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These boards ought to be paid a reasonable sum for their work, otherwise it will not be well done. They ought to be made up exclusively of practical teachers, for the same reason that only lawyers can legally examine law students applying for admission to the bar, that only physicians examine medical students, and that only clergymen pass on the fitness of theological students to enter the ministry. By combining a system of State, city, county, and town examinations, together with inter-state legislation, something might be done to raise the standard of public school teaching.
It is a matter of surprise that so little has already been done in this direction. It can only be accounted for by the fact that nine tenths of the men and women engaged in keeping school are intending and expecting to get out of the business as soon as they can. Otherwise, they would never submit to the humiliation of successive examinations by petty officials, who often know little or nothing about education, but who delight in a brief official importance.
It is urged against this plan of competitive, professional examinations in writing, that "percentages percentages" represent mere scholarship, and fail to gauge the power to discipline, the tact to manage, and the skill to teach.
This may be true to some extent, but it is also certain that, while some good scholars may fail when submitted to the final test of the school-room, no ignorant teacher can possibly make a good teacher under any circumstances. There is a grade of scholarship below which no man or woman is fitted to make a trial of teaching. Above this standard, some will succeed and some will fail. So it is with graduates of the law schools, the divinity schools, and the medical schools.
It may be urged that boards of examination will show favoritism in issuing certificates to friends. So they will, unless the people elect incorruptible school officers, and appoint incorruptible teachers. The best laws ever framed, and the best systems ever devised, are never binding on corrupt or incapable executive officers.
It may be urged that the diploma of a college ought to be taken as a valid certificate of fitness to teach. Now a college-bred young man may or may not be qualified to teach. I have known many young men coming to California, with flying colors and fresh diplomas, who ignominiously failed to secure a certificate to teach even the lowest grade country school, on an examination in arithmetic, grammar, geography, history, reading, and spelling, so elementary in its character, that to a pupil of average attainment in the second grade of an ordinary grammar school, it would have been mere play. They not only showed no "fitness to teach," but they exhibited a most lamentable ignorance of the very elements required to be taught in every common school. They might have been brilliant in the dead languages, but they misspelled their mother tongue, they murdered English, and they couldn't cipher. There can be no safe and sure test, except actual examination.
I do not deny that the hobby of written examinations may be ridden to death. It has been wickedly said by somebody-doubtless some luckless examinee-that the leading object of many examina
tions is to give the examiners a chance to show off their own attainments. I have seen many sets of questions that seemed to be fossil curiosities, picked up during a life-long search after abnormal things -"tough sums" in arithmetic and algebra, the product of some mathematician run to seed; gleanings of the tag ends of the countless rules, and notes and exceptions, and annotations and explanations, and illustrations and idioms, of Lindley Murray, that great grammarian who wrote bad English, and made sad the hearts of unnumbered generations of school boys and school girls; twisted elliptical sentences to be parsed according to Smith, or Brown, or Greene, or Wells, or Weld, or Sanborn, or Kerl, or Hart, or Clark, or Quackenbos, or Bullion, or Pinneo, or Nokes, or Stokes, or Niles, or Stiles, or Thompson, or Pickwick; unheard-of words of crooked orthography, the gnarled growth of centuries of changes of the English tongue, strung together like onions, in a way that would have brought tears to the eyes of old Webster himself, that dear old philological bush-ranger, who fought orthography on his own hook, in defiance of all usage, and of all laws of linguistic warfare; questions in geography on zig-zag boundaries, on the length of all the rivers of all the world, from the Amazon down to the trout-brooks that we fished in when boys; on the distance of the classic towns of "You Bet" and "Red Dog," in California, from Nijni Novogorod and the sources of the Nile; on the direction of Brandy Gulch and Whisky Cañon from Ujiji and Petropaulovski; questions in history requiring the year and the day of the month of the settlement of every State in the Union, supplemented by senseless interrogatories on historical myths known only in our school text-books; impracticable questions on theory and practice of teaching, about what ought to be done under impossible conditions; questions about elements of penmanship that even such accomplished penmen as Greeley, or Choate, or Napoleon Bonaparte, couldn't answer; questions on Sanscrit roots no Brahmin ever heard of; questions on the constitution that would have floored the "Great Expounder;" questions on physiology that would puzzle Darwin; questions on natural philosophy at which Huxley or Tyndall would be dumb; questions which showed the examiner to be "stick, stark, staring mad," and which no sane man could answer. But a practical system of examinations presupposes a common-sense style of conducting them.
In conclusion, I submit the following propositions for the consideration of teachers, and educators, and legislators:
1. A comprehensive system of State, city, county, and town Boards of Examination.
2. Boards of Examination to be made up of State, city, county, or town superintendents, together with a limited number of professional teachers, appointed in the manner best suited to the school systems of the different States.
3. A graded series of teachers' certificates, from life diplomas down to temporary certificates, valid for one year, granted on actual examination only.
4. Examinations to be conducted in writing, and the percentages obtained in each study to be indorsed on the certificates.
5. A legal recognition by each State of the professional certificates issued in other States.
6. A provision for the legal recognition, by Boards of Examination in each State, of the normal school diplomas issued by the normal schools of other States and other countries.
7. A determined and combined effort to shape legislation so as to secure longer terms of office to State, city, county, and town superintendents, to members of Boards of Education, and to school trustees, thereby securing some degree of uniform progress in educational management.
8. A war of independence, to be waged against the outrageous system of the annual election of teachers, a plan which reduces them below the level of the holder of the smallest post-office in the gift of a victorious political party.
* The Oral Examination may be conducted at any time, by taking each appli
1. GENERAL QUESTIONS.
1. Name, age, birthplace.
2. Where educated.
3. Experience in teaching.
4. What certificate, if any.
5. Are you an applicant for a State certificate?
I. DICTATION PARAGRAPH.
[50 Credits. Three Credits off for each misspelled word, or misplaced capital.] Had the Plantagenets, as at one time seemed likely, succeeded in uniting all France under their government, it is probable that England would never have had an independent existence. The noble language of Milton and Burke would have remained a
rustic dialect, without a literature, a fixed grammar, or a fixed orthography, and would have been contemptuously abandoned to the use of boors. No man of English extraction would have risen to eminence, except by becoming, in speech and habits, a Frenchman.
[50 Credits. One Credit off for each misspelled word.]
perseverance sacrilegious Matthew
[100 Credits. Time, 11⁄2 hours.]
1. Write a synopsis of the verb to speak, in the indicative mood, third person, singular number, passive voice.
2. State three cases where the relative that must be used in preference to who or which, and illustrate each case by a sentence.
3. State all the noun-suffixes and verb-suffixes of inflection, in English.
4. Write the plurals of-1, focus; 2, index; 3, his; 4, memorandum; 5, animalcule.
5. Correct such of the following as are not, in your opinion, good English:
I. You had better go.
II. I had rather not do it.
III. The ship was soon lost sight of.
IV. It is the strongest case I ever heard of.
V. "The deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. The squirrel eyes askance the chestnuts browning." Parse, with brief forms: 1, squirrel; 2, eyes; 3, askance; 4, browning; 5,
"Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
I. What kind of a sentence?
II. How many statements, or propositions?
IV. Why a semicolon after obscure?
V. Derivation of simple?
8. Parse, with brief models: 1, ambition; 2, grandeur; 3, hear; 4, obscure; 5, why are ambition and grandeur capitalized?
9. State five ways in which you can make use of a reading lesson in connection with grammar ?
10. Correct the following sentences, and give a general rule or direction to pupils, covering each case:
I. The lecture was brief, short, and concise.
II. She is a teacher whom all are pleased with.
III. A pin was accidentally swallowed by a little girl without a head.
IV. We reached home, at length, after great difficulty, in a blinding snow-storm, through deep snow drifts.
V. It can be no worse for us, if we fail.
4. WRITTEN ARITHMETIC.
[100 Credits. Time, 2 hours.]
[NOTE.-Leave all your work on the paper; make no analysis or explanation unless called for, and then give in full.]
1. Perform the following operations: Multiply 3.05 by 2, subtract 0.21, divide the result by 1, and add to it the quotient of 9 divided by 1-900th. He gave
2. A man owned a square field, containing ten acres. enough from it for a street 4 rods wide, all around it. How much land had he left?
3. How many feet of siding, six inches wide, will cover the sides of a house which is 24 feet by 30 feet, and 15 feet high, allowing for the lap. (No gable ends.)
4. A water tank is 3 wide and 5 feet long. How deep must it be to hold 8 hogsheads?
5. A man sold two horses for $240 each; on the one he gained 20 per cent., and on the other he lost 20 per cent. Did he gain or lose on the two transactions, taken together, and how much?
6. A vertical pole 99 feet high is standing in a public park, equally distant from the four corners of the park. The park is rectangular, and 16 rods by 36 rods. How far is it from the top of the pole to a corner of the park?
7. A merchant sold goods at 30 per cent. profit, and paid & per cent. of his gross receipt for expenses, what is his net gain on sales amounting to $8,000 ?
8. Deduce the multiplier used in compound interest for finding the compound interest on any sum of money, at 5 per cent., for 5 years.
9. An eccentric old lady papered the walls of her room with 3 cent postage stamps. Her room was 16 by 10 feet, and 12 feet high; it had 2 windows, each 51⁄2 by 4 feet, and 2 doors, each 6 by 3 feet. A postage stamp is 1 inch long by 15-16 wide. What was the cost of papering her room?
10. On a promissory note from John Doe to Richard Roe, San Francisco, January 4, 1874, for $1,200, payable on demand, 10 per cent. a year, there were paid: March 19, 1874, $300; Aug. 15,