Early American Land Policies and the Marvelously Efficient One-Room School

William A. Fischel

in Making the Grade

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780226251301
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226251318 | DOI:
Early American Land Policies and the Marvelously Efficient One-Room School

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This chapter offers historical evidence that the provision of American schools was motivated by a concern for property values. It advances the idea that the one-room school was an efficient response to the pattern of settlement and economic conditions of nineteenth-century America. The important features of this system were obscured at times by nostalgic antiquarianism and contemptuous modernism. The latter part of the chapter addresses the evolutionary question of why the one-room school was so successful that it persisted long after multigrade schooling had been first established. It is argued that the system sought by most reformers—an age-graded system with professional instructors, multiroom schools, and centralized finance—would have been much less satisfactory in rural America.

Keywords: land policies; one-room schools; America; rural environments; economic conditions

Chapter.  21203 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Microeconomics

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