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Early History of Education


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Title: Early History of Education

Early History of Education
  • Give examples of how education reflected local
    culture and beliefs
  • Trace changes in the preparation, roles and
    status of teachers over time
  • Describe how educational opportunities changed
    from colonial times forward
  • Analyze how key people in early education reform
    responded to concerns of the time

Key Terms
  • Apprentice someone who learns a skilled trade
    by watching and helping someone in that trade
  • Dame School early American schools run by women
    in their own homes parents paid a fee for their
    children to attend
  • Hornbook flat wooden board with a handle sheet
    of paper usually containing the alphabet, a
    prayer or two, and Roman numerals was pasted on
    the board and covered with a thin, flat piece of
    clean animal horn to protect the paper.

Key Terms Continued
  • Common Schools public schools available to
    children from all levels of society
  • Normal Schools schools that prepared men and
    women with the necessary skills to become
  • McGuffey Readers first widely used textbooks
    published during the American Common Schools
    period. Included moral lesson along with science,
    grammar, and other subjects

Key Terms Continued
  • Progressives members of a reform movement that
    began in late 1800s believed that education
    should be more individualized and teach students
    skills that would improve the ills of society.
  • Montessori Method teaching principals developed
    by Maria Montessori, an Italian doctor,
    emphasizing self-directed learning through
    sensory experience.
  • Career and Technical Education courses of study
    that prepare students for careers related to a
    specific trade or occupation.

Key Terms Finished
  • Disposable Income income beyond that needed for
    basic necessities, allowing people to buy or do
    thing they want.
  • Quotas - limits

1600-1776 American Colonial Period
  • Most education took place at home
  • Basic reading and arithmetic skills taught
  • Daily life and work provided opportunities for
    practical learning
  • When schools were established
  • Mainly in well-populated areas
  • Primarily for elementary grades
  • Few universities and colleges founded so few
    opportunities to attend
  • Most older children worked on family farms and
  • Others, learned a trade in an apprenticeship
  • Some worked without pay for agreed upon time
    period in exchange for their learning

New England Colonies
  • Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire,
    Rhode Island all came from England
  • Majority Puritans
  • Believed in importance of religious education
  • Valued persons ability to read the Bible
  • School viewed as a way to reach those goals and
    teach basic skills for farmers
  • 1642 Massachusetts enacted a law requiring every
    town to establish a school not always followed

Middle Colonies
  • New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania Delaware
  • All from different backgrounds
  • No common school system
  • Cultural groups developed own schools
  • Quakers
  • Settled around Philadelphia
  • Believed everyone should be educated
  • Tolerant of others beliefs
  • Established 1st school that welcomed all
    regardless of religion or race
  • Open to girls, African Americans and Native

Southern Colonies
  • Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South
    Carolina, and Georgia
  • Social and economic class divisions were more
  • Sons of wealthy plantation owners received a
    formal education preparing for college in
    colonies or Europe
  • Due to geographical separation of plantations
    were educated at home by tutors
  • Middle class was smaller than other areas
  • Middle class and poor, especially girls, had
    fewer opportunities
  • Enslaved people were only taught skills useful to
    their owners
  • Dame schools were open to both boys and girls

Role of Teacher
  • Ranked right below religious leaders in
  • Were men better educated than the general
  • Expected to teach and act as an example of moral
  • Could NOT drink, smoke, date or marry
  • Had to
  • Attend church regularly
  • Participate in civic events
  • Be industrious and honest
  • Routinely clean the school
  • Visit the sick
  • Perform charitable acts

School Curriculum
  • Most schools focused on basic reading, writing,
    simple math and religion
  • Some educated beyond elementary
  • Few formal school existed
  • In Middle and New England colonies training was
    available for trades
  • Sons of wealthy learned Latin, Greek and advanced
  • In south sons studies astronomy for navigation
    and plantation management skills
  • Girls taught basic skills sewing, home
    management skills
  • Wealthy daughters taught literature and poetry
  • Books were rare and expensive
  • Schools used hornbooks used throughout the
    colonies until 1800s when books became less

1776-1840 American Early National Period
  • Began with the American Revolution
  • Believed they could make a better society and
    were eager to try new ideas
  • Change occurred quickly in cities and slower in
    rural settings
  • Educators believed improving lives and society
    through the use of reason could find rational
    solutions for problems
  • Schools were a vehicle for making a better
  • Ideas traditions of Europe less influential
  • Education considered way to promote the new
    nations ideas of freedom liberty
  • Religion played less of a role focused on
    teaching skills to help students enter fields
    such as agriculture, business and shipping

Benjamin Franklin
  • One of the most important early leaders
  • Started a secondary school or academy in
    Philadelphia open to anyone who could pay
  • Due to his influence schools today
  • Teach good citizenship
  • Are available to everyone
  • Teach a wide variety of subjects

Thomas Jefferson
  • Believed that education was the key to making the
    newly formed democracy a success
  • Introduced legislation to divide counties in
    Virginia into smaller districts that were
    responsible for education a public system of
  • Wanted elementary schools available without cost
  • Due to his influence schools today
  • Public system of education introduced
  • How public schools are organized

Role of Teacher
  • Continued to be positive models of good
  • Expected to be involved, make community better
    place through church participation and
    involvement in community issues
  • Taught that citizenship involved obeying laws and
    rules and respecting authority

School Curriculum
  • Continued teaching basics of reading, writing,
    math Christian principals and citizenship
  • Also taught Greek, Roman, English history and
    American history
  • Opportunities remained limited, especially in
    less populated areas
  • Wealthy boys were taught Greek, Latin and English
    grammar, advanced math, geography, literature and
    science in preparation for university entrance
  • If girls received additional education it was
    through a tutor at home or schools designed for
  • Education was limited to those of European

1840-1880 American Common School Period
  • Marked by events that significantly altered the
    American way of life
  • 1840 Oregon Trail opened
  • Gold discovered in California
  • Labor saving devices developed sewing machines
    and washing machines
  • 1860s civil war claimed lives, freeing slaves
    triumph of union altered American life
  • In 1840 most American children received minimal
    schooling if any at all
  • By 1880 education, including free public
    education for many was more widely available

Horace Mann
  • Served as 1st Secretary of the State Board of
    Education in Massachusetts
  • Worked hard to establish free public education
    for every boy and girl
  • First public state supported schools called
    common schools gave the same education to people
    from different levels of society
  • Established teacher-training schools called
    normal schools
  • Successfully advocated establishment of free
  • Increased state funding for public schools by
    using state taxes to pay for education provided
    money to raise teacher salaries and improve
    materials and equipment
  • Believed schools should be nonsectarian since
    funded by taxpayers reasoned that people should
    not have to pay to teach religious principals
    contrary to own beliefs
  • Since country was overwhelmingly Christian,
    morality based on general Christian principals
    still taught

African American Education
  • Before civil war very few enslaved African
    Americans were able to read or write
  • Most learned in secret due to laws in South
    prohibiting educating them
  • Former slaves in Northern states faced social and
    economic obstacles
  • Few African American schools existed
  • Quaker schools allowed them to attend
  • Struggled with very low wages so children found
    work as soon as old enough
  • After civil war
  • Educated African Americans set up schools
  • Missionaries from North set up schools
  • First African American colleges founded
  • Debates among African Americans about what was
    the best type of education for their people
  • Most efforts were short lived
  • Schools strictly segregated
  • Lacked funds for equal education

Role of Teacher
  • Country was still primarily rural
  • Children educated at home or in small country
    school houses.
  • 1 teacher taught all grades
  • Teachers paid by community members
  • Salaries quite low

Normal Schools
  • To enter a normal school for training applicants
    had to take a test to show that they were
    properly educated
  • Resulted in higher expectations of teachers
    knowledge and teaching abilities
  • More women enrolled and entered profession
  • Opportunity to make a living on own

School Curriculum
  • Brought more change in how subjects were taught
  • Establishment of kindergartens in public school
    in 1870
  • Developed by Fredrich Froebel, a German educator
  • Believed young children learned best through play
  • First kindergarten classes established to help
    poor children succeed in school
  • Songs and games were used to teach the children
  • Prior to this children did not attend school
    until 7 years old

School Curriculum Continued
  • Textbooks became more widely available
  • Reverend William Holmes McGuffey asked to write a
  • beginning of McGuffey readers
  • Used in schools across country
  • Books taught moral lessons along with reading,
    spelling and other subjects
  • Subsequent readers taught history, biology,
    botany, literature, speech, proper behavior
  • Contributed to standardization of American

School Curriculum Continued
  • Morrill Act of 1862
  • Known as the Land-Grant College Act
  • Gave federal land to establish colleges in every
  • Provided practical education in agriculture, home
    economics and other useful professions to people
    from all social classes
  • Second Morrill Act in 1890 expanded the system

1880 1921 American Progressive Period
  • Bridged the 19th and 20th centuries
  • Women gained more rights
  • European immigrants poured into cities
  • Industrial revolution continued to change nature
    of work and society
  • Time of business expansion and reform
  • Reformation members called themselves
  • Wanted to regulate big business who took
    advantage of workers and consumers
  • Corrupt government officials were also targets

American Progressive Period Continued
  • Between 1880 and 1920, half the rural population
    abandoned farming and moved to town to find work
  • Over 15 million new immigrants arrived
  • Urban areas became overcrowded
  • Poverty and disease widespread
  • If you found work
  • Long hours
  • Working conditions were hazardous
  • Children worked limiting education opportunities
  • Progressives worked toward
  • Better pay for women
  • Passed laws reducing number of hours children
    could work in factories
  • By 1920 all states passed laws requiring children
    attend elementary school

Segregated Education
  • Schools were still highly segregated
  • African American children attended separate
    public schools that received less funding
  • Educational materials were scarce and inferior,
    often the cast-offs from the white schools
  • African American teachers could only teach in
    African American schools and received lower pay
    then their counterparts

Role of Teachers
  • Teachers were considered professionals
  • Teacher preparation programs in colleges replaced
    normal schools
  • More emphasis was placed on educational theories
  • Teachers were well trained and qualified to both
    run a classroom and teach a variety of subjects
  • Many teachers grew unhappy with emphasis on
  • First teachers unions were formed to protect the
    working rights of teachers
  • Fought to improve pay, status and working
  • Women entered the workforce in greater numbers
  • By end of progressive period, women had achieved
    the right to vote

School Curriculum
  • Progressives believed that schools should focus
    on students more as individuals, felt that
    curriculum was too standardized
  • Felt that students should be encouraged to think
    critically and independently, rather than simply
    memorize information and accept facts these
    changes were significant for education
  • One notable change was the opening of thousands
    of public high schools
  • In 1880 there was only about 800 of these
  • This allowed students to continue their education
    and prepare for a career, even if they were not
    attending college
  • High school diploma became more important in
    finding a job

John Dewey
  • An educational philosopher, psychologist and
    writer was a leading voice for progressive
  • Believed that classrooms were too rigid and
    inflexible, did not adapt to needs, interests,
    and abilities of individual students
  • Believed schools should place a greater emphasis
    on the development of problem solving and
    critical thinking skills
  • Promoted the link between learning and experience
  • Due to his influence schools today
  • Collaborative learning on projects and discussing
  • Role of teacher as guiding learning
  • Real life activity that linked new information to
    previous experiences

Maria Montessori
  • Italys first female doctor, tried to find ways
    to help children who had difficulty learning
  • Believed that young children are capable of great
    discovery and motivated to explore the world.
  • Sensory experiences should come before learning
    to read and write
  • Developed the Montessori method
  • Considers all of a childs needs, not just
  • Classrooms are stimulating environments
  • Many opportunities for large and fine-motor
    development and sensory exploration, along with
    language, science, art, geography, and math
  • Children direct their own learning with teachers
    as partners
  • Teachers encourage children to judge their own
    progress and choose own interests

Career and Technical Education
  • Smith-Hughes Act of 1917 established federal
    funds to support vocational education (now called
    career and technical education)
  • Prepares students for the many career
    opportunities in specific trades and occupations
    where skilled workers are needed
  • Funding greatly influenced the spread of CTE
    classes in public high schools

1920s and the Great Depression (1921-1940)
  • America was the most industrialized country in
    the world and economic prosperity and growth were
  • Influence of the Progressive movement in
    education continued through this period
  • Economic prosperity of the 1920s increased the
    size of the middle class.
  • Most people had disposable income
  • Americans became consumers, rather than producers
  • Consumer credit issues surfaced for the first
    time as credit became more widely available, so
    consumer education became a need.
  • Concerns about the rate of immigration caused
    quotas to be set
  • October 14, 1929, the New York Stock Market
  • Became known as Black Thursday
  • Caused the economic panic that put country into
    the Great Depression

Impact of Economy on Schools
  • In hard economic times schools had to respond to
    lost revenue
  • During the Great Depression
  • Public schools faced a shortage of cash
  • Many citizens were unable to pay taxes
  • Some districts ceased to operate
  • Some districts shortened the school year
  • Teacher pay was decreased or eliminated
  • Course offering cut back to basic subjects
  • Families found it difficult to keep children fed
    and dressed - not enough money for books and
    school supplies
  • Many children unable to attend due to working to
    supplement family income
  • Federal Government steps in to help
  • Funds helped support some schools to hire
    teachers and purchase supplies
  • Schools began offering free hot lunches for
  • Better schools were built in some communities as
    part of the program to employ others
  • By end of 1930s families were getting back on
    their feet
  • Social institutions were working to recover from
    a decade of hardship
  • Americans were inward focused

Dick and Jane Readers
  • Early 1930s, a new set of reading textbooks for
    beginning readers were published
  • Taught basic reading skills with simple stories
    about a family.
  • From 1930 to 1960, over 85 million students used
    these textbooks
  • Widespread use help standardize education

Give examples of how education reflected local
culture and beliefs
  • Ability to read the Bible
  • Religious education
  • Everyone educated Quakers
  • Social and economic divisions
  • Tutors plantation children
  • Nonsectarian paid for by taxes
  • Segregation
  • Industrial revolution

Trace changes in the preparation, roles and
status of teachers over time
  • Men only to men and women
  • Role models to professionals
  • Teacher dos and donts
  • Duties
  • Community involvement
  • Segregation
  • Normal schools to teacher colleges
  • Low pay
  • Teacher unions

Describe how educational opportunities changed
from colonial times forward
  • Tutors
  • Apprenticeships
  • One-room school houses
  • Common schools
  • Kindergarten
  • Morrill Act
  • Mandatory elementary school attendance
  • Montessori Method
  • Smith-Hughes Act
  • Hornbooks to McGuffey readers to Dick and Jane

Analyze how key people in early education reform
responded to concerns of the time
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Horace Mann
  • Fredrich Froebel
  • Reverend William Holmes McGuffey
  • John Dewey
  • Maria Montessori

Analytical Question Prompts
  • Throughout the early history of education in
    America, teachers were held in great respect and
    were expected to be role models for students. In
    your opinion, how are teachers regarded today?
    Give reasons for your view.
  • During the Great Depression of the 1930s, some
    teachers continued to work for little or no pay.
    What do you think motivated them? How do you
    think you would react, as a teacher, if a similar
    situation occurred? What factors would you weigh
    as part of your decision?
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