Public Education: Schools Development

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Democracy and national progress rely on a learned population. If people are to contribute toward the growth of a nation, they require having the capacity to write and read, and it as well helps them to understand the affairs of their state, its history, geography, and development progress. Public education acts as the single biggest outlay for national and local governments. However, it is perhaps the most criticized; for instance, some individuals believe that public schools in the United States are weakening and that academic accomplishments are greatly surpassed by the ones in other countries.

Between 1800 and 1860, most nations put efforts in the improvement of public schools. Attributable to the implementation of universal core values by many states in America, the analysis of educational progressions has seldom been tighter. Parents, teachers, taxpayers, and learners focused on the situation of education in the country, and stakeholders accounted for educational elaborations such as curriculum development and literacy levels. The resulting controversy regarding public education demonstrated not just America’s zeal for the betterment of the education sector, but also its historical predisposition to both grip and rebuff divergences from what could be deemed an educational norm.


Between 1820 and 1840, industrial advancement changed the economy of Northeast America, influencing not just urban regions but also rural settings that started to depend on far marketplaces, which were made accessible by enhanced transportation. The parents catered for the salaries of hired employees, depending to a lesser extent on the tasks carried out by their children; with the development of rural capitalism, children had a lot of time for schooling. In such a fiscal background, Horace Mann, the then recently assigned official of the Board of Education, was concerned with the problems in the metropolitan areas and law-breaking facilitated by the monetary crisis of 1837.

Attributable to the dread that the behaviors of grownups were already reputable, Horace Mann centered on the betterment of the ethical nature of young children. While offering knowledge across the state and influencing legislature, he sought to develop a system of state-managed and backed public schools. He advocated for all schools to provide a similar curriculum and carry out lessons for about ten months. In this regard, Horace Mann pushed for circumspectly devised school buildings and state-backed normal schools to prepare practiced educators. The moment executives of American Sunday School Union approached Mann and requested for the adoption of their line of operation, he declined, asserting in its place nonsectarian public schools that could impart the principles of capitalist economy and republicanism.

Common Schools

In the 1800s, common schools represented the public, usually one-roomed learning facilities in America and Canada. The term was generated by Horace Mann to signify the objective of public schools to serve people of all social groups and religious beliefs. Learners usually went to common schools from 6 up to 14 years of age (similar to the current grade 1 to 8). The length of a school year was normally influenced by the agricultural requirements of some societies. At such times of the year, the children were on holiday to take part in family farming practices. The schools were financed through local taxes hence did not charge tuition, and every white child was allowed to enroll. Every district was characteristically headed by a selected education board. Moreover, county inspectors or local administrators were often incorporated to oversee daily undertakings of some common school regions.

The work done by Horace Mann transformed the progress of the public school system in Massachusetts. This consequently swayed the direction of other states. At around 1838, Mann commenced The Common School Journal. The aim of the journal was to tackle the challenges encountered in public schools. He believed that having students of all classes in the same environment could enhance the sharing of common learning practices. Such practices would go a long way to offering the less privileged a chance to advance in the community. Horace Mann faced strong opposition from Boston school directors who robustly criticized his inventive pedagogical ideologies. Furthermore, many religious sectaries’ arguments were against the leaving out of sectarian teaching from the syllabus.

Increased Development of Public Schools

By 1860, American Catholic parochial schools backed impromptu endeavors by parishes where the majority of Catholic children went to public schools. Moreover, the Orthodox Jews and Calvinist Dutch, alongside other religious groups, also commenced similar schools. In the course of the early and mid-1800s, education transformers sought to enhance public education across the United States. Their endeavors also resulted in the creation of American universities and people started becoming authors. In 1837, Horace Mann started transforming the country’s education system and establishing grade levels, ordinary standards, and compulsory attendance. His intention was to make sure that every resident had the chance to become educated. Other states started emulating his approach, and in the 1860s, every state began tax-backed, locally managed elementary learning institutions. Nonetheless, attendance was often not mandatory.

In the course of the Antebellum Period (1800-1860), the existing public schools were tax-funded. Studies affirm that religious and private learning institutions were available to the rich and aristocratic families. This was not just unjust and inequitable to the people in lower classes but also started alerting the stakeholders of the need to consider the issue. The middle-class people began raising the awareness concerning their future and that of the government by affirming that it would come a time when the accountability, management, and authority of the government would depend on the migrants, the poor, and the undereducated. Increased reforms started boosting the notion that education is the key to opportunities and the generation of free-thinking and responsible societies, in addition to equality. As the demand for public education began to increase progressively, controversies came up. Government-financed learning institutions centered on the idea of giving confidence to the poor learners to make efforts to succeed in life while also motivating them to build ethical character. Nevertheless, some parents posed arguments that sought to condemn the issue of having the government accountable for educating the children


Contrary to the situation in many other nations, federal and state governments in America offered the highest percentage of finances for public education. One of the rationales behind this is the traditional conviction that societies ought to cater to the needs of children. Nonetheless, some people believe that the government does not comprehend the educational requirements of children, similar to the case of local administrators. Moreover, the states differed considerably in the degree to which public education was financed. For instance, the state catered for approximately 90 percent of public educational outlays in Hawaii when judged against the situation in New Hampshire where the regional school district provided ninety percent of the funding. Studies assert that local and state financing of public education offered a profusion of inequities in the money that school districts used on public education. Since the majority of schools were financed by money collected from taxes, most wealthy societies had more finances than the poor ones. In this regard, critics affirm that the situation resulted in inequalities regarding the quality of public education hence leaving the poor children with a substandard education.

Many programs were then developed in an effort of boosting the quality of public education. This took place mainly in poor school regions. One such program focused on the provision of national tests. The program maintained that learners ought to be offered national examinations in different subjects to assess their achievements through an objective value. Supporters were convinced that weak school districts would become disclosed and the examinations would offer them the motivation to enhance their provision of education. On the contrary, critics asserted that consistent testing could make educators teach to the test. Such a practice could influence creativity in the classroom negatively. Furthermore, such examinations could be unjust to minorities since they could be culturally prejudiced for the majority.


Social equality and national development rely on an educated population. For people to contribute toward national development, they require at least basic education. Attributable to the fear that the behaviors of grownups were already sound, Horace Mann centered on the facilitation of the ethical nature of children. While creating awareness across the state and influencing the government, he sought to create a structure of state-controlled and supported public education. In the Antebellum Period (1800-1860), the extant public schools were tax-financed.


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ChalkyPapers. "Public Education: Schools Development." January 31, 2022.