Role of the Indiana township trustee in educational administration, 1895-1959
The study is a history and development of the role of the Indiana township trustee in managing the educational affairs of the public schools in rural Indiana from 1859 through 1959. The century time span started in 1859 when the state legislature enacted a law that reduced the number of trustees per township from three to one. The concluding year, 1959, the School Reorganization Act set in motion the machinery by which school consolidation was encouraged and hastened. The Act phased out trustees as administrators of school corporations.The origin of the word township came from the Germanic clans where it was called a mark and dates to about 100-44 B.C. The mark was a hedge that surrounded the clan and was used for protection as well as identification. The Anglo-Saxons carried the mark concept to England and called it tunscipe. In England, tunscipe developed into a geographic and political unit. Tunscipe literally means "the people living within the hedge."Implanted in New England by the first English settlers, the tunscipe idea evolved into the town meeting that became the unit of local government for the new colonies. The town meeting concept of local government appeared in modified form in the 1785 Northwest Ordinance. The pattern of local government for the states carved from the Northwest Territory was the township unit. Management of all township political affairs, including common schools, became the sole responsibility of an elected township trustee.