Contributed by Gigimo
Description: Bad Schools, Worse Schools, and No Schools in Missouri.Date: September 1 1894
Newspaper published in: Indianapolis, IN
By W. J. DEBOW, Warrenton, Missouri.
The colored schools in the state of Missouri, with the exception of a few of the city schools, are a failure so far as advancing the children and edifying the Negro race. Yet is is just what the white Missourian and some of the ignorant Negroes want. The stain of the old law in the days of slavery, making it an offense to teach a Negro child in the state of Missouri, can be seen shining through some of the school board as well as its other citizens; and some of the Negroes of Missouri have no better sense than to help their white enemies to Negro education, carry out their plans in the employment of illiterate teachers for Negro schools. About the year 1810, the General Assembly of the state of Missouri said: "There shall be held in each county in the state, in June, July, or August of each year, a County Teachers' Institute, etc." This was for the advancement of education in the state. These institutes were to be taught by educators and instructors and said instructors were to be trained in the state training school. A well educated gentleman of color felt the need of training; also being a citizen of the United States, he felt it his duty to comply with the law. The training school being in session at Warrensburg, Mo., he went and began his work with the rest of the teachers, answering questions and doing work that some of his white conductors and instructors couldn't do. They, like the doctors of the law in the days of Christ, were astonished at his wisdom, so they began to cast lots to get rid of the Negro. The lot fell on one of the Negro haters from Springfield, Mo., to cast the first stone. He willingly threw the first stone by making it known to the superintendent of public instruction that they must get rid of the Negro or he would go. So the Negro teacher received his training on the train.
He here learned that Missouri was not like the West Indies, Canada, or South America in which places he was educated as a man and not as a Negro and he further learned that a Negro needed no training to conduct and instruct a Negro institute. From that day to this the Negro instructors and conductors have had no training and the result is that a number of men and women who cannot read and write intelligently, much less analyze a sentence are teaching the Negro schools of Missouri at salaries from $22.50 to $30 per month in the same districts where white teachers get from $40 to $75 per month. The white folks Negro and the prejudiced school boards, are to blame for the way the schools are run in some of the districts in Missouri.
The failure along this line does not only injure the Negro in Missouri but it reaches Ham in the adjacent states and boys and girls who would finish their education in Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio and other good states, stop with a common school education and come to Missouri to teach and the boards are glad to employ them, but not willing to pay them sufficient salaries that they may return home and finish their educations. Neither do they encourage the young teachers to do so, but are rather inclined to make him believe he has education enough to teach the Negro schools of Missouri. In this way they hinder the young teachers from securing an education. The writer knows of several that came to Missouri to teach with the intention of returning to his or her own state and completing their education. But this low standard places him abreast with some of the best Negro teachers so he concludes that he knows enough, though but a 4th grade scholar in my own state, yet he comes to Missouri and gets a first grade certificate. In this act the teacher is injured and the Negro pupils do not receive the proper training they should from the common schools on the account of inefficient and cheap teachers.
one of the Missouri colored institutes closed its session on the 17th or 18th inst. They had in attendance about 23 teachers some of them boys and girls who had never taught, some of whom had never attended a high school and know but little about the common English branches of education and the fact is they were complete failures in everything. However, they all went down from there with certificates and nearly all of them had schools. The school board was so afraid that some educated man or woman from Lincoln Institute, G. B. Smith college, or some other good school would make an application that they employed these cheap, illiterate teachers early in the spring and the Negro Institute has complied with the boards' desires and have sent these men and woman, boys and girls a number of whom are ignorant to sow their ignorance among our children. It can be proved that there are persons holding certificates who cannot read and write intelligently. They cannot work common fractions, would run from interest, and would think cancellation meant damnation. They can no more teach the common English branches required by law, then a hog can tear off the side of the moon. To prove that the boards seek such to put into the Negro schools, listen to what an ex county attorney, an expert lawyer and president of a school board has to say about a certain Negro school. He says they don't need a good teacher that is an educated and advanced teacher, for they don't know anything and any one can teach them. What this Missourian says thousands of others say. So we have learned in Missouri that the law (unable to read the rest of the article.)