Degree Name

Education Specialist (EdS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Gerhard C. Matzner


This study is a concise history of education in Illinois with special reference to Coles county, and in particular, Charleston Community Unit School District #1.

First to be studied is the history of education in Illinois from 1783 - 1860. The Northwest Ordinance, passed by Congress in 1787, provided for one section of land in each township to be reserved for education.

The intellectual climate of Illinois during this pioneer period, the first teachers, and the early schools, are discussed in some detail. Next, the study shows the development of subscription or private schools and their influence on later public schools.

The history of the position of State Superintendent of Public Instruction is developed as well as the influence of this office on public education.

The next aspect to be considered is the importance of the Education Act of 1855, which provided for a complete system of tax supported public schools in Illinois.

The use of women teachers in early pioneer schools and their effect on the community is shown. The development of church related colleges and private high schools is traced in the state.

The early settlement of Coles county is examined in detail. The development of schools in the county is recounted as it relates to the social and economic trends of the times. The growth of public schools after 1855 was very rapid and the reasons for this are discussed. The position of County Superintendent of Schools is traced from its early history down to the present time.

The history of the Charleston schools is shown in some depth. In 1867 the Charleston Union School District was created. The start of the Charleston Unit School District #1 is explained and placed in its proper perspective. The growth of the new unit school district and it's building program are considered next.

The history of the Charleston Unit School District is brought up to date by showing the current financial problems faced by the schools and the failure of recent tax rate referendums. The social and economic forces in the community and their relationship to the schools are the last subject to be studied.

Included in

Education Commons