Who Invented School?

Horace Mann invented school and what is today the United States’ modern school system. Horace was born in 1796 in Massachusetts and became the Secretary of Education in Massachusettes where he championed an organized and set curriculum of core knowledge for each student.

Most kids all around the globe receive some sort of education, whether it’s learning from family members, going to school, or even getting homeschooled. If you have ever questioned who actually created school and standardized education, well look no further.

Early Schooling

School and education have been around for quite some time, but our standardized education is actually fairly new to us. Check out this guide to education.

“Education is not just about going to school and getting a degree. It’s about widening your knowledge and absorbing the truth about life.” — Shakuntala Devi
The idea of passing children knowledge is nothing new and can date back to the first humans on Earth. Long before schools parents and elders would pass down their knowledge to their children. This was typically done one on one as opposed to teaching a group of children. The knowledge passed down typically consisted of hunting skills, self-defense tactics, responsibilities that needed to be done, and even responsibilities that had to be done for the group they belonged to.
After a while, the idea of placing a group of people to teach them those skills came up. By doing that, a group of students could learn the skills and knowledge together, which saved time and allowed the students to learn with each other. This was the very early stages of the concept of school. This early stage of school was not what we know today. these students were taught about survival and religious ideas rather than calculus and all that boring stuff we dealt with in school now.

The Start Of Formal Schooling

 We can find the first idea of formal schools and education can be seen as early as 500 AD in ancient Greece, ancient Rome, and even ancient Egypt. Societies began to teach more than just skills the pertained to their culture and students were given a more formal education. Alexandria, in Egypt, became the home to the Library of Alexandria and literacy became an important focus to many schools in different civilizations. During the Middle Ages, mathematics became yet another main focus for education and during the Renaissance period science became a focus for education. As you can see, the different periods in civilization opened up another main focus and added more ideas for education.
The first college in the world, the University of Bologne, was founded in 1088 and is the oldest and longest-running university in the world. It started when students began grouping together and hired educators to teach them different things and ideas. Scholars were able to pass down their knowledge to large groups of people who came from many different nations, and the students were able to decide if the professor was doing their job or not. The students essentially controlled the professor by using money against them, somewhat similar to what we have today. Over time the professors banded together to get their own rights and began setting up degree plans and even set up exams.

Mandatory Schooling And Who Invented It

Overtime education and schooling became more and more important to different societies. Here are some countries who made education mandatory:
  • The Aztecs made education mandatory in the 1400s
  • Different German settlements made education mandatory in the late 1500s
  • Scotland paid for schooling for everyone and made it mandatory in 1616
  • In the United States, Massachusetts made mandatory schooling in 1642
  • Prussia made school compulsory in 1763
  • The UK did not make school mandatory until 1870, but only elementary school was required
    • It wasn’t until 1996 that children were required to have a full-time education BUT school is still not compulsory
  • Japan made school mandatory in 1868

This Is Who Invented Modern Education

While there is no one to credit for inventing school, there is someone who is considered to be the father of modern education. Meet Horace Mann (1796-1859), who was the Secretary of the Massachusetts State Board of education, and who eventually became a representative for the state of Massachusetts. Mann truly believed that universal public education was extremely important to help mold American citizens. Under his tenure, he created a number of public schools in Massachusetts and reformed public schools so much that other states adopted Mann’s ideas.

“Education is the key to unlocking the world, a passport to freedom.” — Oprah Winfrey

After being appointed Secretary to the school board Mann visited every school in Massachusetts to see how they operated. Mann began a journal named Common School Journal in 1838 for teachers to follow and get on the same page in their teachings. Mann also went to Europe to check out their schools to see what was important to the Europeans to teach children.

What Are The Principles Of Modern Education?

Mann came up with 6 principles regarding public education. They were actually pretty controversial at the time but were adopted and put into place. Here they are:

  1. Citizens cannot be both free and ignorant
  2. The public needs to pay for, maintain, and control education
  3. Children from all classes should have the same schooling
  4. Education needs to be nonsecular (meaning not religious)
  5. Education needs to use the principles of a free society
  6. The educators and teachers need to be professionally trained

Along with these principles, Mann also separated grades by age as opposed to grouping all students together. He is also the one who best theorized that lecturing would be better suited to learning. Over time, many other states began adopting Mann’s principles that led to the education system that we know today.

Standardized Education

Love it or hate it, ou education system now relies on the usage of standardized education. Historically there have been standardized tests dating as far back as the Han dynasty in the early ADs for citizens to become members of the government. Standardized tests are tests that ask students the same questions that measure how much a school is actually teaching, and it has become very controversial.

“The capacity to learn is a gift; the ability to learn is a skill; the willingness to learn is a choice.” — Brian Herbert

Just as with the founder of schools, there is no real inventor of standardized education. In 1905 Alfred Binet began developing tests of intelligence, but that became what we know today as IQ tests, and aptitude tests began coming around in the early 1900s but it is still not the standardized tests that we have today. The SAT and ACT were developed in the early 1900s as well by the College Board to test who could be accepted into colleges, but it was a group of people who developed that idea.

Overall, education is an extremely important part of not just American society, but for the citizens across the globe. As Mann believed, a free society can only function with educated individuals running it.

About Kate Broome PRO INVESTOR

Kate is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a Bachelor's degree and is currently working on getting her Master's degree at Southern New Hampshire University. She loves to read and learn about all things space, a fanatic of NASA and the latest space science news. She currently lives in Texas with her two pit bulls, Lennox and Bentley.

Questions & Answers (93)

Have a question? Our panel of experts willanswer your queries.Post your question
  1. Question

    how do people cycle breath???????????

    perison
    Reply
  2. Question

    I don’t like school

    Anonymous
    Reply
  3. Question

    School used to be about learning now its all about passing

    Jhason
    Reply
  4. Question

    why does school exist, I know because it is for us to learn but why does it need to be?
    welp, I don’t know but it does so be with it!!!!!!

    drawing JoshY
    Reply
  5. Question

    We need education to achieve our dreams

    Kushi
    Reply
  6. Question

    i love shcool go to it

    Matty b
    Reply
  7. Question

    yes it is but it can be helpfull later in live

    Loding...
    Reply
    1. Answer

      yeah i guss

      Anonymous PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
  8. Question

    i like school cause it give me the opportunity to learn

    lavell
    Reply
  9. Question

    School =
    S = Seven
    C = Cruel
    H = Hours
    O = Of
    O = Our
    L = Lives
    I honestly don’t understand things with the Zoom Classes, Like, if I get 100/100 on a test, then why the hell do they require my assignments? If I know the material, then why the hell do I need to give proof other than my test papers?

    Anonymous_2
    Reply
    1. Answer

      thank you for making that reply about school, it true too, my dude

      a guy PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
  10. Question

    There is a big difference between Education and Schooling. Let’s dig deeper into the difference!

    Gits
    Reply
    1. Answer

      thats kinda rude you know

      Anonymous PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
    2. Answer

      Stop that

      Anonymous PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
  11. Question

    I know school is for us to get an education, but some of the things they are teaching us is just stupid.Like I feel like I’m wasting my life.

    Ariana
    Reply
    1. Answer

      Yes you are saying right most of the things taught in school are not essential but just to serve leaders and get them their economy safe.

      Auderulca Ashmarah PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
    2. Answer

      The reasons that “you can make new friends and you can socialize” are invalid because teachers don’t let us communicate with each other. At all. Like, so many skills they try to “teach” us don’t have any real value in the real world outside of school. Like, wth am I going to do with a bunch of random knowledge that I have no real use for?

      Anonymous_2 PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
    3. Answer

      Me to

      Loding... PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
  12. Question

    I love school

    laesa
    Reply
    1. Answer

      out of mind ahhh?

      dhfcehvchd PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
    2. Answer

      i dont

      Alexis Gibbs PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
  13. Question

    I taught English and writing for 22 years. I finally realized that school is an institution. Institutions are places where everyone is categorized. Be free my former students…find education in the mountains and streams, the woods and the oceans! Find your voice with your own hands and minds! F**K school!😎

    Outofprison
    Reply
  14. Question

    We should get paid to go to school. We go there 5 days a week , we basically work 8 or 7 hours a day and get punished when we talk to friends. If we got paid to go to school I would want to come every day. The only good things about school (in my opinion) is band, P.E. and lunch other than that it is just teachers yelling at us.

    Boom pow zap
    Reply
    1. Answer

      For real

      Anonymous PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
      1. Answer

        That is so cool I never knew that!!

        Marcie PRO INVESTOR
    2. Answer

      Don’t like school!

      Everyone PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
      1. Answer

        school stands for six/seven cruel hours of our lives

        tg PRO INVESTOR
    3. Answer

      Fun fact- I don’t know when we are going to use MATH in the real world “oh look the looks like the addition sign” like really

      Everybody PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
    4. Answer

      I just don’t like school all together. PERIOD.

      AKILIBOI PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
    5. Answer

      whyyyyy was this created i hate school (its like prison)

      maddie PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
      1. Answer

        Prison is the same of school right

        Anonymous PRO INVESTOR
      2. Answer

        no i think that school is worse than prison in prison you dont get in yelled at when you fall asleep

        ae PRO INVESTOR
      3. Answer

        School is worse than prision

        Sdrosdruansyh PRO INVESTOR
    6. Answer

      I agree

      Preston PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
    7. Answer

      I hate the person who made school I wish wasn’t born

      John Regan PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
  15. Question

    Studying is difficult but it make you more educated.

    Andrei Bornalo
    Reply
    1. Answer

      Now u never been in school before

      Hehehe PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
    2. Answer

      But is that education necessary? I don’t know when I would use the quadratic equation anywhere in my life except for getting a good grade so I don’t look like a failure.

      . PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
  16. Question

    My kids don’t like school

    Anonymous
    Reply
    1. Answer

      Me too

      Nicole PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
      1. Answer

        🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬

        Anonymous PRO INVESTOR
  17. Question

    School is the best!

    Aidan
    Reply
  18. Question

    So school you’re not aloud to talk to friends except for 2 times and we’re not allowed to be kids and laugh and talk and the teachers get to boss us around and they don’t get in trouble so we don’t even get to be with friends barely and if we can’t help laughing and we get in trouble and we work a full shift and don’t get paid and we have to pay the school

    Theshinyeevee
    Reply
    1. Answer

      School is the worst

      Jaidyn PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
    2. Answer

      Same it’s so annoying

      Anonymous PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
    3. Answer

      we don’t get to talk to our friends because that is not what school is for stupid! school is for getting an education. and the teachers boss us around because in the 8 hours we are in school, they are responsible for us. they have custody. and the only good thing people like about school is lunch, but the only reason we have lunch is because it is the law that they have to feed us during school. and we pay because we have to pay for our education. you would be dumb as a lolly pop. and school is not about “being a kid” it is about learning. we can be kids outside of school. and you should have friends outside of school to hang out with because friends are not what school is about. you can hang out with your friends at lunch or “recess” if you have it. but we go to school to learn because if we did not how would we have a career? and who cares what is on TIK TOK? does TIKTOK rule your guys’s lives or something?

      ANANYMOUS PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
      1. Answer

        Fact Check: Most of what we learn in school is useless because most of the time about 2-3 subjects of all you learn is used later on in your life. School should be for us to learn, but not every single thing. They should make a away in which they give you courses to be good in the career you would like to have when your older. Like for me, U.S. history is pointless due to the fact that im going to be working with animal science when im older. School should have been made a better way.

        Anonymous PRO INVESTOR
      2. Answer

        Ok boo… school stands for six cruel hours of our life for a reason. We pay people to torture us if you think abt it. Also I don’t think we’ll ever need to know abt what has happened in the past bc it’s in the past. We should focus on the future. They should teach us abt things we’ll actually need to know in life. Like I don’t know how to do taxes but it’s ok bc my teachers taught me how to find a square root! Like no. I agree that school give you a education but a stupid education. You can be successful in life without school too. Look at flipping Jake Paul he dropped out of high school and he’s a million air. Also school gives kids stress. When they make us right 500 word essays on a thousand page book in less than a week and if you don’t get it in on time you get a 0. I would rather be spending my time making Tik Toks thank you very much.

        Anonymous Person that hates school PRO INVESTOR
    4. Answer

      you are not working your getting and education -maddy

      MADDY PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
    5. Answer

      yep

      Anonymous PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
    6. Answer

      Exactly

      Everybody PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
  19. Question

    School was not made not for us to like it does not say anything about kids loving school he made test someone made school some one made homework ok get over it it’s not the end of the world think about the good side of things like
    Good side of things:
    ____________________
    Get to see friends every day
    You get to make new friends every day
    Two days off of school(Saturday & Sunday) some times extra days off to spend with family and friends
    ______________________
    End of conversation
    PERIODTTT POOH

    Anonymous
    Reply
    1. Answer

      I love school because i have a lot to learn and i can do things i love to do

      Artistic Violeta PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
  20. Question

    I don’t get what the point is for school😒,I spend 8 hours in school it’s dumb because why can’t we just learn the hard stuff that we actually need than all of this non sense😒😭🙄🤦🏽‍♀️

    Omg😒😒
    Reply
    1. Answer

      Exactly

      SHREK PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
      1. Answer

        Yes sir

        Fuc PRO INVESTOR
    2. Answer

      I know Right !

      Anonymous PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
    3. Answer

      exactly

      Anonymous PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
    4. Answer

      i wish school wasn’t a thing all it does is makes me mad. the world would be better without school. and how come we have to go to school when animals don’t

      charlie PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
      1. Answer

        i agree

        Gabriely Correia PRO INVESTOR
  21. Question

    Where would we be if we didn’t have an education? We would still be under British control!
    LOVE MY FREEDOM !!!

    Anonymous
    Reply
    1. Answer

      Yeah right

      Bye bye PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
  22. Question

    I found this article very helpful. It provided a lot of details and needed knowledge to describe the history of school. Thank you, Science Trends, for making this article. Again, it was very helpful with my research.

    Anonymous
    Reply
  23. Question

    School is useless we need to interact with others Sure “education “ is important but it is also really annoying 😑

    I don’t know what to call this 😅
    Reply
    1. Answer

      you’re not wrong

      Anonymous PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
  24. Question

    World education is a scam ,deceit and evil

    Onyancha
    Reply
    1. Answer

      😂 lmao so true!

      Anonymous PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
  25. Question

    I hate school and all kids could agree with me who ever invented school I know is just trying to make us have better’’education’’ but it is useless and we need to interact with people than we see at school and I know that is true

    Meme MCQUEEN
    Reply
    1. Answer

      I agree with you 👍

      Anonymous PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
    2. Answer

      I agree with ya

      Anonymous PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
    3. Answer

      I agree

      shrekk PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
  26. Question

    the only good thing about school is lunch

    hello
    Reply
    1. Answer

      No

      Gg PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
    2. Answer

      Are you kidding men you make me laugh LT! HAHAHAHA

      Andrei Bornalo PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
    3. Answer

      I love everything about school

      Anonymous PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
    4. Answer

      No Dear, do not think about luch think about the right education thta school should procure. Me I am writing in call of a better education an integral education and which will not be boring and non essential as this one. I believe that schools should focus on moral such as wisdom and the right way to live an integral life instead of money and scholar jobs and mind competitions which only destroys humans but not agree with your statement it makes it pointless.

      Auderulca Ashmarah PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
  27. Question

    i recommend this for a person who hates school

    a mother
    Reply
  28. Question

    School is so fun but the only thing I hate is the rules and the monthly, mid year, and final exams

    Luna
    Reply
  29. Question

    school helped us all be the people we are today we may not like school but it is important for all of us so just chill not much you can do cause he died already!!!!

    Anonymous
    Reply
  30. Question

    ….. I thought it was helpful……..
    even though I looked at this to do homework…..

    anonymous
    Reply
    1. Answer

      so did i but not homework a ease and i am in grade

      gregory PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
  31. Question

    School is a HUGE mistake! Take it from me.
    Sincerely,
    Donald Trump

    Anonymous
    Reply
    1. Answer

      I love school I think he did the right thing.

      Anonymous PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
      1. Answer

        How do y’all like school literally school is literally the most stupid little thing I have ever Heard All school does is one thing get you away from your parents And the teachers just buzz you A round Have you seen Tik Tok have you seen every single video it’s mostly about Kids hating School And if you like school I give you One thing 🤬

        Michael PRO INVESTOR
    2. Answer

      Agree

      Anonymous PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
    3. Answer

      Syntax error…. I’m afraid that’s never gonna happen 😪😥😷

      Anonymous PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
  32. Question

    school is awesome peasants
    only rich people have fun in school
    i have a private jet
    and go to the bahamas every weekend
    you are all peasants

    ali
    Reply
    1. Answer

      How are you rich and go to school but can’t type

      Do you really need to know that PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
    2. Answer

      Let me guess, you go to a diffirent country 73362847 times per hour, right?

      Anonymous PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
  33. Question

    he’s already ded

    omg nuu
    Reply
    1. Answer

      Right why do we still have school

      Dion Brown Jr. PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
      1. Answer

        Please answer that

        Anonymous PRO INVESTOR
      2. Answer

        I just did. They are fact checking me😁

        Finallyoutofprison PRO INVESTOR

Leave a Reply to Everybody Cancel reply

Don't see the answer that you're looking for?

Ask us Now!