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The Kansas Government Information (KGI) Online Library
Kansas government publications, resources and information available from the State Library of Kansas

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Aug 15

Reading, Writing and 'Rithmetic in 1907

Posted on August 15, 2019 at 9:10 AM by Bill Sowers


Curriculum is defined as, "the subjects comprising a course of study in a school or college."

For many years the Kansas State Board of Education and the various state education agencies have striven to provide sensible curricula for public schools throughout the state. With schools starting up this month we thought you might enjoy seeing what courses were prescribed for elementary and secondary students in smaller towns and rural areas long ago.

The year is 1907. Rural electrification is almost 30 years away in large areas of Kansas. Rural schools and school districts are scattered across the state often taught by teachers who attend "normal institutes" providing the basics for instructing young learners. The 1905 Kansas Legislature has passed laws restricting children under 14 from hard labor jobs as well as a law authorizing the Kansas State Board of Education to prepare state courses of study. These are first steps toward encouraging (and eventually requiring) children to attend school. (You can read up on this in a publication called "History of Kansas Education" written by Dr. Sherrill Martinez and Lue Ann Snider of the Kansas State Department of Education).

The Kansas State Board of Education responded to this mandate in part with several publications, among them the book, "Kansas Course of Study for Schools in Cities and the Third Class and Others Having Nine-Month Terms" (1907).

This book was geared primarily toward rural and small town schools. Subjects covered were:
Reading -- Language -- Grammar -- Spelling -- Penmanship -- Drawing -- Arithmetic -- Geography -- Physiology -- History (U.S. and Kansas) -- Civil Government -- Suggestive Course for High Schools.

It's an interesting book to peruse, taking in all that the Board was promoting as a basis of instruction in developing reasoning citizens who would be able to communicate and function in the brave new world that lay ahead of them.

You can view this book online at the State Library of Kansas' KGI Online Library here:


If you're interested in seeing more of these publications the KGI Online Library has a small (but mighty) collection:


The oldest publication we have is an 1872 booklet,