The Gates Open Slowly

The Gates Open Slowly: A History of Education in Kentucky

FRANK L. McVEY
Copyright Date: 1949
Pages: 336
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt130js37
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  • Book Info
    The Gates Open Slowly
    Book Description:

    Education in Kentucky has developed slowly, and even now the state ranks low in the nation in providing public funds for the development of its human resources. In this book the author, who was president of the University of Kentucky from 1917 to 1940, traces the tortuous path of education in the state from the pioneer log schoolhouse to the modern universities of Kentucky and Louisville.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-6393-2
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. PREFACE
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Frank L. Mcvey
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. CHAPTER I THE PEOPLE OF KENTUCKY AND THEIR EDUCATIONAL BEGINNINGS
    (pp. 3-16)

    The early movement of peoples into the Kentucky country was checked until the American Revolution by the British policy governing the settlement of Indian lands and by the menace of marauding savages. These obstacles deterred any large migration over the mountains into the Kentucky area, although a considerable number of pioneers reached the Holston Valley of eastern Tennessee at an early date and remained there. When people did begin to stream into Kentucky, they came to find land and sought to set up homes where there would be greater chances for advancement and the gaining of a livelihood than the...

  5. CHAPTER II EARLY SCHOOLS AND SCHOOLTEACHERS
    (pp. 17-32)

    John filson, one of the early schoolmasters in Fayette County, Kentucky, projected a school at Lexington in 1782. It is not, however, for this entrance into the rank of pedagogues that the name of Filson appears in the pages of history, but rather for his book, containing a famous map, published in 1784 at Wilmington, Delaware. Filson’s purpose, so his preface said, was “to inform the world of the happy climate and plentiful soil of this favored region.” Under the titleThe Discovery, Settlement and Present State of Kentucke,he has given the historians a book that has been of...

  6. CHAPTER III LAND-GRANT ACADEMIES
    (pp. 33-46)

    The establishment of a university system in a pioneer country where the menace of savage raids continued for fifteen years after the first settlement is regarded as a remarkable performance. However, unfortunate results followed in its wake which really retarded the cause of higher education in Kentucky for three-quarters of a century.

    The planned system referred to above failed because it was inadequately financed in endowment, in buildings, and in equipment. No central agency existed to keep the different types and kinds of institutions in harmony and in purpose with each other. The law establishing the university and the academies...

  7. CHAPTER IV THEY WALKED IN THE DARK
    (pp. 47-62)

    The citizen of today who takes the public school system for granted is astonished to find how recently; that system was established in Kentucky. He is grieved to read that the state ranks fortieth or even lower when an examination is made of the status of Kentucky’s public education.¹ What is the explanation?

    Some historians refer to the year 1838 as the beginning of public schools in the state, but the law of that year was only a recognition of a proposed school fund arising from the distribution of the Federal surplus of 1837, and that law compelled neither the...

  8. CHAPTER V TEXTBOOKS AND SCHOOL CURRICULA DRIFT ALONG
    (pp. 63-78)

    Millard fillmore kennedy in hisSchoolmaster of Yesterday says:“In the county towns little academies and ‘elegant’ female seminaries were springing up for those who could pay tuition fees, but poor folk and countryfolk had to acquire education by their own devices, if they got any at all, for there was as yet no state school system.”¹

    Without doubt people in the rural communities around 1830 were concerned over the lack of schooling for their children; and after an extended discussion in a community that lasted sometimes as long as two or three years, they would reach a decision to...

  9. CHAPTER VI A CENTURY OF SECTARIAN EDUCATION
    (pp. 79-105)

    During the whole of the nineteenth century there was great activity in Kentucky in the organization of colleges and schools on a sectarian or church-related basis. Dr. Nathaniel Stevenson, the president of Union College at Barbourville, while enthusiastically and zealously engaged in soliciting funds for that institution, encouraged himself and his fellow Methodists by remarking that “education as a function of the Church is second only to the preaching of the gospel.” To prepare young men for the ministry and to teach the children of the church under its guidance were responsibilities enough to stimulate the zeal of the religious...

  10. CHAPTER VII AND FINALLY A STATE UNIVERSITY
    (pp. 106-124)

    The real part taken by the State University in the history of education in Kentucky may be said to have begun 1878, when the legislature re-created the Agricultural and Mechanical College after separating it from Kentucky University and placed the new institution under complete state control. Prior to that time, the educational institution established by the provisions of the Morrill Act of 1862 had been amalgamated with Kentucky University, which started promising career in 1865 with the union of Transylvania University and Bacon College and the use of the funds provided by the Morrill Act. In 1863, a year after...

  11. CHAPTER VIII THE FALLS CITY EVOLVES AN URBAN UNIVERSITY
    (pp. 125-140)

    To find a word that will describe the history of the University of Louisville, a seat of learning that began with an idea and became a fact, is not an easy procedure. The dictionary gives as a synonym for “evolve” the word “disentangle,” which describes more than any other word what took place in the development of the University of Louisville.

    In 1937 this university celebrated its one-hundredth anniversary with an interesting and effective program of lectures, exhibits, and convocations. It is a far cry from this date to the land-grant period and the sordid story of medical education when...

  12. CHAPTER IX THE COLOR LINE IN EDUCATION
    (pp. 141-159)

    The institution of Negro slavery precipitated the race question into the realm of education and into the economic and political affairs of the South. Though a border state where slavery persisted from territorial beginnings until the Civil War brought the institution of bondage to an end, Kentucky has been confronted throughout its history with problems involving the education of colored people living within its borders. Although the ratio of Negroes residing in Kentucky to the total population has steadily declined with each census since 1790, nevertheless the problem continues on with a new emphasis upon the adequacy of instruction and...

  13. CHAPTER X THE BIRTH, DEMISE, AND RESURRECTION OF THE STATE SCHOOL FUND
    (pp. 160-174)

    It was in the year 1822 that John Adams, the second President of the United States, then eighty-seven years of age, wrote to the chairman of the committee created by the Kentucky legislature to report on a plan of common schools suitable to the condition of the state. The committee, seeking advice on educational procedure, had sent many letters to prominent men of the country. James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, Robert Y. Hayne, and others responded to the committee’s inquiry. The old, retired ex-President John Adams replied, more as a politician than as a statesman, that “the wisdom and generosity of...

  14. CHAPTER XI TEACHER TRAINING BEGINS AND REACHES A PROFESSIONAL STATUS
    (pp. 175-190)

    Today there are four state teachers’ colleges in Kentucky. Two of them, Eastern and Western, were established in 1906, at Richmond and Bowling Green; the remaining two were located at Morehead and Murray in 1922. These institutions were called Normal Schools when first authorized by legislative act; later they were designated as Teachers Colleges, and finally called State Colleges. Looked at from the professional point of view, the difference in name is an important matter, since the change from Normal School to Teachers College shows clearly a new emphasis placed upon teacher training and the arrival of institutions which are...

  15. CHAPTER XII A KENTUCKY EDUCATION ASSOCIATION
    (pp. 191-205)

    From small beginnings dating as far back as 1829, a large and powerful Kentucky Education Association at last emerged. With the growth in membership, professional standing, and influence, the association has accomplished many important things which have advanced the interest and welfare of public education in Kentucky. Seldom has its purpose been deterred or influenced by personal interest. The public schools, while having friends in the association, also possessed the advantage of an increasing number of wise advisers. These men and women looked to public education as a great agency through which the state might confidently expect a growing number...

  16. CHAPTER XIII EDUCATIONAL CAMPAIGNS AND SURVEYS
    (pp. 206-220)

    In the first three decades of this century much attention was given to surveys and studies dealing with the organization and management of public school systems. Cities here and there sought to find out what the school facts were and how to meet the problems arising from those facts. Colleges and universities also began to look at their interior mechanisms; and a few of the states, stimulated by interested and sometimes irate citizens, undertook to examine the whole educational system within their boundaries. These activities produced a great mass of material in the form of reports and recommendations which in...

  17. CHAPTER XIV “THE TUMULT AND THE SHOUTING DIES”
    (pp. 221-236)

    In these days of world upheaval and of difficulties involved in the reconversion from a war to a peacetime economy, it seems incredible that anxiety over the theory of evolution could have brought on such a flood of speeches, letters, pamphlets, and legislative bills as occurred throughout the country in the period 1921-1929. A quarter of a century has passed since the tumult began when fifteen legislatures were asked to pass bills making it a penalty to teach evolution, Darwinism, and atheism in the public schools of these states. The penalties for such teaching ranged from $50 to $5,000 in...

  18. CHAPTER XV THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS MOVE FORWARD
    (pp. 237-254)

    During successive administrations, the State Superintendents of Public Instruction in Kentucky have shown considerable zeal for and loyalty to the ideals inherent in a public system of education. Under the latest constitution, 1891, these officers are limited to a tenure of four years. Regardless of how well they serve the state, when their four years of official service are over, they return to subordinate positions in the public schools or, enter other occupations. Thus such knowledge and experience in administration as these men gain in office are lost to public education when newly elected and inexperienced officers take up the...

  19. CHAPTER XVI INDEPENDENT DISTRICTS IN TOWNS AND CITIES ESTABLISH SCHOOLS
    (pp. 255-270)

    Even today, after a century of painful effort, the public school system has not more than two county units in which plant, staff, and equipment are equal to those of the best public schools in the larger cities of the state. Progress has been made in the rural parts of Kentucky, but the difference in wealth and interest has placed the public schools in the cities on a higher plane of instruction and administration than those of the county and rural districts. From the first, the independent districts were separated from the rural units; and under the law, these districts...

  20. CHAPTER XVII THE CRISES OF TODAY AND THE CHALLENGE OF TOMORROW
    (pp. 271-288)

    Although the depression of the 1930’s laid heavy burdens upon public and private enterprises, Kentucky made some gains in her educational system due to the help that came from the Federal government. Many new buildings replaced old and inadequate schoolhouses; luncheon programs helped to build up the children’s health; and teachers, not yet tempted by the monetary rewards in industry and government employment that were to be opened to them in the 1940’s, continued in service. The state was able to pay its per capita quotas to the counties for education. When the attack on Pearl Harbor struck the nation,...

  21. APPENDIX A STATE SUPERINTENDENTS OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION, 1836-1948
    (pp. 289-289)
  22. APPENDIX B COLLEGES IN KENTUCKY ACCREDITED BY THE SOUTHERN ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGES AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS
    (pp. 290-291)
  23. APPENDIX C THE EVOLUTION CONTROVERSY
    (pp. 292-296)
  24. APPENDIX D STATE AID FOR NEGROES
    (pp. 297-299)
  25. APPENDIX E SUPPLEMENTARY EDUCATION IN KENTUCKY
    (pp. 300-314)
  26. INDEX
    (pp. 315-321)