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Balance on hand at the beginning of the school year
Amount paid for rent, repairs, fuel, and contingent
Amount paid for sites, buildings, and school furni
Total expenditures of all kinds
VALUATION OF SCHOOL PROPERTY.
Valuation of sites, school houses, and furniture. ... $4,879,328 39
VII. RESUME OF THE CONDITION OF THE SCHOOLS.
1. BUILDINGS.-In general, the school houses are comfortable, are furnished with modern styles of desks, and fairly supplied with maps, charts, and simple school apparatus.
2. LENGTH OF SCHOOL.-The average length of school is 7 months in the year, an average exceeded by only two or three States in the Union. There were only 34 schools in which the length of term was less than 6 months. In nearly 800 districts the length of term exceeded 8 months. The provision in making the county apportionment by which the minimum amount for each school, however small, is $500, has extended the means of education to the most remote settlements.
3. TEACHERS. Of the 2800 teachers, 240, or nearly one tenth, are graduates of the California State Normal School. There are 292 holders of life diplomas; that is, about one tenth, who may be ranked as "professionals. There are about 400 holders of educational diplomas who have had at least 5 years' experience. In all, about one third of the teachers may be considered skilled in their profession, the remaining two thirds being mainly made up of "raw recruits."
4. INSTRUCTION.-There is a good course of study laid out by the State Board of Education; but, of course, this is carried out in the country districts to a very limited extent only. In a majority of the schools, the teaching consists of text-book recitations, with little or no instruction by the teacher.
5. LIBRARIES.—Each school is supplied with a small library, purchased by an annual appropriation of 10 per cent. of the State appropriation, not to exceed $50 yearly. The amount expended last year was about $50,000.
The libraries constitute one of the best features of the system.
6. SECULAR INSTRUCTION.-With a few unimportant exceptions, the schools are purely secular. The provisions of the State law are generally interpreted to exclude the reading of the Bible and prayer. In the State University, in the schools of
San Francisco, Oakland, and most other cities, and in most of the country districts, there are no religious exercises whatever.
The State Normal School is the only notable exception; there, the school is opened with prayer and the reading, of the Bible.
7. DEFECTS.-There are two weak points in the system. 1. The short terms of school officers. 2. The frequent change of teachers.
Everywhere, except in San Francisco, the New England system of electing teachers annually is in full force and effect. Hence, a majority of the teachers are "circuit teachers."
The frequent change of school officers renders uniform and steady progress out of the question.
The most notable defect in the instruction given in the schools is the lack of thorough mental training, the work of the pupils consisting largely in memorizing text-book recitations.
The reforms of the next century will consist in the employment of skilled teachers, in common sense methods of teaching, and in the adaptation of courses of study to industrial pursuits.
8. EXPENSES.-The total amount expended for school purposes, during a quarter of a century, is, in round numbers, twenty-five millions of dollars. This is the best investment the State has ever made. Had fifty millions been expended, the State to-day would be the richer for it. Men, not money, make the true wealth of a nation.
9. WHAT WE NEED.-The following extract from an address by Hon. Ezra S. Carr, before the State Agricultural Society, September, 1875, outlines a want to be supplied during the next century:
Our progress during the last six years is due to our increased facilities of travel and transportation. So many are now busy with plans for increasing immigration, that it may be useful to have one voice directing the public mind to the solution of a more important question, viz.: how to grow a crop of sound-bodied, right-minded, clean-hearted children, who will take to work " as naturally and kindly as a duck takes to water. I hold that the end of the crop is the eater; the end of labor the betterment of the laborer; and that human improvement is as legitimate a subject for discussion in agri
cultural societies as that of colts or chickens. We have hitherto left this subject pretty much to the doctors-doctors of the body and of the soul-whose occupation will be gone when man truly reflects the Divine image. And although we need the help of these doctors still in the work of human improvement, and although we are immensely indebted to them for what has already been accomplished, I think it is better to pay them for the ounce of prevention than for the pound of cure. Nature herself protests when a lean, dwarfed apology for a man calls himself master of the noble brute creatures, which have become more than half human in their intelligence and beauty, through careful selections, breeding, and nurture. An organization like this, having for its object the improvement of the farmer, as well as the farm, will not love a horse less because it loves a child more. The interests of agriculture are bound up with those of education, especially in that modern form of it which is denominated" technical." The farmer's children are "the best working stock on the farm;' and the value of skill, intelligence, and good character applied there is more and more highly appreciated. This is the lowest, most material view of the subject, but it is one that the political economist will not overlook. Do our schools, do any of them, meet the great demands of agricultural and mechanical industry? Hundreds of the best and most progressive teachers say they do not; thousands and tens of thousands of anxious parents say they do not.
In a recent meeting of a State agricultural society in the East, it was said: "What we want is not mere culture, but culture applied, culture realized, culture put at work, and demonstrating, day by day, its uses." The masses of our people have little time to pursue branches of study which have not some direct bearing upon their callings or avocations. Aside from the elements, which all should receive, the importance of special knowledge, bearing upon special work, is paramount. Our system should be changed, so that from the highest classes in the country schools to the University, by unbroken gradations of the most liberal training in the acquisition of knowledge and skill, men and women should be fitted worthily to perform their appointed service in the industrial state.
It is fifteen years since the Massachusetts State Board of Agriculture asked the legislature for the passage of an act authorizing, as the first step in furnishing an agricultural education to the people
FIRST-"The engrafting upon her common school education the study of elementary geology, animal and vegetable physiology, and botany; to be taught in the usual form, by manuals, with suitable illustrations, simple and inexpensive; so prepared that it will not altogether depend upon the knowledge of the instructor to make them of use to the learner. With a slight change in their studies, our children would learn something which would every day become more deeply implanted in their minds by what they see going on around them." These studies," they said, "These studies," they said, "cannot be commenced too early, for they are the germs of all future development, the vitality of which is never lost; they must be planted early if it is hoped to reach a full harvest.
SECOND-They asked for an agricultural school with a farm attached to it, where the practice of agriculture in its several departments,