The shortsightedness of our state legislature has brought about a condition
which is working against the object of
our educational system—the development
of an intelligent citizenship. Our self-
satisfied citizen sits complacently by,
while our legislators make laws, such
as county school boards. Why should
men exclusively govern our schools'?
What have a man's party affiliations to
do with his ability to educate the young?
Yet it is an accepted fact that the
schools, like other offices of the state
government, are controlled for political
patronage. With all the money expended by the state for schools and
school purposes, the state of Tennessee
remains one of the most illiterate in the
Twenty-five years ago there was absolutely no qualification necessary to be a
member of the school board. Men were
not questioned whether they could even
read or write. This was in time changed
and to "read and write" was made the
first qualification. Then a little higher
education was asked and so have the
board been struggling on for this last
quarter of a century. With what result?
That today Tennessee is still steeped in
illiteracy, notwithstanding the fact that
twenty-five per cent of the state's taxes
are devoted to educational work. If
men have fallen so short in their efforts,
why will they persist in making laws
that bar all but "qualified voters" from
school boards ?
And why was this law made? To
shut out the women. And why shut out
women? Because the politicians control
and wish to control the school funds. A
man in East Tennessee said under oath
that a county superintendent declared
that the board of education is the very
finest political asset a man can have.
Are we to sit calmly by, purblind to all
this? About twenty-seven states in the
Union give to women a vote for school
officers. There are any number of
women on county and city school boards
and acting as county and city superin-
tendents. The eastern and the western
states have recognized woman's efficiency and such short sightedness on
the part of Tennessee legislators, should
be overcome. It is only in the south
that educational myopia remains a per-
LALLA BLOCK ARNSTEIN.
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