While young people were grouped together and instructed / trained /initiated into adult life in the very earliest human civilizations, the story of state schooling best begins with Plato (427-347 BC), who really laid much of the philosophical and pedagogical framework for schools as we know them in the West. Plato believed that education and schools were the most important function of the state, and that school spending should equal that of the military. Precisely because schools were so important in Plato’s conception of the ideal state, he was adamant that education not be left to private interests, who could not be trusted to keep the good of the whole in mind. In The Republic Plato asserted that the state should take responsibility for training children from the age of three and that each citizen could be guided by the system towards an ideal conception of justice and into the social class and occupation best suited for him. Education had to be universalized so that all citizens 2 could be effectively screened and placed. In this Plato was emphatic that it was the state’s job to support and control schools and to make them compulsory.
There was no question in Plato’s mind that schools should be designed by the state to support the state. Through the rise of the Roman Empire Greek educational conceptions remained dominant, while being retrofitted to become more focused around literature, sciences, music, dancing, while becoming more pedagogically utilitarian. While the Romans overwhelmingly left education up to private citizens and independent schools, a succession of emperors became interested in public education. Monarchs like Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius developed various common school programs by insisting that municipalities set up schools for the public (largely children of families too poor to attend private institutions) staffed by physicians, grammarians and sophists.
School Choice: Public Education vs. Home School When Americans think of education, they almost automatically think of public education. Through the years, it is slowly changing. Many parents today are deciding to home-school their children. Although most people think that a public education is better, most statistics and facts tend to show that home schooling is beneficial in more ways. It is ...
As the Roman Empire disintegrated however, ideals of secular education declined along with it, and for a millennia education became largely a matter of one’s relationship with God, and religious schools in various forms dominated European conceptions of education. The clerical monopoly of education established in the age of transition from the ancient world to the modern lasted for more than a thousand years, and its effects on the intellectual life of Europe were tremendous. The most obvious result was the general restriction of learning within the boundaries fixed by the Church’s interests and doctrines… But even when the Church had broadened its ideals to permit studies not strictly religious in character or in aim, it frowned persistently on all ventures in philosophy and science which seemed likely to be inconsistent with the central articles of its faith. 3 web.