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But how to make them efficient, that is the question. Fortunately some of the cities bave enjoyed a reasonable measure of success, and one of the best ways to improve defective systems is to examine the differences between the successful and the unsuccessful and adapt to the latter those features of the former which seem to bave been the efficient causes of their success. With this in view the following suggestions are made, based upon the experience of cities at least moderately successful in the management of evening schools.
A MORE DEFINITE PLAN NEEDED),
The thing which seems to be most urgently needed and which is most frequently lacking is a well-defined course of study and the careful classification which it encourages or necessitates. It is but natural that one can work to better effect and take a greater interest in doing that work when the whole task is set before him. He understands exactly what he must do to complete it and he realizes that each day and each month brings him that-inuch nearer the accomplishment of the end he desires to gain. Should he look back he sees that progress has been made, and the consciousness that past efforts have been fruitful spurs him on to greater efforts in mastering the portion that remains. This is one of the offices of the course of study in the schools. Without it an evening school lacks a stiniulus far more effective than a "dollar deposit" or a compulsory statute, for it involves motives higher than avarice or mere physical obedience to law. A course of stady is as necessary to a school as a chart is to a ship. It is just as reasonable to expect a sailor to stick to a vessel drifting here and there without a port in view or definite means of reaching one as to expect a pupil to continue in a school without a plan. No matter how eager a yonng man may be to “get an education,” his enthusiasm is apt to be intermittent and his efforts irregular and spasmodic unless his vague eagerness for "an education" can be crystallized into a desire to accomplish a certain welldefined work which will give that measure of mental development which means to him “an erlucation."
In 1888 a systematic course of instruction was introduced in all the Boston evening schools, and the benefits that have resulted justify all that has been said above, as the following paragraph from the last report of the committee on evening schools shows:
"These courses of stucy have proved of the greatest benefit to the schools. The increased interest shown by the pupils in having some definite work to do and some definite end to reach has been very marked. The classifications of the pupils rendered possible under the courses of study will assist to a very great degree toward the success of these schools.
"The course of study for the evening elementary schools provides for instruction in English language, arithmetic, bookkeeping, geography, history and civil government, physiology, and hygiene."
THE LENGTH OF THE EVENING-SCHOOL TERM.
Che next serious defect in the evening-school system has already been incidentally mentioned, and relates to the shortness of the time for which they are annually in session. The fact that the term is too short to offer an inducement to capable teachers is an important consideration, but it is still more important that the time is not sufficient for the instruction to result in solid acquirement or lasting benefit to even the most earnest and faithful of the pupils.
In any school teachers must become acquairted with their charges, and pupils must grow accustomed to schoolroom discipline before substantial work can be done. This is particularly true of evening schools, for their pupils are as a rule unused to restraint and do not readily adapt themselves to conditions so entirely different from their life outside the schoolroom. The time thus occupied in bringing the school down to a working basis must be considered as virtually lost, so far as actual instruction is concerned, and by so much lessens the real length of the school term. Then, if this term covers but a few weeks as is generally the case, the time for closing comes when the more earnest pupils have just begun to acquire habits of effective study and to do satisfactory work; and the little good accomplished is dissipated and the ambition aroused in the pupils is lost during their long absence from school influences. All teachers know that even in day schools in the comparatively short summer vacation of two months niuch of the work of the previous ten months is lost and must be repeated after the reassembling of the children in the autumn. Then, prolong the “vacation" to nine months and shorten the school term to twelve weeks and the daily session to three hours, and how much of the benefits of one term would be apparent the next? If a ten months' term is no more than ordinary day schools require for good work why should other schools be expected to perform the same kind of work satisfactorily if they have
only one-third as much time? If it is important to keep day schools open almost continuously in order that the period of youth may be utilized to the fullest extent for education, is it not more important that persons approaching maturity without having enjoyed the advantages of early instruction should have the opportunity to secure the greatest possible amount of training while they are inclined to receive it and before time and circumstances effectually put an end to all hope of further schooling?
But, it may be said, pupils can not be induced to attend even for the short time, and it would be folly to keep the schools open longer, for there would be no pupils.
Such a fear is not founded on experience. On the contrary, the statistics prove it to be groundless. In San Francisco the schools were open 193 nights, or about 10 months, and the per cent. of attendance as compared with the total enrollment was larger or not materially less than in Chicago with 117 nights; St. Paul, 120 nights; Omaba, 90 nights; Paterson, 56 nights; New York, 90 nights; Pawtucket, 94 nights; Milwaukee, 57 nights. Furthermore, the attendance the first night was less than one hundred greater than that of the last night, and the average attendance for the term was nearly the same, indicating a singular uniformity in the size of the schools throughout the year. Smaller cities that maintained evening schools through practically the whole school year were Oakland, Cal., 191 evenings; San José, Cal., 180 evenings; Salem, Mass., 180 evenings; and Providence, R. I., 190 evenings. There is nothing in the statistics of these cities to indicate that they were without pupils during the fall and summer months.
This is not incomprehensible. It is only what may be reasonably expected in any city. It is natural that a promise of a course long enough to produce substantial results will attract a class of persons who would be less likely to attend a school, lasting only three months, in which they have little or no confidence. These persons, being earnest in their desire for improvement, form the mainstay of such a school and receive the lion's share of its benefits. Others may come in for a time for no good purpose, just as in schools with shorter sessions, but being scatterea through a longer time they are rarely present in considerable numbers at one time, and hence form less of a disturbing element. For the same reason the size of the school varies less, a point of advantage not to be overlooked. It may also be urged as an objection against longer terms that evening schools are more expensive than other schools, and it would cost too much to maintain them throughout the full school year. There can be no doubt that evening schools
. open the full time would require more money than is at present spent upon them, but is it not better to apply a hundred dollars to an effective purpose than to waste ten dollars without result, which is practically what many cities are doing? High schools, too, cost more than elementary day schools, yet no one would propose to cut down the highschool term to four or five months, aud abandon them to such teachers as could be obtained for that short time, simply because they are expensive. The fact is realized that high schools are necessary, and the outlay needed to keep them at a high point of efficiency is made without a question. So it should be with evening schools. .
If they are necessary, they should be supported on a basis more nearly approaching that of day schools; if they are not necessary, there is no excuse for their continuance.
The ideal relation of the kindergarten to the public-school system is that all pupils may receive one or two years of pure, or nearly pure, kindergarten instruction before entering the lowest grade of the regular primary school. In other words, the first or receiving class in all the schools should be a kindergarten. This ideal condition has not been realized so far in any city, although that is the end toward which the efforts of the last few years tend.
TABLE 9.—The large cities which have avowedly established the kindergarten system, though
not necessarily to the extent of affording instruction to all who apply.
a The number belonging January, 1889, was 1,074.
b Nearly all of these have "a. m.” and “p. m.” sessions, thus instructing two different sets of pupils.
TABLE 10.-Citics which have cstablished one or more kindergartens, mainly experimental.
[Those marked * probably have facilities for all who apply.]
D.--THE TABLES OF COMPARATIVE STATISTICS.
The remarks upon page 768 relating to the uses and value of the summarized tables of comparative statistics apply with equal force to tables 20 and 21. They are to the individual cities what tables 12 and 13 are to sets of cities. Naturally in these tables appear anomalies more remarkable and inequalities more noticeable than are brought out in tables 12 and 13, for the peculiarities of single cities disappear to a great extent when they are merged or combined to make an aggregate with others which do not possess the same characteristics. These wide differences are indicative of the varied conditions under which the work of education in America is conducted. There are cities of all degrees of wealth, varying from the suburban settlement of mill operatives whose whole number of taxable dollars is only 581 times as great as the number of children to be provided for, to the elegant and fashionable home for a great city's wealthy men whose aggregated ownings would be sufficient to give every resident child of elementary school age the snug sum of $27, 206. There are cities that have set aside for purely educational purposes property worth more than 5 per cent, of the value of all the taxable property they contain and cities in which the schools fare less than one-tenth as well. There are cities which pay to teachers and supervisors over $30 for each child in attendance, and others which pay less than $5 for similar service. There are cities which provide accommodations for nearly twice as many pupils as there are children under fourteen, and others which provide seats for less than one-third the number that would ordinarily be expected to be in school.
With such differences in not only the provision for schools, but in the ability to provide for them, it is not to be expected that the quantity and quality of work will even approach uniformity, and the generalizer who declaims of the “universal excellence of the schools of the American cities” would do well to study the statistics and revise his opinion. Are those good schools in which less than half the pupils enrolled attend regularly? Can those systems lay any just claim to excellence in which the children remain in school on an average less than five months? Yet a glance through the table shows that such schools and such systems are by no means rare.
There is still a great deal of room for improvement. We have not yet reached the point of perfection.
TABLE 11.-Summary, by Statcs, of population 6-14, cnrollment, attendance, teachers, high schools, accommodations, school property, and cost of tuition in
cities and villages containing over 4,000 inhabitants.
Number of cities and villages con
taining over 4,000 inhabitants.
GO Total population 6–14.
Num'er of pupils enrolled in pri
vate and parochial schools.
Number of pupils enrolled in pub
lic day schools.
Average daily attendance in pub
lic day schools.
Aggregate number of days' attendance of all pupils in public day schools.
Number of teachers, not includ.
ing supervising officers.
Number of studeuts enrolled in
public high schools.
Number of buildings used for
Number of seats or sittings for
Value of all public property used
for school purposes.
Expenditure for salaries of teach
ers and supervising oslicers.
4 5 6 by
703 3,181, 326 718, 417 2,775, 834 | 1,982, 736.5 379, 800, 612 51, 981 125,542 7,670 2,520,674 $170,610, 879 | $31, 701, 954
11,973 8,953 1, 535, 817 205
35 1,291 2 | Arizona.....................................
319, 167 99,613
6, 8:37 1,186, 000
564, 1:30) 90, 080
0:3, 972 12,055, 552
1, 60-1 5 12, 859
7,215, 000) 18, 105
1,3:33, 333 6 Connecticut
11,515 1,839, 468 293
302 31, 1:30)
8,412 113,000 77, 700
35, 764 10 | Florida
1, 669 8 9,04
36, 615 5,510 26, 612 12 Idaho.
22, 163 5,011, 111
1, 291 1 522
58 22,526 1, 138, 000 600
131,467 25, 868, 667
159, 733 10, 640,000 2, 204,211
10, 165,000 24 53, 848
4, 271, 256 799, 833
40, 643 7,496, 321
1, 195 19 40,248
3,602, 500 637,000
30,521 5, 275,000 713
2, 3055, 789 382, 091
31,300 6, 194, 286 792 3 56, 688
113 43,531 1, 922, 500 26, 397
25, 503 18, 710 3, 379, 231 613 1,984 5 69, 0-10
1, 229, 484
1, 228 1,239
59,586 2, 414, 444
627, 286 193,089.9 35, 741, 614 5,061 15, 293 37 99, 314 26, 781
1,258 233, 889 94, 962
21,745, 892 3, 460,000 65, 0-13 12, 690,000
1,819 6, 427
85, 320 5, 286, 250 932, 824 the State,
a The prevalence of yellow fever in Jacksonville and Fernandina prevented the organization of the schools in those cities and thus greatly reduced the total for