In the 1800s, Horace Mann of Massachusetts led the common-school movement, which advocated for local property taxes financing public schools. One of the reasons for promoting education reform in the early 1800s was to make sure Americans were well-educated workers. Horace Mann became the state's supervisor of education. The citizens voted to pay taxes to build better schools, to pay teachers higher salaries and to make special training schools for teachers.
By 1850, many states used Mann's ideas. But America still did not offer education to everyone. Most schools did not admit females and African-Americans. When towns did allow African Americans to attend school, most made them go to separate schools that received less money.
The education system is a lot more useful now than it was back then because the students learn useful topics. People can go to school no matter what they look like or believe nowadays. It was a big change to make but it was the right thing to do for women, African-Americans, and others.