Horace Man and the Common School Movement

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Horace Mann: The Father of American Education

Horace Mann was born in Massachusetts in 1796, and he developed to be a very astonishing person in the history of American education. Mann was the first American to stand up and openly support public school. He believed that in a democratic society like the US, education ought to be universal and free, democratic, and nonsectarian, while also depending on well-trained skilled teachers. According to Horace Mann, an apple cannot be considered an apple until when it has ripened. Similarly, a human being is not a proper being until when he has been educated[1]. Consequently, it is evident that Horace Mann played a central role in the advancement of public education through his actions, ideas, and efforts as a lecturer, lawyer, and legislator thereby making it possible for all to receive free training.

Formative Years

Childhood

Horace is born on May 4th, 1796 to Rebeccas Stanley Mann and Thomas Mann. His dad was poor and did farming to take care of his family. During his childhood years, there was nothing like public schools in the United States. He would also develop hardships as a young boy to go to school since he was always expected to provide assistance in their farm. Nonetheless, he would still go to the town library and read various books [2].

Secondary Education

Horace Mann was self-taught, and when he turned twenty years, he became admitted at Brown University and started attending a sophomore class. He graduated in 1819 as a valedictorian. During his valedictory address, he manifests his philanthropic optimism to show how a combination of republicanism, humanity, and education can relieve a person from the overwhelmed deficiencies and wants.

Post-Secondary Education

After finishing his secondary education, Mann briefly studies law at Wrentham in Massachusetts. Between the years 1820 and 1822, Mann got a job to work as a teacher of Latin and Greek. He also became a librarian at Brown University from 1821 to 1823. He also proceeds to study at Litchfield Law School.

Mann as a Lecturer

Mann was exceptional in every way as a lecturer. As a person with earlier experiences, Mann wanted to be in places that promoted social harmony. He fought very hard to see that the schools are equal and available for all people and also become a part of American's birthright, be it the poor or the rich.

In 1838, Mann published and edited "The Common School Journal," a journal that targeted public education, explaining his six fundamental principles[3]. First is that the public must leave being ignorant so that more changes could be implemented. Second is that an interested public should be handed the role of sustaining, controlling, and paying for education. Third is that public education can be offered in schools that support children from different backgrounds. Another principle is that public education should be non-sectarian. The fifth principle is that public education should be taught by applying the views of a free society. Lastly, public education should be offered by teachers who are well-trained and are professionals.

Mann as Legislator

Massachusetts Board of Education

Horace Mann was a perfect observant of the law before he started serving in the state Senate and Legislature. In 1837, he was named the secretary of the Massachusetts board of education. In his time, he refurbished the public education system of the state and also built many schools where teachers could be trained. While serving as the secretary, Mann introduced common elementary schools. The common schools were intended to offer primary, elementary education to all children in the country. In 1852, Mann also came up with the mandatory school attendance law that necessitated all children to go to school[4]. After some time, Mann became elected to the United States House of Representatives and also served as the president of Antioch College located in Ohio.

Common School Movement

Horace Mann is well recognized as the founder of the common school movement that which advocated for free education to children in the United States. While explaining that public education was the most efficient way of turning the children of the country into judicious and disciplined Republican citizens, Mann received enormous support from modernizers. The commitment of Mann to introduce common schools came from his ideas that social harmony and political stability were dependent on education.

Teacher Training Schools

In his attempt to professionalize teaching, Mann decided to introduce teacher training schools. Despite that he was not the first person to propose the teacher training institutions, Horace Mann still played a crucial role in the actual founding of Normal Schools in Massachusetts. He was aware of the quality of rural schools was low, and they needed to be improved. Teaching was therefore crucial in seeing that these improvements were successful. Mann was also keen to note that in most Common Schools were taught by women. It is these developments that shape Mann's determination to come up with a system of universal, secular, and practical education to the US.

Conclusion

Horace Mann played a crucial in transforming education in the United States. In his early years, he is seen to be a self-driven person who does all the necessary to accomplish his goals. After completing his education, he briefly studies law at Wrentham in Massachusetts. As a lecturer, Mann is seen to fight for common schools, until he comes up with the six principles of public education. As a legislator, he works as the secretary of the Massachusetts board of education where he comes up with various laws to support public education. It is evident that Horace Mann played a central role in the advancement of public education through his actions, ideas, and efforts as a lecturer, lawyer, and legislator thereby making it possible for all to receive a free education.

Bibliography

“Quotes of Horace Mann.” The Horace Mann League of the USA, 17 Mar. 2015, www.hmleague.org/quotes-by-horace-mann/

Finkelstein, Barbara. "Perfecting Childhood: Horace Mann and the Origins of Public Education in the United States." Biography, vol. 13, no. 1, 1990, pp. 6-20

Mann, Horace, and Lawrence A. Cremin. The Republic and the School: Horace Mann on the Education of Free Men. Teachers College, Columbia University, 1957. Print.

Mann, M. (1895). Life of Horace Mann (2nd ed.). Boston: Walker, Fuller.

[1] (“Quotes of Horace Mann.” The Horace Mann League of the USA, 17 Mar. 2015, www.hmleague.org/quotes-by-horace-mann/.)

[2] Mann, M. (1895). Life of Horace Mann (2nd ed.). Boston: Walker, Fuller.

[3]

Finkelstein, Barbara. "Perfecting Childhood: Horace Mann and the Origins of Public Education in the United States." Biography, vol. 13, no. 1, 1990, pp. 6-20

[4]

Mann, Horace, and Lawrence A. Cremin. The Republic and the School: Horace Mann on the Education of Free Men. Teachers College, Columbia University, 1957. Print.

November 13, 2023
Category:

Education Life

Subcategory:

Learning

Number of pages

4

Number of words

1098

Downloads:

36

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