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Marriage, ethical leaders all unite
In saying, must meanmritherhoocL
And so does Mrs. Katherine Edgell,
a married" woman and an instructor
of physical training in Erasmus Hall
high school at an annual, salary of
she has just peti-;
turned the school board to allow her
a year's leaye of absencetha't she
may become a mother. ,
The board.members have .refused,
voting 29 to 5 againsti her request, on
the ground 'thatik rproldheed: absence
from school .shojikl mean the auto-r
matic dropping Vqfa" .teacher on" the
charge of neglect'df duty."
"The tiuties of a teacher and those-
of a mother are both very fine, but
they cannot go together," declares
President Churchill of the board. v"lt
is the dutyfof; married vyb'mWto bean'
anu rear cnnaren ana xo'inai ena
the salaries of male teachers are
fixed on the assumption that the men
will be fathers and properly discharge
their duties to -their families."
But, asserts the majority of the
club women of New York, the present
discussion does not concern the an
cient rule that a husband should sup
port his wife entirely.
Instead, they say, the question in
volved is this":
Has not a woman a right both to
motherhood-ana' a career just as a
man has his right both to fatherhood
and a career?
And they say that they will back
Mrs. Edgell to the limit in an en
deavor to make the New York board
of education rescind its rulings and
to allow this woman, time off to be
come a mother.
Against the club women, however,
stand many of the school teachers
especially the unmarried schoor
teachers. Miss Grace C. Strachah,
district superintendent and president
of .the Women Teachers' association
of New York, for one, js .violently op
posed to the granting 'of Mrs. Ed
gell's request. ,
""Any statement, that mothers j
make.the best teachers," contends
Miss Sti;achan, "loses all its force
when a woman does not, rear, her
own child from the beginning right
through to the time of itsv maturity.
A woman has a very inadequate ideai
of motherhood, it seems to me, who
imagines "that-; one ;y'ear is long
feno'ugh .ta-bjsar ;anjij ,rear-;Tier-;child.
"Teachfngfin "they pOblic schools,
when herbaby. Is only three months'
old ant leaving it, perforce, to 'the
care df .others, subjects any woman
,to very harsh'and. very justpriticism.
"Teaching' is work 'thaU requires
concentration, "nerve; iorce -and phy
sical' robustness. The lacfeof sleefr
that every mother of an Infant must
need ' , suffer is alone .sufficient Jto
makeier unfit to teach.";!,
Friend's of -Mrs; Edgell, .who was
.-recently married tor the. professor of
mathematics' In Erasmus iau tugh,
declare' that her loss, to the- school
children of New York ' would be al
' A.wonian of strongichar&cter and
wonderfully gifted .th'charm, they
recount how she lnfluehced hundreds
of' girl' pupils to dlscardcpsmetics,
corsets and schooiIay flirtations,
and has made them natural, woman
ly and frank.
And .so, true to her- own teaching,
Mrs". Edgell decided that the next step
in her life as "a woman was to be a
mother. And she resolved to be
truthful in asking a leave of ab
sence not to use a pretext that "she
'wished to spend a year studying in
So unusual was this procedure that
Mrs. Edgell found she was thevery
first married woman teacher, in New
York ever honestly to state her ap
plication for absence for thepurpose
of bearing a qhildr '
Whether she will be punished' for
her frankness by being forced out of
her position or whether she will be
come the pioneer of the mother
school teacher remains to be seen.
New York Is fighting outithe ques
tion, A ;