There are several things to be addressed in regard to the discussion of schools. The following represents my projections

(1) First, we need to define what portion of the 1632-verse (i.e. what geographical entity) is being considered at any stage in our discussion. There are three options, for which the problems and solutions will necessarily be different:

There’s the Grantville/RoF territory per se, which is rapidly increasing in population at the same time that the war effort is pulling most of its math, science, and technology teachers out of the schools;

There’s the NewUS or East Virginia as a whole from autumn 1632 onward, for which Grantville has been assigned administrative responsibility by GA; and comprising the southern portion of Thuringia and about the southwestern half of Franconia, which includes the territories of the Abbey of Fulda;

There’s the CPE/USofE as a whole and the level to which Grantville’s ideas will influence the broader educational developments.

(2) What level of education is under discussion? For practical purposes (leaving out the development of pre-schools cum day care centers for the moment), the existing levels (not subtypes) of education in OTL 17th century German territories were:
grades 1-4;
grades 5-8;
secondary (in the towns of the time, often but not always meshed with 5-8; usually for the boys’ Latin schools, but much less frequently for the German vernacular 5-8 and German vernacular secondary schools).

Starting with (1) above, let’s look at the demographics:

There will not be as many children as a number of new posters have presupposed over the past 2 ½ years. The marriage customs of the time (excluding the 1% of the very wealthy, who could afford to marry younger because the families subsidized the young couples in the interest of heir provision) were that the average age of first marriage for women was 25-28, and for men 27-29, tending to vary more in the direction of later than earlier that is, you’re more likely to see a bride of 29 than a bride of 24; you’re even more likely to see a bride of 30 than a bride of 23.

Marriages averaged six living births (more or less), with half of the children surviving past age 5. Even if there is a ‘population explosion’ resulting from more babies surviving as a result of better sanitation, it will be some years before they reach the schools, so there’s a bit of a breathing space and even if the babies don’t die of diarrhea-like diseases, they still have to face measles, diphtheria, and all the other common childhood diseases for which even Grantville itself will no longer have vaccines and immunizations.

Grantville/RoF. Other posters have worked out the probable age distribution for the c. 3,500 persons transferred (I think that Ralph Tacoma figured it was closer to 3,400, but 3,500 is a workable figure). By the end of the 1633 book, Grantville itself probably has expanded to about 12,000 residents, which would make it the second largest city in Thuringia (still smaller than Erfurt), with additional population outside the city limits (but that is limited by the nature of the local terrain). Let us say, 15,000 people within the RoF limits, and assuming that since most of the Germans were resettled refugees or voluntary immigrants, the number of elderly among them would be less than among the German population as a whole, while the number of adults, many of them not married at the time of arrival, will be comparatively higher.

Grantville’s population structure by 1635 (assuming my projection that 500 of the 900 elderly West Virginians will have died during the period 1631-1635), the combined totals (West Virginian and German residents) should look more or less like this allow for the fact that some of the ‘permanent residents’ won’t be there physically, because they are off in places from Magdeburg to Wismar to Amsterdam to Edinburgh to Italy, etc., for various reasons of state aka reasons of plot, while there will usually be a fair number of non-residents passing through, some of whom will stay for months. I’ve arbitrarily assumed for purposes of the estimates below that the temporary absentees leave any school-age children behind and that the visitors don’t bring any with them:

over 60 1,250
46-60 3,500
26-45 3,750
18-25 2,000
14-17 1,000 (roughly equates to Grantville High School, grades 9-12)
12-13 500 (roughly equates to Grantville Middle School, grades 7-8)
6-11 1,500 (roughly equates to Grantville Elementary School, grades 1-6; and Countess Katharina the Heroic Lutheran School, grades 1-6)
0-5 1,500

NewUS/East Virginia. For the territory that since the autumn of 1632 has been assigned to the NewUS by GA, the figures that I’ve posted elsewhere on German population in the early 17th century give an estimated population of somewhere between 900,000 and just under one million people (I’ve split the difference, to 950,000). This makes it the second-largest of the German principalities, after Saxony, and verging on the size of Saxony. The age distribution should look more or less like this (the breakdown for children is different because the standard elementary school was grades 1-4):

over 60 110,000
46-60 200,000
26-45 250,000
18-25 120,000 (roughly equates to ‘still in service’ or journeyman or entry-level professional position or in the military)
14-17 60,000 (roughly equates to ‘in service’ or apprenticeship or secondary school)
10-13 60,000 (roughly grades 5-8)
6-9 65,000 (roughly grades 1-4)
0-5 85,000

CPE/USofE. The best demographic estimates are that for the territories that now comprise Germany (allowing for porous borders, and with earlier estimates using pre-WWII borders, etc.), before the start of the TYW, there were about 16,000,000 people. OTL, by 1648, this was down to twelve million. However, the great epidemics and worst devastation came OTL in the period 1634-1643, and Ursus deliberately situated the arrival of Grantville prior to that, to give the region the maximum reasonable chance at economic and social recovery. It’s safe to presume that in 1633, there are about 15 million people in Germany. Parts, of course, are outside of the CPE/USofE (Bavaria, the northeast from Hamburg and Bremen to the Dutch border, Baden, west-Rhine territory except right around Mainz). Roughly, we can presume about 11,000,000 in the CPE/USofE as a whole, and then subtract those in the NewUS already discussed above, for an approximate total of 10,000,000 in the USofE outside East Virginia.

I could be much, much, more precise than this, and 17th century Germans were much more precise than this but there was never a ‘national level’ collection of statistics, because there was no ‘national’ jurisdiction. Everything was done territorially, municipally, or locally at the parish or village Gemeinde level. For instance, OTL in 1631-1632, Wilhelm of Saxe-Weimar conquered the Eichsfeld (a Thuringian territory belonging to the Archbishop of Mainz) and with GA’s approval incorporated it into the Wettin possessions. Between 1632 and 1635 he did a complete inventory of what he had gobbled up in terms of subjects and property, which is why those online Duderstadt archives delighted me so much when I found them, even though they don’t, alas, include the inventory itself. (For purposes of the novels, I’m assuming that this also occurred in the 1632-verse and is a major reason that the Wettin brothers can afford to be so magnanimous about Grantville’s activities, since they’ve recently annexed a territory outside of the NewUS/East Virginia larger than the sovereignty they lost :-))) In OTL he had to give it back after the Peace of Prague in 1635, but I think that in the 1632-verse we should let him keep it, since it will do wonders to preserve the equanimity of the Wettin family.)

But, pragmatically, by setting the population at about ten million outside East Virginia, you can just multiply the above figures by ten to get an approximate underestimate of the number of school-age children at the various grade levels, namely:

10-13 600,000 (roughly grades 5-8)
6-9 650,000 (roughly grades 1-4)

Then, continuing with (1) above, let’s analyze the space challenges, one jurisdiction at a time.


14-17 1,000 (roughly equates to Grantville High School, grades 9-12)
12-13 500 (roughly equates to Grantville Middle School, grades 7-8)
6-11 1,500 (roughly equates to Grantville Elementary School, grades 1-6; and Countess Katharina the Heroic Lutheran School, grades 1-6)

Here we need to count in that there’s a lot of additional adult education needed as the new residents head toward functionality in English and the West Virginians head toward functionality in German, but for the time being, I’m only looking at the issue of teaching children.

In OTL, North Marion HS is a consolidated school and per the web site has currently 972 students. Since only about a third of its students come from the immediate Mannington area, I have made the presumption that as of 1633, Grantville HS has sufficient physical space for all the new immigrant children of high school age. I am definitely not assuming that by 1633-1634 it is already being overwhelmed by masses of non-resident students, nor that it has turned into a supra-regional technical university.

The middle and elementary schools in Mannington appear to serve the town itself, primarily, so I’ve based my extrapolations on that assumption.

The Grantville middle school will have become terribly overcrowded by 1633. I expect that it is holding classes at auxiliary sites all over town church basements, etc.

My suggestion would be that the town school board will already be constructing or very soon after 1633 will construct a second middle school. As soon as it is completed, the board will move grades 5-6 out of the existing elementary school, distributing them between the two middle schools. ‘Mittelschule’ also makes a perfectly good German word for the transitional grades 5-8 between the village elementary schools and the German vernacular secondary schools. It should turn into a nice, useful, concept for the entire NewUS/East Virginia state.

The Grantville Elementary School building, which seems (per the web site description of the Mannington schools) to have a capacity of about 600, will be bursting at the seams in 1633. The opening of Countess Katharina the Heroic in 1632 will have eased the pressure a lot (if fully enrolled, it will have taken 480 kids in grades 1-6, and it’s probably fully enrolled, since Count Ludwig Guenther intends to put a matching school on the other side of the RoF), but Grantville Elementary still has a big overenrollment. My best guess is that the Grantville school board will have thrown up several one-room or two-room grade schools in the outlying settlement areas (either temporary buildings or by finding space to rent). Six one-room at an average attendance of 25 would take 150 students; four two-room at an average attendance of 50 would take 200 students: this would also ease transportation problems by putting more of the younger children within walking distance of their schools. The school administration can probably cram the rest into the nooks and crannies of Grantville elementary until (a) St. Guenther of Thuringia opens; and (b) the Grantville school board eases the pressure by moving grades 5-6 to the middle schools.

NewUS/East Virginia. The NewUS/East Virginia is about as lucky as it’s possible to be in the middle of a decades-long war, in that north of the Thueringerwald, by 1632, there had not been massive destruction of buildings and property (the state of things in the Franconian regions south of the Thueringerwald was much more devastated, but nothing like the abysmal level that developed OTL after the Battle of Noerdlingen in May 1634).

So, granted that there has been a huge amount of population displacement, a reasonable number of the refugees will be able to go back home, while others will be able to lease vacated farms. For the time being, IMHO, it will be advantageous to let as many villages as possible reconstitute the pre-existing grade 1-4 village schools which had been most frequently taught by the pastor, the parish clerk, the sexton, the organist, or some combination of the above plus their wives (no matter what the American qualms about separation of Church and State), simply because the NewUS/East Virginia certainly does not, as of 1634, have the resources or personnel to administer a statewide school system for 60,000 students in grades 1-4.

CPE/USofE. Collectively, the other states of the UsofE have ten times as many kids needing a grades 1-4 school as East Virginia does roughly 600,000. The war has caused a lot more damage in much of the territory than in central Thuringia. Almost all of the states will have a great deal of rebuilding to do, and it won’t be evenly distributed.

Moving to consideration of point (2), from the perspectives of both staffing and curriculum:


Grantville/RoF: For Grantville itself, I’m assuming that the issue of elementary teachers will largely be resolved by the existing teachers (assuming that about 50% came through with the RoF — Maxine Pilcher for kindergarten and Anita Barnes for first grade, definitely, since they have speaking parts in the books already, and two or three more) taking on the role of “master teachers,” roping in every former and retired teacher in town, and training new ones as fast as possible on the student teacher model (probably with fairly heavy reliance upon the students who were in town for Rita’s wedding).

I’m nowhere nearly as optimistic about getting an adequate set of replacements for the vacancies in the middle and high school, simply because, as shown by 1632 and 1633, other Grantville needs are cannibalizing a higher proportion of the original teachers and the subject matter of each individual teacher’s area is more specialized. To some extent, the resolution will depend on the degree to which Ursus as author is going to be agreeable to the demands of the military types that everything and everyone be thrown into their wish to bomb everything in sight and assassinate French cardinals as a sideline. Luckily, Mike Stearns is explicitly worried about the guns v. butter issue, and I believe that he will count educational resources in that balance.

My basic conclusion, however, is that the posters who think that Grantville is going to turn into a continent-wide magnet university for technical and scientific training are wildly over-optimistic, if only because most of the people who would have been best at transmitting these disciplines are by 1633 at other physical locations, doing other things, with no immediate prospect for their return to their teaching duties – especially because some of them have been shown as becoming involved not only with specifically military duties, but more generally in the development of industrial enterprises, not all of which will be (or even can be) located within commuting distance of Grantville High School.

NewUS/East Virginia. The first main push will be to try to reach about the level of education that prevailed in the OTL US as of 1900 — 8th grade pretty much available to everyone, maybe 10% of the total going on to secondary school (whether “practical” German or “classical” Latin), and maybe 25% of the high school graduates obtaining university-level training.

Doing this in a hurry will require a lot of new teachers. Mrs. Simpson is preparing to reinvent them normal school. We’ve discussed the concept in some detail. I’m a strong advocate of doing it on the community college model, with flexible scheduling, weekend and evening classes, options for part time study, and acceptance of non-traditional students. The purpose should be to give struggling and ad hoc teachers as much of a boost as possible rather than to try to limit access to the field by requiring specific credentials.

Even with the common student-teacher ratios of the time, the grade 1-4 village and town schools will require at least a thousand teachers, and in practice many more, since a lot of villages that maintained their own schools (too far to walk to the next one for little kids) didn’t have 60 students in this age range). My best guesstimate is that the NewUS has 800 village teachers of some type (teachers, pastors, sextons, organists, wives of the above, and people from other occupations who are willing to give it a try, like the tailor and stocking knitter on on site that I found) currently available for K-4 and needs 800 more right now!

My personal recommendation is that in spite of their commitment to separation of church and state, the central government of the NewUS/East Virginia should live with having the schools continue in or be reconstituted to their prewar state or remodeled on the Grandma Richter model (see below) wherever the residents can manage it, and move into direct school subsidies only in areas where there’s no building, no tax revenue, no crops in the ground, and a batch of resettled refugees trying to start from scratch. This last, I suspect, would be mainly down in Franconia.

As time goes on, they can gradually move toward textbook replacement and curriculum development, but it would be a very bad to let parents get out of the habit of sending their children to school. This is one area in which a demand for the best would truly be the enemy of the good, or even of the “inadequate-but-at-least-a-starting-place.”

After that, at the NewUS/East Virginia and CPE/USofE levels both, the state governments get to start thinking about increasing the schooling level to offer 5-8 in the villages as well as the towns (say, figuring that most towns had 5-8 schools for boys, a few had 5-8 schools for girls, and about 20% of the population of Thuringia was urban, the NewUS/East Virginia is going to have to increase the upper-grade teachers by 85%-90% ASAP). It could be done with the resources available to a 17th century Thuringian territory — Duke Ernst managed it in Saxe-Gotha after he became Duke in 1642, but it took him nearly 30 years of single-minded effort (causing his neighbors to complain that Duke Ernst’s peasants were cleverer than other rulers’ nobles).

IOW, there’s a need in education, but addressing it isn’t going to happen over night. The best projection that I was able to make was that a really major impact at 5-8 would be showing up in a decade or so from the 1633 “current” date. IMHO, they’ll be darn lucky if, on the average, for the first generation, the teachers are a **whole** chapter ahead of the kids 🙂

CPE/USofE. Generally, figure that of the minimum 10,000 and more likely 16,000 teachers of some kind (see above) needed for grades 1-4, there are less than half as many in existence as are needed, just to staff at what was the late 16th-century/early 17th century customary level. A lot of the people who were teaching before the war began will have died, been taken into the military, been displaced into regions where they are of the wrong religion for a consistory to certify for a teaching position, etc.


Grantville/RoF. I project that the Grantville schools will try to maintain as much as possible of their distinctive pre-RoF curriculum, with the addition of Latin, several modern foreign languages, and a lot more music (the Grantville music teachers are in for a happy surprise as they discover that the parents of the new students do not regard music as a frill or an extracurricular activity, but as a crucial component of the core curriculum). I don’t see Grantville High School adding classical Greek, however – students who want that much of a traditional curriculum can go to the Gymnasium in Rudolstadt (possibly with reciprocal tuition breaks for students from one town who prefer the other’s offerings).

For the foreseeable future, I certainly do not see that Grantville HS will turn into a supra-regional or international technical and scientific university. I’m more inclined to suspect that for several years in the 1630s, its level of teaching in those fields will decline, because the science and mathematics teachers have been pulled out of the classroom to work in the military/industrial complex. Probably, at least a couple of the WV-origin middle school science and math teachers have been pulled up to the high school, where they are doing their best. It is, however, my prognosis that for the next five years or so – the attendence-length of an entire generation of students – the subject matter teaching in these fields will actually decline compared to what it was in OTL.

The same is true, I project, for the technical school. If Mike Stearns is on top of things, and I believe that he is, this will be one of the “guns and butter” issues about which is is most concerned.

NewUS/East Virginia. The language of the pre-existing local schools will continue to be German. Grantville won’t have the resources to provide all instruction in English, even if some West Virginians think it should be done and hassle the school board about it.

I do not see any practical way to do a fast separation of most of the existing schools from their ecclesiastical ties (if only because that’s where they get their money and the source for teacher salaries). However, when the statewide school administration goes into an unserved area and builds a school, it will build it without religious ties and support it from public taxes. The St. Veronica’s system (see below) is also a denominationally unaffiliated private business, in spite of its name.

For the grades 1-4 and then grades 5-8 curriculum for the NewUS/East Virginia as a whole, we’re thinking of going on the model sponsored after 1640 by Duke Ernst of Saxe-Gotha (you met him in 1633 as the younger brother of Wilhelm of Saxe-Weimar aka Wilhelm Wettin) and carried through on the model of Comenius’ educational reforms as put into practice under the leadership of Andreas Reyher, principal of the Gymnasium (Latin school) in Gotha. This included a lot of additional topics, such as geography, botany, and local history.

Duke Ernst also believed in field trips. If local schools couldn’t afford real field trips, he had his printers supply them with packets of woodcut illustrations, which the teachers were directed to put up on the walls of the classroom and take the children on virtual field trips 🙂

There will also be a serious component of civics, I feel sure. Ideally, the schools curriculum should involve the parents and try to bring them in for the most important types of adult education (possibly sponsored by Grange, Extension, other organizations?).

CPE/USofE. As for the other states of the USofE, all that Grantville can really do is lead by example. Aside from watching what East Virginia is doing, and getting consultants if they ask for them, each state will be developing its own educational system. I don’t see that GA has any interest in imposing a centralized educational bureaucracy. Even if he did, he wouldn’t have the resources to do it in the 1630’s.