Development of the  Common School in the United States

Development of the Common School in the United States PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Common School Era 1820s

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Development of the Common School in the United States

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1. Development of the Common School in the United States

2. Common School Era 1820s – 1880s

3. Society Immigration Irish, most were poor, undereducated, unskilled, and Catholic 1830-40 – ½ million entered U.S. Urbanization No regulation Unsanitary, unsafe Industrialization Women and children, immigrants, horrible conditions No Unions Shift to wage labor Growing gap between rich and poor By 1828, 4 in 7 white males could vote -- many saw them as unready to vote, education must inform “ignorant” electorate

4. Ideology Mixture of Classic Liberalism and Romantic Nationalism Growth of scientific thought – rationalism More optimistic view of people (people continue to support various orgs. and societies) Greater willingness for government power Moving from “negative” to “positive” freedom Jefferson and many classic liberals die – influence of people with ideas similar to Webster grows.

5. Schooling Many educational leaders agree that the U.S. needs publicly-funded “common” schools. Early educational administrators were the champions of the idea. In the Northeast, there was an administrative structure before there was a system of schools.

6. Horace Mann (1796-1859) Follower of Webster’s ideas Born in 1796 to harsh Calvinist background in MA Turned away after brother’s death Follower of phrenology Lawyer and state legislator 1827-1833 where he helped establish the MA state board of education Secretary of MA State Board of Education 1837-1848 Wrote Annual Reports (12th in 1848 most important) and the MA Common School Journal

7. Used different rationale for different groups Rich Education would create industrious men and women who would obey the law, be diligent in their work, and add to the economy. A good investment – “human capital” intelligence creates wealth Taxpayers Stewardship argument – it was their responsibility to help those less-fortunate Workers and Farmers “Great social equalizer”

8. Mann’s own views Feared illiteracy / lack of education would lead to mob action Argued that literacy was necessary for citizens to participate intelligently in representative political processes (Jefferson) Would create a unique, common national American identity and purpose – public schools were Assimilationist from the beginning (Webster) Schools should teach neutral politics and pan-Protestantism

9. Common School Opponents

10. What argument won the day? Fear Fear of cultural / ethnic contamination of adopted American WASP culture Fear of “unguided” working masses. Examples of rhetoric: Calvin Stowe, professor, 1808-1886 Dr. Daniel Drake, 1785-1852

11. Common School Movement Schools established in three legislative stages: Permissive Encouraging Compulsory Other Consequences Attending some part of elementary school became norm. Increased attendance led to graded divisions. Normal Schools Elementary teaching became a career for women – in 1900 71% of rural teachers were women

12. McGuffey Readers More than 120 million copies sold between 1836-1920 First graded readers, paved way for totally graded system Emphasized individual virtue, goodness, patriotism, heroism, and WASP identity Virtues needed in new impersonal workplace Hard work rewarded Being good is rewarded (both intrinsically and materially)

13. McGuffey Reader excerpt:


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