Though education in early colonial America was emphatically religious, it varied in type in different areas of the country. The New England colonies, under the control of the Puritans, developed a compulsory educational system in the early 1600s. People of many different sects, none being dominant, inhabited the Middle Atlantic colonies of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Such pluralism made common schools undesirable, and parochial schools sprang up to accommodate the various denominations. The Southern colonies, being geographically and culturally distinct, used the English charity schools-grammar schools aimed at providing a very basic education for the poor in Britain-as their educational model.
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