Analysis of Motherhood and Public Schooling in Victorian Toronto
By Philip Godin
The authors main thesis is that by examining the journals of the Truant Officer W.C Wilkinson appointed by the Toronto Board of Education in 1872 we can make reasonable observations about the reasons that children were absent for their mandatory education requirements prescribed by the government, the monetary structure of the individuals and families of the people he interacted with, family hierarchies of the individuals and families he interacted with, and how the strict schedule of the school system affected individuals and families. The document was written to provide a general perspective of the new appointment of Truant Officer that came with mandatory education laws and explore the observations provided by a primary source. This article provides insight to the family hierarchy, the difficulties of monopolizing the time of children both for the family and from the prospective of the authorities attempting to educate them, and the affects that the structured time restrictions had on family lives. The examples provided and general observations are convincing.
The author mostly relies on excerpts from W.C. Wilkinson’s journal but also references various federal documents from the period. Observations from the journal and records of conversations and instances from the Truant Officers activity allow him to draw various conclusions. This article provides a great secondary source for the historiography’s regarding the change to the scheduled day and how exact time became more important with the advent of industrialized work days, family hierarchies in Victorian Canada, and the difficulties of establishing mandatory educational requirements by government legislation. The content regarding family helps cement some of the ideas of the Hidden Workers article we read last week.
I wondered what forms of intimidation that were mentioned were used by W.C. Wilkinson in the article were. I also wonder what were the exact numbers of households visited in a year and the differences of truancy statistics based on the month of the year, whether there were significant flux’s during the winter months as the article had significant focus on the gathering of fuel for poorer households. There were many references of punishment for parents who allowed their children to evade their school responsibilities. Most of the arguments seemed relatively well thought out and I had no confusion. I would like to examine the classes perspective on paid apprenticeship instead of mandatory schooling as an option for children.
I believe that mandatory reading, writing, math education is necessary. A lot of what is considered necessary education today is superfluous. Instead of music, social studies, literature, and arts being offered in public schools’ classes regarding national law, tax responsibilities and the current political budget, computer skills, budgeting, work studies, and home economics should be mandatory. The other subjects could be electives or offered in specialty art schools.
Analysis of The Boys in the Nova Scotian Coal Mines: 1873-1923
By Philip Godin
The thesis statement of this article is that the advent of mandatory schooling coincided with the restrictions placed on the age of workers in unionized industries like coal mining reducing the options for apprenticeship of young children. It was written with the express purpose of examining the impact on child labor in the mining industry, their responsibilities, and impact on that industry. The article sheds a lot of light on the opportunities offered in small single industry towns and how the industries were designed to include the children of a community and provide additional incomes to the families that relied upon it. The argument is well developed and seems unbiased.
The author uses records from mining industries, the observations of various journalists at the time, and government records. By using these records, they provide a strong idea of the working roles of the children in these mines, the conditions they faced, the demands that they put on the mines they worked for, and how the limiting of their inclusion in the work forced the mines to change policy. This document supplements existing topical discussions on child labor, the prevalence and effect on children, and how the application of mandatory education changed the qualities and environments of major industries. This gives us a more rural understanding of the effect the institution of government mandated educations effect on communities.
This article made me think a lot about how apprenticeship was phased out of education and whether that was ultimately a good thing. It also suggested how industries now are much harder pressed to find a cyclical labor source to provide essential materials to the economy and whether that is a good or bad thing I have difficulty deciding. I wasn’t surprised by the age of the children who worked in the mine, but was surprised of the lack of mention of the average lifespan of a young worker who worked the mine from an early age. My understanding of coal mines is limited but I believe that croup and the black lung were often aliments that caused miners to eventually fall ill and die. I think that this further establishes my want to question the class about early life apprenticeships and their potential benefit for low income families and children.
I think mandatory schooling should be implemented, however, opportunities to learn a trade early in life as an alternative, supplemented by regimental school for fundamentals, is ultimately a feasible integration that was outlawed instead of reformed.