Individual Training in Our Colleges

By Clarence F. Birdseye | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVII
OUR SECONDARY SCHOOLS: GROWTH IN NUMBERS AND AGGREGATE ATTENDANCE

IN the very earliest colonial times there were no secondary or preparatory schools in the modern sense. All boys had to be fitted for college by private tutors; that is, almost entirely by their local pastors. Our public schools have gone through three distinct stages: --

No very early preparatory schools.

(a) Grammar Schools. The first schools in New England were rather closely modeled after those of old England, and their chief business was to hold the gains of civilization and prevent the pioneer colonists from lapsing into barbarism, "that learning may not be buried in the grave of our fathers." In 1647 Massachusetts provided for the appointment of a master to teach reading, writing, and arithmetic (the "writing schools") in every township of fifty families, and for the master of a grammar school in which youth might be fitted for college, in every township of one hundred families. The master's salary might be paid by the parents of the children attending school or drawn from the township treasury, as the local authorities should determine. The "three R's" were taught in the writing school, and the Greek and Latin for college entrance in the grammar school, which was thus distinctly preparatory to college, and attended principally by those who were preparing for a professional or governmental career. There was also an early distinction between reading schools and writing schools, the latter teaching writing and reckoning. In 1672, Connecticut provided for a grammar school in every county. New Hampshire adopted the Massachusetts plan, and Maryland passed a somewhat similar act in 1723. The Collegiate School in New York City, Boston Latin School, Roxbury Latin School, Hopkins Grammar Schools of

Early grammar schools.

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