Monday, May 10, 2021

Horace Mann

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Why is Horace Mann important?

He is considered the "father of public school" education. He served as Sec. of the Board of Education for Massachusetts. During this time, he wrote reports (1 Annual Reports) that outlined the problems and solutions of education that were implemented throughout the country.

He established schools for teacher training, turning it into a real profession.

He won financial backing for public education. Wages of teachers increased also.

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He established free school district libraries.

Why did people oppose him?

Religious leaders thought that schools should teach their own particular doctrine….Mann believed that schools should teach a universal doctrine of morality, not a specific branch of religion. He was a threat to their way of schooling.

Others didn't believe that it WAS the right of certain types of people (girls, blacks, or the poor). At that time, the rich were basically educating their children at home because they could afford tutors.

People who were already teaching or involved with education did not want to change their ways.

"Where I have found the worst schools I have found the spirit of self-complacency, and even an offensive disinclination to hear of better methods."

"Most teachers have been activated to greater exertions by the account of the best schools abroad. Others are offended at being driven out of the Paradise which their own self-esteem erected for them."

What were his basic beliefs?

--He thought that public education would give everyone a basic moral education which would, in turn, lead to a more civilized public.

--He thought that education would level the playing field for the poor and disadvantaged, increasing their competitiveness in the job market.

--He thought that schools should teach children how to make better decisions about life in general.

--He thought that the government had a responsibility to provide funding for the schools.

--He thought that every person in the country was entitled to attend a free school.

--He believed that it was possible to teach a core set of values that were not limited to one religious view.

He also felt that grown people were too stubborn to change, so he concentrated on the youth.

"Let the next generation be my client."

"Having found the present generation composed of materials almost unmalleable, I am about transferring my efforts to the next. Men are cast-iron, but children are wax."

How does he relate to the theme of "Rights and Responsibilities?"

Mann believed that it is the responsibility of the government to make education available to each and every child, a belief that is still held in the United States today. This is not a world-wide belief, but one that most of the "civilized world" seems to share. Countries vary on exactly what this means and how it is enforced and implemented.

In the U.S., each child is entitled to a free education and we have mandatory attendance laws until the age of 15. It is the right of every child to be able to attend a school with teachers who are qualified to teach. However, many students do not, in fact, receive a basic education. Drop out rates, tardiness, absenteeism, and lack of interest in general are things that the government really cannot control. So, while it may be the responsibility of the government to provide an education, it is ultimately the responsibility of the individual to make good use of the opportunity. While it is the right of each student to receive the education, the desire for education must come from within that individual.

It is interesting to note that despite almost 150 years of educational progress, the home state of Mann (Massachusetts) actually had a lower literacy rate in 10 (1%) than it did in 1850 (8%).

Education today… (from the interviews)

While it is the responsibility of the government to provide education for children, parents and the children themselves must also assume responsibility. Students must come to school ready to learn.

We seem to take this education for granted…not always showing up for school. Instead of it being a right that we will not have denied, we view it as a burden and a chore to go to school.

As for teaching core values Parents seem to have passed off all responsibility for teaching their own children manners and values.

QUOTES used on the board

"Every addition to true knowledge is an addition to human power."

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." --Thomas Jefferson

"Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity."

"Education , then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of menthe balance-wheel of the social machinery."

"A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on a cold iron."

For mere delving, an ignorant man is but a little better than a swine, whom he so much resembles in his appetites, and surpasses in his power of mischief…"

"Jails and prisons are the complement of schools so many less as you have of the latter, so many more must you have of the former."

"I think integrity is the single most important thing that we can teach our kids. Schools need to teach core values and ethics because the home isn't doing it." (Jarred Cotton, principal)

"Some parents send their kids unprepared to school without jackets, without lunches, etc. They don't teach kids manners, not even 'sorry' or 'excuse me'…It's my job to show them the options they have in life, present them with all the facts and let them draw the conclusions." (Joanna Cotton, teacher)

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