History alumnus Josh Blank has written an article in the most recent issue of Historical Issues in Education. An abstract of his article is included below with the full article, “Thrifty Trustees, Curriculum Clashes, and Gender Disparities: Late Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Barriers in Education in Rural Renfrew County,” available online. One other really interesting thing to note about this most recent issue of Historical Studies in Education is that Josh Blank’s great-grandmother is the one-room schoolhouse teacher on the front cover.
As several scholars contend, there is a paucity of material on the lives of thousands of rural teachers who taught in one-room Ontario schools and helped to build late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century rural communities. This article enriches the discourse on Canadian schooling by closely studying the life of one rural teacher, Elizabeth (Etmanski) Shalla, and several of her descendants by giving a glimpse into the one-room schoolhouse of yesteryear.
More specifically, their first-hand experiences, as well as those of community members in western Renfrew County, sheds new light on geographical barriers to education and jurisdictional struggles between trustees and school inspectors and adds to the discourse on gender barriers and financial disparities in the struggle to obtain an, and maintain a life in, education on the rural Ontario frontier.