During the past two weeks, I have explored the pedagogy and the values of several Pennsylvania Quaker school. Before moving on to introduce the basic and planning and the strategic plans of the schools, I find it appropriate to discuss about the history of Quaker education in PA.
In the 1630s, Swedes settlers are the first people to arrive and establish school systems in Pennsylvania. The system is mainly based on biblical reading and practicing. As William Penn arrived and founded Pennsylvania as a state, the education system began to change. Penn believed that children need to learn broad and more in-depths knowledge in order to build up the society. “In his Two Frames of Government, he gave the governor the authority to erect public schools to teach writing, reading, arithmetic, and religion” (Case 1983)
This system expanded rapidly in the late seventeenth century, and other religious schools were affected. Consequently, a consensus between Quaker meetings and Protestants needed to be reach.
Different townships have different Friends Meeting After Quaker education committees were established around 1778, they increased the number of Quaker schools according to different townships.
As the schools became more successful in PA, the committees saw the importance of establishing colleges. In nineteenth century, many Quaker colleges were established, such as Haverford College in 1833, Earlham College in 1844, and Swarthmore College in 1864. Following its Quaker values which believes that there is God in everyone. The Colleges embrace intellectual vitality of individuals and knowledge for students’ own sake. Hence, students in these schools showed more satisfaction, and less suicidal rates compare to other schools in the nineteenth and twentieth century.
Case, Robert P., Ph.D. (1983). Prosperity and Progress: Concord Township.Pennsylvania 1683-1983. Chester, PA: John Spencer, Inc.