Horrace Mann was born on May 4, 1796 in Massachusetts. Mann was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Massachusetts Senate, Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education, and was elected to the United States House of Representatives. Mann is known as the “father of American public education” because of his many contributions and reforms within the Massachusetts school system during the late 1830’s and early 1840’s.
During his appointment as the Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education in 1837, Mann held many teachers’ conventions, delivered many lectures and addresses, carried on extensive correspondences, and introduced many reforms. Mann made it a point to visit every school in the state of Massachusetts in order to physically examine the school ground.
Mann created six main principles that he believed in during his term as secretary. He believed: 1. the public should no longer be ignorant; 2. education should be paid for, controlled, and sustained by an interested public; 3. education would be best provided in schools that embrace children from different backgrounds; 4. schools should be non-sectarian; 5. schools should be taught by the spirit, methods, and discipline of a free society; 6. education should be provided by well trained professional teachers. Mann also worked for more and better school houses, longer school years (students only had to attend school until they were 16), higher pay for teachers, and a wider curriculum.
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