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part of attending to office routine and business management. There is a tendency in our modern school organization to provide for the business management of our schools by employing a business agent who works either under the direction of the superintendent or as an officer coordinate with him in authority. Whatever the solution of this problem may be, it may be asserted without fear of contradiction that the work of an administrative officer, whether State, county, or city, is of sufficient significance on the professional side to challenge the most able. In the development of the profession of educational administration we may expect to recruit our forces from among those who have had experience in teaching and in the supervision of teachers. We must expect to add to their equipment a more thoroughgoing knowledge of the sciences fundamental to educationpsychology, sociology, and biology (especially as it has reference to normal physical development and to hygiene), together with training in economics and in government. Not least significant will be the work in educational administration which will make available a scientific method of attack upon administrative problems. Such courses of instruction are already offered in several of our American universities and are being taken by large numbers of superintendents of schools both during a year or more which they give up to professional study and during the summer sessions which are held in connection with our leading universities. The position of State commissioner of education or county or city superintendent is in increasing measure being freed from political control. These positions offer one of the largest fields for public service. We may confidently expect the development of an increasingly efficient group of professional educational administrative officers.
PROGRESS OF SCHOOL SYSTEMS IN CITIES OF MORE THAN 25,000 POPULATION.1
By J. H. VAN SICKLE,
Superintendent of City Schools, Springfield, Mass.
CONTENTS.-Administration-School surveys and school supervision-Reorganization of grades-The intermediate school and industrial education-The vocational trend in education-Other topics emphasized in the annual reports.
One year is too limited a period in the slow evolution of education to include any marked developments not on trial or at least under discussion in previous years. A review of a single year's activities may, however, serve to show what changes of emphasis upon the varied activities of school systems are disclosed in annual and special reports, and thus to indicate general tendencies as well as special instances of an experimental nature that seem to have promise for the future.
In the field of administration the effect upon school systems of changes in form of city government may be noted. In some portions of the country, school systems are so absolutely separate from other city affairs that a change in the form of city government does not affect them. This is the case in Dayton, Ohio, and Springfield, Ill., which have adopted the city manager plan; but in St. Paul, Minn., and Buffalo, N. Y., the commission plan includes the schools along with other departments. The commission form of government went into effect in St. Paul on June 1, 1914. The commissioner of education, who also has charge of the public library and of the municipal · auditorium, is one of six commissioners elected at large, each of whom is assigned by the mayor to a particular department.
The commissioner appoints for a term of two years a superintendent of schools, whose salary is fixed by the charter, a public librarian for two years, and a superintendent of the auditorium for two years. In this way the public schools, the public library, and the municipal auditorium are closely affiliated for harmonious educational work. The commissioner of education appoints the whole teaching staff, on recommendation by the superintendent of schools. The commissioner has no power of initiative in appointing teachers, but he
1 For a review of progress in cities of less than 25,000, see p. 61.
may remove for cause on his own motion or on complaint of the superintendent. It is the intent of the charter that all teachers and principals once appointed shall serve during efficiency and good behavior. The commissioner also appoints a superintendent of school buildings, who has charge of all school buildings and school grounds.
The charter also provides for an advisory school board of 12 members to be appointed by the commissioner, one from each ward of the city. The powers of this board are purely advisory, but the members may visit schools and discuss in meetings any subject related to the schools. The meetings are public.
The charter also provides for an advisory board of not less than 8 and not more than 12 teachers. This advisory board is elected by the teachers by secret ballot. The charter provides that this board shall advise with the superintendent and the commissioner of education on problems relating to textbooks, courses of study, and methods. of teaching. The powers of this board, also, are purely advisory, and the charter explicitly declares that "The adoption of such recommendations shall lie in the discretion of the superintendent of schools and the commissioner of education."
The management of schools by a single commissioner instead of by a school board is a radical departure in school administration. It is a perfectly logical feature of a commission form of city government, but there is as yet little or no experience by which to judge its permanent value. Elsewhere, even under the commission form of city government, the schools have been regarded as an interest so vitally important as to justify a commission charged solely with their management, this commission being the school board. In the short time that the St. Paul plan has been in operation it is noted that all professional business, such as the appointment of teachers, the installation of machinery for manual training, and the opening of new rooms or new classes, has been transacted with great expedition, without the delay involved in waiting for school-board action. It remains to be seen whether in other respects this plan has in it the elements that favor its survival. At the present time it must be regarded as an interesting experiment.
In Buffalo, N. Y., the commission charter recently adopted provides for (1) a superintendent of education to be appointed by the commission, and (2) a board of education, consisting of five members, also to be appointed by the commission. It is difficult to see how the schools can be safeguarded from political domination under such a charter, or how harmony can result from an arrangement whereby the school board and superintendent hold their positions at the will of the same governing body and the school board is without power to choose its own executive officer.
SCHOOL SURVEYS AND SCHOOL SUPERVISION.
Prior to the present school year some 20 formal school surveys had been made by outside examiners and the findings published, the first being that of Baltimore, Md., under the direction of former United States Commissioner of Education Dr. E. E. Brown, and the latest that of Portland, Oreg., under the direction of Prof. Elwood P. Cubberly, head of the department of education, Leland Stanford Junior University. The year 1914 has been less productive in this direction than any one of the three preceding years. Springfield, Ill., and South Bend, Ind., are cities in the group covered by this chapter that report such surveys as having been made during the current year. The Springfield survey was made by the Russell Sage Foundation and the survey of South Bend by the department of education of the University of Chicago.
The motives that have inspired these surveys have for the most part been commendable, and even those which for local reasons have not been immediately productive of improvement within the system surveyed have contributed their quota to the sum total of experience in this new field of educational effort. The service which the surveys thus far made have rendered to individual school systems, however great it may have been, is far surpassed by the widespread tendency which both indirectly and directly they have stimulated toward self-examination within the school system. The critically judicial attitude now manifested by the majority of reporting officers, which has replaced the attitude of self-complacency so conspicuous in superintendents' reports of a former decade, is one of the most noticeable features of the current year.
Not many years ago Dr. J. M. Rice, the pioneer outside investigator of school systems, said that experience had taught him to place no reliance whatever on reports published by school officials regarding the condition of their schools, such reports being frequently no more than political documents, and consequently, as a rule, entirely misleading. There is no surer indication of the great change for the better that has come about in school administration than the frankness with which defects are set forth in reports and the temperate statement of merits claimed. The supervisory officers by no means regard themselves as being most acceptable in their several communities when they pose as presiding over schools which have little to desire in the way of improvement. On the contrary, for the most part they regard themselves as most useful when they show themselves able to see defects and to suggest remedies-a remarkable change, indeed, in the 18 or 20 years since Dr. Rice did his pioneer work. Several of the larger cities have established permanent bureaus of effi
1 For additional city surveys, see p. 79, 513.
ciency. Those of Baltimore, New Orleans, Rochester, and New York City were mentioned in the Report of the Commissioner of Education for the year 1913. Since then similar departments have been established in Boston, Mass.; Detroit, Mich.; Kansas City, Mo.; and Oakland, Cal. Baltimore has discontinued its bureau, whether temporarily or permanently is not stated. The Boston "department of educational investigation and measurement" and the Detroit "department of educational research" are operated along similar lines, though the Boston department has set for itself one task not specifically mentioned in the Detroit list of undertakings, namely, to work out a plan for the promotion of teachers on the basis of merit. In the Detroit report the aims of the department are stated as follows: 1. To measure the efficiency of the teaching in the Detroit schools. 2. To increase the number of children benefiting by school work.
3. To eliminate waste in subject matter and methods.
4. To aid in the adjustment of school training to the world's needs.
5. To help teachers give greater assistance to individual children in accordance with their peculiar weaknesses.
6. To set up objective standards, reasonable because based upon the measured ability of children, so that each child may have the pleasure of success.
7. To aid the superintendent and others in the preparation of reports.
8. To aid in the continued professional training of teachers.
9. To supply any information about the Detroit system that may be wanted. 10. To maintain year after year a critical study of the Detroit public schools in order that each year the same may be made more efficient.
This Detroit enterprise emphasizes a tendency which has very recently developed in our large cities toward placing all experimental work in the hands of one person who can give it his undivided attention. The Detroit department, besides furnishing the statistical and reference service common to all such departments, proposes to conduct such researches as the department can carry on through paid assistants, and in addition to organize and direct educational research among volunteer workers in the school system. This is to be cooperative work. By subdividing the various investigations into small parts, only a few hours' time on the part of any one teacher will be required. Not every teacher is fitted by training to take part in pure research, nor is every teacher desirous of participating. It is believed, however, that in Detroit enough volunteer workers will offer to cooperate in a clearly outlined plan that has for its general purpose the lightening of the labor and burden of teaching, which is "the blind unsuccessful struggle against unrecognized obstacles." To this end tentative standards of measurement of results in arithmetic, handwriting, English composition, and spelling, based upon the measurement of many thousands of children in Detroit and other cities, are explained, and the aim set up to determine the degree of skill that should be developed. Methods are to be found "which