Beginning in the late nineteen twenties and continuing through the thirties, school in the south was undergoing some major change, mostly brought on by the great depression. The Great Depression was brought on after the stock market crash on October 29, 1929, also known as Black Tuesday. The advances that had been made in the past decade in education were put on hold.

Attendance dropped during the late nineteen twenties and early ninteen thirties, an estimated third of southern children not attending school. The reason for this was mainly because many children were unable to attend school, and schools were unable to budget enough money to provide for the numbers of students. In other words, the schools were overpopulated beyond what their resources could afford and were underfunded. In some schools, the students even had to pay for their own textbook. On the average whole, rural schools laid out only half per pupil than urban schools.In southern rural areas, where poverty rates were the highest, some residents were barely able to pay taxes, let alone supply their children with necessities such as clothes, shoes, or textbooks.

1930's class


African American Students
“As African Americans were often the poorest members of communities, their neighborhood schools suffered from their inability to raise funds for teacher salaries and maintenance." More than 25% of students were african american, but only about twelve percent of academic revenue proceeded to be put towards the all african american schools. At the beginning of the 1930s, public school education was segregated by law still in 18 states. As whites came to dominate some states, african american students were barred from attending segregated all-white schools. See the ku klux klan for information on how racist groups affected the every day life of african americans.

Beginning in the nineteen thirties, schools began to undergo some major change. Despite the things that created obstacles for the schools during the depression, the schools that did not closecontinued to move forward. Called progressive education, school began to take a unique view on how students should be taught. These ideas had begun to form back in the late eighteen hundreds, and school was slowly evolving. During this time, the difference from the rural to city schools was very apparent. Rural schools did not have the budget that the city schools did, and were slightly behind the city schools; teachers salaries were lower, the student to teacher ratio was higher, and the programs and ciriculum that some of the city schools offered were not yet available. One-room grade schools were very common in the 1930s. Children from several grades would all sit in one room, often led by a teacher who was not much older than them.

1930's school

African American School

The highest budget cut made was for 'educational services' meaning, teachers salaries were cut dramatically, and the number available jobs were reduced. Unfortunately, teachers were in good supply and jobs were not. They were happy to be paid about fourty dollars a month. The county superintendent told the teachers, "Your salaries have been reduced, not because you have failed to make good instructors, but because all prices are down. These reductions have come in the natural course of events. Teach as well as you did when you received better pay. Do your level best all the time, and you may rest assured that when bettere times return you wil be amply rewarded for your patience and devotion to duty." When President Roosevelt realized that the country was not easily going to be able to get out of the depression, he created the New Deal. Under this New Deal, programs were created that helped out the high unemployment rates of teachers, providing short term jobs with low pay. However, FDR's New Deal did little to add to the advancement of education, cutting down the budget and staff of the U.S. Office of Education, and ''building tension between the New Deal and educaters.

Funding for the schools was also greatly reduced, and made efficient and standard. Although this was not ideal for the schools, this did allow teachers the freedom and choice to teach with new, creative methods. Americans were pushing for better funding for their schools. The average cost per year was eighty dollars for whites and fifteen dollars for african americans. Some farmers were able to pay for their children's tuition with wood that would fuel the fire in their classrooms. The relatively small african american communities across the south began founding their own funded schools in church basements or storefronts when they no longer could afford to pay the tuiton for their kids.

Works Cited
Barge, Pecolia. "INTERVIEW: GROWING UP BLACK ." ThinkQuest. 1993. 19 Sep 2007
"How the Lack of Education During the Great Depression Affected Southern Society." SlashDoc. 11/21/03. 19 Sep 2007 <>.
Peterson, Michelle. "Education Relief Programs in St. Clair County during the Depression ." IPO. 12/13/98. 19 Sep 2007
Ruetti, Oretha. "Trimming Budgets Nothing New for School Districts." Marysville Advocate. July/02/02. 19 Sep 2007
Sutton, Bettye. "American Cultural History." Kingwood College Library. June/30/05. 19 Sep 2007[[|]]