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SCHOOL: The Story of American Public Education Logo
Roots in History
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Evolving Classroom
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Photo Gallery - Women as teachers
 


Advocate Catharine Beecher promoted female teachers as a civilizing force in the West… “God designed women to be the chief educators of our race… It is woman who is [sic] fitted by disposition and habits and circumstances for such duties.” Beecher founded colleges to educate women in philosophy, science, and mathematics and train them for service out west… Determined and educated, an army of young women teachers headed west. Nothing could have prepared them for the conditions they found upon arrival in their lonely outposts. One young lady witnessed a gunfight outside her classroom. Another found herself boarding in a two-room cabin with a family of ten.

Kathryn Kish Sklar describes how women changed what went on in the classroom: “[The hiring of women] created a new ethic in schools that was feminized in which the teacher cared for the students-the teacher was not only a disciplinarian but also offered, not exactly the comforts of home, but a lot of the similar ingredients that had gone on in home schooling a century before that.”



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