Origins of the Urban School: Public Education in Massachusetts, 1870-1915

Origins of the Urban School: Public Education in Massachusetts, 1870-1915

Origins of the Urban School: Public Education in Massachusetts, 1870-1915

Origins of the Urban School: Public Education in Massachusetts, 1870-1915

Excerpt

This study treats the assumptions, ideologies, and practices of the generation of educators who shaped America's city schools. It is concerned primarily with the way in which late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century schoolmen viewed existing conditions, what they thought urbanization and industrialism meant, and how they tried to integrate the schools into a changing environment. Drawing extensively upon the experience of ten Massachusetts cities-- Boston, Cambridge, Fall River, Haverhill, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, New Bedford, Springfield, and Worcester--the reports and publications of the Massachusetts Board of Education, and other documents on education from national, state, and local sources, it focuses on the kindergarten, manual training, vocational education, evening schools, and citizenship education. These activities by no means encompass all the changes of those years, but they were significant in the transformation of the urban school. Initiative for reform often came from nonprofessionals--philanthropists, social reformers, immigrant groups--but no reform was implemented or in some measure shaped without the participation of those directly involved in running the schools. And, rarely have reforms had such a continuing influence. The decisions taken at the turn of the century created our modern urban school system; we continue to function under their impact.

Assuming that New England society had once been homogeneous, its institutions balanced and sharing in the education of all individuals, late nineteenth-century reformers believed that a prior social harmony had been rudely shattered. Ambivalent about industrialism and hostile to the . . .

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