Thursday, June 30, 2016

History of Schools by Paty Jager

Silver City, ID school house
Any guesses why a school in 1892 is called a “Standard” school?

This photo of the Silver City, ID school is what prompted my post. Over the years my father had told me my grandmother graduated from Nebraska Normal School. I hadn’t thought much about what the “Normal” meant until I ran across this school labeled “Idaho Standard School”.

I spent several hours on the internet googling and searching sites to try and find out the difference between a “Normal” and “Standard” school. This is some of the information I dug up. Not all of it relates to the two types of schools but I found it interesting.

The late 1700’s it was realized women were good role models for their children. Therefore the rich began funding female academies with emphasis on curriculum that was more than reading and writing, but math and sciences.

I discovered there was also a “Common” school. This type started in the 18th century and schooled the
Silver City, ID school from a distance
children of that community in a one-room school with one teacher.  While most of the students in this century were mostly white males, girls were also allowed to attend. It was usually the family who didn’t think the girls needed an education. What was taught at a “Common” school depended on the community and what they deemed valuable to their children. It was also funded by the community.

In New England, what we now call High Schools were called “Grammar” Schools. These schools were later replace by Academies and then in the 19th century were called “Prep” schools. As in preparing the young men and a few young women to continue their educations to go on to Ivy League colleges.

By 1870 all states had free elementary schools. The first public high school was in Boston in 1821. After that more secondary education schools started up across the U.S.

Public school was only for grades 1-8. After that prep, college, and universities were paid for by families.
Leaving those who couldn’t afford to pay for more schooling an 8th grade education.

The earliest continuous school for girls was in New Orleans. The Ursuline College was founded in 1727 by the Sisters of the Order of Saint Ursula. It had many firsts:
1) Female pharmacist
2) Woman to contribute a book of literary merit
3)  Convent
4)  Free school
5)  Retreat center for ladies
6)  Classes for female African-American slaves, free women of color, and Native Americans

This school also supplied these firsts for the region:
1)  Center of social welfare in the Mississippi Valley
2)  Boarding school in Louisiana
3)  School of music in New Orleans

Most colleges were started by religious groups to teach ministers.They soon became a place where young men and eventually young women could learn more about the world and society through knowledge.

The need for trained teachers and not just someone who could read and write started the “Normal” Schools in 1823. These were 2 year teaching colleges for both men and women to become credentialed teachers.

As for the “Standard” School…After consulting a historical society I was told that Standard could mean that the school adhered to the state standard curriculum or it could mean the school was built following the formula for building schools. Size and shape were always very similar. The formula allowed the builders to know exactly where to place windows and doors and how many windows needed to be placed on each wall so that the maximum amount of light would be let into the building. Most schools were 16’ wide to allow light from the side windows to shine on all the desks.

I still don’t have a definitive answer for the “Standard” school but the two versions I found make sense to me.  My travels down the history of schools was interesting and no doubt will become fodder for my next historical western book, Henry: Letters of Fate. 
I haven’t written the book but this is the premise:
Henry Whitehorse – Is half Indian and half Irish.  He has dark brown hair, dark brown eyes. Square facial features and a dimple in his left cheek that appears when he smiles. He arrives at the reservation mission because of a letter sent to him by his uncle, Samuel Whitefish.  There has been trouble with the White teachers the mission has brought in and he asks Henry, who is studying at a university, to come home and teach at the mission. And he falls in love with the missionary's daughter.

Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 25+ novels and over a dozen novellas and short stories of murder mystery, western historical romance, and action adventure. She has a RomCon Reader’s Choice Award for her Action Adventure and received the EPPIE Award for Best Contemporary Romance.  This is what Coffee Time Romance has to say about her Halsey Brothers historical western romance series: “The author captured it brilliantly, and the backdrop adds to the wonderfully plotted story filled with well-paced twists and turns, as well as very likeable, endearing characters. For a trip back to the raw, wild days of the silver and gold rushes, with a bit of romance thrown in for added effect, this book is perfect.” 

All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Paty and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. Riding horses and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.

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