Scholars looking back on the impact of the Cardinal Principles (Commission 1918a) report generally agree that the comprehensive high school model was widely adopted in the United States in so far as the scope of secondary course offerings was broadened to serve a wider portion of the age cohort than had historically been the case. It is at this point, however, where scholarly agreement about this historic document seems to end. Curriculum historians such as Tanner and Tanner (1990) and Kliebard (1992) recommend a periodic revisiting of the original texts of foundational documents of the curriculum filed. A review of the historiography of the Cardinal Principles report reveals several recurrent issues that emerge from varying interpretations of that seminal document. These interpretations can be classified around the issues of social efficiency, tracking, and the common school ideal. It is useful to examine the validity of these interpretations vis a vis the text of the report and the subsequent implementation of the report's recommendations and the ramifications of these interpretations for the role of the comprehensive model in educational policy and practice.
Wraga, William G.
"The Cardinal Principles Report Revisited,"
Education and Culture:
2, Article 3.
Available at: http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/eandc/vol11/iss2/art3