Here are photos of schools and classrooms from the 1920s in cities and rural districts. While there are now 13,000-plus districts in the U.S. now, a century ago, there were over 100,000. Rural consolidation of schools and migration to cities during the Great Depression and especially after World War II reduced dramatically the number of one-room school houses as age-graded schools became the “new” normal across the nation.
The 1920s were also the years that the Progressive movement expanded school functions such as serving lunch, providing doctor suites to examine children’s eyes, ears, and body, taking field trips, and other innovations–small group teaching– showed up in various–but hardly all–schools.
Looking at these photos reminds me anew about how stability and change mark tax-supported public schools over the past century.