The of Greek and Roman literature. In keeping with

The 12th and 13th centuries, which was toward the end of the Middle Ages, saw the rise of universities. A university’s curricula consisted of what were then called the seven liberal arts. They were grouped into two separate divisions; The first division taught grammar, rhetoric, and logic while the second, more advanced division taught arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy. Sadly, the scholars of the Middle Ages took over the content of Greek education and adapted it to their own culture, clouding traditional subjects with their religious assumptions. Some good came out of this as, by the 12th century, the education of women was no longer ignored, though only a small percentage of girls attended schools. Nevertheless, medieval schooling ended the long era of barbarism that plagued otherwise able men and women. For younger adults of the aristocracy in the Middle Ages of the 13th century, there was chivalric education. This was a secondary education that young men received while living in the homes of nobles or at court. It included poetry, national history, heraldry, manners and customs, physical training, dancing, a little music, and battle skills. The Renaissance, which began in Italy in the 14th century and spread to northern European countries in the 15th and 16th centuries, was a revolt against the narrowness of the Middle Ages. For inspiration, the early Renaissance humanists turned to the ideals expressed in the literature of ancient Greece, wanting education to develop a man’s intellectual, spiritual, and physical prowess for the enhancement of life. Yet, the actual content of the humanists’ “liberal education” was not much different from that of medieval education. To the seven liberal arts, the humanists added history and physical games that would double as exercises. Humanist education was primarily inspired by the addition of Greek to the curriculum and an emphasis on the content of Greek and Roman literature. In keeping with their renewed interest in and respect for nature, humanists also separated astronomy from astrology. Along with the changed attitudes toward the goals and content of education, a few innovative schools started to display the first signs of a change in attitude toward educational methods. Education was finally to be exciting, pleasant, and fun instead of being forced onto a student. In these more exciting schools, the pupils studied history, philosophy, arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy, but the basis of the curriculum was the study of Greek and Roman literature. Physical development was also taught and encouraged through exercise and games. Yet, there were not many of these fun schools. Plus, the humanist ideal did not affect the lower classes, who remained as ignorant as they had been in the Middle Ages. Other Latin grammar schools that introduced Greek and Roman literature into the curriculum soon began to shift the emphasis from the study of the content of the literature to the form of the language, just as the Romans had done. The physical education and development so important to the early humanist ideal of the well-rounded man also found no place in these other Latin grammar schools’ curricula. Instead of the joy of learning, there was only harsh, repressive discipline. The decay in practice of the early humanists’ educational goals and methods continued during the 16th-century Reformation. The religious conflict that overshadowed men’s thoughts also dominated the “humanistic” curriculum of the Protestant secondary schools. The Protestants’ need to defend their new religion resulted in an emphasis on drilling in the mechanics of the Greek and Latin languages. In actual practice, the humanistic ideal deteriorated into the bigotry that the original humanists had opposed. Still, the Protestants did emphasize the need for universal education and established elementary schools in Germany where the children of the poor could learn reading, writing, and religion.  In the 17th century, the 13 colonies opened the first schools. Boston Latin School was the first of these schools to be opened in the United States, in 1635. To this day, Boston Latin School remains the nation’s oldest public school. These early public schools in the United States did not focus on academics like math or reading, but instead taught the virtues of family, religion, and community. Yet in early America, girls were taught how to read but not how to write. In the South, public schools were not common during the 1600s and the early 1700s. Only families that were fairly wealthy could afford to pay private tutors to educate their children. Many Common Schools emerged in the 18th century due to the Common School Movement that made education available to all children in the United States. These schools would educate students of all ages in one room with one teacher. Students did not attend these schools for free, however, and parents had to pay tuition, provide housing for the school teacher, or contribute other commodities in exchange for their children being allowed to attend the school. Still, Public, or Common, Schooling in the South was not widespread until the Reconstruction Era after the American Civil War. By 1900, 31 states had compulsory school attendance for students from ages 8-14 and by 1918, every state required students to complete elementary school. The idea of a progressive education, educating the child to reach his or her full potential and actively promoting and participating in a democratic society, began in the late 1800s and became widespread throughout the United States by the 1930s. Through the 1960s, the United States racially segregated schools despite the 1954 Brown vs. Board Supreme Court ruling. By the late 1970s, segregated schooling in the United States was abolished. In 2001, the United States entered its current era of education accountability/reform with the institution of the No Child Left Behind law.