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tant provision of the law, yet it is not complied with by all township boards." In 1888-89 there were 30 counties having 80 delinquent townships, with 170 delinquent subdistricts. Of the 80 delinquent townships but 15 taxed up to the limit of the law. "Where the township taxes up to the lawful limit no blame can attach to the township board, for it has done all that the law permits it to do. But where boards fail to impose such a rate of taxation within the limits of the law as will produce a sum sufficient to continue all the schools of the township 24 weeks, such boards fail to discharge a sworn duty. Yet, in the year 1887-88, 12 townships in 1 county failed to provide 24 weeks of school for all the subdistricts of the townships, and but 1 of these townships levied up to 7 mills, and 3 of them levied a tax less than 2 mills.'
"There has been a very large increase in the number of graded schools during the year, viz, 566. The whole number of graded schools is now 10,117, nearly one-half of all our schools. This rapid increase of graded schools demands most careful watchfulness upon the part of superintendents and teachers. While we have the great gain derived from such division of labor as the graded school secures, we must seek to avoid the serious dangers involved. Teachers confined to one line of studies, and those that are suited only to a certain age, are apt to take into view only the small section of a child's life belonging to that age, and this weakens the great incentive to work which comes from the clear vision of the end of education in the beginning. The end is not the examination for promotion to another grade. The solid culture of the child toward a well-furnished personality-a developed, intelligent life of thought and act-must be the main aim of all teaching, and this should not be broken in upon by any interruption of artificial grades. Hence great caution is required in graded schools, lest, through anxiety to promote from grade to grade, the child be fitted more for examination than for life.
"The increase in the salary of teachers has been very small. Now that the amount appropriated by the State is two millions-double what it was four years ago-it is to be hoped that the average salary of teachers will be greatly enlarged. It is now, for male teachers, only thirty-nine dollars per month, and for female teachers only a little over thirty dollars. This want of proper remuneration is injuring the status of our schools. It is retarding the whole educational work of the State, and every exertion should be made to remedy this defect. Direct legislation can effect but little. Public sentiment must be aroused. Directors and parents must realize the vast importance of our schools and the great responsibility of our teachers, and refuse to make the matter of selecting. them nothing more than the employment of the cheapest candidates in the market. Our superintendents also must make the provisional certificates fewer and fewer, demanding higher grades and insisting on more thorough examinations. By concerted action the way may be opened for a better condition of affairs as regards salaries and tenure of office.
"While thankful for the legislation secured in behalf of the schools, we regret very much that the bill for a closer supervision of our schools in rural districts failed of passage. Closer supervision is so necessary that it must soon come. The need of it becomes more apparent every day, and very many directors are only waiting for authority to organize the work."
[From Report for 1888-89 of State Superintendent Thomas B. Stockwell.]
The general condition of the schools does not change very materially in any one year, but what changes are made are in the line of still further progress and development. There are several considerations which lead one to believe that the public schools are doing more successful work than formerly. That the people highly appreciate the education their children receive at the public schools is evidenced by the constantly recurring votes of towns and districts for the erection of school buildings and by the numerous demands for the establishment of high schools. That the character of the instruction given in the public schools has improved may be inferred from the fact that a larger proportion of the teachers are graduates of high schools, academies, and especially normal schools.
The school census shows a slight increase in school population, but the increase in the number of children attending public and private schools was three times as great. The great difficulty encountered, however, is the irregularity of attendance; it is the constant complaint of school committees. But there seems to be no available remedy for it unless parents can be made to fully realize and appreciate the benefits of education. The compulsory law can secure the attendance of children for a specified term, but it can not eradicate the evil of irregularity. "The number of children between the ages of 7 and 15, or those over whom the compulsory law is especially extended, was reduced 449, or nearly 10 per cent., while the number of those who attended less than 12 weeks, the minimum time fixed by law, was reduced nearly 20 per cent." This shows that
laws for compulsory attendance are meeting with good success. In some of the towns they are much more strictly enforced than in others. In Pawtucket, Woonsocket, Newport, South Kingston, and East Greenwich the enforcement of the law is found to be simple and feasible. There is no reason why it should not be as thoroughly enforced in the city of Providence. In many of the rural districts it is rarely necessary to resort to extreme measures; the simple fact that there is an officer to secure the attendance of children at school accomplishes the purpose. While a large number of cases of truancy are reported as having been investigated, only eleven were convicted. The length of time during which it is required that all pupils shall attend the public schools is only twelve weeks. It should probably be twenty weeks. It seems that all children between seven and twelve years of age, the most suitable years for them to acquire an education, should be attending school for more than the short period of twelve weeks. Sufficient progress can not be made in so short a time. Again, in most of the schools promotions are made twice a year, so that the classes are half a year apart, and, if attendance were required for twenty weeks, all the children would attend long enough to complete one grade each year.
SIZE OF SCHOOLS.
The number of small ungraded schools is constantly increasing. Fifty-four schools were reported as having less than ten pupils each, and some of them were so small that they scarcely deserved to be called schools. Much better results can be secured in large graded schools. It would be better to incur the expense of conveying children to a large school rather than to pay the salaries of teachers of such small schools.
By comparing the number of sittings reported by the towns and districts with the school population it is found that there are accommodations for 94 per cent. of the children needing them. In many of the country towns there are more sittings than are needed, but in the manufacturing communities there is not a sufficient number. It is in these communities, too, that the compulsory law is most poorly enforced, and the children are not expected to attend the whole year. There is very little occasion, therefore, for any child to remain away from school on account of the want of accommodation. In those towns where there has been a deficiency in school accommodations provision is being made to supply the want by erecting large, well-planned, and convenient buildings.
TEACHERS AND WAGES.
Heretofore the number of male teachers has been constantly diminishing, but during the last year the number has increased by one. It is very desirable that the number of male teachers shall be still further increased, for, however successful women may be as teachers, it is not well that men should be entirely excluded. A larger number of the teachers were graduates of normal schools, high schools, and academies; it is therefore to be inferred that the work was well done. The number of pupils to a teacher was the same as in the previous year-thirty-three.
The salaries of teachers run higher than in the preceding year, men receiving $1.07 more per month, and women 80 cents. The salaries of all the teachers are still lower than they should be, but especially is this true of teachers' salaries in the village grammar schools.
The whole amount expended for school purposes was over $900,000, but the amount paid out for supervision of schools was $18,606, or a trifle over 2 per cent. of the whole amount expended. A large part of the supervision which schools receive is furnished without any compensation whatever, and without this voluntary supervision many of the schools would utterly fail. The State should not ask men to take this time away from their own affairs and to give it to the public. Moreover, the schools deserve more attention than they have heretofore received.
Each city and town is allowed to make its own regulations for determining the qualifications of its teachers; consequently, there is no uniformity in the requirements at all. Some of the cities require very high attainments, while others are very lax. All teachers in the State should be required to attain to a certain minimum standard of education, and cities should be allowed to require a standard as much higher as they see fit.
The board of education renews its former recommendation, which was also indorsed by the governor in his message to the legislature, that steps be taken to secure the abolishment of school districts. All the school officers of the State, as well as every State superintendent in New England, speak in favor of this change.
There are 38 free public libraries containining 152,390 volumes, an increase of 8,121 over last year. Of course a large proportion of the books read are fictitious works, but there was a slight increase in the number of historical and educational works read. It is very important that good librarians should be secured so that they may know what kinds of books to recommend to the different classes of readers in order that they may be gradually interested in instructive works.
There is a strong disposition now on the part of young men to enter upon mechanical pursuits rather than agricultural. The instruction given in the schools should always have a wise reference to the future work of the pupils in order that they may be well qualified to discharge their duties. For this reason the board of education consider it very important that drawing shall be taught in the schools, some skill in drawing being essential to successful industrial work.
The amount expended for school apparatus and books of reference was $1,319.16. Many books of reference in history, biography, and travels were purchased, and, as music is now so generally taught in the schools, better facilities for its instruction have been provided. Many valuable aids for the study of natural history have also been provided. "One of the most noticeable features of late movements in this line is the variety of material provided for use in the primary school. 'Busy Work' has won for itself a prominent place in all of our better primary schools, and the problem now is no longer how to keep the children still, but how to keep them busy."
Much is being said at the present time about the lack of moral training in the public schools. However thorough may be the instruction given, if the schools fail to impress the children with the full importance of virtuous principles they have fallen short of their proper work. It is quite probable, however, that the fault does not attach to the schools, but to the homes and the environments of the pupils.
A great change is taking place in the methods of instruction in the primary schools. It is no longer thought proper to place from 75 to 100 children in the care of one teacher. It is no longer thought that we can judge of the success of a teacher by the degree of quiet which she is able to secure. Life, movement, animation now characterize the successful primary schools.
After many years of vain effort a general local tax bill has been enacted by the general assembly, and was approved by the governor December 24, 1888. It will no longer be necessary for the people of any school district desiring to provide a fund supplementary to the State fund to get the special authorization of the general assembly; but the voters of any school district who return real or personal property for taxation to the amount of $100 may levy a local tax not exceeding two mills and appropriate the same to such school purposes as they may see fit.
Any city, incorporated town, or village desiring to establish a system of graded or other public schools is constituted a separate school district.
Each taxpayer may have the tax paid under this act applied to any school in his district he may designate. Where no designation is made the money will be expended as other school funds in such district.
The new local tax law will prove of inestimable benefit, though the tax is too small for country schools. Some districts have been put in operation under the new law, but the amount raised by the tax is not sufficient to give the schools the length of term required.
The most urgent need of the school system in South Carolina is illustration, the practice of its principles in every community.