Summer School at UCA in 1927

Summer time was always busy at Arkansas State Teachers College (now the University of Central Arkansas) during the early years.  In fact, more students attended UCA during the summer than in the fall and spring semesters.

Public school teachers from across Arkansas attended UCA to further their education and either receive the Licentiate of Instruction (L.I.) or the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Education.  For those teachers who had no credentials the L. I., a two-year course of study, was greatly valued.

There were two summer sessions held at UCA during 1927, and 1,165 students were enrolled during the first session and 426 students were enrolled during the second summer session.  By comparison, the enrollment for fall 1927 was 905 students, with 2,245 students enrolled in correspondence courses.

The courses that were offered during the summer session of 1927 included courses in agriculture, history, drawing, education , English, expression, foreign languages, home economics, manual training, mathematics, piano, public school music, science, and New Testament Bible. The Department of Education offered the most courses of any department including educational psychology, mental measurements, high school administration, observation and plans, standards and measurements and several methods courses.

The reason so many teachers were coming to UCA during the summer months was because the vast majority did not have a degree of any kind.  Statistics for white teachers’ qualifications were compiled on 16 rural counties in 1927, regarding teacher education for the elementary schools.  It was determined that of the  class “A” elementary schools (class “A” schools were considered the best) only 11% of teachers had four years of college training, 11% had three to four years of college training, 47% had two to three years, 21% had one to two years, and 10% had one year of college training.

In class “C” elementary schools only 1.4% of teachers had four years of college training, .5% had three to four years, 20% had two to three years, 25% had one to two years, and 52% had one year of college training.  The principals of class “B” and class “C” high schools were only required to have two years of college training.

The progress of African American public high schools was slow during the 1920s, and it was 1924 before African American high schools in Arkansas were inspected and given a classification.  The vast majority (98.2%) of the 110,853 African American students enrolled in Arkansas public schools during the 1927-1928 academic year were enrolled in grades one through eight.  Only 1,976 students or 1.8% of African American students were enrolled in the high school grades.  Records show that 494 African American high school age students were enrolled in private schools.

A situation that was problematic during the 1920s was the number of agencies that awarded teacher certificates; there were 78 agencies that granted teacher certificates in Arkansas.  Each of Arkansas’s 75 counties had a certificate requirement, as did the University of Arkansas, UCA, and the State Department of Education.  To complicate matters further, there was no uniformity in the qualifications required to grant teacher certificates.  The 1928-1929 Biennial Report of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction included an article that asked the Arkansas General Assembly to create legislation that would place teacher certification under one central agency, thus creating a certificate system that was uniform in nature.

UCA continues to stay busy educating students during the summers.  According to the UCA Office of Institutional Research, during the summer of 2016 there were 4,665 distinct students enrolled in at least one summer session.

Sources for this article included: Biennial Report of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1926-1930; Arkansas Department of Education; A History of the Arkansas State Teachers College by Ted Worley-1954; and the UCA Office of Institutional Research.
 Summer Session - ASTC - 1927 300dpi

This photograph is from the 1927 summer school at UCA. Due to the size of the group I suspect it’s from summer session one, which was the largest with 1,165 students taking classes.

Additionally, the photograph appears to have been made by a camera that took photographs as it rotated. The several photos were then put together into one big photograph.