|Who championed the 12
year program for education in Louisiana?
Where did the idea of compulsory attendance at schools come from?
Who started the idea of having high school students take two languages?
MEET THE FIRST WOMAN TO SERVE ON THE LOUISIANA STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION !
reprint from "The St.Jamesian" Spring 1945 Vol. No.2 by Dallas Kent Reprinted from February Issue, LOUISIANA EDUCATION IN WARTIME, monthly Journal of State Department of Education.
MEMBER OF THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION SINCE 1927, MRS. GEORGE P. MEADE, ST JAMES PARISH RESIDENT, IS FIRST AND ONLY WOMAN TO SERVE IN THAT CAPACITY.
Oldest member of the board (in point of service, she is always quick to add) is Eleanore H. Meade- first and only woman to serve on the state board of education. Mrs. Meade, who in private life is the wife of George P. Meade and lives in Gramercy, Louisiana, was appointed by the late Governor Simpson in 1927 to fill the board vacancy caused by the death of Joseph Gaudin of St. James Parish, who had been elected from the Second Congressional District.
She was elected to the position in 1930 and re-elected in 1938, and has served as vice president for the past eight years. A woman of many interests, Mrs. Meade's life has been an unusually varied one. She was born in Alabama, reared and educated in Tennessee, taught in North Carolina and in Louisiana, and lived in Cuba for 10 years, where she entered into the life of the Cuban people and learned to speak Spanish fluently.
With Mr. Meade, who is a chemical engineer, she has traveled extensively, and since they are both so interested in education- he being president of the St. James parish school board- they have made it a point to find out about the educational set-ups of places they visit. In fact she says she has "always made it a rule" to visit at least one school in each place and to meet the leading educators there.
She has been closely identified with the educational system of this state over a period of thirty years, first as a teacher of English and Latin in the high schools of Abbeville and Lutcher and later as an active member and president of the Louisiana Parent-Teacher Association. Mrs. Meade follows closely the proceedings and policies of the LTA and those of the NEA, and she feels that these contacts with current school problems aid her work on the State Board of Education.
Among the many interests that claim the time of this active woman, whose primary interest is that of homemaker, are church work, the Red Cross, the Parent Teacher Association, the Daughters of the American Revolution, and the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Labeling herself "a firm believer in the fundamentals," the feminine board member would not limit education to the three R's, but characterizes an educated person as "one who can read with understanding and pleasure, who is able to express his thoughts clearly on paper, and who can think mathematically." Mrs. Meade has a number of "projects" that she is particularly interested in, but she terms the 12 year program her "pet project", since she has been actively working toward its establishment since 1926, and her "most vocal" efforts have been in its behalf.
It was during her parent-teacher presidency that Mrs. Meade inaugurated a state-wide campaign to put PTA members to work "to help lift Louisiana from its very low status in the literacy column," and this is a subject in which she is keenly interested and which includes her belief in compulsory school attendance. She is now observing with much interest the enforcement of compulsory attendance in schools, and says, "The recently adopted law, I believe, should go far toward eradicating illiteracy and toward correcting conditions which have kept Louisiana far down on the educational scale." ADVOCATE OF TWO LANGUAGES In her own section of Louisiana, she has been a strong proponent of keeping the French language and traditions alive. As she explains, "I feel that every person should have at his command the knowledge of at least two languages. Here, it seems that it would be easy to keep French as the second language and to preserve the French influence which has made Louisiana a distinctive and interesting state, but in this particular interest I have not met with any effective cooperation on the part of educators, parents, or students. I follow closely the efforts of the language departments of LSU and SLI in their work to preserve the heritage of an interesting group of Americans."
Although her deepest concern is with the elementary and high school phases of the educational system, she sees the colleges and trade schools under the state board as "an extension of the secondary system, which depends largely on the foundations laid in the grammar and high schools. " And she believes that each college should serve the section in which it is located and reach as many students as possible, since "great numbers of high school graduates cannot go to large and distant institutions , but will attend nearby colleges and obtain a much needed advanced education suited to their particular needs."
The state's "First Lady in Education" has made it a point in these wartimes to question hometown boys in the service on their opinion of their educational preparation as compared with those of men from other states. "They have pointed out some defects in our system," she says, "which I believe can and will be remedied, especially by those teachers who have seen military service."
Seventh Lucky Dog Tip !
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