Under the general head of Education will be found a condensed history of instruction, public and private, so far as there are data for such a history. Under the present title will be given only an outline of the development of the great principle of the free elementary education of every child in the community. It would naturally be supposed that in every well regulated state the advantage of the universal education of the community would be so obvious that measures would be taken to effect it almost from the origin of the state. This, however, has been only partially the case. In Sparta under the system of Lycurgus the state undertook the education of the children, but the instruction imparted was mainly physical, and did not reach the peasant classes. In Attica there were public schools for all classes, and this had its influence in making Athens the university city of the ancient world. The education of the children was a religious duty among the Jews, and after the captivity they developed an excellent system of parochial schools in connection with the synagogues.
In Rome, while private schools were numerous, their advantages only accrued to the patricians and such plebeians as possessed property; yet after the conquest of Gaul important schools were established in the imperial cities. After the introduction of Christianity and its accession to power, the duty of the authorities to educate the young was speedily recognized by the bishops and clergy. The object of this education was of course their training in the doctrines of Christianity, but it was the recognition of the duty of giving instruction to the masses. In 800 a synod at Mentz ordered that the parochial priests should have schools in the towns and villages, that "the little children of all the faithful should learn letters from them. Let them receive and teach these with the utmost charity, that they themselves may shine as the stars for ever. Let them receive no remuneration from their scholars, unless what the parents through charity may voluntarily offer." A council at Rome in 836 ordained that there should be three kinds of schools throughout Christendom: episcopal, parochial in towns and villages, and others wherever there could be found place and opportunity.
The third Lat-eran council in 1179 ordained the establishment of a grammar school in every cathedral for the gratuitous instruction of the poor. The ordinance was enlarged and enforced by the council of Lyons in 1245. This idea of popular education has been carried out by the zealous efforts of the Jesuits and other religious orders. While in the large towns and cities considerable numbers of the poor thus received the rudiments of knowledge, in the more scattered population of the rural districts very few could read or write. At the era of the reformation the cause of popular schools received a further impulse. In 1524 Luther wrote an " address to the common councils of all the cities of Germany, in behalf of Christian schools;" and in 1526 he wrote to the elector of Saxony strongly urging the application of the monastic funds to the support of schools for the poor. In 1528, with the aid of Melanchthon, he drew up the Saxon school system, as it- was called, and through life the education of the young of all classes in free schools was one of the objects nearest his heart.
The labors of Luther in this field were continued by his followers, and the Germans seemed destined to become the best educated people in Europe; but the breaking out of the thirty years' war in 1618 arrested the progress of all educational improvements. About the middle of the 17th century several of the German states passed laws making it compulsory on parents to send their children to school during a certain age. In the latter part of that century two men appeared whose labors introduced a new era into the history of education in Germany. They were Philip Spener and August Francke. The latter gave an impulse to the cause of popular education which, through the influence of his disciples and followers, such as Zinzendorf, Steinmetz, Hecker, Basedow, Campe, Salzmann, and Pes-talozzi, has been continued to our own times. In Prussia the movement in behalf of a thoroughly popular system of education, though more fully sustained than in any other country on the continent, did not commence till the early part of the present century. Enactments rendering the attendance of the children at the schools compulsory had been upon the statute book since 1717, but it was not till 1809 that the habits and good will of the people were enlisted on the side of education.
The Prussian schools are by law as accessible to the poorest as to the richest, and every provision is made for adapting them fully to the wants of the people and the government. Scotland is the only other country of Europe which had at an early period a system of common or popular schools. These, like those of the early church on the continent, originated with the clergy. In 1560 John Knox urged the necessity of schools for the children of the poor, to be sustained at the charge of the kirk. The act of 1696 established common schools in every parish, to be supported in part by the parish, and in part by rate bills. These schools, which have diffused a more general elementary education among the people of Scotland than exists in any other nation in Europe except perhaps Prussia, have always been under the charge of the kirk; and since the secession of the Free church in 1843, schools have been organized in connection with each of its congregations. - The fullest and most complete development of the common school system, however, has taken place in America. The Puritan settlers of New England were fully convinced of the necessity of universal education; and as soon as they had provided temporary shelter for themselves, they reared the church and the school house.
But the first schools established in the country were not common or public schools. Free grammar schools, as they were called (that is, schools in which Latin was taught, and which were supported in part by the proceeds of land, houses, or money granted either by the town or by individuals, and in part by tuition money, and which were free only to the donors, and to them only in part), were established in Charles City, Va., in 1621, in Boston in 1636, in New Haven in 1638, in Salem in 1641, in Roxbury prior to 1645, and in most of the towns of New England within four or five years after their settlement; but these, though comprising at first perhaps the major part of the children of the settlement, were not common schools in the present sense of that term. The free public school (the common school of our time) was of New England origin, but whether it was first established in Massachusetts or Connecticut is a mooted point. Acts in regard to popular education were passed by the general court of Massachusetts in 1642 and 1643. The law of the latter year provided as follows: "It is therefore ordered that every township in this jurisdiction, after the Lord hath increased them to the number of 50 householders, shall then forthwith appoint one within the towne to teach all such children as shall resort to him to write and reade, whose wages shall be paid either by the parents or masters of such children, or by the inhabitants in generall by way of supply, as the maior part of those that order the prudentials of the towne shall appoint, provided those that send their children be not oppressed by paying much more than they can have them taught for in other townes." But if the general assembly of Massachusetts were foremost in legislative action for popular education, the town authorities of Hartford, although a younger colony, had at an earlier date taken broader and more liberal ground for the education of all classes; and as Hartford was the central and controlling settlement of the Connecticut colony, its action was but the precursor of the legislative action which followed a very few years later.
A town school was established prior to 1642, and the funds for its support were voted from the town treasury; and in 1643 a vote was passed, which in its spirit still governs the educational system of the state, "that the town shall pay for the schooling of the poor, and for all deficiencies." The colonies of New Hampshire and Vermont followed the example of Massachusetts and Connecticut, and established schools in every hamlet where the number of inhabitants and of children was sufficient to furnish employment and support to a teacher. The records of the general courts and of the towns show that the prosperity of these "fountains of intelligence," as they appropriately called the common schools, was an object of common solicitude; and though very heavily taxed for other objects, they never forgot to support and sustain the common school. We have seen that in Germany the thirty years' war broke up the system of public schools which Luther and his successors had reared with so much care; but in New England, amid almost incessant conflicts with the Indians and French, when the male population was greatly reduced in the successive campaigns, the abandonment of the schools was not even thought of.
In 1670 the commissioners of foreign plantations addressed to the governors of the colonies several questions relative to their condition. To one respecting the means of education, the governor of Connecticut replied: "One fourth of the annual revenue of the colony is laid out in maintaining free (common) schools for the education of our children." To the same question Gov. Berkeley of Virginia replied: "I thank God there are no free schools nor printing, and I hope we shall not have these hundred years." Soon after the close of the revolutionary war, the lands in Ohio known as the Western Reserve, belonging to Connecticut, came into market. The proceeds of that vast tract, amounting at the time of sale in 1795 to $1,200,000, were consecrated to the support of the common schools of the state. To the same cause Massachusetts set apart a portion of her wild lands in the then province of Maine. The New England school system at the commencement of the present century was based upon the following ideas: 1, the instruction of all the children of the state in the rudiments of an English education, viz., reading, writing, elementary arithmetic, elementary geography, and grammar - this to be accomplished by schools in every precinct or district containing 50 householders, or even a smaller number; 2, each district to be independent of every other in its financial matters, hiring of a teacher, etc.; 3, a superintendent or board of visitors in each town or school society, generally consisting of professional men, and almost invariably including the clergy, to examine the teachers, inspect the schools, prescribe text books, etc.; 4, the support of these schools by taxation and rate bills, the poor being exempted from the latter; 5, power of compelling attendance on the part of the. town authorities.
Under this system, which was extended to New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and the other northern and northwestern states, a moderate amount of education was diffused through the entire community. In time, as the result of a routine system, it became apparent that the standard of education had been lowered rather than raised. The attention of philanthropic men in all parts of the country was directed to the subject, and in 1817 and the following years commenced a revival of education, the influence of which is still felt. The movement resulted in the establishment of the public school society in New York, and of improved school organizations in many other cities; the revision of the school systems of most of the New England and of several of the middle and southern states between 1821 and 1828; the efforts of Thomas H. Gallaudet, James G. Carter, and Walter R. Johnson, through the press, to elevate the standard of instruction and to create institutions for the professional training of teachers; the establishment of the "American Journal of Education" in January, 1826, afterward called the "American Annals of Education;" the improvement of text books; conventions, town, county, and state, held throughout New England from 1826 to 1830 in behalf of common schools; the subsequent organization of teachers' institutes and associations; the founding of normal schools; the zealous and unwearied efforts of Horace Mann, Henry Barnard, and others; the plan of lecturing in every precinct in the states on the subject of education; and the establishment of local school periodicals, as well as of those of a more general character.
In the United States the organization and control of the common schools are left to the respective states; hence there is no uniform common school system, but a wide diversity of plans is presented. The variances, however, relate chiefly to details, while the following leading features may be regarded as common: 1. A system of graded schools for each town, embracing (a) primary schools for the younger pupils; (b) grammar schools for the older, in which are taught, in addition to the ordinary branches, natural philosophy, chemistry, history, and frequently drawing, vocal music, algebra, geometry, French, and German; (c) high schools for the more advanced, in which are taught the studies necessary for a business education, and in most cases the languages and higher mathematics. 2. The placing these under the constant supervision of one or more efficient visitors, who ascertain by thorough examination the qualifications of the teachers.
3. The enforcement of uniformity of text books, and regularity and punctuality of attendance.
4. Regular and frequent public examinations.
5. The establishment of school libraries in connection with all the schools. 6. The introduction of blackboards, globes, orreries, maps, charts, outline maps, and other apparatus for instruction. 7. The proper construction of school houses, for ventilation, warming, convenience of instruction, and promotion of order. 8. The establishment of normal schools for the instruction of teachers, and the holding of teachers' institutes for exercise and drill of those already engaged in instruction. 9. The organization of state teachers' associations for comparison of methods of teaching, and the establishment of state periodicals devoted to schools. 10. The extension of the privileges of these schools to all the children of school age in each state, either by supporting the schools entirely by taxation and the income of funds where they exist, or by taxation and small rate bills, which are abated where there is inability to pay, and the furnishing the necessary text books to the children of the poor. The study of drawing, music, and German as regular branches in the common school has recently been widely extended. The introduction of evening schools into the common school system is of recent origin; but there has been a marked development in this department of public instruction.
These schools are intended for those whose employment prevents them from attending the day schools, and are found chiefly in cities and the larger manufacturing towns. Some of the states have the advantage of considerable funds to aid in the support of their schools. The western states generally will be largely endowed, as the 16th section of every township is granted for school purposes by the national government, and other lands also are granted by the states. The land granted by the United States for school- purposes amounts to about 68,000,000 acres, which has been estimated to be worth more than $60,-000,000. In most of the states the schools are under the supervision of a board of education or a state superintendent, generally elected by the people, but in a few instances receiving their appointments from the governor or legislature. In some of the states the system also comprises county superintendents. In several of the states laws have been passed making attendance at public or private schools compulsory for a specified period, varying from 16 months between the ages of 5 and 18 years, to 4 months each year; while in other states those districts in which schools are not open for a specified period are not entitled to any portion of the school fund.
Provision for compulsory attendance at school has been made in the constitutions of Arkansas, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia, and in other states laws are in force compelling parents to send their children to school. In Kansas, Nevada, Arkansas, Nebraska, Ohio, and South Carolina sectarian instruction and control are forbidden by the constitution. Prior to the civil war the southern states had no well organized school system; but in the adoption of new state constitutions after the war provision was generally made for the establishment of free common schools. Much progress has been made toward carrying into effect these provisions and perfecting the free school system. , The common school funds in the various states generally consist of such grants of land as have been made by the general government for school purposes, and the investment of funds arising from sales of the same, together with those accruing from state and individual endowments, and the proceeds from taxation, including poll and property taxes.
In 1867 a law was passed by congress establishing a bureau of education for the purpose of collecting such statistics and facts as shall show the condition and progress of education in the several states and territories, and of diffusing such information respecting the organization and management of school systems and methods of teaching as shall aid the people of the United States in the establishment and maintenance of efficient school systems, and otherwise promote the cause of education throughout the country. This bureau is in successful operation, and publishes annually a report showing the condition of the common schools and other educational institutions in each state. - According to the census of 1870, the number of public schools in the United States was 125,059, employing 183,198 teachers, of whom 74,174 were male and 109,024 female. The number of pupils in attendance was 6,228,060, including 3,120,052 males and 3,108,008 females. The total income during the year ending June 1, 1870, was $64,030,673, including $144,533 from endowments, $58,855,-507 from taxation and public funds, and $5,-030,633 from other sources, including tuition. These statistics do not include private schools, or classical, professional, and technical institutions.
The following statistics of common schools in the United States are from the report of the bureau of education for 1872:
STATES. AND . TERRITORIES.
Between the ages of -
No. of schools or school districts.
Average duration of school in months and days.
No. of teachers.
Average salary of teachers per month.
Amount of permanent school fund.
3 m. 8 1/2d.
6 m. 10d.
8 m. 12d.
5 m. 22d.
2 m. 15d.
6 m. 27d.
5 m. 16d.
6 m. 14d.
8 m. 28d.
6 m. 18d.
5 m. l0d.
8 m. 10d.
4 m. 4 1/2d.
8 m. 18d.
34 w. 2d.
5 m. 15d.
3 m. 25d.