Culture Clash and Accommodation
Frederick S. Buchanan
Administrative Progressivism Shapes the Schools
The Administration of George N. Child, 1920-32
George N. Child, 1920-32
[p.111]Salt Lake City entered a new phase with the June 1920 election of George N. Child as its fifth district superintendent. Child was elected by a board that had the largest LDS representation in its history (8-2), but the next election returned a non-Mormon majority in a pattern that remained throughout Child’s tenure: six non-Mormons (all but one were Masons) and four Mormons. In the past, this ratio had led to factionalism, but Child’s administration avoided the Mormon/gentile acrimony of former eras.
As superintendent, Child focused on giving students greater opportunity to succeed in the world of work, in keeping with the era’s “administrative progressivism.” Child’s tenure coincided with the emergence of the “Cardinal Principles” as a blueprint for America’s and Utah’s schools. With their focus on “fundamental processes” rather than traditional academic content, the Cardinal Principles laid a framework around which Child and his associates constructed a curriculum that reflected the diversity and paradox of progressive education. Ostensibly committed to the needs of children, the programs Child fostered also responded to the persistent public demand for economy
Child also focused on teacher development. No longer seen as a slots to be filled by just anyone, teaching positions now required higher academic and professional training and teachers were evaluated regularly by supervisors and principals.
When the Great Depression blanketed Utah’s economy in 1929, schools quickly fell into line with national retrenchment. In a sense, Child’s reforms from 1922 on had helped prepare the schools for the stringent economy of the 1930s. His focus on scientific testing and efficient student placement, the attempt to make schools more economical by reducing the number of years it took to graduate, and the organization of schools using the Platoon System reflect the power of financial realities in determining educational objectives.
During the 1920s the board was dominated by Masons, but with little public dissatisfaction. The relative ideological calm that prevailed may have stemmed from a “gentlemen’s agreement” that if Masons could control the board, the Mormons could have the superintendency.
Child continued to promote a highly differentiated curriculum, emphasizing social and economic efficiency and preparing students for vocations: the schools of this era were not, as is commonly assumed, centers in which John Dewey’s [p.112]pedagogical ideas flowed unchecked. On the other hand, neither were they traditional subject-focused schools of the nineteenth century Rather, schools had mixed messages and meanings, shaped most of all by economic exigencies.
From Assistant Cashier to Superintendent
Born in 1869, the son of John J. Child and Elizabeth de St. Jeor in Clover, Tooele County, Utah, George Child grew up on a ranch before attending Brigham Young Academy in Provo. Following a course in the Normal Department he returned to a ranch in Lehi, Utah, where friends reportedly greeted him as “His Highness, Prince of Learning.” He worked in a flour mill in Midway for some time after his 1890 graduation. That fall, after a local teacher at the Midway School resigned over discipline problems, Child, newly married to Florence Willis, finished the year as schoolmaster. He relished the opportunity: “The thrill of succeeding where someone else failed appealed to him.” From 1892 to 1900 he taught at Central School in Lehi and was later made principal and mathematics teacher for the seventh grade. He also supervised four other schools. In 1902 he was elected superintendent of Utah County Schools, but failed to win re-election in 1904. He worked as assistant cashier in the Bank of Lehi until 1909, when he was chosen as Superintendent of the Alpine District (the offices of which were, incidentally, in the Bank of Lehi). During this period Florence died, leaving him with six small children, and in 1908 he married Julia Alleman.1
In 1911 Child was appointed Grammar Grade supervisor in the Salt Lake District. He worked closely with D. H. Christensen, who admired his “educational enthusiasm and policies.” When Christensen resigned in 1916, Child hoped (as did others who favored an “insider”) that he might assume the post. Instead, for three years Child served as Assistant Superintendent to Ernest A. Smith until he accepted the position of State Superintendent. Child took this position to “progress,” which he felt would not come as Smith’s assistant. In April 1920, however, when his tenure as State Superintendent had lasted less than one year, the Salt Lake Board of Education invited him to lead the city’s schools. Although Child had not formally applied for the position, he had discussed the possibilities with board members. No one doubted how he would respond.2
A Reprise of the 1890s—With a Difference
As might be expected, in view of the ideological make-up of the board, the invitation for him to consider the superintendency came on a split vote. It was a reprise of the first board meeting in 1890 when the board voted to install Congregationalist Jesse Millspaugh as the district’s first superintendent. At that time the vote was seven gentiles for Millspaugh and three Mormons against; now [p.113]thirty years later the vote was seven Mormons for Child and two Masons against him.3
Neither the non-Mormon nor the Mormon press criticized or exulted in Child’s appointment. The Telegram expected Child to “stamp out every sign of politics in the Salt Lake schools” and “insure to this city its reputation as one of the leading educational centers of the country” The Deseret News stressed that Child’s long association “with all the details of [Utah’s] system” prepared him to “know what is needed for continued success and improvement.” In other words, the Telegram sounded the note of bipartisan support and the News affirmed that local people (i.e., Mormons) could be trusted as professionals.4
At the board meeting on 8 June, Oscar Moyle moved that Child replace Smith at a salary of $6,000—a salary equal to the governor’s and the highest of any state official. Masons Barrette and Johnson countered with an amendment, that the position be offered to C. E. Hughes, superintendent of Sacramento public schools. Their amendment was defeated live to two, whereupon Moyle’s motion supporting Child was approved by the same margin—the Masons casting negative votes. Three Mormon board members were absent—a circumstance the press failed to notice. Perhaps some members stayed away to minimize a public display of the Mormons’ political power.5
The Mormon majority on the board symbolized for the Mormon community their emergence as a viable political entity in the schools serving their children, a luxury denied them for thirty years. In spite of the majority, however, and whatever the explanation for it, there seems to have been no overt attempt on the board’s part to “Mormonize” the secular curriculum.
A residual fear of Mormon domination may have remained, however. A few months after Child’s appointment the electorate turned out at the polls in un-characteristically large numbers: Almost 3,000 more votes were cast than in 1918, the election which gave the Mormons their majority. In 1920, with strong contests in almost every municipal ward, the Mormon majority was reduced by three, providing again a state of equilibrium between Mormons and gentiles. One of the Masons, Harold Fabian, ran up a total of 947 votes in the Fourth Ward, the largest total in the district. Mason Fred Hathaway racked up an impressive 746 in a four way race, while Dr. Clarence Snow, a Mormon physician and educator appointed to the board in 1919, received only 130. In the First Ward, two Mormons vied for a position and H. A. Smith beat a former board member, W. G. Farrell, by 523 to 522. Perhaps most surprising was the ouster of Oscar Moyle, a veteran of two decades on the board, by a fellow Mormon and newcomer, Ray M. Haddock. Haddock’s 430 to 130 vote defeating President Moyle may in part be attributed to Haddock’s active membership in the Third [p.114]Ward’s reform-oriented Civic Improvement Association.6 The Association aimed to bring more accountability to city politics; as a member of the old guard, Oscar Moyle may have been suspect, and not without reason.
The leveling effect of the 1920 election did not last long. In December 1922, the Mormons were reduced to four and the Masons increased to six board members. This election also witnessed increased voter participation. A candidate in the Second Ward, Luella Haymond, entered on a write-in ticket the day before the election and received 159 votes against recumbent I. E. Willey’s 324. For the remainder of Child’s tenure—until 1932—the board consisted of four Mormons and six non-Mormons.
In comparison to elections from the 1890 to 1913, the campaigns of the 1920s were devoid of controversy.7 No doubt the economic factors influencing the Salt Lake Tribune to cool its anti-Mormon rhetoric around 1913 were still operating in the 1920s. On the LDS side of the ledger, the man who became president of the Mormon church in 1918, Heber J. Grant, had many business contacts beyond Utah and was anxious to integrate Utah and the church into the national scene. Grant’s predecessor, Joseph F. Smith, had been deeply implicated in the politics of post-polygamy Utah. As noted in Chapter Three, Tribune editorial cartoons often portrayed him as a major impediment to the separation of church and state. Grant stirred up less antagonism, hoping to dispel the myth of Mormon domination. Others shared his approach. In the 1930s, Apostle Richard R. Lyman discussed with his family the need for balance on the city’s board, to give a “fair shake for everybody.” By not controlling the board, he suggested, the church avoided being blamed if things went wrong in the schools.8 The Mormons were indeed accommodating to new realities.
Demographic changes may also have played a part in reducing the friction between Mormons and non-Mormons. Contrary to the perception of many non-Mormons and the wishes of many Mormons, the city’s population m the 1920s was only about forty percent LDS—exactly the percentage of seats Mormons held on the school board through the late 1930s. The relatively enthusiastic adoption of public schools by the Mormon taxpayers and their resignation to the inevitable fact that Salt Lake was no longer a Mormon city must have helped temper the rhetoric of this era.9
Change in Salt Lake City politics was evident to the Salt Lake Tribune, which asserted in 1924 that “the separation of church and school has been practically achieved.” As the Tribune perceived them, the schools of the 1920s were “without [p.115]noticeable overtone of church connections, at least in the city itself.”10 Headlines that had once roundly condemned the inferior teachers and priesthood-ridden, church-dominated schools, now read “Utah Maintains its Lead in Education” and “Salt Lake Schools Rise to High Plane from Humble Start.” The Tribune even described early pioneer schools and teachers without characterizing them as inferior. No longer were they viewed, as in the 1880s, as agents of LDS domination.11
Cardinal Principles and a Broadened Curriculum
National influences on Utah education were clearly evident as the NEA delegates assembled in the Tabernacle in July of 1920 to hear the official welcome from newly appointed superintendent George N. Child. Child said Utah’s educational legislation, praised by national educators, “was designed to meet the new demands of education” occasioned by the war. The conference heard continual talk of the “crises” gripping the nation—always a necessary prelude to educational reform.
Utah’s model legislation resonated with the nation’s, as well as Utah’s, educators. Utah was sensitive to national views in moral, educational, and social affairs, helping the state remain in the educational vanguard. Local culture still held sway, even if in less obvious manifestations, and the public schools of the early 1920s responded almost amoeba-like to the contours of the landscape surrounding them.
Given his involvement with national educators, George Child was undoubtedly aware of a drab little pamphlet issued by the U.S. Bureau of Education in 1918 at the instigation of the NEA. Entitled Cardinal Principles of Secondary Education: A Report of the Commission on the Reorganization of Secondary Education, this proposal significantly shaped how educators perceived schools’ roles over the next three decade. The pamphlet’s preamble identifies it as responding to the “changes [that] have taken place in American life” over the first decades of the twentieth century: Citizens were no longer able to hide from “problems of community life, State and National Governments, and international relationships.” The working individual was compelled to “adjust himself to a more complex order.” The document also identified the social problem arising from a more efficient industrial machine: individuals have more leisure time. To meet these challenges these changes required a “degree of intelligence and efficiency” firmly rooted in a greatly broadened conception of education both at the elementary and the secondary level. Other factors exerting pressure on education were the decline in manual labor, increased specialization, breakdown of the apprenticeship system, changing roles of fathers and mothers in homes, increased urbanization, less unified families, and changes in church roles and community organization. “These changes,” the report asserted, “call for extensive modifi-[p.116]cations in secondary education.”
The demographic changes in the secondary-school population was identified as a major source of needed change in the schools: in 1890 secondary students nationally made up one for every 210 of the total population; in 1915, shortly before Cardinal Principles was released, there was one secondary student for every 73 of the general population. Nationally, only about one in nine students actually graduated from high school. In ominous tones the 1918 report warned: “These facts can no longer be safely ignored.” The solution? Schools must be changed to meet new social and economic needs.
The report also noted shifts in educational theory that mandated changes in teaching method and content. These included the idea that each student has a hitherto unrealized wide range of capacities and aptitudes. Hence, the value of subjects must be measured against their applicability to the “activities of life,” rather than their place as part of an academic discipline. The changes occurring in society, the increased number of secondary students enrolled, and changes in educational theory called for “extensive modifications of secondary education”—resulting in the creation of a uniquely American institution, the comprehensive high school.
Ideologically, Cardinal Principles walked a line between criticizing capitalism for exploiting workers and promoting an individualistic social ethic. It claimed that: “Democracy sanctions neither the exploitation of the individual by society, nor the disregard of the interests of society by the individual.” More explicitly: “The purpose of democracy is to organize society that each member may develop his personality through activities designed for the well-being of his fellow members and society as a whole.” To become an instrument of such a democracy, “education … should develop in each individual the knowledge, interest, ideals, habit, and powers whereby he will find his place to shape both himself and society toward ever nobler ends.”
This simple, and in many ways simplistic, list of aims overwhelmed the other thirty pages of the report; in time the complex discussion of the rationale for changing schools was reduced to a slogan that became known as the “Cardinal Principles”: “This commission … regards the following as the main objectives of education: 1. Health. 2. Command of fundamental processes. 3. Worthy home membership. 4. Vocation. 5. Citizenship. 6. Worthy use of leisure. 7. Ethical character.” The phrase was easy to remember and easy to repeat—and it was repeated, by a generation of teachers for whom it became a veritable litany
When George Child issued his first annual report in 1921, he asserted that schools exist to meet “necessary human and social needs,” which change, of course, over time. No talk here of a changeless curriculum rooted in eternal truth. Based on the Cardinal Principles, Child laid out the new fundamental aims of education. Schools, he wrote, exist to promote: (1) good health and physical fitness; (2) good, intelligent citizenship; (3) proper use of leisure time; (4) character; (5) good habits of work and study; (6) mastery of essential tools of educa-[p.117]tion; and (6) appreciation of truth and beauty. Child’s list mirrors almost word for word the aims that appeared in the original 1918 pamphlet. In this word view, everything related to education: constructing school buildings, developing courses of study, preparing teachers and administering the system “must finally be justified by whether they economically administer toward the realization of one or more of the foregoing purposes.” If they do, Child claimed, then public money is being well-spent; if they don’t they should be replaced by practices which “will serve the fundamental purposes specified, for they constitute the elements of life that ensure the future safety of the city, the state, and the nation.”12 These ideas became the driving motivation for much of what happened in Salt Lake City during the next decade.
In adapting the “Cardinal Principles” to the needs of city schools, Child made a few minor changes. In this instance “worthy home membership” is deleted from the list. This likely indicates resistance to the notion that schools are in loco parentis. Leisure time is described as “proper” rather than “worthy,” perhaps reflecting a Mormon sense that leisure must be within bounds of social acceptability The word “character” in tandem with leisure suggests that leisure can be overdone through self-indulgence or “wasting” one’s time. Similarly, the national statement does not mention the classical ideal of “truth” and “beauty,” but the Salt Lake version does. These absolutes were probably included by Child as a means of giving to the national aims a local dimension—certainly religious communities have a vested interest in “truth” even if a rising sense of relativism made the term suspect in relation to public schools. The Salt Lake City version translates “fundamental processes” as “essential tools.” Apparently, Salt Lake was not about to jettison the notion that the three Rs were a necessary basis for education. In all, the Salt Lake response to the Cardinal Principles of Education illustrates yet another accommodation to national norms. As in politics and economics, however, the accommodation revealed a uniquely Utah perspective.
Progressivism of Varied Hues
In the next few years, Child’s modified Cardinal Principles played an important role in shaping the schools’ mission. A 1926 letter to patrons listed the Salt Lake version of the Cardinal Principles and informed patrons that the district was implementing these principles “in both theory and practice.” The letter also included a new grading system adopted by the district—a five point scale from A through E based on a “normal” distribution of grades: 5-10 percent A; 15-25 percent B; 40-50 percent C; 15-25 percent D; and 5-10 percent E. This was apparently the first time letter grades were attached to these percentages, showing “standards of success” rather than simply a percentage score. Those receiving an “E” were, of course, candidates for repeating the grade or making up the failed work. In his letter Child sent dual messages: the new schools were based on the [p.118]social ideals implicit in the Cardinal Principles, but also on new methods of grouping children using supposedly scientific, determined normal distributions. In one document we have progressive education’s two faces—meeting children’s social needs while labeling them on a range from superior to inferior.13
In accordance with the progressive era’s many faces and contradictory impulses, those who jumped on the Cardinal Principles bandwagon represented a variety of perspectives. Exaggerated as the influence of “pedagogical progressives” may be, there can be no doubt that some educators stressed a child-centered curriculum.14 However, the detailed studies of historians such as Zilversmit and Cuban challenge the notion that such teachers were a common feature of the era. Auntie Marne was more a stage personality than a classroom reality: “A careful look at actual classrooms … shows that progressive ideas had little effect on what went on in typical American elementary schools.”15
The Cardinal Principles, when first introduced, certainly did not take the nation’s schools by storm. Indeed, a decade after this reform proposal was published, out of 1,228 high school principles who were asked if they had implemented the “Cardinal Principles,” only a little over half responded affirmatively. Two hundred twenty-five surveyed principals had never heard of the Cardinal Principles and nine did not believe in them. In spite of this apathy, however, a generation of prospective teachers memorized them in college courses and they became, in time, the “organizing motif” for American schools.16
For example, a limited survey of former Salt Lake students suggests that some progressive practices promoted in the Cardinal Principles made their way into the schools via the curriculum, testing, student and teacher activities, teaching methods, and general classroom environment. Based on the responses to oral interview questions, there was during the 1920s and 1930s: a steady extension of educational opportunities in the elementary schools; a persistent use of intelligence and achievement tests; greater student mobility in “activities” like field trips or ball games; the use of more colorful texts supplemented by newspapers and phonograph records; and a modified physical plant.17
Kathleen Christensen Hall, who attended Stewart School in the 1920s, reported that the curriculum was “free and easy,” giving her freedom to learn in a variety of subjects. Hall remembered teachers as enthusiastic: “Mrs. Montrose was such a humdinger … she just sparked with it.” Stewart School was closely aligned with the University of Utah College of Education; prospective teachers [p.119]may have been exposed to William Stewart’s Deweyan perspectives. Dorothy Higgs Smith recalled teachers who involved students in learning activities. Nature study and sand tables provided “hands on” experiences that left an imprint on her as a student.18 T. Edgar Lyon recalled hearing Willard Wirt and other progressive educators speak at the University of Utah in the late 1920s on the need to turn schools away from their “old cut and dried routines.” Mormon educator Adam S. Bennion, a modern education Ph.D. from Berkeley who taught at the University of Utah, impressed Lyon by involving the students in “doing” maps, charts, and displays.19
Lizbeth Qualtrough wrote about and practiced a decidedly progressive policy in her approach to elementary education. As mentioned in Chapter Three, she recognized that student health needs sometimes had to be attended to before education could take place. For her, as for Dewey, the classroom was a “doing place,” not a “listening place.” From her perspective, Salt Lake’s teachers did not lag behind such avant guard systems as Cleveland in implementing the best features of progressive education.
Photographs of elementary classroom activity also demonstrate Lizbeth Qualtrough’s progressivism. Typical photographs record student involvement in a variety of creative activities: models of Indian villages and pioneer settlements; free rhythm dance; children gardening at Franklin Kindergarten; and a student orchestra. In Qualtrough’s view, the Salt Lake City schools were “blazing a trail through a somewhat new line of work” by promoting student spontaneity and imagination.
Dortha M. McDonald, a teacher in the 1920s, recalled Qualtrough’s ability to recognize quickly whether teachers were sensitive to students needs. Qualtrough noted, for example, one teacher’s inconsistency in punishing a child. The child responded with: “I did the same thing the other day and she didn’t care a bit.” Qualtrough thought that was the “saddest thing she ever heard a child say” Following her death in 1935, one of Qualtrough’s colleagues recalled that when asked about “the problem child,” she would respond that there were no good and bad children, only children whose needs were being met and those ignored: “The bad child doesn’t need punishment, he just needs someone to see that he has a better bed and a bigger breakfast.”20 Qualtrough hardly fit the “school marm” image so often caricatured in the history of American education.
Responding to Salt Lake’s (modified) adoption of the Cardinal Principles, one Tribune report suggested that the new emphasis might be seen by parents as a retreat from the “principles of education”—a sure threat to the status quo. Of [p.120]course, the Cardinal Principles had been evolving over a number of years; newspaper reports before 1918 indicate that the narrowly focused, classical aims of education were giving way to an expanded conception of the school’s mission. One such commentary appeared in the Deseret News a few months after George Child took office. The News praised the district’s forward-looking curriculum that made schools “clinic[s] where not only the mind of the student is given attention, but also his health, habits and morals.”21
A 1925 federal survey indicates that movement away from the subject-centered curriculum did not harm student performance in traditional subjects. According to this survey the Salt Lake City schools were further ahead educationally than the “county” schools, spending more time on languages, reading, spelling, arithmetic, history, literature, and nature study Comparing student scores on the Stanford Achievement Test, the survey concluded that the city’s students were some 9 to 14.5 months ahead of their rural counterparts. Elementary school tests indicated that city students were 7.6 months above the U.S. norm, while rural schools fell some 4.3 months below. Summarizing the difference between city and rural schools, the report concluded that “the county schools in grades 7 to 9, inclusive, are progressively retarded educationally, while Salt Lake City shows a decided educational acceleration.” In the state as a whole 69.4 percent of high school seniors fell below the Iowa norms, while in Salt Lake City only 22 percent fell below that standard compared to some 47.7 percent nationally Salt Lake, the report said, had fewer illiterate citizens than any other city of its size with the exception of Spokane, Washington.
Differences like these were attributed in part to religion. Rural schools in Utah spent a “decidedly smaller amount of time” on the 3 Rs than did the city schools, while they spent more time on “history (especially local history), hygiene and like subjects.” According to the report, “followers of the dominant faith” had a “pronounced interest” in these fields. Other factors leading to a greater interest in the “social studies” included the naturally homogeneous nature of the rural schools, the “cooperative community life found among the people,” and the preparation of young people for Mormon missionary service.22
Part of Salt Lake’s testing success may also be attributed to Superintendent Child’s balance between patron demands for traditional subject matter and progressive demands for an expanded school program. Child believed the basics could be maintained without forgetting that “effective education calls for a school rich and full in social and civic responsibilities.”23 His beliefs, in time, were challenged, however, by events unrelated to the debates over traditional or progres-[p.121]sive the schools. Economic conditions shape school aims too.
A few years after the 1925 survey, a claim began to surface in educational circles that Utah students were unprepared for university studies, particularly in writing ability Dr. Howard R. Driggs, head of the Department of English Teaching at New York University and formerly a Professor of English at the University of Utah, responded by citing research he had conducted on seventh graders in 1922. Driggs tracked the scores in a series of writing exercises conducted in twenty-four cities in sixteen different states. The results revealed that Salt Lake students scored the highest of any schools and that students at the Normal School at the University of Utah were above the median scores. Driggs’s follow-up studies indicated that Salt Lake was adequately preparing students for university work. This could indicate that traditional teaching was still conducted in spite of progressive rhetoric, or that new approaches were not as baneful as many supposed. Another perspective, offered by teacher Dortha M. McDonald, saw the two poles as a rigid approach and one stressing student freedom.24 There was likely a mix of both, dictated as much by the disposition of individual teachers as by any externally mandated reform agenda.
Quite apart from philosophical dimensions, Salt Lake’s schools in the 1920s were markedly different from those of a previous age. School buildings were no longer “unsafe, poorly lightened and unsanitary,” as many had been described in the 1915 Cubberley survey Now children were housed in forty-one uncrowded, fireproof, well-lighted brick buildings, in which temperatures were kept at scientifically measured levels. Children were taught discipline, health attention, and “books.” Whit Burnett, the Tribune reporter who surveyed the schools in 1924, probably enclosed “books” in quotes to scotch the impression that modern schools did not focus on basic skills. Students still used books, but, as Burnett observed, they no longer had to wipe their writing slates using spittle and a lot of “elbow action.” Corporal punishment had also gone the way of “mutton sleeves and big moustaches.”25
Professionalism of Teachers
Teachers, according to the Tribune’s historical comparison, had better academic and moral qualifications. Although the article did not detail what “moral qualifications” were, it said that teachers were unlikely to be “off-type” and must have people in the community vouch for their character. The required academic preparation demanded: “all-day assistants” must be “normal graduates” (two years of college); full-time contract elementary teachers must have normal graduation and successful experience as an assistant teacher; junior high school teachers should have a college degree, although sometimes experience would be counted; high school teachers had to be college graduates with teaching experi-[p.122]ence.26 The professionalization of teaching was on the rise. When Dorothy Snow attempted to teach elementary school after graduating in arts and sciences at the University of Utah, she was refused a position “Because I didn’t have hygiene. Of course, I grew up in a doctor’s family. I didn’t have the history of education, although I had the history of Europe and the United States I was a good student [but] I couldn’t get a job… they wouldn’t have me.”27
Each year, the principals forwarded to the superintendent a standardized form summarizing each teacher’s performance. In the early 1920s teachers were judged on the basis of personality, teaching power, results, and professional spirit. In each category the principal graded the teacher as Excellent, Good, Ordinary, or Unsatisfactory, followed by a personal evaluation. Teachers who had undertaken special study during the year were marked with a star. The superintendent would accordingly award pay increases (or perhaps decreases as the case might be). Frequently principals asked that certain teachers receive special consideration. In the case of Ivey Van Cott, her principal, Gertrude Arbuckle, gave her an Excellent rating in every category and appended the following: “Miss Van Cott is an exceptional teacher. She must receive recognition or I am sure she will leave the system. Los Angeles has offered her a position at $1600 for next year. She would have gone this semester, but loyalty to the schools here held her to her duty.” In contrast, Principal Elizabeth Bond of Washington School rated one of her teachers “Excellent” in personality and “Good” in professional spirit, but “Fair” in all other categories. In the margin she added: “Self satisfied. I do not believe she will ever make a wonderful teacher.” Of another teacher (who received more than adequate ratings) Bond wrote: “I do not want her in the building with me next year.” Personal feelings could sometimes intrude on “objective” professional ratings.
Later in Child’s administration evaluation processes became more complex. Principals were expected to rate their teachers (Excellent, Good, Fair, or Poor) on “Professional and Personal Qualities,” including Scholarship, Means and Methods, Discipline, Growth, Professional Spirit, Comity, Pupils’ Scholarship, Conduct, Appearance and Attitude, and Advisorship. Marginal comments often tell more than the formal ratings and give a sense of the human dimension of evaluating professional teachers. At Lafayette School the principal noted that “Miss —— not yet acquired the ability to work with a steadiness every day” Edith Kendell of Longfellow School had rated one teacher Fair, but wrote the superintendent a long explanatory note that at the beginning of the year “the girl was just impossible, but she is very anxious to succeed.” Her personality apparently made discipline a problem, but the principle seemed to be trying to help her develop such skills. Two months before the school year ended Kendell asked to make another evaluation before a dismissal decision was made. However, the teacher was not rehired.
In 1929 Bruce Millikin of East High was concerned about a teacher who had [p.123]difficulty controlling her class because of her age: “[S]he is young enough that the [older] boys take delight in teasing her and she does not know how to handle them.” Millikin had suspended one boy and removed others from her class. He suggested that she be transferred to another lower grade school “where she will seem older and less a pretty girl.” Another teacher at the same school could not be fairly evaluated, according to Millikin, because “he goes to pieces as soon as I step into the room.” Yet another troubled the principal because “he has never admitted to me that he has made a mistake when I am quite convinced he has.” However, the principal, “who saw many good qualities in the fellow,” wanted an outside evaluation, for fear that “I am misjudging him.”28
These attempts at rating teachers, however inadequate they may have been, reveal a profession facing the reality of accountability to a tax-paying public. A perusal of these ratings shows few if any teachers who were marked Poor; a few were marked Fair while the vast majority were marked Excellent and Good (with a Very Good added by a few indecisive principals). In the eyes of the principals, the teachers of Salt Lake City were better than average. Principals were also attempting to help teachers who needed improvement. However, when the evidence warranted dismissal, principals apparently acted accordingly In 1928 Superintendent Child responded to the annual ratings by asking his assistant superintendent, George Eaton, for more information on seven secondary teachers whose ratings were low enough to “jeopardize their reelection.” By 1930 five of the seven had not been re-hired.
Progressive directions notwithstanding, some traditions still held sway: a female teacher who married lost her contract, “although she may continue her work at the discretion of the superintendent”; if the school needed the teacher or the teacher needed the income badly enough, the termination could be waived. Child preferred to engage women who were self-sufficient, especially with an oversupply of applicants. Still, the abundance of applicants and the academic requirements did not discourage many women from entering the profession.29
Is the Public Getting Its Money’s Worth?
The rapid increase in numbers of school children, the need for better equipped schools, and the increased professional qualifications of teachers all added to the total cost of public schooling in the first quarter of the twentieth century. When schools performed “poorly,” the public asked: “Why, given the money being spent, aren’t we getting better results?” And conversely, when schools did “well” the public asked: “Why, if we are doing this well, do we have to spend more?”
The man who tried to answer these questions for American public schools was none other than Stanford’s Ellwood P. Cubberley, who had praised the efficient Salt Lake schools in 1915. Cubberley saw schools mirroring the industrial [p.124]order in his influential 1916 book Public School Administration. In it he claimed that efficient schools were rooted in the “public demand for a more intelligent accounting by school officers of the money expended for public education.” A few pages later he laid out his model for school organization, linking it closely to the notion that efficiency experts produce better returns to the owners through “larger and better” outputs. He continued:
Our schools are, in a sense, factories in which the raw products (children) are to be shaped and fashioned into products to meet the various demands of life. The specifications for manufacturing come from the demands of twentieth-century civilization, and it is the business of the school to build its pupils according to the specifications laid down. This demands good tools, specialized machinery, continuous measurement of production to see it is according to specifications, the elimination of waste in manufacture, and a large variety in the output.30
The school factory should minimize cost and maximize productivity The idea caught on quickly; Cubberley’s factory metaphor may have influenced modern schools more than any formal reform proposal. Soon “bureaus of efficiency” were appearing in larger school districts throughout the nation, largely devoted to constructing efficiency tests and rating scales. The bottom line, as it is in all accounting measures, was “Are we getting our money’s worth?”
Child had no sooner begun to build on the Cardinal Principles when a national financial crisis took charge of the schools. In contrast to the idealistic and forward looking spirit of his first report in 1921, he began his third report in a somber fashion: “That which can be accomplished in education, as in most other lines of endeavor, bears a close relationship to, and is largely dependent on, the financial ability and willingness of a community to pay”31 The district was, he said, “in a peculiar financial situation”; citizens were willing to pay taxes but the nation’s economic depression had caused property values to fall several millions of dollars, “thereby reducing the available revenue for school purposes until the tax rate is increased.” The board, consequently, had reduced the budget by one quarter of a million dollars. Child heeded the board’s directive to increase class loads and eliminate special activities. However, he opined that further reductions might prove to be “false economy.”
Some continued to complain about increased school costs. Child blamed inflation, which reduced the purchasing power of the dollar. At the same time schools had to keep pace with larger enrollments and patron demand for improved education. Child prophesied that it “is not likely that any one of these important factors will change in the near future so as to affect materially school budgets.”32 With the Great Depression capping his tenure, Child was quite aware of the economic realities in operating public schools.
Testing to the Rescue
[p.125]Salt Lake City did not have an official “bureau of efficiency,” although it did eventually have committees to study “Tests and Measurements,” as well as the board’s long-standing “Finance Committee.” The “Test and Measurements” committee aimed to make “conservative use” of “objective tests and measurements,” a plan introduced in September 1929. While cautious of overdependence on such instruments, Superintendent Child noted that no superintendent could know his schools well enough without “considerable knowledge and use of scientific objective tests.”33
These tests formed the core of the scientific and efficient management of the nation’s burgeoning public school systems. In 1920 Child said that the nation’s economic needs meant that every student could not be interested in academics. Most public school students needed training in industry at schools that “entertain a favorable attitude toward work that must be done.” For Child, the junior high school had a particularly important role to play in this vocational preparation—foreshadowing his later commitment to the Platoon System and the eleven-year plan.34
A 1922 Deseret News editorial paid glowing tributes to the “increased efficiency” of the Salt Lake City schools, citing a special report prepared by the Assistant Superintendent. The use of a new “classification and promotion system” had led to over 5,000 students being one year further ahead in school; the old promotion system (based apparently on age) hampered pupils of superior ability. The new system, based on “the theory of the average child” and the notion that there is a “general regularity among pupils without respect to the matter of age,” not only enabled students to advance based on their ability, but led to a savings “to taxpayers” of $75 per child per year. For 5,082 students this “represented the magnificent sum of $381,150 for one year.”
While reflecting the general feeling of taxpayers that “too much money was being spent for educational purposes,” the editorial also tried to deflect that criticism by recognizing unmistakable signs of progress; the schools of 1922 gave children greater advantages than did those of the 1880s.35
Child continued to focus on efficiency Classes would achieve most if organized on the “homogeneous plan,” in which students of like capacities would be grouped together. Child claimed this was done in a “modest, conservative way”36 Separating children on the basis of ability even seemed antithetical to the egalitarian impulse in American and Mormon culture. In the mid-1920s, however, with burgeoning school populations, formal tracking became an essential part of the “standard curriculum design of the American school.”
[p.126]Lewis M. Terman, the educational psychologist who pioneered ability grouping, believed that focusing on the needs of each child in a homogenous environment best served “educational democracy” He labelled critics who considered his plan undemocratic, as “educational sentimentalists.”37 Child, in adopting a “modest, conservative” approach to tracking, no doubt reflected Mormon communitarian values that might balk at Terman’s secular elitism. However, the adoption of tracking in Salt Lake in the 1920s indicates how well-integrated the Salt Lake City schools were into the norms of the national educational establishment.
Paralleling homogeneous groups was increased attention to “educational guidance.” Principals and teachers were “gradually adjusting courses, standards and requirements” to enable classes to “meet individual [students’] needs and capacities.” According to Child, the school was to “adjust students to classes and courses in which their success is most pleasing and which mean most to [student] vocational aptitudes.” Teachers could no longer be concerned with student academic achievement; they must now guide the students to acquire knowledge directly pertinent to their later employment. Schools became gatekeepers of economic opportunity, channeling students into jobs determined by aptitude testing. Guidance ultimately reduced free choice in student programs.
The Eleven-Year Plan
The savings praised in the foregoing Deseret News editorial did not allay public fears that schools were spending too much money The persistent calls for cutbacks and pressure to get students into the work place earlier forced Child to investigate other approaches to saving money Kansas City schools had around 1922 introduced a unique plan that advanced students more rapidly and reduced the number of years spent in public schools from twelve to eleven—six in elementary, three in junior high, and two in high school without any detrimental effects on students. The conclusion was compelling: “If one year of training was not necessary to the pupils, then the public should not have to pay for it.”38
Child studied the Kansas City plan and by 1924 had presented an eleven-year program to the board. Despite opposition, Child convinced the board and the public of the plank viability He laid out the steps and procedures to be followed in the Thirty-Fifth Annual Report (1925), arguing that the plan would allow [p.127]students to be ready for “college or practical life” at age 17 or 18; that all essential subjects would be as thoroughly mastered in the shorter course as in the longer one; and that “much dawdling can be prevented as well as loss of time from giving attention to irrelevant or useless subject matter.” Child further mentioned that some of the “best school systems in the country” were operating similar programs and had been declared a “success both from the standpoint of educational results and of financial economy.”39
The plan approved by the board also included new buildings to accommodate the new plan and increased growth in the city’s eastern and southern sections. The upper grades and high schools had experienced a “marked increase” in attendance, “out of proportion to the general increase in pupil enrollment.” High school enrollment since 1913 had increased some 157 percent compared to the 25-30 percent increase for the population at large.40
For a conservative community, this plan was rather bold. Within a few years of its approval, Salt Lake City schools were being featured in national publications as models of what should be done to improve schools and have them cost less. School Life published Child’s proposals with George Eaton’s comments under the eye-catching title: “A Year of School Life Saved to Children of Salt Lake City” The last line of Eaton’s evaluation repeats the familiar litany of savings: “In community expense it would result in the saving of a whole school year, at an age when per capita cost of instruction is highest.”41 The journal praised “Salt Lake City’s Significant Experiment,” noting that there would be no reduction in the high school instruction: the focus of the 6-3-2 plan was to strengthen the offerings in what were at one time the upper grades of the elementary schools. The plan also increased kindergarten’s role; a good foundation there, it was believed, would carry over into the later grades.
The Salt Lake City approach, while following experiments done at the University of Chicago and in the Kansas City schools, differed significantly in that it was the first time a large city had attempted to actually reduce the course of study Kansas City and most Southern cities never had more than eleven years to begin with. Referring to the early arguments of Charles W. Eliot and Charles H. Judd that school time could be reduced without injury to students the editorial ended by suggesting: “Perhaps the action in Salt Lake City is an indication that the arguments of the elder statesmen are at last having an effect.”42
Child continued to receive national publicity In the September 1927 issue of School Life he drew on European experiences to bolster the eleven-year program. Germans, for example, prepared their young people earlier; they were two years ahead of American students. Americans, he asserted, had become too traditional in emphasizing school as a preparation for college. Doing so, Child argued, neglected vocational education for the masses. If ignored, such students [p.128]would lose interest in school. Using the new plan, however, students could finish their general education earlier, freeing up time to focus on vocational courses. Child also suggested that students who did not want a full-scale college experience would be well-served vocationally by spending some time in a junior college.43
National visibility encouraged the district to proceed with the experiment. By 1929 the plan was introduced into the school system in its entirety Its implementation included establishing kindergarten classes in all elementary schools; revising the course of study to focus on essentials and on student ability; organizing students homogeneously according to abilities and tastes; and teaching according to the “laws of learning.” The fear that students might regress was answered by tests indicating that the eighth graders of 1929 were as well prepared as ninth graders had been formerly.44
The era’s stress on the Cardinal Principles is clearly indicated in one observer’s realization that there was nothing in the adoption of the eleven-year plan that would not make the “seven objectives” fully realizable—even with a reduction of school time. “Economy of time” did not preclude the essentials.45 Superintendent Child believed this as well. He began the report for 1928-29 with “Economy of Time,” referring to the many national reports that cited Salt Lake City as a prime example of efficient management.46 But not everyone on his staff was willing to make time the essence of education. Lizbeth Qualtrough, who for so many years had carried the banner of progressivism in the district, took advantage of her impending retirement to question the whole notion of compressing education in the name of efficiency In what was apparently her last published statement as Assistant Superintendent, she appealed for a let-up on the “Economy of Time” fetish: “Life in the classroom is too hurried. The best things in life can not be assembled on the Ford plan, and it is the best things in life that these young people should learn to assemble. Time is valuable, but the Youth of America is its greatest asset and should not be sacrificed to time.”47 It is doubtful that anyone heard her. Certainly those who controlled the purse strings were not likely to turn their backs on efficiency, especially if it promised to save money and not damage students.
In April 1930, after a full year of the eleven-year plan, Child reported to the Salt Lake Rotary Club that the experiment was working well. A study had just been completed at the University of Utah which bore this out: six groups of eleven-year students had been compared with a similar group of twelve-year students; the eleven-year students were ahead of the twelve-year students in five of [p.129]the six. Plus, over the past year some $125,000 had been saved in school expenses. This news, coming only six months after the economic crash of October 1929, must have been music to the Rotarians’ ears. Child informed them that the reduction in expenditures had captured the attention of James Wood of Stephens Preparatory College in Missouri and that Wood had conferred with President George Thomas of the University of Utah and with Superintendent Child. Wood believed that “it will be only a few years before the city schools further cut their preparatory courses to 10 years.”48
In the next annual report Child’s assistant, George Eaton, speculated that without the eleven-year plan the district would have lacked resources during “this period of economic stress”; a thousand students had already been moved through the schools faster.49 As depression took hold on the nation, Salt Lake City’s schools were contributing to the common good in a concrete and tangible fashion.
One part of the original eleven-year plan—the creation of a junior college system—was not implemented, in part because of the economic depression. If the junior colleges had been established, the “chaos” of large numbers of eleven-year students descending on the University of Utah, Utah State Agricultural College, and Brigham Young University would have been avoided.50 As it was, the increase put additional financial strain on these institutions during the economic depression. Saving money in the public school sector caused higher costs for higher education.
Marching Onward by Platoons
The eleven-year plan was not Salt Lake City’s only progressive-era innovation. An educational reform known as the “Platoon Plan” or the “Gary Plan” (after its highest development in Gary, Indiana) was introduced to the upper elementary grades at about the same time. The Platoon Plan divided a school into two groups. While Platoon A was instructed in the basic three Rs, Platoon B was studying art, shop, and gymnastics. At a predetermined time the groups changed places, marching as platoons. The arrangement aimed to “achieve a balance between academic work and social creative activities. It also increased pupil capacity by about 40 percent without requiring extra staff.”51
According to one proponent, Roscoe Case, the Gary Plan was in keeping with current theories of child nature; it gave students training in citizenship by presenting them with problems to be solved in the school; it was an efficient use of the school plant; and it provided the opportunity to experiment, develop, and test new approaches to education. As with most new approaches, a cadre of [p.130]boosters testified that it providing meaningful educational experiences at minimal cost. Randolph Bourne, the darling of social liberals in the early 1920s, saw the approach as manifest in Gary as the “most complete and admirable application yet attempted, a synthesis of the best aspects of the progressive ‘schools of tomorrow.'” In lyes foreword to Case’s book, Ellwood P. Cubberley invoked Dewey, claiming the Gary Plan was “an application of the Dewey educational philosophy in a new and an original manner.” Dewey himself included the Gary schools in his collection of exemplary school practices, Schools of Tomorrow.
Some two hundred districts in the nation adopted the Gary Plan. In Gary there was general agreement on the enlarged curriculum and the services designed to meet the changes occurring in the school’s constituency, but large urban centers such as New York witnessed explosive reactions to the system. Labor unions, Jewish groups, and immigrants perceived it as an attempt to offer “cheapened public education” to working-class children. Riots doomed the plan’s further development.52
No uprisings occurred in Salt Lake City, however, and by the fall of 1930 every elementary school had at least one platoon organized, mainly in the upper grades. A memoir of the “early days” at Oquirrh School describes much marching about “as pupils entered or left buildings. … [L]ined up four abreast pupils marched and counter marched in perfect step to piano music or to the school orchestra.” Although it was one of the last cities with more than 14,000 students to do so, Salt Lake implemented the plan at a faster rate than any other city, After initial praise, toward the end of Child’s administration titus much touted innovation was criticized for lack of unity and difficulty correlating subject matter. Consequently, the Platoon Plan became a “Coordinating Group Plan.” By 1938 it had been modified into small “‘cooperative’ groups for the purpose of integrating the experience of the children.” A decade later a formal study of the Platoon Plan concluded that the self-contained classroom was a better means of educating children and “contributed more to the growth and development of the entire child than did the departmentalized organization.”53 And so another significant experiment disappeared from Salt Lake City’s educational landscape.
The Schools and Economic Hard Times
Just when a compelling case could have been made for promoting reform as a means of improving education, the “crash” of October 1929 forced a shift in priorities. Child was faced with keeping the schools on an even keel during a period of severe financial retrenchment. The depression brought “despair to all [p.131]classes” and resulted in “bewildered, resentful, doubtful people” who questioned the continued spending on schools.54
Although at the national level the depression was “slow to effect the political economy of public schools,” particularly in urban centers, in less prosperous areas the depression’s effects were immediately recognizable.55 Given Utah’s relatively weak economy, it should not be surprising that the depression hit the state much harder than the nation as a whole. Utah’s unemployment was 35 percent in the winter of 1932-33 compared to 25 percent nationally Even before the crash the state’s per capita income was only 80 percent of the national average—in the next few years it fell by 45 percent. By 1932 the wage level in the city had dropped by one-third of what it had been in 1929 and by 1933 some 12,000 persons were receiving some kind of government-sponsored relief. In spite of a common perception that Utahns have always resisted government “handouts,” in 1934, of every 1,000 Utah residents, 206 were on government relief programs—the fourth highest total in the nation.56
The spirit of the times is poignantly caught in John McCormick’s description of the human dimension of the depression in Salt Lake City:
Long lines of hungry men, their shoulders hunched against the cold wind, edged along sidewalks to get a bowl of broth from private-charity soup kitchens or city-operated transient shelters. Apple sellers abounded on the city sidewalks. So did shoeshine “boys,” ranging in age from teenagers who should have been in school to men past retirement age. An army of new salesmen appeared on Salt Lake streets, peddling everything from large rubber balls to cheap neckties.57
These sidewalk entrepreneurs could not make up lost tax revenues or jobs; as income levels dropped, so too did tax receipts, and “school budgets were slashed” along with other human services.
In his first “depression” report, Superintendent Child noted that the schools in the past year had aimed to “inspire and guide every school child into a richer life of understanding, sympathy and action. The score is not a perfect one but justifies a feeling of satisfaction and optimism.” Child was not alone in his optimism; public officials from President Herbert Hoover to business leaders and city politicians accentuated the positive, believing that good times were just around the corner. Maintaining a balanced budget would, it was believed, help restore financial stability.58
Child noted that tax rates had risen along with enrollments, and that the [p.132]”per capita” cost of operating the schools during these years had actually declined. “Expenditures for education have been guarded and curtailed” without damaging the school program. Child warned, however, that any “further curtailment” of school support would have serious effects on school morale.59
Child’s fears were in part realized the following year when the board issued all teachers with temporary ten percent salary reductions—contracts had the regular salary spelled out, but included an agreement that “ten percent should be deducted at the time of payment, to balance the budget.”60
As a good will gesture at Thanksgiving 1932, many Salt lake workers contributed to a public fund to benefit the city’s thousands unable to get work. The mayor, Louis Marcus, pledged ten percent of his salary, state employees pledged four percent over the next four months, and in response to an appeal from the Salt lake Chamber of Commerce, Salt lake teachers agreed to have two percent deducted during January, February, and March of 1932. Other teachers held special late afternoon classes designed to increase the vocational skills of the unemployed. The schools also arranged to hire 100 unemployed persons as census enumerators for the annual public school census.61
In addition to the decrease in public funds, the closing of the private LDS High School—due to the church’s financial difficulties—in June 1931 added 1,000 students to district’s rolls. Fortunately, the board had foreseen this possibility; just as the depression got under way the new South High School opened with 1,552 students in September 1931, surely an act of faith in public education as the depression gathered strength.
Summing Up a Rational Progressive
The report announcing salary reductions and the opening of South High was Child’s last report to the Board of Education. The nature of the problems resolved made him feel that “we shall be more hesitant about applying the term ‘impossible’ to distressing situations than we formerly were.” Personally, however, he did not fare as well; the stress of managing a large school system at the depths of economic depression took its toll on him physically. On 9 July 1932, shortly after completing his last report, George N. Child died at the age of 63 while recovering from an operation at the LDS Hospital.
The first Salt Lake superintendent to die in office, Child was lauded at his funeral in the LDS Assembly Hall as “a big brother” to his neighbors, a “real champion” of teachers, a supporter of student “welfare, vocational guidance and recreational activities,” and an advocate of “sound and far sighted” educational policies. Governor George Dern, a member of the Congregational church and a Free Mason, and George Albert Smith, a member of the LDS church’s Quorum of Twelve Apostles, paid tribute to Child as “one of Utah’s foremost citizens.”
A Tribune editorial praised Child for his educational insights and “sound [p.133]business judgements.” Of course some had disagreed with him, but to his “balancing influence” was attributed the lack of open discord and friction that had plagued some of his predecessors. News reports of his death noted that his ability to work in “harmony with the board marked his administration.”
The term progressive was used frequently in eulogies; one tribute even referred to him as “rationally progressive,” a description that sums up his perspective quite well. Interested as he was in the needs of children, Child was still conscious of the demand for “proper” use of public resources. As the Tribune noted, his educational structure was “erected with infinite consideration of what the foundation would bear.” His “business sagacity” kept any latent pedagogical progressive impulses from going beyond practical realities.62
Ironically, many of the specific programs Child advocated (including the Platoon Plan and the eleven-year program) were abandoned in the next decade, not because they were inimical to the interests of children—they often simply did not fit new sets of social and economic realities. Other changes, such as the junior high school idea, persisted much longer, but even it gave way to the middle school concept, which was seen, of course, as better serving students. Even at the best of times it is difficult to disentangle economics from the directions schools take. During times of extreme financial stringency it became even more of an issue, and Child’s successor would pick up where Child left off—trying to make schools serve the needs of children in an era of conservative financial retrenchment.
[p.112]1. Catherine J. Rogers, “The Life and Work of George Newport Child,” M.A. thesis, University of Utah, 1941, 4-13; Albert C. Matheson, “George N. Child,” Utah Educational Review, 26 (Sept. 1932): 12-13, 36-38.
[p.114]6. “Members Named on School Board,” Salt Lake Tribune, 2 Dec. 1920; “Returns of School Election Given Unofficially,” Deseret News, 2 Dec. 1920; obituary of Ray M. Haddock, Salt Lake Tribune, 4 June 1944.
16. David B. Tyack, ed. Turning Points in American Educational History (Waltham, MA: Blaisdell, 1967), 361; Marvin Lazerson, ed., American Education in the Twentieth Century: A Documentary History (New York: Teacher College Press, 1987), 12, 79-80.
20. Lizbeth Qualtrough’s views are reported in Thirty-third Annual Report, 1922-23, 24-29; Thirty-fifth Annual Report, 1924-25, 17-18; Thirty-seventh Annual Report, 1926-27, 18; Dortha Miller McDonald, Oral History, 23 Aug. 1990, 29; also “Funeral Set for S. L. Educator,” Salt Lake Tribune, 19 Oct. 1935.
[p.120]21. “Utah Maintains its Lead in Education”; “Salt Lake City Schools Show Progress for Year,” Deseret News, 18 Dec. 1920; Paul W. Nance, “An Examination of Salt Lake City Schools … 1911-14,” term paper, University of Utah, June 1991.
22. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Education, Survey of Education in Utah, Bulletin, 1926, No. 8 (Washington, D.C., 1926), 135, 177, 178, 358. This raises an interesting question: were LDS missionaries in this era drawn more from the rural wards than city wards? This survey seems to suggest that this was the case.
[p.126]37. A critical discussion of Terman’s role in creating the tracking system in the American school can be found in Clarence J. Karier, Paul Violas, and Joel Spring, Roots of Crisis: American Education in the Twentieth Century (Chicago: Rand McNally & Co., 1973), 118-30. Other educational “scientists” did not agree with Terman and held that studies of homogenous groups in contrast with heterogenous groups “proved” that students in homogenous settings did not make better grades, did not learn more, did not put out more effort and were not insulated from the fear of failure. See “Scientific Studies of the Value of Homogenous Grouping,” School Life 12 (Nov. 1926), 52.
[p.128]43. George N. Child, “Salt Lake City’s Revised Program is Working Out Smoothly” School Life 13 (Sept. 1927): 7; see also Child’s “Economy of Time as Practiced in the Salt Lake City Schools,” in Department of Superintendence of the National Education Association, The Seventh Yearbook: The Articulation of the Units of American Education (Washington, D.C., 1929), 225-26.
[p.130]52. For discussion of the Platoon System as operated in Gary, Indiana, see R. Cohen and R. Mohl, The Paradox of Progressive Education: the Gary Plan and Urban Schooling (Port Washington, New York: Kennikat Press, 1979); Bourne’s assessment is found in Lawrence A. Cremin, American Education: The Metropolitan Experience, 1876-1980 (New York: Harper & Row, 1988), 236-37. Cubberley is cited in John E. Ord, “The Platoon School in Utah,” M.A. thesis, University of Utah, 1949, 8.
55. For a detailed treatment of the effect of the depression on public schools in the United States see David Tyack, Robert Lowe, and Elisabeth Hansot, Public Schools in Hard Times: The Great Depression and Recent Years (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1984).
56. For an overview of the depression’s effect on Salt Lake City, see Thomas G. Alexander and James B. Allen, Mormons and Gentiles (Boulder, CO: Pruett Publishing Co., 1984), 197-229; the statistics cited are based on their discussion on pages 201-202.
[p.133]62. “George N. Child,” Salt Lake Tribune, 10 July 1932; “Dern to Speak at Final Rites for G. N. Child,” Salt Lake Tribune, 11 July 1932; “City, State, Church Honor School Head,” Deseret News, 12 July 1932. See also collection of clippings on Child in Utah Biographies, Special Collections, University of Utah.