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by 51,213 than in the previous year. The average daily attendance was greater by 28,562, or 15 per cent., and the average length of the school term was one day longer. During the last two years twelve cities and towns erected school buildings, at a total cost of $190,000. “In 66 counties the collections exceeded the disbursements by $191,300, while practically only 8 counties exceeded their collections, incurring a debt in all of about $15,000.” More than 800 country schoolhouses were built, at a cost of $116,951. There was an increase of 1,018 in the number of first-grade teachers, and it is therefore presumable that better work was accomplished.
According to the enactments of the legislature the attorney-general and State superintendent of education were required to distribute the 2 and 3 per cent. fuad received from the sales of Government land whenever the fund exceeded $15,000. The distri. bution was made in December, 1883, the amount distributed being $78,4:29.05. In order that as much as possible might be accomplished by means of the fund, the State superintendent issued a circular advising supervisors in the different counties to distribute the fund to those districts that would supplement it in some way, by appropriating unused balances of the common-school fund, by raising certain amounts, or otherwise. These suggestions were followed in many counties, and in nine months from the time of the distribution 475 new schoolhouses had been erected, and others were in the course of construction. In some counties the fund was prorated to the different districts, and little good was accomplished by it, while in others it was unlawfully applied to the payment of teachers' warrants. In Monroe County the fund was supplemented by an appropriation of $2,000, and forty-one new schoolhouses were erected, at a cost of from $200 to $700 each, and others were repaired and furnished with stoves and blackboards.
There are great discrepancies between the returns made by the auditors as to the number of children of school age and those made by the county superintendents. a consequence there are no reliable data upon which a distribution of State funds can be made.
"Mississippi received from the United States in sixteenth sections 661,000 acres. In lien of sixteenth sections in Chickasaw cession, 174,550 acres." The leasing of these lands was variously intrusted to boards of police, county school directors, county school commissioners, and boards of supervisors. They have nearly all been leased for ninetynine years and the notes and revenues squandered. A satisfactory report of the fund of Warren County, however, was made in 1889 by the county treasurer. The sixteenth sections of the Yazoo Delta, which has lately been found to possess valuable resources, are still unleased, and should be saved to the State by appropriate legislation. The supervisors should be prohibited from leasing these lands for longer periods than eight years, and the rents should be invested in bonds and only the interest allowed to be used.
The law of 1886 requiring uniform teachers' examinations throughout the State, although it met with strong opposition, has been found an eminently wise one. That it has not prevented competent teachers from passing the examinations successfully is evidenced by the fact that 1,018 persons received first-grade certificates.
While admitting that many of the most intelligent and faithful county superintendents alvocate annual examinations of teachers, Superintendent Preston thinks that, in oriler to stimulate teachers to thoroughly qualify themselves for their work, certificates should be granted under certain conditions for a longer time than one year. He would have an annual examination of all holders of second and third grade certificates. All first-grade teachers who made an average of 85 per cent. should be licensed for two years and those who made an average of 90 per cent. for three years. Any person who received a three years' license a second time should be entitled to teach in that county without any further examination. State licenses should also be granted to those who passed a special examination showing themselves possessed of broad scholarship and successful experience as teachers.
It is claimed by very many that county superintendents are useless factors in the school system and that the money paid them could be better devoted to the payment of teachers' salaries. In those counties where the superintendents are incompetent or neglect the faithful discharge of their duties they are in reality useless appendages, but nothing can contribute more to the improvement and successful operation of the public schools than intelligent and faithful supervision. The excellence of the schools in cities and towns is attributable to careful supervision more than to anything else. Competent superintendents can not be had, however, unless they are adequately paid, and in many of the counties the salaries paid are entirely too low to secure good men.
Superintendent Preston thinks that the law enacted in 1838, making the office of county superintendent an elective one, was a great mistake, and that it will subject the person chosen to improper influence in the granting of licenses and fixing teachers' salaries.
Besides the graded schools of the cities and towns, there were reported 150 high schools, normal schools, and denominational colleges. Some of these enrolled from 250 to 400 students. Many of thern were supported in part by the public funds, and gave free tuition during the public term. The guccess of these schools affords evidence of an appreciation by the people of higher education, as well as evidence of increased material prosperity.
SEPARATE SCHOOL DISTRICTS.
"Following the policy and practice of other States, Mississippi has from the beginning of her free-school system allowed her towns and cities to become separate school districts.
"In the first public school law, enacted in 1870, the privilege was granted to towns having 5,000 population; in 1873, by amendment, to towns liaving 2,000; by the code of 1880, to towns having 1,000; by the revised law of 1986, to towns having 750.
“Many of our towns have special laws granting them full local control of their schools and power to levy a tax in support thereof. This legislation was demanded by their peculiar conditions, and is in exact accord with the universal practice of the other States of the Union.
“Educational progress and activity are to-day most prominent in our separate school districts. Thirty-five towns are maintaining their schools from seven to ten months each year, their average school levy being four mills, and some of them levying as high as seven and one-half mills.”
The State distributes $300,000 to the counties for school purposes. About twothirds of this arises from liquor licenses, fines, and forfeitures; the other $100,000 is given from the general State fund. The funds distributed by the State would only maintain the school about one-third of the required term of four months; each county must maintain its own schools for the other two-thirds of the term. In this way the State seeks to equalize the burden of taxation and to encourage local support of the schools. Upon the same principle the separate school districts are allowed to retain their local levies, for while they pay about one-third of the whole State fund, they only receive about $23,000 fron: it. Besides, “reports from seventeen towns show an enrollment of 1,401 country pupils. Estimating the other eighteen towns at 1,000, we find the separate school districts carrying 2,400 country pupils, or 12 per cent of their entire attendance.
"The counties pay the tuition of these pupils for four or five months, and the towns let them continue in the schools the rest of the session absolutely free of charge.
NEW EXT-BOOK LAW-COUNTY UNIFORMITY.
A law approved February 22, 1990, provides for a uniform series of text-books in each county, to be selected by county boards of seven teachers each, and not to be changed for five years.
The general condition of the schools was better than it has ever been, more and better teachers were employed, and they were paid better salaries. The financial condition of the schools, too, was excellent. The settlements of the clerks and treasurers show that at the close of the year nineteen out of every twenty districts had paid all indebtedness and had a balance on hand. All schools hereafter will have a term of at least six months. The citizens of the State may well congratulate themselves upon the excellent condition of the schools, for it is a well-recognizeci fact that the social and material welfare of a State depends, to a large extent, upon the education of its people.
CRITICISMS OF THE PUBLIC SCIIOOLS.
There are many persons who are continually urging objections to the public schools, They allege that the public schools are Godless, that the Bible is not used in them, that the public schools are responsible for the increase of crime, and that they develop in the children indifference, profligacy, and unstableness of character. Before considering the objections of such persons it is well to ascertain whether these are the real causes of complaint, whether such persons would favor the public schools if these objections were removed, or whether, on the contrary, they have brought forward these objections because they dare not disclose the true ones. “What do they mean by Godless schools? Nothing more nor less than this, their peculiar ideas and notions of religion are not sanctioned, espoused, and taught. They want the Bible introduced and used as a textbook; but what Bible? Introduce it, which can not be done without violating the constitution of our State, and these same parties will be the first to find fault, for they will soon see that this is a two-edged blade that cuts in both directions, for and against their preconceived views and notions."
But it is asserted that the public schools are responsible for the lat 4 number of criininals. Where is the proof of surli il char:r? Although the publirhools draw large numbers of pupils from the poor, the vixious, and the immorani, the classes most likely to furnish criminals, and who ar libretton entoring pris.tie sc!, sie lind very few criminals who have attended the public schon's long enough 190:ecure it good edu(ution. Il'enrolled it all, th10"posobizlily attended only aslil time, their ilitonnee: Wils irregular, and they were already :-) virious that this porospuzly !(101to the retorn schools. But (en il' it be granted that m.try of the criminals were rurated in the pallic schools, is it probable that they would otherwise not have been criminals? The censors of the public schools say nothing of the hosts of trulesme), meranies, li borers, teachers, lawyers, minister's, and statesmen who were rate in the public schools, and many of whom receiveil there !le inpulse whic! resillte in their success.
Hereafter the minimum lengtir orth school term ochi-trict shall be six months instead of four, provided a tax of' 110cents on cauch 100 vi'il: cs-cd valuation, together with the public linds, will be sufficient to maintain the schools ter six months. Dis tricts can not now rely entirely won the public funds, but he board of directors are authorized to make out a till of four mills on the dollar without any vot of the people. As the school terms will www lue: longer, it will be possible to servire a bitter rule of teacher::.
WILAT TULD BE Tlildir,
""The law should fully :44 out the sujets to be taught in all the public schools of the State, and empower the bound the techer to required poispoil to pursue the same until cumpletel, in luzber brunchies should be admitted only by order of the boar!' or by il vote oi' ille people. Buys ir well advanced in arithmetic who know
of the . Dogs are nothing about grammar: girls apply themselves to rull, lou! But willit to study arithmetic and I'nited Studios history. The result is, there is no rulation in the school, and education in such school -imply means a ;artial kowledge of two or three torte books.
"The law on teiching the evil act of alcoholio tinnunt :16 1:41coties upon the human system is it tarpinin. I! is virtually it produbitio!!!2inni temporre instruction in the public school, Inil strange it mayr, they who claim to livor proper legislation on this stil.coflored this meisture while they rejoice over the defeat of sente bill.ll.11whici 19.111rn such installation in lille schools of the State. The law as it stands is worthless, and should be robelodd or unendeed.''
"The iw 100! Exciiisivinitev in whilt laulamat til ili 1111:0n in our public schools is to be give!. liis il chun a digrice to J11!!!!!! liitutio:is to have the Englislı langruled out oi'wir publi:-)...nilin - Litta, 13 is clono wholly or in part in many district in this stotr. The user lestur uppears to
ako when this matter is brought 11pior consideratio:). Nghihili-210 forotten or smotllered, tur the sake other cru:)! voti'. 101010m.ibile al unent an be allluced wliy liemman should lipo fanylit in my liriman rhoi Kipre:4 tatives and senators admit that lier:11 0.1!1 ise fiei cultura polblic school loxida injunction crved upon the boaril; but wins shall at witizen lie (0)!
need to 110111!" for courts to sture that which should be provideliny legislative (lil'ttient: Mo: 11.15 said to me, You should not agitate this lition; it is impolitir 10 inilli lilil'. liplit i loll, that line.' My purpose in bringin: 1!is 2:21. r to this itt toltinn o tine public, and before our la islature, is that justice may be administered to the citizen, ind the children le taught to speak, re:11), and write the finirlish in 1915. Tlin 3:spirit that
drive the chula dren of any community of tlie 19::1.1: 0; instruction in the Bliclish linermag would, if it dare, subvoort the viry foundations or clus civverl('di dund sintojecit our children to it thraldom and tyranny is despotic alt that from which may ot' 1!
1e innovators cmigrated, only to try to bind the shackles pon others that they tlusi vis could not endure.
* This is not i ligit ay intricemas, bnturinst the introduction of the Cirman language into our primary schools. This wrong will not much longer be tolerated; it should not bi', for where it iow is pridetimes there is an alarmin si turs; law is disregarried, our institutions deridel, in all that is held on a ruthlessly trodden under foot; and nothing else can be expected ut' such a community."
“Your attention is again called to the fact that in many localities in this State that provision of our constitution which prohibits the use of public funds to build up and foster sectarianism is violated with high-handed recklessness. Here again, allow me to speak plainly; it is not my purpose to conceal my true meaning; all the trouble from this quarter has arisen in Catholic communities, where they have control. In such communities the tenets of the church and the study of the catechism are made part of the daily instruction in the public school; and in more than one community the priest openly dictates who sball and who shall not teach the public school of such community. The State constitution is plain upon this subject; but it needs proper iegislation to enforce its provisions, and not compel the citizens to have to resort to law to secure their rights.”
A great mistake was made in the revision of the school law in not providing for a county superintendent for such county. The legislature was opposed to this; it, however, passed a measure providing for county supervision for all those counties which may vote to adopt it.
Many of the teachers employed in the rural districts are thoroughly competent and successful in their work, but there are others who are sadly deficient. The county teachers' institutes are doing much to improve the qualifications of teachers, but the normal schools especially are sending out many excellent teachers, who are exemplars of enthusiasm, tact, and skill to other teachers.
More school buildings were erected during the year than ever before. They were also larger and better buildings. The value of school property increased during the year more than $1,000,000, making a total value of school property at the present time of nearly $11,000,000. Many of the schoolhouses in rural districts are too small to accominodate the children of the districts. Many of them are not fenced in, and some are not even locked at night. They are also used for other than school purposes, such as meetings of societies, clubs, etc. The schoolhouses are frequently very much injured on such occasions. No one feels responsible for the condition of the schoolhouses. The school boards expect the teachers to attend to them, and the teachers expect the school boards to do so. The condition of the water-closets is often disgraceful. If a teacher has no regard for the hygienic surroundings of his pupils he should not be allowed to have charge of them.
Twenty-seven cities and towns have high schools with a course of four years, thirtyeight with a course of three years, and sixty-five with a course of two years. Nearly all of these are in an excellent condition. Their success depends to a large extent upon the school boards. If the board is always anxious to economize by securing the cheapest teachers and having a short term, the scboois will not meet with that success which should attend them. In some of the high schools which have courses of three or four years, where there are only three or four pupils in the last year's course it would be advisable to shorten the course by one year.
In November, 1888, the superintendent of public instruction sent out circulars to the schools asking them to observe Thanksgiving Day by making donations to the needy children, so that they might be provided with the necessary books and clothing for attending school. The experiment was so entirely successful that it was repeated in November, 1839, and many a child went home with a smiling face and a happy heart on account of the present it had received, while the contributors fully realized the truth of the expression that “it is more blessed to give than to receive."