Wednesday, January 9, 2013

9 January 1903: Nine-Month School Year and Night Schools Are Established in Clarke County

On this day in 1903, the Weekly Banner noted the changes to the Clarke County school year gave it the distinction of being "the only county in the state of Georgia...that can boast of a system of rural schools of nine months term each year."

(click to enlarge image)

Though the article comes across as more town bragging by the editors of the Banner, they were right that the nine-month school year was an outlier in American public education at the time. 

In the early 1900s, children in the United States encountered school years that were typically 4-5 months long (officially 147.2 days as an average), and attendance was closer to 3-4 months (101.7 days were average) every year. The low attendance is likely a side effect of the expectation that children had to help support their family, either with planting, harvesting, or other areas of the family business.

Also announced in this article were the night schools established at two of the primary factories in town. These schools were aimed at children who worked at the factories (and often lived close by) to make it possible for them to gain a basic education despite the economic demands placed on them. Children who worked elsewhere, such as making harnesses or buggies or being apprenticed to a blacksmith or another trade, were also welcome at these evening classes.

The National Child Labor Committee, a group advocating for child labor restrictions, formed in 1904, but federal regulations and oversight would not be passed in the United States until 1938.

Learn More:

No comments:

Post a Comment