James Earl Russell (who studied and obtained his Phd in where else but Prussia)studied under Wundt (of which I hope to delve in to at some point...) and visited many schools in Prussia and other parts of Europe. He very muchly favored the training of teachers in Prussia, as well as the way the Prussians prepared their students for their role in society. He was a professor and dean of Teachers College around the turn of the century (1800s to 1900s). He taught there for about 30 years; his ideas had to have some influence on future educators. The Teachers College as you recall featured John Dewey and Edward Thorndike (another I will delve in to at some point..) to name a few. The Teachers College was likened as the"Intellectual crossroads of the Progressive Movement". Under Russell, enrollment surged from just under 200 students to over 5,000 in twenty years.
Russell has a quote which I found quite shocking; it to me signaled the admittance of a system that created and promoted (and still promotes) the "achievement gap". I won't even give my usual commentary to the quote as it speaks volumes itself, and I have so much to say about it that I''m just going to keep mum and let the quote speak to you. Here goes,
" How can a nation endure that deliberately seeks to rouse ambitions and aspirations in the oncoming generations which in the nature of events cannot possibly be fulfilled? If the chief object of the government be to promote civic order and social stability, how can we justify our practice in schooling the masses in precisely the same manner as do those who are to be our leaders?" (I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.)
http://www.answers.com/topic/earl-russell has some info on Russell. The quote is from Left Back by Diane Ravitch but the quote is Russell's, from a piece he wrote in 1929.