In this Book

buy this book Buy This Book in Print

Classrooms and Clinics is the first book-length assessment of the development of public school health policies from the late nineteenth century through the early years of the Great Depression. Richard A. Meckel examines the efforts of early twentieth-century child health care advocates and reformers to utilize urban schools to deliver health care services to socioeconomically disadvantaged and medically underserved children in the primary grades. Their goal, Meckel shows, was to improve the children’s health and thereby improve their academic performance.

Meckel situates these efforts within a larger late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century public discourse relating schools and schooling, especially in cities and towns, to child health. He describes and explains how that discourse and the school hygiene movement it inspired served as critical sites for the constructive negotiation of the nature and extent of the public school’s—and by extension the state’s—responsibility for protecting and promoting the physical and mental health of the children for whom it was providing a compulsory education.

Tracing the evolution of that negotiation through four overlapping stages, Meckel shows how, why, and by whom the health of schoolchildren was discursively constructed as a sociomedical problem and charts and explains the changes that construction underwent over time.  He also connects the changes in problem construction to the design and implementation of various interventions and services and evaluates how that design and implementation were affected by the response of the civic, parental, professional, educational, public health, and social welfare groups that considered themselves stakeholders and took part in the discourse. And, most significantly, he examines the responses called forth by the question at the heart of the negotiations: what services are necessitated by the state’s and school’s taking responsibility for protecting and promoting the health and physical and mental development of schoolchildren.  He concludes that the negotiations resulted both in the partial medicalization of American primary education and in the articulation and adoption of a school health policy that accepted the school’s responsibility for protecting and promoting the health of its students while largely limiting the services called for to the preventive and educational.

Table of Contents

  1. Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
  2. pp. 1-6
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-xii
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-9
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 1. Going to School, Getting Sick: Mass Education and the Construction of School Diseases
  2. pp. 10-37
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 2. Incubators of Epidemics: Contagious Disease and the Origins of Medical Inspection
  2. pp. 38-66
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 3. Defective Children, Defective Students: Medicalizing Academic Failure
  2. pp. 67-99
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 4. Building Up the Malnourished, the Weakly, and the Vulnerable: Penny Lunches and Open-Air Schools
  2. pp. 100-127
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 5. From Coercion to Clinics The Contested Quest to Ensure Treatment
  2. pp. 128-156
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 6. The Best of Times, the Worst of Times: Expansion and Reorientation in the Postwar Era
  2. pp. 157-194
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Epilogue: Contraction, Reorientation, and Revival
  2. pp. 195-206
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Notes
  2. pp. 207-250
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Index
  2. pp. 251-260
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. About the Author, Further Reading
  2. pp. 273-276
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Image Plates
  2. pp. 277-286
  3. restricted access Download |

Additional Information

Print ISBN
MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.