Political Issues In Horace Mann

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Orestes Brownson engaged in open opposition of Horace Mann’s vast reform policies of the Massachusetts State Board of Education. He directly opposed Mann’s work in Massachusetts on the formation of a centralized, state run school board on the grounds that state power over the educational process would result in biased and undemocratic instruction lending favor to one political interest group or another. In addition Brownson held the belief that the state normal schools which were conceived and vehemently supported by Mann would produce teachers well informed in pedagogic methodology, while nearly uninformed in the area of academic concepts beyond the scope of elementary education.
Horace Mann served as the first secretary to the Massachusetts
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These schools were intended to be universal and state funded, making use of normal schools to train teachers especially suited to imparting education within the given state system. While these normal school trained volkschule and vorschule teachers within the Prussian schools were indeed superior to their American contemporaries, the problems with pedagogic training were not ignored, even by Mann. “The secretary was not completely oblivious to the dangers inherent in using institutions designed for an authoritarian society as models for a democracy, but he quickly dismissed them as inconsequential.” ( Tozer, S., & Senese, G. (2009) p.65) “If Prussia can pervert the benign influences of education to the support of arbitrary power, we surely can use them for support and perpetuation of republican institutions.” (Mann, H. (1844) p.23).
The application of Prussian derived normal schools set in motion a series of obviously undemocratic trends that resulted in some extent to under educated teachers. Within the new system of common schooling, what was compulsory to the unique education of an educator was the minimum academic knowledge within elementary curriculum to be taught and extensive training related to instructional mechanics and pedagogy. These were criticized as “…training technicians but not educating scholars…” ( Tozer, S., & Senese, G. (2009)

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