Saturday, December 6, 2014

When Public Education Was a Priority in North Carolina, 1923

An introductory paragraph from  "Eastern North Carolina: Where Prosperity is Perennial," a booklet published in 1924 by the Eastern North Carolina Chamber of Commerce. The booklet is online at

No state in the Union has made such rapid increase industrially, agriculturally, and educationally as North Carolina, during the recent years. Her growth sounds more like a fairy tale than it does real facts. But it is a fact just the same. In 1900 expenditures for education in North Carolina amounted to less than a million; in 1923 the expenditures total $23,000,000.00. In 1900 the expenditure for new school buildings was less than $41,000.00; in 1922 it was more than $6,000,000.00. In 1900 the average value of each school house was $150.00; in 1922 it was $4,500.00. In 1900 the average length of public school term was 73 days; in 1922 it was 143 days. In 1900 North Carolina had about 30 high schools; in 1923 she had 475. In 1900 the percentage of illiteracy in North Carolina was 29.4; in 1920 it had been reduced to 13.1, the white race being only 7.1.

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