Today is the Birthday of Horace Mann. Often called the Father of the Common, Normal, or Public School, Mann, a Massachusetts lawyer and politician became the first Secretary of the Mass. State Board of Education. In this position he became a reformer and national spokesman for free common education, teacher training and much else. Later, he became President of Antioch College. Though raised a Calvinist, Mann later became a Unitarian.
As the son of parents who met while teaching in public schools and who both served the noble cause of public education for many years, I believe I owe Mann an extra bit of gratitude...
A brief excerpt from The Common School Journal:
"No joys thrill the soul so deeply, or so long, as those which flow from generous self-sacrifice. If any man aspires, not merely to the highest post of honor, but to the highest rewards of bliss, let him enlist as one of the life-guards of Truth, when she is menaced by danger. In vain do they talk of happiness who never subdued an impulse in obedience to a principle. He who never sacrificed a present to a future good, or a personal to a general one, can speak of happiness only as the blind do of colors. These principles, — few, though of mighty import, — must be kept in view by all who would act as guides and counsellors for any portion of their fellow-beings; — whether the mother in her nursery, the teacher in his school, or the philosopher, promulgating truths to regulate the vast concerns of mankind. The highest service we can perform for others, is to help them to help themselves."