By Andrew Gulliford
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Extra info for Americas Country Schools
Rarely was the schoolteacher paid more than a subsistence wage, and payments frequently took the form of gifts of barley, grain and Indian corn. " Home schooling figured prominently in colonial America as did informal education. One type of informal school that evolved was the dame school. Unmarried or widowed older women often held classes in their own homes, where they knitted and sewed while encouraging children to learn to read and writeif only their names and a few popular lines from the Bible.
Local county control of schools was for whites only. Disenfranchised, blacks had to make do with minimal funds that white officials allocated to the segregated "colored" schools, which often lacked the most basic tools for learning and frequently had very large classes when the children were not needed for farm labor. Most African American teachers had not even graduated from high schools. Page 8 As Gulliford shows, African Americans, Native Americans and Mexican Americans did not have the local control of public schools reserved for rural white Americans.
Because land-holding patterns varied greatly throughout the country, schools were not established in the same manner. The New England township model, which was adopted in the Northwest Territory, was not used in the South, where, because of the lack of available public lands to assist in school funding, private schools and home tutoring flourished in place of common schools. As a result, public schools were never as prominent in the South as they were in other parts of the United States. In the 19th century, free public education was still more a goal than an actuality.