The Devil Wagon in God's Country: The Automobile and Social Change in Rural America, 1893-1929

By Michael L. Berger | Go to book overview

VI. Education

If the occupants of the first automobile to penetrate rural America had bothered to stop at the local district school, the famed "little red schoolhouse," they would have found it largely unchanged from pioneer days. In a single room, poorly heated in winter and poorly ventilated in fall and spring, were collected from eight to thirty children, distributed over the full range of eight primary grades. The school was ill equipped by urban standards, and what education took place there generally could be credited to the expertise of the teacher. She, unfortunately, was often poorly trained for her task, and lack of supervision by her distant superiors compounded her problems.

Probably most important of all, these schools were generally dead ends. As a rule, there were no high schools in rural areas. nose that existed were located in towns and cities and maintained by them. As a result, those few country boys and girls who desired to enroll were treated as nonresidents and were charged tuition.

In addition, town and city high schools were in different school districts from the country schoolhouses, and their educational policies were therefore outside the control of farm owners and workers. Consequently, the curriculum rarely focused on agricultural subjects or interests. 2 These conditions did not result from antiintellectual forces but rather from small school districts and local taxation policies that were inadequate to provide decent secondary schools in rural areas. 3

-147-

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The Devil Wagon in God's Country: The Automobile and Social Change in Rural America, 1893-1929
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 7
  • Preface 9
  • I the Coming of the Automobile 13
  • Conclusion 51
  • Ii. the Farm Family 55
  • Conclusion 73
  • Iii. the Rural Community 77
  • Conclusion 98
  • Iv. Leisure 103
  • Conclusion 124
  • V. Religion 127
  • Conclusion 143
  • Vi. Education 147
  • Conclusion 170
  • Vii. Health and the Environment 175
  • Conclusion 200
  • Viii. Conclusion 205
  • Notes 215
  • Bibliography 247
  • Index 263
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