You are on page 1of 3

Ashworth, Hunley 1

Kendra Ashworth, Taylor Hunley

Mrs. Porraz
American Literature Per. 1
10 March, 2014
Education in the 1930s: An Annotated Bibliography
Reinhardt, Claudia. "Going to School in the 1930s." Going to School in Rural America During
the 1930s. Ganzel Group, 2003. Web. 06 Mar. 2014. <
During the 1930s, Americas schools were stuck in a difficult time due to The
Great Depression. During the depression, many school districts across the country were
unable to pay teachers. One-room grade schools were common in York Country,
Nebraska, and the Great Plains states. A one-room grade school is a system in which
several students from different grade levels sat in one room to learn. The teachers were
usually not much older than the students. During this time period, the main goal for
education was to teach the students how to read. Children and adults were eager to learn
how to read and know their literature. The first Dr. Seuss rhyming book was published,
and girls began reading Nancy Drew mysteries. John Steinbeck published The Grapes of
Wrath in 1939, and Sinclair Lewis was the first American to win the Nobel Prize in
Buchanan, Jesse Mays Beth. "Education in the 1930s." TKMInfo. Tangient LLC, 2014. Web. 8
Mar. 2014. <>
During the 1930s, much of the American population could not read. The few that
could read, read the same books as the children. The Great Depression had a tremendous
Ashworth, Hunley 2

impact on American school systems. For example, many school districts could not afford
to pay for teachers to teach students anymore. Teachers were responsible for the cleaning,
setting out water, heating, and maintenance in addition to teaching students. Also, some
students had to leave school to work on a farm to make money. Dick and Jane books
were popular books that people learned how to read from beginning in 1931. A man
named John Dewey was a successful educational reformer during this period in history.
"The 1930s: Education: Overview." American Decades. 2001. "The 1930s: Education:
Overview." HighBeam Research, 01 Jan. 2001. Web. 09 Mar. 2014.
Long before The Great Depression, education was a symbol of American
democracy. Education was seen as the promise of America. These ideals changed in the
1930s because Americans decided that they could no longer afford education. The U.S
Chamber of Commerce, the National Committee for Economy, and the National
Economic League argued that Americans could no longer afford universal public
education. The extremists from these groups wanted the schools closed, but the
moderates wanted schools to restrict their instruction to trade skills and job training. All
across the country there were many changes in schools and school districts. For example,
in Chicago, the school board fired fourteen-hundred teachers, and cut the salaries of the
teachers who did not get fired. Georgia and Alabama closed schools which led to leaving
thousands of children without access to a formal education. In Iowa, teachers salaries
were lowered by thirty percent. By 1933, 200,000 teachers were unemployed, 2.2 million
children were out of school, and many rural schools in the United States failed to open.
Ashworth, Hunley 3

During this rough time, businessmen and educators believed that the role of school was to
select the gifted few from the dull mass.