Wisconsin. Dept. of Public Instruction.

Suggestive studies of school conditions; an outlined study in school problems for women's clubs, parent-teacher associations and community organizations online

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Suggestive Studies
of School Conditions

Issued by

C. p. CARY

State Superintendent

Suggestive Studies of School Conditions

An Outlined Study in School Problems for
Women's Clubs, Parent-Teacher Associ-
ations and Community Organizations

prepared by

Janet R. Rankin

School Service Secretary

State Department of Education

"As long as the schools depend on public indorsement
for their maintenance, why not court suggestions for
improvement from the public?"

— William McAndrew

Issued by


State Superintendent


D. of D.
SEP 22 1916


Sectwn P^^'

Introduction .• ••—

General Remarks and Cautions

How to Form a" Parent-Teacher Association

A Suggested Constitution

Suggestions for Work with the Schools

Parent-Teacher Association Library

I. The School and the Community 9

1. What Does the School Do for the Home?

2. What Can the Home Do for the School?

3. Nationalities in the Schools

4. The Social Center <

5. Illiteracy

6. The Newspaper as Community Agent

7. Community Agencies of Detriment

8. Consolidation

9. Vacation Employment for Children

II. The School ChUdren 15

1. The Census

2. Reasons for Not Attending School

3. Industries and Training

4. Why Leave School and Do Nothing?

5. Enrollment and Attendance

6. Distance of Children i^rom School
"7. Over Age

8. Non-Promotions

HI. Pupil Health and Hygiene 22

1. General Remarks

2. Nutrition — ^The School Lunch

3. Sleep and Fresh Air

4. Teeth, Hair, Eyes, Ears, etc.

5. Communicable Diseases

6. The School Nurse

IV. Physical Conditions 29

L Location

2. BuUding

3. Heating and Ventilation

4. Sanitation, Seating, etc.

5. Cleanliness

6. Conclusions

V. School Beautification 41

1. Cleanliness of Grounds

2. Beauty of Grounds

3. School Gardening

4. Indoor Decoration

VI. The School Library 45

1. Library Housekeeping

2. Number and Sort of Books

3. The Use of Books

4. Cooperation with Public Library

iv Suggestive Studies of School Conditions

VII. The School Teacher 49

1. Length of Service

2. Reasons for Leaving

3. Relation of Teacher to the Community

4. Supervision of Teachers

5- Training of Teachers •

6. Salaries of Teachers

7. Number of Pupils per Teacher

VIII. Kindergarten 5;5

1. Facts about Kindergartens

2. The Establishment of a Kindergarten

3. The Work of the Kindergarten

4. The Montessori Method

5. Benefits of the Kindergarten

IX. The Lower Grades, 1 to 4 56

1. Sub-primary

2. Reading — First grade

3. Reading — Other Primary Grades

4. Arithmetic

5. Seat Work

6. Writing and Spelling

7. The Day's Program

X. Upper Grades, 4 to 8 60

1. Textbooks

2. Class Work and Study

3. Training for Citizenship

4. Examinations

5. Subject Contests

6. Correlation of School Work and Life

7. Miscellaneous

XL Discipline and Moral Instruction 65

1. Moral Instruction

2. The Rule of Fear

3. Truancy and Lying

4. Military Training

5. School Discipline

6. Self-Government

7. Thrift

XII. Industrial Work 70

1. Vocational Survey

2. Establishment of Agriculture

3. Administration of Agriculture

4. Manual Training

5. Domestic Science

6. Commercial Work

7. Vocational Guidance

XIII. Recreation 75

1. Supervision of District Facilities

2. Playground and Equipment

3. Parl^, Vacant Lots, Alleys, etc.

4. The Movies

5. Other Forms of Commercial Amusement

6. Recreational Clubs

Index v

XIV. The High School 78

1. Elimination

2. Resident and Nonresident Pupils

3. Th3 Town and Union High Schools

4. The Six-Six Plan

5. Dropped, Failed, and Promoted

6. The High Sthool Alumni

7. Work for High School Students

8. School Athletics and Contests

9. Clubs and Organizations
10. High School Boys and Girls

XV. Higher Educational Organizations 84

1. Our Contribution to Higher Education

2. Department of Public Instruction

3. The Extension Division

4. Free Library Commission

5. Normal Schools and County Superintendent

6. The National Bureau

7. Other General Agencies

XVI. School Finances 87

1. Taxes

2. Analysis of School Income

3. Analysis of School Expenditures

4. Unit Costs

5. School and Other Civic Activities

6. Cost of Recommendations

7. Budget

XVII. The School Exhibit 94

Appendix on, Method 96


Plale Page

I. School and Home Cooperation 10

II. The Opposing Forces 13

III. Over Age 20

IV. A Health Code 23

V. Home Lunch Menus 25

YI. School Lunch Menus 26

VII. Poor Lighting Conditions 34

VIII. Let There Be Light \ 35

IX. Scrubbing Standards 37

X. Schoolroom Lighting 38

XI. Schoolroom Lighting 39

XII. The School Library 47

XIII. Number Pupils Per Teacher 52

XIV. The Kindergarten .'. 55

XV. The School and Other Agencies 63

XVI. School Savings Banks 68

XVII. The Agricultural Course : 71

XVIII. Elimination 79

XIX. Five Wisconsin Cities 88

XX. V^here the School Dollar Goes 91

XXI. Children Failed and Promoted 97

XXII. The Cost of Non-Promotions 100


General -Remarks and Cautions

The tactfully managed parent-teacher association or women's club
cooperating with teachers and superintendents, considering problems of
importance in education, can do perhaps more good to local schools than
any other agency. The schools form the largest single institution in a
given locality. Teachers and superintendents change often. Mothers have
a personal interest in the individual children to a degree that teachers,
in the nature of the case, cannot have. The school board frequently does
not have time to go into the details of school work as the interest of the
members would make them wish to do.- The parents' club can study school
conditions intelligently and tactfully and make suggestions which cannot
but lead to their improvement.

There are, however, grave dangers to be avoided in the formation and
management of a parent-teacher association. In the first place, it must not
become the organ of any faction in the district. All the parents must be
invited to belong and invitations to attend must be sent out regularly,
perhaps through the school children, for universal attendance. The prin-
cipal or superintendent should be made an integral part of the club — an
officer, if possible.

Clubs making school studies must always take care not to appear med-
dlesome or interfering, but must use tact and seek opportunities for service
rather than occasions for criticism.

Ho^v to Form a Parent-Teacher Association

1. Consult with teacher, principal, or superintendent with regard to
the formation of such a club, and also discuss the matter with representa-
tive citizens.

2. Let the teacher and club organizers decide on a simple program,
including exercises by school children.

3. Let children write invitations (in grade language work) to parents
and other citizens; let the teacher see citizens and notify them to attend
and let parent organizers urge attendance and interest.

4. On the day of meeting, have exercises by the children, and explain
the necessity and value of the parent-teacher association.

5. Let friends approached beforehand start a discussion. Have the
ounty superintendent, or other outside educational official, attend and
speak, if possible.

6. Elect a temporary secretary and temporary chairman authorized to
appoint a constitution committee to report at the next meeting; also to
make a tentative program and to secure speaker for the next meeting.

4 Suggestive Studies of School Conditions

7. Fix time of the next meeting; take names of persons present and
interested; ask i)ersons attending to work out suggestions for club studies;
make copies of this pamphlet and others available to all interested to
glance over.

8. At second meeting, adopt constitution, elect permanent ofTicers,
listen to an outside speaker, and arrange important lines of work. Write
Department of Public Instruction, giving information of organization and
asking for Educational News Bulletin. Write Corresponding Secretary,
Wisconsin Branch, National Congress of Mothers and Parent-Teacher

A Suggested Constitution


This organization shall be known as the Parent-Teacher Association of
the public school.


The purpose of this association shall be to study the welfare of the child
in home, school and community; to create a better understanding between
parents and teachers, and to secure cooperation between parents and
teachers in all endeavors and efforts for the betterment of school, home
and community.

ARTICLE III— Membership

Any person interested in the purpose for which this organization is
formed, participating in its activities by work, by attendance, contribu-
tions or otherwise, may be a member of this association.

ARTICLE IV— Officers

The officers of this organization shall be President, Vice President,
Secretary, Treasurer, and Press Secretary, to be elected annually, at the
meeting in the month of

ARTICLE V— Meetings

The regular meetings of this organization shall be held on the

afternoon (or evening) of each month. Special meetings shall be called by

(It is not advisable to hold meetings too

often. Once in two weeks or a month is suggested.)

ARTICLE VI— Amendments

This constitution may be amended at any annual meeting, or by unani-
mous consent at any regular meeting when previous notice has been given
at a regular meeting that such change,is,to be proposed and acted upon.


In the By-Laws provide for these matters; Dues, duties of officers,
committees, ways of paying bills, auditing of accounts, an onler of business,
and the adoption of some standard rules of order to govern business pro-

Introduction 5

Suggestions for Work with the Schools

1. Offer the services of the club to the superintendent or principal to
make any study which he or she may deem valuable and necessary. The
school ofTicials know perhaps better than anyone else in what things your
school needs help, and the olub will do better to follow their suggestions
than to take up a line of work on its own initiative. It may be well to
appoint the superintendent and principal on the program committee to
decide on the course of study for the club.

2. It is most important that the first meeting of this association be
made successful. This will set a standard for further meetings to attain
and surpass.

3. In making each study determine

(1) Standards to attain.

(2) Local facts.

(3) What can be done by club, teachers, school children, school

board, vote of citizens, etc.

(4) Who will see that it is done.

4. Try to make the club include the fathers as well as the mothers. Be
sure that the school board is an integral part of the club; that its members
speak frequently and are always invited to attend. It will be found that
alternating afternoon and evening meetings will make it easier to secure
the attendance of the fathers and other business men.

5. Make dues as small as possible. Provide for expenses through enter-
tainments where necessary.

6. A suggested arrangement for club officials is as follows:
President — a mother

1st Vice President — a father
2nd Vice President — a teacher
Recording secretary — a teacher
Corresponding secretary — a mother
Treasurer — a father.

7. Bear in mind that few, if any, clubs will find it possible to complete
the work of this outline in a year. It is better to do a small part thoroughly
than to try to cover the entire ground hastily.

8. Do not let a few people provide all the discussion. Give every member
a real work to do and try to bring in outsiders and "stay-at-homes", men
and women, wherever possible. Get the butcher and the postmaster for
active members as well as the minister and the professional man.

9. Make teachers and principals feel that it is is their association and
that the work taken up is work for them. In each section study try to have
one or more teachers involved but be sure not to overwork them.

10. The press secretary is one of the most important members of the-
club. He or she should be a person of energy and should have an eye for
news. This secretary should arrange with the local editors for regular
newspaper space in which to report association meetings and findings in a
live and interesting manner. The press secretary is also invited to send
items to the Educational News Bulletin.

11. Hold meetings in the schoolhouse. (See Social Center Laws in 1915
School Code). Have a desk and library corner at the school in which to
keep club material.


12. Let each study produce a constructive chart graphically showing
conditions. At the end of the year's work, liold an annual school exhibit.
(See section 17, The School E:xhibit.)

115. Follow educational legislation through each session of the State
Legislature. This will be possible through the local paper, or a study of
the Educational News Bulletin, or one of the larger Wisconsin newspapers.

14. Analyze each study made involving expenditure or economy to find
out the amount which it will cost or the amount which it will save for the
schools. (See section 16, School Finance.)

Iv). It may be well to have a council appointed consisting of the super-
intendent or principal, one or two members of the school board, and the
president of the club, to review each study before it is presented at an
association meeting. This plan is found to be practicable in some Wisconsin

16. In taking up an individual study, a suggested method of procedure
is the following: Assign each of the topics under any given section to a
committee of three, appointing a chairman and letting him or her choose
the other two members. Let each chairman of a committee be a member
of the committee for the topic following, so that there is a continuity
among the different groups making the studies, so that recommendations
will not be too widely dissimilar. Each topic will probably form the center
of discussion for one meeting. In some cases, it may be that two topics
can be taken up.

17. In every study undertaken, the constructive idea should be kept
in mind. Do not criticise without offering alternatives and try to criticise
only in cases where it is entirely necessary. Examine the charts to see that
none of them contain condemnation of existing conditions without sug-
gestions for bettering them.

18. Be sure that in each study made the club shows the teacher or school
ofiicer the respect and consideration which is his due.

Parent-teacher Association Library

The pamphlets here listed should be in the possession of each parent-
teacher association making these studies. It will be found that the best
way to procure them will be to have the school children in the upper
grades write for them as part of their practice in composition and letter
writing. It is suggested that all these bulletins be sent for at the beginning
of the club study, be checked off the list as they arrive and that follow-up
letters be sent where bulletins are not immediately available. The books
mentioned are suggested for, but are not indispensable.

1 Biennial Reports 1912-14 and 1914-16, Department of Public In-
struction, Madison, Wisconsin.

2 Copies of this bulletin.

3. School Code, Department of Public Instruction, Madison, Wis-

4. State Blue Book, Superintendent of Public Property, Madison,

5. Bulletins and reports of the Wisconsin branch, National Congress
of Mothers and Parent-teacher Associations. (Corresponding secretary,
Miss Elizabeth Marshall, 40 Prospect Ave., Milwaukee, Wisconsin).

Introduction 7

6. Educational News Bulletin, Department of Public Instruction,
Madison, Wisconsin.

7. Farmers' Bulletin, "School Lunches," U. S. Department of Agri-
culture, Washington, D. C.

8. Write U. S. Bureau of Education, Washington, D. C, for their most
recent bulletin containing a list of former bulletins from which your
association may select thoSe that it will find most valuable. Those to be
used in this study are— Bulletin 1914, No. 28 on the Kindergarten; Bulle-
tin, 1914, No. 30 Consolidation; Bulletin 1915, No. 20, Bural School
System of Minnesota.

9. Bulletin "The School Beautiful," Department of Public Instruction,

10. Rules on the Sanitary Care of Schools, State Board of Health,
Madison, Wisconsin.

11. Building Codes for New and Existing Buildings, Industrial Com-
mission, Madison, Wisconsin.

12. "Seattle Children in School and Industry," Board of School Di-
rectors, Seattle, Washington.

13. "Over Age and Progress in the Public Schools of Dayton," Bureau
of Municipal Research, Dayton, Ohio.

14. Report on Salaries and Living Conditions in Oshkosh, Wisconsin
Principal D. H. Wright, Merrill School, Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

15. Fire prevention bulletins. Fire Marshal, Madison, Wisconsin.

16. School Survey of San Antonio, City superintendent, San Antouio,

17. City Survey, Superintendent of city schools, Ft. Leavenworth,

T. .\^- Bulletins issued by the Wisconsin Anti-Tuberculosis Association
Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

19. Samples of the Courtis Tests, World Book Co., Yonkers-on-
Hudson, New York.

20. The Township Library List, Department of Public Instruction,
Madison, Wisconsin.

21. Bulletins issued by the Self Government Committee. Write
Richard Welling, 2 Wall St., New York City.

22. Bulletin on Play-ground Apparatus, Fresno State Normal School,
Fresno, California.

23. General bulletins issued by all agencies described in section 15,
"Higher Educational Organizations."

24. Bulletin on budget making, issued by Bureau of Municipal Re-
search, New York City.

25. High Spots in New York City Schools— 50c. Institute for Public
Service, Chamber St., New York City.

26. The Public and its School, Wm. McAndrew, 50c. World Book Co.,
Yonkers-on-Hudson, New York.

Books to Buy:

27. "Helping School Children," by Elsa Dennison, published by Harper
& Bros., New York City. ' i' y i

28. "Educative Seat Work," by E. F. Worst and Edna Keith. Thomas
Charles Co., Chicago, 1913-144 p. Price 75 cents.

29. Madison Recreational Survey, 50 cents. Write Board of Commerce,
Madison, Wisconsin.

30. Boy Scouts' Handbook. Grosset & Dunlap, New York City. 422 p.
50 cents.

31. "Child Study and Child Training," by William B. Forbush,
$1.00. Scribner, New York City. 320 pp.

32. Books may be obtained on payment of postage from the Wisconsin
Free Traveling Library, Madison, Wisconsin, on any subject which tliis
club may take up. Bulletin and pamphlet materials available by writing
the package library, extension division, Madison, Wisconsin.

8 SuGGi:sTivb; Studies of School Conditions

List of Wisconsin State Department Bulletins Available on Request

AgricuUure for Rural Schools
Arbor and Bird Day Manual
Common School Manual
Consolidation Bulletin
Domestic Science for Country

High School Library List
High School Manual
How to Have a Good Schof^l
Lessons on the Use of the School

Memorial Day Annual
Report of Committee of 15 on Rural

Requirements and Suggestions for

State Graded Schools
School Beautiful
School Code
School Hygiene
Social Center Bulletin
State Graded School Manual

Suggestions on the Teaching of

Tentative course of study in
Geography, History, and Civics
The Superintendent and Superin-

Township Library List
Suggestions to High Schools
Official School Directo-y
Great White Plague
Library Accession Book
History and Handbook of Day

Schools for the Deaf
Teachers' Training Course Bulletin
Biennial Report
Library Loan Record Book
Sr.fety Primer
Hebinding pamphlet
Six-Six plan
Industrial bulletins


1. What Does the School Do for the Home?

The school is the agency society has established specifically for the pur-
pose of educating and training the child for life among his fellows. Among
other agencies which train the child are the home itself, the street, the
church, and work or occupation. The school touches every part of a child's
life, and if efficient, tends to give him the rounded training necessary for
his subsequent life as a citizen.

Through discussion, compile a list of the things the school can do and
does do for the home. (See Plate I). How would homes be different if
schools did not exist? In what ways have the local schools affected your

Discuss the service of the school in these directions:

a. Training to earn a living. In what way will the school help in each
of a number of trades and occupations? Discuss its service in training in
mathematics, in English, in handwork, etc. Are there any trades in which
school training does not help a boy or girl?

b. Training for citizenship. (Development of patriotism, knowledge
of American government and institutions, history of the country, etc.)

c. Training for home relations (courtesy, neatness, school credit for
home work*, home efficiency in domestic science and manual training,
goo^ habits in the home, etc.)

d. Training for culture (look up definition of culture in the dictionary,
and also discuss culture defined as the instinct of workmanship, which
leads a person to take pleasure in doing any piece of work well even though
there is no financial return for it.)

e. Other ways.

Let each member of the committee making this study, who has a child
who has completed the elementary school, give a talk on "What the School
Has Done for My Child." Call for a talk on "What the School Should
Give the Child" from local business men and also for impromptu talks
along this line from other club members.

2. What Can The Home Do For The School?

In order to make a valuable member of society of the school child, there
must be a preliminary training to give the child a right foundation for his
school work. The child coming from a home where there are good standards
of health, character, harmony and freedom will ordinarily do better in
school than the child coming from a home of the opposite sort. The home
must understand school requirements as to study, conduct, etc., and see
that children conform to these.

Calculate the division of the child's time per week between home and
school. Which has the greatest time influence on the average child?

•See bulletin "Civic and Social Work in Country Communities," or write your
county superintendent.

10 Suggestive Studies of School Conditions


What Wai They Be
When They Grow Up?

To Make Good Citizens


picture of




picture of


Must Cooperate



The School and the Community 11

Get the primary teacher to speak on the topic, "What Habits Children
Should Have Formed on Entering the Primary Grade." These may be
classified as habits of obedience, of neatness, of cheerfulness, etc. etc.

In the light of each of the ideals of service which the school of today
is seeking to render, (see topic 1), discuss how the home can help the school.

Discuss how the home hiay help the school by

a. School visiting. Has your school had a "Go To School Day"? One
school holds a session yearly in late afternoon or early evening, so that
fathers, as well as mothers, may attend and see school. Have you seen
the regular work of your school, as well as special programs?

b. Through the formation of right habits in children.

c. Financially, by giving material aid to increase school equipment and
make possible more efficient work.

d. Through interest and encouragement, finding out what the teachers
and superintendent need, and trying in every way to cooperate with them
to make the school the best possible.

3. Nationalities in the Schools

The school has a distinct problem with regard to the mixture of races
to be found in most American communities. It is an agent for Americaniz-
ing foreign children, as well as their parents.

In how many homes is a foreign language spoken? Is there then a
problem with regard to the number of foreign children in the local schools?
What can the school do for the children of foreign parents to make them
as fully American citizens as possible? How can the school reach the
parents in order to help them?

4. The Social Center

In Wisconsin country schools during 1914-15, 21,415 meetings were held
in school buildings besides 2893 in high schools. The school has always had
an opportunity in bringing the people of the community together for

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