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Common Schools in Ohio.
Onio Cormos Schools. The First Annual Report of Mr Samuel Lewis, the Superintendent of Common Schools for the State of Ohio, has just been received. It is a most interesting and important document, and we cannot help congratulating this new and flourishing State on her success in securing, in the thirtysixth year of her existence, those important and indispensable services of a public officer, which we of the East, who boast of our common schools, have been without, for nearly two centuries.
Mr Lewis entered upon the discharge of his office, early in the year 1837, by issuing and transmitting circulars to every county in the State, requesting information on certain points in relation to schools. In addition to this, Mr L, travelled, during the suinmer and autumn, more than 1200 miles, visited 40 county seats and 300 schools, and conversed much with teachers and other friends of education. The following is an abstract of the results of bis efforts, derived from returns — many of them imperfect-and from his own observations and inquiries.
The number of school districts in the State is about 8000, of which, ubove 7000 were reported. The number of children in the state between the ages of four and twentyove years, is about 550,000. Of these, 84,296 attended school from two to four months of the year, and 62,144 over four months, making a total of 146,850, or about one fourth the wbole number within the ages mentioned, who attended school more or less. The whole number of public schools kept was 4,336, and of private ones 2,175; total 6,511. The whole number of scholars in attendance was 150,402, of whom, about an equal number were males and females. The number of teachers employed was 4,757 males, and 3,205 females ; total 7,962. The amount paid to these teachers was $286,757 to males, and $148,003 to females. The amount of money raised to defray the whole expenses, that for teachers included, was $307,930, of wbich $88,712 was deriveil from the sale of school lands, $119,230 was raised by taxation, $105,131 by subscription, and $4,657 from other sources not mentioned. The number of school houses in the state is 4,378, valued at $513,973. The expenses of building new school houses and repairing old ones, during the past year, has been $60,421.
Thus we see, at once, that the people of Ohio are at work, and though they have not yet received that degree of Legislative aid, for which they hope, and to which they are entitled, and though there is much, very much there which is not as it should be, Mr L. most expressly says, that
The Massachusetts Schools.
the schools, every where in the state, are improving. In proof of this, and of the good tendency of things, he mentions that in many counties, associations of teachers and of the friends of education, are formed, and that the education of the mass, is a marked feature in all discussions and reports; and that nothing will rally the people more readily than the discussion of subjects connected with education.
Still, as we have already mentioned, there are defects in the schools, and many difficulties remain to be surmounted. It is mockery,' says Mr L., 'to crowd 50 or 80 children into a room, under one teacher, who bas little of learning or experience, and call that a school.' And he says truly.
Among the suggestions made in regard to improving the present state of things, are mentioned a reduction of the present number of school officers, (amounting, it seems to 38,740!) teachers' records of proceedings in schools; improved school books and school houses; town libraries and newspapers. There are materials enough, it is thought, fog such papers. We believe so. The more of such papers the better, pro vided they are well sustaineil.
We repeat the sentiment; the Report before us, is one of very great value. Nothing of the kind, more able, has as yet been presented to the public. The reports of the School superintendent in the state of New York are valuable; but they have not the force or energy of this. We wish it could be read and studied, not only by every adult citizen of Ohio, to which state it is unquestionably best adapted; but by every citizen of the United States.
The MassacHUSETTS Schools. We find, from the Massachusetts School Returns for 1837, that the average length of the public schools in this state, during the previous year, was only six months and twentyfive days ; leaving, of course, average vacations in the schools, of five months and five days.
In the state of New York, the average number of months in which schools were kept during the year 1836, was something more than eight. In Connecticut, probably about seven and a half months. Even in Ohio, it was five months and three days.
This comparison does not appear very favorable to Massachusetts. If we exclude Boston and Nantucket, however, it is still worse. The average then is only six months and eleven days. In Worcester, an old county, where the children ought to go to school the year round, the average is only five months and two days; something less than the average of the whole state of Ohio. In Duke's county it is still worseonly four months and fourteen days.
The average wages paid to female teachers in Massachusetts, during 138
Convention on Education, at Detroit.
the period aforesaid,was $11,38 a month, including board. We suppose the average price of board througbout the state, could not have been less than $2,00 a week, leaving $3,38 a inonth, or only 84 cents a week for services. In Boston, the average wages of females, including board, was $15,78. This, deducting $3,00 a week for board—and we ought not to deduct less-leaves $3,78 a month, or 94 cents # week. In Essex county, and in several other counties, female wages were lower than the average for the wbole state. In Hampden county female wages were only $9,12 The average wages of male teachers, (except in Boston where they receive $67,25,) is only $25,44; which, allowing $2,50 a week for board, leaves only $15,44 as compensation per month, for services. This, bowever, is four or five times as mucb as is left to female teachers. In Boston the average savings by male teachers, allowing $4,00 a week for board, would be $51,25-more than 13 1-2 times as much as the savings of the female teachers.
Here are three things, at least, wbich are not as they should be 1. Massachusetts should have her 200,000 youth in school at least an average of ten months in the year, instead of less than seven. 2. She should be ashamed to pay her male teachers an average of only about $15,00 a month, besides board, for their exhausting labors ; and her female teachers less than $4,00 a inonth. 3. Boston, boasting of her liberality, and of the excellence of her schools, and paying her male teachers, besides the ordinary price of board, more than $50 a month, should not turn off female teachers with an average of less than one thirteenth of that sum!
CONVENTION ON EDUCATION, AT DETROIT,
An important and, in some respects, interesting meeting of the friends of education, and especially the teachers of Michigan, was held at the city of Detroit, Wednesday, Jan. 3, and was continued three days. We say it was important, because we deem the general plan of bringing teachers together for mutual consultation and discussion, one which promises very great good to the community ; and certainly not less to our new states aoil territories, than to the old. It was interesting, because it was attended by delegates from various parts of the state, and because the occasion elicited valuable remarks, and, as we believe, contributed in no small degree to awaken a public interest in education and especially common education and common schools.
The neeting was opened by an address from Rev. J. D. Pierce, the state superintendant of Public Instruction; which we learn is to be published. A long lecture on education in general, was also read on Wednesday evening. We do not know whether there were any more lectures given, or essays read. We hope another course was taken than chat which is sometimes taken at education meetings at the eastward;
Speech Making Conventions.
that of consuming nearly the whole time with formal lectures. The Committee of Arrangements for the Convention at Detroit, certainly provided a noble bill of fare' for discussion. We have seen, in the Michigan Observer, a list of twentyeight questions, proposed for the meeting, nearly all of which were of very great practical importance. If, however, the character of the discussions was like that of Wednesday evening, on the necessity of general education as a safeguard of liberty, and as conducive, especially, to the stability of a republican form of government,' of which we have seen a pretty full report, we shall not augur so great an amount of good from the Convention, as we could have wished. How this was, we do not know. The discussion on the use of the Bible in schools, is said to have been liule more to the point than the forvier.-One thing, however, was done, which we must not omit to mention. A Society was organized during the sitting of the Convention, under the name of the Michigan Literary Institute,' whose object is the promotion of education and the diffusion of knowledge,' and which is to hold annual meetings. The first annual meeting is to be held at Detroit, on the 4th of July next.
One statement made at this Convention, by Dr. Gibson, the State Temperance Agent, we were very sorry to bear, because we greatly fear it is too true! He had been in all parts of the State, he said, during the past year, and as the result of his observations, he was prepared to say that nine tenths of all the children in the State were growing up in ignorance,' and he appealed to other gentlemen present, to sustain him in the assertion. Can these things be so ? Can there be portions of our country, aspiring to the rights and privileges of free States, in which nine tenths of the children are uninstructed ? Of wbat value are rights and privileges in such circumstances ? Of what value, even, is the mere seinblance of liberty ?
We dislike, in toto, these prosing, speech making, essay reading, education ineetings. They are excusable, perhaps, in Michigan, but not in New England or New York. And no where are they more inexcusabie, than in our own State. The American Institute of Instruction, in its yearly meetings of persons most of wbom are teachers, should set a better example to the world. It should not sit four or five days, merely to hear the written essays of fifteen or twenty men read out; to the neglect of free and mutual consultation and discussion. The views of plain common sense teachers, should be elicited in the form of verbal or written reports, en bodying their own experience on important points ; and the discussions, which should be numerous-and not scarcer than diamonds are among us-should grow out of these reports. This would awaken and interest and elevate the men whom we wish to elevate ; even if it should not subserve so well the purposes of those who are already elevated.
The Expense of Ignorance.
Education Meeting at Lexington, A meeting on the subject of education was recently held at Lexington, Mass. A Committee appointed at a previous meeting in Concord, to prepare a constitution for a County Association for the promotion of Education, having reported, a constitution was adopted, and the proper officers chosen. An address was then given by the Hon. Horace Mann Secretary of the Board of Education for the Commonwealth ; after which, the five following subjects were assigned to Comınittees, to report thereon at the next meeting of the Association.
1. In what order should the various branches of knowledge be taken up in the natural progress of the human mind?
2. To what extent, and by what means, should moral education be promoted in common schools ?
3. On the means of exciting the community on the subject of education.
4. On the expediency of making the course of instruction in common schools so ample and various, as to meet the wants of all classes o citizens.
5. Whether any other plan than the present district school system, would be an improvement.
COMMON School ConventION AT CLEVELAND. We learn from the Cleveland Observer, that a Convention of Delegates from the several towns in Cayahoga County, Ohio, was held in that place on the 28th of Dec. Jast, to deliberate on the subject of Common Schools, and to endeavor to excite vigorous efforts to improve their condition. Several interesting discussions, it is said, took place, and several iniportant resolutions passed. One of these last, was to form a County Association for the advancement of the interests of Common schools. Another was, that the Bible ought to be made a subject of daily reading and study in all our schools. Another, still, adverted to the incompetency of teachers. Committees of three, iu each town in the county, were appointed to attend an alljourned meeting of the Convention to be held Jan. 11th, at Cleveland, whose duty it should be to collect and report all the information they shall be able to obtain, pertaining to the subject of common schools, embracing an account of the number of schools in the respective townships-the number of scholars in each—the number of months schools are kept in each district during the year--the amount of salary paid the teachers-and the text books used in each school.
THE EXPENSE OF IGNORANCE. A member of the British Parliament, in a late speech before that body