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March “Archives treasures” contender #3: Barefoot Schoolboy Act

by Holly Martinez | March 14th, 2012

Photo courtesy of the Washington State Archives

Over the last few days we have showcased photos from the Women’s Club of Olympia and have provided information regarding the foiled prison break of 1919. Our last contender in this month’s “Archives treasures” blog series and poll is the Barefoot Schoolboy Act of 1895.

House Bill 67, sponsored by State House Representative John Rogers of Puyallup, proved to be the beginning of many efforts to equalize educational opportunities across the state.

Prior to the law, each county reserved funds for education spending through tax collections. However, many of the poor counties couldn’t afford adequate schools or teachers.  As a result most children did not attend school and remained instead at home or on the family farm.

The Barefoot Schoolboy Act directed funds from the State Legislature toward improving education and offering all Washingtonian children with the opportunity to learn.

John Rogers was later elected Governor of Washington.

Currently, a statue created in his honor stands at Sylvester Park in Olympia.


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