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General Education Board

The General Education Board was a philanthropy which was used primarily to support higher education and medical schools in the United States, and to help rural white and black schools in the South, as well as modernize farming practices in the South. It helped eradicate hookworm and created the county agent system in American agriculture, linking research as state agricultural experiment stations with actual practices in the field.

The Board was created in 1902 after John D. Rockefeller donated an initial $1,000,000 dollars to its cause. The Rockefeller family would eventually give over $180 million to fund the General Education Board. Prominent member Frederick Gates envisioned "The Country School of To-Morrow," wherein "young and old will be taught in practicable ways how to make rural life beautiful, intelligent, fruitful, recreative, healthful, and joyous."[1] By 1934 the Board was making grants of $5.5 million a year. It spent nearly all its money by 1950 and closed in 1964.

History

The formation of the General Education Board began in early 1902. On January 15th, 1902, two months after the Southern Education Board was founded, a small group of men gathered at the home of banker Morris K. Jessup to discuss education. This meeting included John D. Rockefeller Jr., Robert C. Ogden, George Foster Peabody, Jabez L. M. Curry, William H Baldwin Jr., and Wallace Buttrick. That day, the men discussed raising educational standards, and widening educational opportunities. [2]

On February 27th, 1902, a second meeting was held at John D. Rockefeller Jr.'s home. This meeting was attended by the guests of the original meeting but also included Daniel Coit Gilman, Albert Shaw, Walter Hines Page, and Edward Morse Shepard. At the climax of the meeting, it was announced that John D. Rockefeller Sr. would give $1,000,000 for the inauguration of an educational program. Thus the General Education Board was born.[3]

The General Education Board was incorporated by an Act of Congress that took place on January 12, 1903. Their main object being "the promotion of education within the United States of America, without distinction of race, sex, or creed" [4]

The original members of the General Education Board were: William H. Baldwin Jr., Jabez L.M. Curry, Frederick T. Gates, Daniel C. Gilman, Morris K. Jesup, Robert C. Ogden, Walter Hines Page, George Foster Peabody, and Albert Shaw. [5]

Upon evidence that this work would be effectively carried out, on 30 June 1905 he made an additional gift of $10,000,000 and in 1907 a further sum of $32,000,000.[6]

Rockefeller eventually gave it $180 million, which was used primarily to support higher education and medical schools in the United States and to improve farming practices in the South. It helped eradicate hookworm and created the county agent system in American agriculture, linking research at state agricultural experiment stations with actual practices in the field. By 1934 it was making grants of $5.5 million a year. It spent nearly all its money by 1950 and ceased operating as a separate entity in 1960, when its programs were subsumed into the Rockefeller Foundation.[7]

Programs

It had four main programs:

1. The promotion of practical farming in the southern states. Through the Department of Agriculture the board had made accumulative annual appropriations amounting in by 1912-1913 to $673,750 for the purpose of promoting agriculture by the establishment of demonstration farms under the direction of Dr. Seaman A. Knapp. About 236 men were employed in supervising such farms. In 1906 the General Education Board contributed $7,000, and due to the increased success of the programs in reaching the distant southern farming communities, G.E.B. contributions grew each year. In addition to promoting demonstration farms, instructors for the education of farmers were also furnished. The work of the Board also influenced the practical teaching of agriculture in the schools of the southern United States.[8][9]
2. The establishment of public high schools in the southern states. Upon the General Education Board's foundation in 1902, it was stated that the immediate prerogative of the organization was to "devote itself to studying and aiding to promote the educational needs of the people of our southern states."[10] For this purpose, the board appropriated for state universities or state departments of education in the South sums to pay for the salaries of high school representatives to travel throughout their states and stimulate public sentiment in favor of high schools.[8] As a result of this work, 912 high schools had been established in 11 southern states by 1914.
3. The promotion of institutions of higher learning. By 1914 the board had made conditional appropriations to the amount of $8,817,500, gifts towards an approximate total of $41,020,500. This money was expended throughout the United States.[8]
4. Schools for Negroes. By 1914, the board had made contributions, amounting to $620,105, to schools for Negroes, mainly those for the training of teachers. Anna T. Jeanes had contributed $1,000,000 for that purpose[citation needed].

The work of the General Education Board had a social side as well. “Corn” and educative clubs to study house management, poultry, preservation of fruit and other subjects directly related with agricultural life were encouraged in various ways, more especially in connection with the girl's clubs. Other clubs of a purely social nature were organized for the promotion of more social life in farming communities.[8]

The investigations which preceded the gifts of the Board were perhaps of as great importance to the development of education in the United States as the gifts themselves. The Board consisted of 17 members and maintained headquarters in New York City. In 1920 the president was Wallace Buttrick, and the secretary, Abraham Flexner.[11]

Philosophy

"In our dreams, we have limitless resources and the people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present education conventions fade from their minds, and unhampered by tradition, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive rural folk. We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning, or men of science. We have not to raise up from among them authors, editors, poets or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we have an ample supply…The task we set before ourselves is very simple as well as a very beautiful one, to train these people as we find them to a perfectly ideal life just where they are. So we will organize our children and teach them to do in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way, in the homes, in the shops and on the farm." - General Education Board, Occasional Papers, No. 1 (General Education Board, New York, 1913) p. 6.

See also

References

  1. ^ Frederick T. Gates. "The Country School Of To-Morrow," Occasional Papers, No. 1 (1913) online
  2. ^ Ware, Louise (2009-08-01). George Foster Peabody: Banker, Philanthropist, Publicist. University of Georgia Press. ISBN 9780820334561.
  3. ^ Ware, Louise (2009-08-01). George Foster Peabody: Banker, Philanthropist, Publicist. University of Georgia Press. ISBN 9780820334561.
  4. ^ "General Education Board".
  5. ^ "Letter from the General Education Board to John D. Rockefeller, Jr., 1902 March 08 - Digital Library Listing - The Rockefeller Foundation: A Digital History". rockfound.rockarch.org. Retrieved 2019-06-29.
  6. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Rines, George Edwin, ed. (1920). "Education Board, General" . Encyclopedia Americana.
  7. ^ Harr & Johnson, The Rockefeller Century, 1988. (p.195)
  8. ^ a b c d Wikisource-logo.svg Rines, George Edwin, ed. (1920). "General Education Board" . Encyclopedia Americana.
  9. ^ General Education Board 1902-1914. General Education Board. 1914. p. 48.
  10. ^ “General Education Board purpose and program,” 100 Years: The Rockefeller Foundation, accessed February 24, 2017, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-02-25. Retrieved 2017-02-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link).
  11. ^  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainReynolds, Francis J., ed. (1921). "General Education Board" . Collier's New Encyclopedia. New York: P.F. Collier & Son Company.

Wikisource-logo.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainGilman, D. C.; Peck, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "article name needed". New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead.

Further reading

  • Fleming, Louise E. and Rita S. Saslaw. "Rockefeller and General Education Board Influences on Vocational ism in Education, 1880-1925" (1992) online
  • Fosdick, Raymond Blaine. Adventures in Giving: The Story of the General Education Board, (1962).
  • Harr, John Ensor, and Peter J. Johnson. The Rockefeller Century: Three Generations of America's Greatest Family, (1988).
  • General Education Board. The General Education Board: An Account of Its Activities, 1902-1914. (1915) online free
  • General Education Board. Annual Report Of The General Education Board 1934-1935 (1936) online free

External links


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