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The History of our Public Schools
Wyandotte County, Kansas




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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


This review of education in Kansas, which also presents the role of the state agency for education, falls into three defined periods.  First:  1858-1914, the foundations of the state's public school system were begun.  The offices of state and county superintendent were established, school districts were organized and provisions made for governing and financing t and the School Fund Commission was created to manage the permanent school fund, a state board of education was formed, and the School Textbook Commission was set up to administer a uniform textbook adoption program.

The second, which was a kind of middle period, began with formal establishment of the State Department of Education in 1915.  From that year until the Department was restructured in 1945, and designated as the State Department of Public Instruction, the groundwork was laid for achieving many important objectives that were not immediately attained.  Throughout the middle years state superintendents; educational organizations; and study groups, some of which were formed by legislative action, worked for a better system of school district organization, higher qualifications for teachers, equitable and adequate financial support for schools, high-school extension courses, improved instructional programs, vocational education, better working conditions for teachers, and a stronger state agency for education, better working conditions for teachers, and a stronger sate agency for education.

The third period, which opened in 1945, introduced what has been referred to as an educational revolution in Kansas, so pronounced were advances made subsequent to that year.  Between 1945 and 1967 most of the goals envisoned during the 1914-1944 period were realized, and the endeavors of more than three decades were rewarded.  Better organizational patterns for school districts evolved, the degree standard for all beginning teachers was reached, a school foundation finance act provided more adequate sources of school support, area vocational schools were established, the 1941 teacher retirement act was greatly improved and supplemented with social security benefits, additional services were provided by the State Department of Public Instruction, a state system of junior colleges was developed, and a constitutional amendment approved, which sets up an elective state board of education with authority to appoint a state commissioner of education.

This account of educational progress in Kansas has many shortcomings.  In the interest of brevity, numerous significant details have been omitted, and but scant recognition has been given to legislators, organizations, and individual citizens for dedicated service that made possible educational gains of the last two decades.  Neither have state superintendents or staff members been given the credit due them for their contributions to the expansion of educational opportunity in Kansas.

Fortunately, photographs of all territorial and state superintendents are available, and have been reproduced in this publication as part of the official record.  One objective sought in presenting this outline of educational developments, with some documentation, is to provide a starting point for other and more detailed studies of education in Kansas.  Perhaps a review of this nature will help mark the close of the era in which elected superintendents of public instruction served as the chief state school officers in Kansas.  [Note:  Pictures for this publication will be placed in a picture gallery.]

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Contact the History Webmaster - Patricia Adams

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

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