Kids in School (1862-1973)
The first public school in the future United States opened in Boston in 1653, but most children were educated at home, either by parents, the church, or tutors, if the family was wealthy. Most tax-supported public schools only educated boys. By the 19th century, American children, boys and girls, were largely educated in public schools. The number of public schools greatly increased by the end of the 19th century, in urban and rural areas. School laws changed over time; by 1918, elementary school was compulsory for all children, and until 1954, "separate but equal" school segregation by race was legal. Children's school experiences have varied based on their location, gender, race, socio-economic status, ability, and other factors.
Culturally Relevant Pedagogy Considerations
An important consideration when comparing student experiences across time and culture is to explicitly discuss and define the concepts of same and different. There are often unconscious connections drawn between the idea of "same" and the idea of "better"; conversely unconscious connections may be drawn between the idea of "different" and "worse". Consider how those unconscious biases may affect how you view these photographs and explicitly explore that concept with students as they observe this set. Push them to find connections rather than become preoccupied with the unfamiliar. Finally, ensure that a clear purpose guides their thinking about these images and why it matters for students to look at them today.