Love it or hate it, it’s hard to imagine a world without school. In fact, nowadays, about 48 million students attend public schools in the United States alone. And while school isn’t always a fun place, nobody can deny that its invention was one of the best decisions ever made.
However, like most curious children, you too might have wondered at least once about who invented school, and why did they invent it. Luckily, you don’t have to wonder anymore, as this article will take an in-depth look at the modern school system and its creation.
Who Invented School?
Generally speaking, there are two significant events in the history of the school that are worth looking into. The first is the creation of the old Byzantine Empire school system, and the second is the reformation of the educational system by Horace Mann. Let’s check them both out!
The Old School System
The educational system was originally invented by the Byzantine Empire and was completely different from what we know today. The first schools, which they opened in 425 A.D. were specially meant for military personnel. And while almost everybody could attend them, more often than not, the students were members of rich or influential families.
Most historians agree that the main purpose of those schools was to educate young people on a variety of subjects. The Greek philosophers were the ones talking and teaching students about topics like Mathematics, Language, Philosophy, and History. However, due to the Fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453 A.D., the entire educational system collapsed. As a result, the Byzantine model wasn’t largely adopted by other cultures and civilizations around the world.
The educational torch was then picked up by Islamic states, such as the Ottoman Empire. And while their contribution to the development of the educational system is important, no one can overshadow the accomplishments of one single man, Horace Mann.
The Modern School System
The father of modern education, Horace Mann, is famous for his lifelong efforts and reforms in education. But who was he? Simply put, Horace Mann was the Secretary of the Massachusetts State Board of education, eventually becoming a representative of the state of Massachusetts. He believed that public education was the only way to mold American youth into productive and accomplished citizens.
Besides creating a significant number of public schools in Massachusetts, Horace Mann also reformed the local school system. And while his reforms were controversial at the time, other states slowly but surely adopted his ideas. But by far, his most important achievement was the Common School Journal, which was a guideline for teachers, and was the foundation for the universal education system.
The Principles of Modern Education
It’s impossible to understand the contribution of Horace Mann without taking a look at his 6 principles of modern education. And just like his reforms, the principles were controversial at the time. However, they were adopted by each state and are still used to this day:
1. Citizens can’t be free and ignorant.
2. Children from all social classes should get access to the same schooling system.
3. Education must remain nonsecular, in other words, not religious.
4. Education needs to be based on the principles of a free society.
5. Both teachers and educators need to be professionally trained.
6. The public, through taxes, has to maintain, control, and pay for education.
Why Was School Invented?
When it comes to the reasoning behind the invention of schools, things become a bit muddy. On the one hand, the answer is simple, and it involves teaching young people different subjects like Math, History, and Language. On the other hand, the schooling system has a greater purpose that many students and parents have a hard time understanding.
So, here are just a few reasons behind the creation of schools:
• Education: As previously mentioned, the main purpose of schools is to educate people. In fact, without them, you most likely wouldn’t know how to use the internet or even read a book. And while some subjects students learn might seem redundant, they are essential to the development of young individuals.
• Socialization: Schools are also a great place to meet new people and make friends, especially when you are a child or teenager. In fact, many people maintain friendships with their classmates long after they have graduated. And while not every school encourages socialization, most of them do and allow their students enough time to create social bonds.
• Organization and Discipline: Ever since the original Byzantine school system, one of the main purposes of schools was to discipline students. More specifically, schools teach students how to respect and follow rules.
Without that knowledge, students might have a hard time obeying laws and becoming active members of society when they grow up. Additionally, schools also promote organizational skills which are essential for any individual, regardless of age.