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Folder 019 - "Montague, Mrs. A. P., 1913-1916", Item 019

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The Common School Cause Versus the Co-Ordinate Fight. By Mrs. A. P. Montague, Local No. 314.

It was this cause which took me into the public schools of my state as a primary teacher; the same cause took me into the Farmer's Union at the beginning of its work in the state, and this same cause keeps me in the Co-ordinate College fight as bitterly opposing any measure for grown up men and women that will take a single penny from the pittance which from time to time has been left the children, after the institutions of higher learning, with their strong lobbies and well paid influences, have gotten the lion's share of the state's school money. Where, let me ask, are the lobbies, the lawyers, the school presidents, the politicians, the society women, the women in politics, the club women, who throng our legislative halls, coercing votes for their scheme-where are these when the question of much how of your own tax money shall be given back to you in decent school buildings, longer terms and efficient teachers for your little children, is up for the vote? There is not a farmer or a working man in the state, however ignorant, that does not know, we cannot eat our cake and have it. Then how can the men whom you have put in power by your vote advocate the spending of more money for universities for men or for women, and at the same time advocate the spending of more money for your pitiful primary schools, both out of the same educational fund? This is what every one of your senators and representatives who voted for the Co-ordinate College Bill and a common school increase at the last legislature, would have you believe could be done. The remedy for such an evil is in the reach of every father and mother who has the rearing and training of their children at heart. It is this: Put forever beyond the power of any candidate the possibility to so betray your trust again, by requiring of him a written pledge to vote against any further appropriation for universities in Virginia, so long as we have the present meager, unsanitary, limited school accommodations for our little children. NOW is the time to act. Instruct your locals to have a letter sent to candidates for an explicit statement as to how they stand on this Co-ordinate College movement, and directing them if they expect your support, to vote against ANY bill for schools higher educationally that may be presented to them. After the primary election and you have given your vote it is far too late to inquire into your representative's school policies, or to dictate your own. Your delegate goes to Richmond and home interests are as a feather's weight before the cataclysm which he encounters at the capitol- the soft blandishments of persuasive women who know well the social art of putting men under obligations to them, the women in politics who hedged about by womenhood's protection coerce their victims to a degree that is revolting to old-time stagers in the political world, and who so emboldened come out in the open and say to men, "You have influence on such and such a delegate, bring pressure to bear on him--see that he votes for the Co-Ordinate College." Men and women of our work a-day world, whose only hope of any training for your children is the common schools, bring this pressure to bear in the straight-forward honest demand of the man asking your vote, be he an aspirant for governorship or the most meaningless office in your vicinity, and so save yourselves the time and trouble of making useless appeals to him later, and your children the curse of lost opportunity.