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ERIC Number: EJ911596
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 17
Abstractor: ERIC
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-6173-5102-0
ISSN: ISSN-1535-0584
Becoming Illuminated: New York City's Public School Society and Its Religious Discontents, 1805-1840
Stacy, Jason
American Educational History Journal, v37 n2 p455-471 2010
There are six oversized boxes in the New York Historical Society that contain the remains of the Public School Society (PSS), New York City's first experiment with publicly-funded education. They are filled with the detritus of the Society's nearly fifty years: recommendations for prospective teachers from their clergymen, student certificates of completion, a few letters, and hundreds of bundled receipts for salaries, books, writing tablets, and furniture. A. P. Flagler, probably the archivist who gathered the materials in their present form, referred to the August 1853 acquisition of the Society by the Mayor's office and the city proper, thereby ending its status as a public institution with tuition-paying students. Flagler argued that the Society was a casualty of the political and ethnic wars of antebellum New York, sparked by the attempt by New York Bishop John Hughes and his ally in Albany, Governor William Seward, to fund Catholic schools with public money in 1840. Critics agree that some form of "foreign influence" and "political intrigue" led to the demise of the PSS. While the demise of the PSS has been explored through the lens of ethnic and political tensions during the 1840s, a closer look at the PSS curriculum reveals that its program of moral education contributed to its own demise because it represented a direct threat to the role of the Catholic Church as moral teacher. In this article, the author explores New York City's Public School Society and its religious discontents from 1805 to 1840. He discusses the origins of the PSS, its pedagogical evangelism, and the changes in the Society's rhetoric between 1805 and 1825, which reflected a national transformation in the idea and rationale for education.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York