Change for a Time: Childhood Education in 19th Century America

2127 Words9 Pages
At first look, I theorized that education in the Western United States was different from education in the East in the 1800s. However, I soon found out that the curriculum was standardized across the country. In the 19th century, efforts were made to allow equal opportunities for people of all socioeconomic levels and all regions in America. In the past century, people have made efforts to allow equal opportunities for people of all races and genders. The principle behind American education continues to be a standardized, one-size-fits-all education, when the world has been changing around us with new technology, jobs, and culture. The curriculum of schools was the part of schools that was the most standardized; it did not vary much from…show more content…
There was usually a potbelly stove to heat the room, although at Massie, a man named John Norris designed the building with central heating. Today, the mid-nineteenth century furnace still resides in the basement of the school. There were big blackboards at the front of the room, and sometimes benches near the front for students’ recitations. On the opposite side of the benches was the teacher’s desk. There would be two sections of students’ desks: one for girls and one for boys. The students’ desks would be individual desks with attached chairs or benches. There would be a groove on the top for pencils and pens and sometimes a hole in which to put inkwells. Later in the 1800s, most classrooms had an American flag in the front. Some schools even had inspirational sayings around the classrooms, the equivalent of today’s posters. The school year and day varied slightly. In the west, by the mid-1800s, schools had two terms: summer and winter. Many farm boys had to help their families with planting and harvest, so they could only attend in the winter session, which went from the middle of November to the middle of April. However, there was not as much farming in the east, and so the school year was a little different. The school day, though, was the same almost everywhere: from eight o’clock to four o’clock. Teachers had many duties. According to the “Rules for Teachers of 1872,” they swept, mopped, and carried firewood and coal to
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