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THE

CONSOLIDATED RURAL

SCHOOL

EDITED BY

LOUIS W. RAPEER

PRESIDENT, RESEARCH UNIVERSITY
PRESIDENT, FEDERATION FOR AMERICAN CHILDHOOD

WASHINGTON, D. C.

ILLUSTRATED

CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
NEW YORK

CHICAGO

BOSTON

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PREFACE

THE value of co-operation in place of individualism is rapidly rising in the consciousness of the American people. For many reasons we are far more closely related to more people of the world than formerly and are more conscious of the relationship. This expansion of personality is ready to-day to conceive and to realize feelingly the brotherhood of man and both national and world citizenship. The adjoining farms or nearest small villages do not circumscribe the breadth of our interests, acquaintance, nor economic exchange. To-day we think more in terms of the county, the State, the nation, and the world, instead of provincially limiting ourselves to the farm and the little one-room school district.

The automobile, telephone, good roads, trolley cars, newspapers, magazines, and larger administrative participation tend greatly to widen the area of our social connections. The stupendous world war with its unprecedented stimulus to close national organization of railroads, agriculture, and manufacturing, with all their implications of sacrificing individualism to social efficiency, has sent the world, and especially America, a long way toward a desirable organization of all of each nation's forces. The consolidated rural school is part and partner of this broader socialization and integration. It stands for educational efficiency in the interests of the nation and humanity by means of a greater degree of co-operation and organization over a wider area of territory.

Already thousands of such schools have displaced the little one-room structures of restricted neighborhoods and mental outlooks from sea to sea. Every State has done something to develop such schools and a considerable body of literature has appeared in the form of reports, magazine accounts, and isolated chapters in books, describing more or less accurately this new and important type of educational advancement. Along with the larger, graded school, taking the place of as many as ten or more single-room schools of the pioneer type with transportation of pupils for long distances, frequently five or more miles from all directions, we find developing also at the consolidated-school centre such strategic factors as a school farm, a home for the principal teacher and his family, homes for other teachers and janitor on the school property, the integration of the village trading centre and farms, an increased use of the school as a community centre, especially where a good auditorium is provided, and a very much closer adaptation of the work of the school to definitely social and particularly rural needs.

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These remarkable transformations are worthy of the closest study, interpretation, and publicity. Isolated reports, surveys, and single chapters fail to do justice to the theme and fail also in acquainting many people with this type of solution of the great rural-school problem. We greatly need a first-class, thoroughgoing book, based on investigation, nation-wide acquaintance with this type of school, and thoroughly and cautiously worked out and illustrated. Such a volume few busy educators have time to produce. Feeling the need, however, the editor has done his best in producing such a volume by the method of co-operation of specialists found successful in other volumes of this series. We do not hesitate to pioneer and open up the way for more thoroughgoing works in the future. Our purpose is practical, directed to immediate and wide publicity of a very worthy hypothesis for the solution of a very grave problem, how to secure better rural education in this democracy.

The volume is based on rather definite aims of education and on a social theory of the function of the rural public school. The general aim held is that of social efficiency while the subordinate aims under which may be grouped the principal needs of country people and the principal problems of life which they solve well or ill somewhat according to the nature of the schooling which they receive are analyzed as: (1) Vital efficiency, (2) vocational efficiency, (3) avocational efficiency, (4) civic efficiency, and (5) moral efficiency. These are the fundamental goals of each chapter and are treated explicitly in the chapters on the programme of studies. If the principal problems of life lie in these fields then it is the business of education to make minimal essentials those school activities which produce efficiency in solving them. How children may be changed physically and mentally by suitable methods to secure these five efficiencies of character is treated briefly in two chapters on the learning and teaching processes.

We have selected a few of the leading specialists and successful workers in this field to help in the production of a first volume on the consolidated rural school. This method of co-operation needs no defense. It has long been successfully used by the medical profession and others, and has deinonstrated its utility in education by a number of good books, among which we may mention the volumes by Professor Paul Monroe and the lamented Professor Charles Hughes Johnston, and our own “Educational Hygiene" and "Teaching Elementary School Subjects.” Another volume written by the editor alone, on “Rural School Hygiene," will in part also treat of the consolidated school.

The editor here expresses his warm appreciation for the assistance of the contributors, of the many who have furnished photographs and data from personal experiences, of Doctor Harold W. Foght while in the United States Bureau of Education, and of his wife, Frances Chandler Rapeer.

L. W. R.

WASHINGTON, D. C., January, 1920.

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