The Americanization of Mennonite Education
The education of immigrants was an important aspect of the Americanization process. Progress in education was a definite sign of assimilation to local reporters who recorded in detail the placement of virtually every plank and stone in each schoolhouse. Mennonite parochial schools had their roots in Russia. All Mennonite schools were technically parochial schools, sometimes referred to as German schools because of their use of German-language instruction. The growth of Mennonite schools in central Kansas from 1874 to 1916 was due in part to promotion by the Kansas and Western District Conferences. In 1886 the German Teachers' Association was organized for the purpose of promoting Mennonite parochial schools in the Kansas Conference. The association met twice a year in an attempt to standardize curriculum and update methodology. The Education Committee initiated aggressive teacher recruitment tactics. They sought out Mennonite students at Bethel College who majored in teacher education and tried to induce them to teach in German schools.