The Hood River News, Hood River, OR., February 16, 1910, page 1


     There are a number of questions pertaining to high school education in Hood River valley that the observant home-seeker and the thinking resident might well ask. It is the purpose in this article to ask several such questions and offer a few facts and suggestions with the hope that they may create a wholesome reflection which will in the end result in concerted action. It is an important question, both from the standpoint of the student and that of the man who meets the expense. In the first place, are high schools necessary?
     All progressive communities have decided both by theory and by practice that high schools are a necessity. All institutions of learning above the high school demand that their students be graduates from accredited high schools or that they pass examinations in all required high school subjects. More than 90 percent of the students of Hood River High School intended to enter college, university, or technical school after graduation. The percentage is nearly as high in the other schools of the valley. The Hood River University Club, with its 117 members, indicates very clearly the sentiment that exists in this entire community toward higher education. Thus, if Hood River is to keep pace with the best committees of the country and meet the insistent demand made by its young people it must maintain one of the best high schools in the entire West. If such an institution is to be developed it must be based upon broad principles and have the support of the entire community.
     What is the present status of the high school work in Hood River Valley?
     Hood River, Frankton, Pine Grove, Odell, Barrett, Crapper, and Mount Hood school districts are each doing more or less high school work at the present time. Of these the Hood River High School only is meeting the conditions imposed by the colleges and universities for entrance. At present its graduates can enter without condition at the universities of Idaho, Washington, and Oregon -- any college or university in Oregon -- and the universities of California and Stanford. But at the same time this school has not by any means reached the state of efficiency that it is possible for it to attain. The other schools are doing as well as their resources will permit. It is not the purpose of the writer to criticize any school, but merely to point out existing conditions, in the hope that something better for all concerned can be evolved. One point that should be carefully considered by any school board or school district is the fact that with a small teaching force the addition of even one high school grade cripples the work of the grammar grades just that much.
     What is the present high school work costing?
     This is an important question. Practical utility and cost of maintenance are, in the order named, the chief factors to be considered. In round figures it is costing the taxpayers of school district No. 3 $45 per student in the Hood River High School. This includes interest on the $30,000 invested in the high school building, grounds, and equipment. Last year figures were presented at the annual school meeting at Pine Grove proving that the cost per student at both Pine Grove and Frankton was in excess of $100. At any rate is costing more for each of these school districts to maintain a high school than it would if one such institution could do the work of all. Under any plan that allows consolidated work, after adding a course in manual training and a course in domestic science, the cost per student can be reduced to less than $40 per student. That means less expense for every taxpayer concerned.
     It is the consolidation of high school interests practicable?
     Consolidation has proved a success in every case tried where transportation is possible. There probably is no other place in the state where there are so many school districts within such easy reach of some central location. The permanent improvement of the roads that is to be hurried from now on it will make transportation an easy matter. Then another fact should be taken into consideration is the certainty that an electrical line will loop the valley in the not distant future. This will bring all parts of the valley within easy access to any central place. If the experience of other localities that have tried the Central High School plan is worth anything at all Hood River should profit by their success, for conditions here are as nearly ideal for such an undertaking as can be found anywhere.
     This idea does not in any way concern or touch the proposed location of the normal school at Hood River. The sentiment all over the state is that Oregon's next normal school must be a purely technical school. That normal students must first graduate from some accredited high school in order to be eligible for training.
     Thus, from the standpoint of uniformity, efficiency, and economy any plan that can be evolved that will permit united action will redound to Hood River's credit in educational progress.

Edward E. Coad.

©  Jeffrey L. Elmer