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Education is forever changing — truths are redefined; statistics swell; and facts are shuffled within texts, their histories revealed with time. The principles of the past are dictated to new standards. And children are always learning what their parents never even considered.
Parents shouldn’t fear, however. There are some changes that can be easily grasped — such as the use of grammar schools within America and what they once represented.
Independence had been achieved: a new society was born. The United States was free from imperial rule, was trying to carve out a reputation within the world. Such a reputation couldn’t be earned without knowledge, however. The century was progressing, and each country had to keep pace. Grammar schools were used to do this.
These institutions — which had first arrived within the colonies in 1635 but had not spread beyond the borders of Boston — began to dot the eastern coastline. They were intended to offer a classical education, providing young adults (always boys, never girls) the foundational information they needed to succeed in universities. Their curriculums were highly specified: with Latin, Greek and other ancient languages taught. This was to grant an understanding of mathematics and literature; and the schools flourished during the developmental years of the United States.
Their popularity eventually declined, however. Education soon evolved and students of all social classes and genders were demanding knowledge. Grammar schools were deemed too limited in their appeal and were replaced with elementary organizations — which still dominate today.
The notion of grammar schools is one stuffed with elitism, and that was a sensibility never destined to last.