ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND COMPOSITION
Total time—2 hours
(Suggested time—40 minutes. This question counts for one-third of the total essay section score)
The Antebellum period was known as a period of many reforms and social movements, one of which being the education reform movements. The Antebellum period was characterized by its numerous reforms and social movements, which included reform on education. How did education reform reflect the changing views and morals of society during the Antebellum period?
Carefully read the following six sources, including the introductory information for each source. Then synthesize information from at least three of the sources and incorporate it into a coherent, well-written essay that develops a position on the extent of the education reform on changing social views and the general status quo at the time.
Make sure that your argument is central; use the sources to illustrate and support your reasoning. Avoid merely summarizing the sources. Indicate clearly which sources you are drawing from, whether through direct quotations, paraphrase, or summary. You may cite the sources as Source A, Source B, etc., or by using the descriptions in parentheses.
Source A (Church)
Source B (Winslow)
Source C (Cremin)
Source D (Judy)
Source E (cartoon)
Source F (pledge card)
In the early 19th century, movement toward public education began slowly. Most elementary schooling at the time occurred in the district school. Funded through taxation of district households, it was open to all children of the community, usually from ages three to 17. In the average school, students of all ages shared the same single classroom.
Beginning in the 1820s, Whig-affiliated educational reformers introduced one of the most successful movements of the century, the public-school program called the common school movement. Headed by leading thinkers such as Henry Barnard and Horace Mann, the movement pushed for the public education of all elementary-age white children in local schools supervised by the state and regularized under the guidance of state boards of education.
Mann, in particular, was instrumental in promoting the common school and public education. A lawyer and Massachusetts state legislator, he became the first secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education in 1837, in answer to a desire to engage in good works following his wife's death. He served in this role until 1848, working to raise statewide support for public education. He spoke throughout the state on how public education promoted an efficient workforce and a culturally and personally enriched citizenry. Through his Common School Journal, teachers gained pedagogical skills; through his annual reports, circulated nationwide, the country became interested in public education. Also through his efforts, public schoolteachers' salaries were increased substantially.
Another change begun in the antebellum years was an increase in the number of female schoolteachers. Formerly a male preserve, the growing number of schools created a need for morally upright, low-wage sources of labor in large quantity. The feminization of education was championed by educator and reformer Catharine Beecher. Founder of academies for women, she wrote works including An Essay on the Education of Female Teachers (1835), which proclaimed that the expertise of women in developing moral sensibility would make them superior teachers. She also understood that teaching was one of the few professions open to women. Together, Beecher's moral and practical arguments served their purpose and turned the teaching profession into a women's bastion by the post–Civil War years.
“At the heart of the common school movement was the belief that free common schooling dedicated to good citizenship and moral education would ensure the alleviation of problems facing the new republic. The “common school movement” was a...
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