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Modern US Education History, 1865 to 1920

Modern US Education History, 1865 to 1920

Module 2.5

Compulsory Education laws were passed in Massachusetts in 1852, and by 32 states in 1900, and in all states by 1930.

African Americans

Booker T Washington (1856-1915)

Booker T Washington attended one of the country's first institutions of higher education for African Americans, Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute of Virginia.Four years after graduation, he returned to be the school's first African American instructor. He also helped to found Tuskegee Institute in 1880. This was an industrial school for African Americans in rural Alabama.


William E. Burghardt Dubois (1868-1963) was the first African American to be awarded a Ph.D. and one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He challenged Booker T. Washington's ideas on education. He criticized educational programs that seemed to imply that African Americans should accept inferior status and develop manual skills.

Teaching as a profession....

After the Civil War, the idea of early childhood education spread. Margarethe Schurz (1832-1876) opened the first Kindergarten, or "garden where children grow" class in her home in Watertown, Wisconsin in 1855. Professional teaching organizations began to influence the development of American schools. The National Education Association (NEA) was founded in 1857. The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) was founded in 1916. These organizations worked to professionalized teaching and increase teaching salaries and benefits. By the early 1900's, the demand for teachers grew, and an increasing number of woman entered the profession. The following is a contract the teachers were required to sign in 1927:


Teacher Contract

I promise to take vital interest in all phases of Sunday-school work, donating of my time, service, and money without stint for the uplift and benefit of the community.

I promise to abstain from all dancing, immodest dressing, and any other conduct unbecoming a teacher and a lady.

I promise not to go out with any young man except in so far as it may be necessary to stimulate Sunday-school work.

I promise not to fall in love, to become engaged or secretly married.

I promise not to encourage or tolerate the least familiarity on the part of any of my boy pupils.

I promise to sleep at least eight hours a night, to eat carefully, and to take every precaution to keep in the best health and spirits, in order that I may be better able to render efficient service to my pupils.

I promise to remember that I owe a duty to the townspeople who are paying me my wages, that I owe respect to the school board and the superintendent that hired me, and that I shall consider myself at all times the willing servant of the school board and the townspeople.



Activity 1

Write a paragraph about the image of teachers and teaching reflected in this contract. How does this image differ from today's image of teaching and teachers?






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