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of information on the subject now in the Department, and the experience of one leading institution, are given in Circular, No. VIII.
7. Academic or Secondary Education.
On the important subject of institutions for Secondary Education -including Public High Schools and Academies for either or both. sexes-although the means for exhibiting their present condition in every State are not sufficiently collected, yet to aid in the further collection of materials and in the discussion of the subject, the Commissioner has already published a general view of the system as it exists in New England, (Circular IX,) as well as a full account of the system of several of the principal countries of Europe, one of which (Prussia) is printed in Official Circular, No. X.
8. School Houses.
Having received numerous inquiries in personal calls and in correspondence, respecting school-houses, and having given for many years his attention to the subject, and being also in possession of a large number of plans, and receiving valuable accessions to his collection of designs, the Commissioner, as an expeditious and economical mode of answering these inquiries, has commenced the preparation of a document, a portion of which is now ready for the press, containing plans of buildings recently erected for graded schools. A selection from these will be found in the official Circular, No. XI.
9. Professional Training and Improvement of Teachers.
It is obvious that neither constitutional provisions, legislative enactments, nor the existence of the most perfect school-houses, will secure the right education of the children of the nation, without a body of teachers devoted to the work of public instruction, possessing in a sufficient degree, the requisite qualifications of character, attainments, and skill. To help teachers in their work, and to contribute to the highest improvement of special institutions for this object, as well as to advance in every possible way, the public appreciation of their services, a document has been prepared showing what has been done, or is now doing in the different States in this direction -portions of which will be found in Official Circular, No. XII.
In closing this statement of the preliminary operations of this Department, the Commissioner avails himself of the provisions of the law requiring this Report to be made, to recommend
1. The continued prosecution of the investigations already begun to their earliest practicable conclusion; and to this end, that authority to employ temporarily the assistance of persons specially
qualified, be granted, and that some appropriation for the expense of such personal visits as may be deemed needful to complete and verify the work in hand, be made.
2. That authority be given to publish, with such limitations as to expense and copies as Congress may impose, such documents as may be called for in aid of the establishment of public schools in States where they do not now exist, and to visit such States by himself, or others whom he may specially commission, and such educational conventions in other States, as he may think will subserve the purpose for which the Department is established.
3. With the strongest desire to keep the expenses of the Department within the narrowest limits consistent with its efficiency, the Commissioner feels compelled, in consideration of the increasing correspondence, the regular publication of the Monthly Circular, the prompt dispatch of documents, the proper collating and editing of the information and returns received, the use of the books and documents in the library, to ask for authority to employ one additional clerk of each class now allowed. The want of such help has delayed the preparation of the special reports required to be made, and thrown on the Commissioner, in addition to correspondence and studies which he cannot delegate, an amount of clerical work inconsistent with his highest usefulness, besides seriously impairing his health.
4. Thus far, the entire expense of obtaining information from abroad; all additions to the library of books and pamphlets, except the official documents of State and City Superintendents; all engraving of designs and plans for school structures; a large item in obtaining the educational statistics of the District of Columbia, and making the same ready for Congress; all the printing, and much of the editorial work on the Monthly Circulars, except Numbers III, IV, and V, besides no inconsiderable sums for the necessary incidental expenses of the Department, has been borne by the Commissioner, and for only a portion of which, an appropriation was asked in a letter to the Secretary of the Treasury submitting an estimate of expenses for the current year. Whatever action Congress may deem just in reference to the past, the Commissioner would respectfully ask, that in any future appropriation some allowance be made for the class of expenses above named, including a messenger and the necessary care of the rooms, which, not being specified in the appropriation for 1867, have been disallowed in the settlement of the accounts of this Department.
Commissioner of Education.
Appended to a few copies of this Report, and not to the entire
OFFICIAL CIRCULARS WITH ILLUSTRATIVE DOCUMENTS, -
Provision of Last Will,..
Circular of Commissioner of Education, No. 3,..
NUMBERS FOUR AND FIVE.