June 7, 2012
Entry describes a pioneering advocate for creating a public school system
Blinn College History Professor and Social Sciences Division Chair Blanche Brick recently published an entry on American education reformer Horace Mann for The Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers published by Continuum Books.
Mann, who is credited by educational historians as the father of the common school movement, was a politician who served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Massachusetts Senate. He also served as Secretary of the Massachusetts State Board of Education and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Mann argued that universal public education was the best way to turn the nation’s unruly children into disciplined citizens, and his ideas helped develop the foundation of today’s public school system.
He later became president of Antioch College.
Brick joined almost 300 authors who contributed more than 400 entries on the leading intellectuals in the United States and Canada between 1600 and 1860. Most of the figures highlighted in the book were not academic philosophers, as few such positions existed then. Instead, these noted thinkers worked on philosophical issues and questions involved in such fields as pedagogy (the methods and practices of teaching), rhetoric, the arts, history, politics, economics and sociology, among other fields.
Brick had previously written her doctoral dissertation on the contrasting views of Mann, Thomas Jefferson and John Dewey regarding equal educational opportunity.
“I think the country owes Mann a huge debt of gratitude,” Brick said. “The public school system we have today didn’t happen by luck. It came to be because a lot of people put time and effort into making it happen and believed it was important to the democratic way of life we have established.”
Brick, who teaches at Blinn’s Bryan campus, is a member of the Organization of Educational Historians. She earned her Ph.D. at Texas A&M University in education curriculum and instruction. She earned a master’s degree in history from the University of Hawaii-Honolulu and a master’s degree in education from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
The Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers is edited by John Shook and consists of two volumes totaling 1,288 pages.