« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
unler their charge, only in accordance with the advice, or recommendation of the
Il istorical Guide.
Dictionary of Mathematies.
Yondani's Clus. Buok of themistry:
('oe': Drawing Cards, 10) parts.
Otis' Drawing Book of Animals, 5 parte. Ricord's Primary Grainmar.
Easy Lessons in Landscape, 0 parts. ("arke' New English Grammar.
Waring's Elements of Agriculture. leb's Analysis of the Engli-! Sentence.
Grecu's Primary Botany.
Class Book of Botany.
Fulton & Enstuan: Double Entry Book-keerQuackenboss' 1st Lesson in Composition. ins.
Advanced Course of Composition F. & E.'s Dlanks for Double Entry Bookand Rhetoric.
Keeping. Pare & Dunton's System of lenmanship. Cutter's Anatomy, Physiology and Ilygiene. Piker's Juvenile Philosophy.
1st Book of
Mrs. Cutter's Anatomy. Physiology &
Webster's Unabridgeil Dictionary.
lligh School Vorthoni's Dictation Exercises.
Mitchell's Outline Mape. Broukfield's Composition.
Pelton's Word Builder.
A. CONSTANTINE BARRY,
SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION. The recommendation of the Department, together with the principle of C'niformity to which it is committed, has been very widely endorsed by Superintendents, District Boards and Teachers. In comparatively few instances, through the operation of certain causes to which we shall presently 'advert, the uniformity movement, so styled, has met with opposition, and the official recommendation been set at naught.
For the purpose of showing what is the generally pervading sentiment and conviction on this subject, I quote again from the Report of Town Superintendents :
" There has been a diversity of text-books in our schools, but steps are being taken to introduce the series recommended by yourself."
“I think a uniformity of text-books would have a tendency to make our schools more efficient and useful!"
"The series of books which you recommended have been introduced, and will proba!:ly come into use this winter throughout the whole town.”
"We have not a uniforinity of text-books at present, but have commenced the vork of accomplishing so desirable an end. In two of our districts we have made i thorough change, and have encouragement that we can succeed in all of them.The books adopted are those recommended by you."
"I have not yet succeeded in getting a uniformity of text-books intro luced, hough many are favorable to the plan."
“For the three years I have held my present office, I have urged the necessity of a uniforinity of text-books
I shall endeavor to introduce those you have recommended. I think them superior."
"We are making arrangements for introducing a uniformity of text-books—the series recommended by you—and think we shall succeed. I deem it of the utmost importance."
"One other thing which I was lamenting, but rejoice to see is being noticed by yourself, is the want of uniformity of text-books. Almost every kind of books, varying according to the fancies of the respective teachers, was found by ine in the schools. I shall earnestly endeavor to promote the desirable object recoinmended by yourself—a uniformity of text-books, and the series proposed by you."
“We have introduced the series recommendel by you into some of our schools, and expect to into the balance as soon as they commence again."
"I am making an effort to introduce the series recoinmended by you throughout the entire town."
** We shall adopt a uniformity of school books at the commencement of the winter term, viz: those recommended by our State Superintendent.”
“We have not hitherto had a uniformity of text-books, but I am now engaged in supplying this clesideratum. With the consent of the District Board I have selected the leading books on your official list.”
" There is not a uniformity of books in any of the schools as yet, but the thing will come round soon."
* We have a uniformity of books in our town---those recommended in your official list."
"A uniformity of books is much needed."
“We have a uniformity of text-books in our schools. They are those that were recommended in your annual Report, with the exception of the Grammar."
“I have endeavored to in luce people to try the recommended series, and where they have done so the books have given good satisfaction. A fresh impetus has been given to the schools by the means, and none, I an confident, can fail to notice the effect. I regard the uniformity movement as an effort in the right direction, and one that must receive the sanction of all who really have in view the good of schools."
Without quoting further, I will simply remark, that there is a general concurrence in the foregoing expression of approbation and of sentiment. None, I am confident, dissent from the position assumed by this Department, that a uniformity of text-books for the State is both desirable and practicable--none, at least, who have bestowed a thought upon the subject.
I cannot now enter into a long and elaborate discussion of the principle of uniformity, and therefore offer the following as a brief statement only of our views, at the same time asking for it, as for the subjeet itself, the serious consideration of the people of Wisconsin:
Common School education, hy long usage and universal consent, has become one of the recognized functions of the State. Along with the duties of administering justice, protecting property and life, and conserving the order and peace of the community, and equally obligatory upon the State, as the sovereign guarilian of the coinmonwealth, we are accustomed to place the duty to provide an adequate and useful education, and to submit to the cost and burden it may involve, as one of those necessities of social existence for which taxes may be rightfully levied, laws.
enacted, and the prerogative of sovereign power put forth. In a popular governhe
ment, it is as indispensabile a condition of national permanence and order that the mass of the people be duly educated, as that they should be protected in the enjoyment of any of the inalienable rights for which society exists. The newer States of the Union have accordingly incorporated the subject of Popular Education among their fundamental forms of government, making in many instances the most liberal provisions for giving it efficiency and universality. Officers have been set apart specially charged with the duty of superintending its details. Normal Schools for the preparation of Teachers, and costly and extensive institutions of higher learning have been crected, and generous endowments made for the support of teachers, the erection of school houses, the creation of school libraries, and other means of thorough and useful culture; all of which pre-suppose both the right and duty of interposition on the part of the State, to secure an adequate education, so far as it may, to its entire population. With many of the States there is scarcely any other object of legislation which receives more careful attention, or any public interests for which liberal appropriations are more cordially sanctioned by the people.
The spirit of these provisions clearly defines the duties of the public officer to whom the interests of education, in any State may be entrusted. He is bound to avail himself of the widest experience, and to adopt the most efficient methods to secure the best education for the greatest number. And among these must be reckoned as not the least important or difficult, the wise choice of the text-books to be used in the schools. In scarcely any particular, has the practical business of education laterly received more beneficial impulse than in the character and adaptedness of the books used in imparting instruction. The general awakening of public interest to the subject of education has attracted to the work of preparing them minds of the highest order and most liberal culture; while in their publication and diffusion, the energies of the largest commercial enterprize have been zealously enlisted. This result, while it argues a most satisfactory increase of public attention to the subject, and a consequent improvement of the schools, is nevertheless attended with a great practical evil in the extraordinary competition of rival books, which not only renders the task of selection difficult and embarrassing, but tends to a most injurious confusion and embarrassment among the schools. To guard against the evil of a great variety and competition of school books, many States hare resorted to the policy of encouraging and promoting with more or less stringency, the use of uniform text-books in the schools. In some of these states, express authority has been given to the Superintendent to select and recommend such text-books as he may find best adapted to the purpose; in others, a moral force, almost equivalent to express authority, is exercised for the same end.
Wherever adopted, this principle has given immediate and salutary impulse to the schools; and such are its obvious and direct benefits, that it can hardly fail to become an universal feature of the Educational Policy of all those States where education is controlled by legislation. In this State as in most of the North-western States, it has so far demonstrated its practicability as to render it a matter of the greatest importance that it should become the permanent and universal policy of our schools. Scarcely any interest connected with the schools of the State has, at pres
ent, a more urgent claim upon the sympathy, and co-operation of all the friends of edsucation in the State, than this question of uniformity of text-books; and to none has
more thought and care been bestowed. For years have I given it attention. Convince not only of the importance—which is generally conceded—but also of the practica bility of a State Uniformity of text-books, I at once, upon my appointment to the office in which the people have seen fit to retain me, took decided ground in favor o it. Multiplicity of text-books in our schools—hardly a single school possessing : uniformity, was a great and crying evil. It stood in the way of educational pro gress and prosperity, and was rather increasing than diminishing. For the purpose of remedying this evil, and removing a mighty embarrassment to any largeuse fulness of our public schools, I selected and recommended, as became my duty, a uniforin series of text-books for use throughout the State. This done, in order that the recommendation might not be wholly devoid of practical force and effec -a mere idle form annually gone through with as in times past-I sought co-ope ration from town superintendents, district boards, teachers, and all friends o education. My appeal was to them—to the good sense and the candid reason of the people, and not to any authority I may have possessed under the law; and he who says that I ever, by declaration or intimation, asserted that I would force my recom mendation authoritatively on the people of Wisconsin, utters an infamous false hood! “Shingle" the State he may with his “incendiary” circulars—he is only the greater villain, and deserving the deeper infamy.
This movement for the establishment of the principle of uniformity, in accordance with reasonable expectation, was at the outset stoutly resisted. It met with bitter and determined opponents, and not the most righteous n.en were always employed to stay its progress. Motives were impugned-charges of bribery and corruption iterated and reiterated—every manner of falsehood invented and put into active and extensive circulation—and art and intrigue made to play their part in the most skillful
But the movement has made way against it all, and now that the heat and violence of the conflict have somewhat abated, is seen still to contain within itself the assurance of ultimate success. Its past achievements are at once a fact and a prophecy. That it will continue to be opposed we believe; but at the same time we have a strong conviction that it will prevail in the end.
I am not yet prepared to believe, that any considerable number of the people of Wisconsin will array themselves in hostility to a public officer who is faithfully endeavoring to serve them, or that refusing to co-operate with this Department in carrying forward a measure of conceded utility and of pre-eminent importance to our common schools, will bestow sympathy and aid upon those whose interest it is to divide and alienate. Neither am I prepared to believe that school officers and teachers-any portion of them--will be moved by any influences to oppose a movement which looks only to an increase of educational prosperity in our State, or that by any means they can be converted into the persistent opponents of the legitimate labors of this Department. We are to work in harmony together--not to be opponents and enemies. We need in this mutual business of furthering the interests of popular education, not only “the long pull, and the strong pull,” but the "pull altogether." Only in this way can any thing of amount be accomplished.
No one says aught either by circular or otherwise, against uniformity-all claim to hold and advocate the principle. So, too, none deny that the recommendation of text-books was not a fit one to be made, all the books on the official list, if not
WISCONSIN JOURNAL OF EDUCATION.
the very best, are at least good books. This is conceded ly the opponents of the list. But the manner in which the recommendation was made—that is what is so monstrous and appalling! Of this I will simply say, that it was the aim of the Department to discharge its duty with an eye single to the best good of the schools of Wisconsin.
But my action in this matter is regarded in certain quarters as extra-official—as an unwarrantable interference -an unjust invasion of the rights of others; and I have been accused of calling a series of County Conventions for the main purpose of uvancing the interest of ninetuen school books "—of issuing circulars from my office' as: uming the most extraordinary powers'—of entering into a partnership with certain publishing houses of having bartered away my manhood, my selfrespect, the honor and dignity of my oífice for MONEY! These are the charges that have been blurted over the whole State, by newspaper and circular, for the past ten months. And after all this, I am bade to see who are my friends in this matter! That I have desired and labored for a uniformity of text-books throughout the State I cheerfully admit. And I unhesitatingly acknowiedge that I have given all my personal and official influence to the work of securing such uniformity. In doing so have s exceeded my instructions, or assumed extraordinary powers ? Let those who think so read Section 48, of Chap. 9, of the Revised Statutes: 'It shall, be his duty to recommenil the introduction of the most approrel text-books, and as far as practicable to secure A UNIFORMITY IN THE USE OF TEXT-BOOKS IN THE COMMON SCHOOLS THROUGJIOUT THE State.' The Superintendent is not only to é recommend,' but he is to secure' so far as he may by the legitimate exercise of any power he possesses a uniformity of text-books—not in a town or county, but throughout the State.' So read his instructions. He may even call conventions for the sole and only purpose of promoting such uniformity. He may issue circulars inviting cooperation on the part of school officers and teachers, and even warn' Town Superintendents and others to beware of agents' who seek to obstruct the path of his duty. I have labored and shall continue to labor in obedience to the instructions which bind my office, regardless alike of the frowns or smiles of men.
The considerations which call for the adoption of uniform text-books in the common schools, are both numerous and urgent,-to.a few of which it may not be irrelevant to our purpose to advert:- The danger of the introduction and use of inferior and incompetent books, will be greatly diminished by intrusting the choice to a public officer selected for the purpose. The choice of the best text-bocks, is, in the present state of educational literature, a task of exceeding delicacy, demanding sound critical judgment, practical experience of the wants of the school room, and familiarity with all the improvements to which the experience or intelligence of the age has given birth. To make this choice wisely among so many books, of such various grades of excellence, presupposes a degree of leisure and preparation, to which but few of our school officers, or our teachers, even, can lay claim. Yet there is scarcely any question pertaining to education, which involves more comprehensive or important results. If this office be confided to one person, or to a chosen and central board, the magnitude of the trust will both justify and he apt to secure the bestowment of a suliicient degree of time and attention to the work of examination and comparison of the different books in the market, to render the