Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Controversy! The 1898 Providence School System

{One reads tension behind this. Money was thrown at the school system, and spent out of proportion of needs, according to the political leadership. This document, printed in 1898, was for the year preceding Lovecraft's entry into the system.}

THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS The Public Schools are one of the most important departments of city administration Though the schools are in charge of a committee elected for that special work and not perhaps directly responsible to the City Council still the city must always regard with interest the administration of the schools both because it is of the utmost importance that a good education should be furnished the youth of the city and also because the expenses of the schools must be provided for by taxation that is levied by the City Council

During the last ten years and particularly during the last five years the expenditure for new school buildings has been very great and it would seem that a disproportionate amount has been spent for high school buildings

Our first care should always be for primary education Good schoolhouses with good teachers should be provided for the children of the primary grades then a like provision should be made for the grammar grades that must always remain the finishing school for the great majority of our youth

If we are compelled to economize in school expenditure the reduction should fall upon the high schools rather than upon any grades below and upon the so called special subjects of instruction rather than upon the essentials of a practical education

We seem to have built grammar schools beyond the need for grammar school pupils for the grammar school buildings are not only occupied in some of their rooms by high school pupils but nearly all of the grammar school buildings have several rooms occupied by primary pupils The inference from this statement of facts is that hereafter for a considerable number of years we shall be called upon to build only primary schoolhouses


On another matter, have you wondered whether or not Lovecraft attended schools that were coeducational? We certainly can't assume it, but hereis a reference that seems authoratative for his era.

(Report of the Comissionaer of Education for the year 1891-1892, Vol 2, p.787) The cities included in the table in which coeducation is not universal may be considered either individually or by groups Of the 50 principal cities enumerated by the United States census of 1890 40 are represented in the replies here considered 1

In 27 of these boys and girls are educated together in all schools In 4 Philadelphia Pa Newark NJ Providence RI Atlanta Ga the sexes are separated in the high schools only

In Providence this seems to be an outcome of the policy of elective courses

Superintendent Tarbell says

The classical department of onr high school teaches both sexes The English department teaches a portion of girls separately 413 iu number The manual training high school teaches boys only 150 in number

Hon Thomas R Stockwell the State commissioner of public schools also says

In the Providence high school there was originally a department for girls alone but for several years the girls who were fitting for college have been taught in the same classes with the boys aud now girls are admitted into the new manual high school and several of the classes in the girls department have been united with classes in the same subjects in the boys English and scientific department

I consider the change of policy here in Providence very suggestive for the plan of separate schools for boys aud girls in the high school has existed over since the school was started and has been most ardently advocated by some of those most interested in the schools I think it shows that coeducation is being more aud more recognized as the proper method in all grades

{By all accounts in the records, Providence was advanced in its thinking. Boston, in many enclaves, separated the sexes. Providence was vocal in coeducational classes.

Providence Rhode Island State Commissioner of Education
Co education is being more and more recognised as the proper method in all grades

Providence Rhode Island Superintendent
Personally I favour co educational institutions

Interim report of the commissioners on certain parts of primary education, 1903.

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