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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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talks, debates, lectures, concerts, etc., and it should work out this duty
as fully as possible. The best social centers depend largely on themselves
for speakers and subjects, although many outside speakers are available.

How many social center meetings were held in your school during the
past year? How successful were they? What can be done to make them
more so?

What are the advantages, racial, social, and economic, of such meetings?
Do the country people attend? How can meetings be made educational
and recreational? Frame tentative programs for meetings on school affairs,
library, new devices in housekeeping, debates on recent questions, etc.

Who can speak? Anyone who is interested in his work will have some-
thing to say. The doctor, the lawyer, miller, county superintendent,
supervising teacher, and many outside speakers are always available.
Do not use merely the speakers who are usually called upon, but be always
discovering new and interesting talkers.



12 Suggestive Studies of School Conditions

5. Illiteracy

Wisconsin, in 1915, had thirty-two persons out of every thousand ten
years of age or over, who were iUiterate, and is thirteenth among the states
in this respect. The problem of adult illiteracy may not at first seem a
very pressing one, but in every community there can be found individuals
who would be benefited by continued study of the fundamentals.

How many illiterates are there in your community? How many adults
or boys and girls, who have left school for a number of years, would be
glad to learn more of school subjects? A principal in California started
an evening class at his house at his own expense for such people. Many
city school systems include extensive night classes for people who cannot
attend school during the day. Include an item in the club newspaper
report, asking for the names of people who would like such a course and
report on it in the discussion of this topic.

6. The Newspaper as Community Agent

The modern newspaper has power to advance community betterment to
almost any extent by letting people know about conditions and needs.

What does the local newspaper do to advance community spirit? Here
is a list of some things it can do :

Run a school column written by pupils under the direction of the teacher

Advertise meetings and proceedings of parent-teacher associations

Give full notice of services in all churches

Cut out objectionable advertisements

Boost club work, school affairs, church work, civic spirit, etc.

Consult with superintendent and give publicity under his direction to
school needs.

7. Community Agencies of Detriment*

One of the functions of a constructive association for school betterment
is to eliminate the evil forces in the community as well as to formulate and
encourage the agencies of good. In many cases, an institution is an agency
of good or evil according to the way in which it is used — for example,
moving pictures may easily be made into an educative force while many
unsupervised parks, playgrounds, etc., degenerate into agencies of evil.
Not all institutions which are at times deterimental need be completely
eliminated; regulation and supervision will do much to make them into
agencies of good. Other cases may be found where regulation Avill not do,
but elimination must be made.

Make two lists — one of the community agencies of vice, one of the agen-
cies of good. How do they compare? (See plate II).

Remember that young people must have recreation. Municipally,
club, or church-owned recreation rooms, educational movies, municipal
Christmas trees, school gatherings and other celebrations, have been found
to complete successfully in variou.s localities with the agencies of harm.
The first essential is inlelligent, constructive interest on the part of the club
women, not merely to eliminate harmful agencies of amusement, but to
build up a moral equivalent which will give the recreation without the
attendant evils.



*See Section 13 "Recreatioo"



The School and the Community



13



OUR TOWN
THE OPPOSING FORCES



Insert photo-
graph of bad
conditions



Insert photograph
of church, home;
school, etc.



WHAT IS THE RESULT?
Bear in Mind

Agencies of evil

Are open all day

All organized

Advertise

Satisfy natural instincts while debasing

Agencies of good

Run part time

Fight each other often

Are not well looked after

Do not advertise

Often repress where they should satisfy

WHAT ARE THE REMEDIES?

Regulate the movies

Set age limit for pool room patrons

Develop healthful activities

Keep church and schoolhouse open

Develop municipal recreation

Boost Boy Scouts, Y. M. C. A.. Y. W. C. A., etc.



PLATE II



14 Suggestive Studies of School Conditions



8. Consolidation*

Many states have found that the consoUdation of school districts forms
an opportunity for offering better school facilities to country children than
can be obtained in the single district school. There are many advantages
and some ol),jcctions to this method. A full brief for a debate on this sub-
ject, will be found in the Educational News Bulletin for May 1916, which
may be secured from the Department of Public Instruction, Madison,
Wisconsin.

Make a study of the nearby school districts which might be consolidated.
Find out the present cost of each for operating purposes. Add these costs
together to find out the expense of running the schools separately. Now,
compute the cost of running a single consolidated school, adding transpor-
tation expenses, if necessary.

Consolidation is ordinarily more expensive, but provides better teachers,
gives better grading, more individual instruction and generally makes a
better school than the old system.

9. Vacation Employment for Children

The vacation period of a child's school year may be made most valuable,
but often is merely a time of loafing with not enough healthful activity to
keep the child happy and well. Many children would be glad to do some
light work for the summer and earn a little money, or would be interested
in gardening and other such activities. As the teachers are away from town
during the summer, the parent-teacher association has a large field of
useful activity in this direction.

Make a study of the vacation occupations of the children in the com-
munity. Find from all the parents of the children in one grade (7th or 8th)
how their children spend their summer time.

(-an a dub committee constitute itself an employment bureau, either
to find or to make renmnerative employment for such children as desire it
through the summer months? Do farmers who have good homes want the
older boys as helpers during part or all of the summer? Farm experience
is good for a boy, provided he is well cared for and not required to do work
too great for his strength.

^^■ithin the town limits, children may be given employment running
errands, sewing or cooking, caring for home gardens and selling the prod-
ucts, etc. etc. Discuss possibilities in this direction.

Bibliography

J. Adams Pufer, "Vocational Guidance"

.John M. Gillet, "Constructive Rural Sociology"

K. .1. Ward, Alderman, "The Social Center."

"School Credit for Home Work"

U. S. Bureau of Education, Americanization Letters

.1. B. Davis, "Vocational Guidance"

(Also se?. Township Library List, pages 14-15.)



♦This topic may be omitted in districts where this issue is not pressing.



SECTION II. THE SCHOOL CHILDREN



Note: The school census includes children from 4 to 20 inclusive. Those from 7
to 14, or 15 to 16 not working, are legally required to attend school (For exceptions,
see School Code). Children Iselow this, while legally permitted to attend school,
should not attend except in cases where there are kindergartens.



1. The Census

In order to ascertain the work of the schools with reference to various
groups of children, it is necessary first to make a numerical study of the
number of children involved and the different classes into which they di-
vide themselves. In making this study, it may be well to use cards for
the names of children for convenience in separating and counting. (Sec
appendix on method.)

Get a copy of the school census from the teacher, principal, or super-
intendent. Classify the children as follows:*



Total



Boys Girls



Total given by census (1458) (706) (752)

Number who have left the district since census (24) (15) (9)

Number who have moved into district since census (32) (16) (16)

Number, if any, omitted by census (0)

Revised total, boys and girls in district (1466) (707) (759)

a. Number not attending school (too young) (155) (83) (72)

b. Number attending local schools (634) (310) (324)

c. Number 7 to 14 (and 15 to 16 not working) not

enrolled (21) (8) (13)

d. Number attending higher schools outside district.... (14) (3) (11)

e. Number attending private or parochial schools (133) (60) (73)

f. Number not attending school not doing anything.... (202) (69) (133)

g. Number working — total (307) (174) (133)

Farm hand (96) (87) (9)

Clerk (11) (2) (9)

Stenographer

Etc., etc. (list other occupations)



Something may be told about the conditions of schools from these
figures and per cents. If a great many children are not attending school
without engaging in some other useful occupation, it means that the
schools are not holding pupils as they should. If there are a large number
working, it speaks well for the financial responsibility of the children but
may mean that they are not getting the education which they should have.
Discuss the bearings of these figures fully.

Make a circle or bar graph, (see appendix) divided in parts, to show
these facts, with per cents in each group, a to g. Group b should be 60
per cent of the total or more (in 1912-1.3 it was 5.5.6 per cent of the total
state census, in 1913-14, 56.2 per cent of the total census).

Make a list of the individual names coming under each classification.

♦Numbers in tables in the course of this chapter are intended to indicate an in-
dividual instance, or the figures for the state as a whole. From them, you can see
how figures should add and check.



16



Suggestive Studies of School Conditions



2. Reasons for Not Attending School

Take list c, topic 1 (number 7 to 14 not enrolled) and determine in
each case why children are not attending.

Total Boys Girls

Total (21) (8) (13)

Number with physical defects (11) (3) (8)

Number defective mentally (4) (4)

Number of truants (4) (4)

Number taught at home (2) (1) (1)

Other causes (specify) (0)

Make a graphic representation of this. What things are valid and what
might be eliminated? Make a list of valid causes for nonenrollment in
school (physical or mental defects, taught at home, etc.). What can be
done, where causes for nonenrollment do not seem valid, to bring 'children
back to the school?



3. Industries and Training*

The children who have left school to go to work (list g topic 1) should
be studied to determine what sort of work they are engaged in, how[large
a part school training plays in securing good wages and how'many children
would benefit by further school experience.

When children leave school before the close of high school, it is frequently
the case that they fall into "blind alley" jobs where the pay to begin with
is fairly good, but where there is little prospect of continuous advancement.
Many children will be found in industries who could and should be kept
in school and some will be found in occupations which tax them beyond
their strength.

Take list g, topic 1 (number ol children working). Make for each
occupation listed there a table like this:



Industry


(clerk)




No. Em-
ployed


(11)


Boys (2)


Girls


(9)




Total


No
Pay


Less

than $4

wk.


$4-7.99


$8-11.99


$12-
$15.99


$16


Total


(11)


(2*)


(3)


(4)


(1)


(1)




No school


(1)




(1**)










Left under 4th grade


(4)


(1)




(2)


(1)






Left school 5-6th
grade


(2)




(1)


(1)








Left school 7-8th
grade


(1)


(1)












Some H, S. work


(2)




(It)






(1)




Grad. H. S.


(1)






(1)








Some Coll. work

















Notes: (*Working for father **Not steady employment tWorks part time
also attends school) etc. etc.



♦Use bulletin "Seattle Children in School and Industry." Sec introduction.



The School Children 17

Is there any relation between amount of school training and amount
of pay leceived for persons twenty years of age or under, i. e., does the
person with more school training receive better wages? It may be foimd
that for people under twenty, this is not the case, as the boy who leaves
school early is apt to get fair pay when starting in.

Of the boys and girls studied under this topic, how many are in "blind
alley" jobs? How many have prospects of advancement? How many
could go to school full time, how many part time? Can the club help in
getting them to do so? *

4. Why Leave School and Do Nothing?

If there is no financial pressure, there is every reason why children under
high school graduation, or even later than this, should keep on with their
school work. Take list f, topic 1, to find out how many people listed in
the census are not attending school or doing useful work. Make a table to
show at what age these people dropped school and at what grade. Secure
the reasons why these boys and girls are not keeping on with school. If
they "don't like school," why not? Such opinions as this often contain
valid criticisms of the school system and suggestions for its improvement.
If financial reasons prevent going on to college in the case of some of this
group, what encouragement can be given them to work their own way?
(See section 15, "Higher Educational Organizations") What other reasons
given can be remedied?

5. Enrollment and Attendance

In the annual report to the Department of Public Instruction made by
the principal or superintendent will be found the enrollment in the local
schools and also the average daily attendance by pupils. This varies greatly
in different schools. In no school should it be less than 90 per cent of the
enrollment. (For the cities of the state, it was 89 per cent in 1914-15).

The child who does not attend school regularly misses a great part of
the school advantages. Let each member of the club look up the attendance
of her owii child or children to see what per cent this was of the total days
in the term. What were the reasons for nonattendance?

There are many valid reasons for nonattendance, many cases where it
is better to stay away than to attend school. Obtain from the teacher a
list of excuses that have been made in her room during the past month or
two months and analyze these to determine what main reasons keep
children away from school.

Ill schools where there is a great deal of absence, discussion of the value
of attendance should be carried on, as it is impossible for the school to
work effectively for the benefit of the child if the child does not attend
school regularly. Discuss what can be done by the club to remedy the
poor attendance in cases where this is found.

6. Distance of Children From School

It will be found a valuable study to analyze the map of the district for the
location of children of the various groups mentioned in topic 1 of this

*For a study of continuation school work, see section 12, industrial work.



18 Su(iGHSTIVE StLIDIES OF SciIOOL CONDITIONS

section. This will give data for the location of tlie school building in case
a new building is being discussed.

I'or this stiuly, get or make a map of llie school distiicl, showing
roads and natural landmarks. Place on this map dots for. the location of
children, blue for those under school age, green for those attending school,
red for those excused, black for those who have left school, etc.

A possible variation of this would be to make a circle for each home
and inside the circle place the colored dots for the number of children con-
tained therein. Such a study as this would be of value as a social survey,
showing the average number of children per family, number of families
with no children, etc. etc.

With schoolhouse as a center draw on the town map light pencil circles,
representing one-half mile, one mile, one and one-half mile, and two mile
distances. Is the school well located to serve all children enrolled?

Are there any children living over two miles from school? Such children
are by law exempted from school attendance except in districts furnishing
transportation. In the state, however, most of such children attend school.
Is this the case in the local district?

Good roads are a source of good school attendance. What is the condi-
tion of the roads in the locality and if they are poor, what can be done to
make them better?

7. Over Age

One of the greatest problems of the school is the child who is above the
normal age in a given grade. In most schools will be found children of 12,
13, or 14, who are far below the grade in which they should be according
to their age. Some schools promote children by age rather than by grades
(notably, Hibbing, Minn, and to some extent, Milwaukee, Wis.) and this
method is found to involve no poorer work on the part of the children pro-
moted. It is questionable whether the average child in a second year of
work in a single grade gets enough advantage to warrant the loss of the
year. Over age has for its only excuse mental deficiency on the part of the
child. Some of the means of avoiding it are described in plate III.

List b, topic 1, gives the total school enrollment. Separate into grades
and ages according to this form:



The_Sghool Children



19





Total


4


5

6
6


9

27

21

~3

3


7

21
2
4

15


8
19

2
15

2


9

32
1


10
35


11

49


12
41


13

40


14
35


15
33


16
32


17
24


18
9


19
13


20 yrs. or over


Total


420


4






Grade 1 ,


30



































Grade 2


9










19
8
4


14
13
6
2


2
12
14
13


1
3

10
6
6

10
5














-










Grade 3 . '


69






1
6
8
10

13

2


1
1


-


-


-


-


-




Grade 4


39



















Grade 5


36




































Grade 6


29












2
5








































Grade 7


26
















6
2


1



































Grade 8


39


11
12

3


4
8
12

7
1


1


1



























Grade 9


53














7
6
9
9


7

9
7


1

4
4


2
6
5



















-










Grade 10


25

































Grade 11


36


1



































Grade 12


29






3





























Make separate tables for boys and girls, as well as totals, if possible. See
Wisconsin Biennial Report 1912-14, pages 127-129, for state wide figures.
In your table leave out kindergarten, ungraded and special students.
Draw a circle around the number of children who are six years old in the
first grade, 7 years old in the second, 8 years old in the third, etc. — children
who are of normal age.*

Now make a table as follows: (This table interprets state data 1913-14).

OVER AGE TABLE WISCONSIN CITY SCHOOLS 1913-14





Total


Under Age


Normal


Over age




No.


Per cent


No.


Per cent


No.


Per cent


No.


Per cent


Total


143733


100


16024


11.2


51209


35.6


76500


53.2






Grade 1


22213


100


3055


13.8


10451


47.0


8707


39.2






Grade 2


16520


100


1881


11.4


6948


42.2


7691


46.4






Grade 3


15861


100


1663


10.4


5932


37.5


8266


52.1






Grade 4


15140


100


1330


■8.6


5207


34.5


8603


56.9






Grade 5


14575


100


1257


8.6


4303


29.6


9015


61.8






Grade 6


13082


100


1215


9.3


3676


28.2


8191


62.5






Grade 7


11728


100


1033


8.8


3254


27.8


7441


63.4






Grade 8


10178


100


1060


10.2


3115


30.7


6003


59.1






Grade 9


9283


100


1220


12.9


3281


35.4


4782


51.7






Grade 10


6085


100


963


15.8


1815


29.8


3307


54.4






Grade 11


5008


100


757
590


15.1
14.5


1761


35.0


2500


49.9






Grade 12


4060


100


1476


36.4


1994


49.1







*Some authorities prefer using two years instead of one, for the normal age, e. g.
6 and 7 in first grade, 7 and 8 in second, etc. Either procedure may be followed
here.



20



Suggestive Studies of School Conditions



THE CHILD WHO IS OVER AGE



Gets discouraged
Drops school
Learns little
Is harder to discipline



IN OUR SCHOOLS THERE ARE




512 or

36^0
normal




1437 children in all



THE REMEDIES ARE



Good attendance

Good instruction

Good discipline

Individual instruction

Summer or vacation schools

Ungraded rooms

Good supervision

Not too many pupils per teacher

Cooperation between home and school

Good course of study

Will to promote in teachers



plate hi



The School Children 21

Graph the over age pupil by numbers and also by per cents. Compare
with the state figures, also with those given in the city report of La Crosse
for 1914-15. Make a chart showing blocks representing those normal or
under age in outline, and those over age black. (See Plate III). Study to
find a connection between over age and dropping out of school.

8. Non-Promotions

The question of non-promotions is closely allied to that of over age, and
yet it is not the same because some children are over age from having
entered school late, while the subject of non-promotions shows retarda-
tions many of which could be helped by the school itself.

This study has been worked out in detail as a sample study in the ap-
pendix on method. The procedure followed there will show details of the
way to make a local study. Make tables by grades, fill in with the
figures from the last promotion time. Graph as in topic 7, discuss the
meaning of these figures, and possible remedies.

Get the total per cent of children failed during one year, and the total
cost of running the school for that year. What proportion of school cost
goes toward providing for the instruction of children who are repeating
grades? This amount will make an effective argument for seeking to re-
duce the number of failures.



SECTION III. PUPIL HEALTH AND HYGIENE



1. General Remarks

The best service that parents can render to the schools is to send to
thfin children with sound minds in sound bodies. The child who is
not well cannot attend school regularly. "When he does attend, he is
greatly handicai)pcd in the learning process, and this handicap is not
felt by him alone, but extends to all the children in the room. It is
not only diseases ordinarily termed "catching" which are contagious, but
also the attitude of health or disease. Each parent should see to it that
so far as possible that his or her child has a healthy body and healthy out-
look on the world; is not eternally dosed with medicine, nor neglected as to
medical or surgical treatment, but is given such healthful surroundings
that a sound condition of his body, which is its natural state, will develop
naturally. (See Plate IV).

Health is at all times to be kept in mind throughout the study of this
section, and not disease. The child who has physical defects must be
sought out and studied in order that he may be cured. But there is great
danger in such a study as this that the idea of disease will be dwelt on to
the exclusion of the more important idea of health. As the Wisconsin
State Board of Health says in its "Rules Relating to the Sanitary Care of
Schools," "sunshine, pure air, good food, and cleanliness are the best aids
to good health."

Get from the teacher in each grade the number of days which have
been missed during the past month or year on account of ill health. How
many children are there in the grades who have not for a year or more
missed a single day from school on account of sickness? It is well to re-
ward children with such good records as these with a prize of some sort.

2. Nutrition — -The School Lunch

Sufficient nourishment of the right sort makes the child immune to
much contagion and infection. Nutrition is as great a factor as can be
mentioned in the attainment of perfect health. Using the U. S. Farmers'


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Online LibraryWisconsin. Dept. of Public InstructionSuggestive studies of school conditions; an outlined study in school problems for women's clubs, parent-teacher associations and community organizations → online text (page 2 of 9)