Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Horace Mann describes "White Flight"... in 1842

From a text on the social underpinnings of education (picked up on whim), a selection from Horace Mann.
I have met many individuals, who, having failed to obtain any improvement in the means of education in their respective places of residence, have removed to towns whose schools were good, believing the sacrifice of a hundred, or even of several hundred dollars, to be nothing, in comparison with the value of the school privileges secured for their children by such removal.  Still more frequently, when other circumstances have rendered a change of domicile expedient, has this principle of selection governed in choosing a residence.
-  Fifth Annual Report to the Board of Education of Massachusetts, 1842
I don't think I can understand that without understanding more about public education in MA at that time.  How many towns had schools?  What percentage of the child population attended them, and what were their economic characteristics?  Were they a trendy municipal feature like highways in the fifties or streetcars today, or did they have deeper community roots?  It's an interesting quote either way.

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