Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: February 22, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412957403 | Print ISBN: 9781412956642 | Online ISBN: 9781412957403| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Beckner, William M. (1841–1910)
James C. Carper
Unlike his fellow Presbyterians Charles Hodge and Robert L. Dabney, William M. Beckner was neither a well-known seminary professor nor a frequent critic of state-sponsored education. Indeed, historians count him among the most visible advocates of public schooling in late-19th-century Kentucky. Like Dabney, however, he worried about the possibility that his state might someday require all children to attend public schools. Recognizing that not all parents in good conscience could send their children to the state's schools, Beckner crafted a clause in the Bill of Rights of the Kentucky Constitution of 1890 that denied the state the power to mandate public school attendance. He thus dissented from the often-unstated belief, held by many educators and citizens, that all children should be in a common school and anticipated the action taken by Oregon in 1922, when it adopted legislation mandating that nearly all children attend public schools. The Supreme Court of ...