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The constitution of Mississippi, adopted in 1868, recognizing the necessity of providing for the education of the people as the foundation for a republican government, makes it the duty of the legislature to establish "a uniform system of free public schools, by taxation or otherwise, for all children between the ages of five and twentyone years," and as soon as practicable to "establish schools of higher grade."
The constitution also requires the election of a superintendent of public education at the same time and in the same manner as the governor, having the qualification of secretary of state, and holding his office for four years; also, that "there shall be a board of education, consisting of the secretary of state, the attorney general, and the superintendent of public education;" also, that there shall be a school superintendent for each county; that in each school district one or more schools shall be maintained for four months at least in each year; the penalty for neglect being a forfeiture of all funds or income.
A common school fund is also to be provided for from the proceeds of lands belonging to the State, granted by the United States; and the lands known as "swamp lands, with certain specified exceptions; and also, "of all lands now or hereafter vested in the State by escheat, or purchase, or forfeiture for taxes," as well as the proceeds from licenses, fines, and some other sources named. To aid this fund a poll-tax, not exceeding $2 a head, is to be levied.
An agricultural college is also to be provided for from the lands-210,000 acres-donated by Congress for said purpose July 2, 1865.
No religious sect is ever to control any part of the school or university funds of the State. All school funds are to be divided pro rata among the children of school age.
In accordance with the constitutional requirements, the legislature, at its session in June 1870, passed an act "To regulate the supervision, organization, and maintenance of a uniform system of public education."
Each county constitutes one school district; but any incorporated city of more than 5,000 inhabitants constitutes a separate district.
The board of education have a general care and supervision of all property coming into possession of the State for school purposes, the income of which they are to pay to the school authorities of the cities or districts for the support of the schools. They are to make a report annually, upon all matters intrusted to their charge, to the superintendent of public education, to be by him incorporated in his annual report to the legislature.
They have power to remove county superintendents for good cause, and may fill vacancies occurring in the office of county superintendents, reporting their action to the senate at the next session of the legislature. Each member of the board is to give bond in the sum of $20,000, conditioned as the bonds of other State officers.
This officer has the general supervision of all the schools, is to visit each county annually, as well as provide for holding a teachers' institute in each congressional district. He is to report to the legislature annually on all matters relating to his office and the educational interests of the State. He shall appoint a clerk, who shall have a salary of $1,100. The superintendent receives 5 cents per mile for distance actually traveled in his official duties, and all necessary contingent expenses. He is prohibited from acting as the agent of any author, publisher, or bookseller, directly or indirectly, on penalty of removal and forfeiture of all moneys due him from the State.
Are to have the supervision of the schools of their respective counties, visiting them once in each term, to examine and grant certificates to teachers, and perform other duties, as required by the State superintendent or board of education. They receive a salary of $5 a day. They report to the State superintendent, and, like him, are prohib-` ited from using any influence in favor of any author, publisher, or bookseller, upon similar penalties.
The board of county supervisors and the city council of any incorporated city of more than 5,000 inhabitants appoint six school directors in each district, for three
years, who receive $3 a day for actual service. They are made a corporate body, with power to sue and be sued. They are to make rules and regulations for carrying out the requirements of the law, and have the care of providing school-houses, creating sub-districts, hire teachers, and perform any other duty necessary to put the schools in operation. They are to prescribe a uniform series of text-books; but no member shall act as an agent for any author, publisher, or bookseller. They have the management of the property belonging to the district, may purchase or rent land for school-house sites, or sell the same. The county treasurer is to keep a separate account with each sub-school district and with each class of school funds.
The other features of the system, in detail, with regard to teachers, institutes, and other matters pertaining to education, are substantially those recently adopted by other States, and are in accordance with the requisite provisions of the constitution. From the latest reports, it appears that there has been some delay in the organization of the schools under this law, and as the matter is now in a state of prosecution, no results can at present be given.
UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI.
JOHN N. WADDEL, chancellor.
"The university is established upon a grant of land, consisting of thirty-six sections, made by the Congress of the United States to the. State of Mississippi in 1819; and the language of the act is, that the title of this land shall be vested in the legislature of said State, in trust, for the support of a seminary of learning therein."
The original act of charter, passed February 24, 1844, contained the following words: "The said board of trustees [of the university] shall have full power and entire control over the funds belonging to the 'university of Mississippi,' or the 'seminary fund,' to be by them applied toward the consummation of the plan of the university of Mississippi," &c.
At the next following session of the legislature, however, an act was passed supplementary to the charter, the first section of which provides that "so much of the third section of an act entitled 'An act to incorporate the university of Mississippi.' approved February 24, 1844, as gives the trustees of the university full power and entire control over the funds belonging to the university of Mississippi, or the seminary fund, is hereby repealed."
The legislature thus resumed to itself the power over the fund, which in the original charter it had delegated to the board; and it is to the legislature that the university is compelled from time to time to resort for further supplies, as the necessity of widening its field of usefulness and improving its means of imparting knowledge renders them desirable.
The present board of trustees of the university consists of the governor, ex-officio president, with a secretary and treasurer, and eleven other members. A review of the attendance since the re-opening of the exercises of the university presents the following statistics :
The number of volumes in the library is about five thousand.
At act to provide for the establishment of a normal school has been recently passed, appropriating $4,000 to be expended under the direction of the board of trustees$2,500 for teachers' salaries, $1,000 for aid to pupils, and $500 for furniture and apparatus.
The superintendent of public education is the Hon. H. R. Pease, Jackson. County superintendents have recently been appointed, but no list of them has reached this Bu
Number of children in the State between 5 and 21 years..
The number of teachers is: males, 4,615; females, 2,531.
The number of public schools in the State is: primary, 5,244; high, 63.
Number of private schools.
Average number of months taught
Value of school-houses in the State.
Number of school libraries in the State.......
Number of members of institutes..
SCHOOLS FOR COLORED CHILDREN.
This State has a larger proportion of schools for colored children than any former slave State. The statistics from forty counties, given as representative of the remainder of the State in that respect, show the number of children of color to be 13,180; the number of school-houses for them, 80; number of schools, public and private, 102; teachers, 101; pupils, 3,664.
Opposition to the education of the colored people is rapidly disappearing. Their rapid improvement and good conduct help to disarm prejudice. A normal school for the training of colored teachers is an urgent necessity. There is a school-Lincoln Institute-now in the fourth year of successful operation in Jefferson City, possessing an endowment fund of $7,000, which, on a small scale, and with limited means, is doing good work in the right direction. It owns no building and is able to maintain but one teacher.
DEVELOPMENT OF THE SCHOOL SYSTEM.
The constitution of the State declares that "A general diffusion of knowledge and intelligence being essential to the preservation of the rights and liberties of the people, the general assembly shall establish and maintain free schools for the gratuitous instruction of all persons in this State between the ages of five and twenty-one years." The growth of public education by the State has been slow, and by forced methods, at times in advance of popular favor; and yet far behind the enlightened position of other States. The laws upon the subject seem to have been the product of a few statesmen, who appeared at intervals in our history, and who, in the face of a well-known social protest, pushed forward with great energy the development of this public economy by the way of a public intelligence. The first general act upon the subject was passed in 1824. It was crude and ineffective, but was improved in 1835. Another was passed in 1839, which was revised in 1853, when superintendence of school affairs was provided for. Another complete revision was had in 1865, and this again amended in 1868, giving an average trial of about eleven years to each law.
From a large personal acquaintance with them, and from a large correspondence, I am assured that no State in the West is more fortunate than ours in the character and quality of its public school teachers. Yet it must be acknowledged that the great body are migratory, and do not, and cannot, exhibit the professional devotion requisite to the success of those who are set apart by special training and led by a conscious adaptation for the work, rather than forced to it by the spur of necessity.
In the sub-districts there are about seven thousand directors, and nearly one thousand in the several cities and towns, who are performing responsible work without compensation. Their office is one purely honorary; and yet it demands a degree of intelligence and expenditure of time and labor that represent a large money value. No duties more important, more delicate, more difficult, are undertaken in any other department of the Commonwealth.
County superintendents perform their multifarious duties at an expense of time, travel, labor, correspondence, visitation from neighborhood to neighborhood, and conference with school officers, with no corresponding income from that expenditure. But two items are in many cases sufficient to occupy the sixty days for which alone they are allowed compensation by law, viz, the collection and preparation of the county statiscal reports, and organizing and establishing county institutes. Yet in addition to these many other duties devolve upon them which should occupy the whole year, if properly fulfilled. Consequently more resignations of county superintendents occur than of any other officers in the State. "We cannot afford it," is the invariable excuse. The Missouri system of teachers' institutes was begun in 1866. At present about one hundred counties have organizations to a greater or less extent, assimilating the character of a well-conducted institute. Some of them rank in number, tone, influence, and general character with those of many years' standing in older States. This rapid organization has been effected without any support from the legislature, and in many
cases at a considerable personal sacrifice upon the part of county superintendents and teachers. It was frequently met with decided opposition by persons" who worshipped with their faces toward the past." The institute meetings are marked by a uniform and cordial sympathy, courtesy, and mutual deference to opinion, undisturbed by the intrusion of either personal, political, or religious views. The testimony of the superintendent is, that he has yet to find the slightest discord, a state of feeling as remarkable, considering the past, as it is much to be desired. Under the influence of this unity and fraternity the hateful and hostile feelings of the past are disappearing, and the enmity of the fathers is transmuted to friendship in the children.
The press of the State has been, and is now, with few exceptions, the most powerful and capable auxiliary to free education. In no instance has the urgent claim of the public schools been disregarded. The theoretical importance of public education, the practical duties of the school-room, the willful neglect of parents and officers, the relations of the school and the State, the child and the citizen, have been discussed over and over again, in forcible terms, by editors who could have no personal interest in the subject except that which springs from the generous sympathy which makes the world akin. It is fair to presume that the press of no other State devotes so much special attention, week after week, to the cause and the advancement of free education.
THE TOWNSHIP SCHOOL FUND MISMANAGED.
The township school fund, amounting in the aggregate to $2,184,170, with an annual income of nearly $200,000, arises from the proceeds of section number sixteen, set apart by Congress in 1820 for the use of the schools. The amount of land then and subsequently granted the State for school purposes is 1,199,139 acres, sufficient, had it been judiciously managed in each township, to have laid the foundation for a school fund, the annual income from which would constitute the schools free for at least six months in the year. But many of the townships have lost the entire fund, and others have suffered greatly from the mismanagement of those who have had charge of this matter. It was early enacted that the county should have charge of the township school fund belonging to each township, and all subsequent legislation has placed this fund under the care of the same guardianship, with the provision that these moneys "shall be secured by a mortgage in fee on real estate, free from liens and incumbrances within the county, of double the amount of the loan," &c. Had these funds been invested in accordance with the above enactment, or in United States bonds, as is further provided by law, much would have been saved. No object calling for legislation is more important than the present management of the school funds. In quite a number of counties there has been the most reckless management and neglect, to such an extent that for years the funds have been rendered unavailable. In some cases, county courts have taken the school moneys for their own use, on their own recognizance, or loaned them to favorites knowing that the security was worthless or insufficient. It is recommended that the general assembly shall revise the present law for the purpose of better securing the school funds, directing them to their legitimate end, and recovering the funds and lands which are not yet beyond redemption.
SCHOOLS AND RAILWAYS.
The report enters at length into a discussion of the school law as recently amended, specifies its faults, and suggests remedies for them; and having, as is stated, "but faintly delineated the outlines of the magnificent structure which stands in the fields of the future as our system of free education-a vast and impartial scholium generale-spacious enough for all races and all conditions," goes on to remark:
"The present time is not auspicious for the speedy completion of this work. Just now the locomotive is the popular idol, and it is astonishing with what zeal the iron divinity is served. 'Give us a railroad,' is the universal cry. With unstinting liberality nearly every county in the State has voted large subsidies to a coming railroad. The policy may leave a burden of debt, but it will also hasten material prosperity, and bring to a speedy solution the problems of our varied resources. Let the God of this world take his lawful empire! Speed the victory of the railways; because as they develop the material resources, they also break away the thick veils of indifference and ignorance in what portions of the State they have shut out the light of the public school. The true apotheosis of the railway is not the wealth it produces, but the intelligence it fosters."
Upon the admission of Missouri as a State, in 1820, Congress granted the State two townships of the best land in the State for the support of a seminary of learning, the State legislature becoming the trustee for the management of the land and the proper application of the funds. In 1832 the legislature had most of the lands sold for $2 per acre, realizing a sum of only $70,000, when they were really worth half a million.
When the fund thus originating, invested in the State Bank, had reached the sum of $100,000, the university was located at Columbia, Boone County, the citizens of that county having subscribed the sum of $117,500 to the institution as an inducement. One man who could neither read nor write paid $3,000 to the purpose, and certain others subscribed to this sum and afterwards paid more than they were actually worth at the time of the subscription. The corner-stone of the edifice was laid in July 1840. The institution existed twenty-five years, and though with very insufficient funds, still making substantial progress, without ever having received the least aid from the State. Even a deficit, which occurred through State management, was not made good, far less was the loss resulting from the premature sale of the ample and beneficent grant returned to the institution by the State. The provision for the State institution contained in the new constitution, with the adoption of the new State constitution, began a new era for the university. The provision made for it is in these words: "The general assembly shall establish and maintain a State university, in which there shall be departments in teaching, in agriculture, and natural science, as soon as the public school fund will permit." An act was passed giving $10,000 for rebuilding the president's house, which had been destroyed by fire during the war, and also making an annual grant of 14 per cent. of the State revenue, after deducting therefrom 25 per cent. already appropriated for the support of common schools. The general plan of the institution is to retain the usual college course for those who desire that; to enlarge and perfect the scientific course; to establish and maintain a college of agriculture and mechanic arts, including military tactics, embracing a school of engineering, analytical chemistry, mining, and metallurgy, a normal college, a law college, and a preparatory department. The president is Daniel Reid, LL. D. The number of students, 217; graduates for the year 1867-68, 13; value of property, estimated at $250,000 to $350,000.
owes its origin to the liberality of colored soldiers enlisted from Missouri. In the spring of 1866 a subscription of $4,000 was made by the enlisted men of the Sixtysecond United States colored infantry, to aid in the foundation of an educational institution in Missouri for the especial benefit of the colored people. Afterward, another colored Missouri regiment added to it the sum of $1,325; and $2,000 were subsequently received from the Freedmen's Bureau. Other funds, including $1,000 from the officers of the Sixty-second regiment, have supported it three years and a half. Tuition is free. A valuable library of several hundred volumes has been obtained. It is recommended that an annual sum of $5,000 be added to these funds, and a State institution therewith founded for the education of colored teachers.
THE MISSOURI INSTITUTE FOR THE EDUCATION OF THE BLIND,
located at the city of St. Louis, was established in 1851. The superintendent is H. Rensselaer Foster; number of students in attendance, 72; value of buildings and grounds, $75,000; of apparatus, $1,200. Through the efforts of Mr. Eli William Whelan, the legislature, in 1851, appropriated $15,000 to the institution, provided that the sum of $10,000 should be subscribed by individuals, or by the city or county of St. Louis, which amount was soon pledged. In 1856, it was located in the city of St. Louis, upon a lot 22 by 300 feet. It had hitherto been supported by an annual appropriation of $3,000 from the State, and $2,000 from the citizens of St. Louis; but as the operations of the institution became more extensive, the State assumed the entire responsibility of its support, on condition that all the property "should be held in trust for the State and subject to its disposal," which was accordingly done. The institution is managed by seven trustees, appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate. The course of instruction embraces three departments-literary, musical, and mechanical. Since the establishment of the institute 250 pupils have been under instruction. Of those who have gone out one is a physician, fifteen are teachers of music, one literature, fifteen regained their sight, twenty-six removed from the State without completing their course, eighty-four are pursuing the different trades which they acquired here, viz., broom, brush, and mat making, chair seating and willow work.
Besides the North Missouri Normal School, already referred to, there are in the State eleven other institutions of learning which are not fostered by the State government. Blanks sent to them by the superintendent have elicited the following particulars: The William Jewell College, located at Liberty, Clay County, established in 1849; Thomas Rambant, LL.D., president. The number of teachers is 6; of pupils, 110; value of buildings and grounds, $50,000; apparatus, $3,000. The endowment is $145,000. The Grand River College, located at Edinbug, Grundy County, in 1858, John E. Vertrees, A. M., president. The number of pupils is 110; teachers, 3; value of property, $6,000. The Plattsburg College, located at Plattsburg, Clinton County, in 1867, James H. Thomas, president, has 137 pupils and 4 teachers. Property worth $10,000. McGee College, located at College Mound, Macon County, founded in 1853, J. B.