Destined to Rule the Schools: Women and the Superintendency, 1873-1995

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SUNY Press, 1998 M01 1 - 244 pages
In 1909, when she became the superintendent of the Chicago schools, Ella Flagg Young proclaimed that women were destined to rule the schools of every city. After all, women accounted for nearly eighty percent of all teachers by 1910 and their ascendance into formal school leadership positions could not be far behind. After World War II, however, a backlash against single women educators and a rigid realignment of gender roles in schools contributed to a rapid decline of women school administrators across the country, a decline from which there has been little recovery to the present.

Destined to Rule the Schools tells the story of women and school leadership in America from the common school era to the present. In a broad sense, it offers an historical account of how teaching became women s work and the school superintendency men s. Blount explores how power in school employment has been structured unequally by gender. It focuses on the superintendency because an important component of the effort to establish control of schools has occurred in contesting the definition of this position. Unique and important contributions of this volume include: the only published comprehensive statistical study describing the number of women superintendents throughout the twentieth century, an analysis suggesting that the superintendency may have become an appointive position in part to remove it from the influence of newly enfranchised women voters, a discussion of the role of homophobia in creating and perpetuating rigid gender divisions in school employment, and a broad analysis that integrates the histories of teaching and school administration.

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Their First Great Public Profession
A Distinctly Higher Walk
Out of Politics
A Change in Fashion
The Way of the Buffalo
Is This All?
Historical Data on Womens Representation in the School Superintendency

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Page 138 - by marriage the husband and wife are one person in law: that is, the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage, or at least is incorporated and consolidated into that of the husband: under whose wing, protection, and cover, she performs every thing.
Page 144 - ... submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting...
Page 26 - Do you not see that so long as society says a woman is incompetent to be a lawyer, minister, or doctor, but has ample ability to be a teacher, that every man of you who chooses this profession tacitly acknowledges that he has no more brains than a woman?
Page 57 - Education, for the purpose of collecting such statistics and facts as shall show the condition and progress of education in the several States and Territories, and of diffusing such information respecting the organization and management of schools and school systems and methods of teaching as shall aid the people of the United States in the establishment and maintenance of efficient school systems...
Page 74 - We, women of all nations, sincerely believing that the best good of humanity will be advanced by greater unity of thought, sympathy, and purpose, and that an organized movement of women will best conserve the highest good of the family and of the State, do hereby band ourselves together in a confederation of workers, to further the application of the Golden Rule to society, custom, and law.
Page 28 - ... the boy in America is not being brought up to punch another boy's head, or to stand having his own punched in a healthy and proper manner; that there is a strange and indefinable feminine air coming over the men; a tendency toward a common, if I may so call it, sexless tone of thought.
Page 235 - Separate Spheres, Female Worlds, Woman's Place: The Rhetoric of Women's History," Journal of American History 75 (June 1988): 9-39.
Page 142 - No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

About the author (1998)

Jackie M. Blount is a Professor in the School of Educational Policy and Leadership at the Ohio State University and the author of Fit to Teach: Same-Sex Desire, Gender, and School Work in the Twentieth Century, also published by SUNY Press.

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