By now you must realize that I maintain the way for women teachers to reclaim academic freedom and professional autonomy is to operate their own schools. This is not a new idea, but it is an idea that was lost after the diversion of women teachers’ efforts into the suffrage movement. In many ways we never returned as advocates for ourselves. Whether publishing, college teaching, organizational leadership, or governmental Boards, the woman teacher continues to lag in power and leverage.
Too many women who gained principalships and other positions forgot time in the classroom and became coopted in adopting the male games just as women who enter the corporate world did. However, I believe we can reestablish our rightful leadership in public education by using alternative school funding to once again establish and administer our model of education which does not serve the corporate models, legislative invasion, or parental hysteria, staying true to our vision as women of the spiritual nature of education. WE are dealing with hearts and minds as well as bodies when we educate. WE must insist on a reestablishment of the regard and respect for teaching. This is not as unwieldy as we might think. By reviewing the history, we can see what can be done.
1792 Sarah Pierce opens school in her home with one students. By 1816 (24 years) had taught 157 girls.
1821 Emma Willard opens Troy Female Seminary in NY for women
1823 Harriet Beecher Stowe opens school for girls in Hartford, CT
1824 Mary Lyons opens school became Mount Holyoke in 1838 in Massachusetts first women’s college
1833 Prudence Crandall first boarding school for black girls in New England
1850 Harriett Bishop, St. Paul, MN first female teacher opens her own female seminary
1852 Mary Atkins opens Female Seminary In Benecia (later Mills College)
1886 Alice White opens Montgomery Industrial School for Girls
1898 Emma M. Gillet an Ellen Spencer Mussey open the Washington College of Law
1904 Mary McLeod Bethune opens Daytona School for Negro Girls.
1918 Beatrice Chambers founded a progressive school for girls named Maltman’s Green
(to be continued)