Horace Mann served as the first secretary to the Massachusetts State Board of Education from eighteen thirty seven to eighteen forty eight, effectively re-constructing the entire existing educational system in Massachusetts from the ground up. With respect to such a vast and far reaching reform, one can expect that room for improvement would have been available. “It seems every item of Horace Mann’s common-school reforms, with the possible exception of his campaign to improve the physical condition of schools and school equipment, can be viewed as containing both positive and negative elements.”(Tozer, S., & Senese, G. (2009)). Brownson has been proven to be correct in his assertion that Mann’s reforms were, at least partly, undemocratic in nature and unfit to perpetuate education and social progress.
Horace Mann was greatly inspired by the Prussian school system, schools developed in the 1820’s based on proposals ...
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...ucation permeates our society, and it is one of the things this nation takes pride in. Mann’s concept of common values is still alive and well today, and can be seen to some extent in standardized curriculum. The curriculum today prepares students to enter the workforce at a relatively basic level, based on the national job market or carry on to a specialized university. However, it seems that many of the same arguments posed by Brownson regarding the un-democratic nature of schooling, can be made today. Are many of our universities merely training facilities for occupational purposes? Are primary school students tailor fit for economic productivity? The preening of the scholar is sacrificed in the interest of preserving common knowledge, examining history and input by Orestes Brownson can lead us into a future with better functioning, more democratic schools.
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