To be an American means that you have the right to a quality education. Slaves were exempt from that right for a long time until the Civil War. Sidney Andrews states: “The creation of schools for former slaves was an important part of Reconstruction. Before the civil war, Southern states outlawed the teaching of reading and writing to slaves” Slaves weren’t considered Americans so they were kept from being able to learn to read or write. However, it is an important American ideal that citizens can learn to read or write. This idea began to truly take effect during the reconstruction of the South after the Civil War when slaves became citizens. Sidney Andrews states: “Go outside to any large town in the South, and walk among the negro housing, and you will see children and in many cases grown negroes, sitting in the sun alongside their cabins studying.” Former slaves were newly freedman at this time so they they were able to learn to read and write and they were beginning to exercise their right to an education. While in theory to be an american means to have quality education, recent history shows that people don’t have a quality education even our current education system. In the article “Good School, Rich School; Bad School Poor School” it states: “In Manchester, students had individual Chromebook laptops, and Sims had up-to-date equipment, like projectors and digital whiteboards. In New Britain, students didn’t get individual computers, and there weren’t the guidance counselors or teachers helpers that there were in Manchester.” Even though recent events show that people still don’t get the quality education, ultimately people should be able to get a quality education along with everyone else. Everyone should be able to get the opportunity to learn and open up new pathways and interests for what they want to do in life and if schools remain unequal then some people won’t be able to get the same opportunities as others. In conclusion, to be an American means that you should have the right to a quality and equal education.



Semuels, Alana. “Good School, Rich School; Bad School, Poor School.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 25 Aug.   2016,
Sidney Andrews quoted in the Joint Report on Reconstruction, (1866) pp. 174. Retrieved from 

CC BY-SA 4.0 What does it means to be American? by Darius is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


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