We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our ongoing series on Woodstock, CT by guest poster Capt. Tom Francis -
At Town Meeting in 1690, the citizens voted to teach and instruct their children to "read and cipher". At that time, the first "public instruction" was held at a local farmer's barn. Sometime around 1736/1739, the Quasset School was built and began formal classes ending in 1946 when the first Elementary School was built, thus the distinction of being the oldest continuously operating school in the US.
The school was moved from it's original location in 1956 and became a National Historic Landmark. In 1963 the Lt. Ambassador of England representing Woodstock, England presented Quasset School with a portrait of King George the Second and a replica of the Union Jack that would have flown for the 27 years that the school was under British rule. Two oak trees from the grounds of Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, England, birthplace of Winston Churchill, were planted near the building (partially seen in the photo).
The Quasset School is still in operation today as part of the Third Grade local history immersion program. The three Third Grade teachers take turns for one week taking the kids back to another time and place. The kids get to dress up and role play leaning arithmetic by rote, spelling by playing Hangman and - this is really amusing - manners which actually were an important part of the education of 18th and 19th century education. They learn about gender roles as the girls learn hand crafts like sewing, knitting and cross stitch and the boys, under supervision, get to bring in wood, "light" the stove, sweep and clean the blackboard.
It being one chief project of that old deluder, Satan, to keep men from the knowledge of the Scriptures, as in former times by keeping them in an unknown tongue, so in these latter times by persuading from the use of tongues, that so that at least the true sense and meaning of the original might be clouded and corrupted with false glosses of saint-seeming deceivers; and to the end that learning may not be buried in the grave of our forefathers, in church and commonwealth, the Lord assisting our endeavors.
It is therefore ordered that every township in this jurisdiction, after the Lord hath increased them to fifty households shall forthwith appoint one within their town to teach all such children as shall resort to him to write and read, whose wages shall be paid either by the parents or masters of such children, or by the inhabitants in general, by way of supply, as the major part of those that order the prudentials of the town shall appoint; provided those that send their children be not oppressed by paying much more than they can have them taught for in other towns.
And it is further ordered, that when any town shall increase to the number of one hundred families or householders, they shall set up a grammar school, the master thereof being able to instruct youth so far as they may be fitted for the university, provided that if any town neglect the performance hereof above one year that every such town shall pay 5 pounds to the next school till they shall perform this order.