Mann held a strong belief in the necessity of compulsory education for America's youth. This article tells the history of this idea and its implementation, something which we rarely think twice about.
Horace Mann and American Education Reform
Continuing along the timeline of education in America from Colonial Education, the early and mid 19th century brought a completely new face to the education system. The early reforms laid the groundwork for the future reform efforts of John Dewey, progressives, and corporate elites. As America diversified in so many other areas, so too did the nation's collective philosophy regarding the critical institution of education.
Reformers, some influenced by the Prussian education reforms of the early 1800s, emerged at an incredible rate hoping to change the general form and ideals of American education to keep up with the evolving country. No longer would small rural schoolhouses, untrained teachers, or limitations in education opportunities suffice. A more defined system, which, as Mann and others had hoped, would also be free and universal, slowly garnered both grassroots and governmental support. The goal was to mold individuals from all socio-economic backgrounds into good people and good citizens through education. It was believed that in doing so everyone would be able to achieve to their fullest potential.
Horace Mann, a man most consider to be one of the greatest figures in America's development in the educational realm, surfaced in the 1820s as a strong reformer, playing a critical role in the process until his death in 1859. Calling for the radical transformations of education which would quickly take the shape of our current system, the investigation and study of Mann remains an immensely important one. Without him, for better or for worse, the education that we take for granted today would be far different.
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