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Resident Editor's Department.
Powers of School Districts,
A Word from New London,
Circular of State Superintendent,
Index to School Laws,
What is Education,
Blessed is he that Waiteth,
Classified Public Schools,
Fourth of July at the Normal School, 378 Dr. Clark's Address,
Not Ashamed of Ridicule,
Schools in Connecticut,
European Views of American Schools, and
In compliance with the often and urgently repeated advice of his physicians that he should retire, for a season at least, from the confinement, anxieties, and wearying details of all official connection with schools, and with the intention, as soon and as far as his health will admit, of devoting himself to certain educational undertakings of a national character, Mr. Barnard resigned, at the beginning of the present month, the office of Principal of the State Normal School, and Superintendent of Common Schools in Connecticut, and John D. Philbrick, who as Associate Principal, has for the last two years discharged all the duties of the former office, has entered on the administration of our school system.
While we, the Associates of both in conducting this organ of the State Teachers' Association, extend the hand of welcome and the pledge of coöperation to his successor, and entertain the sure conviction that the good cause will go forward rapidly, and in the right direction under his leadership, we can not but express the regret which we feel in common with every good citizen, teacher, and active promoter of educational improvement, that Mr. Barnard, who has been for so many years, our guide, counselor, and friend, should retire at all, and especially with shattered health, from the field of his many labors at a time when his long deferred hopes of a better day for our common schools are beginning to be realized, and VOL. X., No. 1.
the seed which he scattered with a bountiful broadcast, is now springing up into an abundant harvest. But we will not forget in our hour of success, the earnest and able advocate of that cause when neglected and unpopular. We will not forget the generous and indomitable spirit which prompted him in the outset of his public life, to plead that cause, without fee or hope of reward, before a cold and unwilling audience, in the highest council of the State ; which induced him to abandon a professional career for which he had made a most costly and diligent preparation, and in which, steadily pursued, he was sure to win distinction and wealth; which has enabled him to turn a deaf ear to the voice of political ambition, and to close his heart to the seductions of popular applause, so easily gained by one possessed of his powers of oratory in the discussion of questions of temporary interest; which has led him to decline positions of the highest literary dignity in college and university,—that he might give himself up unreservedly to the improvement of common schools—the long forgotten heritage of the many. His labors were arduous enough in themselves—being none other than" to awaken a slumbering people, to encounter prejudice, apathy and sluggishness, to tempt avarice to loosen its grasp, to cheer the faint-hearted and sustain hope in the bosom of the desponding.” But even these labors were made still more arduous by the untoward hindrances needlessly thrown in his way by party spirit, and by a niggardly legislative economy, which compelled him every year, in order to keep his plans in operation and realize even a moderate degree of success, to expend his entire salary in the public service. Most heartily do we agree in the sentiment of a writer in the New York Review, on the labors of Mr. Barnard in Connecticut from 1838 to 1842—“We are glad to see such men engage in such a cause. We honor the spirit which is willing to spend and be spent in the public service, not in the enjoyment of sinecures loaded with honors and emoluments, but taking upon itself the burden, and if unsupported carrying it alone, through good report and through evil report, alike indifferent to the flattery or the censure of evil-minded men, and intent only on the accomplishment of its work of benevolence and humanity. To that spirit, is the world indebted for all of goodness or of greatness in it worth possessing. The exploits of the conqueror may fill a more ambitious page in history, the splendors of royalty may appear more brilliant and dazzling in the eyes of the multitude, and to the destroyer of thrones and kingdoms they may bow in terror of his power; but the energy and devotion of a single man, acting on the
hearts and minds of the people, is greater than they all. They may flourish for a day and the morrow will know them not, but his influence shall live, and through all the changes and vicissitudes of thrones, and kingdoms, and powers on earth, shall hold its onward, upward course of encouragement and hope in the great cause of human progress and advancement.”
The teachers of Connecticut and of the country can never forget his valuable services to them—to many of them individually--and to the measures and agencies which he has advocated, and to some extent projected for the advancement of their profession. In his first speech before the Legislature of Connecticut, in introducing the “ Act to provide for the better supervision of Common Schools,” he proclaimed the great truth “ that it is idle to expect good schools until we have good teachers.” 6 With better teachers will come better compensation and more permanent employment. But the people will be satisfied with such teachers as they have, until their attention is directed to the subject, and until we can demonstrate the necessity of employing better, and show how they can be made better by appropriate training in classes and seminaries, established for that specific purpose.” The same views were urged in every communication which he had occasion to make to the Board and the Legislature. In his remarks made in the House of Representatives, in 1839, on a Report of the Committee on Education, recommending an appropriation of $5,000 to be applied by the Board of Commissioners of Common Schools, in promoting the qualifications of teachers, he anticipates his own modes of improving their qualifications and the final triumph of his educational efforts.
“ The report of the Committee, brief as it is, embodies the substance of all I should have to say, if I should review in detail the condition of our common schools, with a view of proposing a series of measures for their improvement. The great want of these schools is that of better teachers. Good teachers will make better schools, and schools made better by the labors of good teachers, is the best argument which can be addressed to the community in favor of improved school-houses, a judicious selection of a uniform series of text-books in the schools of the same society, of vigilant and intelligent supervision, and liberal appropriations for school purposes. Give me good teachers, and in five years I will work not a change, but a revolution in the education of the children of this State. I will not only improve the results, but the machinery, the entire details of the system by which these results are produced. Every good teacher will himself become a pioneer, and a missionary in the cause of educational improvement. The necessity of giving such a teacher every facility of a well-located, well-ventilated, and well-seated school-house, of giving the teacher a timely supply of the best text-books and apparatus, and of keeping him employed through the year, and from year to year, with just such pupils and studies as he can teach to the best advantage--these things will be seen and felt by parents, and by districts. And the public, as represented in the