Curfews and corporal punishment? Here’s how the rules – and other things – have changed for California teachers and students in the last century

We know most kids dread going back to school, but when you see how much things have changed in California education, it might make the return to the classroom a little easier.


Being a teacher has always been a challenging job, but look what the rules for teachers were in 1915:

1. You will not marry during the term of your contract.

2. You are not to keep company with men.

3. You must be home between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. unless attending a school function.

4. You may not loiter downtown in ice cream stores.

5. You may not travel beyond the city limits unless you have the permission of the chairman of the board.

6. You may not ride in a carriage or automobile with any man unless he is you father or brother.

7. You may not smoke cigarettes.

8. You may not dress in bright colors.

9. You may under no circumstances dye your hair.

10. You must wear at least two petticoats.

11. Your dresses must not be any shorter than 2 inches above the ankle.

12. To keep the school neat and clean, you must: sweep the floor at least once daily, scrub the floor at least once a week with hot, soapy water, clean the blackboards at least once a day, and start the fire at 7 a.m. so the room will be warm by 8 a.m.

Here’s a look at rules for 1872:


The number of teachers at California public schools in 2014-15

Elementary schools: 144,073 teachers

Middle and junior high schools: 46,705 teachers

High schools: 79,944 teachers

Other (includes continuation): 24,303

Total: 295,025

What an elementary school teacher makes (data from May 2016)

Calculated by multiplying the hourly mean wage by a “year-round, full-time” hours figure of 2,080 hours.


California banned corporal punishment in schools in 1986, but before that students could receive lashes from school faculty. Here are the states that allow corporal punishment in schools.

In the 21 states that allow corporal punishment, it usually takes the form of paddling, where a hard, wooden paddle is swung against the child’s buttocks from three to 10 times.


When California’s population boomed during the gold rush, so did the number of schoolchildren.  Here are the amount of lashes students would get depending on what they did wrong in 1848.

1. Boys and girls playing together: 4

2. Fighting at school: 5

3. Quarreling at school: 5

4. Gambling or betting at school: 4

5. Playing cards at school: 10

6. Climbing for every foot over three feet up a tree: 1

7. Telling lies: 7

8. Telling…

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