Movers and Shakers in Education Essay

Submitted By emarie_0414
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Movers and Shakers in Education America’s educational system can be dated back to the middle 400’s with Socrates who began the expansion of our schools today. It wasn’t until the 1700’s that a serious movement in education was made by Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson proposed a Bill which was denied but his persistence and urgency of the Bill is what led our educational system to be established a few years after his Presidency. Thomas Jefferson wrote, “…it is better that such should be sought for and educated at the common expense of all…” in his “More General Diffusion of Knowledge Bill” (Burkes, 2009). Jefferson believed that in order for democracy in America to work effectively it was necessary to provide a vigorous public education system to ensure good educated decisions were being made in the voting booths by citizens (Mitchell, JVOE). The Bill was not passed in either 1778 or 1780 during his presidency. James Madison presented the bill several more times until a revised version of the bill was passed into law in 1796. Even with the urgency of an education system none was mentioned in the Constitution. This fact alone is the reason why our education system is governed by the state, therefore, to accurately state, America has 50 education systems (Mitchell, TFRIE). The Common School Movement began in the 1830’s while Andrew Jackson was president. America at this time was becoming more industrialized requiring more cheap labor to sustain the economies increasing demand. Slavery was immensely underway as the primary source of labor and was the motivation behind the demands for public schools. Robert Dale Owens advocated an educational system would alleviate the economic stratification that America was facing. The Common School Movement was the answer to providing a suitable work force for America. Motivation for this movement also came from the belief that humans were capable of reaching their maximum potential if properly educated (Mitchell, TCSM). During this time, due to slavery, African American’s were viewed by the European American’s to be of inferior intelligence and not capable of being educated. Slave owners were concerned problems would arise if their slaves were educated and became literate. One of the primary movers during The Common School Movement was Horace Mann in The Creation of the State of Education in 1837. Horace Mann was the first secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education (Mitchell, TCSM). Mann was responsible for one of the first professional publications for teachers, Common School Journal. He also aided in the establishment of schools to prepare teachers and provide annual reports in Massachusetts and other states. These reports stressed the need for improvement in school buildings, knowledgeable board of education members, better teachers, and the need for a strong public school system (Mitchell, TCSM). Mann also fought for women’s right to receive an education as African American’s were not the only group excluded from attending school. Mann’s reforms were denied and were an interest of Henry Barnard. He attempted to pass these reforms again following Mann and was denied by Connecticut and Rhode Island and ultimately was voted off the board. During the first half of the 19th tax-supported public schools controlled by the state became an issue. The more rural areas of The United States opposed this proposition which later led to the Pennsylvania’s Free School Act of 1834 which allowed local taxation and state aid.
The First American Comprehensive High School was established in 1837 in Lowell, Massachusetts. Tax-supported public high schools were a result of the Massachusetts Law of 1827 requiring public