Theodore Roosevelt > New York > Page 207
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Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919).  New York.  1906.

Page 207
 
of its citizens were trained as they should be. Accordingly, a number of prominent citizens organized themselves into a society to establish a free school, obtained a charter from the legislature, and opened their school in 1806. They expressly declared that their aim was only to provide for the education of such poor children as were not provided for by any religious society; for at that time the whole theory of education was that it should be religious, and almost all schools were sectarian. The free schools increased in number under the care of the society, and finally grew to be called public schools; and by growth and change the system was gradually transformed, until one of the cardinal points of public policy in New York, as elsewhere in the northern United States, became the establishment of free, non-sectarian public schools, supported and managed by the State, and attended by the great mass of the children who go to school at all. The sectarian schools, all-important before the rise of the public-school system, have now been thrust into an entirely secondary position. Perhaps the best work of the public school has been in the direction of Americanizing immigrants, or rather the children of immigrants; and it would be almost impossible to overestimate the good it has accomplished in this direction.
  Many scientific and literary societies were

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