school-outdoors

A Helpmate School Committee (1874)

Some time ago, as the readers of the Lady’s Book may remember, a suggestion was made in these pages that every Board of School-Trustees should be assisted in their work by a visiting committee of women , appointed, with defined powers and duties, for inspecting the school, and suggesting any needed improvements in its studies, discipline, and accommodations. It seemed to us unreasonable that mothers, who are expected to have the main charge of the mental and physical training of their children until they go to school, should then see the control, and even the knowledge, of all that concerns this most important duty, taken away from them, and committed to men, who usually have little time, and frequently not much inclination to attend to it.

It is not a little pleasing to find that the same views have been not only entertained in England, but actually carried into effect. The following paragraph from an English paper will show how the question arose, and in what way it was met — a way which seems, under the circumstances, to have been equally ingenious and happy:

“At the Heckmondwich School Board the other day the Finance Committee recommended that a ladies’ committee be appointed to assist in the management of the new school board . The chairman observed that the question was a difficult one, and he thought the best thing the board could do would be to appoint their wives. He accordingly moved a resolution to this effect, and Mr. Wood having seconded it, the resolution was carried unanimously.”

This mode of selecting the “ladies’ committee” must be admitted to have one defect. We take for granted that the electors will not be so ill-advised as to place upon the school board any bachelor or widower, or any member whose wife is not a veritable helpmate. In view of the possibility that such an unfortunate even might occur, it would not be advisable that the selection of members of the committee should be restricted so rigidly as was done in this instance. In every other respect, the example is one which may be commended to the attention of all true friends of education, and, we may add, of women’ s rights; for what better right can a woman have than to see that the education of her children is properly conducted, and that the care of their health is not neglected?

Godey’s Lady’s Book— Louis Antoine Godey began publishing Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1830. He designed his monthly magazine specifically to attract the growing audience of literate American women. The magazine was intended to entertain, inform, and educate the women of America.

Source: Godey’s Lady’s Book, February, 1874
Photo: School children seated at two tables, with their teacher, outdoors, Cincinnati, Ohio. (Details)

All images included in blog posts are from either Accessible Archives collections or out of copyright public sources unless otherwise noted. Common sources include the Library of Congress, The Flickr Commons, Wikimedia Commons, and other public archives.

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