Origin of public education
At a time when some hold corporate involvement in education with such disdain, it may be helpful to remind people where the support first came for an organized system of public education in this country. From "Frontiers of Change" by Thomas Cochran:
That free elementary schooling advanced more rapidly just before and after mid-century is partly due to the business boom from 1843 to 1854, but also to the persuasive abilities of the Boston lawyer, Horace Mann. Mann left his law practice to help create a Massachusetts board of education in 1837 and as its secretary to persuade businessmen that "education has a market value; that it is so far an article of merchandise, that it may be turned into a pecuniary account; it may be minted and will yield a larger amount of statutable coin than common bullion." In report after report, including the widely read Fifth Report (1842), Mann kept emphasizing the value to business of free education. And gradually he persuaded businessmen, starting with those in Massachusetts, of the truth of his argument. By 1850 the northeastern United States had joined the world's leaders in free elementary education.