Bob Frenz writes for the Country School Journal

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The Country School Journal, sponsored by the Country School Association of America (CSAA), is a peer-reviewed, online, annual publication that includes interdisciplinary, open-access articles, curriculum, reviews, and icons. Its audience consists of people who wish to preserve country schools, disseminate scholarship about these schools, create and/or maintain the schools as museums, promote living history programs, and enable people of all ages to explore country schooling as practiced in the past and present.

Bob Frenz argues that contemporary responses to school reform give scholars reason to pause and look back on earlier efforts at school improvement. He focuses on the Standard School Program in Illinois, and argues that lessons can be learned from an examination of state-wide efforts to improve country schools from the mid-nineteenth century to the 1940s. Contributing significantly to school reform were the establishment of the first statewide Board of Education in 1857 and the election of the state superintendent of public instruction that same year. Illinois law gave the state superintendent broad power to supervise the common schools. Frenz explores the Standard School Program as one of a group of strategies designed to reform Illinois country schools. READ FULL DOCUMENT

Robert W. Frenz, M.A., earned a master’s degree in history from Northern Illinois University and taught at Huntley (IL) High School for thirty - five years. He is the author of Historic Country Schools of McHenry County, Il., (M.T. Pub. Co., 2008) and “Inquiring into Northwoods Country Schools,” Country School Journal (2013). Currently, he serves as president of the McHenry County Historical Society where he works as a volunteer archivist. Visit him at

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