The Influence of Horace Mann on Educational Reform
St. Petersburg College
Fall 2011 Abstract
This paper discusses the influence of Horace Mann on the issue of education of the masses, evident in his dedication to improving the quality of education through the process of improving teacher education, increasing available funding, and standardizing the quality of educational experience provided to its students. It addresses specifically the areas presented in several of Mann’s Annual Reports published during his tenure including the areas of school buildings, moral values, school discipline, and the quality of teachers.
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For one thing, female teachers were paid approximately one third the salaries of male teachers, making them far more cost effective. In addition, Mann was of the school of thought that woman were naturally better suited to teaching children who were of elementary age and younger. “The basic contention was that a man was prone to be more rational than emotional or loving; thus male teachers would demand justice as a reaction to offenses.” (Tozer, Senese, and Violas 75) This correlated with his philosophy regarding punishment versus discipline, asserting that men would be more likely to lean toward punishment as a way of addressing inappropriate behavior. Opposition to Mann's Common-School Reforms There were three many parties opposing Mann’s common-school movement. The first was the Calvinists, led by Frederick Packard, concerned that he was rejecting their specific doctrine as the moral foundation for the common schools. The second argument came in the form of a documented response to Mann’s Seventh Annual Report by the heads of many Boston schools. Their contention was basically that Mann’s sweeping criticisms were unfounded, and that, as a relative newcomer to the field of education, he had no foundation for his statements regarding the current state of Massachusetts schools. (Remarks on the, 1844) Probably the