Horace Mann (1796 – 1859) was a pioneer in the reform of the American public educational system. Born in Franklin, Mass., he was a graduate of Brown University and became a successful Boston lawyer in 1823. In 1827, Mann entered politics and became a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives where he served until 1833 when he became a member of the Massachusetts Senate. It was during his senate term that he drafted and passed legislation called the “Education Bill of 1837.” This bill mandated a powerful state board of education and secretary. With his political clout, Mann was appointed the first secretary of the newly formed State Board of Education.
In his new position, Horace Mann instituted a minimum school year of six months, a doubling of educational appropriations, 50 additional schools, increased public support, higher teacher salaries, new curricula, new teaching methods based upon European models, professional training of teachers, and professional standards overseen by one central authority. In addition, he organized annual educational professional standards overseen by one central authority. In addition, he organized annual educational conventions all over America and he helped to create the first American schools for training teachers.
Horace Mann had a vision to establish the most comprehensive and complete educational system possible for the children and teachers. His proposals and reforms had a profound effect on the United States public education system.
Source: The Encyclopedia of American History