News from Washington — October 1921

National News of Interest to Farm Women

By Alice Gram, Washington Representative of The Farmer’s Wife

News from Washington was a monthly column published in The Farmer’s Wife. Below is a bulleted list of topics covered in this article:

  • The value of a college education in 1921 is spelled out in dollars and cents by the National Bureau of Education in the “Schooling Pays” piece posted below.  
  • The Bureau also projects a crisis in education for children in rural areas because the schools are so poorly financed. Consolidation of smaller districts seems to be the buzzword in an effort to meet budget constraints of schools. A shortage of teachers nationwide and the level of education of country school teachers is cause for concern as well. See “For Our Rural Schools.”
  • Colorado, Nevada and Utah have recently passed legislation against the sale and use of the drug known as “peyote”. Representative Hayden of Arizona has also introduced a bill into the House prohibiting the trafficking of “dry whiskey” in the report below titled “A Bad Drug.”
  • Access to information leaflets and bulletins regarding caring for babies and children, as well as, recipes and directions for making fruit butters and canning meat and seafood in a steam canner is listed below.

For Our Rural Schools

JOHN JAMES TIGERT, the new United States Commissioner of Education, made sweeping and significant statements in a recent interview with The Farmer’s Wife Washington News representative:

“Sound educational progress is based on sufficient revenues for the schools, and you can’t solve the economic problem of rural schools until you have a solution for the economic and industrial status of the farmer.

“The farmer has got to have a square deal economically; he is then in a logical position to finance his public school. The only reason that the rural schools are not what they should be is because they are so poorly financed. Rural school teachers are poorly paid because they are poorly trained. They are poorly trained because they are poorly paid.

“This vicious circle will form the basis of our next years’ study here in the Bureau, and I hope to signalize my administration by helping to meet the problem.

“The country has been facing a financial crisis, an industrial crisis and a social crisis. It has also to face an educational crisis. During the war, 68,000 teachers left their professions to enter other fields of work. In one state, there were 2,000 schools closed because of the teacher shortage.

“Today because of the apparent large percent of unemployment, these teachers have returned to their old profession and according to newspaper reports every schoolroom is supplied – but the sad part of it is that only one out of five are adequately trained to their job; the rest are rated as eleventh-grade pupils, which means that the majority have not had a high school education. Think what that means to the coming generation!

“Unfortunately, but quite naturally the majority is to be found in the rural schools, because the financial support is lower than in the cities.

“Out of the meager appropriation allowed the Bureau of Education for the coming year, $50,000 will be devoted to the rural division. Although this is ridiculously small it takes on some importance compared with a mere $9,000 allotted for the city school work.”

A study of the financial problem of the rural school will comprise better methods of raising school funds, better systems of support and better results with less expenditure. To help him in this study, Commissioner Tigert has organized the rural division of the Bureau into an independent unit. One assistant will make a study of schools housing fifteen or less pupils, another the one-room school and so on.

This work will be started almost immediately or as soon as the Bureau has completed its report on Consolidated Schools which will be available to the public in a few weeks. Commissioner Tigert urges the rural districts to welcome the standardization of the one-room school. He believes that perfecting results in this direction paves the way for the next step of consolidation which has proved its own efficacy, as the coming report will show.

Commissioner Tigert comes to his new position from a long and full experience in educational work in the United States. He was occupying the chair of psychology at the University of Kentucky at the time of his appointment. Educators will watch his activities with keen attention, as the whole school situation needs concentrated care.

A Bad Drug

A NEW and dread word has loomed up in Washington legislative circles which carries with it what should be a telling appeal on behalf of the Indian under the jurisdiction of American civilization.

That word is Peyote, the name of an intoxicating and slow-poison drug which is derived from certain cacti native to northern Mexico and frequently called “dry whiskey.”

Representative Hayden of Arizona has introduced a bill in the House of Representatives prohibiting the traffic in this drug and the Indian Rights organizations are asking the women of the nation particularly to use their legislative influence in having this bill enacted into law.

Mrs. Gertrude Bonnin, recently introduced to readers of The Farmer’s Wife, on this page, says:

Since the use of peyote is spreading rapidly and is undermining the work of the churches and our benevolent Government; since it is an American principle to protect helpless peoples from the ruthless hand of the oppressor and to restrain the unscrupulous greed of those who traffic upon ignorance and superstitions, we do implore all earnest citizens of America for federal law to protect us against the traffic in and the indiscriminate use of peyote.

The states of Colorado, Nevada and Utah have, by recent legislation, prohibited the use and sale of this poison.

Tab On The Babies

“BOOKKEEPING of babies” is one of the important functions of the Children’s Bureau of the Department of Labor. Miss Julia Lathrop has directed the work of the Children’s Bureau from its inception.

It is because this baby ledger, as it may well be named, has been kept to faithfully that the Children’s Bureau is able to produce statistics and facts to support the need for greater facilities in extending federal co-operation to the nation’s motherhood. Comparative figures from this ledger covering a five-year period, are given for eighteen large cities in a brief report entitled Infant Mortality in Pittsburgh which has recently been issued by the Bureau and is now available to the public.

For Mothers’ Study

KEEP WELL SERIES prepared by the United States Public Health Service includes a number of instructive health leaflets on the care of babies and children and other important health subjects. Write to the United States Public Health Service, Washington, D.C., for:

  •                Motherhood: No. 8: Keep Well Series.
  •                Breast Feeding for Baby: No. 9 Keep Well Series.
  •                Bottle Feeding for Babies: No. 10 Keep Well Series

The following leaflets are also available:

  •                The Care of The Baby: No. 10 Supplement to Public Health Reports
  •                The Summer Care of Infants: No. 16 Supplement to Public Health Reports
  •                A Home-made Milk Refrigerator: No. 102 Public Health Bulletin

Fruit Butters

THE housewife who is planning for homemade fruit butters this fall can obtain a splendid collection of fruit butter receipts which are easily made and which have been tested in the Home Economics Laboratory of the United States Department of Agriculture. Send for Farmers’ Bulletin No. 900, Homemade Fruit Butters, to Division of Publications, United States Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. The bulletin is free.

Canning Meat

FROM the Cooperative Extension Work in Agriculture and Home Economics, United States Department of Agriculture, comes the splendid bulletin, Home Canning of Meats and Seafoods With The Steam Pressure Canner. This circular represents one of the most important steps in the development of home canning. It outlines clearly the various steps in the canning of meats and seafoods with the aid of the steam pressure canner. Write to address given above for S.R.S. Doc. 80, Washington, D.C.

IT IS very convenient to have on hand a file of Farmers’ Bulletins on those subjects pertaining to the particular activities on your farm. A list of all Farmers’ Bulletins in print is sent out monthly to all who apply. Write for the list to this address: Editor in Chief Division of Publications, United States Agricultural Department, Washington, D.C. The bulletins are free.

The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife – A Magazine for Farm Women, October 1921, Page 557; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota