By Andrew Gulliford
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Extra info for Americas Country Schools
This book is not simply about the past nor is it an exercise in nostalgia. In a season of discontent about modern public education, it is easy to romanticize one-teacher schools, to find in them an icon of virtue to contrast with a fall from educational grace in the present. There is much to admireindeed to wonder atin old-time country schools. But it would distort both history and the challenges of the present to imagine a golden age in the past. One of the virtues of the book is that it presents rich evidence for assessing both the advantages and the failings of country schools in the past and what they might have to teach educational reformers in the present.
New scholarship and efforts by historic preservation agencies to list country schools on the National Register of Historic Places is spurring a renewed interest both in country schools and also in African American education. Finally, the contributions of black teachers and white philanthropists, most noticeably the Rosenwald Fund, which helped design and build 4,977 schools for blacks in 15 southern states, are at last being recognized. In northwest Georgia at Cassville, the Noble Hill School, built in 1923 with Rosenwald funds, is now the Wheeler Memorial Heritage Center for African Americans, and it serves as a community setting for important family Page 10 and local reunions.
Increasingly, rural children are bused to larger and larger schools, despite the fact that year after year pupils in small rural schools in the Midwest and West score the highest on Scholastic Aptitude Tests because school size is a key to student performance. The smaller the school, the greater the opportunities for individual students, increased academic challenge and more parental involvement, yet the consolidation trend continues. At the end of the 1986-87 academic year, Daniel's Creek Elementary School, one of the last one-room schoolhouses in Kentucky, closed its doors, although former student Ollie May Jarvis lamented, "My whole family went through this school.
Americas Country Schools by Andrew Gulliford