One room school houses are a thing of the past in most areas, but in Lancaster county this venerable institution is more plentiful than ever. The Amish youth are taught by Amish school teachers in their Amish private schools. The grades are from one to eight, after which boys and girls enter the work force on their farms or homes. This state of affairs had existed since the one room school houses were still public schools, but in the 1950’s it was threatened by state officials who insisted that all Amish children must attend high school. This was seen as a threat to the simple life and numerous parents spent time in jail for not complying, until public opinion was roused and the state relented.
The one room school houses are built by community labor for a cost of $50,000.00 to $75,000.00. Twenty to thirty children, from seven to ten families, attend each school. Each school is usually within walking distance to a students home.
Even though the pay scale is small, $30-$60 a day, many a young Amish school girl dreams of someday presiding over her own school room. The community encourages individuals to teach school for the experience and the love of teaching, rather than the financial benefits.