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- The Progressive Democracy of James M. Cox - 14/14 -


agriculture was scarcely taught, schools were without equipment, three-fourths of the buildings were twenty years old or older, unsanitary, poorly lighted, without ventilation and insufficiently heated.

With one stroke the new school code created county supervision districts under the control of county boards, elected by the presidents of village and township boards; provided for county superintendents and supervisors over smaller districts within the county; required academic and professional training of all new teachers henceforth, and gave communities wider powers to centralize and consolidate schools.

At present ninety-five per cent of the elementary teachers have had professional training, and high school teachers are required to be college graduates or have equivalent scholastic attainment. The most common faults of class-room instruction have been to a great extent eliminated. Standard methods of presentation are being practices in an attempt to give to each child opportunity for development of his possibilities.

A great stimulation of public school sentiment is manifested by a closer co-operation and correlation of the school and the home, resulting in boys' and girls' club work, achievement courses, home projects and other school extension and community activities; a growth of the feeling of responsibility to the community on the part of the teacher; an attitude of greater interest and responsibility of the boards of education toward the school; a willingness of the people to vote money for new school plants and enterprises; a growing demand for consolidation and centralization; a better trained class of teachers, increased school attendance, especially in high schools where it has increased from fifty to one hundred per cent.

School administration is much more efficient as is demonstrated by a uniform course of study for elementary and high schools, vitalized by its articulation with the industrial activities of the community, county uniformity of textbooks, selection and correlation of textbook material and its adaptation to the varying interests and needs of childhood, uniform system of reports and records, and the like.

School centers have been made to coincide with social and business centers. Convenient districts have been formed around centers of population. village and surrounding rural districts have been united in accordance with the trend of the community interests and activities. Weak districts have been eliminated by the transfer of their territory to other districts, thereby strengthening property valuations.

A centralized school in Ohio was almost a novelty in 1914. A year ago there were 310 centralized (township) schools and 599 consolidated (embracing several contiguous districts) schools, and the number has been materially swelled during the year. Seventy of the eighty-eight counties now have such schools and the trend is toward them throughout the State. One such school replaces, on the average, eight one-room schools. They have brought to the rural pupils trained teachers, well-equipped buildings, courses of study related to the interests of the farm and home by being well-balanced between the cultural and vocational. They have made it possible for the country boy who remains on the farm to obtain a high school education in his own community that is directly related to his needs. Scientific agriculture under trained instructors is taught in all of these schools. The possibilities of the farm and of rural life are thus revealed to the boy and he will be equipped with knowledge necessary to the scientific performance of his work. From the farm instead of the law office and the counting room will come those who know what the needs and interests of the farmer are and who will be qualified to represent those interests.

While the system still may be said to be in its infancy, the progress of transformation of Ohio schools under it has been nothing short of wonderful, and unending results may be expected of it.

This extensive legislation had aroused many prejudices particularly, in the rural sections, of which his opponent, Congressman Frank B. Willis, took advantage. The bold challenge of the Governor to his opponent was stated by him on the platform in many parts of Ohio "Which law will you repeal?" The question was never answered, but the tide of opposition to the changes swept Governor Cox out of office, although he ran many thousands ahead of his associates. In the succeeding sessions of the General Assembly popular sentiment began once more to swing to Governor Cox and two years later he was re-elected by a small plurality. Improvement in the various laws was sought during his next term, but the shadow of the world war was already beginning to fall, and the greater part of his efforts were devoted to preparation for Ohio's part.

In general administration the Governor's supporters are fond of saying that he met successfully

In his first term a flood, In his second term a war, In his third term reconstruction.

The flood story was the one that really introduced him first to the country at large. Ohio was hit by a calamity greater than any that had befallen a state. Columbus, Dayton, Marietta, Hamilton and other cities were under water for days, many villages were almost washed off the map, and hundreds of lives and untold millions of property were lost. Bridges everywhere were washed out and transportation was practically at a standstill. The eyes of the State and Country were on the then untried Governor Cox. He met the situation in a manner that will never be forgotten in Ohio. The Ohio National Guard was called out, stricken communities were placed under martial law, civilian relief armies under the command of mayors and other designated leaders organized everywhere, Ohio's motor truck, automobile and other facilities commandeered, and the work of feeding, clothing, cleaning up and rehabilitation carried on from the beginning with astounding efficiency.

The New York World at that time said of him:

"The man who has dominated the situation in Ohio is Governor Cox. He has been not only chief magistrate and commander-in- chief, but the head of the life-saving service, the greatest provider of food and clothing the State has ever known, the principal health officer, the sanest counselor, the severest disciplinarian, the kindest philanthropist and best reporter. He has performed incredible labors in all these fields, and his illuminating dispatches to the World at the close of the heart- breaking days have given a clearer vision of conditions than could be had from any other source. Reared on a farm, educated in the public schools, a printer by trade, a successful publisher and editor of newspapers, a great Governor and a reported who gets his story into the first edition, James M. Cox excites and is herewith offered assurance of the World's most distinguished consideration."

The flood revealed the necessity for conservancy legislation and the measure recommended by the Governor was enacted to give local communities the right to protect themselves.

The time has gone by when in Ohio the major things in the programme of Governor Cox can be attacked successfully before the people of the State. He does not claim perfection. Suggestion as to improvement has found him ready to listen. There is still a short time for him to serve, but the public judgment has been made up, and Buckeye citizens, without regard to party affiliation, says that he has been a "good Governor."


The Progressive Democracy of James M. Cox - 14/14

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