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Progressivism's Impact on Public Education

Aurelia Schoolhouse

Progressive reforms produced legislation that affected the every day lives of many school age children.


Progressive thought was quite prevalent among the first directors of North Dakota's education system. These ideas bore fruit through legislative reform that made the ideology a reality.  This included legislation concerning the establishment and development of MSNS.

One-Room School

Progressive reforms attempted to affect people not only directly, but also through their environment. In education, this meant the construction of modern school houses.


In North Dakota, progressive beliefs were manifested in some key reforms that necessitated the existence of such institutions as Minot Normal School. Most critical to the improvement in quality education -- and to the establishment of MSNS --  was an improvement in the quality of teachers the state could produce and supply to the many rural and urban schools within the state.

State Examination

The state examination required for North Dakota teachers. Click to see the full test.




To ensure the quality of the preparation of teachers employed by the state's common schools, North Dakota established standardized state examinations and required that potential teachers pass them. The examination required a strong understanding of common school curriculum.  The state's normal schools were designed to provide that knowledge, as well as the opportunity to practice the techniques of teaching in an actual classroom. Accessible state normal schools were, therefore, essential to the goal of providing qualified teachers for North Dakota's public schools.