect" of the ever-changing "society", which "is a complex web" (Mazurek, 1986, p. 25). However, there is one shortcoming in this perspective; the main objective of this interpretation, it appears, was to impress upon the educational historians that, education must be viewed beyond mere professional and instructional dimensions of schooling (Carney, 1990, p 10).
Ethnographic interpretation of history has some advantages, in the sense that, one gets to view different angles reported and recorded. Since this form of interpretation admits that human reactions are varied, it recognizes as valid, subjective interpretations of "what actually happens", as perceived by teachers, parents and students (Mazurek, 1986: 28). In recent times, the use of 'hypermedia' for ethnographic studies has increased "the potential to offer a form of ethnographic representation which is highly reflexive, collaborative, and multi-vocal" (Anderson, 1999).
Revisionism - for ideological, political and economic analysis
The inherent complexities of the various issues affecting education, makes it extremely hard, to arrive at a consensus theory, regarding the history of the system's evolution. Revisionist history came into being, in the process of trying to explain the various conflicting social forces, driving the nascent development of educative reforms, then. Under the guise of a so-called movement, some sections of the society, actively promoted and established public schooling, as progressive development. Arguments and counter-arguments fill the revisionist literature with abundance of details. From this quagmire of conflicting views, two major alternative interpretations emerged, - The Radical revisionism and Moderate revisionism. They are similar to each other, and yet differ in the emphasis placed on the links between the past events and, the present context.
At the center of the revisionist historian's perspective is that "Schooling seeks to make selves" with its goal as moral regulation to facilitate "self-rule" or "self-government" (Corrigan, Curtis & Lanning, 1987, p.23). As Mazurek (1986, p.26) puts it, "schools are perceived as one weapon in the arsenal of privileged groups in the society as they attempt to perpetuate status