Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412939584 | Print ISBN: 9780761930877 | Online ISBN: 9781412939584| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Mary Beth Walpole
Horace Mann founded the first public normal school in 1839 in Lexington, Massachusetts, and many states quickly followed his example. Normal schools were founded to increase the quality of teaching because an educated citizenry was essential to the new republic. The need for teachers grew rapidly with the common school movement; by 1875, over 100 normal schools enrolled more than 23,000 students, and by 1900 over 300 normal schools enrolled 70,000 students. The majority of students were women. Initially, the normal school education was relatively brief, lasting 1 year, although many students left after a few weeks to take teaching positions. Each region of the country embraced the normal school mission; however, the organization, requirements, curriculum, and administration of normal schools ...