O'Brien County
 Education Report from 1900 

Source: Biennial Report, Iowa Dept. of Public Instruction, 1900, pp. 63-64

O'brien. — Pupils have been transported from one of the rural schools in the independent district of Paullina to the high school building during the year 1900 and 1901. At Paullina it is very satisfactory. They are talking of closing the other rural school but no action has yet been taken. It is much cheaper and no pupil has to travel more than three miles. They have a covered hack and a driver. There was considerable opposition to the closing of this school but it is satisfactory now. The objection made here is principally that parents seem to be afraid to have their children go any distance from home. At our parents' meeting some claimed that it made their land more valuable to have schools near. The only disadvantage I can see is in the transportation. The larger schools can have more pupils in a class, which means more interesting recitations, more incentive for pupils to study and the schools will be better graded. The sentiment in the county at large seems to be against closing small schools. Primghar independent district has decided to close the rural school and transport children to the high school during the school year of 1901 and 1902. The board of directors of Caledonia township voted last fall to close three schools where the attendance was small and allow parents 10 cents per pupil per day for transportation. This plan was not satisfactory.

From pp. 322-323:



O'Brien county has six graded schools, and 134 rural school buildings, four of which are closed, the children being transported to other schools.

In our six graded schools are fifty-five teachers, sixteen of whom hold state certificates, and one a life diploma. Four of the 130 teachers employed in the rural schools hold state certificates; thirty-eight hold first grade, and eighty-eight hold certificates of lower grades.

In 1893, Hon. Geo. W. Schee of O'Brien county presented to each school a large flag. The stars and stripes float over every school house in the county, teaching lessons of patriotism and loyalty to the principles for which the flag stands.

Our library movement began in 1896. Previous to that time there were not to exceed 100 books in the rural school libraries in this county. In 1896 a citizen of Primghar offered $100 to the five schools raising the largest amounts for the purpose of purchasing books for their libraries, to be divided as follows:

To the school raising the largest amount, $30; to the second $25; to the third, $20; to the fourth, $15, and to the fifth, $10. A similar offer has been made for five consecutive years and the results have been very gratifying to teachers, pupils, and patrons of the rural schools.

The rural schools have raised $5,100, the donations have amounted to $1,200.00, or a total of $6,300.00 all of which has been expended for books for the rural school libraries. There are now in these schools 10,500 volumes, or an average of eighty books for each country school in the county.

The total number of volumes in the graded school libraries is 4,000.

The boards of the different townships have supplied from the public funds suitable cases for these books. In the libraries are found reference books, histories, and encyclopaedias; also story books which are used as supplementary readers.

We have also in our county an excellent teachers' library of 655 volumes divided as follows: Professional, 69; history and biography, 194; fiction, 153; travel and adventure, 135; poetry, 39; science and miscellaneous, 65.

This library came as a public benefaction from Mr. Schee, who gave $100.00 a year for five years. The purchasing of these books has been under the supervision of the county superintendent, who has chosen the principals of the graded schools of the county for her assistants.

Teachers may become members of the library asssociation by paying twenty five cents per year. A book may be kept one month, and by notifying the county superintendent the time may be extended one month.

No one thing has done more for the educational advancement of our county than has the library movement.

In closing up the work we hope for greater growth in the future; and feel that the good that has already been done will live on through the years bearing fruit in loyal, faithful work.

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