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SCHOOLS IN THE UNITED STATES

AS ILLUSTRATED BY

CONNECTICUT AND MICHIGAN

BY

ARTHUR RAYMOND MEAD, PH.D.

TEACHERS COLLEGE, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
CONTRIBUTION TO EDUCATION, NO. 91

STANFORD LIBRARY

PUBLISHED BY

Teachers College, Columbia University

NEW YORK CITY

1918

a
En-recate

Copyright, 1918, by

ARTHUR RAYMOND MEAD

254252

C

DEDICATED

TO THE

FREE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

OF AMERICA

INTRODUCTION

The typical public school of the United States is a free school. It is free in that it charges no tuition fees to resident pupils. However, it is a matter of common knowledge that in an earlier period tuition was one of the means of school support. This was certainly true of all states east of the Mississippi River, except Maine and Wisconsin, and actually if not legally may have been true of them also. A few states west of the Mississippi used tuition as a means of school support. Striking examples are Iowa, California, and Texas.

As one reviews the educational legislation of the different. states, it becomes evident that in the period of 1840-1870 many laws were enacted having as their aim the attainment of schools free from tuition as a means of support. It is also evident that from an early period, children of the poor were not required to pay such fees. To make schools free meant to exempt all children from such charges, and to support the schools entirely by other means, largely by taxation upon property. Laws which aimed to secure this condition were enacted in certain states, as follows: Delaware, 1829; Pennsylvania, 1834, 1848, 1868; Louisiana, 1847; Indiana, 1852; Ohio, 1853; Texas, 1854; Iowa, 1858; West Virginia, 1863; Vermont, 1864; New York and California, 1867; Michigan, 1869; Connecticut, 1868-1870, and New Jersey, 1871. In some cases, the laws left the matter entirely to local option, as for example the law of 1834 in Pennsylvania. In others, no local choice was given. It is also probable that much of the earlier legislation of this type was largely unrealized in actual practice, but the later laws were backed by sufficient sentiment and finances to make the schools practically free.

This development of free schools in the last century consisted not only of changes in the schools themselves, but also of changes in public opinion about the function, the organization, and the administration of the public school. Since our schools depend upon public opinion, the investigation of this evolution to ascertain its causes, tendencies, and results, may help us to understand better the present problems of education in our democracy.

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