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Occasional Papers, No. 23

A Study o\






State Agent 0/ KuroX ^ch.Qo\s for Negroes in Louisiana

Charlottesville, Va.

A Study ot






State Agent of Rural Schools for Negroes in Louisiana

Charlottesville, Va.



This very careful and complete study of the County Train-
ing Schools is published in the hope that it will prove useful
to all who are interested in the development and improvement
of these schools. The origin and the purpose of these so-
called County Training Schools have been set forth elsewhere
and need not be repeated here. Let me refer to Occasional
Papers Xos. 14 and 18, and to the Proceedings and Reports
of the John F. Slater Fund for the years ending September
30, 1921, pages 12-18. and September 30, 1922, pages 11-17.

Four of the chapters in the present publication were pre-
pared by Mr. Favrot in connection with graduate study in
Peabody College. We are glad that he ci^itinued his investi-
gations and brought the work to its present completeness. No
one could have been better qualified by training and experience
to make this study. Mr. Favrot is a graduate of Tulane
University, and has occuj)ie(l the ])osition of State Agent for
colored schools in both Arkansas and Louisiana, in which
positions he was instrumental in establishing a number of
these Training Schools. It is a pleasure to record here that
he has been recently appointed to the position of Field Agent
of the General Fducation Board in conjunction with IVTr.
Jackson Davis.

JaxMKS H. Dillard.
CJiarlottcsville, Va.
June 30, 1923.






The purpose of this study has been to learn pertinent facts
concerning the group of Negro county training schools in
thirteen states of the South, to give thoughtful consideration
to some of their problems, and to make recommendations for
the improvement of these schools based on the findings.

The data were gathered partly by the questionnaire method
and partly from reports and records. Seven different forms
were sent to principals, teachers or county superintendents
through the courtesy and co-operation of state agents of
rural schools for Negroes connected with state departments
of education in these states. The state agents also gave or
had given in some of these schools standardized tests, the re-
sults of which are presented in this study. Annual reports
of these schools for several years past were furnished by
agents of the John F. Slater Fund and the General Education
Board, both of which agencies have assisted the schools

The particular problems studied relate to the general
organization, administration and support of these schools;
the number, salaries, experience, cjualification and work of
teachers ; the curricula ; the attendance and age-grade dis-
tribution of pupils; and the achievement of pupils in silent
reading, arithmetic, and English composition. The views of
county superintendents on the standing of these schools are

The facts and findings are here presented in six chapters
of discursive treatment, two diagrams, and twenty-one
statistical tables. The summary of findings and recommenda-
tions has been placed at the beginning of the pamphlet instead
of at the close, for the convenience of those who have not
time to read the entire studv.

4 Preface

The writer wishes to make acknowledgment for valued
assistance given him in making this study to Dr. J. H. Dillard
and Miss Gertrude C. Mann, of the. Slater Board, to Mr.
Jackson Davis, Field Agent of the General Education Board,
and his secretary, Miss Williamson, to the State Agents of
Negro Rural Schools in the Southern States, to principals ot
county training schools and county superintendents, for
furnishing data; to his secretary, Miss Katie Collins of the
Louisiana State Department of Education for compiling
and tabulating data;^ to Dr. Norman Frost of Peabody
College for valuable advice and suggestions in the preparation
of the manuscript, and to Dr. .Vbraham Flexner of the General
Education Board for general co-operation.


Chapters Page

I. The Origin, Growth, and Present Status of County Training

Schools 8

II. Teachers in County Training Schools, Their Number, Salaries,

Experience, Qualifications and Work 17

III. The Curriculum .- 27

IV. Irregular Attendance, Retardation, and Distance Pupils Come

to School 42

V. Achievement of Pupils 51

VI. What County Superintendents Say of County Training Schools. 59

Statistical Tables and Computations 65

Summary of Findings and Recommendations

The facts about training schools and the inferences ch-awn
from these facts reveal more or less clearly their strong and
weak points. Of their defects it may be said that most of
them are the faults of rural schools generally, and particularly
of ^ural schools in the South, as shown in several state
surveys. Some of these defects are as follows :

1. Many of the schools lack adequate funds. Their aims
cannot be realized until salaries are made high enough to at-
tract and hold the best teachers.

2. Many fail to discriminate between good and poor
teachers by paying uniform salaries to all teachers regardless
of training, tenure, experience or superior service. The salary
schedule should aim at rewarding the successful and growing
teacher, and serve as an incentive for a more stable teaching

3. Many distribute the teaching load unfairly. Over-
crowded primary grades tend to retard pupils and withhold
from them a fair chance, besides making more difficult the
task of all teachers.

4. The curriculum is usually over-crowded. Industrial
and vocational branches have been added, and apparently no
subjects have been subtracted from the usual curriculuip. The
schools need a simplified course of study which will eliminate
much that is useless and irrelevant.

5. Much time is lost from irregular attendance. This so
handicaps the schools that positive steps are needed such as
enforcement of compulsory attendance laws for younger
pupils, and special time adjustments to provide half-day
sessions during the busy season for larger pupils.

6. There is lack of adequate provision for teaching re-
tarded pubils. The subject-matter and methods used in the

6 County Training Schools for

primary grades do not appeal to older boys and girls and do
not tend to hold them in school.

7. There are relatively few pupils in the upper grades. If
the schools are to produce trained leaders and teachers, the
upper grades should have more pupils, and the elementary
schools of the county should serve as feeders for them.

8. The schools are handicapped by lack of supervision.
The teachers need help in making daily programmes, in mak-
ing the proper use of text-books and the recitation period, in
knowing when and how to drill, in teaching pupils to think,
in discovering weaknesses in individual pupils and working
to overcome them, and in improving themselves in service.
With pupils of low achievement and an inadequately selected
and organized curriculum, the need of close expert supervi-
sion is obvious.

On the other hand, it may be said that the county training
schools have exceptional opportunities for service because of
the point of vantage that they occupy. These schools have
the following elements of strength :

1 . Their rapid increase in numl)ers and the increasing
amount of public funds spent for their support show that they
are winning friends among school boards and enjoying
public confidence.

2. They have the advantage, not alone of financial aid from
philanthropic boards, but of the advice and direction of ex-
pert school men in planning and promoting their development.

3. Most of them have good school plants and equipment.

4. They have the good will and support of local patrons
as shown by their friendly interest and by the large contribu-
tions made for building and equipment.

5. They have attracted pupils from distant parts of the
county and from other counties.

6. A large majority of the principals and teachers employed
in them are men and women of experience and are better

NiiGROEs IN Thiv South 7

educatcfl and l)ctter trained for their job than the average
teacher in these states.

7. Many of the {principals and teachers have at various
times had the opportunity to attend I lanipton or Tuskegee,
during the summer at least. Contact with these institutions
has helped them to get a new and distinct vision of what their
schools ought to be.

8. Current opinion on the part of both races regarding
their possibilities and worth not only justify every effort di-
rected towards their further study and improvement, Init the
pride in these schools, and the spirit of sacrifice and devotion
back of them, demand that they be made to fulfill the ex-
pectations of those who believe in them.

In fact, these county training schools, through the friends
they have and the confidence they enjoy, are in far better
position than the average school to correct defects and
strengthen weaknesses. They must retain the confidence they
now enjoy. They owe it to themselves, as well as to the
cause they represent, to perfect their organization so as to
accomplish the large task that awaits them.


The Origin, Growth, and Present Status of County
Training Schools.

The establishment of county training schools for Negroes
in the South dates from the session 1911-'12, at which time
four schools of this type were organized. Their early be-
ginnings and aspirations are interestingly described in an ad-
dress delivered in 1913 before the Southern Sociological
Congress meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, by Mr. B. C. Caldwell,
Field Agent of the Slater Fund. This fund from the be-
ginning has fostered and nurtured this movement. An ex-
tract from this address follows :

"At this time more than three- fourths of the Slater money
is still applied to higher and urban work. But for two or
three years past it has been experimenting with some new and
promising work in the country.

"Three years ago a parish superintendent in Louisiana ap-
plied to the Slater Fund for assistance in establishing a county
high school for Negro children. Almost at the same time a
county superintendent in Arkansas, one in Virginia and one
in Alississippi proposed substantially the same thing. It was
the purpose in each case to train teachers for the schools of
the county. Trained teachers cannot be had for the meager
salary paid country Negro teachers, and each of these superin-
tendents hoped to get a regular and fairly good supply of
teachers trained to do the work needed in that county.

"Superintendent A. C. Lewis of Tangipahoa Parish,
Louisiana, was the first to undertake to establish such a
school. He named it the Parish Training School for Colored
Children and located it at Kentwood, a little village in the
piney woods part of the parish. The parish school board
furnished the teachers and equipment, the Brooks-Scanlon
Lumber Company furnished the house and ten acres of land,
and the Slater Fund agreed to give $500 a year for three

Nkcroks in titk South 9

years. The school is now in its second year, and promises to
render valuable services to the parish.

"Three similar schools have been established : one in Newton
County, Mississippi, in which the county, the town of New-
ton, and an organization of colored people contributed, and
the Slater Fund pledged $500 a year for three years ; at Hope,
Arkansas, a town school supported by the state and local
funds, was converted into a central training school (not
county, because there is no county school body), and the
funds were raised by the town, the local cotton men, and the
white and colored citizens individually with the same Slater
contribution ; and in Sabine Parish, Louisiana, a large com-
munity school seven miles in the country was made the parish
training school, with parish authority and support, and liberal
contributions of the timber interests owning land all around
the school, with the same Slater contribution of $500 a year.

"There are no precedents to follovv^ in this work. Every
county in the South has felt the need of fairly well-trained
teachers in its Negro rural schools. But so far as we know
this is the first time that superintendents have deliberately
planned to get them by training them at home. Each county
will have to feel its way towards the end in view. All of
them are making the training schools distinctly industrial and
agricultural all the way through the course offered ; and some
are already giving class-work and handicraft of real merit.
It will take several years to work out the plan ; and local au-
thorities will give their individual stamp to it. But thus far
it looks good, and the end in view goes to the very heart of the
whole business of Negro public schools."

As the county training school idea spread to new counties
and the number increased from year to year, it became ap-
parent that a fuller and clearer description of their aims and
purposes and a more definite formulation of standards of
achievement which it was hoped these schools might reach
would be helpful to those already established and to those
that might be organized in the future. Accordingly, two of

10 County Traixixg Schools for

the state ag-ents of rural schools for Negroes connected with
state departments of education in the South were chosen to
prepare a suggested course of study for county training
schools. This w^as published by the Slater Board in 1917,^
and sets forth the aims and purposes of these schools as
follows :

''1. To supply for the county a central school offering work-
in advance of that offered in the common rural schools.

"2. To lay emphasis on thorough work in all common
school studies.

"3. To give industrial training, laying particular em[)hasis
upon subjects pertaining to home and farm.

"4. To prepare boys and girls to make a good living and
lead a useful life l)y knowing how to care for the home, to
utilize the land, to make home gardens, to raise their own
meat, poultry products, milk products, etc.

"5. To prepare young men and young women to become
rural and elementary school teachers l)y enabling them to
meet the legal requirements of the states, by giving them a
close acquaintance and sympathy with rural activities, and by
supplying such elementary training as will help them to secure
the best results in this work."

Aid from Phil.vntiiropic BoAiiDs and Agencifs Outside


In granting financial aid to training schools, philanthropic
boards have always helped local school boards to carry out
their own aims and policies for the development of these
schools. In order to accomplish their general aims and pur-
poses, it has been necessary to make such conditions for
granting aid as would best insure permanence and success.
The conditions have invariably been few and liberal in order
to give remote and poor counties a fair opportunity to meet
them. The conditions under which the Slater Board has

1. Slater Fund, Charlottesville, Va., Occasional Papers, No. 18.

Negroes in the South U

given aid are set clown in the Report of the John F. Slater
Fund for 1920, as follows:

"The offer of the Slater Fund was to give $500 for salaries
of teachers on the following conditions, which have been
maintained from the first :

"1. The school property shall belong to the state, county, or
district, and the school shall be a part of the public school

"2. There shall be an appropriation for salaries of not less
than $750 from public funds raised by state, county, or dis-
trict taxation.

"3. The length of term shall be at least eight months.

"4. The teaching shall extend through the eighth year, with
the intention of adding at least tw'o years as soon as it shall
be possible to make such extension."

It is the hope of the Slater Fund that its appropriations to
individual schools may be discontinued after these schools
have become well organized, and the public school boards
support them altogether. The Slater Fund, therefore, at-
tempts to supply its appropriations on the following diminish-
ing scale : $500 per year for the first three years ; $250 per
year for the next two years; and $100 for needed equipment
after the expiration of the five years.

In 1913-'14, the General Education Board adopted the
policy of aiding the county training schools to buy equipment,
including furniture, industrial equipment for boys' and girls'
industries, and libraries, and later assisted in building
teachers' homes and dormitories. In 1920, an appropriation was
made to assist in paying salaries of teachers in county training
schools, in order to assist school boards to raise the standard
of the teaching force in these schools. The amount was
made large enough for 1920-'21 to enable local school boards
to pay as minimum salaries, $1,000 a year for principals,
and $500 a year for assistant teachers, and the understanding
is that this appropriation diminishes by one-fifth of the

12 County Training Schools for

original amount each year, and is discontinued after the fifth
year. This condition virtually sets a minimum salary standard
for new county training schools.

A philanthropic board which has contributed towards the
development of the county training schools is The Julius
Rosen wald Fund, which has not only given money towards
the building of schoolhouses and teachers' homes for county
training schools, but has helped to supply standards for these
buildings and to make them modern, sanitary and convenient.
The records up to April, 1922, show that 52 county training
schools in 10 states have received from this source. $60,325
towards the building of school houses at a total cost of
$577,181 and 19 training schools in 9 states have received
$18,565 towards the construction of teachers' homes at a
total cost of $55,680.

The Growth of County Training Schools.

During the past ten years training schools have grown from
4 to 142 in number, the teaching corps from 20 to 848
teachers and the amount expended annually for salaries
from $5,344 to $478,334.- The amount invested in training
school plants grew in 10 years from $28,760, invested in the
school plants of the first four schools, to $1,590,262, which
represents the value of the 142 plants in 1920-'21, the average
expenditure being $2,781 per session at the beginning, as
against $7,097 ten years later. ^ The location of training
schools for 1922 is shown on the attached map.

The spread of the county training school idea shows in-
creasing interest as well as a distinct achievement in Negro
education. A study of this kind, however, must concern it-
self, not alone with the total growth in number and support,
but also with the progress of these schools towards the ac-
complishment of the specific aims for which they were
organized. To measure such progress, it is necessary to

2. See appendix. Table I.

3. See appendix, Table II.

Negroes in ttie South ' 13

compare the training schools as they are in one session with
the same training schools as they are at a later session. The
very recent origin of all of the schools and their checkered
careers in their early stages make it difficult to present or to
give too much weight to the results of such a comparison.
Five years ago only 27 schools existed and some of these have
fallen by the wayside. In order to get a sufficient number of
schools to make such a comparison worth while, it is not
possible to go back farther than three years. The records of
48 training schools for the session 1917-'18 and the records
of the same schools for 1920-'21 offer a basis for such a

The number of teachers in the schools compared has in-
creased by 20%. The number of pupils has increased by only
14%. Since this implies that the average number of pupils
to the teacher has decreased, the comparison indicates a slight
improvement in one of the most serious handicaps from
which Negro schools suffer, — their overcrowded condition.
One teacher had in 1917-18 an average of 45 pupils, whereas
in 1920-'21, one teacher had 43 pupils. In studying the records
of individual schools, however, we find that in 19 out of 46
schools, the average number of pupils per teacher has actually
increased in three years and in only 20 of the 46 schools is
there found an average of fewer than 40 pupils to the teacher.
These 46 schools present great variation in the number of
pupils per teacher, the range of the average number varjang
from 18 in a Kentucky training school to 85 in one of the
schools in South Carolina. Three of the schools have lost
teachers in three years, although they have gained pupils.
Thus, although the tendency of the whole group of 46 schools,
with respect to the number of teachers and number of pupils
per teacher, is towards a higher standard, and although more
than one-half of this group of schools shows progress along
this line, the records show that approximately 43% of these
schools have failed to advance in this respect in three years.

4. See appendix. Table III.

14 County Training Schools for

Are more high school pupils found in the training schools
in 1920-'21 than in 1917-'18? The number of high school
pupils in these schools has increased by 14%. Since the
whole number of pupils has increased at the same rate, it mav
be said that the high school department is holding its own.
It was hoped in the beginning, because of the purposes these
schools were designed to serve, and l)ecause of the lack of
opportunity for high school training offered in other Xegro
schools, that the enrollment in the high school departments
would increase at a larger rate than the enrollment in the
schools. It is probable that the explanation of their failure
to do so may be found in the fact that the schools are too new
to have made their influence greatly felt ; that the location of
the early training schools in the open country and the drift
away from the country towards the city has affected high
school attendance ; and that training schools have had difficulty
in supplanting the small local schools and in overcoming the
local pride in some of these schools. Perhaps, too, 1920-'21
was an abnormal year in that many boys and girls who should
have been in schools were needed on the farms. It may be said
further that 1920-'21 was the first session in which the marked
salary increase for training school teachers went into effect
and the influence of a teaching corps distinctly superior to
that of the average school could have had no effect upon the
attendance. The fact that the upper grades of the training
schools are not filling up rapidly, however, presents before the
supervisors, principals, and teachers of these schools the
task of advertising and using every legitimate means to call
the attention of all of the citizens to the advantages offered by
the training schools.

The larger investment in the training schools justifies the
expectation of larger returns. The total value of these
school plants increased in three years by 75'^/c and nearly 90%
of the schools shared in this larger investment. Twenty per
cent, more teachers were employed and the amount spent on
salaries was increased by 113%. The average salary in 48

Negroes in the South 15

schools has increased from $382.40 per year to ^676.74, an
increase of 77^/^ in the average salary. The state reports of
8 of the states in which county training schools are located
show that the average salary for Negro teachers for 1919-'20
was well below $300 a year. Under these circumstances,
training schools enjoy an unusual oi)portunity to secure
superior teachers.

It is worth while to note that the increase in salaries has not
come solely from the generous donations of the Slater Fund
and the General Education Board. The average amount per
training schools for salaries from public funds has steadily
increased. It is true that a larger proportion of teachers'
salaries was paid by philanthropic boards in 1920-'21 (26%)
than in 1917-'18 {23%) ^ but this does not indicate that the
training schools are growing more dependent upon outside aid
than formerly. The per cent, of increase of salaries from public
funds from 191 7-' 18 to 1920-'21 was 107%. It must be
remembered, too, that 1920-'21 was the session in which the

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Online LibraryLeo Mortimer FavrotA study of county training schools for negroes in the South → online text (page 1 of 6)