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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etc. Make a list of the number of people in each profession or vocation.
What is the predominating interest of the district? WHiat sort of special
industrial work should be stressed in the school?

2. Establishment of Agriculture*

How many pupils in the 7th and 8th grades and in the high school
come from farms? How many 8th grade or high school graduates work on
farms? Extend this study to the graduates for the past ten years to see
what part the farm plays in the vocational needs of the local school grad-

Make a list of boys not attending school who are below 20 years of age.
How many of these are working on farms? How many would attend an
agricultural course were it given?

Have the teachers ask the boys in school how many of them would take
an agricultural course if the school offered such work. Show results graph-
ically as in plate XVII.

3. Administration of Agriculture

Care must be taken after a course in industrial education is established
to see that it is fitted to the needs of the special work. How much time is
si)ent on the study of agriculture in the separate grades and high school?

*To be used in communities where there is need for an agricultural course. The
outline followed here for agriculture in connection with industrial work of some
other nature may be used to work up an argument for introducing courses in manual
training, domestic science, commerce, etc. Use data secured from topic 1.

Industrial Work 71


Of 243 high school boys having graduated from our town schools
167 are on farms

Of 97 boys under 20 not enrolled
53 are on farms

Of 121 boys in school
64 would like work in agriculture

A course in agriculture would
Make better farmers
Keep boys in school
Increase interest in studies



72 Suggestive Studies of School Conditions

In which grades is it ofTered? Ask the fathers of all boys who are taking
agricultural work; (a) What should be accomplished in this work, (b) Of
what value they think it is; (c) What suggestions they wish to make for
alterations in or additions to the course of study?

What per cent of the pupils are carrying on home or individual projects
in agriculture? Is there a variation in these projects and do any of them
mean a commercial profit for the children en-gaged in them?

If an agricultural department is in operation, continuous services ol a
special teacher is very necessary for a period of at least three years. Is
the contract made for more than one year with this teacher? Many schools
make a three year contract with the proviso that the agricultural teacher
may be discharged at the end of any year if reasonable cause is found.
The agricultural teacher should be hired for 11 months. Is this the case
with the local teacher? If so, what account does he render of work done
in the summer? Each boy in the course should be carrying on project
work and the teacher should visit each one several times during the
summer spending a day or two on each visit. Is a school plot operated?
This should not be attempted without provision for summer supervision.

Does the local school have contest clubs for the stimulation of agricul-
tural activities? Can the parent-teacher association start a county con-
test offering a small prize? Does the school take part in county contests?
Has a school fair or exhibit been held? Such a harvest festival is valuable
to show the more spectacular results of the year's work in agriculture and
to bring citizens into touch with this branch of the school work. Discuss
plans and advantages of such a festival and offer cooperation to principal
and teacher in planning and executing one.

Would there be a demand for a year course or a winter term course in
your school? The state law authorizes a number of each. There are about
11 altogether being held in the state at this time. Look up provisions for
these courses in the School Code.

Have any "Farmers' Week" programs been arranged in your vicinity?
These may be organized under a national law which is administered in
Wisconsin by the agricultural college of the University of Wisconsin.
These weeks are frequently arranged by principals or agricultural teachers.

4. Manual Training*

In what grades is manual training offered?

Number of students taking manual training?

Amount of equipment?

Cost of equipment?

How furnished?

What articles have been made during the year?

What repair work has been'done?

What home work for school credit?

Of the articles made how many are for personal use?

For the school?

For the home?

Where, if any where, is the equipment lacking?

How much time a week is given to the work?

From what studies is this time taken?

Do children like the work.'

*In case there is need for the establishment of courses in manual training, do-
mestic science, commercial or other industrial lines, practically the same pro-
cedure should he followed as that outlined in topic 2 concerning the establishment
of agriculture. This topic presupposes the presence of the course.

Industrial Work 73

Get the teacher of manual training to speak on this subject. For sug-
gestions and information regarding manual training, address J. M. Dorrans,
Department of Public Instruction, Madison, Wisconsin. If there is no
school credit for home work, it may be that this can be introduced by the

5. Domeslic Science

In discussing the universality of need for industrial subjects which
will benefit boys, the fact is often lost sight of that practically all girls
except such as enter the professions of teaching, clerking, etc., will need
to know the principles and practice of domestic science, or home making.
This will be true even in the case of a number of girls who go into occupa-
tions for a few years and then become home makers. It is of great import-
ance to each parent to be sure that instruction given in domestic science
is full and practical. This topic covers study in a school where domestic
science has been established.

Get each mother of a girl taking domestic science to tell specifically
what value the study has been to her daughter, what articles for food or
apparel have been made at home, how many duties have been lightened,
what the daughter thinks of the study in school, and what suggestions may
be offered for its improvement. Discuss the relative advantages of good
home training in domestic science and good school training in the subject,
asking the domestic science teacher to speak on the results of school train-
ing. How can the work in school be made practical through approximating
school conditions to home conditions and through cooperating with the
home to give credit for home work? Practically the same questions as for
manual training should be answered in this topic.

6. Coramercial Work

Questions under topic 4 may be adapted to this subject. How do pupils
gain their laboratory practice ih shorthand and bookkeeping? Are posi-
tions open to graduates of the course? Why not report sermons and other
addresses for practice in stenography?

In accounting and bookkeeping, there is a mass of practical work
which school children may do for their training, such as helping store-
keepers to keep books for practice in accounting, keeping home accounts,
keeping accounts of the school, typing reports, etc. Make suggestions
to the teacher where there is a possibility of improvement.

7. Vocational Guidance

The consideration of vocational guidance has been general only within
the past few years. Collect a group of representative opinions from busi-
ness men and women in the "community on "Why I Chose the Occupation
in Which I am at Present." Group the reasons as far as possible.

Get the teacher to ask the school children to write down the names of
occupations which they would like to fill when they grow up. What idea

74 Suggestive Studies of School Conditions

do these children have of the occupation which they wish to enter? How
do they intend to train themselves for it?

Discuss the reasons why it is necessary nowadays to have a knowledge
of the several trades. Does the average boy get an insight into a number
of fields, or does he fall into the first vocation which presents itself?
Suggest to the principal that one or two representative citizens address
the children in the upper grades or high school on "My Profession — Its
Hardships and Rewards." Let the club be present and notice how the
children seem to appreciate this information. On the Township Library
List will be found a number of good books suitable for grades or high school
giving information about the various occupations.


Children in and out of school must have a large quantity of recreation
in order to keep well in mind and body. With the increasing density of
population and the distribution of people into crowded spaces, this be-
comes more and more of a problem to be solved. The city child often has
inadequate facilities to play, because there is not space and supervision.
The country child often never learns to play on account of the lack of
playmates and direction for activities. The parent-teacher association
can render valuable services by surveying the local recreation facilities
and extending these where necessary or possible.

Clubs working in a small or in a large city will find the report of the
Madison Recreational Survey (price 50c) Madison Board of Commerce,
Madison, Wisconsin, most valuable as a basis for the recreational work.
Other clubs will wish to use the free bulletin on playground apparatus,
Fresno State Normal School, Fresno, California, etc., (see list of bulletins,

1. Supervision of District Facilities

Make a complete study of the facilities for play in local town or city.
If in a city, study the density of the population per block to show the con-
gestion by wards. Are house lots and open spaces of good size? What or-
ganizations promote recreation and how far do children share in the activi-
ties of these?

- List number of parks, playgrounds, swimming pools, gymnasiums,
libraries, moving picture shows, dance halls, etc., which may be used as
recreational units for children. A few of these will be taken up one by one in
the topics to come. If others are of sufficient importance they should be
studied in somewhat the same mgnner. At the end of this study the ques-
tion should be — "How may we add to our facilities for child recreation?
How may we control and if necessary eliminate harmful agencies.'"

2. Playground and Equipment

How large is the school playground (see section 4^"Physical Condi-
tions.") How much playground apparatus is there?

During recess at several different periods observe the children. How
many of them are playing at all? What games are played and how mucli
is playground apparatus used? Do they play in the school yard or outside?
How many children stay indoors during the recess period? What part
does the teacher take in organizing and directing play? Does the teacher
ever play with the children?

76 Suggestive Studies of School Conditions

Observe or get the teacher's report on the child's recess activities on a
stormy day. What do the children do? How many games are played and
of what nature? Do all the children take part? In order that a school
may not become listless and inattentive, it is essential that much attention
should be paid to regular periods of physical exercise and game playing.

When ch'ldren are allowed to sit idle in their seats during recess on
account of the rain outside, instead of playing indoor games, singing, or
exercising in other ways, it is a direct detriment to the work of the rest
of the school day. The teacher will find also that selection of songs or
exercises of the children on different occasions will do much to tone up
to work or down to a business-like attitude when this is needed.

The activities of the club as to recreation may be divided into three

a. The club may provide playground apparatus or may encourage the
building of such apparatus by the club or public minded parents in the
community. (See Fresno bulletin). It is most important that children should
have swings, teeters, giant strides, climbing ladders, volley ball courts,
parallel bars, etc., on which to exercise and develop the physical activities.

b. The organization may also provide recreational facilities for indoor
use on stormy days. This will include balls and other game materials as
well as the purchase of a manual on indoor games which may be used by
the teacher in directing the play. Write the Anti-Tuberculosis Association
at Milwaukee for a copy of their bulletin on school games.

c. The club may encourage the school to appoint one of the teachers
director of play with duties lightened elsewhere if possible to give her time
for this work, or may agitate the providing of a recreational supervisor
for the school. Such a recreational supervisor would teach physical cul-
ture, supervise playground and recess pericd^ organize "hikes," organize
and direct boy scouts and camp fire girls' clubs. It is sometimes found
advisable to engage such a person at club expense for a short period to
demonstrate the need and possibilities of such a person to be employed
permanently by the school board.

3. Parks, Vacant Lots, Alleys, Etc.

Go about on an afternoon after school is out or on Saturday and dis-
cover where it is that children play. How many of them use the local parks?
How many use vacant lots? What alleys are used and in what cases do
children play in the streets? How can the street be eliminated as a play-
ground? What can be done to the park to make it more attractive as a
recreational center? May playgrounds be established in vacant lots where
children can go to play?

Do enough children play out-of-doors? How many go into the country
fishing, hunting, etc.? What do the girls do for recreation? It must be
remembered that girls need active outdoor sports just as much as boys and
that too often girls will be found sewing, reading, dressing dolls or talking
when their physical and mental development requires that they be climb-
ing fences, playing tag or otherwise using their developing muscles.

Recreation 77

4. The Movies

In attending the local movies find out how many children are in attend-
ance and how great a proportion of the audience is children. With these
facts in mind what can be done to make the movies a source of helpful enjoy-
ment to children? Many cities have out-door movies in the summer time
where the evils of bad ventilation are to a great extent overcome. Many
schools have a moving picture machine, often used too seldom, which shows
clean and educational films to children. Some cities exercise censorship on
the movies shown. Often agreements may be made with the proprietors
to procure films of literary or educational value or to eliminate objection-
able films. The city council may be of help in this direction. Children who
go to the movies too frequently are likely to injure their eyes, not to
mention other evil effects.

5. Other Forms of Commercial Amusement

Many communities will be found to make organized efforts to provide
helpful amusements for their young people. One Wisconsin city owns a
roller skating rink where for a nominal admission charge sufficient to
cover the cost of up-keep, children may gain helpful exercise. Another Wis-
consin city owns a municipal auditorium in which entertainments may be
given by the young people. Is anything of this sort done in your locality?

How many children of school age attend local public dances? How many
local private dances are held to which children are invited? Many villages
and cities have decided that dancing is not itself a detrimental activity,
and have organized school dances at which teachers are present as chaper-
ones in order to provide young people with this popular amusement in a
regulated form. This is, of course, more of a problem with the high school
than with the grades.

What good recreational activities may be substituted for the evil or
negative ones so that their appeal to boys will be effective? The Y. M. C. A.
the gymnasium, the boy scouts, the swimming pool, all help materially
in reducing the appeal of commercialized recreational agencies.

6. Recreational Clubs

Use a copy of the Boy Scout Handbook which should be in the local
library or should be purchased for 50c from Grosset & Dunlap, New York
City. Also write Camp Fire Girls' Association for material along this Une.
Discuss the dangers and possibilities of the boys' gang. What have gangs
done iyjT good or for evil in the locality? How does the boy scout move-
ment turn this spirit of the boys into a force for good? Discuss the ideals
and aims of the Camp Fire Girls. Can such an organization be formed in
the locality under the leadership of the teacher or principal or better of
some athletic, sympathetic and pubhc-minded adult in the community?
The young men and women not engaged in professional work are well
adapted to direct these activities.


If the parcnt-lcacher association using this bulletin has for its special
field of study the high school, it will be found that much of the work in
previous sections may be related to this problem, e. g. sections on physical
conditions, the school teacher, industrial work, etc. The topics under this
section are intended to cover studies which would not to any extent enter
into work with graded schools.

1. Elimination

Much is being written of recent years concerning the small number of
children who go through the public school system from the 1st grade
through high school. Out of 100 children entering the first grade it
is computed that a very small per cent finish a high school course. That
this percentage should be raised is one of the theses of modern educational

Follow back the records of the senior graduating class in the high school
to the first grade out of which this class was recruited.

How many and what per cent of the first grade twelve years ago are
to be found in the high school graduating class? Of the others, how many
(a) are still in local schools (b) have graduated from the local schools (c)
are still in school somewhere (d) have left school and are doing nothing
(e) have gone to work (f) are dead or lost track of? Graph these facts by
the bar or circle method. (See appendix and show graphically in a chart).

What proportion of the children entering primary grades finish high
school? Of the graduating class in the high school, how many have com-
pleted school in twelve years? How many have taken more than this lime
and how many less? For the past year and, if possible, for several years
back, find how many of the pupils graduating from the local eighth grade
have entered the high school. What proportion of all eighth grade grad-
uates go on to high schools as shown by local conditions? Is this the place
where the break comes and the greatest proportion drop out? If not, at
what point in the grades is this the case? Out of each 100 children enrolled
in the first grade, what proportion will be found in the high school? (See
plate XVIII).

Discuss possible means of keeping more children in school through the
grades from the first to the twelfth. The overage problem is vitally con-
nected with this one of elimination, as over age pupils tend to become
discouraged and drop out. Get the high school principal to talk on what
can be done to keep 100 per cent of the children in school.

2. Resident and Nonresident Pupils

As a result of the law compelling local districts not maintaining high
schools to pay tuition for such students as wish to attend high schools

♦Throughout thi.s topic, use the files of annual reports from local high school
principals to the State Department of Public Instruction, available in high school

The High School


47 out of

each 100

finish 8th




10 out of



each 100
finish high






47 children-

Grade VIII

Si children-

-Grade VII

56 children-

-Grade VI

63 children

-Grade V

6& children-

-Grade IV

6S chiidren-

-Grade III

71 children

-Grade II

105 children— Grade I






80 Suggestive Studies of School Conditions

elsewhere, there are a great number of nonresident students in the high
schools of Wisconsin. Such children should be encouraged to go to school
and the district in which they attend should try to promote their welfare.

On a county map locate the nearby high schools and in general the
district from which the local high school might draw its students. How
many schools in this district? How many graduates from eighth grade in
all of these schools at the last graduation? How many of these graduates
are to be found in the local high school or in any high school?

Does this study show that children attending schools where there is no
high school keep on in school as do children in localities where there are
high school facilities? If possible find out from one or two rural or state
graded schools in the district why children have not continued school after
graduating from the eighth grade. Do they know the advantages of high
school work? Could any one present these to them?

What is done in the locality for nonresident pupils? Are they helped to
get good living places? Do the churches do something for them? Is any
recreation provided for? Can the club help in securing work for such as
need it? It is a fact that the presence of nonresident pupils helps a town
commercially — because of the increased business resulting and education-
ally because of the better conditions possible with a larger enrollment.
Can the club encourage nonresident enrollment?

It is sometimes the case that nonresident pupils are not sufficiently
looked after to keep them out of mischief and that supervision by local
school authorities is needed. If this is the case in your locality, discuss
remedies with the principal.

3. The Town and Union High Schools

The town high school has a territory covering a full town about 36
square miles. The union high school is formed by the union of sections of
territory for high school purposes. It must include at least 36 square miles
but may be of any convenient shape and may include more than this
amount of territory. State aid is granted to both town and union high
schools. (See School Code.)

Discuss the advantages or possible disadvantages of a union high
school. If it is found that this organization would be advisable, public
meetings may be held and citizens of neighboring districts may organize
a union district according to legal steps for the erection and maintenance
of a union high school. The advantage of such a school to citizens outside
the district is that no tuition need then be paid to a district maintaining a
high school for students who may attend. The disadvantage, of course,
would be that the districts would participate in all high school expenses.

4. The Six-Six Plan

Many schools find that the twelve grades may better be organized with
a division between the 6th and 7th grades so that the 7th, 8th, and 9th
grades are organized together as an intermediate school, or a junior high
school, and the 10th, 11th, and 12th as the senior high school. A bulletin

The High School 81

published in 1916 by the Minnesota State Department of Education, St.
Paul, Minn., gives advantages and disadvantages of this system, as well
as information concerning it.

Some of the advantages are — better formed course of study, encourage-
ment of initiative on the part of pupils, encourages more secondary and
high school education, permits departmental teaching, ' enables children
to come in contact with more male teachers, holds pupil in school longer.

The disadvantages are — ^increased cost and energy necessary, lack of
specially trained teachers, throws out grammar school subjects, may
be a change in name only.

5. Dropped, Failed, and Promoted

Secure a copy of the latest report made by the high school principal
to the state departmet of public instruction. In this you will find a
record of the enrollment in each study given in the high school, the
number of pupils enrolled, those dropped, failed and promoted.

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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 7 of 9)