This section is from the book "Principles Of Sociology With Educational Applications", by Frederick R. Clow. Also available from Amazon: Principles of sociology with educational applications.
This chapter so far has discussed location as nature makes it. Location as man makes it is a social product and not a primary factor. But the newcomer in a community finds himself in an environment of men and the work of men's hands which he had no share in making and will be impotent, for a time at least, to change. The same is true of a small society of recent origin, say a debating club in a school. This debating club perhaps meets in a room ill suited to its purposes, shared with other societies, not exchangeable for any-other. This room, for the present, is as much a part of the inevitable location in which that club exists as is the climate, and should be included in a description of it.
In the latter part of the summer of 1912, just two weeks before the opening of school, the high school building at N. burned. A fifth-grade class was assigned to a vacant store half a block from Main Street. Up to this time these children had been noted as being particularly bright and well behaved. But the new surroundings - close to a busy street, unattractive within the walls, noisy without, badly lighted, cold in winter and sweltering in warm days in the fall and spring - changed the spirit of the pupils. The boys became unruly; the class became known as a "tough one." There was no other teacher in the building so that they feared no higher authority. The teacher gave up in despair, and every other teacher dreaded being assigned to that grade. But the next year another change took place. The new buildings were completed, and this group was removed to an attractive room in one of them. In the new surroundings, with a strong principal as part of them, that group of children now occasions no more complaints.
There have been many schoolhouses with the shape and simplicity of a chalk box, but that type is becoming less frequent. School architecture has received increasing attention lately from architects, physicians, artists, and other specialists, so that now no one is passably informed on the subject who has not given much study to the designs introduced within the last ten years. The one-room rural schoolhouse has improved as much in proportion to what it used to be as has the city high school building. Teachers should of course be ready with information on this subject when new buildings are contemplated, and should know how to keep the more elaborate equipment of a modern building in good condition.
. . . The new Washington Irving High School [in New York City] is acknowledged by experts to be the finest public school building ever erected. It is an eight-story structure and occupies half of a city block in Irving Place, between Sixteenth and Seventeenth Streets. Some of the interesting features of the high school are:
Seven-room apartment for study of domestic science.
Conservatory on the roof for study of botany.
Cages for animals to be borrowed from the New York Zoological Park.
Fully equipped laundry.
Banking department, completely equipped with furniture, books, adding-machines, etc.
Basket-ball courts on roof.
Four gymnasiums with shower baths.
Seven large rooms for 200 sewing-machines.
Typewriting classroom with 200 typewriting machines.
Classroom with department-store features for the study of salesmanship.
Luncheon room for 700 pupils.
Auditorium, with large stage, where 1550 persons can be seated.
The school will care for 5900 pupils, and 228 instructors will be employed. Six high schools will be abandoned in Manhattan and the pupils assembled in the new building. The new high school building was erected at a cost of one and one quarter million dollars. Besides the many innovations introduced, every modern appliance and equipment to be found in any part of the world has been obtained for the school. - Johnston, The Modern High School, pp. 6, 7.
In European countries, especially in small village schools, the teacher's house is usually under the same roof with the schoolrooms. In larger schools it forms a separate building, but is situated on the school grounds. ... If every country school were supplied with 10 acres of good, well-drained land, and 3 acres of it were set apart for playgrounds and school buildings and the other 7 acres for a teacher's home and the school experiment farm, the ratio would be approximately correct. . . .
The cottage for the teacher should be as far as possible a model of its kind for the neighborhood. A beautiful, well-planned, and sanitary cottage on the school farm would help in a definite way to stimulate the farmers to build better houses (not more expensive ones) and to reconstruct to a degree those already built. . . .
To most people in this country it will be a surprise to learn that several States, notably Washington, already have teachers' cottages in connection with many of their country schools. . . .
. . . One consolidated country school in Wake County, N. C, has a cotton patch on the school grounds, planted and cultivated by the pupils. From the proceeds of the sale of the cotton grown on the grounds, furnishings and equipment were purchased for the school. On the second floor of the building there is a small but convenient assembly room in which is a good piano purchased by funds from the school-garden products. In this school several high-school subjects are taught, literary societies have been organized, and community interest has been developed. . . . The attitude of the neighborhood people toward this school and its work is interesting; they feel that it is their " big school" and that their children are honored in attending it. - U. S. Bureau of Education, Bulletin, 1914, No. 12, Dresslar, "Rural Schoolhouses and Grounds," pp. 122-124, 130.