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How was US education in the 1800s, which is the public education reform movement that attracted widespread support during this era, who led it, what were its objectives and achievements in school improvement?

Could anyone tell me about the public education reform movement, how it came to be and the person who led it? Do you have any info on the education reform goals of this movement whether short term or long term? Also it would be great to learn about education reform programs that were initiated by the movement and the achievements that resulted from such programs. Is there any school improvement that is evident from the activities and programs of this education reform movement?

Whitney Matthews

in Education News

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Blair Lewis on February 28, 2018

Before the world got to the 1st and second industrial revolutions, opportunities for education in the thirteen colonies during the 17th and 18th century varied significantly based on an individual’s gender, race, social class and location. Basic education in numeracy and literacy was available widely, more so to white males who used to reside in the middle and northern colonies. The literacy level was, therefore, high among people from the two areas. Opportunities for education were, however, relatively sparse in the south. During this time education was a local affair with schools being run by school boards that were locally elected. Public education existed in New England though it was usually class-based and the students from the working class received less benefits. Horace Mann championed for his goals in education reform leading to public education that was state sponsored. The school development reform involved bringing about a local property tax for financing public education and establishing a state - wide curriculum.

The movement commenced when Horace Mann began the common school movement in 1859. He had served as the Massachusetts State Board of Education secretary and in the United States House of representatives. Public educational reform movement under Mann brought a revolution to the approach of Massachusetts common school system and led to an influence in other states’ direction. Mann used ‘The Common School Journal’ to air problems facing public schools. He founded it in 1838 and hoped that by having children come together, a common learning experience could be shared. By so doing the less fortunate would be given an avenue to advance.

Mann pushed for a state - wide school financing system and a state - wide curriculum. He also engaged in prolonged fights against the influence of John Calvin on discipline in schools. Mann preferred reinforcing discipline positively to punishing children physically. He pushed for the Prussian model which involved grading with age; students were placed to various grades depending on age and they then progressed from the assigned grades. It is as a result of the leadership and enthusiasm of Horace Mann that the state of Massachusetts initialized programs for education reform. It is he that introduced the grade level concept in schools. Mann also developed concrete curricula as well as future teachers’ training. The developments by Mann made a couple of various reformers from different states to introduce public schools. Moreover, in 1850s, mot states in the North consisted of free basic schools that were majorly public.

Jordan Sotoa year ago

Great history on Horace Mann and his reforms. The public - school system is of great significance in America but taken for granted by many people. It is hard to picture a time when learning was not a right, as we know it, but a privilege; a time when only wealthy people’s children got access to education. In the 1850s the notion of public funded and free education was seen as a radical thought. But all because of the efforts of reformers of the 19th century like Horace Mann, the system of public schools gradually started being real. Although the American system of education is nowhere near to perfection and must undergo continuous reform in the coming years, it will remain one of the few institutions that are known to be democratic in the country. With or without education reform programs, the public - school system carries the promise of equitable learning opportunity for all American kids.


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