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  • Should Girls Go to School?

    Florence Fleming Corley at Kennesaw State College, Tena Roberts, the archivist at Wesleyan College, and Gena Franklin, vice president of Wesleyan, report on the idea of a higher education for women in the 1800s. While boys and girls were taught the same basic skills, girls quit school sooner to learn homemaking skills. People actually believed that too much education was bad for women’s health.

    Support Materials

    Discuss

    1. In the early 19th century, most people did not go to school, especially girls. Why did boys go to school more than girls?

    2. Why were African Americans not allowed to get an education whether they were male or female?

    Expansion

    1. Discuss problems that can occur when part of the population is denied an education. Who should be responsible for providing an education for Georgians?

    2. Debate: Education for women should be separated. There should not be co-ed education anywhere in the United States.

    • Pro: When women are educated apart from men, competition between sexes is eliminated. Women are freer to participate in discussions and are not stereotyped by men.
    • Con: When women and men are co-educated, there is a freedom to exchange ideas and socialize. This makes for a better all-around educated person.

    Vocabulary

    career: occupation or profession; calling or vocation
    enlightened: having or showing a rational, modern, and well-informed outlook
    detrimental: tending to cause harm
    liberal: open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values
    petition: make or present a formal request to (an authority) with respect to a particular cause

    For Teachers

    Discussion Guide

    1.In the early 19th century, most people did not go to school, especially girls. Why did boys go to school more than girls? 
    Girls would only go a few years, if at all. Most were taught at home. They usually left school to learn housekeeping skills. This was needed because most things were made from scratch and were time-consuming. Most women did these kinds of jobs. This was their career. They were trained to be wives and mothers. It was thought that getting a lot of education could cause a woman's health to decline. Her brain could explode. If she had too much education, some thought that she would neglect home and family.

    2. Why were African Americans not allowed to get an education whether they were male or female?
    Most African Americans in the country at this time were slaves. It was thought that if they got an education, it might cause rebellion and make them run away from their owners. They would be able to read essays, etc. written by abolitionists who promoted rebellion of slaves.

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