NYU Steinhardt News

Zimmerman Discusses Nostalgia for the "Little Red Schoolhouse"

Jon Zimmerman, professor of educational history, was recenlty interviewed by Backstoryradio.org about his new book "Small Wonder: The Little Red School House in History and Memory."

Zimmerman notes that "the idea that there should be state-supported education was, although not unique to the United States, in many ways distinct to it. By 1850 there was a greater fraction of elementary school-age kids going to school in our country than in any other on earth."

Despite their many deficiencies (which include lack of heat and lack of proper training for teachers), one-room schoolhouses were communal institutions, often the only public building in a community, providing truly democratic spaces for functions like debates and voting.

To listen to the segment, produced by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, click below.