Tuesday, November 16, 2004

In Dr. Mary Ruwart's column

In the Liberator Online, she takes on a question on the necessity of government provided education [link is to similar questions, with more extended answers]:


"My understanding of the history of education in America prior to government funding is that rich white men were educated because they were the only people thought to be worthy of education -- and the only ones who could afford it. I think libertarians who want to separate school and state are dishonest in addressing this issue."

My short answer:

"An 1817 survey revealed that over 90% of Boston's children attended some type of local school. (S.K. Schultz, The Culture Factory: Boston Public Schools, 1789-1860 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1973), p.25.)

"Education in America was so readily available that school attendance didn't change in New York City when it began offering tax-subsidized, tuition-free public education. (C.F. Kaestle, The Evolution of an Urban School System: New York City, 1750-1850 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1973), p. 89).

"By 1840, literacy in the North and South, exclusive of the slave population, was over 90% and 80% respectively. (B.W. Poulson, "Education and the Family During the Industrial Revolution," in J.R. Peden and F.R. Glahe, eds., The American Family and the State, (San Francisco: Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy, 1986), p. 138.) [I linked their education page, not this particular publication.]

"In the 1830s, a visiting French aristocrat, Alexis de Tocqueville, claimed in his now-classic study "Democracy in America" that the U.S. had the best educated people in history! (S.L. Blumenfeld, Is Public Education Necessary? (Boise, ID: Paradigm, 1985), pp. 68, 126; S.L. Blumenfeld "Why the Schools Went Public," Reason, March 1979, p. 19.)"

No comments: