COMMON SCHOOLS. Since instruction has, at least in modern times. been provided for the great majority of the people. the term common schools implies that the schools are for the masses of the people, or. where class distinctions are drawn, for the common people. The term, as used in the United States. implies, as well, that such schools are supported and controlled by the people and charge no tuition. The latter charac teristic is now true for the most part of the common schools of Europe. The details of all such systems of schools are given in the article on NATIONAL EDUCATION, SYSTEMS OF.
Previous to the beginning of modern history no people ever contemplated the edneation of the masses, though with most ancient peoples, as well as during the greater part of the Middle Ages, there were schools that provided the rudi ments of education for a limited class. With the Greeks and Romans this class was not a special educational class, the priesthood, as with most other ancient peoples, but included all those entitled to full citizenship. At Athens the ele mentary schools were private, and taught gym nastics and music, the latter including reading and writing. At Rome the elementary schools were introduced at a much later date than at Athens, were also private, and gave instruction in reading, writing, and calculation. During the Middle Ages such educational efforts as were made were wholly under the auspices of the Church. Schools were established and main tained by the Church. chiefly by monastic orders (see MONASTICISM), until the Renaissance of the twelfth century. After that time we find schools frequently controlled by the secular clergy. The medheval schools were either singing or gram mar schools. The former were the elementary schools, and were designed primarily for training hots to assist in the Church service. A rudi mentary knowledge of reading, and often of writing, Latin, as well as instruction in sing ing. was given. Such schools were very unmet- MIA before the Reformation, and offered au op• portunity for an elementary education in almost every eommunity, of which both the peasantry and the poor could avail themselves.
Until the middle of the eighteenth century the ettiumon schools still remained almost entirely under ecclesiastical direction. Later they were secularized, and attendance made compulsory. This was first accomplished on a large scale by Prussia in the latter half of the eighteenth century. In France the system of public ele thentary schools sunder the control of the State has been developed since 1833. In Scot land common schools have existed very gen erally since the latter part of the seventeenth century. though it was nut until 1872 that these were placed entirely under the control of the State and attendance made compulsory. Eng
lish common schools on any extensive scale date from the opening of the nineteenth century, and only since 1870 has there been any concerted governmental effort toward building up a com mon school system.
In the United States common schools were early established in most of the Colonies. Often these were private schools taught by some woman as a means of support. They were eonsequently called. as in England, dame schools, or sometimes, from the place where held, kitchen schools. The early colonists, however, gave greater attention to the founding of secondary or grammar schools as be ing of more immediate importance in the educa tion of a ministry. this forming the chief motive to an education with them. In 1643 Massachusetts required that every township containing fifty families, should have a school for all the children, the tuition to be paid either by their parents or by general provision. While in New England such common schools became free in the sense of charging no tuition during the latter part of the seventeenth century, in most of the United States the free common school is a development of the second quarter of the nineteenth century. During and since that time the system of free common schools has been systematically extended throughout all the States and Territories, and the course of instruction has been greatly enlarged. As each State has control of its own schools, there is great variety in the details of their management, but the following leading principles are the same in all: (I) A system of graded schools, embracing primary, grammar. and high schools: (2) State superintendents, whe deter mine by examinations the qualifications of the teachers and watch over the efficiency of the in struction given; (3) uniformity of text-books; (4) public examinations; (5) school libraries and illustrative apparatus, and in many cases textbooks supplied at public expense; (6) im proved construction and furnishing of school houses; (7) access to the school for all children of suitable age; (8) normal schools for the train ing of teachers. Some of the States have funds to aid them in supporting their schools.
In the \Vest these fluids are generally large, arising from the sale of lands granted by the General (overmnent, and, in some in stances, also by the State. Such grants by the United States for school purposes amount to 08,000.000 acres, valued at more than $100, 000,000. Before the Civil War there was no general and well-ordered system of common schools in the Southern States. But in their new constitutions they have made provision for them, and are now pressing forward the work. In 1307 a National Bureau of Education Nee