As the Senate prepares to vote on the President’s Education Secretary, the vote is 50 for confirmation and 50 against confirmation. Two Republicans Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska are voting against the DeVos nomination, and if one more Republican could be pulled from the other side, the Democrats, along with the help of three from the other side of the isle could stop the nomination of Devos.

If the vote tomorrow ends in a 50-50 tie, the Vice President Mike Pence would step in for the tie breaker. Pense has said he will vote for DeVos.  If this is the course of action taken it will be the first time a vice president had been called in to break a confirmation tie.

Sen. Patty Murray urged protesters outside to continue their message.

“If we can persuade just one more Republican to do the right thing, we can double down on the message we’re all sending to President Trump.”

The Capital phones have been ringing, and ringing often. The calls have overwhelmed Senate offices, while demonstrators have remained steadfast across the street.

Senator Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat said DeVos has embraced a philosophy that will abandon poorer families. DeVos has been criticized Passionately by many education advocates.

Early Schooling in the United States

The first American schools began in 1635 in the Boston Latin School. The first public supported school came nine years later in Dedham, Massachusetts. The schools became a key to education at that time, teaching about English methods, family, Church, community and apprenticeship. The schools of that time were also important for the children’s socialization.

Larger towns in New England opened grammar schools, which were the forerunner for today’s high schools in the late 1700s.

In the 17th century, Colonist imported text books from England, Noah Webster’s Speller was introduced as a common textbook from the 1790s through 1836. Later came Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development.

Harvard College was founded by the colonial legislature in 1636, and named after an early benefactor. Harvard began training young men for the ministry, but many alumni went into law, medicine and business. The Academy of Philadelphia was created in 1749 by Benjamin Franklin and other civic minded leaders. All schools were small, with a limited undergraduate program orientated on the classical arts.

The Federal Era

Schools expanded rapidly after the revolution. By 1870, all states had tax-based subsidized elementary schools, The US had one of the highest literacy rates in the world at the time. The advancement of women was greatly enhanced by the ideal of Republican motherhood. They focused on decorative arts and the refinement of female instruction. Rich planters wanted their daughters schooled, since education often served as a substitute for a dowry. For academies a broad curriculum that stressed writing, penmanship, arithmetic and language was the curriculum. Horace Mann worked to create a state-wide system of professional teachers. Mann believed that all students were entitled to the same content in their public classes.

Ellwood P. Cubberley once asserted that no one did more than Mann to establish the minds of the American people the conception that education should be universal, non-sectarian and free.

By 1900, 34 states had compulsory schooling laws.

The Progressive Movement

The progressive movement in education was part of a larger Progressive Movement that extended from the 1890s to the 1930s. The era was notable for its dramatic expansion in the number of schools and students served.

After 1910, smaller cities began building high schools. By the 1940s, 50 percent of young adults had earned a high school diploma.

John Dewey, a philosophy professor at the University of Chicago wrote many books and articles promoting the central role of democracy in education. He believed schools should not only offer children a place to gain knowledge, but also a place for them to learn how to live. Dewy Insisted that education and schooling are instrumental in creating social change and reform.

Another leader in early education was James Coleman. He believed a student’s background and socioeconomic status were a determining factor in learning. Coleman found that, on average, black schools were funded on a nearly equal basis by the 1960s, and that black students benefited from racially mixed classrooms. Coleman’s ideas began the eventual  desegregation of schools.