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Complete and reliable school statistics of this Territory are not yet to be obtained; those given in chapter 22 are the best approximations that can be made. They are sufficient, however, to show that public schools have been making rapid strides since 1880, the yearly increase of enrollment for eight years having averaged about 17 per cent. The average number of public-school pupils to every 100 persons has increased since 1820 from 1 to 11. This latter number, however, is still only about one-half the average number for the country at large. (See table 3, column 6.) The expenditure for public schools is about one dollar per capita of the population, which also is about onehalf that of the country at large.
There is no indication that the average growth of the past eight years is being continued, though there is doubtless a gradual and continuous improvement. Definite statistical information is much needed.
The compulsory attendance law of 187 is defective in its wording, so that it can not be enforced, as it does not compel anything or anybody." Even if this were not the case it would be largely inoperative through the indifference of the public and the practical difficulties in the way of its execution. It may have had some indirect beneficial effect.
Of the 344 public schools in the Territory 143 are taught in English, 106 in Spanish, and 95 in both languages. The Spanish-speaking people are generally "very anxious to have their children taught English."
PUBLIC SCHOOLS OF NEW MEXICO.
The following is taken from a report made by Mr. T. B. Mills, United States Treaspry expert, to the Bureau of Statistics:
The introduction and establishment of a system of public education for the children of New Mexico has been rather a slow and difficult process. There have been and are yet many causes which have retarded and still prevent a proper growth and development of public free schools. Among these may be mentioned the sparseness of population in grazing districts, where often the residence of one family is miles distant from any other, but the principal causes are a deep-rooted prejudice of an influential part of the population against the system of education and lack of training and understanding of its practical working by the people themselves and the district officers chosen to carry out the provisions of the laws. The best public-school laws in the world (which we have not) would be found to be inefficient and unsatisfactory when applied to a population unaccustomed to such a system. The successful execution of school laws depends so largely upon the people themselves, upon minor precinct officers, that the latter are very liable to misapprehend their duties and the scope of their powers and privileges unless they have had previous training and experience. Their acts of commission and omission may all be well intended, but they often fail to put schools in practical operation. It takes time. The children are not the only ones to be taught; the voting and governing population outside of the schoolroom have to learn the requirements of the law and the manner to enforce it to secure the best results. It takes a population educated under a public-school system to successfully enforce and administer publicschool laws.
"But lack of experience may be overcome by interested effort, and I am glad to say that there is a large portion of the population of New Mexico enthusiastic in the support of public schools and popular education. They are anxious that their children shall learn. The English language is also steadily growing in favor. Necessarily the instruction in the schools of New Mexico has been largely in the Spanish language, but English is now taught wherever at all practicable.
"The general establishment of public schools throughout the Territory dates from the school law of 1884. It is not particularly a good law or a complete and perfect one by any means, but it introduced two new features which were not embraced in previous legislation and which secured the general establishment of schools. These were the provisions creating the office of county superintendent and the election by the people of a board of three directors or commissioners for each precinct. The system was a new one, and, fortunately for the great majority of counties, the first election resulted in the choice of competent and qualified men, who had nearly all been educated under the public schools of the States, to the offices of school superintendents. * * * "The law was general in terms without specific provisions, but the superintendents. found suflicient authority to organize one or more public schools in almost every precinct throughout the Territory, and they have ever since been fairly well maintained. The system is now firmly established and is growing constantly in public favor. The
school fund is provided by a tax of one-fourth of 1 per cent. on all the taxable property of the Territory. The poll tax and certain fines are also turned into the school fund. "The first law relating to schools in New Mexico was passed January 23, 1860. By this law the justice of the peace in each precinct was to appoint the teacher and he was entitled to collect the sum of fifty cents per month for each child attending his school. Compulsory attendance of children was also provided for.
"On the 23d of January, 1863, another law was passed creating a board of education, consisting of the governor, secretary, the judges of the supreme court, and the bishop (Catholic) of New Mexico. This board was invested with extraordinary powers, 'to make all laws, rules, and regulations necessary for the education of all the children within the limits of this Territory.' They were not, however, provided with any certain fund raised by taxation, but all funds or moneys derived from the Government of the United States, from Territorial appropriations, or from any other source intended for public school purposes,' should be devoted exclusively to the cause of education. But as the funds intended for public schools' came in rather slowly this distinguished board with its ample grant of powers was not able to accomplish much in the direction of the education of youth.
"The legislature of 1872, however, made a decided advance in providing for public education. By the laws passed at that session a school fund was created by a levy of one-fourth of 1 per cent. on all the taxable property of the Territory, and instead of the Territorial board county boards of school directors or supervisors were created. These boards consisted of four persons, elected by the people of each county, and the probate judge. Under this law a number of public schools were established and fairly paved the way for the better system of 1884.
"By this last law, as before noted (the law of 1834), the county board of school supervisors was superseded by the boards of precinct directors and a county superintendent. This last system has created a lively interest in school matters among the common people and has yielded the best results.
"A comprehensive measure for public schools was before the last legislature (1889), and was ably championed by W. D. Kistler. representative from this (San Miguel) county, and editor of the Daily Optic, and the Territorial press generally, but from various causes it was finally defeated."
THE TEACHING SERVICE.
New York has increased her expenditure for public-school work from $3,700,000 in 1860 to over $16,000,000 in 1889. A consideration of this enormous increase of expenditure suggests the inquiry whether the schools are deriving all due profit from it. If the schools of the State come short of doing as excellent work as is done by the best European schools of similar grade, it is owing to laxness in conferring authority to teach, to indifferent training of teachers, and to the ill-usage which is put upon them.
Permanency in position is a prerequisite to the best results in schoolroom work. Yet out of 10,644 rural districts more than half of them had teachers who had not taught in the same districts the preceding term. More than 75 per cent. had not been a year in their present situations. During the year 3,251 teachers received their first certificates in the rural districts. Good school work can not be expected if the teacher is turned out of office whenever the trustee changes, or if his training has not been such as to put heart and soul into his work, or if he is not directed by and responsible only to competent authority.
New York State is leading the way to remedy the evils which stand in the way of a most substantial and professional teaching service. All her legislation, all the power of her State educational department, all the influence of her leading educators and educational journals have been in the direction of greater caution in the selection of teachers, more thorough and intelligent professional training, more permanent tenure of office, and better treatment for honest and competent work.
The legislation of recent years touching the improvement of school buildings and furnishings, supplemented by the publication by the State of schoolhouse designs, has led to the erection of an unprecedented number of new and handsome buildings and to the thorough repair and refurnishing of many old ones.
During the past year the public moneys were withheld from all districts until they were certified by supervisory officers to have complied with the provisions of the law concerning the number, arrangement, and character of the outbuildings connected with each schoolhouse.
The celebration of Arbor Day was generally observed in New York the first time Friday, May 3, 1889. The reports concerning the observance of the day indicate that the movement was heartily approved by teachers, school officers, pupils, and the general public. In some localities all other business was suspended for the day, the inhabitants vying with each other in making the exercises pleasant and profitable. Outside of the cities, 5,681 school districts reported as having observed the day, planting 24,166 trees, not including vines, shrubs, and flowers.
COMPULSORY ATTENDANCE LAW.
The compulsory education act of 1874 having failed hitherto to remedy the evils which led to its enactment, a new measure was prepared with great care, in which were embodied the principles which experience has shown to be essential in order to make any compulsory law effective. This measure passed the legislature, but failed to become a law for want of the approval of the governor. It will probably be amended and reintroduced the next ensuing session.
COURSES OF STUDY IN UNGRADED SCHOOLS.
The great difficulty which the ungraded rural schools have always encountered has been the entire absence of any fixed and orderly system of procedure. During the last year there has been a very decided movement towards mending the difficulty by providing a course of study for the ungraded schools. Two well-arranged courses have been put in operation, one in three counties, and the other has been approved and commended by twenty-two county school commissioners. Connected with these courses are systems of examination calculated to encourage continuous attendance, progressive study, and final graduation.
A STATE EDUCATIONAL COMMISSION PROPOSED.
Superintendent Draper, calling attention to the heavy expenditure for public education and the lack of organized system and method in school work, renews his recommendation for a State commission in the interest of education, upon a plan analogous
to those of Great Britain and Mexico. He is inclined to believe that a body composed of perhaps thirty or forty persons, in which the legislature, the colleges, the normal schools, the high schools, the district schools, the boards of trustees, the superintendents and commissioners, and the best professional opinion should be represented, and which should remain in session thirty or sixty days, and discuss general principles for the promotion of educational interests, would result in a strong impetus to the work and a permanent influence for good.
Expenses of superintendents.-The State superintendent is to make no allotment of State funds to any city or district for the expenses of a superintendent unless satisfied that such city, village, or district employs a competent person as superintendent, whose time is exclusively devoted to the general supervision of the schools.
Extension of school term.-The minimum number of weeks the school of a district is to be kept open in order to entitle it to share in the State apportionment has been increased from twenty-eight to thirty-two weeks, of five school days each.
Contracts with teachers.-No trustee shall employ a teacher for a shorter time than sixteen weeks, unless for the purpose of filling out an unexpired term of school; nor shall any teacher be dismissed in the course of a term except for reasons which, if appealed to the State superintendent, shall be held sufficient. Any failure on the part of a teacher to complete an agreement to teach a term of school, without good reason therefor, shall be deemed sufficient ground for the revocation of the teacher's certificate.
Raising money for teachers' wages.—No trustee shall issue an order or draw a draft upon any supervisor for money for the payment of teachers' wages, unless the supervisor has sufficient money in hand to meet such order or draft. If there is no such money available, and the district meeting has failed to authorize a tax to pay teachers' wages, the school trustees of the district are authorized to collect by district tax a sufficient amount.
Boards of education in union free school districts are authorized to levy a tax for teachers' wages and ordinary contingent expenses in case the inhabitants have neglected or refused to vote the same.
Attention is called by the State superintendent to the waste that accompanies the carrying on of the school system, a waste which is nowhere more strikingly exhibited than in the "double-headed" system for township schools. The township and district boards, as the law now stands, are an obstruction to each other, and should be replaced by a single system, such as the cities and towns have. "This system would concentrate responsibility, which is now scattered and evasive. It would tend to unify courses of study and introduce better methods of instruction. Under it the adjustment of the number of schools to the wants of the school population would become more easy and uniform. It would, also, be likely to create in the public mind a sharper distinction between good and poor teaching. Above all, it would promote economy in the management of the schools."
A more stringent compulsory education law was enacted at the last session of the législature, an account of which is reserved for another part of this Report.
SUPERVISION NEEDED FOR COUNTRY SCHOOLS.
"The ungraded country district schools, in which one-half our youth are to get all the school education that will fall to their share, are the ones yet to feel the benefits of intelligent inspection and direction. A few townships in the State have arisen above the educational level of their neighbors, and bave availed themselves of the permissive features of the law, and have adopted township supervision, reaping from their intelligent enterprise a fruitful harvest of good results for their schools. But these townships in number are but as a drop in the bucket.
"That Ohio has been so long without supervision for her country schools is a fact not to be easily accounted for. It certainly is not the result of indifference on the part of her educators. Within the last forty years they have pressed the question upon the attention of the legislature again and again. * **Ohio can never have a school system commensurate with her greatness as a State until she has placed her country schools under intelligent supervision. Without this all schemes for the improvement of these schools must prove but temporary expedients and fall short of their full measure of usefulness."
CONTINUANCE OF SCHOOLS.
The law of Ohio provides that "each board of education shall establish a sufficient number of schools to provide for the free education of the youth of school age within the district under its control at such places as will be most convenient for the attendance of the largest number of such youth, and shall continue each and every day school so established not less than 24 weeks in each school year. This is a very impor