Public Schools By Kaylie, Hannah, and Caitlin


Before and especially after the Civil War, Americans wanted a good education in order to be successful economically and socially. The demand for education resulted in the creation of public schools. Although children only attended school for a short period of time to learn basic skills, public schools were vital for success. Laws were created in 31 states to ensure kids went to school providing them with an opportunity for a better future.

In the early 1900s, children attended one room schools where they learned many lessons by rote. Teachers often used physical punishment to discipline their students. This caused many children to dread going to school, and only some found school enjoyable.

Like many Americans, immigrants found that public education was a way for their children to ecome successful. The emphasis on literacy skills helped immigrants ecome qualified for citizenship in America. Eduacation also played a role in assimilating immigrants into American society. Due to public school teachers mainly focusing on American culutural values, many immigrant children became Americanized which brought fear to their families. Assimilation was not all bad, it helped people to become open to different cultural traditions.

Polly Murray, civil rights activist, was constantly reminded about what African Americans had and what the white children had because of the inequality in the public school system. Whites and African Americans attended separate schools, an the schools for African Americans recieved a lot less money, along with Mexicans, Asians, and Native Americans.


More than 150 new American colleges and universities opened to young people to teach necessary skills, which resulted in college enrollment doubling. It as hard for many families to afford sending their children to college.

After the Civil War, there was a large amount of educational opportunities for women. Some colleges and universities refused to enroll women, so separate colleges were created for women. On the other hand, their were still opportunities for men and women, known as coeducation. Since most scholarships were awarded to men, women had a harder time obtaining a college education.

Many African Americans long for a college degree, but due to the prejudice society only a few white colleges accepted blacks. During reconstruction, there were multiple African American colleges and universities being made and founded by the American Missionary Association and the Freedman's Bureau. These African American schools also allowed woman as well as men, giving African American women a chance at success. Booker T. Washington dedicated his life to a school for African Americans where he taught his students the skills and attitudes to help them in American society. He always told them to focus on building economic security rather than focusing on political equality. He predicted that African Americans would eventually win white acceptance this way. Booker T. Washington wrote an autobiography in 1901 call Up From Slavery, which made him an influential force in the African American community. W.E.B Du Bois was the complete opposite because he encouraged his students to focus on gaining political equality rather than economic security. In 1905, Du Bois helped found the Niagara Movement after urging African Americans to not define themselves as whites saw them, but embrace both heritages.

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