Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

age school terms have been lengthened 1.33 months, being now 7.47 months as against 6.14 months in 1873; 34 districts, as against 464 in 1873, maintained school less than six months; 765 districts, as against 361 in 1873, maintained school more than six months; and 787 districts, as against 637 in 1873, maintained school eight months and over.

In relief to this showing of our educational statistics, I must note a great advance in the number of first grade schools, i. e., high schools, grammar schools, and schools in which high school and grammar grade studies are taught in addition to the lower grade studies; the greater number of teachers holding high grade certificates; in the better salaries paid to lady teachers; in the greater amount of funds spent for school apparatus, one-half of our districts being now supplied, at least partly, with apparatus. Much remains yet to be done, however, in the equipment of schoolhouses; for onefifth of our districts have not yet even the outhouses demanded by decency; three-fourths of the districts have not suitably improved school grounds; one-half of the districts do not furnish their schools with the necessary apparatus; and nearly one-half of the districts have not furnished their schoolrooms with improved furniture.

From July 1, 1866, to June 30, 1867, for the first time in the history of the State, every public school was made entirely free for every child; and an important transition was thereby marked in popular education. But, though every public school was made free, the ways and means provided for the public schools, and the manner of apportioning these means to the different districts, were for years such that only in the centres of wealth and population the children had sufficient facilities for obtaining a good common school education, whilst in all other sections of the State the school system was but a pretense for popular education. The system went further, for in some cases it even thrust districts from without its pale. Hundreds of districts did not receive sufficient funds to maintain in every year the three months' school guaranteed by the Constitution to every district of the State. Up to June 30, 1874, districts whose number of census children fell below a certain figure-twenty for some counties, up to as high as thirty for others did not receive for any one school year sufficient funds to maintain a three months' school for that year.

[ocr errors]

Thanks to the last Legislature, however, for the school year ending June 30, 1875, and for the first time in the history of this State, every district received sufficient funds for not only a three months' school, but for at least a six months' school. The progress thereby made in popular education can hardly be overestimated. Short school terms-which, until last year have been the rule and not the exception in a majority of the districts of the State-place within the reach of our children only such fragmentary bites of instruction which are only a little better than none at all. Every system of popular education which does not insure to every district of the State at least an eight months' school every year, is but a sham. Long school terms are the sine qua non without which it is impossible to give our children the full measure of the amount and quality of education needed by them. Happily, the wise action of

the last Legislature has secured to our schools this first factor in every successful system of popular education. The results of this action are patent. In 1873, only 43.3 per cent. of all the districts maintained an eight months' school; in 1875, this percentage is raised to 49.53; in 1872, over 464 districts, or 31.74 per cent., did not keep a six months' school; in 1875, the number has diminished to 34, or 2.15 per cent. of all the districts in the State. In other words, all but 34 districts maintained at least a six months' school.

Superintendent Bolander condemned "text-books" in unmeasured terms, spelling-books in particular. He says:

In short, the board, and through it the State, must furnish each teacher with a Manual of Instruction. By this means we can dispense with several text-books, and reduce the bulk of the remaining text-books by rigidly excluding therefrom everything which appertains exclusively to the teacher's office. A text-book should be, what its name implies, a "book of texts. "The sermons are to be preached by the teacher--the book is to furnish the texts which are to be analyzed, developed, unfolded, explained, enlarged upon by the teacher--texts which need an exegesis to make them understood."

25

The Manual of Instruction will furthermore point out to teachers the course of culture and technical training needed by them to qualify themselves for their work; in other words, it will prepare teachers for their work. Being no longer able to rely upon the text-book, teachers will be compelled to assimilate some method of teaching, and, in time, will then become real teachers, instead of mere school keepers.

TRAINED TEACHERS.

For the purpose of securing professional teachers he recommended the following plan:

1. That in our State University be established a school or faculty of education with a four years course of study; all students completing and passing a satisfactory examination in the first year's course, to obtain a life certificate entitling them to teach any primary or third grade school in the State; all students completing and passing a satisfactory examination in the second year's course, to obtain a life certificate entitling them to teach any school in the State not above the intermediate or second grade; all students completing and passing a satisfactory examination in the third year's course, to obtain a life certificate entitling them to teach any school not above the grammar or first grade, and to be eligible to the office of City or County School Superintendent; all students completing and passing a satisfactory examination in the four years course, to obtain a life diploma entitling them to teach in any school of the State, including high schools, normal and training schools, and the Educational College of the University, and making them furthermore eligible to the office of State Superintendent and instructors of normal institutes.

[ocr errors]

2. That the course of study of the State Normal School be conformed to the one just sketched.

3. That any high school or college, private or public, be authorized to establish a normal school department, with a partial or full course of study as prescribed for the Educational College of the University, provided that such department be taught only by graduates of the four years' course; that the course be the same as provided for the State Normal School, and that the students be examined and certificated only by the faculties of the State Normal School and University. If such department be connected with a public institution, tuition to be free.

4. That any City Board of Education, or County Board of Supervisors, be authorized to establish city or county normal schools, teaching partially, or in full, the course above mentioned, but their students to be examined and certificated only by the faculties of the State Normal School and University.

His plan for the establishment of Normal Institutes was as follows:

1. The present Teachers' Institutes and Boards of Examination are replaced by Normal Institutes.

2. Normal institutes are to be held annually in such places as may be determined upon, either by statute or by authority conferred upon the State Superintendent or other officer or board.

3. Every normal institute must be continued in session for not less than four weeks. It must be under the direction of a teacher who is known or proved to be a thorough normal school instructor; such teacher to be appointed by the State Superintendent, or other officer or board, as may be deemed best. Each of the teachers engaged in the State Normal School or the Educational College of the University, must conduct annually at least one normal institute.

4. Every applicant for a teacher's certificate must be present at the beginning of a normal institute; his admission as a member of the institute must be upon an examination like that required of applicants for admission into the State Normal School; he must attend the institute at least one full term; and must pass, at the end of the term, a satisfactory examination in the instruction given during the institute.

5. The expenses of the institute are to be paid direct by the State, or from the unapportioned County School Funds of the counties comprising the district in which the institute is held.

I have thus given the merest sketch of a system of normal institutes which can easily and profitably be introduced into this State. From this sketch an appropriate system can readily be elaborated; but as so much depends upon the temper and view of the Legislature, and its Committees on Education, it is preferable to leave such elaboration till the time when such committees can act upon the matter.

He quoted extensively from various writers on "School

Hygiene," on "Technical Education" and "Kindergartens," and concluded as follows:

I now retire from an office which I entered with a great deal of hesitancy and many forebodings. I brought to it many firm convictions, the growth of a decade spent in the schoolroom; and according to these convictions have I labored to perfect our system of education; and I feel that I need not fear the verdict of the future. I have at least succeeded in equalizing somewhat the educational facilities enjoyed by the districts of the State, and in rationalizing, in some measure, the system of instruction, and bringing it somewhat more in harmony with the "new education.'

The appendix contained a manual of suggestions for teaching the State course of study, including an exposition of the 'Grube system" of teaching arithmetic to beginners, and a full course of elementary lessons in local geography, and botany. It contained also an explanation of the "Kindergarten," an essay on "The Nervous System as affected by School Life," by Dr. D. F. Lincoln, of Boston; a report of the State Board of Examination, of the State Normal School, of the Institution for the Deaf and Dumb and Blind, and the report of the Regents of the University.

40. SCHOOL LEGISLATION, 1876.

The first school legislation during the first week of the session, was a bill taking from the State Board of Education the power of changing text-books, it being evident that a majority of the board were in favor of throwing out McGuffey's series of Readers, and Monteith's series of Geographies.

Mr. Carpenter, Speaker of the Assembly, introduced a bill providing for a State Board of Education, consisting of the Governor, State Superintendent and eight elective members, two from each congressional district; the board so elected to assume the powers of the State Board of Education, the Board of Regents of the University, and the Trustees of the State Normal School. The bill also provided for abolishing State uniformity of text-books, and for giving boards of education and school trustees the power of local adoption. This bill passed the Assembly, but was defeated in the Senate.

Mr. Hopkins introduced a bill providing for "county uniformity" in text-books, which passed both Houses but was pocketed by the Governor.

The section relating to county certificates was amended so as to authorize county boards to issue second and third grade certificates, on an examination in only the following studies: Arithmetic, Grammar, Geography, History, Reading, Writing, Spelling and Methods of Teaching.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

John G. Marvin and Paul K. Hubbs were elected by the Democrats.

Superintendent Moulder was twice elected on the Democratic ticket. He declined a nomination by the "Breckenridge” wing of the Democracy in 1862.

In the election of 1862 there were three tickets in the field, and the State Superintendent happened to be the only State officer to be elected. The opposing nominees were Col. Jonathan D. Stevenson, by the "Douglas Democrats;" Rev.O. P. Fitzgerald, by the "Breckenridge Democrats;" John Swett, on the "Union Ticket." The vote stood as follows: Swett, 51,238; Stevenson, 21,514; Fitzgerald, 15,514.

Superintendent Swett was re-elected on the Republican ticket in 1863 by about 20,000 majority over Dr. O. M. Wozencraft, the Democratic nominee, and was renominated in 1867. The canvass was a bitter one on both sides. Rev. O. P. Fitzgerald, the Democratic nominee, was elected by a majority of 1401.

Superintendent Fitzgerald was renominated in 1871, his opponent being Henry N. Bolander, nominated by the Repub

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »