A Cartoonish Look at Urban Education in the 19th Century

Vouchers and school choice movements are not new.  Let’s see what history can teach us about them.

Thomas Nast’s cartoons from the 1800s are well-known, transcending time–in part–because they are so darn popular on U.S. history exams.  Nevertheless, Nast’s cartoons about education provide a wonderful glimpse at the origins and tensions of public education as it was taking root in post-Civil War America.  Check out the cartoons below.  As you read through them, ask yourself: What issues have changed and what has remained the same since these cartoons were drawn?  Look at the images closely. The closer you look the more you learn.