Holding Schools Accountable a Hundred Years Ago

16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Friday, September 29, 1911: Papa took us to school this morning. It was so rainy at noon it came down as if it meant business. Teacher has rearranged our classes, and now we’ll have the program every now and then to see where our class comes.

Recent rainy day at the school that once housed the McEwensville School.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

How can you measure school quality? Is the school providing students with an adequate education? How does it stack up when compared to other schools?

These questions have been around for a long time. A hundred years ago people also wanted to know if students were learning what they were supposed to know.

This diary entry suggests that the teacher at McEwensville High School changed what he was teaching in response to some outside pressure. Maybe he used different books—or at least put more emphasis on different content– than he had previously.  It also suggests that the students were going to occasionally be assessed to see how they did compared to students in other schools.

Sound familiar–

Today we have No Child Left Behind—and students take statewide tests. Schools are held accountable if students don’t make adequate yearly progress.

Some issues and concerns never seem to change—though it sounds much  lower key a hundred years ago.

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