The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

janos in South Texas during 1861- 1863, and the service of the Second
Texas Cavalry along the Rio Grande and in Louisiana from 1863 to
1865. After brief comment on Unionists in the postwar period, the au-
thor provides an appendix noting the deaths, occupations, places of
birth, and names of the Mexican Texan soldiers.
Each volume should become the essential study on its topic.
Texas Tech University ALWYN BARR
Ringing the Children In: Texas Country Schools. By Thad Sitton and
Milam C. Rowold. (College Station, Tex.: Texas A&M University
Press, 1987. Pp. xiii+240. Preface, photographs, notes, bibliogra-
phy, index. $16.95.)
Thad Sitton and Milam C. Rowold have compiled a fascinating and
nostalgic look at the rural Texas schools (mainly one-room and one-
teacher) that were the mainstay of Texas public education only a gen-
eration ago. Because the history of Texas public schools has gone
largely unremarked outside the immediate school community and
county history, Ringing the Children In is a valuable addition to the
literature.
The authors have based their account primarily on oral sources and
have preserved the flavor of those sources while integrating into the ac-
count information on state requirements, the Texas Educational Sur-
vey of 1924, and other background information necessary for the
reader to understand public education during this period.
The arrangement of the book is topical, with chapters on buildings,
teachers, discipline, and so forth, illustrated with contemporary photo-
graphs. A vivid picture is painted of life in rural Texas, in a time when
the lack of such modern conveniences as school buses, flush plumbing,
running water, and electric lights was compensated for by a rich com-
munity feeling. The school was not only the center of the community,
but, in many cases, was the community. The thesis that rural schools
provided an education that fitted rural children for life in a largely agri-
cultural society goes undisputed in the evidence presented in the book.
This idyllic view needs to be balanced with some background not
presented in the book. In 1946, immediately before the Gilmer-Aikin
Committee was appointed to study public education in Texas, fewer
than two-thirds of Texas children of school age were enrolled in any
school at all (public or private) and even fewer attended with any regu-
larity. Regret at the schools that did not reopen in the fall of 1950 must
be tempered with the knowledge that most of the districts consolidated
that quickly were "dormant" districts, which had not held school for
two or more years.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101212/. Accessed August 20, 2014.