Chapter 18 - Public Education

In 1945 the Mountaindale school district was consolidated with other districts to become the Fallsburg school district. The consolidation was made to improve the quality of education.

The attendance statistics for the Mountaindale school district for twelve school years starting in 1935 was 165, and for the twelve years starting 1944 it was 193. A closer look shows that there were 165 students registered at the school in 1935 and only 93 registered in 1944. The high grades 9-12 decreased from 65 in 1935 to 20 in 1944. Twenty students did not make a viable high school. There was not enough variety, diversity, quantity or student interaction to allow for a good high school education. In addition, the ratio of four teachers to twenty students was cost prohibitive.

The Talmud said that every town should have a school. When the Talmud was written the world was a very different place from the world of 1945. There was much less information to rely upon, and one person could teach an entire class. In 1945 the world was faster. A student needed to acquire more information and facts in order to be considered well educated, and one instructor to a school could no longer be relied upon to know everything.

The quality of education was much better in the central school than in the Moutaindale school district, but one simple thing was lost: Because of centralization, Mountaindale lost its identity. The school in a town has its name listed in sports records, and from 1945 onward the town's students would be referred to as students of the Fallsburg school district.

Consider Notre Dame and the University of Chicago. University of Chicago is academically ranked at number eight among all U.S. universities. Notre Dame is ranked at number eighteen. How many people know that the University of Chicago is ranked academically higher than Notre Dame? The fact that Notre Dame has a football team that makes headlines every week leads people to think of Notre Dame as a quality institution. Hardly anybody talks about University of Chicago.

Without a source of self-renewing identity, Mountaindale will soon be only a name on a map. Like many other small towns in America, it will fade into oblivion.