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The History of our Public Schools
Wyandotte County, Kansas

1844
2012

 

 

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KCKS Public School System, 1819-1961
by Nellie McGuinn
Copyright USD 500, Feb 1966

Return to Previous Section 1933

1934

Schools in Kansas and everywhere else in the nation were suffering from dwindling finances.  When the NEA, however, made an unfortunate error in publishing that Kansas rural schools were closing because of lack of money, Superintendent Schlagle wrote the organization immediately to correct the statement.  Mr. Pearson ran on the Republican ticket for the nomination for state superintendent and lost by only a small margin of votes.  Some citizens objected to his teaching in Junior College, saying that the master's degree awarded by Baker University was honorary.

On Saturday, March 3, 1934, fire broke out in Wyandotte High School, then located at 9th and Minnesota.  The blaze spread through the air shafts to all parts of the building.  Through the efforts of Superintendent Schlagle and others, records and valuable articles were rescued.  Although plans for a new Wyandotte High School were in the making, the board was not ready yet to build.  Problems of housing and financing had to be met.

Classes at Central Junior and Northwest were placed on half day sessions so that high school students could use the buildings in the afternoons.  The gymnasium across the street was undamaged and junior college students attended there.  After a week's vacation the high school resumed operation on March 12.  A Citizens Advisory Committee was appointed to assist with plans for a new building.

The first designs for a new high school on the tract at 25th and Minnesota were inspected on April 20 by the board.  On April 30, the insurance company paid $265,809 for the loss of the old school.  The board looked for a buyer who would purchase the ruins and salvage some of the materials.  At an election held on May 22, citizens approved a bond issue by a vote of 3 1/2 o 1.  During the summer John Carlson, board president, and Willard Breidenthal, banker, went to Washington to forward the board's application for $550,000 from the Public Works Administration.

Within less than two weeks the request for funds was granted.  Only one half the money approved for bonds in the election would be needed.  By July, floor plans made by a Chicago architect and Joseph Radotinsky were approved.  The old cornerstone, laid with such ceremony in 1899, was designated to be used as a marker on the new campus.  When school resumed in September, 2400 high school students met at Memorial Hall to be assigned to classes again at the junior high schools.  Convocation for teachers was held at the First Presbyterian Church. 

Teachers attended convocation at Northwest Junior High School.  Superintendent Schlagle already was making plans to meet the problems confronting schools when recovery from the depression came.  In any depression people become dissatisfied with old methods, he said, and teachers themselves underwent a revolution when they accepted the realization that the world was changing.  Up to the '30's the schools had been educating for an unchanged social order.

Teachers had been satisfied with obtaining answers from children; now, the superintendent told them, there were problems to solve instead.  Propaganda was able to make headway in Germany because a generation had been taught to read and believe.  In a democracy children must learn to question, so that the virtue of new ideologies would not appear too desirable.

The time to teach about schools was when the child was in school.  Citizens should be informed as to the purposes and place of education, plan of controls, costs, and objectives.  The classroom teacher served as the most powerful agent between schools and the public.  A strong PTA helped in the fight for maintaining schools as did the teachers' associations.  Twenty percent of Kansas teachers were members of the national association.  Kansas City teachers received a 5% salary increase for 1934-35.

On August 29, the board was notified that 59 junior college students were eligible to receive federal funds.  For the first time the Community Chest fund became a topic for study in classes.  Friends of Miss Eleanor Baptist, former Wyandotte journalism teacher, were informed of her candidacy for president of the National Association of Journalism Advisors and of her appointment to the Advisory Council of the National Association of Student Editors.

Mr. Seth Patterson paid for a public address system at Argentine High School.  In the spring, Otto Krueger and the Kansas City Philharmonic Orchestra gave a concert for the children.

Next Section   1935

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History Site created on December 02, 2002
Page last updated: 02-Jan-2012

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