« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
THE Association of City and Borough young, and all our buildings have been
Superintendents of Pennsylvania held erected since 1870 of substantial brick. We their Annual Convention for 1894 at Al
began with two-story buildings, then went toova, opening at 10 a. m., January 25th,
up to three-story, and now the movement in Library Hall, with a fair attendance.
seems to be downward to the two-story plan.
The increase of population has been so rapid The President, Supt. L. O. Foose, of that we have difficulty in erecting buildings Harrisburg, called the Convention to fast enough to accommodate the school poporder, and Supt. D. S. KEITH, of Altoona, ulation ; but we hope soon to provide commade the following
fortably for all. We hope you will visit our
schools and judge for yourselves, and we asADDRESS OF WELCOME.
sure you of a hearty welcome. The meeting of this Association recalls I am glad to see so full and strong a prothe history of its organization-how we first gramme. When it has been thoroughly met with the county officers in one general discussed, our ideas compared and assimibody, and how as time passed it was felt
lated, an educational power will be develthat the special wants of city and borough oped that will be felt all over the State. schools required a special consideration that Supt. Jas. M. COUGHLIN, of Wilkescould only be secured by separate organiza- Barre, on behalf of the Association, made tion. This being at length effected, has the following given promise of usefulness in its earlier sessions, and we are therefore the more glad
RESPONSE. to welcome you to Altoona to-day, that we We fully appreciate the kindly welcome may discuss questions referring to our par- we have received. We Superintendents are ticular wants, and devise plans to meet a busy class, and when we break away for a them.
day or two from our home work, even to atNearly all of you have been here before, tend a working body like this, it seems like and know something of our city and its a rest ; as the train flies along, we unbend chief industry, the Pennsylvania Railroad like the Indian's bow, and by the time our shops. The summer resort feature is not destination is reached are ready for duty. available just now; but there is skating at We specially appreciate this visit to the the Park for those who enjoy that amuse- Mountain City, for as we look upon its ment.
marvelous growth and the great power beBut I wish particularly to welcome you to hind it, the spirit of these closing years of our public schools, which are all in session. the nineteenth century rolls in upon us in You will not find them perfect; they have mighty waves. As to the skating offered, I their good points, we hope, and their de- usually combine with that the study of fects, we know, and hope to learn here how astronomy, and perhaps I had better not to help them. Our town is comparatively l experiment on that away from home; but
we shall all enjoy visiting the schools, and knowledge. Our task is by no means an expect to profit by the visit, as we know easy one, and very often when we attempt them by reputation.
to brush away the dust of time, or the traBut we will not only have a rest-we ex- ditions of ages, we find ourselves hedged in pect to reap profit from the work on this by difficulties, and our purposes thwarted programme. Those who attend these annual by a conservatism which makes radical meetings find them profitable as well as changes impossible; but the conditions in enjoyable, and our numbers ought to be most localities are changing, and these greater. In the rush of modern life, changes changes bring new demands and requireare so rapid that we hardly can keep our- ments, the old order of things is gradually selves adjusted to them ; and in school giving way to something better, and we are affairs, efficiency is coming to depend more compelled, if we would succeed, to rise and more upon careful and conscientious above what we now are, and to the extent supervision. Hence we as a class especially of our ability and opportunities, to lift up need all the light we can get from each our teachers, our schools and our other's observation and experience, to fairly munities with us. This is the state of meet our responsibility. Expecting such affairs that now confronts us in many relight from the work of these two days, I spects in most localities, and we are exagain thank my Altoona brother for the pected to make the best of it. warm welcome, and the Association for the The situation in our cities and boroughs opportunity of briefly responding to it. is such now as it has never been before. The CHAIR stated that, as heretofore,
The possibilities for broader and more all Principals of Normal Schools and
efficient work, I am glad to say, have never
been so great, and the outlook for the future High Schools would be welcome to the
has never been so encouraging as now, privilege of the floor.
though most of us still find much to hinder The Secretary being unable to be pres- progress and dampen enthusiasm. ent, Supt. E. MACKEY, of Butler, was A section in the Constitution of the State appointed to that office.
says the General Assembly shall provide The roll of City, Borough and Town
for the maintenance and support of a thor
ough and efficient system of public schools ship Superintendents was called ; a full
wherein all the children of this Commonrecord of those present during the sessions
wealth above the age of six years may be appears at the close of this report.
educated, and shall appropriate at least one President Foose, after thanking the million dollars each year for that purpose. body for the expression of confidence in The General Assembly has done its part choosing him to preside, and asking in
of this work well. Instead of a million dulgence while the officers endeavored to
dollars it has appropriated annually over
five millions, and has given us free textsecure the comfort and convenience of each
books besides. And the question naturally and the welfare of the body at large, pro- arises, Are the schools thorough and efficient ceeded to read his Inaugural Address : as required by the Constitution?
It is generally conceded that in many reSOME URGENT NEEDS.
spects they are not thorough and efficient, I have nothing new to offer to-day. I and that they are not doing all that ought shall take the liberty, however, of calling at- to be expected of them. It would not be a tention, in a fragmentary way, to a few things difficult task to give reasons why this is so, about which you have all thought and read but I shall confine my remarks to the first -things which very closely interest us as question, Wherein are they not so? Superintendents, and very seriously affect In looking for shortcomings I take little our teachers, pupils, and schools.
account of much that is said and written There is little if anything new in our line against the schools and their management of work. We deal with minds very similar by the so-called experts and hypercritics of to those that have engaged the attention of to-day. Whilst they are mostly sweeping educators from all time, and with principles in their accusations, and delight in tearing and truths, as the essentials of knowledge, down without telling how to reconstruct that are old as the hills : but our work is to again, they are often found, nevertheless, to take in the situation as we find it, and to so be blessings in disguise, for they awaken adapt these, the one to the other, so far as thought and inquiry, and prepare the way possible under all the modifying influences for true reform and reconstruction, and are and conditions of custom, law, society, and to be welcomed rather than suppressed, civilization, as to secure the best results at though they do sometimes sadly confound the least expense in labor, time and money. things and misrepresent persons. We will succeed best when we can best suit, I will allude to a few of the things that apportion and niodify the things to be demand our immediate attention, and will taught to the most favorable condition and
suggest, very briefly, lines of thought and environments of those to be educated, so as action which may perhaps lead to definite to secure physical, intellectual and moral and practical results. Some of the urgent power as well as the attainment of useful needs of the times are:
1. The strengthening of the schools in our We need to know more of our High cities and boroughs.
Schools in the State, more of what they atThese schools are a growth. When the tempt, and more of what they accomplish, system began to take shape and form, most more of their organization and administraof the children were educated in private tion, of their cost and equipments for their schools, especially the older ones.
work, more of what their work is and how while high schools were established and it is done. We need to know how they best advanced studies taught. It was only in fit their young people for the practical durecent years, however, that the schools in ties of life, how they best serve their own most of our cities and boroughs have been communities, and how they best meet the systematically graded, and that a fixed expectations of the colleges which look to course of studies has been put into use. them for supplies. This is necessary in Subsequent modifications of these have order that we may do the best for our own given us what prevails to-day. Up to this pupils. This information has been a subtime no attempt has been made to secure ject of personal inquiry on the part of many anything like uniformity in these courses of for some years past, and I am glad to see study in the schools of cities and boroughs that it is now coming to the front. throughout the State. Each community A late member of The Pennsylvania School has built up a course of its own, without Journal contains an article by Prof. Lewis any regard to that of other places, and R. Harley, at the suggestion of the Superindoubtless often without much regard to the
tendent of Public Instruction, which conpressing needs of its own children. In tains much valuable information, and which some places one set of studies has been I trust from inquiries now being made, is to made a specialty at the expense of, and be followed by an authentic report from the often to the exclusion of, others of equal Department of Public Instruction. The importance; in other places a different set of same official in his last annual report says, studies has been unduly pressed. This has re- “The high school course in Pennsylvania sulted much to the detriment of the children is like the letter x in algebra--an unknown who have gone from one place to another. quantity, whose value must, in each case, They have nearly always been compelled to be found in order to be known. Some cities take lower rank in the schools they entered and boroughs strive, with commendable than they had maintained in those they left, zeal, to realize the true ideal of a high because of these irregularities which need school, viz: A fitting school for those who not necessarily exist. These have been the wish to enter a higher institution, and a finoccasion of loss of time, and the cause of un- ishing school for those who must begin the justifiable vexation and annoyance. There struggle for bread. Some high schools neis room for thorough inquiry and investiga- glect preparatory studies, but aim to teach tion on this subject of our courses of study branches which are better taught in the colalong interesting lines. What shall we dis- leges, by reason of superior equipment and card? What shall we appropriate? How endowed professorships; and, at the end of shall we secure better results without bur- a three or four years' course, their graduates dening teachers and pupils? These are are mortified to find that they cannot enter some of the questions that we shall have to a respectable college anywhere. Other high meet very soon.
schools have courses that were evidently arIndustrial education, too, comes to us now ranged by persons not familiar with all in so many phases that we must certainly grades of school work. Occasionally, one be able to incorporate some of these into our finds a curriculum so ill fitting and illogical, work; and then it is doubtless possible, that it must have been shaped to meet the also, to enrich our courses with other sub- limited qualifications of some ambitious jects that will be worth more to our pupils teacher, whose friends needed a pretext to in the end than some things over which give him the salary of a high school printhey now spend much time and effort. cipal. At no distant day, a conference of
The late report of the Superintendent of representatives of our best colleges and secPublic Instruction, Dr. N. C. Schaeffer, has ondary schools should agree upon a minithis paragraph bearing on the subject- mum high school curriculum, leaving room, “The schools are subject to the law of his- of course. for local needs and future develtorical development. As the world's life opment. The Legislature could then follow changes and advances, they must change the example of other states in setttng apart and advance. Things that are merits in a share of the annual appropriation for the one age, become defects in the next. purpose of fostering and strengthening the “There can be no doubt,' says Phillips high schools which come up to the proposed Brooks, 'that many studies have beeu in- standard." troduced legitimately, for reasons which This work of readjusting and reconstructwere temporary, and then have remained ing the courses of studies for our schools, like ghosts haunting our schools, long after whether for the lower grades or the high their living necessity had died away. It is schools, where found necessary, and if need the part of
wisdom to view, with single eye, be, of reorganizing the schools themselves, the defects that should be abolished in order
belongs very largely to the superintendents that progress may be made.”
who supervise and direct the work of the
schools, most of whom I know have already where. A condition of this kind naturally given the matter attention and thought. In begets a feeling of security and ease, and order that something tangible be done, I furnishes but few incentives for personal would suggest the propriety of appointing a improvement, especially to those who have committee to prepare a course of study for not previously drunk more or less deeply at the cities and boroughs of the State, to be the fountains of knowledge, and are not reported for consideration at our next meet- alive to the importance of their work and the ing. If thought best, two courses could be demands of the age in which they live. In prepared, the one for cities with a popula- | many instances those who have gone into tion of 30,000 and upwards, excluding the the schools more recently are in the
minority, large cities, and the other a modification of and can do but little to overcome the routine this course for cities and boroughs with a which prevails, and which unfortunately it less population. This will doubtless meet is difficult to avoid in closely-graded schools. with opposition, and may not do very much So difficult is it to do this in many instances towards bettering the present condition of that even those well trained drop into the affairs; but it will be a step in the right di- rut after a few fruitless efforts, and give up rection, and may ultimately lead to some- the contest. This tendency has its origin in thing better.
the fact that it is easier to secure uniform II. The strengthening of the teaching force results through mechanical teaching than in cities and boroughs.
to secure the necessary uniformity through The old saying, "As is the teacher so is the methods which are vitalized by the personal school," within certain limitations, is as true power and animating spirit of the wideto-day as it ever was. To have good schools awake teacher. we must have good teachers, is conceded by Crystallization is the bane of the grades. all, though unfortunately it is sadly over- Scores and hundreds of our teachers after a looked or ignored in many instances when few years of energetic work, with but faint vacancies are to be filled. To have strong hope of rising in the grades, or of securing teachers only such should be appointed. much if any additional compensation for
1. How can we get the best teachers ? their best efforts, naturally transfer their inTo secure this eud some means must be tense interest and affection to something devised which will be found to be feasible outside of their schools that will better fill and practicable in the different sections of their hearts, and thus become less ardent, the State. Each city and borough has its and at last toil through their task with only own method of filling vacancies and electing a drudging diligence. When that time comes, new teachers, and must necessarily be a law we can indeed but pity those who in passive unto itself on this subject; but it is alto- submission turn to the same weary grind gether possible for a superintendent who has month after month and year the confidence of his Board, with the aid of We must find ways to enable our teachers some of its leading and influential members, to escape this kind of work, and if they are to devise some method of procedure which already at its mercy, to break away from it. will seem to be just to all parties concerned, Their individuality must be asserted, their and at the same time secure good teachers i personal power must be felt, even at the risk for the schools. Even though only partial of breaking over the lines of close gradation. success be attained, it will be better than if How can this be done? We must not dictate nothing had been attempted. In some plans and methods to them, but must enable places vacancies are filled only by those who them to work these out for themselves, ashave attained the highest standing in a sisted by our suggestions. We must attempt competitive examination; in others, only by measures which will lift them up and make those who have made special preparation them feel that they are important factors in or have had successful experience elsewhere; this great work of education. and in others again, by those whose certifi- To do this we must awaken enthusiasm cates at the ordinary examination are best. and encourage investigation. Let us take Many Boards can be educated to take higher them into our confidence in devising plans ground from year to year, and when a good and expedients for carrying on their work, rule on this subject has been secured it will and make them feel that they are the directnot be difficult to retain it under ordinary ing power rather than we in matters of decircumstances.
tail ; and while we attempt to lift them up 2. How can we keep those strong that are to our standpoint of view and action, we already in the schools? In many cities and must at the same time endeavor to get near boroughs for years past, before much stress enough to them and their work to breathe was laid on qualifications, teachers often into it a newness of life and a freshness that with very limited preparation found their will be felt. This will beget inspiration, way into the schools and having mastered effort, purpose; and while all will not be the details of the daily routine, now drift affected alíke, nor all lifted out of the rut, along from year to year, some becoming yet it will inspire confidence, patience, better, others worse. Owing to the length growth, efficiency, and we shall have of term, generous salary, and a fixed tenure the blade, then the ear,” and finally "the of office in these schools, but comparatively full corn in the ear." few drop out or look for employment else- The following will be helpful in this work:
I. Investigations by grades or groups of to try to create a vacancy is placed in a teachers of methods, principles and subjects most unpleasant position, and is certain which enter into the work of the schools.
to be harshly criticised; this plan would 2. Reading and study along the same lines. 3. Comparisons of the how and the why would then be a "visible means of sup
minimize the unpleasantness, since there along the same lines. 4. Utilizing the knowledge and skill of port."
port.” In Germany it is obligatory upon those strong in any line of work for the help officials and workingmen to lay by a cerof others.
tain sum every year to provide for sup5. Social, literary and musical recreation. ©. Arrangement for the observation of port in old age. Some of our American
railways have adopted similar rules. It school work, either at home or abroad, by
looks like sound business. I move the apsome system of visitation. III. A reliable relief or benefit association
pointment of a committee of five to invesfor the teachers of our cities and boroughs.
tigate this matter, and report to the next There is a deníand for some safe means of annual meeting. making provision for the declining years of The motion was agreed to, and the those who teach in our schools. After years committee subsequently announced, conof faithful work many are left, incapacitated sisting of Supts. Buehrle, Transeau, Rufor any other kind of employment, without
pert, Keith, and Hotchkiss.' sufficient means to support themselves. This matter needs no argument or apology:
Supt. Keith : We need authoritative In the large cities institutions of this kind
definition of what shall constitute a miniexist, but I am not aware that their advan- mum course for high schools in boroughs tages can be made available to those who and smaller cities. In many such places live in other portions of the State. I would the principal has charge not only of the suggest that this matter be referred to a com- high school, but of all the rest; the course mittee to report at the next annual meeting.
of study adopted may be fairly good, but Some of the subjects touched upon in this paper come up for discussion during the ses
the graduates are sent out with such imsions of this convention. I allude to them perfect preparation that they cannot get a here because I feel their great importance at
certificate in an ordinary teachers' examithis time. I trust that what I have said nation. Such results are not creditable will not in any way interfere with their full to the high school, and such schools and free discussion, but on the contrary will should not be recognized. A fixed minionly the more add to its zest.
mum course would either exclude them or Supt. R. K. Buebrle, Lancaster: I bring them up to the standard. agree with most of the paper, and will Supt. D. A. Harman, Hazleton : This add a word upon the last item—the pro- matter will come up more properly at a vision for relief of superannuated teachers. later stage of the programme, and it may It is often a difficult question, what to do be well to refer it to a committee after in cases whose usefulness has ceased and discussion of the papers on the subject their future is unprovided for. Philadel- which are to be read. One of the first phia has a plan, and the subject is every questions to be settled is the place of the way worthy of consideration. In order high school, which is to be treated by Dr. that information may be collected and Jeffers. We should formulate no action some practicable plan devised, it would until we have heard him and Supt. Robb, be well to have a committee to report on
and discussed their papers. the subject at a future session. All of us, Supt. Coughlin : I would like to know no doubt, have some experience in this more about the studies which are to be redirection. I know of a case where a lady garded as "ghosts.". I confess I do not over 70 years of age was retained in ser- see what can be eliminated from the presvice under such circumstances, when a ent course. There may be parts of certain change was greatly needed. It is plain branches that we may profitably omit, but that the dead would be more easily buried what to dispense with bodily is not so if a decent coffin were provided, and their plain. places filled with living men and women. Prof. Geo. L. Maris, Philadelphia : Is Sometimes directors are at a loss what to it conceded that there are such “ghosts,” do, and retain the superannuated teacher fragmentary or otherwise ?-and if so, from year to year in the hope that the where shall we look for them ? Perhaps Lord may remove her. If the proposed in arithmetic, where we still see "beer provision be made, that difficulty will be measure" and are told how many gallons removed. In such cases, the superin- make a barrel—the fact being, as we all tendent whose conscience constrains him I know, that no two modern barrels are