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Eagle Archive: School experience has changed in Carroll, but it still adds up for students

In August, 1971, much of the community was curious as to whether or not the "Carroll County Vocational Technical Center" would open its doors on Sept. 7 to launch its first year of operation.

Today, the school on Washington Road, next to Westminster High School, is known as the Carroll County Career and Technology Center.

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The job training and college preparatory classes at the Career and Technology Center vary from business and retail to computer and construction, from engineering and manufacturing to health and transportation.

According to an Aug. 16, 1971, article in the now defunct Democratic Advocate newspaper, "Frank Mather, administrator of the center, said that all of the school's facilities except for the horticulture area, conference rooms and some lavatories and some equipment will be ready for use on opening day.

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"Earlier reports indicated the vocational school might not be able to open on time."

A number of years ago, historian Jay Graybeal found the 1920 annual report of the State Board of Education while doing some research for the Historical Society of Carroll County on the local community getting prepared for the new school year.

The 1920 report "reveals that the educational experience of this generation was quite different from that of today," Graybeal wrote.

"Among the major differences," Graybeal said, "were the predominance of the one-room school, (and) segregation. … Most local students went to the one-room schoolhouse, many of which still dot the Carroll County landscape.

"In 1920 Carroll County owned 125 school buildings and rented 14 more. … Teaching the nearly 7,500 students was a faculty of 208. … Of the 158 female teachers working in the county (in 1920), only nine were married."

"The School Board's strong preference for unmarried female teachers is reflected in a resolution adopted during the 1928-1929 school year that barred married women from teaching, except in special cases," Graybeal noted.

"The best paying jobs were in the county's six high schools. These teachers earned an average of $903.70 while elementary teachers in white and black schools had average salaries of $537.85 and $431.87, respectively.

"Retired teachers were not entirely forgotten by the state, which appropriated $36,000 annually for a retirement fund. Teachers who had served 25 years, reached the age of 60, were no longer able to continue their duties in the schoolroom and had no other means of comfortable support, received $200 per annum.

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"The county spent nearly $204,000 to educate students in 1920. … Local elementary students received an education of arithmetic, reading, spelling, English, and other subjects and were tested annually."

In 1914, third graders were expected to be able divide 9,876,543 by 324 and to answer, 'If 12 horses cost $1,560, what will 5 horses cost at the same rate?'"

When he is not asking his wife, a mathematician and economist, how to do the math question from 1914, Kevin Dayhoff may be reached at kevindayhoff@gmail.com.


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