Public Schools and Moral Education: The Influence of Horace Mann, William Torrey Harris, and John Dewey

By Neil Gerard McCluskey | Go to book overview

VII. THE SEPARATION OF RELIGION FROM THE SCHOOL

In 1867 William Torrey Harris was appointed assistant superintendent of the St. Louis public school system. The thirty-two- year-old New Englander was the personal choice of Superintendent Ira Divoll, then badly failing in health. The next spring Divoll resigned and Harris was elected superintendent by the school board. During his twelve years in the office, Harris made the St. Louis school system a model for the nation. Emerson considered Harris's system superior to that of Boston.

The bitter controversies over religion in public education which had agitated New England and the Middle Atlantic States were likewise felt along the Mississippi. The problem of inculcating religious values in the Massachusetts public schools without at the same time promoting sectarian interests, we saw to have been treated by Horace Mann in two ways. He promoted what he considered basic religious principles common to all creeds, i.e., religious beliefs whose character was presumably not distinctive of any single sect. Secondly, he strove to promote in the common schools a knowledge and love of the great ethical principles which govern man's ideal relation to his fellows.

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Public Schools and Moral Education: The Influence of Horace Mann, William Torrey Harris, and John Dewey
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • Part One - Introduction 1
  • I - The Problem 1
  • Part Two - Horace Mann 1796-1859 11
  • II - The Shaping of a Philosophy 11
  • III - The Mandate for Christian Piety 32
  • IV - Final Controversies 66
  • Part Three - William Torrey Harris 99
  • V - New England and St. Louis 99
  • VI - The Defense of Hegel's Institutional Morality 118
  • VII - The Separation of Religion from the School 145
  • Part Four - John Dewey 1859-1952 177
  • VIII - From Hegel and Darwin to John Dewey 177
  • IX - Faith and Morals for a Democracy 203
  • X - Faith and Morals for Democracy's Schools 233
  • Part Five - Conclusion 259
  • XI - Some Meanings for Today 259
  • A Selective Bibliography 277
  • Index 305
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