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Episode No. 5 – Philadelphia Public Schools and Caroline R. Le Count: Part 1

In this city, there are very different educational opportunities for the wealthy and the poor. But reformers and activists are trying to find ways to provide an education for all children.  It is the beginning of a colossal and imperfect experiment in publicly-funded schools in nineteenth-century Philadelphia.

One group in particular, Black Philadelphians, was determined not to be left out of this educational experiment. They undertook studies to understand in detail the state of education in their community. And they invested in training a new generation of teachers, who were ready to take charge in the years following the Civil War. Some of the best and brightest worked to create quality schools for Black children within this emerging public school system. One of these educators and activists was the formidable Caroline Le Count. This episode is part of a series on Le Count, this late-nineteenth century educator and activist. It is the first of two episodes that will look at Le Count’s legacy in public education.

Find out more and see a full bibliography in the companion blog for this episode at And for some additional visuals for this episode, you can check out the podcast on Instagram at

One Comment

  1. Thank you for this insightful series on the career of Caroline Le Count and the history of the Philadelphia Public Schools. As a lifelong advocate of public education and a product of public schooling in the midwest, I have long wanted to know how Philadelphia got to the state they are in today. As you show so clearly the issues of racism and underfunding plaguing PSD today have their roots in the 19th century. At the same time, there are brave warriors like LeCounte and the woman at Mastery you interviewed (I am sorry I can’t remember her name, she was great), who continue to pursue excellence and provide a passionate example to young people of color of the value of education, particularly publicly funded education.

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