I’ve been doing a little reading on the history of education in America. Did you know that the state of Massachusetts was the first state in America to establish a compulsory education law? That was in 1852.
According to a 2011 article in The Old Schoolhouse magazine, prior to that most children were schooled at home or in private schools. The article, put together by Liz Koon, went on to say that by 1870 all states had free elementary schools, and by 1918 every state had laws requiring compulsory education attendance. I found a number of interesting facts in this article and I want to share a few more.
By the late 1960s, it is reported that there were between 10,000 to 15,000 homeschooled children. By the 1980s, the homeschooling movement grew because Christian schools were being shut down due to new tax regulations, but homeschooling was illegal in 30 states. And, in 1983 the Home School Legal Defense Association was founded.
By 1985, with the addition of Christian families, there were now around 50,000 children being homeschooled. By 1993 homeschooling became legal in all 50 states, and by 1999 there were around 850,000 children being homeschooled. That number grew to approximately 1.73 to 2.35 million children by 2010.
Of course there’s so much more to the story. The”movers” began writing as proponents of homeschooling–Charlotte Mason who published Home Education in 1885 and authors from the 1900s like John Holt (published How Children Fail, 1964; How Children Learn 1967 and Instead of Education: Ways to Help People Do Things Better, 1976); Harold Bennett who published No More Public School, 1972 and then in 2002, John Taylor Gatto who published The Underground History of American education: A Schoolteacher’s Intimate Investigation Into the Problem of Modern Schooling.
Then there were the “shakers.” There were various court cases dating as early as 1925, including Pierce vs. Society of the Sisters, where the “Supreme Court affirmed the right of parents to direct their children’s education by sending them to private religious schools.” And, the People vs. DeJonge (Michigan) case in 1993 where the “DeJonge family allowed to educate their children at home without certification, as a constitutional right based on the First Amendment.”
There’s a saying about freedom, you know–“Freedom is never free.” It is sad, but true. It’s something we have to fight for. We know this from a military perspective, but it’s true on other fronts of life as well. Even today, Americans have to fight to keep our freedoms from being taken captive by our own government…like having the right to do what WE (the parents) believe is best for our children, be it homeschooling or otherwise.
Hmmm? (finger tapping chin)
Nah, I won’t go down that path in this post. Maybe another time…
*You can read more on compulsory education history here and find The Old Schoolhouse magazine here.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.primeparentsclub.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/primeparentpic.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]About the Author
“Homeschooling-mom” and “mom-blogger” are two roles Tracy Zdelar didn’t plan on owning. However, as they often do, things changed. She is the Prime Parents’ Club Homeschooling Contributor and also writes at her blog Hall of Fame Moms. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.[/author_info]