Many Americans are likely unaware that the public schools in this country were founded on a similar vision. This is especially true in the late nineteenth century and throughout the twentieth. Public school advocates preached a message of cultural disaster if children were not raised in a common culture. Concern over the assimilation of immigrant children fueled the sense of crisis, but more was at stake. John Dewey, one of the most influential figures in the development of the public school ideal, explicitly argued that children should be educated in public schools so that the schools could help them break with the traditions and perspectives of their parents.