14 February 2013
School System Reform
Horace Mann was a Massachusetts lawyer, leader in education reform, and was the first secretary on the board of Ed in 1837. He believed in tax funded schools and helped double the money the government spent on public schools. He established graded school systems, uniform curriculum, and teacher training programs in order to provide better education for the students. One of his main concepts was compulsory education which is a law that requires student to attend school until a certain age. Before the mid 1800’s Americans did not place a priority on education. Schools were old, textbooks were outdated and teachers were under educated. Their textbooks and teachers were not teaching them or helping them receive a proper education. Most schools only had one grade level and students of all ages were placed in the same classroom and were taught by the same teachers. The short term affects were how Massachusetts formed and pioneered tax funded school systems and how it spread first in the north but it took many years before it was spread into the south. Many people were opposed to tax funded schools because they didn’t have children at all or their children attended private schools. In the south most families opposed compulsory education because they needed their children to work in order to make ends meet. By 1850 most states had established tax funded public schools. In most areas girls were discouraged from attending schools and blacks were either banned or segregated. Also higher education was only for those who excelled and there were only about 300 high schools by 1860. Many of Horace Mann’s actions have carried over into our school systems today such as tax funded schools, better educated teachers and separate grade levels for students.