Horace Mann

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate April 2001

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Horace Mann led a very full life. He accomplished many things, which included the construction of a mental hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts, assistance in the establishment of the Massachusetts Board of Education, and finally his most remembered influence, the reformation of Massachusetts's public schools. For these reforms he became known as the "father of American public schools." While Mann served his term as the president the of the state senate (1836-1837), he worked to create a board of education. He strived to create this board because he saw that the public schools needed improvements in many aspects, such as school administration, curriculum, instruction, school-building construction, and school libraries. When the board was created in 1837 he became the first secretary.

As secretary of the school board Horace Mann began his work to improve public schools, while also establishing special schools for the blind, deaf, and wayward children. He went to Franklin, Massachusetts to read whatever he could on education.

Mr. Mann personally visit common schools to further evaluate the improvements that were needed. At each school he visited he made a speech to whoever wanted to listen. At first his audiences were small but grew over time. One of the schools he visited was so poorly maintained he had to sweep out the room himself before he gave his speech.

On January 1, 1838, Mann made the first of twelve reports to the State Board of Education. Mann usually made suggestions to improve the schools of Massachusetts. He had to persuade the Board that education was important and should be free, so that everyone could attend. Finally he started to get some results. People started to want their schools to have regular inspections. They decided that books were very important assets to the learning experience. If the child was...