Each calendar year the California Grand Lodge and its constituent Masonic lodges throughout the point out proclaim a single month to be “General public Educational facilities Thirty day period.” A proclamation is routinely delivered by the sitting Grand Grasp, go through aloud in each constituent lodge for the duration of a single or much more monthly mentioned meetings. Its intent has always been to encourage lodges to plan a method publicly supporting General public Educational facilities in a way that reveals for all to see the depth of Freemasonry’s motivation.
Until eventually 2011, each constituent lodge was commonly still left to make a decision for itself what to do without the need of the profit of also embracing a statewide Masonic venture in which it could come to be involved. That energy has been a rather haphazard implementation of a series of distinctive actions by distinctive lodges functioning independently of each other. The applications ranged from elaborate and energetic conversation with chosen General public Educational facilities to very little at all.
There are several many reasons why specific lodges have accomplished very little or very little. In some lodges the members have not been significantly energetic outdoors of lodge ritual or lodge social activities. In other lodges the earlier management merely did not present satisfactory vision. And in nonetheless other lodges money assets ended up inadequate to do a lot much more than struggle to guidance the bare minimal of actions.
But all of that changed in 2011 for California Masons and their lodges. Grand Grasp William J. Bray III led the way to applying a statewide Masonic motivation to the state’s public universities. Despite the fact that it was his management that provided the energy for applying the applications, the plan came from normal Masons who get the job done in the trenches of Freemasonry throughout the point out.
The most modern Grand Lodge Strategic Plan is the product of a study taken by its Govt Committee and team delivered to each and every member of a constituent lodge. Woven into the fabric of that plan was the overwhelmingly most popular reaction: Masonry should come to be a drive for profoundly invigorating our General public Educational facilities. Masons up and down the point out concluded that it was crucial to preserve public education, make it superior than at any time just before, and demonstrate to our communities that Masons consider that a productive method of absolutely free public education is critical to the continuation of a absolutely free modern society.
To superior understand why such a diverse team of gentlemen and ladies from differing political, spiritual and cultural backgrounds stand joined arm-in-arm in guidance of public universities, it is instructive to 1st master how and why public universities came to dominate America’s educational method. A excellent offer of credit for that goes to Horace Mann – the “Father of the Popular School Movement” – who also happened to be a Mason. It would be a miscalculation, having said that, to conclude that Mann’s devotion to the public school induce was thanks to his becoming a Mason. It would also be a miscalculation to infer that Freemasonry supports General public Educational facilities merely mainly because Horace Mann was a Mason. The truth of the matter of the make a difference is that Masonry embraces values that Mann observed appealing adequate to be initiated into the Craft. Freemasonry and Mann shared the identical reverence for advantage, morality and the development of an enlightened public.
Today, General public Educational facilities are the key supply for educating our small children from kindergarten through large school. That was not always so, for from the starting of this country until the current day advancing the induce of Public School instruction has been strongly opposed by mom and dad with strong political backing who have steadfastly resisted turning their small children in excess of to teachers for their ethical instruction. Even in America’s early many years some small children ended up residence-schooled. If their mom and dad ended up rich adequate some others ended up taught by private tutors. Even so, quickly soon after the American Revolution was concluded, Thomas Jefferson initiated a nationwide dialogue that gained such tremendous momentum that General public Educational facilities eventually turned the norm rather than the exception.
Jefferson argued that a absolutely free and unbiased modern society would be stronger if all of its citizens gained equal accessibility to expertise – expertise which each could then apply in their daily life. At the end of the Revolution the country observed itself without the need of any educational method and the persons ended up still left to fend for on their own. To treatment the make a difference, Jefferson – who at many times argued with equal vigor for modest and substantial government – prompt that tax dollars be employed to fund a nationwide educational method. His suggestion was ignored at the time and his idea languished for almost a century.
By the 1840’s a couple of General public Educational facilities experienced popped up all-around the country economically supported by communities that could manage them. At about this time Horace Mann began his possess campaign, finding up the place Jefferson experienced still left off. Mann’s existence tale cannot be advised below, but suffice to point out that if he experienced not acted with energetic, single-minded devotion to what he considered was vital, Massachusetts would not have handed the 1st compulsory instruction laws in 1852. New York adopted the subsequent calendar year and by 1918 all American small children ended up needed to at minimum go to elementary school. What adopted was the very little a lot less than the productive pursuit of something shared in typical by Freemasonry and America’s Founding Fathers: equality.
At the switch of the 20th century universities in the South, as nicely as several in the north ended up segregated. In 1896, in a situation entitled Plessy v. Ferguson, the United States Supreme Courtroom ruled that segregation was lawful – a determination that would be overturned many years afterwards in the 1954 Supreme Courtroom determination in Brown v. The Board of Education of Topeka Kansas. What was at problem in 1954 and made the decision as soon as and for all time was the suitable that all gentlemen are produced equal below the eyes of the Supreme Architect of the Universe – at minimum when it arrives to the query of equal accessibility to instruction. It undoubtedly arrives as no surprise that the Chief Justice in 1954 was Earl Warren who, like Horace Mann, was a Mason. From that calendar year forward all General public Educational facilities have been open to small children of all ethnic backgrounds.
Concerning 1896 and 1954, Masons throughout The united states led the charge for the development of enlightenment with its clarion call for the guidance of General public Educational facilities. It is neither ironic nor wholly stunning that the 1st time the Ancient & Recognized Scottish Rite for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States, whose see is at Charleston, North Carolina, ventured out into the world of local community assistance was to further the induce of General public Educational facilities. A great deal gratitude is owed to the Grand Commander at the time, George F. Moore, for his uncompromising management in that undertaking.
Ahead of becoming elected Grand Commander in 1914 by the Supreme Council, Moore – a prolific writer – auditioned his Masonic position in favor of General public Educational facilities in such publications as The New Age – a predecessor to modern Scottish Rite Journal. His tries, made just before the onset of World War I, ended up nicely gained almost everywhere – together with in New York which was prompted by gentlemen such as Moore, as nicely as businesses such as the Scottish Rite to pass it’s compulsory instruction laws in 1918. In the many years soon after Moore experienced handed his elected position as Grand Commander on to John Cowles, the Scottish Rite turned recognised throughout The united states as the excellent promoter of nationwide literacy through the auspices of General public Educational facilities.
California Masons ended up no a lot less energetic in their guidance of General public Educational facilities. In 1920 Charles A. Adams, Grand Grasp of Masons in California made General public Educational facilities a Masonic venture for the 1st time. The demands for manpower made upon the populace by World War I led to the flight of hundreds of teachers from their school rooms. Additional crucial employment awaited them: beat overseas, attending to farmlands to increase the food items vital to maintain a having difficulties country, and production factories that experienced to satisfy at any time raising demands for the generation and shipping of war materiel. Grand Grasp Adams witnessed the accompanying fallout with excellent alarm. Approximately 600 universities ended up closed throughout California – an remarkable amount for that time.
Despite the fact that Freemasonry has consistently refrained from engaging in or using sides in the world of public politics, Grand Grasp Adams prudently weighed the positive aspects and negatives of undertaking so on behalf of General public Educational facilities. At its main, Masonry experienced always inculcated in its members the great importance of pursuing expertise. Its ritual sought to impress upon candidates for Masonic levels the great importance of finding out the liberal arts and sciences, such as grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, audio, astronomy and geometry. And the pretty idea about the establishment of General public Educational facilities throughout the country seemingly originated with our 1st President – and a single of Freemasonry’s most well known members. In a letter to his Vice President, John Adams, George Washington wrote:
“Wise and even handed modes of instruction, patronized and supported by communities, will attract with each other the sons of the rich and the bad, between whom it helps make no difference it will cultivate all-natural genius, elevate the soul, excite laudable emulation to excel in expertise, piety, and benevolence and finally it will reward its patrons and benefactors by shedding its benign affect on the public head.”
There was more Masonic priority for Grand Grasp Adams to attract upon just before determining what to do. De Witt Clinton, who served as Grand Grasp of Masons in New York, as nicely as Governor of that point out, embraced the induce of General public Educational facilities so emphatically that he is recognised currently as the “Father of New York General public Educational facilities.” When serving as Grand Grasp of Masons in Pennsylvania, Benjamin Franklin overtly endorsed the adoption of General public Educational facilities in that point out.
With that history and precedent to guidance him, Grand Grasp Adams determined that California Masons should consider a public stance in guidance of strengthening the General public Educational facilities method in this point out. He knew that Masonry experienced a very long-standing belief that public education was critical to sustaining a absolutely free modern society. Indeed, Masonic virtues promoted a concept that went significantly further than encouraging the mere accumulation of expertise: equal accessibility to expertise promotes flexibility and strengthens the middle class without the need of which democratic concepts essential to this Republic will wither away and eventually disappear. On all those grounds it was simple for Grand Grasp Adams on August 30, 1920 to problem the 1st Masonic General public Educational facilities Week Proclamation.
The history of Masonry’s guidance of General public Educational facilities did not end there. That guidance has ongoing considering that then in every Masonic jurisdiction, but was potentially most profoundly shown by the continuing nationwide get the job done by the Scottish Rite. For illustration, seizing upon the illustrations set by Grand Commanders Moore and Cowles – that flexibility is the most sizeable blessing any person can enjoy – Brook Hays, a Thirty-3rd degree Scottish Rite Mason and Arkansas congressman pretty much sacrificed his political occupation for General public Educational facilities.
A lay-preacher and former president of the Southern …