Articles and Speeches by N. C. Newbold, 1940-1941

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[Offic Oct 1940 "N. C. Teachers Record"]

WHAT WILL NEGROES DO FOR BETTER SCHOOLS?

State-wide has been the major objective in North Carolina's program of education for its Negro population. The aim has been to provide a satisfactory public school opportunity for the little children living in the most remote areas of the State, as well as those who live in the most populous, wealthier sections. To be sure, here and there, because of the initiative, skill and ability of individual principals or teachers, or other community leaders, aided by progressive superintendents, special experimental school projects have forged ahead, in some cases far ahead, of the State level of development. However, it may be well to remember that the total development in the whole State is perhaps a more remarkable experiment than all the combined collective local unit experiments can possibly be.

Perhaps the most important single enterprise in 1940 promoted by the State Department of Education was the series of six group conferences with county and city superintendents of schools. This effort, likewise, has state-wide significance. All of the 169 superintendents were invited to attend one or another of the conferences held in Raleigh, Winston-Salem, Washington, Carthage, Wilmington or Asheville. The entire program in each group was devoted to a discussion of plans and programs for improving the Negro public schools in the counties and cities of the State. The meetings convened at 11:00 A.M. and were in continuous session, except one hour for lunch, to 3:30, 4:00, and one until 5:30 P.M. Carefully prepared minutes of each group's discussion were kept.

A state-wide "Committee of Ten" composed of six county and four city superintendents was elected by vote of all the superintendents themselves by

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by mail, the purpose of this committee being to examine the minutes of the six group conferences, and to prepare a report and recommendations to be presented to the "State Conference of Superintendents" which met at the Western Carolina Teachers College, Cullowhee, North Carolina, August 1,2,3, 1940. Following is an exact copy of the Report and Recommendations of the "Committee of Ten".

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REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS of the "STATEWIDE COMMITTEE OF TEN SUPERINTENDENTS"

I. Findings:

The State Department of Public Instruction has recently concluded a series of conferences in six sections of the state. At each of the conferences reports from City and County Superintendents were given relating to:

1. Large Rural School Units for Negro Children 2. Improvement of Instruction in Negro Schools and the Distribution of Instructional Supplies and Materials 3. Provision for Vocational Education for Negro Children

The reports given by both city and county superintendents indicated a genuine interest in the education of Negro children in North Carolina. A definite trend was noted towards the elimination of one- and two-teacher schools, and the establishment of large consolidated elementary schools and standard high schools, in most counties. School surveys have been made, and county-wide plans have been approved or proposed, in numerous counties, to make proper provision for Negro education in these counties. Many one- and two-teacher schools have already been abolished in the last year or two in the process of actual consolidation. The reports indicated that in counties in which little progress has been made towards establishing larger school centers, the reason is the lack of funds, primarily, rather than the lack official desire. Even with all the progress made, the fact remains that in some communities there is a lack of supporting sentiment among leading white people for Negro schools. Moreover, it was brought out that there are still 1817 one- two- and three-teacher Negro schools in operation in North Carolina, of which 845 are dilapidated, insanitary, and unfit for public school use. The large number of four-year standard high schools established within the past few years is significant, and places North Carolina in a particularly favored position in comparison with other southern states. Wherever the larger units have been provided it has been clearly demonstrated, first in the consolidation of white schools and second in a limited consolidation of Negro schools, that he qualit and quantity of education provided is materially increased. There was considerable testimony from school administraive officers that improved educational advantages react favorably on the development of a better type of Negro citizenship.

Your committee believes that improvement of instruction is vitally related to the size of the school unit. A large type school attracts better-trained teachers and principlas, and makes possible a type of organization that can be adapted to improved instruction, better health education, and a more satisfactory curricular adjustment, including vocational education. We find, with regret, that in some instances Negro schools are not getting proportionate share of the instructional equipment, general teaching and school supplies, supplementary reading material, and state library aid. However, it was noted definitely in the district meetings of superintendents that a number of superintendents stated unequivocally that in their administrative units all teachers, Negro and white, were sharing on per-teacher basis all of these school supplies alike.

We find, in many counties and cities, a creditable beginning has been made in providing a program of vocational education in Negro schools. However, only

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about 10 per cent of the available funds for vocational education are spent in the colored schools, whereas Negroes constitute 29 per cent of the population of the state.

II. Recommendations:

1. The committe would recommend that further building of small type schools be discouraged, and that a definite program of surveys, leading to consolidations, be carried out in every county where such has not been done.

2. We recommend that the Legislaure make provision for a revolving loan fund at a low rate of interest, to be used for the construction and equipment of buildings in those counties and districts where a survey shows the need for such consolidations.

3. Our committee recommends that a full-time supervisor be employed wherever possible; and that the per-teacher basis for distribution of all school supplies be used; and, further, that supplementary readers and library aid be provided so far as possible on the same basis as furnished in white schools.

4. We recommend that additional funds be made available for vocational education for Negro schools. To make the program effective, additional money will be needed from local, federal, and especially, state sources.

Finally, in a state like North Carolina which has demonstrated a social consciousness of high order in all its dealings with its people, and in view of pending litigation affecting this question, it seems to your committee that state along the lines recommend above; particularly in providing larger units, including adequate buildings, equipment, and transportation, better instructional service and supervision thereof, and an adequate vocational education program.

John C. Lockhart, Chairman M.E. Yount, Secretary L.H. Barbour T.R. Foust Claude F. Gaddy W.A. Graham Harry Harding H.B. Marrow J.W. Mooro Miss Eloise Rankin

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The "Report and Recommendations" were unanimously approved and adopted by the "State Conference of Superintendents", August 2, 1940. That body also voted to request the "Committee of Ten" to present their report and recommendations to the next annual meetings of "The State Association of School Boards", and "The State Association of County Commissioners".

The attitude and interest of the State Department of Education and the County and City Superintendents of Schools in North Carolina are comprehensively and effectively outlined in the preceding sections of this paper.

The achievement of the objectives and the goals for improvement of the Negro public schools outlined above, offers, it seems to the writer, an opportunity for cooperation and leadership to the Negro people of the State which they have not heretofore enjoyed.

Some months ago a lady interested in serving lunches in public schools asked a county superintendent of schools why there was no lunch room in a certain large brick consolidated school for Negro children. The superintendent replied: "The Board of Education does not include such facilities in school buildings unless they are requested by the people".

In a hearing before a Legislative committee an appeal was made for money for a certain improve ent in Negro education. The chairman of the committee said: "I have not had a single request from Negroes anywhere in North Carolina about that".

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