California Educator

February/March 2020

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l a n t e r n s (n o w c o n v e r t e d t o electricity), phonics charts, old lessons and dictionaries. ere i s a recitation b ench , an old organ and bench, an authentic teacher's desk and chair, a teacher's examination books, display cases, and much more, including postings of strict rules teach- ers had to follow and even the number of "lashings" for student offenses, since corporal punishment was allowed. (Fighting could get a student five lashes; arriving at school with dirty face and hands, two; swearing, eight; gambling at school, four.) The schoolhouse measures 44 by 25 feet with a 12-foot ceiling. Not all of the furnishings and decorations are from the time it was operational, but they are from the same era and vicinity. There's even an old washstand and a coat closet with lunch boxes from that period. The windows are origi- nal; the casings were replaced and repainted, and then the windows were rehung. Many of the lessons are written in cursive, which is becoming a lost art. ere are pictures on the wall of former students — and former students attending reunions as adults. ere are also numerous photos of schools and students throughout Humboldt County. Many students during this time period only went as far as eighth grade; after that they went to work. e first person to teach in the present building was Sarah A. Locke, whose salary was $70 a month. ere were eight boys and 13 girls in the school, she reports. Unlike the dwelling it replaced, the schoolhouse had running water. However, stu- dents used outhouses. Locke taught there until 1887. Her replacement, E. McMee- han, was paid $76.05 a month, earning a higher wage because he was a man. He was replaced in 1889 by Margaret Richmond, whose salary returned to $70 per month. One-room schoolhouses typically had male teachers in the beginning. en westward expansion led to a teacher shortage and women were hired, usually at lower rates. Male teachers were allowed to marry but were not allowed to be shaved in a barbershop, which was considered "unseemly" behavior. Retired CTA members preserve the past Several years ago, the Humboldt County Fair Board of Directors asked the North Coast Division of the California Retired Teach- ers Association (not affiliated with CTA or CTA/NEA-Retired) to take over e Little Red Schoolhouse. Presently overseeing the project are Karen Parlato, a Fortuna Union High School Teachers Association retiree, and Pam Zana, a retired member of the Sco- tia Teachers Association. e duo conduct tours and fundraise through grant writing and fostering community support. ey both feel strongly that important lessons can be learned from "It's important for people to see how things have improved in our schools. A lot of people have worked very hard to get where we are today." —Karen Parlato, retired Fortuna High School teacher Retired teachers Karen Parlato (in period costume) and Pam Zana welcome visitors to The Little Red Schoolhouse. Continued on page 51 49 F E B R U A R Y / M A R C H 2 0 2 0

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