Grammar School No. 33, New York City, Assembled for Morning Exercises
Caption: This image depicts a publicly-funded New York City school in the latter half of the nineteenth century during the early Progressive Era. During this period, schools prioritized serving large numbers of students.
Please note: This is work in progress. Please keep that in mind as you read. We are sharing this work in progress because these materials are relevant to discussions of school governance underway right now in New York. Please share your feedback at [email protected] and check back for updated versions soon.
As typical of this era, teachers oversaw large class sizes of mixed-age students. With an emphasis on order, they even appointed older, more academically successful students to monitor younger or assist lower performing groups. Since Progressive reformers were mostly upper middle-class and wealthy white residents, they also used their own or others’ private wealth and influence to build and resource schools.
Date: c. 1880-1890
Creator: Gustavus W. Pach
Copyright: Public domain
How to cite: “Grammar School No. 33, New York City, Assembled for Morning Exercises,” Gustavus W. Pach, in New York City Civil Rights History Project, Accessed: [Month Day, Year], https://nyccivilrightshistory.org/gallery/grammar-school-33.
Questions to Consider
- Look at the young people in the room in the photograph. What do you notice about them? What do you think it felt like to be a student in this space? Do you think this would be a supportive environment for the students? Why or why not?
- Look for the adults in the room. What do you notice about them? What do their positions in the room and body postures communicate?
- How do the students in the room appear to be similar to one another? Given what you know about who was attending school in New York City at the time, how might they have been different from one another? "
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