Today in Boston by Ethan Underhill: 4/14/1642 — The Schooling 📚

Ya know, those Puritans got a hell of a lot of things wrong, but by gum, they knew the value of an education.

That’s why we by the dirty water should be proud of the fact that today in Boston, 1642, the General Court voted to require each household in Massachusetts to teach every young person under its roof — including kids, servants, and apprentices — to read.

This made Boston the very first place to pass an education law in the “New World”.

To be clear, schools predated this law and Massachusetts itself, as did the Puritan mindset that a population was only as successful as its amount of literate, articulate folks (read: #whitedudes) that could grasp, maintain, and advance their collective religious and political theory (read: #theBible).

This is why Johnny Winthrop and the Merry Band of Magistrates #encouraged education from the parents from the beginning.

And @dirtyoldboston, consider this my formal request for a “Johnny Winthrop and the Merry Magistrates” tee.

But by 1642, it was apparent that not all guardians were following this practice 🧮.

So, the government turned its “recommendation” into a full-blown law — and mandated that failure to comply would result in a fine.

Now, not to Monday (Sunday?) Morning Quarterback, but the Puritans could’ve done a few things before getting all legalistic here.

They could have reexamined the theocracy they were chiseling into developing minds.

They could have considered that being a parent AND a provider is really flippin’ hard, and provided some subsidized help.

But hey, like I said, the Puritans got a hell of a lot things wrong.

Even so, the intent to prioritize education for young people was there. And without early communal investment in the instruction of kids — like the one that came in 1647 and formally established public schools — education would be even more of a privilege today than it already is.

This means that we always owe it to our kids to give them the best education we can possibly provide them.

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