In the beginning of the nineteenth century, the American educational system was desperately in need of reform. Private schools existed, but only for the very rich, and there were very few public schools because of the strong sentiment that a child who would grow up to 5 be a laborer should not "waste" his time on education but should instead prepare himself for his life's work. It was in the face of this public sentiment that educational reformers set about their task. Horace Mann, probably the most famous of the reformers, felt that there was no excuse in a republic for any citizen to be uneducated. 10 As Superintendent of Education in the state of Massachusetts from 1837 to 1848, he initiated various changes, which were soon matched in other school districts around the country. He extended the school year from five to six months and improved the quality of teachers by instituting teacher education and raising teacher salaries. Although 15 these changes did not bring about a sudden improvement in the educational system, they at least increased public awareness as to the need for a further strengthening of the system. According to the passage, why did Horace Mann want a better educational system for Americans?