Robert Reid Lab School

The Robert Reid Lab School started as a training school in 1908 where college students did student teaching with elementary students from the community. This was important because the normal schools purpose was to train teachers. In 1937 when Martin Hall was created the elementary school's name was changed from Training School to Laboratory School. In this lab small groups of
students could go in the classroom and observe the teacher in their practice.

In 1959 the modern building was completed and named the Robert Reid Lab School after their former principal. The labs had one way mirror glass in the classrooms. College students would sit on the other side and observe an elementary school teacher at work. This way large numbers of college students could learn from a single classroom without disturbing the teacher.

Lab schools like Reid were once common on college campuses. John Dewey started the first lab school in Chicago in 1894, and from there lab schools spread throughout the country. Dewey did not see his lab school as a place for merely teaching, but also for educational experimentation and innovation. In the 1980s though, when laboratory scandals like the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment got out to the public, the idea of Laboratory Schools fell out of the public’s good graces. Parents didn’t like the idea of their kids being observed in this way, therefore many lab schools across the country were shut down.

The Reid Lab School would meet the same fate as well, and by the early 1980s it began to lose support. The school was expensive to operate, especially with features like one way microphones. In 1985 the EWU Board of Trustees voted to close the lab school, stating that "it believed that the campus training school concept was not currently widely used in teacher training, and it was an expensive anachronism.”

1985 marked the end of the lab school era, but Robert Reid Elementary would survive for another 24 years. As time went on the school needed major maintenance repairs that the university was unwilling to pay for. In 2009 the lab school was officially shut down and finally demolished in 2015. Now the only remains of EWU's teacher training program is in the form of statues memorialized between Huston and Martin Hall. The statues include a little girl and boy who are reading a book and using a laptop, symbolizing and honoring the schools past.

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