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The Omaha Daily Bee noted on October 3, 1903, that Nebraska's corps of rural school teachers was changing, both in the relative percentages of men and women teachers and in the rates of pay awarded to members of each group. In an article entitled "Passing of Male Teachers," the Bee noted:

"The country schoolmaster is fast passing away, says the Lincoln Star, and in his stead is appearing more and more each year, the country school ma'ams. Superintendent [William K.] Fowler has been investigating the matter and finds that the percentage of male school teachers in the state has decreased. . . . The percentage has been falling since 1871 at the rate of 1 per cent per year and in a few years the schoolmaster will be a historical memory only . . . .

"The remarkable difference between the salaries paid men and women teachers is largely the fault of the women themselves. The high schools of the state turn out about 2,800 new teachers each year. These young women are entirely unexperienced and as a result work for almost nothing the first year or two to gain experience. . . .

"Women are the best teachers, and many a woman teacher working for $35 per month is more valuable to her school district than the man teacher in the adjoining one drawing $55 per month. A man has not the patience with the little ones that is an absolute requirement of successful teaching, and the day has passed when a pugilist is required to preside over the little red schoolhouse. Women are driving the men from this field of employment, and are conquering by kindness where formerly only brute force would prevail."

(July 1998)



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