How much has education changed since the days of Colonial America and in which direction is it going?
In the first centuries of the Christian era, the Christian homes adopted the Jewish model of education. Jewish children were taught in the home until age eight. Then some of them, as a supplement to home training, were tutored by the Levities and priests until approximately thirteen years old, whereas Pagan children received education only if they were children of royalty or elite classes and it usually occurred outside the home by the state. When the Christian church backslid, they adopted the pagan philosophy of education, which catered to a select few and the clergy. This is one cause of bondage and ignorance of the people of the middle ages. (Beliles96)
In 1382 John Wycliffe of England translated the Scriptures into common English and had preachers known as Lollards distribute them. They then began to teach the people how to read so they could learn the Scriptures. Prior to this, only priests and nobleman could read the Bible. The spread of education during the reformation in Europe brings about change. (Beliles96)
It was felt that education in Europe was corrupt when the Protestant Reformation began. Consequently, men like Calvin and Luther established new schools in their respective cities. Educational reform was one of the main reasons why the Puritans came to the New World and developed the American educational institutions. (Beliles96)
Colonial America was unique in many ways. Each colony desired that every person be educated, not just the rich or a select few as was the case in Europe and the rest of the world. This idea of education for the common man was of Christian origin. Schools were established in early America mainly because the colonists wanted their children to be able to read the Scriptures. These parents saw that it was not the government's but their own responsibility to provide Christian education. (McDowell96)
For the first 150 to 200 years of America's history, colonial education was primarily centered in the home and church, with the bible being the focal point of all education. The model of education in Colonial America was very similar to the model used by ancient Israel. Both centered education in the home until around the age of eight or nine. At this age some children had tutors to further instruct them, or an even smaller number attended school. Ministers were generally tutors in Colonial America. If there were too many children in the minister's community for him to go into each home to tutor, he would receive a group of children into his home. These were the first grammar schools that were started by the church to provide a Christian education to those who were not able to receive such training at home and to supplement home education. This would compromise a child's education until around age thirteen when they would enter an apprenticeship program or possibly enroll in a college. (Dexter11)
One of the first schools in America outside the home was started in 1636 in Boston, mainly due to Rev. John Cotton's efforts who willed half of his property to the school. It was started to provide education for disadvantaged children with no parents. (Cremin70)
Education always accompanies the spread of the Gospel. The Lollards are an excellent example. They educated the common people in order that they could read the Scriptures for them selves. Education of the common man also followed the preaching of Luther, Tyndale, Calvin, and other Reformation preachers. The desire to educate every individual accompanied the Pilgrims, Puritans, Quakers, and most other settlers who came to America. (Beliles96)
The "Old Deluder Law" of 1647 established the first free public or common schools in America. In 1647 the legislature of Massachusetts enacted a law with the following preamble: "It being one chief purpose of that old deluder, Satan, to keep men from the knowledge of the Scriptures". They felt that knowledge apart from god and his truth is little better than complete ignorance, because the most important aspect of education is the instilling of moral principles. All education is religious because it imparts a basic set of principles in. and ideals, a worlview. It was believed that how the youth of today are