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What School Was Like in the 13 Colonies

A child’s education was anything but “standardized” during America’s colonial era, which spanned most of the 17th and 18th centuries. The modern institution of the public school—a free, tax-supported education for all children—didn’t get a foothold in America until the mid-19th century.

For children living in the 13 colonies, the availability and quality of schools varied greatly by region, so that even young George Washington was taught by a schoolmaster who, according to an early biographer of the Founding Father, “knew as little as Balaam’s ass.”

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