Title:
A History of the Indiana State Board of Education

Author:
Linnaeus N. Hines

Date:
1931

Source:
Indiana Magazine of History, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 23-39

Article Type:
Article

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A History of the Indiana State Board of Education

President LINNAEUS N. HINES

The State Board of Education has enjoyed a long, continuous, and honorable record in connection with its service to the people of Indiana. In order to arrive at a completely accurate conception of what this board has done to promote education in our commonwealth, it has been necessary to read almost eighty years of minutes of the transactions of this body. The minute-books of this organization are intact and, everything considered, are in complete form. Anyone who has the necessary patience and curiosity may read, from the beginning down to the present, a record of everything that the Board has done. The purpose of this paper is to give something of a picture of the service the State Board has rendered.

There are few historians of the State Board of Education. Charles A. Greathouse, State Superintendent of Public Instruction from 1910 to 1917, in his report for 1915-16, devoted a chapter to the State Board. He brought out some of the high-lights connected with that organization during the period covered, which was from 1862 to 1916. Mr. Greathouse for the first time wrote into the state reports a considerable account of the organization whose history we are considering.

Another historian of the State Board of Education was Dr. Richard G. Boone, professor of pedogogics in Indiana University in the eighties and nineties. In 1892 he published his History of Education in Indiana, a standard work in every particular. Although this book has been almost forty, years off the press, it is still used as a book of reference because of its accuracy and because of its scholarly quality. It is a pleasure to refer to Professor Boone's history as it touches the Board of Education. He tells us that a suggestion for a State Board of Education was proposed to a convention of educators and members of the General Assembly held at Indianapolis as early as 1847. The idea early grew in this state that there should be some sort of centralized authority in educational matters if our educational system was ever to get anywhere. Four years later Governor Joseph A. Wright issued one of the important state papers in connections with the development of education and admonished the people in regard to their responsibilities as to education under the new constitution. The Governor's paper furnished the background for the sixth annual address on popular education by Caleb Mills who was one of the outstanding figures in the history of our state, taken from any viewpoint. Mills emphasized the necessity for a complete organization to supervise the public schools of the state. He recommended the creation of a State Board of Education.

Professor Boone reminds us that the constitution of 1852 provided for the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Proper legislation was soon passed to make this section of the constitution function. The Legislature went still further and created the State Board of Education, making the State Superintendent, ex officio, president of the State Board. In one of his chapters, Professor Boone goes somewhat into detail in regard to the organization of the State Board of Education, its membership, and its work, furnishing facts that will be further developed in the course of this paper.

Under date of June 14, 1852, the law creating the Indiana State Board of Education first went into effect. The original Board consisted of the Governor of the state, the State Superintendent, the Secretary of State, the state Treasurer and the state Auditor. This was strictly a lay board with the exception of the State Superintendent. The Board was directed to meet annually for the purpose of promoting education through conferences, interchange of views, introduction of uniform schoolbooks, establishing township libraries and determining questions that might arise in connection with the public schools. That first charter of duties to be performed fits rather well a statement of duties of the State Board of Education today with the exception that the old township libraries have disappeared and that all library activities are now supervised by other organizations. The membership of the Board remained as originally organized until March, 1855, when the law added the Attorney-General of the state to the list.

There was no further change until ten years later when a decided revision of the law was made. Now the State Board was made a professional organization in place of a lay organization. The new membership was the same in so far as the Governor and the State Superintendent were concerned, but, in place of the other members, the new Board included the President of the State University, the President of the State Normal School (when the same should be established), and the superintendents of schools of the cities ranking first, second and third in the number of school children enumerated. The State Superintendent of Public Instruction was to be the president, and the Board was to elect one of its members to be secretary and another to be treasurer. The Board was still directed to take cognizance of such questions as might arise in the practical administration of the school system as were not otherwise provided for, and was duly to consider, discuss, and determine the same. The Board was to determine qualification for life state certificates and to attend to routine matters. The pay and mileage of the members were to be the same as those of the members of the General Assembly. The membership of the Board as now constituted remained unchanged for another period of ten years when, on the establishment of Purdue University, the President of that institution was added to the list of members.

It will be noted that so far, the membership of the State Board has been entirely ex officio. Every member held his place because he had been selected for some other important office in the commonwealth. In 1899, however, the old arrangement of having the entire Board ex officio, was changed by a law that required the addition of "three citizens of prominence actively engaged in educational work in the State, appointed by the Governor, at least one of whom shall be a county superintendent, none of whom shall be appointed from any county in which any other member of the State Board of Education resides."

This modified plan of organization prevailed until 1913 when the law inaugurating vocational education in the state was originally passed. This particular act left the members of the State Board of Education as they had been before with one omission and with three additions. The Governor of the state was omitted from the list of members. The following from the law indicates how the Board was expanded: "and three persons actively interested in, and of known sympathy with, vocational education, one of whom shall be a representative of employes and one of employers." The length of term for these new appointive members was fixed at four years, whereas three years had been the period for such members before. The plan of organization of the Board has remained the same from 1913 to the present.

Governors sat on the Board from 1852 to 1913. Some of the Governors were very active in the proceedings of the Board. These men considered the problems of public education as a part of the many duties they were called on to perform. The first meeting of the State Board of Education was on June 7, 1853. Those present were Governor Wright, State Superintendent, W. C. Larrabee, John P. Dunn, state Auditor, Nehemiah Hayden, Secretary of State, Elijah Newland, state Treasurer. The Governor was present at all the sessions. His name appears in the minutes of the Board a number of times. Apparently he was active and interested in the problems that came before the members. The next meeting of the Board was on November 14, 1853. The record reveals that on motion of Governor Wright it was resolved that The Buckeye Abroad, a volume written by S. F. Cox, be recommended as a suitable book for township libraries for the State of Indiana. In the meeting of the next year, Governor Wright moved that H. F. West be appointed agent of the Board to distribute township libraries and copies of the second annual report of the State Superintendent. A record of 1859 shows the presence of "His Excellency, Ashbel P. Willard," and another record in the same year shows that the State Board of Education, on motion of Governor Willard, adopted the Goodrich readers. It is interesting further to note that in the record of this meeting (June 22, 1859), it was directed that the old books in the schools be used till finished and that the new books should then be purchased. This arrangement is still a feature in the procedure of the State Board of Education in that children are not required to buy new books until the old ones have been completed. On December 12, 1860, we find that Governor Abram A. Hammond sat with the Board of Education.

An interesting part of the State Board minutes is that section of them given to the Civil War period. Governor Oliver P. Morton was a member of the Board and took as active an interest in its work as the troubled times would permit. The Board met irregularly during the years of the great conflict. Governor Morton continued to serve with the Board until 1867, when he became a member of the United States Senate. From 1865 to 1867, he served with a Board of professional educators, since the law substituting college presidents and superintendents of schools for state officials had gone into effect.

The names of other governors appear in the minutes of the Board from time to time. Perhaps no man in the whole list of chief executives was more active or more interested than Governor Thomas R. Marshall, who served from 1909 to 1913. Governor Marshall was present at many meetings of the Board. In the meeting of May 6, 1909, he introduced four resolutions having to do mainly with the adoption of textbooks. The most notable of these resolutions required that votes on the adoption of texts should be by signed ballots, later to be open to the inspection of the public.

One of the well known incidents in the history of the State Board of Education was the controversy that arose in 1909 over the adoption of a set of geographies. Governor Marshall believed that a certain publishing house which had furnished the state adopted geographies for five years should continue to furnish the books for the next period of five years at the same price as before. The publishers in question had when making new bids placed the price of their books at a higher figure. An attempt was made to hold the prices down to the old level. The company contended that it was under no obligation to furnish books at the same price as cost of labor and material had gone up and argued they could not continue to abide by a contract that had expired. On the other hand, members of the State Board of Education believed that the Board had the right to extend this contract if it saw fit. The controversy raged for months, the Attorney-General's office was drawn into the controvery, and it was finally decided that the state of Indiana could not sue the company since it was not the aggrieved party, and that members of the State Board could not sue but that suit must be brought in the name of some child who was being deprived of his geography at a contract price. The Attorney-General explained that such a suit would last many months and that in the mean time the children would have no geographies at all. It was finally decided to drop the case and the Board later adopted geography texts on a new basis.

Governor Marshall was the last governor to serve his full term of four years on the State Board of Education. He retired from office in January, 1913, and was followed by Samuel L. Ralston who was a member of the State Board until February 22, 1913, when the new vocational law went into effect, at which time the Governor was dropped from the list of members.

The State Superintendent of Public Instruction has, of course, been a member of the Board from the beginning, and, because of his office and because of the fact that he acts as president of the Board, has had an important part in the development of education in Indiana. The office of State Superintendent was created by the Constitution of 1851. The Legislature, in accordance with the constitution, provided for the election of a Superintendent of Public Instruction at the general election held every two years. He was directed by statute to deliver an address before the State Board on taking office, spend ten days annually on each judicial circuit, examine the schools, act as president of the State Board Education, submit for the inspection of the State Board lists of textbooks for the schools, submit a catalog of suitable works for libraries and superintend the purchase of township libraries. This official still acts as president of the State Board of Education but he does not any more deliver addresses to the State Board when he takes office nor does he spend ten days annually on each judicial circuit. It so happens that, due to the number of judicial circuits in these days, spending ten days annually on each circuit in every year would be a mathematical impossibility. His township library duties have faded out, but he still has a hand in the adoption of textbooks and devotes his time to a multitude of duties that were undreamed of eighty years ago.

There was an official predecessor in Indiana of the State Superintendent. That official was known as the Superintendent of Common Schools. He functioned from 1843 to 1852. The duties of the office were largely fiscal and consisted in making reports, distributing funds, and performing other similar duties. It was during this period of about ten years that the state Treasurer as required by law acted as Superintendent of Common Schools. The men that filled this office were: George H. Dunn, 1843-1844; Royal Mayhew, 1844-1847; Samuel Hannah, 1847-1850; James P. Drake, 1850-1852. There was not very much progress in the Indiana schools during this period nor during the preceding period from the adoption of the first Constitution to 1843.

A curious thing about the law that provided for the state Treasurer to act as Superintendent of Common Schools in Indiana was the fact that this statute was to apply to all counties except Clark and Scott. The State Superintendent of Common Schools was not to have any jurisdiction in those two counties. This was an unusual departure in the enactment of school laws. When the office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction was created, there were no exceptions as to counties or other units. This official was to administer schools in all parts of the state.

The list of State Superintendents for the entire period from 1852 to the present follows: William C. Larrabee, 1852-1854; Caleb Mills, 1854-1857; William C. Larrabee, 1857-1859; Samuel L. Rugg, 1859-1861; Miles J. Fletcher, 1861-1862; Samuel K. Hoshour, 1862-1862; Samuel L. Rugg, 1862-1865; George W. Hose, 1865-1868; Barnabas C. Hobbs, 1868-1871; Milton B. Hopkins, 1871-1874; Alexander C. Hopkins, 1874-1875; James H. Smart, 1875-1881; John M. Bloss, 1881-1883; John W. Holcomb, 1883-1887; Harvey M. LaFollette, 1887-1891; Hervey D. Vories, 1891-1895; David M. Geeting, 1895-1899; Frank L. Jones, 1899-1903; Fassett A. Cotton, 1903-1909; Robert J. Aley, 1909-1910; Charles A. Greathouse, 1910-1917; Horace Ellis, 1917-1919; Linnaeus N. Hines, 1919-1921; Benjamin J. Burris, 1921-1924; Henry N. Sherwood, 1924-1927; Charles F. Miller, 1927-1927; Roy P. Wisehart, 1927-1931. County Superintendent George C. Cole of Lawrence-burg was elected State Superintendent in November, 1930, to succeed to the office on March 15, 1931.

The early duties of the State Board of Education seemed largely to run to three things: the recommendation of texts for the schools; the selection of books for the township libraries; and the election of trustees of Indiana University. The use of books selected by the State Board for the schools in the early days was not compulsory in the sense that such is by law the case now. Local school officers adopted books from 1824 to 1852. The State Board of Education "recommended" texts from 1852 to 1865. County Boards of Education selected texts for several years after 1873. A modern state-wide system of book selection by the State Board of Education began in 1889 when the first state textbook law in the modern sense was passed. The law went into great detail, naming the subjects for which texts were to be selected, for the elementary school set forth detailed directions for advertising for bids, for receiving bids, for opening bids and for letting contracts. There were amendments to the law in 1891, in 1893 and in 1901. In 1913, under the administration of Superintendent Charles A. Greathouse, state-wide adoption was extended to high schools. Every regular textbook in the twelve grades of the public school system is now used because of its having been adopted by the State Board of Education.

The work of the early Boards in regard to township libraries was very important. The legislators believed in township libraries as a means of spreading culture. To the State Board of Education was given the task of selecting the books for these libraries and also that of distributing them. The Board did not have any authority or functions after the books had been placed in charge of the township trustees. This duty in regard to township libraries lasted for many years.

The fact that there were many changes in the membership of the Board of Trustees of Indiana University appears in the minutes of the State Board throughout the years. Sometimes controversies over these appointments reached the Board but every difficulty apparently was smoothed out eventually and the members of the State Board as well as the University survived the rivalry and squabbles that sometimes appeared.

Another group of members of the State Board of Education has been made up of superintendents of schools in the three Indiana cities having the largest enumeration of school children. Indianapolis, of course, has led in this list of three members because Indianapolis has had more school children than any other city in the state since the creation of the State Board. The capital city, therefore, has had representation on the State Board of Education ever since it became a professional Board in 1865. Indianapolis superintendents of schools have been members as follows: A. C. Shortridge, 1865-1872; George P. Brown, 1872-1878; H. S. Tarbell, 1878-1887; Lewis H. Jones, 1887-1895; D. K. Goss, 1895-1900; C. N. Kendall, 1900-1911; G. A. Mirick, 1911-1912 (acting supt.); J. G. Collicott, 1912-1917; H. S. Gruver, 1917 (acting-supt.); E. U. Graff, 1917- 1927; J. F. Thornton, 1927 (acting-supt.); Charles F. Miller, 1927-1930; Daniel Weir, 1930 (acting-supt.); Paul Stetson, 1930-.

The city of Evansville for many years held the second place as to the number of school children enumerated annually. John O. Chewning, the present Evansville superintendent of schools, was a member of the Board until 1925, when he was succeeded by the superintendent of schools of Fort Wayne, Mr. Louis C. Ward. That city which had before been represented, temporarily won again a place on the Board because of an increase in its enumeration. Evansville is not now represented on the State Board of Education. The list of Evansville superintendents who served is as follows: E. J. Rice, 1865-1866; Charles H. Butterfield, 1866-1867; A. &I. Gow, 1867-1875; John M. Bloss, 1875-1881; John Cooper, 1881-1887; J. W. Layne, 1887-1894; W. A. Hester, 1894-1902; F. W. Cooley, 1902-1910; J. H. Tomlin, 1910-1916; L. P. Benezet, 1916-1924; John O. Chewning, 1924-1925.

Ft. Wayne long had a member on the Board. This representation was unbroken from 1865 to 1886, when Terre Haute forged ahead to retain a place until 1894. At this time, the latter city was again outdistanced by the former. Ft. Wayne now kept a representation on the Board until 1923, in which year South Wend came to the front. In 1924-1925, Ft. Wayne replaced Evansville, but the growing city of Gary soon passed Ft. Wayne which once more (1925) lost its representation. W. H. Wiley was superintendent of the Terre Haute schools when that city had a member on the Board. The list of Ft. Wayne superintendents who have been members is as follows: James H. Smart, 1865-1875; John S. Irwin, 1875-1886 and 1894-1896; Justin N. Study, 1896-1917; R. W. Himelick, 1917-1920; L. C. Ward, 1920-1923 and 1924-1925.

South Bend was first represented on the State Board of Education in 1923 when its present superintendent, Mr. W. W. Borden, became a member of the Board. Gary has been represented on the State Board since 1925, when superintendent William A. Wirt came on the Board because of an increase in the Gary enumeration. It will thus be seen that in recent years South Bend and Gary have both outdistanced Evansville and Ft. Wayne. Whether this arrangement will be permanent or not remains to be seen as these four cities are all growing.

Another group of ex officio members has been composed of men who have served as presidents of Indiana University, Purdue University, and the Indiana State Normal School, now the Indiana State Teachers College. The presidents of Indiana University during the period covered, 1865 to 1930, have been: Cyrus Nutt, 1860-1875; Lemuel Moss, 1875-1884; David Starr Jordan, 1884-1891; John M. Coulter, 1891-1893; Joseph Swain, 1893-1902; William Lowe Bryan, 1902-.

The following list of presidents of the Indiana State Normal School and its successor the Indiana State Teachers College have been members of the Board: William A. Jones, 1869-1897; George P. Brown, 1879-1885; William Wood Parsons, 1885-1921; Linnaeus N. Hines, 1921-.

Purdue, as before mentioned, was first represented on the State Board in 1875. This came about through action of the Legislature. The list of Purdue presidents has been as follows: A. C. Shortridge, 1874-1876; Emerson E. White, 1876-1883; James H. Smart, 1883-1900; Winthrop E. Stone, 1900-1921; Henry W. Marshall, 1921-1922; Edward C. Elliott, 1922-.

The entire group of Board members during a period of nearly thirty-five years, 1865-1899, was made up of ex officio members. In the latter year, as has been noted before, the membership of the Board was enlarged so as to include three prominent citizens engaged in educational work at least one of whom was to be a county superintendent. These three persons were to be appointed by the governor.

We note in the minutes of the summer of 1899 that the names of Mr. E. G. Machan, of LaGrange, President W. T. Stott of Franklin College; and President Mills of Earlham College appear in the Board record. Mr. Machan was the county superintendent of LaGrange County and represented the county superintendent group as required by law. In 1901 county superintendent George Worley of Warsaw was appointed in place of Mr. Machan. Governor Durbin appointed John M. B~OSS, of Delaware county, to membership on the Board in 1903. Mr. Bloss had been State Superintendent from 1881 to 1883 and previous to that time had served as superintendent of schools in Evansville. He had lived in the West for a time after leaving school work in Indiana, but had returned to the state. His ability as a school man was soon thereafter recognized by this appointment to the State Board. County Superintendent E. E. Robey, of Howard County, was appointed in 1904 to fill out the unexpired term of George W. Worley, who retired.

The minutes of September 27, 1904, show the passage of a resolution relative to the then recent death of David K. Goss at Strasburg, Germany. Mr. Goss had left the superintend-ency in Indianapolis in 1900 after which he had established a school in Strasburg, where he died. President W. T. Stott, of Franklin, resigned at the December meeting in 1904. Governor Durbin immediately appointed President Edwin H. Hughes, of DePauw University, to fill the vacancy. John M. Bloss also died during his membership on the Board and President R. L. Kelley of Earlham College was soon thereafter appointed by Governor J. Frank Hanley to the vacant place. President R. L. Kelley was re-appointed to succeed himself on May 1, 1908. President Elmer B. Bryan, of Franklin College, became a member of the State Board in January, 1909. He was appointed by Governor Hanley. Professor George H. Tapy, of Wabash College, was appointed by Governor Thomas R. Marshall to succeed E. B. Bryan, when the latter resigned. County superintendent J. C. Webb of Johnson County was appointed by Governor Marshall to succeed E. E. Robey on May 1, 1910

Mr. George A. Mirick, who served as acting-superintendent of schools in Indianapolis for a time following the resignation of Calvin N. Kendall, was temporarily a member of the Board for a few months beginning with the meeting of September 21, 1911. He was succeeded by J. C. Collicott, who became superintendent of the Indianapolis schools in 1912.

The year 1913 was marked by the appointment of the first high school inspector. This place was first filled by A. O. Neal, who had been superintendent at Kokomo. The place had been created by action of the 1913 session of the Legislature.

County superintendent M. F. Livengood, of Fountain County, was appointed in May, 1913, by Governor Ralston to the State Board in place of Mr. Webb of Johnson County. Superintendent H. G. Brown of Lebanon, also received an appointment as member of the State Board from Governor Ralston. P. A. Reid of Richmond was appointed by the Governor in the summer of 1913 as the representative of employers under the new vocational law. William Dobson was appointed at about the same time as a representative of employes under this same law. President George R. Grose of DePauw University, was appointed a member of the State Board in May, 1914. He took the place of President R. L. Kelley of Earlham. On May 6, 1915, we have the record of the appointment by Governor Ralston of County superintendent Samuel L. Scott of Clark County to succeed Professor George H. Tapy of Wabash College, and of Frank Duffy of Indianapolis to succeed William Dobson.

County superintendent Charles O. Williams of Wayne County, took membership on the State Board in May, 1917, by appointment of Governor Goodrich. He succeeded County superintendent Livengood. Archibald M. Hall of Indianapolis, was appointed a member of the Board in June, 1917, to succeed P. A. Reid of Richmond, as a representative of employers under the state vocational law. County superintendent Clifford Fundenburg of Huntington county, accepted appointment to the State Board by Governor Goodrich after the resignation of H. G. Brown of Lebanon, in 1919 to accept employment with a publishing house. In this year, Mrs. E. E. Olcott of North Vernon, succeeded Superintendent S. L. Scott of Clark County, and Harry L. Fidlar of Indianapolis, succeeded Frank W. Duffy as the employes' member of the State Board. The late Elwood Haynes of Kokomo, pioneer inventor and manufacturer of automobiles, came to membership on the Board in 1921 as did County superintendent Frank Heighwav of Lake County. Superintendent Heighway died some months later and Mrs. Richard Edwards of Peru, was appointed to the State Board.

A number of women have had appointments to the State Board of Education. This list includes Mrs. E. E. Olcott of North Vernon, Mrs. Nellie C. Warren of Indianapolis, Mrs. Richard Edwards of Peru, Miss Etelka Rockenback of New Albany, Mrs. Beryl S. Holland of Bloomington, and Miss Martha Whitacre of Richmond.

Other persons appointed to membership are President Benjamin J. Burris of the Ball State Teachers College, Muncie, Vice-President Henry B. Longden of DePauw University, County Superintendent A. S. Thomas of Miami County, Frank Reynolds of Cambridge City, William D. Moss of Marion, President L. A. Pittenger of the Ball State Teachers College, and County superintendent George H. Reitzel of Hendricks County. It will be seen from the foregoing record of appointments that while the State Board of Education is commonly thought of as rather permanent in its membership there has been a constant changing in the names of those who serve the state in this capacity.

The State Board of Education is often thought of as having considerable power. It is well to remember, however, that this body has no authority to levy any tax rates or revise any tax rates, school or other. It fixes no salaries of any teachers or of any other group of school employes except some three or four persons who directly or indirectly serve the State Board in the office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. No appointments of teachers come from the action of the State Board, which organization serves in an advisory capacity to the state educational system. It fixes the conditions for obtaining teachers certificates under the law. It adopts textbooks for contract periods of five years under the exact wording of the statute.

It is sometimes charged that the State Board of Education is constantly changing textbooks. Those who give little thought to this situation may readily make this charge, but it is well to remember that the times of the adoptions are fixed by law and the State Board of Education can not change them. The adoptions in high school texts are all considered every five years; the readers, arithmetics and copy books are adopted for five year periods ending at a different time, and the remainder of the grade adoptions are made at still other five year intervals.

The first high school adoption was made in 1913, according to the act of the Legislature of that year. Adoptions were regularly made in 1918, in 1923, and in 1928, according to the statute.

This year, 1931, there is to be a consideration of adoptions of texts for grade schools other than those of the three R's, etc., as explained above. It would be a splendid thing if all adoptions were coiisidered in the same year. This wduld help clear up public thinking on this subject. It is strictly illegal for the State Board to consider a contract for a text in any given subject oftener than five years. The Board obeys the law exactly. The difficulty comes in that these several adoptions are made in three different years.

The State Board of Education has served in various capacities during its long life. First and always, it has been the State Board of Education. For many years it served as a State Library Board, in cases of vacancies appointing State Librarians, that is, it acted as a Library Board whenever the assembled members gave time to that duty.

The State Board of Education under the vocational law was made a state board of vocational education and it still serves in that capacity though under the title of the State Board of Education, It has been and is a state teachers training board, a state board of textbook commissioners, and a state board of attendance.

Perhaps some of the most strenuous times connected with the work of the Board had to do with the state textbook adoptions. These adoptions began in their modern form in 1889. The contract for any given text has always been a period of five years but the contract may be extended for one or more additional five year periods if a given text is satisfactory. The contracts are important and there is great rivalry between the companies for this business. Sometimes the Board has been blamed for adopting some text at a higher price than seemed reasonable. The Board has never been given authority to control bidders' figures. The law directs that the Board receive sealed bids on every contract and further directs the Board to make the best selection possible from the bids received. Thus in 1921, the Board was greatly criticized because those bidders who had held contracts in texts from 1916 to 1921 raised their prices on the proposed new contracts. The critics did not stop to recall that the country had been through the World War, that the prices of material and labor had gone up and that nobody could be found to bid on these books at the prices that had prevailed in 1916. The Board obeyed the law exactly but it did not escape a world of abuse because it did so. The story of state adoptions is a long one and the work involved is a thankless task.

The State Board of Education is called on sooner or later to consider almost every social and educational question. Many of these topics belong rightly to the Board but some of them come from attempts to impose on the members and get their influence to back propositions the responsibility for which clearly belongs somewhere else. The period following the World War was particularly prolific in requests to help out various enterprises. In looking over the minutes of a few months in 1920 we find that the following topics were before the Board: Mayflower descendants, intelligence tests for high school seniors, shortage of teachers, Indiana Tuberculosis Association, the child welfare movement, local history, private and parochial schools, standard equipment for rural schools, committee to approve rural school equipment, inspection of colleges, State Library, vocational education, vocational rehabilitation, selection of school architects, educational work in state institutions, Knights of Pythias' support of the use of the Bible in the schools, Rotary clubs and Americanism, Roosevelt Americanization and Scholarship Fund, America's gift to France, Bible study, length of the school day, credit in school for outside music work, advertisements in textbooks, German in the schools, American Legion and Americanization, state money for private normals, inspection of grade and high schools, the censorship of moving pictures, et cetera.

As said above, many of these questions rightly belong to the State Board of Education, but there has seldom been any complaint on the part of the members even when extraneous matters have been dragged into the sessions. In fact, the matters for consideration by the State Board have been almost as varied as the subjects for legislation by the Indiana Legislature under the old Constitution when laws were passed all the way from the granting of divorces to the protection of cranberries.

The proposed censorship of moving pictures, for example, as it was carried to the State Board aroused the almost united opposition of the members. Committees from the Board were to sit and watch films as they were shown the first time and were to decide which pictures were to be given to the public and which were to be discarded. The proposition was an impossible one and finally died for want of support.

One man, some years ago, came to the office of the State Superintendent in an effort to line up that official and the members of the State Board in favor of an organization built on the lines of a labor union that would include everybody in the United States. The annual membership fee was to be one dollar for each person. In return, American humanity was to have the privilege of trading at stores organized for their benefit, the people were to be provided with jobs and everything from then on was to be perfectly lovely. This proposition was not far removed from that of a Hoosier who showed up at the State House many years prior to that date, and who tried to get educational support for his scheme for squaring the circle and then tried to get the Indiana Legislature to recognize by a statute his plan for performing that impossible mathematical feat. The minutes of the State Board, however, do not show any trace of either one of the above questions because the members of the Board, in so far as they were approached, refused to have anything to do with the measures and their backers. These cases are mentioned as extreme instances of attempts to get the State Board of Education behind questionable or impossible propositions.

Among other questions that came before the Board during the last thirty years were the fight against cigarettes, the appointment of school inspectors, the educational exhibit, the St. Louis Exposition, the consolidation of schools, the publication of textbooks at the Jeffersonville reformatory, high schools of the same quality for colored pupils as for white pupils, importance of county institutes, state aid for poverty stricken schools, length of school term, revision of the grade course of study, improvement in the county superintendency, improved sanitary conditions in schools, nominations of teachers by city and county superintendents, the teaching of manual training and agriculture, music and art in the schools, a state depository in Indianapolis for adopted textbooks, better school-houses, domestic science, higher standards for teaching, additional revenue for the schools, higher salaries, the classification of teacher training institutions, industrial education, distribution of school funds on the basis of enrollment, a minimum charge for the entire list of grade textbooks, a correct version of the Star Spangled Banner, a retirement law for teachers, medical inspection for pupils, expense allowances for county superintendents, pay for teachers while visiting other schools or attending teachers' meetings, child labor, codification of the school laws, high school librarians, pre-vocational education, Bible study, trade schools, military training in high schools, textbook shortage, teacher shortage, Armistice Day celebrations, and cooperation with improvements of highways. Along with the consideration of all these questions, of course, has run constantly the routine business of the Board, the licensing of teachers, adoption of textbooks and other such regular matters.

In conclusion, it may be mentioned that the State Board of Education is the oldest of several state boards that have a part in the government of Indiana. The record of this earliest created board is a long and honorable one. The State Board of Education, like all other boards later created, is doing its best to serve the people of Indiana.



Published by theĀ Indiana University Department of History.