“Expanding Public Education” - "Expanding Public...

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“Expanding Public Education” I. Expanding Public Education A. Background 1. Although most states had established public schools by the Civil War, many school-age children still receive no formal schooling at all. a. In the South, only North Carolina had a public school system by the 1860s. b. Throughout the nation, the majority of students who went to school left within four years, and few went to high school 2. This alarmed education reformers like Harris. a. They argued that without a proper education, young Americans would not have the knowledge or skills needed to take part in civic affairs. b. In the 1870s, reformers worked to extend schooling to more children. B. Schools for Children 1. Between 1865 and 1895, 31 states passed laws requiring 12 to 16 weeks a year of school attendance by children between 8 and 14. a. Almost three-quarters of American children between those ages attended school. i.) 1900 ii.) mostly in cities b. Students studied a curriculum that emphasized reading, writing, and arithmetic. i.) 1865-1895 2. The emphasis on rote memorization and the uneven quality of teachers drew criticism. a. Joseph Mayer Rice, a New York pediatrician, visited 36 cities and interviewed 1200 teachers. b. He observed numerous problems, more on their students’ posture than on their mastery of academic rules and physical punishment. 3. Despite such problems, children began attending school at a younger age. a. Kindergartens, which ad been created outside the public school system to offer childcare for employed mothers, became increasingly popular. b. The number of kindergartners surged from 200 in 1880 to 3000 in 1900 4. Although the pattern in public education during this era was one of growth, opportunities differed sharply for white and black students,
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a. About 62 percent of white-children attended elementary school, compared to only 34 percent of African-American children. i.) 1880 ii.) segregation b. Not until the 1940s would public school education become available to the majority of black children living in the south. i.) The South C. The Growth of High Schools 1. In the new industrial age, people realized that the economy demanded advanced technical and managerial skills. a. Business leaders like Andrew Carnegie pointed out that keeping workers loyal to capitalism required society.
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