Sample Term Paper
This is a term paper on Public Schools in the United States. During the time of the American Revolution, the leaders of the colonies likewise believed schools had a responsibility to develop students’ values.
As early as 1647, the first law mandating public education in the United States was adopted in Massachusetts. This law, Ye Old Deluder Satan Act proclaimed that Satan thrived on ignorance (Greenawalt, 1996). During this period of our American history, schooling was almost all values instruction, with a little reading and simple arithmetic added in.
During the time of the American Revolution, the leaders of the colonies likewise believed schools had a responsibility to develop students’ values. Thomas Jefferson’s Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge stated that public education should instill moral principles in students. Additionally, Benjamin Franklin’s Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pennsylvania outlined a curriculum that incorporated the study of ethics (Greenawalt, 1996).
As the nation’s population continued to grow larger and better transportation was developed, communities began to change to become more ethnically and religiously diverse. Disputes began to arise over which Bible to use and which doctrines to teach (Lerning, n.d.).
This problem was partially solved in 1836, when William Holmes McGuffey published his secular text, the McGuffey Reader which replaced the Bible in many public schools. The reader emphasized virtues such as honesty, hard work, thriftiness, kindness, courage, and patriotism through its stories, poems, and heroic tales (Josephson, 2002). While children practiced their reading, writing, and arithmetic, they also learned lessons about character, wisdom, and moral virtue.
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