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Published: August 9, 2011

Moving school

An arrangement in colonial Massachusetts under which a teacher spent a few months in the schoolhouse in the town center, then spent successive 6- to 12-week periods in private houses in outlying precincts, teaching the children of those precincts. In 1692, the Massachusetts General Court had ordered all towns of 100 families or more to maintain elementary schools, each staffed by a certified Latinist. As the population expanded into outlying areas of a town, it became impossible for the town’s children to attend, and the “rotating master” arrangement became standard until the mid-18th century, when outlying precincts began building their own independent schools.