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REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION,
Washington, D. C., March 15, 1868. Ar the close of the first year since he received from the President of the United States authority to organize and administer the affairs of this Department, the Commissioner of Education has the honor to submit his first or preliminary Report, "embodying the results of his investigations and labors, together with a statement of such facts and recommendations, as will in his judgment subserve the purpose for which this Department is established”—as is provided for in the following Act, approved March 2, 1867.
AN ACT TO ESTABLISH A DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of Anrica, in Congress assembled, That there shall be established, at the city of Tastington, a Department of Education, for the purpose of collecting such staristics and facts as shall show the condition and progress of education in the several States and Territories, and of diffusing such information respecting the organization and management of school systems, and methods of teaching, as shall aid the people of the United States in the establishment and maintenance of eficient school systems, and otherwise promote the cause of education throughout the country.
SEX: 2. Ami be it further enacted, That there shall be appointed by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, a Commissioner of Education, who shall be intrusted with the management of the Department Lerein established, and who shall receive a salary of four thousand dollars per ann'um, and who shall have authority to appoint one chief clerk of his department
, who shall receive a salary of two thousand dollars per annum, one clerk who shall receive a salary of eighteen hundred dollars per annum, and one clerk who shall receive a salary of sixteen hundred dollars per annum, which raid clerks shall be subject to the appointing and removing power of the Commissioner of Education.
SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the Commissioner of Education to present annually to Congress a report embodying the results of his investigations and labors, together with a statement of such facts and recommendations as will, in his judgment, subserve the purpose for which this Department is established. In the first Report made by the Commissioner of Education under this Act, there shall be presented a statement of the several grants of land made by Congress to promote education, and the manner in which these several trusts have been managed, the amount of funds arising therefrom, and the annual proceeds of the same, as far as the same can be determined. SEC
. 4. And be it further enacted, That the Commissioner of Public Buildings is hereby authorized and directed to furnish proper offices for the use of the Department, herein established. Åpproved, March 2, 1867. After consulting State and City Superintendents of Public Schools,
and other friends of education who had taken an active interest in the establishment of the Department, so far as they could be reached by letters, or call, within the first month, a general plan of operations was formed, the rooms furnished by the Commissioner of Public Buildings were occupied, the three clerks provided for were appointed, and about the middle of April the special work assigned to the Department was begun.
The general and special work of this Department, as defined in the Act of March 2, 1867, are,
First.-" To collect such statistics and facts as shall show the condition and progress of education in the several States and Territories”-and
Second.-" To diffuse such information respecting the organization and management of schools and school systems, and methods of teaching, as shall aid the people of the United States in the establishment and maintenance of efficient school systems, and otherwise promote the cause of education throughout the country.”
Third.—Besides giving his attention to these general subjects, the Commissioner is directed to present in his first report to Congress, “ a statement of the several grants of land made by Congress to promote education, the manner in which these several trusts have been managed, the amount of funds arising therefrom, and the annual proceeds of the same, as far as the same can be determined.”
Fourth.-By a Joint Resolution, approved March 29, 1867, the Commissioner is further directed to ascertain the condition of the public schools in the District of Columbia, and submit a Report on the relative efficiency of the system now in force, and on such additional legislation as he may deem necessary to secure the advantages of said system to all the children of the District.
The magnitude and delicacy of the work assigned to this Department both in the general and the specific provisions above recited, are such as to compel the Commissioner to invoke in advance a charitable judgment on any apparent deficiency in his plans, or in any delay in reaching, or in making public the results of his first year's labors. None save those who have had personal expcrience in this field of labor can appreciate fully the difficulty of obtaining complete statistics, or even general information, of the organization and operation of systems and institutions, located in forty-six different States and Territories occupying half of the American Continent—these systems, where they do exist, differing from each other in organization, management, and returns; and these institutions, whether in or out of the general system of the State,