A recent column in the Indianapolis Star suggested early Quakers were not supportive of education in Indiana. Tom Hamm, Earlham history professor and Quaker scholar, wrote a response to that article. It has been published in the Richmond Palladium-Item. It may appear in other publications as well.
In addition to Tom’s article is this letter from Phillip Goodchild, IFCL Recording Clerk
Phillip Goodchild (Letter To The Editor, Indianapolis Star, May 22, 2022)
Quakers promote education, not deter
While it’s hard to argue with James Briggs’s May 11 column on educational attainment in Indiana, attributing Indiana’s poor national ranking to Quakers is misleading. In fairness, Briggs himself didn’t make this attribution; it was from a published article by Aaron M. Renn. I agree that underinvestment in public universities makes higher education unaffordable to our state’s detriment, but that has little to do with Quaker history in Indiana.
In fact, throughout history, Quakers have promoted education for all people. Specific efforts included the education of freed slaves, indigenous groups and immigrants. Indiana Friends Committee on Legislation, a nonprofit, non-partisan Quaker advocacy organization, follows education issues with an emphasis on quality education in every school for every student. We work to educate state legislators and policy makers that all people deserve equal education opportunities, and that a strong public education system depends on adequate resources that are equitably distributed. We believe in an education that provides sound basic knowledge and skills, fosters critical and creative thinking and establishes a foundation for personal development, satisfying employment and responsible participation in democratic society.