Improved out of Existence: Rural School Consolidation in Black River Falls Wisconsin
Roseth, Erin M.
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Rural schools have a history in Wisconsin that begins with the development of the state itself. Throughout their century of existence, rural schools played a central role in uniting the communities in which they were located and served not only as a place for learning, but as an institution in which rural citizens took pride. Beginning in the progressive era, reformers began to view country schools as roadblocks on the path to progress and improvement for the next century. By the middle of the 20th century, officials at the national, state and local level began the process of reorganizing, consolidating and closing rural schools. Reformers felt that attendance at modern and centralized educational facilities was essential for preparing the next generations of Americans for the challenges that lie ahead. Numerous reports and other publications from officials at the state and local level clearly illustrate these beliefs. Those in power failed to see the break-down of rural communities and the demise of an agrarian lifestyle as justifiable causes to keep rural schools in operation. Using newspaper articles, letters and rural school histories, one begins to understand the significance of the rural school to the surrounding community. By examining the rural school consolidation process in Black River Falls, Wisconsin, it becomes clear that rural citizens were not stubborn and resistant to change as reformers thought, but were concerned about the future of their communities and their young people.
Community and school--Social aspects.
Community and school--Wisconsin--Case studies.
Rural schools--Social aspects.
Rural schools--Wisconsin--Case studies.
Community life--Wisconsin--Case studies.
Black River Falls (Wis.)--History.
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