The Death of the One-Room Schoolhouse

In an opinion piece from 100 years ago, the Kansas Superintendent of Education warned that one-room schoolhouses didn’t serve the modern student’s needs.

Old Red schoolhouse

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-“Our Country Schools” by Forrest Crissey, from the April 16, 1921, Saturday Evening Post

Today the country schools are being underfed, undernourished, to an extent which scarcely anyone seems to realize. Of the funds spent for education in America, 23 percent goes to the common schools of the cities and only 9 percent to those of the country districts.

The country schools of America are not doing their work as they should because they are not given the means with which to do it. The number of these schools which are not fit shelters for pupils and teachers is amazing. Those which are not actually uncomfortable and unsanitary are dreary and desolate boxes that any normal human being wishes to get away from.

There are about 200,000 one-room, one-teacher country schools in the United States. Fully 20 percent of them could be consolidated with great advantage to their pupils, their patrons, and the country as a whole. Personally, I believe that 70,000 of them should be wiped out in this way.

 

First page of the article "Our Country Schools"
Read “Our Country Schools” by Forrest Crissey from the April 16, 1921, issue of the Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.

This article is featured in the March/April 2021 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.

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