Horace Mann’s Twelfth Report In his Twelfth Report, Horace Mann discusses reasons that public education is imperative in the success of a peaceful, prominent society. Mann maintains that education is a way to produce successful and resourceful citizens. Without education, people can only do so much and can only go so far; they are raw materials that need to be developed into something more. Mann lists all of the important and necessary institutions in society that require educated people in order to flourish. Society, in turn, depends on those institutions to succeed.
His main effort was to give all members of society the same tools for success, thus giving society a chance to thrive. According to Mann, public education fosters civilization by creating inventors, discoverers, and artisans, among other disciplines. An important point he makes, which is also true in our society today, is that only public education can counter the domination of poverty created by the multitude working in factories and other low-paying, labor intensive jobs. Ignorance breeds poverty and education is the only hope of combating that. Not only is education beneficial to individuals, but also to the society as a whole.
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In a competitive world, each nation must strive to be strong and self-sufficient. Education aids in reaching this goal. “For the creation of wealth, then– for the existence of a wealthy people and a wealthy nation,– intelligence is the grand condition,” Mann says. He clarifies in his report that he uses intelligence and education interchangeably. Mann furthers his point by discussing in depth the objective of Intellectual Education. “Education, then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men,” says Mann. Intellectual Education is one objective of Mann’s that is still very relevant today.
The basic premise of Intellectual Education is that the state has an obligation to provide citizens with an education so those citizens then can apply their education to bettering society. In Europe at the time there was extreme class struggle and much poverty. In Massachusetts, citizens were born equal; therefore, they should be provided with the tools to succeed once they are in the workforce. Without that education, they would end up just like those in Europe. Without education citizens would remain ignorant and would be unable to really thrive. If there were no public education, the wealthy would be the only ones educated.
This would then create extreme gaps between classes and an unequal society. Intellectual Education aims to remove ignorance and consequently poverty. It seeks to separate us from class struggle. Mann also emphasized Intellectual Education because he thought it was important that people provide for themselves rather than receiving charity. this can only be achieved if they are given the means to educate themselves. Through education, people are given equal chances for earning. Intellectual Education also creates a well-being of the people in general. The objective of Intellectual Education is very relevant in our society today.
In so many countries around the world the uneducated are suppressed and living in poverty. In those countries, the educated ruling-class goes to great lengths to ensure that those people do not have access to education. It makes a real difference. In parts of Africa and parts of the Middle East children dream of becoming nurses and teachers. Those dreams are so far-fetched for the majority because they will never have the power of education on their side. In the United States, every citizen is afforded the right to public education. This is essential to achieving their goals and succeeding in competitive capitalist society.
Unfortunately, due to financial constraints, college education is not always a practicality for Americans. However, the fact that every American has twelve years of free education available to them already gives them an advantage in life. Of course a college education creates more opportunities than stopping education at the end of high school. However, the public education provided through high school is essential to even reaching that point. Without that free public education, most Americans would not have the means to educate themselves and our population would be higher in poverty than it already is.
Another objective Mann had for public education in America that he considered essential and that is certainly still relevant today is Political Education. Mann himself held a deep knowledge of politics and their importance in society. When he wrote his Twelfth Report, he occupied a seat in the United States Congress. Therefore, he knew in his own life how important Political Education had been. In today’s society, the subject of politics is not always met with great approval or admiration. Therefore, it is important that analyzing Mann’s emphasis of Political Education that we understand what it refers to.
The idea of politicians and political parties and the riffs between them must be put aside when thinking of Political Education. The important part, the part that Mann emphasized, is the understanding of the Constitution, and consequently the rights of every citizen of the United States. Once an average citizens knows his rights, he will have more just power as a citizen. Not only will he be able to defend himself if wrongly accused, but also will know what is appropriate and within his rights when making decisions on his own actions.
Learning how government works and the power of a citizen’s own rights are vital components of education. Also, those who are in charge of the government must be of a high level of intelligence to secure our country’s ability to excel. Furthermore, since citizens of a republic are responsible for electing officials they must have a good understanding of what these officials will be doing and why. Citizens must also know their rights and duties. Therefore, educators must teach the Constitution and all that it entails in order to encourage a thriving republic and society.
Political Education includes examining history. This is important so mistakes and errors are not repeated. Education leads to light being shed on mistakes and the cultivation of new ideas that will make for a better republic. Mann emphasized this objective because a republican government would be chaos if it did not have intelligence. I t is easy to create a republic; it is more difficult to create republicans. That is where education plays an important role. A politician or leader requires a high level of intelligence and education in order to succeed at his role in society.
The magnitude of his job is larger than most due to the fact other peoples’ lives are affected by his decisions. Without intelligence in government and legislature, there would be weakness, contradiction and error. Therefore, he must be well educated, as it is important to the welfare of our country. When Mann says it is easy to make a republic but hard to make republicans he refers to the government leaders as mirrors of the people. Therefore, if the people electing officials are ignorant and greedy, with poor morals, then so will be the elected officials. Over time, the effect on the republic will be beyond detrimental.
Such a republic may appear successful in population and wealth, but eventually it is poor moral character and low level of intelligence will lead to its demise. Education is a crucial part of any government’s success. In order to achieve this Political Education, public education is essential. This is why Mann put such a high emphasis on this objective in his Twelfth Report and also why it is relevant in today’s society. Educating students on government is crucial. The Constitution is a document which is several hundred years old and therefore is not always easily understood.
It is an educator’s responsibility to help students understand the Constitution and also its importance in everyday life. By helping students interpret what is written in the Constitution should not be confused with influencing them politically or being bias in the interpretation. The objective is simply to give students, as members of society, a chance to make their own decisions based on our country’s laws. Mann’s emphasis on both Intellectual Education and Political Education were important in 1848 and are just as relevant today. As a relatively new country, the United States must take every opportunity to educate its citizens.
It is only through education that our society has a chance to not only thrive, but to survive. Education is what separates our country, and many others, from those countries which are failing economically. Education provides our society with a break from a dependency on other nations. It sets us apart from third world countries, where education is minimal and poverty is high. Working to improve upon public education in our nation will only make us stronger as a society, rendering Mann’s report extremely relevant hundreds over a century and a half later.
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