Horace Mann (1796-1859)

Horace Mann, the Father of the common school began his career as a lawyer and legislator. As the secretary of Massachusetts Board of Education from 1837, he enacted major educational reform. He ensured every child received a basic education funded by local taxes.

Mann’s commitment to the common school came from his belief that political stability and social harmony depended on education. He believed that public schooling was central to good citizenship, democratic participation and societal well being.

Mann was influential in the development of teacher training schools and the earliest attempts to professionalize teaching. Though not the first to propose state-sponsored teacher training institutes, he highly contributed to the actual establishment of the first Normal Schools in Massachusetts in 1838.

According to Mann, the quality of rural areas had to be raised and teaching was the key to that improvement. Mann’s determination to create a system of effective, secular, universal education in the United States saw him advocate the recruitment of women into the ranks of teachers, often through the Normal School.

Source: Horace Mann (1796-1859)
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