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The History of our Public Schools
Wyandotte County, Kansas

1844
2012

 

 

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Published by the State Department of Public Instruction
120 East Tenth, Topeka, Kansas 66612
Copyright June, 1967

We are sincerely grateful to the Kansas State Department of Education for giving us permission to transcribe and provide online the history found in this publication.

Return to Index for Kansas Educational Progress, 1858-1967, by A. F. Throckmorton

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The State Department of Public Instruction
1945-1967

One-room Schoolhouse, Logan Cty, Dist 41, 1948-49Mr. Carey Orr taught in this stone schoolhouse in Logan County District  41 in 1948-49.  During the 1950-51 term, 2528 similar schools were still being used in Kansas but only 330 remained in service in 1963-64.

There is a very human tendency for organizations that are created for the purpose of gaining stated objectives to claim full credit when those goals are reached.  This is true of the labor union when the lot of its constituency is improved; of the educational association when teachers' salaries are raised and educational standards upgraded; and of the chamber of commerce when economic gains are made in the community.  While these and other organizations contribute to reaching their goals, most progress is the result of many forces working over a long period of time.  There are many illustrations of this fact in the field of education.

State Superintendent W. D. Ross, 1912-1919, recommended a state teacher retirement program twenty-five years before it was provided in 1941; the first school district consolidation laws were enacted at the turn of the century, but it was more than sixty years later that the horse-and-buggy type of district was discarded for a more efficient structure; and state superintendents suggested that their offices be filled by appointment rather than by election almost one hundred years before that goal was attained.  The list of analogies is well-nigh endless.

Therefore, it ill behooves any organization or individual to claim omnipotence in bringing about the revolutionary changes in education that occurred after 1945, because foundations for such progress had been laid by foresighted leaders during the preceding eighty-five year period. Also, important groundwork in the form of state-financed studies helped develop a climate for educational progress.  One was the work of the Joint School Code Commission of 1921-1922, which suggested most of the improvements that a second study groups, the School Code Commission of 1927-1928, recommended.  The reports of these commissions called attention to the need for educational reform.  School officials were deeply disappointed because neither of these studies resulted immediately in corrective legislation, but in retrospect, the contribution of this work to later improvement becomes apparent.

Perhaps the most significant stimulus that leg to long-sought legislation for educational improvement was a comprehensive educational survey, which was authorized in 1957 by Legislature, and financed by appropriations totaling $150,000.  The survey, which covered education from kindergarten through the university, was conducted by Dr. Otto Domian and Dr. Robert J. Keller, faculty members of the University of Minnesota.  Dr. Domian headed the elementary and secondary studies, assisted by Mr. George Frey, who had served fourteen years as director of information in the state department of public instruction.  Dr. Keller directed the higher education study.  Featuring the survey was a state advisory committee, composed of prominent persons, which enlisted the cooperation of citizens in making results of the survey fruitful.  Comparable committees in most of the state's 105 counties assisted in the project.

The five-volume survey report was published in May, 1960.  Five years later, legislation covering major recommendations pertaining to elementary and secondary education and junior colleges had been enacted.  Prior to 1945, most statutory revision affecting education had been of an evolutionary or patchwork nature, with no major overhaul of the state's public school system initiated after the foundations had been laid early in the state's history.  Many state superintendents had called attention to the need for extensive changes, and numerous surveys and studies had pointed out deficiencies, but it was not until 1945 that the Legislature initiated action to modernize the Kansas School system.  Laws enacted between that date and 1965 culminated in a restructuring of the state's educational system.  Advances made during that period include.

These programs and activities are discussed at greater length in Parts I, II, III and IV of this chapter.

The State Board of Education

As education developed in Kansas, the membership and functions of the state board of education also changed.  These changes from the first authorized board in 1873 to the present program which was adopted in 1945 can best be shown by the following table.

Personnel, Dates Authorized, and Principal Duties
Authorized
Personnel
Principal Duties
1873
State Superintendent, Chancellor State University, President Agricultural College, President Emporia Normal School, President Leavenworth Normal School Issue state diplomas and state certificates of two grades upon examination
1893
Same as in 1873 Same as in 1873 and examine work of colleges and accept college credits in lieu of examination for teacher certificates
1915
State Superintendent became ex-officio chairman of State Board and some lay representation added Same as in 1893 and prescribe courses of study, employ a professional secretary to inspect colleges and administer teacher certification
1919
Lay representation eliminated from the State Board Same as in 1915 and serve as Board for Vocational Education
1933
State Superintendent ex-officio chairman, one representative from each of five institutions of higher education, one member from faculty of private college, one county superintendent, one high school principal, two citizens from farming or business Same as in 1919.  After 1937 served as textbook adoption agency
1945
Seven lay members, one from each Congressional District, others at large Approve or disapprove policies of State Superintendent, adopt textbooks until 1957, serve as Board for Vocational Education
All Board members except those holding ex-officio positions appointed by the Governor

Return to Index for Kansas Educational Progress, 1858-1967, by A. F. Throckmorton

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

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