Formal schooling was pursued by very few boys beyond the ability to read, write, do numerical calculations, and speak sufficient English to conduct business. Those who wanted further educations had to get it elsewhere. Girls attended school only until they had learned the rudiments of writing and reading, an important ability so they could read the Bible to their children. All schooling was of secondary importance to the work of the family; daily and seasonal farm chores came first.
Free School Act
Lower Macungie's landowners did not accept the provisions of Pennsylvania's controversial 1835 Free School Act until 1849. Opposition was strong, largely due to fear that the German language would be displaced. By 1854 there were fourteen schoolhouses in the township, and an average of four months of schooling. Attendance was often erratic. By 1884, there were 22 schoolhouses, scattered throughout the township so no child would have to walk very far to school.
A good relationship among the directors of the Township School District, parents, and teachers did much to improve attendance before the passage in 1895 of the state's compulsory attendance law, which required children to go to school from the age of 8 to 13. It was not until 1911 that teaching in the Pennsylvania German dialect was prohibited, although many children entering school until the 1940s, and some even later, spoke the dialect as their first language.
1950 to Now
One-room and two-room schoolhouses were replaced in 1951 with the Lower Macungie Township School on Lower Macungie Road at Krocks Road. For the first time each grade had its own classroom and teacher. Many students were transported by bus to the new school. Most of the one and two-room schoolhouses still standing in Lower Macungie date from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. They have been converted into homes and offices.
The East Penn Union School District was created in 1952 because of the necessity to build a new high school to serve the region. Previously, those township students who wished to continue their education beyond Eighth Grade had attended high school in Allentown or Emmaus. Their tuition was paid by the township school district. In 1966, the word "Union" was dropped from the district's name.
Rapid changes took place in rural Lower Macungie starting in the early 1960s, as large tracts of farmland were subdivided into residential neighborhoods. Wescosville Elementary School was opened in 1966 to accommodate the increasing number of children, and in 1970 Shoemaker School was opened. Eyer Junior High opened in 1974 and finally the Lower Macungie Middle School in 1998.