As noted in the TESS last week, the success of Massachusetts education goes back to the pioneering work of Horace Mann, beginning in the 1830s.
It should not be forgotten that Mann included Scotland in an extensive European tour in 1843-44. He was welcomed to Edinburgh by George Combe, the phrenologist, and Duncan McLaren, the radical Liberal businessman who had been instrumental in setting up Heriot free schools in the poorer parts of the city for boys and girls.
Mann expressed pleasure at the standards achieved in the Heriot schools. Although on his return to Boston it was the Prussian education system that he sought to emulate, perhaps the influence of Scotland played its part too.
Willis Pickard, Edinburgh.