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James Gordon Carter (1795–1849), born James Carter, Jr. in Leominster, Massachusetts,[1] was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and education reformer. He was educated at Groton Academy and Harvard College.[2]

He wrote "Influence of an Early Education" in 1826 (Essays Upon Popular Education), and in 1837, as House Chairman of the Committee on Education, contributed to the establishment of the Massachusetts Board of Education, the first state Board of education in the United States. This was an important stepping stone in the path to government funded schooling. To the disappointment of many of Carter's supporters, who felt he deserved the honor, Horace Mann was appointed the board's first secretary.[3]

Carter was also instrumental in the reformation of teacher education, and establishment of the first Normal school which later became Framingham State College.[4] This earned him the sobriquet: "Father of the American Normal School."[5]

The James G. Carter Junior High School in Leominster, Massachusetts (now defunct) was named after him.


  1. ^ Biographical Sketch of James G. Carter: With His Outline of a Plan of an Institution for the Education of Teachers, First Pub. in 1825, and His Memorial to the Legislature of Massachusetts, in 1827, on the Same Subject. F. C. Brownell. 1858-01-01.
  2. ^ James Carter: Champion of the Normal School Movement
  3. ^ Martin, George H. (1915). The Evolution of the Massachusetts Public School System: a historical sketch. New York and London: D. Appleton and Company.
  4. ^ Harper, C. A. (1939). A century of public teacher education; the story of the State teachers colleges as they evolved from the normal schools. Washington, D.C.: Pub. by the Hugh Birch-Horace Mann Fund for the American Association of Teachers Colleges.
  5. ^ Normal Schools - History of American Education Web Project, Retrieved on 2007-03-08.

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