Educational Administration, Department of

 

Date of this Version

1995

Citation

Grady, M. L., & Gosmire, D. K. (1995). Compulsory education: Challenges and opportunities. In Creating the Quality School, ed. Edward W. Chance (Madison, WI: Magna, 1995), pp. 391-399.

Comments

Copyright 1995 Magna Publications.

Abstract

Compulsory education is a deep taproot in the history of our country and is at the heart of our educational system. Since Thomas Jefferson's presentation of the "Bill for the General Diffusion of Knowledge" in 1775, we have made compulsory education a central focus of our society.

Initially, Jefferson's proposal called for mandatory education for all children for three years. In the 1700s, a year of schooling was not the same as a year of schooling in the 19005. Jefferson's proposal required schooling in reading, writing, and ciphering so that an individual was capable of conducting daily business affairs.

Compulsory education is also linked to the development and conduct of democracy. jefferson's bill was closely aligned with the need to have an educated citizenry so that democracy could flourish. Without reading and writing skills, individuals would not be able to vote knowledgeably on issues of importance to the society.

One of the historically most significant practices and beliefs in the United States has been the belief that education is the key to assimilating new ethnic groups into our society. As wave after wave of immigrants landed on our shores or, more recently, at our airports, public education has been the means of teaching a language and a culture to the new immigrant groups. Compulsory education has provided access to U.S. society to individuals of great diversity.

One of the historically most significant practices and beliefs in the United States has been the belief that education is the key to assimilating new ethnic groups into our society. As wave after wave of immigrants landed on our shores or, more recently, at our airports, public education has been the means of teaching a language and a culture to the new immigrant groups. Compulsory education has provided access to U.S. society to individuals of great diversity.