William A. Wallace taught at two of the first American common schoolhouses in southern California during the 1850s. His diary and other sources reveal a progressive educator who was quickly disillusioned. The schools, featuring a decidedly rudimentary curriculum, contrasted starkly with those of Wallace's native New England. Unlike San Francisco, greater Los Angeles lacked the critical mass of New Englanders needed to recreate cutting-edge New England common schools. Southern California had many more immigrants from the American South, a region which lagged far behind New England in the common school movement. Reflecting the racial and class hierarchies of Southern society, Wallace's schools were key institutions in barrioization. As an intellectual and egalitarian New Englander as well as an avid student of Spanish, Wallace was a misfit. Serving as a foil, Wallace can help reveal the Southern character of the region's first common schools.
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 47/06M, Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||American history, Education history|
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