Cover: The Evolution of an Urban School System: New York City, 1750-1850, from Harvard University PressCover: The Evolution of an Urban School System in E-DITION

The Evolution of an Urban School System

New York City, 1750-1850

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$65.00 • £54.95 • €60.00

ISBN 9780674181380

Publication Date: 01/01/1973

205 pages

19 tables


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The central, transforming institutional development in the history of American education was the creation of a common, uniform school system in the nineteenth century. Carl Kaestle seeks to identify the forces that led to this systematization in an urban setting. He focuses on the New York City schools, which by 1850 possessed many of the characteristics now associated with urban school bureaucracies, and makes extensive use of school enrollment lists for his analysis. It is shown that in the 1790s children from a wide socioeconomic range attended the inexpensive pay schools and that the creation of the nineteenth-century urban school system did not substantially alter the percentage or the socioeconomic complexion of the children attending school. The author’s central thesis is that the uniform school system grew out of an attempt to provide free elementary schooling for poor children, and that the intent was both moral and cultural.

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