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Agricultural Organization and Educational Consumption in the U.S. in 1900

Avery M. Guest and Stewart E. Tolnay
Sociology of Education
Vol. 58, No. 4 (Oct., 1985), pp. 201-212
DOI: 10.2307/2112223
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2112223
Page Count: 12
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Agricultural Organization and Educational Consumption in the U.S. in 1900
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Abstract

Most previous studies of the development of national educational systems have focused on the role of changes in the urban-industrial social structure. In contrast, this article investigates the importance of the organization of agriculture--the degree of mechanization, the availability of farmland, and the extent of farm ownership. The analysis focuses on variations in educational consumption across states and counties in the United States in 1900, when the school system was in mid-transition to its contemporary pattern. The data suggest that variations across geographic units in the total amount of education consumed per school-age child were primarily due to differences in the length of the school year, not to the propensity of children to be enrolled in or to attend school on a regular basis. Agricultural features of rural areas, especially the degree of farm mechanization and the availability of farmland, emerge as stronger predictors of overall educational consumption than urban-industrial factors.

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