Besides agriculture and agricultural industries Kansas has been a center for the aeronautics industries in the United States for many years. This was especially true in the years following World War II. So it would make sense that, besides offering courses in agriculture in public schools, even at the elementary level, Kansas state education agencies would encourage schools to offer programs in aviation education as well.
"Wings Over Kansas: a Program of Aviation Education for Kansas Schools," published in 1946 by the Kansas Commission on Aviation Education for the Kansas State Department of Public Instruction, is 48 pages of promotional guidelines for introducing subject matter having to do with aeronautics in a day-to-day curriculum at all educational levels. It includes chapters on programs for elementary schools, junior high schools, senior high schools and postsecondary institutions. Naturally there is also a section on the aviation industry in Kansas.
Here's a sample of what the booklet suggests being taught:
"The subject-matter of the intermediate grades based on the above statements would include such items as the following:
--How men have learned to fly.
--Why and how planes fly.
--How flight is safeguarded.
--How flight is regulated at the airport.
--How workers keep planes in the air.
--How the airplane makes the world smaller.
--How airplanes are used for the benefit of people."
The authors cite a booklet issued by the Colorado State Department of Education on the level of understanding an elementary school student should have upon advancement to junior high school:
"Colorado makes this very definite statement: 'The elementary school has definite responsibilities in aviation education . . . a child leaving the elementary grades should have a vocabulary relating to aviation, a knowledge of elementary scientific and mathematical principles involved in flying, and the understandings of the social, political, and economic effects of the air age.'"
Post-WWII children were entering a new age and the educational establishment of Kansas wanted them to be prepared for it.
The booklet is full of photos, pictures and there are two maps at the back showing flight patterns for airlines in Kansas and overland air routes around the world. It's a great look at the changing face of education for the Baby Boomer generation.
You can view this book at the State Library of Kansas' KGI Online Library. Our thanks to the Kansas Historical Society for the loan of the book for digitization and inclusion in KGI.
WINGS OVER KANSAS (1946)
For those of you interested in more information on aviation in Kansas the Kansas Historical Society has some great resources at its Kansas Memory
website as well as Kansapedia
as well as articles:
We All Had a Cause: Kansas City’s Bomber Plant, 1941–1945 (Kansas History, Winter 2005)
Ploughshares Into Airplanes: Manufacturing Industry and Workers in Kansas During World War II (Kansas History, Winter 1999)
Uncle Sam Wanted Them Too! Women Aircraft Workers in Wichita During World War II
(Kansas History, Spring 1994)