Coventry Library to Host 'School Boards and Swamp Yankees' Thursday

Thursday's presentation will touch upon education in Rhode Island from Early America through the Gilded Age.

The Read School schoolhouse in Coventry. Credit: Coventry Historical Society
The Read School schoolhouse in Coventry. Credit: Coventry Historical Society
Common Core Standards? Charter Schools? State Testing? Arguments over education are nothing new and continue to evolve with each school year.

At 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 9, the Coventry Public Library will host Mark Gardner, a RI teacher and historian of early politics, government and community studies, who will explain the controversies over education in the US from the American Revolution through the 1800s in his presentation, "School Boards and Swamp Yankees". 

He will also touch upon the gradual acceptance of state-mandated public schools by Rhode Island's fiercely independent farming towns.

The presentation will include 19th-century school books actually used by local residents in Coventry's one-room schoolhouses and other historical materials from school days long-past. These are on display for one night only, courtesy of the Western RI Civic Historical Society, the Paine House Museum, and New England Farm & Artist.

Thursday's presentation will be held in Council Chambers at Coventry Town Hall. Registration is required and can be completed by calling Jane at 822-9104.


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