This 1871 cartoon by Thomas Nast shows the ever-corrupt Boss Tweed raiding a public school classroom, his cronies throwing out the textbooks and replacing them with those published by Tweed’s company. (In fact, Boss Tweed, as head of instruction for the city, did get rid of textbooks published by Harper Brothers, the publisher of Nast’s cartoons; Nast and others saw it as a thinly veiled intimidation tactic.) Reformers today can learn from this cartoon: public school, local accountability, and private enterprise do not just work.
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