While Mexican officials had made sporadic attempts to provide public 

education in Los Angeles, creation of an organized school system did not occur 

until the early 1850s.  After the American annexation, the city council 

contracted with private schoolmasters, who charged tuition but who also 

received city subsidies funded by a small property tax to support education 

first imposed in 1852.  In return, they provided the schoolhouses in which they 


    One of the contractors, A. S. Breed, opened a school in Dec., 1852, with a 

subsidy of $33 per month.  He fits the description of the unnamed hangman, 

cited by Horace Bell, who carried out the sentence of an 1851 vigilance 

committee.  Elected town marshal a few months after he opened his school, Breed 

was removed from that office for embezzling funds.

    Beginning in 1853 the city council appointed a three member board of 

education and a superintendent to run the newly-organized school system.  The 

next year Mayor Stephen Foster estimated that three-fourths of the 500 school-

age children within the city could not afford tuition at the subsidized 

schools.  He urged construction of two public schools, financed by the property 

tax.  Using that money the first publicly-owned school opened in 1855 at Second 

and Spring, followed shortly by another erected on Bath Street near the Plaza. 

    Control over school administration was eventually transferred to the 

voters, who elected the board and superintendent for the first time in 1866.  

Board membership grew to five in 1872 through special state legislation, which 

also empowered the board to appoint the superintendent.

    By 1880 the number of school-age children within the city had increased 

significantly.  The annual school census revealed 3579 children between the 

ages of 5 and 17, with 2098 enrolled in school.  Fortunately, absenteeism was 

great or the 32 teachers would have been overwhelmed.  

    Throughout the 'eighties the system struggled with the difficulties caused 

by the rapid population increase.  Facilities were quickly overcrowded as 

average attendance quintupled during the decade.  Parents, teachers, 

administrators and the board grappled with a problem that would be familiar to 

Angelenos on several later occasions.

                           A) THE BOARD OF EDUCATION

    Professional educator and prolific chronicler of the city's early history, 

James M. Guinn was appointed superintendent in 1881.  By that time the growing 

number of children had already outstripped the ability of the school system to 

provide facilities for them.  Superintendent Guinn chose to battle the board of 

education, elected on a partisan ballot in that era, over the issue of 

inadequate schoolrooms.  He was aware that such a course was precarious.  

During the first two decades of the American period superintendents rarely 

served more than a single year.  Nor were professional educators selected for 

that post until 1880 when it was given to Mrs. Chloe Jones, who had been the 

high school principal.  Guinn owed his appointment to the fact that Mrs. Jones 

had been removed when she tangled with the board.  In the summer of 1883 he 

summarized his own struggle in this letter to the Times.  Among the "solid 

three" who opposed Guinn was George S. Patton, Sr., father of the World War II 


                         {Times, July 14, 1883, p. 3}

         The Schoolhouse Question--A Clear Statement of the Situation.

              To the Editor of the Times--Sir:  It is a well-known 

         fact that during the past school year the public schools of 

         our city have been badly overcrowded.  It is equally well 

         known that during the greater portion of the year a number of 

         children--at one time as high as one hundred and fifty--were 

         excluded from the schools on account of insufficient school 

         room.  The parents of these children were promised that next 

         year there would be ample room; that the Board of Education 

         were about to build several new school buildings.

              It is now within a few weeks of the opening of the 

         schools for the ensuing year.  What is the situation?  Not a 

         brick laid, not a nail driven in a new building; not even a 

         plan adopted.  The seating capacity of the schools has been 

         reduced three hundred from what it was last year by the 

         canceling of the lease of the rooms in the Normal building, 

         and by the sale of the Bath street property.  No room for 

         three hundred children who were in the schools last year, and 

         no room for three or four hundred more who have come here by 

         emigration.  There is a bare possibility that four rooms will 

         be added to the Eighth street building in time for the 

         opening of schools.  If this is done it will give seatings 

         for 200 pupils.  But, even taking the most favorable view of 

         the situation, there will not be less than 100 to 500 

         children excluded from the schools during the next term.

              This is certainly a lamentable state of 

         affairs--lamentable not only from an educational standpoint, 

         but from a business one also.  It affects the prosperity of 

         our city.  Who is responsible for this state of affairs?  A 

         plain statement of facts may show.  Repeatedly, during the 

         first part of last school year, by verbal and written 

         reports, I called the attention of the members of the Board 

         to the overcrowded condition of the schools, and to the 

         necessity of selling the Spring street and Bath street 

         properties to obtain funds to build new buildings.  After 

         many resolves and re-resolves, the lots were offered for 

         sale.  A cash offer of $30,300 was received.  Dr. Kurtz and 

         Mr. Gibson favored the acceptance of the offer, and urged the 

         necessity of proceeding immediately to build.  The "solid 

         three" who rule urged delay, claiming that the Council would 

         put in a liberal bid.  The offer was neither accepted nor 

         rejected, but the Secretary was instructed to re-advertise 

         for new proposals.  At the next meeting the offer was 

         withdrawn.  After weeks of delay the Council put in a bid of 

         $31,000.  It was moved to accept it.  I called the attention 

         of the Board to the fact that the Council had no available 

         funds to pay cash down for the lot.  I was sneeringly told by 

         the President "that if they didn't pay for it they couldn't 

         get it."  After more delay the Council turned over to the 

         Board $7000 from the salary fund; this was all that could be 

         paid on the lot.  With this, and $5500 received from the sale 

         of Bath street, the Board bought the Haverstick 

         property--four lots, two fronting on Spring and two on Fort 

         street.  This property, about the time that the cash offer of 

         $30,000 was received for the Spring street lot, could have 

         been bought for $9500.  The "solid three," by their masterly 

         delay, got $700 more for the Spring street lot and paid $3000 

         more for a new school site.  A nice little problem in Profit 

         and Loss!

              The financial situation may be briefly summed up thus:  

         The Board has sold $36,600 worth of school property; cash 

         received, $12,000; paid for school site, $1250; attorneys' 

         fees, $250; balance due, $23,850, payable possibly from taxes 

         next November; amount in the treasury to build new school 

         buildings, not a dollar.

              Mr. Gibson, a new member of the Board, is energetic and 

         anxious to do his duty.

              Dr. Kurtz, an old member, is a true friend of the 

         teachers and of the schools.  He has visited the schools and 

         examined into the work done in them, and is well satisfied 

         with it.  It is the misfortune of these gentlemen to be in 

         the minority.  My political principles are not in accord with 

         those of the "solid three," therefore I step down and out of 

         the superintendency.  The success of the Democratic party in 

         the next Presidential campaign depends upon the appointment 

         of a Democrat as superintendent of schools in Los Angeles 

         city.  The appointment has been made.  A Democratic victory 

         is assured.  "To the victors belong the spoils."

                                            J. M. GUINN.

    Elections to the board were partisan until the city charter revision of 

1903.  There apparently was a Republican way to teach reading, a Democratic way 

to master 'riting, and a Prohibitionist approach to 'rithmatic.  {A century 

later some partisans would still insist that that was true.}  Guinn's closing 

lines reflected that partisanship, as did this letter by "Common Sense" on the 

eve of the 1885 board election.  Democratic candidate George Griffin, the 

subject of the letter, was a journalist.  At various times in his career he 

wrote editorials for the Times, held a position on the staff of the Express and

assisted H. H. Bancroft as a translator of Spanish documents,  Griffin lost the 


                         {Times, Nov. 26, 1885, p. 2}

            "Col." Geo. Butler Griffin and the Board of Education.

              To the Editor of the Times--Sir:  Your criticisms in 

         Tuesday's issue on "Col." George Butler Griffin, one of the 

         Democratic candidates for membership on the School Board, 

         were evidently based on blank ignorance.  You do not know the 

         man.  You do not realize his peculiar fitness for the 

         position.  Be it known to you, Mr. Editor, and to all the 

         voters of the city, that the "Colonel" is not a man {of - Ed.} 

         ordinary clay, ordinary accomplishments, ordinary intellect, 

         nor of ordinary blood.  Physically, he is not large, but 

         intellectually he is a giant, and as for blood--why, there is 

         no question about its color; it is the bluest of the blue.  

         How can you expect such a man to think or act like common 

         mortals?  It is an impossibility.  He is their superior, and, 

         of course, his children are necessarily superior to ordinary 

         children.  Hence, until quite recently, he has always been 

         obliged to send his children to "select schools," because 

         that was the proper thing for a high-toned, aristocratic 

         gentleman to do, and he had to uphold the dignity of his 

         "Caste."  The risk of contamination had to be avoided, and, 

         in justice to the "Colonel," I must opine that in 

         condescending to honor our common schools by his patronage at 

         present, he has a most laudable object in view; it is nothing 

         less than to disarm criticism while he seeks election, and 

         once on the School Board, and its Chairman, then truly will 

         commence the era of reform.  Business will be dispatched with 

         telegraphic swiftness, for of course the other members will 

         at once recognize the "Colonel's" overshadowing superiority 

         and will feel in duty bound to register his decrees.  

         Discussion would be heresy--the gallant "Colonel's" 

         infallibility will have to be conceded to secure peace and 

         harmony.   His scheme of reform is radical but eminently 

         wise, and all well-balanced minds will endorse it.  It is 

         nothing more nor less than to put an end to the stupid 

         Republican practice, at present in vogue, of grading and 

         classifying children according to their knowledge, and 

         substituting therefor a system of grading according to 

         pedigree.  We must have first, second and third-class 

         children.  "Caste" must be recognized--the common must be 

         separated from the uncommon, the refined from the uncouth, 

         the ragged and the poor from the well-dressed and well-to-do.  

         Upon no other basis can so ancient, blue-blooded and 

         aristocratic a family as the "Griffins" be expected to 

         patronize our public schools; and without such patronage how 

         can you reasonably expect them to be a success?  If you, Mr. 

         Editor, doubt the necessity for reform, as herein indicated, 

         I pray you crave an audience of the "Colonel."  If you find 

         him disinclined to grant it--as you may, for he is not 

         habitually condescending--humbly invite him to some 

         Democratic wet grocery, call for an allopathic dose of that 

         which mellows even the proudest of the proud, the greatest of 

         the great, repeat the dose as often as you deem prudent, and 

         I will stake my existence that you will learn from the 

         "Colonel's" own lips of his ancient and aristocratic lineage; 

         that he is a graduate of a famous Eastern university; an 

         accomplished civil engineer; a distinguished member of the 

         New York bar; a linguist of linguists; an editor; that he has 

         traveled the world over and has imbibed copious draughts of 

         knowledge, etc., at the various European and other founts.  

         Wisdom will drip in "chunks" from his lips, and if your 

         receptive and retentive faculties be good, you will learn 

         enough in one hour to obviate the necessity of consulting a 

         cyclopedia the remainder of your life.  You cannot fail to be 

         impressed with your own littleness and the "Colonel's" 

         greatness, and you will end your interview by craving the 

         privilege of supporting the "Colonel" in the present contest.  

         Be wise and fear not.

                                Yours truly, 

                                          COMMON SENSE.

    Faced with the reality that the board from its inception had been 

exclusively a male organization, whether elected or appointed, reform-minded 

women undertook to elect one of their own in 1886.  Coincidental with the 

revival of the Los Angeles Woman's Club by Caroline Severance, several club 

women called upon prominent political leaders from the various parties in an 

effort to have a woman nominated and elected, despite the fact that only men 

could vote.  Mrs. Anna Averill, a leading community figure who had formerly 

served on the faculties of the University of Southern California and Los 

Angeles High School, was placed on both major party tickets.  Shortly before 

the 1886 election this plea for the election of a woman appeared in the Times.  

                         {Times, Nov. 28, 1886, p. 6}

                         A LADY FOR THE SCHOOL BOARD.                             

              Los Angeles, Nov. 27.--[To the Editor of The Times.]  

         There seems to be a growing public sentiment in favor of 

         women as helpers and co-workers in all educational matters.  

         In a number of our {illegible} cities they already hold 

         positions of responsibility on various boards of education.  

         I cannot but think that decided benefits would result to our 

         public schools by an efficient woman on our own city Board of 

         Education.  It is true, our board has, we are glad to say, 

         always been composed of honorable gentlemen, men who are 

         capable, efficient and faithful; and it is not that these 

         gentlemen have in any degree failed in their work that we ask 

         for a lady among them, but simply that their burdens, 

         gratuitously carried, might be more justly distributed, and 

         possibly lightened.

              The present business activity of our city makes unusual 

         demands upon our energetic business men, and it is not 

         without great personal sacrifice that they find time to 

         attend to public duties.  Much of the necessary work could be 

         done by a lady freed from business cares and yet acquainted 

         by long experience as a teacher with the workings of our 

         schools and their needs.  Again, the fact that a large 

         proportion of our teachers are ladies, makes it seem only 

         reasonable that they should have a woman as their 

         representative on the board.  One who could, and would visit 

         them in their schools, counsel them in their work and 

         correctly represent them before the board.  We think Mrs. Ann 

         S. Averill capable, by reason of her long experience as a 

         teacher, her thorough self-discipline and high intellectual 

         attainments, of filling this position satisfactorily and 

         anxiously desire her election.     


    Anna Averill won, becoming the first woman board member.  Flushed with that 

success, an attempt was made the following year to elect a second woman.  Mary 

Garbutt, wife of a wealthy businessman and herself active for several decades 

in women's and other reform movements, including the Socialist Party, won the 

Prohibitionist nomination.   With women constituting the overwhelming majority 

of the city's teachers, the W.C.T.U. made an unsuccessful appeal for her 

election based on a question of parity.

                          {Times, Nov. 28, 1887, p.3}

                      Another Lady for the School Board.

              Los Angeles, Nov. 27.--[To the Editor of The Times.]  

         Mrs. Mary E. Garbutt, whom the temperance party has nominated 

         as a member of the School board, is an experienced educator, 

         having formerly taught several years in Denver, Colo., as 

         well as in this city.  She is well acquainted with the 

         schools of Los Angeles and deeply interested in their 

         progress.  Mrs. Garbutt is a lady of candid, unbiased mind, 

         good judgment and much executive ability, and will, if 

         elected, discharge her duties with thoroughness and 

         impartiality.  Certainly, it is not asking too much that, out 

         of five members of the School Board, two should be ladies.

              There would still be three gentlemen to hold the balance 

         of power in all matters considered too difficult for feminine 

         powers of management; and what more suitable than that two of 

         those who control our schools should be experienced teachers, 

         with leisure to visit and thoroughly inspect the educational 

         work of the city, commending and confirming all that is good, 

         and weeding out whatever is useless or deleterious.



    The significance of the W.C.T.U. effort to achieve a degree of parity in 

female representation on the board, and its failure with Garbutt's defeat, was 

reflected in a debate that erupted in the letters column two years later.  The 

city charter adopted in 1889 provided for the partisan election of nine board 

members, one from each ward.  The new board chosen that year quickly stirred up 

a controversy by adopting the resolution quoted in the letter below.  Women 

constituted over 90% of the teaching corps, yet few of the principals were 

women.  While "A Woman Suffragist" expressed indignation over an obvious case 

of sex discrimination, she also laid out the case for voting rights as a 

solution to the problem of gender inequality.  Had "affirmative action" been a 

buzz word in the 1880s, it surely would have been raised in this situation.

                         {Times, June 24, 1889, p. 6}

                     Throwing Stones at the School Board.

              Los Angeles, June 19.--[To the Editor of The Times.]  In 

         the report of the last meeting of the Board of Education, 

         published in yesterday's Times, is the following resolution, 

         presented by Mr. Powers, and passed by a vote of six to 


              "Resolved, that it is the sense of this board that in 

         the election of teachers for the next school year there shall 

         be no discrimination on account of sex, but so far as 

         possible it shall be the policy of this board to elect male 

         principals of city schools having more than four 


              The resolution is decidedly peculiar in its injustice to 

         the women who have done the very best quality of work as 

         principals in many of the largest and hardest-managed schools 

         in the city, and it is no wonder that the men who voted for 

         such barefaced injustice should screen themselves behind the 

         number "six."  All honor to the three who stood out against 

         this new rule.  Their names should be made public that the 

         people should know who are the men that will have the good 

         of the children and the schools at heart, and will appoint 

         the teachers who have been found efficient, regardless of 

         sex, and are willing to let even a woman who has proved her 

         capability and spent her full share of years in the lower, 

         poorly-paid positions, enjoy the well-earned pleasure of 

         receiving a respectable salary.

              "No discrimination on account of sex!" and, pray, how 

         else can these men discriminate against women than by 

         appointing men to the well-paid positions, giving women the 

         hard work and low pay, with not even the prospect of 

         advancement before them.  What man of energy, ambition and 

         spirit, having held a superior position and demonstrated his 

         entire capability of filling it as perfectly as it can be 

         filled, would be willing to return to a subordinate position 

         and lower pay because of his sex?  or would continue to work 

         under such circumstances unless compelled by absolute 


              If the women were less efficient, it would be right and 

         just, but to make sex and nothing else a cause for removing 

         an excellent teacher from her position, is an injustice which 

         would seem impossible in this day and generation, if the 

         above resolution did not show too distinctly the intention of 

         the board.

              "No discrimination on account of sex!"  Truly, the 

         California Legislature knew well the necessity of acting when 

         it passed the law insuring the women equal wages with men for 

         the same work, or this advanced, and, I am sorry to say, 

         Republican, School Board would unquestionably have outdone 

         the salaries of the women, merely because they had committed 

         the crime of being women--i.e., non-voters--surely not by any 

         fault of theirs.  Would these same men dare discriminate 

         against women, who have proven themselves so thoroughly 

         efficient, if these women were voters?  No, indeed!  In that 

         case the disinterested members of the school board would be 

         possessed by a righteous love of justice and the good of the 

         schools, which would make it absolutely necessary for them to 

         retain the women--who had political power.

              I would like to ask, what are the objects of schools and 

         school boards?  Is the advancement of the children the first 

         consideration, or is it merely an incidental end to be 

         attained if its attainment can be easily accomplished?  If 

         the above rule is carried out, will not the very best of the 

         women teachers, where it is possible, leave, and an inferior 

         class come in?  If the board is so anxious to appoint men, 

         why not make all the teachers in some of the schools men, and 

         give them a chance to show their abilities in the different 

         grades, and their powers to move along harmoniously with each 

         other as the women have done.  That would be fair, but to 

         take all the desirable positions from efficient women and 

         give them to men is manifestly injustice of the most 

         unblushing kind, and you cannot wonder that under such 

         treatment from men every advanced woman of this land is fast 


                                           A WOMAN SUFFRAGIST.

    Having irritated the suffragists by their earlier action, the board next 

antagonized male educators by continuing the practice of appointing women to 

nearly all the teaching positions, over the protest of board member E. J. Cox  

who argued that the schools needed the strong arms of men to control the larger 

boys.  W. J. Kennard's well-reasoned objection to the board's policy was 

countered by "An Ex-Teacher" and John Morton, both of whom carefully answered 

Kennard's criticism of the board and used his letter as an opportunity to raise 

the issue of male v. female principals.  Kennard is apparently the William J. 

Kinnard listed in the 1888 city directory as a teacher at Los Angeles Business 

College.  The only John Morton listed with a Los Angeles address clerked for 

the Abstract and Title Insurance Company in the late 'eighties.

                         {Times, July 10, 1889, p. 5}

                           Too Many Female Teachers.


              Los Angeles, July 5.--[To the Editor of The Times.]  Our 

         Board of Education in its meeting on Monday last, decided to 

         appoint as instructors in the public schools for the coming 

         year 151 teachers, of whom only eight are of the male 

         sex--and to reject the services of men highly qualified and 

         experienced, who have successfully conducted public schools 

         in the past, in this or other States--for lady teachers who 

         do not pretend to greater proficiency or experience, and many 

         of whom have only lately made this State their home.

              This action, I assert, is not only an unjust 

         discrimination against male teachers, but extremely impolitic 

         and injurious to the best educational interests of the city, 

         unjust, in that a man who has given his life to the 

         preparation of himself for the duties of a teacher, who is a 

         rate-payer, and one to whom in many cases a wife and family 

         look for support, is barred out of a position he is anxious 

         and thoroughly qualified to fill, to make way for a teacher 

         having fewer responsibilities and no one depending on her for 

         support; impolitic and injurious to our city's interests in 

         that teachers are appointed having but little authority or 

         influence over the older pupils, who are usually weak in 

         mathematics and penmanship (two of the chief branches), and 

         who are not physically strong enough to stand the strain of 

         two sessions a day, consequently involving the city in an 

         extra expenditure of from $15,000 to $20,000 a year to pay 

         for a double set of principals.

              It is a well-known fact that the discipline of our 

         public schools in the higher grades is lax; this is not only 

         injurious in itself, but prevents the best results being 

         obtained in any branch of study.  I know of many cases where 

         under the present mistaken system adopted by our school 

         directors, parents have been compelled to take their 12 or 

         14-year-old children from the public schools on account of 

         want of discipline and consequent slow progress in education.  

         We have also female principals of our schools, who, 

         recognizing their weakness in mathematics and penmanship, 

         send their own children to male instructors for those 


              In face of these arguments what reasons do the directors 

         give for their recent action in appointing out of a total of 

         151 teachers engaged, 143 female instructors?

              "Home talent" was their excuse, but an absurd one, for, 

         as Mr. Cox observed, most of the female teachers come to us 

         from other States.  I know of no real excuse for this 

         remarkable course of action, unless it be a maudlin sentiment 

         in favor of the opposite sex.

              I do not speak at all disparagingly of female teachers.  

         I recognize their value and the good results they achieve, 

         and would in all cases prefer to have teachers of this sex 

         for the younger pupils, but when a man of brains, long 

         experience and wide reputation is set aside for a female 

         teacher, merely as a tribute to her sex, or because she is a 

         so-called "home product," it is carrying gallantry to a 

         ridiculous extreme.

              My experience in schools, both in this and European 

         countries, is very considerable, and I long since came to the 

         conclusion that for the older pupils, and especially the 

         boys, a man teacher of mature years, experienced and well 

         qualified for the post, is not only a desideratum but a 


              The object in selecting teachers should be to get those 

         most able and possessing the highest qualifications.  The cry 

         of "home talent" may be more injurious to ourselves than to 

         the rejected applicants for positions.  Why do some of our 

         leading colleges obtain their professors from abroad?  Surely 

         we are "cutting off our own nose" when we refuse a good 

         teacher because he was not "raised" among us.

              Those directors who, to please politicians, or to pose 

         as champions of the weaker sex, appoint inferior teachers as 

         instructors of our children, are betrayers of the trust 

         confided in them by the electors of this city.

              I have no personal interests to urge in this matter, 

         having never applied for a position, nor do I intend to do 

         so, and being totally unacquainted with any of the present 

         applicants.  I write only in defense of the principle 

         involved, and the indignation with which I see (owing to such 

         inconsiderate action as that of our school board), worthy men 

         with families looking for employment and almost in a state of 

         destitution, while less worthy and less proficient female 

         teachers, with no one dependent for support on their labor, 

         are elected to lucrative posts over their heads.  I am yours, 


                                                W. J. KENNARD.

              [How would a share-and-share alike distribution of 

         teachers do?--Ed.]

                         {Times, July 16, 1889, p. 5}

                          Defense of Women Teachers.

              Los Angeles, July 10.--[To the Editor of The Times.]  In 

         this morning's issue appears a letter from Mr. W. J. Kennard, 

         regarding the appointment of women as teachers here, which 

         shows clearly that the gentleman is laboring under several 

         misapprehensions.  With your kind permission I would like to 

         correct these, if possible.

              To begin with, I will state that, like him, I never have 

         applied for a position in the Los Angeles schools, and never 


              Your correspondent complains that the applications of 

         "highly qualified and experienced" men, who have 

         "successfully conducted schools in the past in this and other 

         States," have been rejected by our board, who appointed 

         instead women with no responsibility and laying no claim to 

         greater proficiency.

              When the Los Angeles Board of Education has dropped a 

         man from the roll of teachers, we may be soon remembering its 

         recent resolution, that it was for cause, and not from 

         "maudlin sentiment," or any desire on their part to "pose as 

         champions of the weaker sex."  That they still made the 

         appointments they did show that they recognized the 

         efficiency of the women teachers and principals, and had the 

         honor and manliness to make their appointments according to 

         proficiency rather than sex; filling vacancies that occurred 

         in the higher positions from among the tried women, rather 

         than untried men, no matter how highly recommended.  Mr. 

         Kennard claims that the discipline in the higher grades of 

         our public schools is lax.  If this is true, is it any more 

         so in the schools governed by women than in those under the 

         supervision of men?  Or were the children in the former less 

         advanced in scholarship than those in the latter?

              The question whether an applicant has others dependent 

         upon him (though women quite as frequently have relatives to 

         support as men) should not enter into the consideration of 

         his or her appointment.  Public schools are not eleemosynary 

         institutions intended to furnish a means of livelihood to the 

         destitute.  The good of the schools alone is to be aimed at 

         in the election of teachers, and this is not always attained 

         by the employment of men in the responsible positions.  It is 

         a well-known fact, of which, however, Mr. Kennard is probably 

         ignorant, that men have repeatedly failed as principals in 

         this city, and been succeeded by women who did well, and kept 

         in order even that bete noir, the big boy.

              European experiences can not be applied here.  American 

         women are educated under conditions differing so much from 

         those surrounding their European sisters that they succeed in 

         many things which, to the others, would be difficult or 

         impossible.  Moreover, in European countries women have never 

         had an opportunity to show what they could do with older 

         boys, so it is impossible to tell how they would succeed.  

         Among Americans the fairest-minded educators admit that women 

         generally equal men as teachers, and if Mr. Kennard's 

         experience has been different it is not corroborrated by that 

         of the majority of observers.

              If there is any time when a man rather than a woman is 

         needed to teach boys, it is not in the higher grades, when 

         the boys already have some manliness and common sense, and 

         can be acted upon by mental and moral means, but rather in 

         the lower, the "intermediate" grades, where they are 

         sometimes regular "little hoodlums," and often need physical 

         force to restrain them.  Yet it does not occur to Mr. Kennard 

         that men should ever be appointed to these (or any other) 

         subordinate positions.  No; they are to have the 

         principalships and women, also rate-payers, with the same 

         brains, education, proficiency, and (that important element 

         in Mr. Kennard's estimation) families to support--lacking 

         nothing but the ballot and to remain subordinates.  That is 

         where the injustice comes in!

              I believe there should be more men teachers.  Perhaps it 

         would be a good thing for our schools if men and women were 

         appointed in about equal numbers--"share and share alike," as 

         you suggest--but it should be "share and share" alike in 

         reality--not the kernels to one sex and the hulls to the 

         other.  No doubt the School Board of Los Angeles would have 

         appointed more men had more men applied for and been willing 

         to take lower positions.  It is more than probable that the 

         applications from men were for principalships only.  Where 

         these were successfully filled by women, there was no reason 

         why they should be removed to make room for untried men.  If 

         men were willing to begin on the lower rounds of the ladder, 

         as women do (I venture to say there is not a woman principal 

         in the city who did not begin as a subordinate), and win 

         their laurels fairly, instead of wanting the best-paid and 

         governing positions to begin with, there would be more men 


              Mr. Kennard says that women are weaker in mathematics 

         and penmanship than men.  As to the former, it is a well-

         known fact that women carry off as many of the prizes for 

         mathematics in colleges and universities as men do, if not 

         more; and girls generally outrank boys in this branch in our 

         public schools.  A woman took the Johns Hopkins University 

         fellowship in mathematics in a competitive examination, and a 

         woman filled the Chair of Mathematics for many years (perhaps 

         still) at the University of Upsala in Sweden--one of the 

         foremost European institutions.

              Whether women, as a rule, are weaker in penmanship than 

         men,  I do not know; but after all that is merely a 

         mechanical art and has nothing to do with mental or moral 

         education.  Besides, Los Angeles has a special male teacher 

         for this branch, who has been retained, no doubt, because of 

         his efficiency, not his sex.

              If in this city any women principals have sent their 

         children to schools having male principals, it was probably 

         because they lived in the district belonging to the school of 

         the latter, and children go to school in their own district.  

         Now a teacher lives where he pleases, but teaches where the 

         board pleases, and many teachers go long distances to their 

         work, while their children may attend school in the next 

         street.  I doubt that any woman principal of this city sent 

         her children out of their district in order to send them to 

         schools with male principals.

              Mr. Kennard also seems misinformed regarding the double 

         sessions here.  There are no double sets of principals.  The 

         principals teach a room themselves (with one exception), and 

         get from $15 to perhaps $50 a month more than the ordinary 

         teachers.  Their assistants, and male principals of large 

         schools have to have these as well as female, receive $10 

         over their ordinary salaries.  This involves no very great 

         expense to the city.  The real "double sessions" are for two 

         sets of scholars.  These were not instituted to benefit 

         teachers, but to accommodate more pupils in the same rooms.  

         Neither men nor women were equal to the task of doing justice 

         to from 75 to 100 pupils in two sets, teaching each set as 

         much in four hours as others learned in six, and also 

         correcting their exercises, etc.  That was simply doing the 

         work of two teachers.  If they did it they should have double 

         pay, and so nothing would be gained for the city.  The 

         ordinary double session of three hours each is carried on 

         successfully and without complaint by women when they have 

         the use of a room for it, and it is considered best for the 


              To close, Mr. Editor, I thank Mr. Kennard for coming out 

         openly with his objections against women teachers, and you 

         for printing them, and also for so kindly and fairly giving 

         the woman's side a hearing.

              Hoping that Mr. Kennard et al. may become converted from 

         "the error of their ways," I remain,

                                        AN EX-TEACHER.                                          

                         {Times, July 12, 1889, p. 3}

                         A Defense of Female Teachers.

              Los Angeles, July 11.--[To the Editor of The Times.]  

         Permit me, through your columns, to answer a few of the more 

         salient points in Mr. Kennard's letter, which appears in your 

         issue of the 10th inst.!

              That men who have spent their lives training themselves 

         for teachers are debarred from positions has (from our 

         observation) not been the case.  A man who begins with the 

         idea of devoting his life to the work, if he has any natural 

         ability, generally finds himself eventually in a professor's 

         chair.  That so few men do this is why our colleges must 

         sometimes look abroad for instructors.  The proportion of 

         male and female teachers in this city is in the same ratio as 

         the proportion of male and female teachers all over the 


              Visit our normal schools, and see the proportion of male 

         and female students.  The average is about one to fifteen.   

         Then, how many of these male students, when once launched on 

         the educational field as teachers, long follow that 


              Ask them their intentions and you will find nine times 

         out of ten that teaching with them is only a stepping-stone 

         to something else.  Look over the records of our lawyers, 

         doctors, ministers, etc., and see how many of them in their 

         impecunious days taught school for a few terms or years.  If 

         by chance a few do stay in the ranks as mediocre teachers 

         their work will lose much by comparison with that of teachers 

         of the opposite sex in the same grades.

              The most of our girls who educate themselves for 

         teachers do so because they are dependent upon their own 

         exertions for a livelihood, and to obtain that livelihood 

         they must reach a high standard, for in these days of many 

         applicants to one position it seems to be a "survival of the 


              I would ask your correspondent to look over the corps of 

         teachers or applicants for certificates at our examinations, 

         and he will find the ladies as good penmen (?) and 

         mathematicians as the gentlemen.

              The files of papers in our schools also show it.  It is 

         not lack of strength on the part of the lady teacher that 

         causes half-day sessions, it is lack of schoolhouses, and not 

         one of the entire force but will rejoice when the schools are 

         supplied with plentiful accommodations, enabling her to keep 

         her classes all day and feel she is doing them as well as 

         herself full justice in every way.

              By "ratepayers" does he mean taxpayers?  In looking over 

         the Assessor's books he will find many female teachers' names 


              As to lack of authority and a strong arm to train the 

         unruly pupils, we would cite an instance that once came to 

         our notice of a male principal whose nerves were so upset 

         when he punished a pupil that he generally let them go 


              If the female teacher's nerves are upset by inflicting 

         punishment, she is conscientious and does her duty.  Truly 


                                         JOHN MORTON.

                            C) OVERCROWDED SCHOOLS

    All three of the previous letters made reference to overcrowded conditions 

in the city's schools that necessitated abbreviated double sessions. 

Superintendent Guinn had resigned after warning of classroom shortages early in 

the decade.  The population explosion of 1887 exacerbated the problem.  By 1890 

average daily attendance would reach 6841, up from 1343 in 1880, and the number 

of children of school age stood near 11,000.  There also had been a fivefold 

increase in teachers, from 32 to 161.  But throughout the decade facilities 

remained inadequate to meet the district's needs, and "half day sessions" 

became standard practice in Los Angeles.  After the Times ran a letter at the 

peak of the real estate boom in 1887 praising the Amelia Street school, "A 

Subscriber" responded with a concern that bothered many other parents in the 

city.  Anna Averill, writing for the board as "The Secretary," somewhat 

sarcastically justified the district's efforts to cope with the problem.

                         {Times, Oct. 22, 1887, p. 4}

                             Our Crowded Schools.

              Brooklyn Heights, Oct. 21.--[To the Editor of The 

         Times.]  I noticed in your issue of the 20th a letter 

         commenting on the Amelia-street school.  I am very glad to 

         know that at least one place in our beautiful city can boast 

         of her clean and studious school.  While we have no cause to 

         complain of an uncleanly school we have all reasons to 

         complain about an insufficient amount of room, so much so 

         that last year our children were reduced to three hours per 

         day and the balance of the time romping in the streets, and 

         we had a sort of promise that it would be enlarged for this 

         season, but nothing was done.  Brooklyn Heights, like all 

         other parts of Los Angeles, has added to its numbers, and now 

         our children are compelled to take two hours per day or 

         nothing.  We have in this district very near 200 schoolable 

         children, and about half that number receive two hours' 

         schooling per day.  We find no fault with our teachers, but 

         we would feel grateful if our Board of Education would come 

         our way and take a census of our children and see how much 

         credit they could take to themselves for the good education 

         our children will receive.  We are all taxpayers.  We would 

         feel kindly disposed if we could get the use of a tent as an 

         addition to shade our little ones and be instructed as they 

         should be.  A great many here would be willing, if a good 

         teacher and a room could be found, to start a private school 

         and ignore our system altogether.  Would it not be well for 

         our School Board to squander 5 cents and board the street car 

         and look into the matter, for we have all come to the 

         conclusion that they do not know we belong in their 

         jurisdiction, but we will be apt to remember them at our next 

         election.  We will all stand unanimous in our efforts, but 

         hardly in their favor.           

                                       A SUBSCRIBER.

                         {Times, Oct. 28, 1887, p. 3}

                           Public School Facilities.

              Los Angeles, Oct. 24.--[To the Editor of The Times.]  In 

         the issue of your paper on the 21st there is a remarkable 

         communication by "A Subscriber," in which the School Board is 

         severely censured for the crowded and certainly most 

         unsatisfactory condition of our city schools.  Brooklyn 

         Heights suffers as much doubtless, no more certainly, than 

         other parts of our city, but when "A Subscriber" states that 

         the children in that locality are given but two hours per day 

         to attend school he has simply told just one-half the truth.  

         Last year the children there could have but a half-day 

         session of three hours; this year they have four hours, 

         unless the parents permit them to "romp on the streets," 

         instead of availing themselves of the full time afforded 


              "To squander 5 cents on a street car to look into a 

         matter" already too apparent is a useless extravagance, even 

         for the well-paid members of the Board of Education.  To 

         patient and considerate taxpayers we will say that every 

         possible effort has been put forth to better the condition of 

         our schools.  Sites have been selected, plans for buildings 

         accepted and contracts are ready to be assigned.  But until 

         the bonds so generously voted can be converted into money we 

         can go no further.  To accomplish even this much has 

         necessitated frequent sessions of the Board of Education, in 

         which anxious consultations and plannings have detained us 

         until a late hour of the night.  And if "A Subscriber" and 

         the taxpayers whom he professes to represent will as he 

         insinuates, remember us at the next election, and relieve us 

         of any further gratuitous service in their behalf, we shall 

         be quite content.

              In the meantime we invoke the patience and courage of 

         our citizens, assuring them that the evils, regretted by none 

         more than by ourselves, shall be remedied as soon as it is 

         rendered possible by the authorities under whom we serve.

                                              THE SECRETARY.

    Overcrowding continued, and as the 1887-88 term came to an end an unsigned 

article critical of the schools appeared in the Times.  The piece, written as a 

news article, apparently represented the views of Otis and his paper and 

suggested that the solution was a "plan of economy" that assigned teachers to 

an eight hour day while pupils remained on four hour, half day sessions.  That 

brought forth a defense of teachers from "A Half-day Teacher."  

                         {Times, June 29, 1888, p. 3}

                   Half-day Sessions in the Public Schools.

              Los Angeles, June 26.--[To the Editor of The Times.]  In 

         behalf of the teachers of this city, of which body I am a 

         member, I will try to throw a little more light upon the 

         question of teachers and their work than your correspondent 

         of June 23d {25th - Ed.} seems to possess.  I will take up the 

         statements of "Economy," and, in answering them, show the 

         citizens the other side of the argument.  The principal 

         objection made is "that pupils are in the school room only 

         four hours daily, which is a little more than one-half the 

         time in other cities," etc.  Now, it would have been well for 

         the writer to ascertain just how long pupils are in session 

         in other cities in California before making that sweeping 

         assertion.  Now, for the answer.  In Oakland, San Francisco, 

         Sacramento, San Jose and other enlightened towns, the 

         children in the first, second and third years are kept in 

         school three hours and twenty-five minutes.  We keep them in 

         four hours.  How does that answer for keeping in only one-

         half as long?  The law requires only four hours for these 

         little folks.  Further, the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and 

         eighth grades in these other cities mentioned keep the pupil 

         in school four hours and forty minutes, and this time is 

         called a full session system.  Here, in the same grades, we 

         instruct them four hours, and that is just forty minutes less 

         than in cities not so crowded.  Is this not considerably more 

         than half given in other cities?  Did "Economy" study up this 

         question before he spoke?  I think not.  I can substantiate 

         my statements, for I have taught in some of the schools I 

         name.  In the Oakland High School pupils remain only three 

         hours and 40 minutes for the entire day, and yet I never 

         heard a parent there complain that the teacher did not earn 

         her salary, or try to put the responsibility of the child's 

         mental and moral training entirely upon the shoulders of the 

         School Board, as "Economy" does; besides, if the pupils in 

         our half-day classes do the work we require them to take home 

         and bring in next day, they will be kept busy from one to 

         three hours, and if the father and mother will see that they 

         do it, they will not have time to "run the streets" any more 

         than they would were they in school till 4 o'clock.  Now, 

         again let us take up the teacher's work, and for her 

         afternoon rest she gathers up 40 or 50 papers in arithmetic, 

         with 10 examples in each, geography, with a similar number of 

         questions to be corrected on each paper, language and 

         spelling, ditto, with from 20 to 25 words to be corrected, 

         and diacritical marks noted, etc.  This keeps the teachers of 

         the fourth up to the eighth grades busy at least two hours, 

         for there is no time for such correction in school; so we can 

         safely say she works at hard, brain-tiring tasks six or seven 

         hours daily.  Is that not enough?  "Economy" says: "The work 

         of the teacher is hard, but no harder than that of the shop-

         girl."  This comparison is about as sensible as to say that a 

         physician charges $2.50 for a visit of 10 minutes, and a 

         horse-car driver works 14 hours for the same money.  But did 

         it occur to "Economy" that it did not take the clerk, or the 

         driver, the same length of time to prepare for his profession 

         that it has taken the good teacher or the skillful physician 

         to prepare for his.  I question very much if "Economy" could 

         even get ready to teach by going through the ordeal known as 

         "the Examination for Teachers in Los Angeles county."  One of 

         the knots to be untied at the recent one was twisted up after 

         this fashion:

              "A man dying left his estate to be divided as follows: 

         If he left a son, the son was to have five-sixths of the 

         estate, and the widow one-sixth.  If a daughter was left, she 

         was to have one-third and the widow the remainder.  A son and 

         daughter were left, and the estate being valued at $9360, 

         what was each one's share?"  I suppose this remarkable effort 

         is due to the boom in this part of the country.  After going 

         through this and similar monstrosities I think "Economy" 

         would resign before he began.  Would he be willing to send 

         his children in the afternoon to the tired teacher who had 

         worked all morning with 40 or 50 bright, active children, who 

         asked for and received instruction, and, not satisfied at 

         that, they make a demand upon the patience, good nature and 

         magnetism of the sympathetic teacher?  It is not the hard 

         labor that wears; it is the brainwork that tires us out.  How 

         I should like to see "Economy" teach one of the graded 

         classes.  I imagine he would be the first one to ask for an 

         increase of salary, rather than an increase of work.  This 

         thing of making teachers do double duty has been tried in 

         other cities and always with the same results, namely, 

         failure to accomplish good work.  Our "public reformer" is 

         magnanimous enough to say he will expect poor work for two 

         years.  Does he know that two years of a child's education, 

         when neglected, can never be made up?  However, if we must be 

         decapitated, let the ax fall on all of the official necks in 

         town.  Let the police do "double session" work by holding up 

         two lamp-posts instead of one; let the firemen do double 

         duty; let the public officials dispense with half their 

         clerks and do the "double session" act by sitting up at night 

         doing extra work, in order to help pay for any and all public 

         buildings in which they may be employed, and we teachers will 

         not complain of having to be made the instruments by which 

         the necessary room for the children must be provided; but do 

         not make the teachers alone the scapegoat of public economy 

         and do all the retrenching of public expenses.  Right here 

         the question suggests itself to me:  Why does our "public 

         reformer" (every city has one) always settle on the school 

         teachers when any reduction is to be made in salaries?  Is 

         it, and I think it is, because the teachers are mostly women 

         and have no vote?  I think that if sensible people will 

         consider the matter well that something can be done to build 

         these houses without asking the teachers to bend beneath a 

         double load.  We teachers of the half-day classes work harder 

         than if we had the full time, in order to bring the children 

         up to the required standard; and then to look forward to just 

         twice the amount of work is almost to much.

                                          A HALF-DAY TEACHER. 

    The 1888-89 school year opened with the district still short of 

schoolrooms.  "Observer" blamed the board.  "Father" raised an objection about 

taxing and spending inequities in different districts that resulted from 

partial state financing of schools, a criticism that would be echoed nearly a 

century later in the Serrano school funding case.  "Parent" offered yet another 

solution that would strike a familiar chord among taxpayers in financially 

strapped districts who would seek to "cut the fat" in order to pay for what 

they considered basic.

                         {Times, Sept, 24, 1888, p.3}

                              The Public Schools.

              Los Angeles, Sept. 21.--[To the Editor of The Times.]  

         The parents and patrons of the public schools of this city 

         have watched with a lively interest the discussion of the 

         condition of our schools, because many of them knew well 

         their condition before this discussion commenced.  They have 

         long known that they have not been getting the very best 

         possible results from the money expended on our public 

         schools; and they have a sort of creed that in school 

         matters, as in almost everything else (but especially in 

         school matters, on account of their great importance to the 

         future welfare of their children), there is no reason, as a 

         rule, why they should not receive the very best results that 

         the money they expend for public schools will secure.  Can 

         any person give the shadow of a reason why they should be 

         content with only one-half or three-quarters of the "value 

         received" that they are entitled to for their money, instead 

         of the full value, or to the best possible results 

         attainable?  Now, will anybody pretend that, with a large 

         proportion of our schools as "half-day" schools, and the 

         teachers receiving full pay, and from 50 to 75 per cent. 

         higher pay than is received in many eastern cities, Los 

         Angeles is getting full value of the best possible results 

         for its money?

              It is readily conceded that there has been a large 

         increase in the attendance, and that the situation has been 

         difficult.  All situations are to a greater or less extent 

         beset with difficulties; but the question our people will 

         inevitably ask, is:  Has the School Board been equal to the 

         situation and to this question, in the opinion of many 

         parents, there can be but one answer: No.

              The board will say that it had not sufficient money to 

         build all the schoolhouses that were needed.  True; but it 

         could rent, and tide over the difficulty just as the Council 

         and private parties do, till money could be raised by hook or 

         crook to erect its own buildings.  Whenever the fire 

         department needs houses for its engines, etc., it rents them 

         without any serious difficulty.  That department of the city 

         government is equal to the occasion.   Why should not the 

         School Board be, or resign, and give place to others who will 

         not be so easily vanquished?  Let the board, with an adequate 

         comprehension of its really serious duties, wake up and rent 

         a room in every locality throughout the city wherever 50 or 

         60 school children clamor for the priceless boon of a 

         common-school education.

              The people of Los Angeles are rich enough and 

         intelligent enough to rent or build houses, not only for 

         themselves to live in, but also for their children to be 

         educated in.  The Board of Education is lacking in 

         discernment when it fails to see this obvious truth and to 

         act in accordance with it.  Let it ransack this town till it 

         has found a rented room for every class under its 

         jurisdiction, and in good time--or some time--the people, 

         through the present board, or some succeeding board, will 

         erect sufficient buildings of its own to provide for all.


                         {Times, Sept. 24, 1888, p. 3}

                          The Money for the Schools.

              Los Angeles, Sept. 22.--[To the Editor of The Times.]  

         In reference to the "dry rot" in the public schools system of 

         this city, would it not be well to inquire whether the 

         disease is not merely local but constitutional?

              The money for the support of the public schools comes 

         mainly to us from the State treasury.  We pay the poll taxes, 

         and a large portion of the State levy for school purposes  

         which is sent to Sacramento, and we get back an amount 

         greater or less than we have paid.  For some years after this 

         system went into effect, we were fortunate or unfortunate 

         enough to receive more than we paid, but for the past few 

         years we have been among those that pay for other schools 

         than their own.

              One vice of this system, as it appears to me, consists 

         in the provision of law that provides that all the school 

         money derived "through the State treasury shall be used for 

         no other purposes than the payment of teachers."  Under this 

         system, we will suppose a county or city receives a larger 

         amount through the State than was paid to the State by the 

         taxpayers thereof, and we will suppose that this amount was 

         larger than was necessary to an efficient and economical 

         management of the school system then existing in such city, 

         however much increased school accommodation might be needed, 

         it matters not how small a portion of the children of school 

         age could be admitted, this money could be used for no other 

         purpose than the payment of teachers, if the result would not 

         be the intentional employment of more than the necessary 

         number of teachers, or the making their salaries higher than 

         adequate remuneration for their services.  It would certainly 

         have a tendency to create a carelessness in such expenditure 

         that would not exist were the financial means better adapted 

         to the end required.  On the other hand take a city like ours 

         that is increasing in population so rapidly, and while our 

         proportion of contribution to the State school fund is 

         proportionately increased, and our need of increased school 

         accommodation keeps pace with our other improvements, our 

         proportion of money from the State school fund lags behind.

              The more we need it the more we don't get it, and if we 

         did we could not use it where we most need it, that is to 

         increase our school accommodation.

              The declared policy and intention of this law was to 

         have the State school money go where it is most needed, 

         regardless of where it comes from, but to me it seems to 

         completely fail of its object.  It sends an overplus to a 

         dead or dying community at the cost and to the detriment of a 

         live and growing one; takes from the one that needs it most 

         and gives where it is least required.

              If the amount remaining on hand of this State school 

         money at the end of the school year could be used for 

         increased school accommodations, it would remove part of the 

         objection to the system, but my objection goes further; it 

         goes to the injustice and impolicy of State iron-clad 

         regulations of local taxation and the expenditure of the 

         money.  I see no necessity for the money going to Sacramento.  

         I see no necessity for one community to pay taxes for the use 

         of another, and I see no real benefit to the community 

         receiving more than its just share.



                          {Times, Dec. 4, 1888, p. 7}

                                School Matters.


              Los Angeles, Dec. 3.--[To the Editor of The Times.]  I 

         am pleased to see that a correspondent of your paper has 

         again made a protest against the present half-day sessions in 

         our public schools.  The "powers that be" seem to deplore the 

         necessity for the half-day plan, but claim that it is 

         irremediable; I venture to suggest a remedy.

              We have in this city no less than three supervising 

         officers, a superintendent, an acting superintendent, and a 

         deputy superintendent, drawing salaries respectively, if I am 

         correctly informed, of $250, $200 and $150 per month.  San 

         Francisco, with four times as many children, gets along, I 

         believe, with two such officers.... {Otis apparently deleted 

         material at this point - Ed.}

              No one will claim that the school department should be 

         made an eleemosynary institution.

              Again, there is an officer, called in the absurd 

         terminology of the department, a "principal of writing," 

         whose duty consists in riding about the city to see that the 

         teachers instruct their pupils properly in that art.  This 

         official is an unnecessary appendage to the department.  

         Writing is a very essential branch of the course of 

         instruction, but at the same time it is the easiest to teach, 

         requiring nothing more than a good copy and practice.  It is 

         so cheap an art that everywhere numberless "professors" 

         thereof bewilder the rustic mind by drawing with pen and ink 

         in a series of "compound concentrated curves," impossible 

         stags leaping impassable chasms; a feat the economic value of 

         which is on a par with that of the man who makes a living by 

         wagging his ears.  If any teacher in the city confesses her 

         inability to teach her pupils to write without the oversight 

         of this functionary at $125 per month, her resignation should 

         be promptly requested, as it is safe to infer that she is not 

         competent to reach anything else.

              There, then, are over $500 per month wasted, and for 

         which the city gets no equivalent.  This sum would pay the 

         rent of 120 rooms and thus enable 40 classes to hold full-day 

         sessions.  Few men can do a day's work in half a day, 

         regularly. and teachers and children should not be expected 

         to do so; and when we remember that the teachers were paid 

         from $80 to $150 per month--that is to say, from $1 to $2 per 

         hour for the work actually performed--it seems all the more 

         desirable that they should be permitted to put in a full day.

              Commending these suggestions to the incoming members of 

         the board and to the public, I am yours respectfully,

                                        A PARENT.


    In the summer of 1883 Zachary Montgomery came to town.  Journalist, ex-

assemblyman, lawyer and advocate of "parental," read "parochial," education 

rather than public schools, Montgomery created the first on-going debate in the 

letters column regarding education.  Within a week the Times carried half a 

dozen letters about Montgomery's charge that public education was a morally 

corrupting influence, with the public schools an "incubator of crime" and a 

device of the rich to rob the poor.  Despite his denial that his intent was to 

promote the interests of the Catholic church by raising serious doubts about 

state-run schools, his ties with the church were well known.  In a series of 

well-publicized open-air meetings held on the steps of the courthouse in 

downtown Los Angeles, Montgomery put forth his condemnation of public schooling 

in words similar to those used by critics, such as Howard Jarvis, nearly a 

century later.

            The whole business of education and training the young 

         shall, like other professions, be open to private enterprise 

         and free competition; provided that the State shall establish 

         and maintain such necessary educational institutions as 

         private enterprise shall fail to establish and maintain.  No 

         citizen of this State should ever be taxed for the feeding, 

         clothing, or education of children not his own, whose parents 

         are amply able to feed, clothe and educate them.

In another era his proposal to divert public school funds to be used as parents 

saw fit for the education of their children would appeal to advocates of a 

voucher system.

    The debate opened with a lengthy letter from J. W. Redway, a member of the 

original faculty at the new Normal School in Los Angeles.  It was followed by 

an even longer, statistically-supported reply from Montgomery.  Appearing the 

day after Redway's criticism ran in the letters column, Montgomery's answer is 

a prime example of the rapidity with which responses, even lengthy ones, could 

be written, reviewed by the editor and printed during the 1880s.  Although 

Editor Otis was moved to caution correspondents about an excessive use of 

space, he apparently saw this subject as one worthy of so many column inches.

                          {Times, Aug. 1, 1883, p. 3}

             Zach Montgomery and His Anti Public School Heresies.

              To the Editor of the Times--Sir: Mr. Zach Montgomery, 

         with his "Poison Fountain," has figured considerably in the 

         literature of the Pacific coast during the last few years.  

         He has found from the census report that in the six New 

         England States there is a greater proportion of crime, 

         suicide and pauperism than in six of the Southern States.  He 

         also finds that in the New England States, while one in 312 

         can neither read nor write, in the six Southern States there 

         is one in every twelve who can neither read nor write.  He 

         tells us that in Massachusetts the "whole people must be 

         'educated to a certain degree at the public expense, 

         irrespective of any social distinctions,'" and that in 

         Virginia an "appropriation" was made "for the instruction of 

         the poor."

              Inasmuch as in the New England States the whole 

         community were to be educated at public expense, Mr. 

         Montgomery styles this the "anti-parental system."  In the 

         Southern States the paupers were educated at public expense, 

         while all the other children were left to shift for 

         themselves, or attend private schools.  Mr. Montgomery's 

         statistics show that for the greater part they did the 

         former--hence the "parental" system, with its one to twelve 


              But because in the new England States the paupers, 

         suicides and criminals are respectively 2, 2 1/2, and 6 1/2 

         times as great as in the Southern States, Mr. Montgomery at 

         once declares that this is because of the "anti-parental" 

         education.  In other words, the teachers of the schools in 

         the New England States are grinding out criminals, paupers 

         and suicides six times as fast as the parents in the Southern 

         States are doing the same kind of work.

              Now, Mr. Montgomery, what evidence have you that this 

         great percentage of crime is due to the "anti-parental" 

         system of education?  That your statistics are true, no one 

         doubts.  Can you show that the paupers of the New England 

         States are all virtuous, moral and happy, and that the 

         educated citizens have a decided tendency to crime?  In the 

         New England States there is a much larger percentage of 

         lawyers in proportion to the population than in the six 

         Southern States.  Now, why not attribute all these social 

         evils to the pestiferous presence of attorneys-at-law?  The 

         people of the New England States consume, it is probable, 

         about ten pounds avoirdupois of salt codfish to every one 

         pound consumed in the six Southern States.  Why not attribute 

         the prevalance of crime to the intemperate consumption of 


              As a matter of fact, Mr. Montgomery, you cannot prove 

         the prevalence of crime in the New England States to have any 

         connection whatever with the "anti-parental" schools.  Now I 

         find, on consulting the same source from which you draw your 

         information, that in Indiana where the educational system is 

         certainly "anti-parental," the criminals are in proportion of 

         1 to 9552, while in Louisiana, a "parental" State, the 

         criminals are 1 to 816.  In the same manner compare Iowa, 

         Kansas, Ohio and Missouri, with Florida, Tennessee, Louisiana 

         and Alabama and we have the following result:

         Proportion of                      Proportion of

         Criminals                           Criminals

         Iowa.........1 to 9,325         Florida...........1 to 1,259

         Kansas.......1 to 4,296         Tennessee.........1 to 1,877

         Ohio.........1 to 7,589         Louisiana.........1 to   816

         Missouri.....1 to 5,461         Alabama...........1 to 2,823

              Hence I claim, on the same grounds, that the "parental" 

         system is directly responsible for this array of crime.

              But let us look a little beyond our own limits and take 

         the case of France.   Here the system of education has, until 

         recently, been sufficiently "parental" to satisfy the wildest 

         longings of your heart.

                        Suicides per

                          million     Paupers             Criminals

         Six N. E. States... 75       1 to 216            1 to 1,352

         France............ 105       1 to  12            1 to   460

              Now, if Mr. Montgomery had attributed all of these evils 

         to the massing of population he would have been not far from 

         right.  As a matter of fact crime and pauperism increase--and 

         that, out of proportion--with the crowding of population.  If 

         Mr. Montgomery will go with me through the Mulberry street 

         tenement houses that I have visited this summer in New York 

         City--where more than 1000 men, women and children are packed 

         together at the rate of from five to ten in a room; where 

         poverty, filth and squalor hold communion; where every 

         semblance of family relation is violated; where debauchery 

         reigns supreme--I will show him where paupers and criminals 

         are made.  If he will visit the factories, the shops and 

         sewing-rooms, where girls and women earn $2 per week, and 

         spend $4 per week for the very necessities of life, I will 

         show him why prostitution and bastardy are greater in New 

         York than in Virginia.

              Furthermore, Mr. Montgomery, if you will go with me 

         through the schoolrooms of San Francisco, Oakland or Los 

         Angeles, I will show you children by the hundreds and 

         thousands whose only knowledge of morality, decency and 

         integrity has been acquired within the walls of the "anti-

         parental" schoolrooms.

              Whatever may be the faults of the "anti-parental" 

         schools--and they are many--certain it is that they are dear 

         to the hearts of the people.  The State, Mr. Montgomery, 

         should certainly have the power and the privilege to make its 

         children and its wards into citizens who shall be able in 

         after life to govern it and guide its affairs.  Hence the 

         establishment of the "anti-parental" schools, which fit poor 

         and rich alike for the duties of citizenship.  And Mr. 

         Montgomery, should you ever lift your finger in violence 

         against them 200,000 people of the State of California will 

         rise up and sit down on you as never man was sat down on 


                                              J. W. REDWAY.

                          {Times, Aug. 2, 1883, p.2}

              Zach Montgomery Assails the People's School System.

              To the Editor of the Times--Sir:  I see by your issue of 

         this morning that a Mr. J. W. Redway, under the caption of 

         "Zach Montgomery and his Public School Heresies," makes 

         certain statements and propounds certain questions touching 

         my charge against the public school system as a cause of 

         crime, which seem to demand an answer.  In making this answer 

         I shall be as brief as possible, knowing the crowded 

         condition of your columns.

              Mr. Redway admits the alleged amount of crime in the six 

         original public school States, but asks what evidence have I 

         "that this great percentage of crime is due to the anti-

         parental system of education."

              The first evidence that I shall offer is the fact that 

         crime has increased in almost the exact ratio with the 

         increase of expenditures for public school purposes.  For 

         example, in 1850 the State of Maine was only expending for 

         public school purposes $313,818, and her prison report for 

         1851 shows only eighty-seven convicts in prison; but in order 

         to prevent crime, as it was claimed, she went on increasing 

         her expenditures for public schools, until, in 1878, with an 

         increase of only 14 per cent. of population, she was lavish-

         ing on her public schools $1,115,304, and in 1880 she had a 

         corresponding crop of convicts, numbering 276.

              In 1850 Connecticut, with a native population of 

         331,560, expended on her public schools but $195,931, and her 

         convicts numbered 244; but ten years later, in 1860, with 

         379,450 native population, she expended $311,545 on her 

         public schools, and had raised her native crime list from 244 

         to 449.  A corresponding increase of crime along with the 

         increase of public school expenditures we find to have taken 

         place in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont and New 

         Hampshire.  So likewise in 1860 Maryland expended on her 

         public schools but $205,000, and had only one native white 

         criminal to every 5276; but ten years later, in order to 

         prevent crime, she was expending for public school purposes 

         $1,146,057, and had one native white criminal for every 1717 

         native whites.

              Mr. Redway makes the very singular mistake of 

         classifying Tennessee, Alabama and Louisiana as parental 

         school States in 1860, and then he triumphantly points to 

         their several lists of criminals in that year as follows, to 


              Tennessee, one criminal to every 1877; Alabama, one 

         criminal to every 2823; Louisiana, one criminal to every 816.

              But, had our worthy friend looked into the facts a 

         little more closely, he would have found that in 1859 

         Tennessee was expending on her public schools $230,430.27; 

         that in 1855, Alabama had 1098 anti-parental common schools, 

         educating 40,283 children, which was considerably more than 

         half of all the children in the State; and as for Louisiana, 

         she was the very hub of Southern anti-parental education.  As 

         early as 1850 Louisiana had 664 of these anti-parental 

         schools, with 822 teachers and 25,046 scholars, with an 

         annual income of $349,672 for the running of these incubators 

         of crime, and in 1859 this sum had swollen to $899,500.  

         This, too, was in a State where, in 1860 the entire white 

         population was only 293,247 inhabitants.  No wonder, then, 

         that her crime list stood one to every 816 inhabitants.

              As to the States of Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Ohio and 

         Missouri it is true that in all these States the anti-

         parental system had been introduced and its influence was 

         beginning to be felt in 1860; but it was not to be expected 

         that, while yet in their infancy, they would rival in crime 

         those States where the same pernicious system had been in 

         force over two hundred years.

              It is but too true, however, that under the operations 

         of vastly increased expenditures for public school purposes 

         all these last named States made fearful strides in crime 

         during the ten years from 1860 to 1870.  Thus, for example, 

         in 1860 Indiana had but 1 native white criminal to every 9552 

         inhabitants, but ten years later she had 1 to every 2191 

         inhabitants.  In 1860 Iowa had but 1 criminal in every 9325 

         inhabitants, and only ten years later she had 1 to every 

         3602.  In 1860 Kansas had but 1 native white criminal to 

         every 4296, but ten years later she had 1 to every 1473.  In 

         1860 Ohio had but 1 criminal to every 7589, and ten years 

         later she had 1 to every 2499; and Missouri, that in 1860 had 

         but 1 criminal to every 5161, in 1870 had one to every 1546.

              So that by increasing the number of her criminals in the 

         same ratio, it will not take long for the new States to 

         outstrip the old ones.

              "But," says Mr. Redway, "how do we know but that it is 

         the eating of codfish that causes this greater increase of 

         crime in some localities than in others?"

              Now this is truly a novel idea to come from a friend of 

         the common school system.  Just as if he really believed that 

         the kind of education a child receives has no more to do with 

         its tendency to vice or virtue than the kind of food it eats.  

         Does anybody deny that "'Tis education forms the common 

         mind," and that, "As the twig is bent the tree's inclined?"  

         Or does any one call to question the saying of the wise man, 

         "Bring up a child in the way he should go, when he is old he 

         will not depart from it?"

              Have not the friends of the public school system been 

         for centuries incessantly arguing that it was the want of a 

         public school education that made criminals?  And are we now 

         to be told that after all, perhaps it is only a question of 


              Dr. Wayland in his Elements of Moral Science, says: "The 

         relaxation of parental authority has always been found one of 

         the surest indications of the decline of social order, and 

         the unfailing precursor of public turbulence and anarchy."

              And Dr. Joseph LeConte, of California's State 

         University, says: "Compulsory State education certainly 

         strikes at the integrity of the family, for it makes children 

         the wards of the State."

              Mr. John Swett, when State Superintendent, said (see 

         reports for 1864-65): "The child should be taught to consider 

         his Instructor in many respects superior to the parent in 

         point of authority."

              Did time and space permit, it would be easy to show by 

         thousands of illustrations how utterly prostrated is parental 

         authority while the child is under public school 


              Moreover, bad companionship, which parents are powerless 

         to guard against in the public schools, and, also, the false 

         notions with reference to manual labor which children, as a 

         rule, imbibe in these schools, all tend to demoralization and 


              But having said so much to the people of Los Angeles 

         orally on this subject during the last few days, I shall not 

         for the present presume to trespass further on your columns.


                                              ZACH. MONTGOMERY.

              [Correspondents on this subject (and others) are 

         cautioned to be economical in the use of space, which is 

         limited in the Times.  A multitude of words and figures do 

         not necessarily constitute argument or exhibit ability.--Ed. 


    Redway had confined his criticism of Montgomery's parental education system 

to an analysis of the statistical evidence, but others voiced arguments that 

invoked the specter of religious intolerance.  Rev. John W. Ellis, pastor of 

the First Presbyterian church, was one of those who charged Montgomery with 

promoting a Catholic agenda.  Montgomery denied that he opposed public schools 

on a denominational basis or that he sought any favor or privilege, including 

public school funds, for Catholic schools any more than for schools of any 

other religious body.  He claimed that he supported equal rights for all 

parents without regard to political or religious differences.  This rejoinder 

by Jordan Cox reflects the anti-Catholic hostility evident in other letters, 

although in this case it comes from someone outside traditional religion, and 

makes an effort to refute the statistics Montgomery cited.  Cox is listed in 

city directories of the 1880s as a plasterer and a contractor.

                          {Times, Aug. 4, 1883, p. 3}

                  An American's Idea on the School Question.

              To the Editor of the Times--Sir:  I was surprised this 

         morning, in looking over the Times, to see a lengthy article 

         from the pen of Zack Montgomery, attempting to prove that a 

         scientific education leads to crime.  Is this a late 

         discovery of the Catholic Church?  Is this the reason they 

         teach so little science and so much religion?  Mr. Montgomery 

         says that crime increases in the same proportion that money 

         is expended for education.  As a lawyer he is in the habit of 

         pleading for pay, in defiance of logic, good sense, and good 

         morals; but if he could lay aside for a few moments the 

         lawyer and the Catholic, and reason, he would analyze society 

         to find the legitimate causes and influences to which to 

         attribute the increase of crime instead of recklessly laying 

         it at the door of our secular school system.  It is said that 

         the Catholic Church is increasing in numbers faster than any 

         other church.  Now, I have the same right to attribute the 

         increase of crime to the Catholic Church as he has to our 

         school system.  The ratio will be nearer and the proof 

         clearer than in his hypothesis--with this fact in view, that 

         the Mother Church has a very large per cent. of the criminals 

         in her communion, whom she pardons weekly, and when executed 

         on the scaffold she sends them straight to paradise!  Mr. 

         Montgomery would give us Italian civilization with its 

         brigandage and pauperism; or that of the South American 

         States, where Holy Church has had no opposition in all the 


              Rome has been Catholic for 1500 years; why is it not a 

         heaven on earth?  An American can't look upon it without 

         growing sick.  The wealth of the country is in churches and 

         cathedrals and the people starving.  Life and property are 

         safer in Constantinople than in Rome.  The Church is the main 

         pillar of despotism.  Our public schools are the main pillar 

         of our Republic.  To destroy free government they must first 

         destroy our school system, which is parental and in perfect 

         harmony with the family government.  "Anti-parental!"  O 

         Zack, hide your head!

              Mr. Montgomery generally brings the decade from 1860 to 

         1870 to show the increase of crime.  Does he not know that 

         our war was the direct cause of the great increase of crime 

         in that decade?  and even up to the present its bad influence 

         is not spent.  Why don't he look a little deeper into the 

         nature of things, or does the Church blind him?  Or does he 

         see?  If so, then he is dishonest,--which horn of the dilemma 

         will he have?

              I am an American; I talk to Americans.  Let us have more 

         science taught in our schools, and let religion be left to 

         private enterprise, and it will vanish before the light of 

         scientific knowledge; or a scientific religion will take the 

         place of the present religious babel.  Let us have American 

         ideas and American progress.           

                                         JORDAN COX.

                      E) SAN JOSE STATE - SOUTHERN BRANCH

    In California's state system of higher education several fledgling colleges 

located in Los Angeles County originated as southern branches of northern 

institutions.  Cal Poly Pomona began as a lower division feeder for its San 

Luis Obispo counterpart.  Before that, U.C.L.A. was the southern campus of the 

University of California.  And over a century ago the first state college in 

Los Angeles, the Normal School, opened as an adjunct of the state's only other 

then-existing normal school, the one at San Jose.

    The Los Angeles campus opened in August, 1882, on the site of the current 

city library, at Fifth and Charity {Grand}.  It was overseen by trustees of the 

San Jose Normal School, who appointed Charles Allen of San Francisco to be the 

principal though, in fact, the campus was directed by vice principal C. J. 

Flatt.  Allen was soon succeeded by Ira More, incorrectly referred to as Moore 

in one of the following letters.  The campus became independent of San Jose in 

1887 and had its own board of trustees.  The letters by "South California" and 

"M" reflect an attitude that would eventually lead the regents of the state 

university to elevate U.C.L.A. to a status equal to that of Berkeley.

                         {Times, June 30, 1883, p. 6}

                           The Branch Normal School.

              To the Editor of the Times--Sir:  I was gratified to 

         observe your criticisms in this morning's Times of the action 

         of the Normal School Trustees; first, in overslaughing the 

         faithful and efficient acting Principal of the past year, 

         Prof. Flatt; and, second, in entirely ignoring the wishes of 

         the people of Southern California in making the new 

         appointments for the coming year.  Although our new Normal 

         School is a State institution, it is supposed to have been 

         established for the benefit of the southern part of the 

         State.  And although technically managed by trustees living 

         mostly in and near San Jose, the presumption is that they 

         will manage it for the benefit of that section of the State 

         in which it is located.  If the Trustees had resided here, is 

         it at all presumable that they would have sent up to San Jose 

         and imported a lot of new teachers here?  The utter ignoring 

         of the wishes of the people of Southern California in making 

         every one of the new appointments, shows a contempt for our 

         section, and an imputation that we have not the material from 

         which to select teachers, even for the subordinate positions, 

         that must be very cutting to our people if they have any 


              The trustees would do a gracious thing if they would 

         rescind their action in this matter and pay some sort of 

         deference to the wishes of Governor Stoneman and Trustee 

         Childs and to the patrons of the institution here, who, if 

         the American idea of local self-government has any 

         significance, have some interest in its welfare, and who have 

         rights that even non-resident trustees ought to respect.

              June 19, 1883.                 

                                      SOUTH CALIFORNIA.

                         {Times, June 21, 1883, p. 4}

           The Normal--Shall the Wishes of Los Angeles be Respected?

              To the Editor of the Times--Sir:  I agree with you in 

         your statement of the case of the Normal School trustees in 

         re-forming the faculty of the branch school at this place, at 

         their late meeting in San Jose, by which Prof. Moore 

         supplants Prof. Flatt.

              Of Prof. Moore I have nothing to say; but this apparent 

         attempt on the part of the trustees to run the branch school 

         located here, in the interest of a coterie of their friends 

         in San Jose, without any reference to the views and wishes of 

         Southern California, ought to be met at the very threshold by 

         an indignant protest and a general call for a revision of 

         their action.

              If this cannot be done, a reformation of the Board of 

         Trustees will become a necessity at the earliest day 



                             F) A DISCORDANT NOTE

    Apparently not all the debate over the schools was with words or was about 

such weighty matters as parental education, half day sessions or provincialism, 

as "Pedagogue" demonstrated with this letter.  The Times reported that the 

assault on Mr. Farden, a mid-year addition to the teaching staff at Spring 

Street school, took place when other students erroneously informed a father 

that his daughter had been whipped by the instructor.

                          {Times, May 26, 1883, p. 4}

                             An Indignant Teacher.

              To the Editor of the Times--Sir:  Since one of our daily 

         papers has essayed to champion the cause of the fire-eater 

         who yesterday attempted to turn one of the departments of our 

         public school into a rat-pit, perhaps you will allow an old 

         teacher to voice the sentiment of the best class in this 

         community by characterizing the assault as a dastardly 

         outrage upon common decency.

              If the time has come when excitable fathers are expected 

         to rush into our public schools, and, without ceremony or 

         provocation, "knock the teacher out," and have the press of 

         the city laud the valor of the deed, then, for heaven's sake, 

         let us go back one hundred years to the time when in New 

         England the committee-men selected a teacher for pugilistic 

         rather than literary attainments.

              It is refreshing to know that even in Los Angeles we 

         have teachers who, if assaulted, as was Mr. Farden, would 

         seize the nearest chair, and immediately proceed to bring 

         about a compound, comminuted fracture of the assailant's 

         cranium aforesaid.

              The fact is, too many old grandmothers of both sexes 

         think they are teachers "to the manor born," and their chief 

         aim and object in life seems to be to make it hot for those 

         who are duly chosen and installed in that most unenviable 

         position of instructor in a public school.

              The statutes of our State amply provide for the 

         punishment of meddlers, and it is to be hoped that Mr. Farden 

         will not allow the opportunity to slip of giving an 

         impressive object lesson to his assailant.