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Consolidation of Schools

school, rural, consolidated, teachers, districts and expense

CONSOLIDATION OF SCHOOLS, the term used when two or more rural school dis tricts are made into one district, one school in one building replacing two or more small schools in several buildings. In most districts this includes the transportation of pupils to the school at the public expense, either in special vehicles provided by the school, or in private vehicles, the expense being paid by the school. The primary motive is to secure better educa tional advantages for the pupils of the rural districts. The district schools have been piti fully inadequate because their number made necessary small salaries, and therefore poor teachers and poor equipment. The plan of the consolidated school is, in brief, as follows: two, three, four or five existing school districts, each maintaining small, inefficient rural schools, vote to unite their schools, or are consolidated by some central authority. A three- or four-room schoolhouse, built on modern lines, well venti lated and heated is erected at some central location. Arrangements are made for the transportation of all of those students living at a distance. The school is organized under a principal, and often several consolidated schools unite in employing a supervising principal and teachers in special branches. The stimulus has been great.enough in many cases to instigate the formation of a high school, grade school and a specialized teaching staff. This plan of union is not possible in mountainous or sparsely populated districts. The advantages are nu merous, although at first the Middle Western States which are now the strongest supporters of the plan objected strenuously. The first im provement is to be found in the better teachers and the greater interest shown on the part of the teacher and pupil. Secondly the opportunity for the country boy or girl is made equal to that of the city pupil, on account of the in creased curriculum, the better organization and instruction and the other activities opened up for the country child. A third advantage is the

cheaper cost. The effect on the neighborhood has been to increase interest and pride in the school and the stimulating of effort to provide better trustees, teachers and equipment. The objections, that the consolidated school is im practical, burdensome to the children, and de preciates value of theproperty near which the school formerly stood, have been removed slowly by experience, and the consolidated school has become a well-recognized institu tion both in the United States and Canada.

The movement began in New York State in 1853, when an act was passed permitting consolidation, known as the Union School Law, incorporated as Title IX of the Consolidated Act of 1864. Massachusetts followed next, and the movement spread rapidly. The North Central States have made excellent progress in consolidation; and nearly every State has some provision for union schools.

Bibliography.— Monohan, A. C., dation of Rural Schools and Transportation at Public Expense' (with bibliography in Bulletin 1914, No. 30, U. S. Bureau of Education) ; Martin, G. H., of Children to School in Massachusetts' (in Educational Re view, February 1894, Vol. VII, pp. 147-153) ; State School Reports. Many of these contain good articles giving progress and condition in the several States. See especially Arkansas (De cember 1910) ; Illinois (4th ed., 1914) ; Kansas (1908) ; Kentucky (1913) ; Indiana (1911-12, pp. 105-159) ; Michigan (No. 19, 1906) ; Missis sippi (May 1913) ; Nebraska (1910) ; etc.; Betts, G. H., and Hall, O. E., and Rural School (in (Better Rural Schools,' Indianapolis 1914) ; Knorr, G. W., 'Consolida tion of Rural Schools and Organization of a County System) (Washington 1910, U. S. Dept. of Agriculture, Bulletin 232) ; 'A Study of Fifteen Consolidated Schools) (Washington 1911, Southern Education Board Publications, No. 6).