Did you know the United States has never had one universally accepted system of public education? Hear more about this from author Dr. James Carper on today’s Home School Heartbeat with host Mike Smith.
Dr. Carper, what was education like in America’s early years?
During the colonial and early national periods, education of the young involved a variety of institutions including the home, the church, and the school. Though an increasing number of parents sent their children to school, as we proceeded through the 1700’s, such decisions were clearly up to the parents. Schooling supplemented instruction by the home and church. It was an unsystematic, unregulated, haphazard affair well into the early 19th century.
When did the first dissenters appear then?
The first dissenters, Mike, really appeared when the common school systems were completely established by 1860 in most northern states. By the way, when I mention “common school systems,” that’s what early public schools were called, “common schools.” But before discussing the basics for dissent, I think it’s important to point out that early public had a distinct pan-protestant orientation to them. The King James Version of the Bible was read without comment, non-denominational Protestant moral teaching was common was well. Specific doctrines were generally avoided. Roman Catholics and some Protestants in the Reformed tradition were troubled by this purported non-sectarian orthodoxy and they dissented bitterly.
Listeners, next time Dr. Carper will explain some of the objectives of these leading dissenters. I hope you’ll be able to join us. And until then, I’m Mike Smith.