The Common School Movement
After the American Revolution, many of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence called for free public education. The idea was rejected at the time, and it wasn’t until many years later, in 1796, when Thomas Jefferson would finally get the Act to establish public schools approved. There was much resistance at the time to government-funded schools. However, it was this point in American history that would eventually lay a foundation for free public education available to all.
It was years after the passing of the Act for public schools that the Common School Movement started in Massachusetts. Credited largely to Horace Mann, Secretary of the Massachusetts State Board of Education, in the 1800s, the common school idea was proposed. Similar to the resistance Thomas Jefferson felt, there was resistance, but eventually, it was accepted as legislation in the State to provide free common schools to children, funded through taxation of private property.