Lesson Title: Horace Mann and the Purpose of Public Education Grade Level

Download 20.86 Kb.
Size20.86 Kb.
Lesson Title:

Horace Mann and the Purpose of Public Education

Grade Level:

Grade Eight Lesson 9

Unit of Study:

The Divergent Paths of the American People: 1800-1850; The Northeast

History-Social Science Standard:

8.6.5 Trace the development of the American education system from its earliest roots, including the roles of religious and private schools and Horace Mann’s campaign for free public education and its assimilating role in American culture.

Correlation to K-8 California Adopted Textbooks:

Houghton Mifflin. A More Perfect Union. Chapter 14 pp. 412, 424.

Setting the Context:

Though Thomas Jefferson and other early American leaders brought up the idea of universal public education, it was Horace Mann who is given credit as the “father of the public school system.”

It would be reasonable to believe that by the 1950s and 1960s the issues would have been worked out enough that public education would serve as an institution that would benefit the children of migrant workers. It was not. One of the goals of the migrant farm worker movement was to secure a proper education for their children. It was as important to the migrant workers to be activists for public education as for any of the demands they fought for in the fields.
Focus Question:

What were some of the goals that Horace Mann had for public education?

Was education one of the goals that migrant workers fought for?
Historically, how were Mexican American migrant workers’ children treated in some of the public schools?
Expected Learning Outcomes:

Through the use of a JIGSAW reading activity, students will be able to analyze how some migrant worker families felt about the educational experiences their children were receiving.


Students will generate a consensus list of the aims of public education from the discussions that they have on the oral interviews. Students can be measured in comparison to the other cooperative education groups.

Key Concepts:


Essential Vocabulary:


Primary Sources:

Students should actively read and use the following oral interviews of the clergy on the CDE Web site. This includes Cardinal Mahoney and Rev. Chris Hartmire.


Photo Archive: “Farm workers not only picketed in the fields but picketed for better teachers and classrooms for the children in Guadalupe, CA. 1974.”
Other photos from the archives on the CDE Web site would be appropriate showing religious leaders involved.



Start by asking the students why they come to school. Though there will be some negative comments, it is more than likely that eventually the students will start discussing the positive benefits of school. Lead the discussion towards possible reasons that people in the early 1800s would have wanted universal public education for all children. Show the students the visuals of migrant workers picketing for better schools and the César E. Chávez Elementary School Mural. Explain to them that Chávez and the migrant workers were very interested in bettering education for students.

Making Connections:

Students should be aware of some of the problems that are encountered by children of migrant farm workers. Some of the problems are hard to avoid, (like inconsistent education because of the moving around that occurs), but others were a result of prejudice. Teachers might want to have their students read part of the middle level biography on César E. Chávez so that they can make a connection to the type of schooling that César E. Chávez experienced to the relate to of those in the oral interviews.

Vocabulary Activities:

A discussion on the purposes of education should include a discussion on assimilation. As a result, the vocabulary should come up within the discussion itself. It is not important for the students to agree on the purposes of education, since it will be different for everyone, but assimilation was one of the reasons specified by Horace Mann and others.

Guided Instruction:

  1. After the motivation activity and the vocabulary activity, have the students break into cooperative learning groups.

  1. Explain to students that good listeners listen with a purpose. The purpose of this activity is to read these oral interviews to determine how these workers felt about the role that education should play for their children.

  1. Students should have one student (or pair of students) pretend that they are the workers who were interviewed. While one student should play the role of interviewer, the other students will serve as note takers.

  1. As the interviews take place, the listeners should take notes as to what was said about public education. The roles should then be reversed as the members of the cooperative learning group read the other oral interviews. Everyone in the group should have a turn as readers and as listeners.

  1. Once the activity is completed, the students should come to a consensus of the importance of education to migrant farm workers.

  1. The class should then share their findings.

Integrating Language:

Active listening is stressed throughout the cooperative learning activities, as are good speaking and reading skills. Summary writing is emphasized as part of the listening skills.


  1. Students can be given excerpts of speeches made by Horace Mann, Benjamin Rush, and Thomas Jefferson about public education.

  2. Students can read the section on education from the César E. Chávez middle level biography at the CDE Web site.

Download 20.86 Kb.

Share with your friends:

The database is protected by copyright ©essaydocs.org 2022
send message

    Main page