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The Rise of Public Schooling
Volume 52, Program 7
4/27/2004
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How did the modern public school become the dominant form of education in America? Mike Smith explores this question on today's Home School Heartbeat.

    Mike Smith:
    Today we continue our discussion of homeschooling through history and see how the modern public school became the mainstay of American education.

    Throughout the early 1800s, education primarily consisted of a mix between semipublic, independent, charity, and home schools. It was successful. In the census of 1850, only 1 in 10 people were identified as illiterate.

    The change towards bureaucratic public education began with the influx of immigrants. Assimilating immigrants became a public policy goal. Horace Mann, drawing upon the German system of collective education, responded to this need and became a leading advocate of the common school. The first state to mandate compulsory school attendance was Massachusetts in the year 1852.

    By 1900 the modern public school, as we know it today, was established. Though the early public school teaching reflected a Protestant worldview, over time—and particularly in the last half of the 20th century—the public school became more secularized, and other religious groups and agnostics demanded an education free from religion.

    Today, more and more parents who wish to offer their children a biblically based education are choosing homeschooling as the most viable alternative.

    Tomorrow we'll see whether the return to homeschooling can be placed in a historical pattern. And until next time, I'm Mike Smith.

How can the Home School Legal Defense Association help you? To find out, contact us and ask for a free copy of You Can Homeschool!. You'll get answers to important questions, plus you'll discover how we can help you 365 days a year and protect your right to homeschool your children. Call us toll-free at 866-338-8614. Or visit us online at homeschoolheartbeat.com.


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