From the dawn of time, education has been in existence in one form or another. Societies knew early on that to survive knowledge and experiences must be passed on to future generations. By passing on this knowledge people could take what others learned then build upon it. One such example is of the man that invented the wheel. He probably never imagined that his idea would later become the means to assist man to soar high in the sky with the fowls of the air. This miraculous feat might never have happened if he had not shared what he knew with others.
Over time, the passing of knowledge became more organized and societies developed what is known today as the school. In the school, people of all ages are able to learn from the experiences of others. Today, America’s system has been neglected to a point that students of other nations are testing higher academically than that of American students (Duncan, 2010). Because of this, many government officials, school reformers, and concerned citizens are faced with the challenge of finding a solution. However daunting and intimidating this may be, we must remember that this is not the first time that America has faced a need for change in the school. History is full of such events calling for changes to be made; unfortunately many of these changes were never fully implemented into the school system. Therefore, by studying the past we can build upon and complete the changes started. Unleashing the full potential of the American public school, giving each student a chance to be their greatest, regardless of who they are, and/or where they came from.
The Revolutionary war is a significant example of an event that affected the American schools. Noah Webster, a teacher from Connecticut, wanted to show that America was an independent nation. To do so, he began by removing the once-accepted British literature from the schools and replacing them with literature highlighting American stories and leaders. He continued even further by changing how the English language was both written and spoken (School, 2001). Webster not only embraced America for being different, but developed ways to express those differences to other nations.
Our story continues with Thomas Jefferson who created a bill (Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge) that would allow all children three years of schooling without regards to the financial state of the family. This bill would also provide scholarships for a select few to help mold them into future leaders. However, this was met with resistance because tax money would fund the schooling and not everyone agreed that the nation, as a whole, should be picking up the tab. After encountering resistance towards free education, he claimed, “People have more feeling for canals and roads than for education.” (School, 2001).
Building off of what Thomas Jefferson started; Horace Mann saw the need for even more change to the educational system. He traveled all over the state of...