New York City’s Schools and What They Cost
Caption: This article describes various types of classes and categories of children and adults being educated in the New York City public school system. Photographs show boys working in a woodshop, boys exercising on a covered rooftop, and the outside of a school building.
At the beginning of the 20th century, New York City required more and more students to attend school and prohibited them from working. In these years, the school system created a variety of special classes and schools for disabled children, as well as for students who skipped school or otherwise got into trouble. Deaf students went to specialized schools for a few years, and then were expected to join their nondisabled peers in general education classrooms. Blind students were also intended to learn beside their nondisabled peers with the help of special instructors. The Board of Education created ungraded classes for children with intellectual disabilities, who educators thought should be segregated from other children and learn different subjects. Though not specifically mentioned in this document, children with physical disabilities received home instruction because of architectural barriers at school buildings.
New York City’s school system was “mammoth.” It was also expensive - but still there were tens of thousands of students who had to settle for part-time instruction because there were not enough classrooms and teachers to meet the need. And others were still fully excluded from school, when educators labeled them “uneducable” or said that schools couldn’t meet their needs.
Categories: k-12 education,
Tags: ableist segregation, Disabled people, intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, Deaf culture, blindness & low vision, emotional disabilities, disability labels, photography, imagery, & visual representation, institutionalization of Disabled people and people labeled disabled, school facilities,
Date: Sep 13, 1908
Source: The New York Times
Copyright: Public domain
How to cite: “New York City’s Schools and What They Cost,” in New York City Civil Rights History Project, Accessed: [Month Day, Year], https://nyccivilrightshistory.org/gallery/nyc-schools-what-they-cost.
Questions to Consider
- What do the authors see as the biggest challenge facing the school system?
- Do you notice anything about the gender of students in the description of classes or the accompanying photos? Do you notice anything about race?
- What do you notice about how children with different disabilities are described? What do you notice about how they are taught?
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