Child benefit theory

A legal doctrine that emerged from a series of U.S. Supreme Court decisions in church-state conflicts. The cases all involved the spending of public funds to provide services to children enrolled in parochial schools. Although the Court has consistently ruled that government may not use public funds to support a religion or a religious school, under the child benefit principle, government may provide aid to children in religious schools if the aid only benefits the children and not the school or its religion.
As early as 1930, the Court ruled in Cochrane v. Louisiana Board of Education that a Louisiana school district had not violated the Constitution by purchasing textbooks for the teaching of secular subjects and lending them to students in parochial schools. The unanimous decision stated that the books were of benefit only to the students and not the parochial schools or the religions that they espoused. In 1947, the Court issues a similar ruling in Everson v. Board of Education, upholding a New Jersey law that reimbursed parents with state funds for expenses of busing their children to private and religious schools, because the funds were spent directly on students and not on schools. Twenty years later, in Board of Education of Central School District v. Allen, the Court upheld a New York State law requiring local school boards to purchase textbooks and lend them free of charge to students in private and parochial schools. Citing Everson as precedent, the Court ruled that lending textbooks to students was a secular act that “neither advances nor inhibits religion,” because no funds were actually granted to the schools themselves.

Eleazar Wheelock (1711–1779)

American religious leader and educator who founded the town of Hanover, New Hampshire, and Dartmouth College.

Head Start

A comprehensive, federally sponsored program to improve academic achievement of economically disadvantaged children by giving them the same PRESCHOOL learning opportunities available to the economically advantaged.

Scholastic Aptitude Tests

An obsolete termfor a battery of college entrance examinationsthat was reformulated in 1993 and renamedSCHOLASTIC ASSESSMENT TESTS.

Child labor

The use of minors (in the United States, children under the age of 18) to perform adult work on farms and in factories and mines.

Reading levels

A broad-based measure of individual reading achievement, valid only when related to the reader’s age and the level of difficulty (or readability) of the material.

Dalton Plan

A system of individualized instruction in which the student helps design his or her program of study and “signs a contract” pledging to complete the program within a specific time period.

Adult Learning and Instruction: Transformative Learning Perspectives

Although adult education practice has a long history, the area only became recognized as a field of study and theoretical development in the 1930s. 

Seaman A. Knapp (1833–1911)

American educator and agriculturist who originated the farm demonstration method that helped teach farmers new agricultural discoveries and techniques.

Advance organizers

A graphic presentation of new ideas and concepts to give students a preliminary, superficial understanding of the material they are about to study and its relationship to what they have already learned.

Language experience approach

An instructional approach that uses the oral recounting, writing and subsequent discussion of student experiences as a method of encouraging language development skills.