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 Iowa History

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Iowa and the Nation

By George Chandler, Author of Practical Civics and Civics for the State of Washington


John L. Cherny, State Inspector of Schools, Department of Public Instruction Des Moines



Chapter VII






            Origin. The Ordinance of 1787 by which the Northwest Territory was organized, declared that “Religion, Morality and Knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.” When Iowa became a separate territory in 1838, the territorial legislature took immediate steps to organize a system of public schools, but owing to lack of means for support, the system was not established on a working basis until about ten years after the state was admitted into the Union.


In the early years all school were conducted as private enterprises, the teachers obtaining their support from tuition charge the pupils. These schools gradually gave way to public schools as the state became more densely populated, and the development of her resources made the support of public schools possible. This system has been developed from small beginnings, until it has become one of the best in the country.


Educational Opportunities. The people of Iowa have provided almost unlimited opportunities for those who wish to continue their education beyond the requirements of the compulsory attendance law. After the course of study for the first eight years, or common school course, as it is called, is complete, any pupil of school age in the state may pursue an additional four-year high school course. If the school district in which he lives will be required to pay the tuition not to exceed three dollars and fifty cents a month. After completing a high school course, any student in Iowa may secure a college or university education practically free of cost at the State Teachers’ College, the College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, or the State University of Iowa…



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