Common School Era

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The common school era was at its height around 1820 and was said to have ended around 1900. By 1890, 95% of children between the ages of five and thirteen were attending school though the common school or another form of education (Ruth Joy, 2017). The bases of the common school was formed by Horace Mann and he wanted free public education for all children. According to William Reese’s “Public Schools and the Elusive Search for the Common Good” (2000), “…the common school- publicly funded, free, and in theory open to everyone…” (p.15). Reese mentions how the common school activists wanted to spread democratic values and save social order and the republic through free public schools. This leads to the goals of the common school including: …show more content…

In the 19th century, students were just taught basic skills because for the majority, that was all they needed. The majority didn’t go on to college or higher education, so the main job of the teachers was to teach the basic knowledge so students could use those skills for their career path. Common school teachers also taught the ideals of being a democratic citizen, which was also a basic skill all students needed to continue in their life. Some people see this as a different goal from today’s public schools because common schools focused more on the development of good citizens and public schools today focus more on curriculum and learning facts. Public schools today do have a more advanced curriculum, but students still learn the three R’s and the democratic citizenship. Students today learn how to be a proper citizen in a democratic society by obtaining more knowledge about history, geography, art, and other subjects and are taught to use that knowledge in everyday society. In the first chapter of The Knowledge Deficit (2006), by E. D. Hirsch, he talks about the basic knowledge students need to be able to read effectively and comprehend readings. If a student doesn’t have factual knowledge, a deficit in reading and language can easily occur (p. 1-22). Relating that back to the teachings of democratic citizenship, schools today give students the factual knowledge they need to be a proper citizen. Students learn knowledge through the creation of Constitution in history class, the idea of expressionism in art class, and multiple other subjects to develop their personal democratic citizenship. This idea of basic knowledge was also mentioned in Joanne Jacobs response to Jay Greene’s article about STEAM (2017), Jacobs quoted Greene, “’students cannot gain new insights from the connections between geometry and the arts until

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