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Title:Call school: A history of rural education in the Midwest to 1918
Author(s):Theobald, Paul Gilbert
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Anderson, James D.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):History, United States
Education, History of
Abstract:This thesis is an attempt to provide a balanced account of the history of the one-room country school experience in the states of the Middle West prior to 1918. It begins with an attempt to discover how the people of Midwest farming neighborhoods viewed the world around them and the place of formal education therein. In particular, the rural traditions of pietism, localism, and pastoralism are examined as major components of agrarian ideology. Each in a significant way suggests that rural people often believed there were limitations to the benefits of common schools.
Additionally, the thesis provides a basis for understanding the political economy of Midwest agrarian society. The prerequisites for acquiring title to a farm and maintaining a successful farming operation are discussed in detail, along with the impact of these factors on rural schools and rural school attendance. The thesis argues that in order to make sense of the country school experience one must understand the interplay of agrarian ideology and political economy.
Research in six different Midwestern states at state and local archives yielded most of the data for the last three chapters and conclusion of the thesis. The record of learners, teachers, and school board men in the rural Midwest demonstrates that rural resistance to state-level centralization and educational reform was not grounded, as some have claimed, in sentimental allegiance to local democracy. Rather, this resistance was the logical result of agrarian views of the world and the circumstances required to own land, cultivate it, and pass it on to the next generation.
Special emphasis is reserved for the rural reception of the educational initiatives of Theodore Roosevelt's Commission on Country Life. Data provided in this thesis demonstrates that the Country Life movement was not a plot to impose an urban model on rural schools, as some historians have suggested. To the contrary, "Country Lifers" were very much interested in preserving rural society in the face of increasing urbanization and immigration through distinctly rural schools.
Issue Date:1990
Rights Information:Copyright 1990 Theobald, Paul Gilbert
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9026335
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9026335

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