Practical Remarks on Popular Education in England and Wales
London: John W. Parker, 1847.
London: John W. Parker, 1847. First edition. Recent blue paper wraps. 61 pages with half and full titles present. Pages hand numbered in pencil on upper right corners, else unmarked. Scarce in institutions and on the market, the present copy is the only one on the market, and OCLC reports that of the 9 known copies only 2 are held in the U.S.
"The public mind is at length fully awakened to the necessity of educating the people...Ignorance is no longer considered safe or creditable." On this premise, educational activist Hamilton argued that while England had firmly established the important of education for citizens, it had not yet succeeded in fully enacting it. "His Practical Remarks on Popular Education (1847) pointed to the inadequate provision of elementary education in England. He advocated additional state support for the existing school societies, an enlarged curriculum, more attention to teaching girls...and improvements in the training, status, and stipends of teachers" (ODNB). Urging readers to look to the Continent for more effective school models, he notes that "in most of the existing primary schools, the improved methods of reading and writing...are still neglected. The same may be said of the improved methods of teaching arithmetic, geography, and other branches." These subjects are critical for all English children, he asserts, regardless of class or gender. And he specifically posits the need to expand girls' access to schooling. "The education of females is a subject of paramoutn importance." Not only are women the first educators encountered by infants, but just like men, women themselves cannot be expected to properly contribute in other areas of labor in or out of the home if they lack instruction. Toward the end of his paper, Hamilton outlines his ideas for improving the education system generally, with schools running class options during day and night sessions, and teachers being given sufficient training programs and compensation. An important moment in the expansion of education in England. Fine (Item #2597)