• The Development of Public Education: By Foster Bundy
    • Introduction to the life of 19th century school:
      • Until the 1840's, education was not an established system in the United States
      • The only schools functioning were local and regional private institutions which the extent and type of schooling depended on the funds, resources and values of the city or town
      • Eton, Harrow, Westminster, Rugby, Winchester, Charterhouse, and Shrewsbury, and two London day schools, St. Pauls and Merchant Taylors's, were defined as the first "Public Schools" in the 1860s
      • Most schools provided an education to boys of wealthy families and some received tutoring from private tutors
    • Horrace Mann and Henry Barnard had a vision:
      • Created the "Common-School Movement"
      • By the end of the 19th century, they obtained their goals of providing an education to all children and continuing it their way until it would become mandate for children of elementary age to attend school.
    • Important Dates:
      • In 1833, the government awarded grants of money to schools. Not everyone who ran the schools were able to read themselves so the standard of education was not very good.
      • In 1844, Parliament passed a law requiring children working in factories be given six-half-days schooling every week. 'Ragged Schools' were set up to provide free basic education for orphans and very poor children.
      • In 1870, Parliament passed the Forster's Education Act, requiring all parts of Britain to provide schools to children aged 5 to 12. However, not all these school were free so many could not afford the 'school's pence' each week. As it was not mandatory to attend school many children still didn't go to school. They worked and earned money for the family instead.

    • Hardships:
      • First schools were made with logs or boards
      • Students were taught in a multi-grade school room
      • Children of various ages were taught by one teacher in a one room school house
      • Temperature was a large factor and many students got sick in the winter
      • For the only source of heat might be a small wood burning stove and sometimes the children and teacher would gather around the stove on the cold days to do their learning

The Commom Classroom

    • Elementary (grade) School:
      • Teachers were educated:
        • Bishops gate Institute was built using funds from charitable endowments made to the parish of St. Botolph.
        • These had been collected by the parish for over 500 years, but a scheme agreed by the Charity Commissioners in 1891, enabled these to be drawn together into one endowment.
      • What did the children learn at school?
        • Typical lessons at school included the three Rs - Reading, WRiting and Dictation, and ARithmetic.
        • In addition to the three Rs which were taught most of the day, once a week the children learned geography, history and singing
        • The girls learned how to sew.
      • How many years did a student stay in grade school for?
        • It wasn't until 1880 that schooling became mandatory. All children had to attend a school until they were 10 years old. In 1889, the school leaving age was raised to twelve.
      • What was the average class size?
        • There could be as many as 70 or 80 pupils in one class, especially in cities.
      • What was school like?
        • The teachers were very strict with discipline b/c they didn't know how else to get through to them
        • Children were often taught by reading and copying things down, or chanting things till they were perfect
      • How much did school cost for children?
        • Schools were not free until 1891. Up until then children had to pay to go to school.
        • The money required to attend, depended on the school that the children were attending which the prices varied.
      • Did the wealthy children attend public school?
        • Girls from upper class families were taught by a governess at home
        • Boys were often sent to public schools like Eaton. In 19th century public schools boys were taught the classics like Latin but little else
        • Science and technical subjects were neglected
        • Public schools also placed great emphasis on character building through sports and games.
      • Did the poor children attend public school?
        • Poor children went to free charity schools or 'Dame' schools (so called because they were run by women) for young children
        • They also went to Sunday Schools which were run by churches. There they learned bible stories and were taught to read a little
    • A Day in the Life of a Student:
      • Children began day with chores
      • Following their daily chores they would set off for their long journey to school
      • The school day usually began with prayers and religious instruction.
      • Morning lessons ran from 9a.m. to 12p.m. Children often went home for a meal, then returned for afternoon classes from 2p.m. to 5p.m
        Photo Gallery - The common school
        Photo Gallery - The common school
  • Secondary School (High School):
    • Why were they created?
      • Public High Schools were developed in the early 1800's as a public education alternative to the private academies of the 18th Century.
      • The schools focused on a practical curriculum with college preparatory classes.
      • Boys and girls went there to improve their old subjects as well as new ones such as language and math.
  • College:
    • Boys went to college to learn about other subjects such as science and language for their future jobs
    • They attended colleges such as Oxford and Cambridge to name a few but really only went if they had enough money
    • Later in the 18th century, more colleges for women opened such as Bedford but men rioted against women getting degrees
How did education improve through the 19th Century?:
  • Little by little, public schools also became more inclusive. During the second half of the 19th century, free public schools became accessible to most children in the South and the West, and education became compulsory in most states.
  • More girls began to attend school, and secondary schools became more prevalent. After the Civil War, public schools were created for African American children. Although these schools were segregated and generally substandard, they provided schooling for children who previously had little, if any, access to education.
  • Segregated schools continued to operate in many areas until the middle of the 20th century.


Works Cited



(I tried to indent the second and thirds lines for my bibliography but the wiki wouldn't allow me to so I put them in bullets.)