Compulsory Attendance Act of 1852

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The compulsory attendance act of 1852 enacted by the state of Massachusetts was the first general law attempting to control the conditions of children. The law included mandatory attendance for children between the ages of eight and fourteen for at least three months out of each year, of these twelve weeks at least six had to be consecutive.

The exception to this attendance at a public school included: the child's attendance at another school for the same amount of time, proof that the child had already learned the subjects, poverty, or the physical or mental ability of the child to attend.

The penalty for not sending your child to school was a fine not greater than $20.00 and the violators were to be prosecuted by the city. The local school committee did not have the authority to enforce the law and although the law was ineffective, it did keep the importance of school before the public and helped to form public opinion in favor of education.

In 1873 the compulsory attendance law was revised. The age limit was reduced to twelve but the annual attendance was increased to twenty weeks per year. Additionally, a semblance of enforcement was established by forming jurisdictions for prosecution and the hiring of truant officers to check absences.

The state of Connecticut enacted a law in 1842 which stated that no child under fifteen could be employed in any business in the state without proof of attendance in school for at least three months out of twelve. The penalty was $25.00 and the business was made financially responsible for the fine. Through this system of fines businesses were forced to be socially responsible for children as well. In addition, children could not work more than ten hours a day. T...

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..." Dewey encouraged cooperative social organization, association and exchange among teachers as a substitute for supervision, critic teaching and technical training.

Today the AFT continues to uphold the rights of teachers to help form school policies and programs. The AFT Motto is " Democracy in Education and Education for Democracy." The AFT continues to list as it's chief objectives the promotion of professionalism in teaching as well as securing appropriate wages, better working conditions and job security for it's members. AFT members still believe that collective bargaining along with discussion between those representing teachers and administrators is the democratic process that allows them to achieve their goals.

The AFT headquarters are in Washington,D.C. They publish a monthly publication "American Teacher" and a quarterly publication "American Educator."

In this essay, the author

  • Explains john dewey's ideas about control and democracy in an article published in the american journal of education.
  • States that massachusetts' compulsory attendance act was the first general law attempting to control the conditions of children.
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