ERIC Number: ED200495
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Aug-15
The Politics of Educational Reform in Nineteenth-Century Massachusetts: The Controversy Over the Beverly High School in 1860. Final Report.
Vinovskis, Maris A.
A case study of events involving the Beverly High School (Beverly, Massachusetts) circa 1860 exemplifies educational trends in mid-19th century Massachusetts. The hypothesis is that the political situation in mid-19th century Massachusetts was much more complex than has been suggested by radical revisionsts who tend to interpret educational and social developments in terms of social class conflict. The Beverly High School (which was abolished by popular vote in 1860 after two years of existence) was selected for study because it represents a means of investigating whether mid-19th century school reforms were the product of working-class efforts to educate their children (the traditional view) or were imposed on the working-class by upper-class leaders who wanted to instill their own morality and values on others (the revisionist view). Analysis of the debate over closing the Beverly High School and the ensuing vote to close it indicate that many factors, in addition to social class, played large roles in a more general way in educational reform in Massachusetts during the period under study. Most important among these factors were party politics, religion, occupation, attitudes toward state law (which, in the case of Beverly High School was important because the law required a public high school for towns the size of Beverly), and the age of the voters (younger voters were more likely to support public schooling than were older voters). The document concludes with comments delivered at a 1979 conference on community studies in urban educational history. (DB)
Publication Type: Historical Materials
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Michigan Univ., Ann Arbor. Inst. for Social Research.