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The whole number of children reported as attending school during some portion of the year 1847, is 775,723. And of these, 17,805 attended school the whole year..
25,028 attended ten and less than twelve months. 50,823 attended eight and less than ten months. 104,016 attended six and less than eight months. 154,673 attended four and less than six months. 194,892 attended two and less than four months. 198,625 attended less than two months. The aggregate of this periodical attendance is 745,892, while the whole number reported taught during the year is 775,723, a difference of 29,831. If the returns were accurate, those two aggregates would be equal.
Measures are suggested to secure correctness in the reports hereafter.
The average time during which schools have been kept during the past year, in the state, may be stated at eight months, which is the same as last year.
In Hamilton county, the average is five months, and in Warren, five and seven-tenths.
No other counties average less than six months. In the counties of New York and Kings, the average is eleven months; in Richmond and Queens, ten, and in Suffolk, Westchester and Rockland, nine.
The average of Rensselaer, according to the reports, would be twelve months.
SCHOOLS FOR COLOURED CHILDREN.
The reports of the county clerks in regard to coloured schools are unsatisfactory and in many instances palpably incorrect. The superintendent says:
Such reports are worse than useless, for they are false and delusive. It is plain that, in a large number of counties, no effort has been made to collect accurate statistics relating to schools for coloured children, and that such as have been collected are in many cases deficient and deceptive.
By chap. 258, sec. 3, laws of 1847, a sum not exceeding $5,000, was appropriated from the income of the United States deposit fund, to the trustees of any incorporated village which should, during one year from the passage of this act, support, for three months or more, a school for the exclusive instruction of coloured children.
As the coloured population is enumerated in the census of the state, and forms a part of the basis of the distribution of the school fund, and where unreasonable prejudice excludes them from the white schools, ihe trustees are empowered to establish separate schools for them, the superintendent sees no good reason for the special appropriation provided for above, and respectfully recommends the repeal of the anomalous act.
INDIAN SCHOOLS. Schools for the instruction of Indian children are now established upon the St. Regis, the Onondaga, the Cattaraugus and Allegany, and Shinnecock reservations.
The Shinnecock Indians occupy a small promontory, containing about 600 acres, on the southern shore of Long-Island, and within the limits of the town of Southampton. The whole number of children between the ages of 5 and 16 years, is 50, and the number who have attended school some portion of the time is 40. They are represented in an improving condition. The number of children between the ages of 5 and 16 years upon the Cattaraugus reserva. tion is 322, and the whole number who have atiended school the preceding year is 229; and the whole number between the said ages upon the Allegany reservation, is 180, and the number who have attended school is 110.
These Indians feel very grateful for țhe instruction which the state is bestowing upon them, and take an increasing interest in the schools.
The agent of the St. Regis reservation reports that a school has been kept nine months during the year, with an average attendance of 50 children.
Upon the Onondaga reservation a school was kept by a male teacher for five months previous to the 1st day of May, 1848, and for the ensuing six months by a male teacher with a female assistant.
The whole number of scholars who had attended at the date of the agent's report was 61; of whom 40 had been quite regular, and 25 had been absent but a few days during the year.
The whole number of children on the reservation between the ages of 5 and 16 is about 94.
The Indian reservations in Allegany, Erie, Cattaraugus, Onondaga and other counties, comprise many thousand acres of the finest agricultural land in the state. Yet the Indians on these lands are, in the main, miserably poor and destitute. This state of things the superintendent attributes to the system of communism prevailing among these red men. The labour of the industrious (says the report) contributes alike to the support of the idle. The usual incen. tives to toil and thrift, the hope of personal gain, and the acquisition of exclusive property, are wanting.
It is intimated that a remedy for these evils might be found in the passage of a law by which the Indians could be allowed to divide the land equitably among themselves, and giving to each an estate of inheritance, but not permitting the land to be disposed of by devise, or deed, nor to be encumbered by mortgage or judgment. It is now held in common and inalienable; it would then be held in partition, not devisable nor alienable, nor subject to any lien or incumbrance.
OF THE ORGANIZATION OF THE COMMON SCHOOLS. The number of school districts in the state, according to the last report, is 10,621.
The school money is apportioned to the several counties and towns in proportion to their population. If we divide the amount of public money by the number of the districts, we have $580,000, (the sum distributed the coming year,) divided by 10,621, giving $54,60° to each district. And yet there are twenty-five towns in the state receiving less than that sum, and seventy-nine receiving less than $100.
The distribution among the districts of the several towns is made in proportion to the number of children in each, between five and sixteen years of age.
The distribution of the school money according to population, gives the cities an advantage over the rural districts. New York has 80,500 children between the ages of five and sixteen, and the portion of school money is $40,621 53, or fifty cents for each child. Madison county has 10,705 children between five and sixteen years of age, and has $4,485 05 school money, or about forty-two cents for each child. The difference in favour of New York is eight cents for each child.
Dividing the number of acres of improved land in the state, 11,757,276, by the number of districts, 10,621, we have 1,107 acres to each district. The aggregate valuation of the whole state in 1847 was $632,699,993, or $60,000 to each district; or including the valuation of New York, ($247,152,303,) about $36,000.
There are many towns in the state with a valuation less than $100,000, and there are very few towns which do not contain districts with a valuation less than $5,000; but as each district must have its school-houses, &c., the expense of maintaining the present system is much more burdensome to the agricultural districts than the cities and villages. And yet while the cities and villages
are consolidating and uniting districts, thus lessening the expense and increasing the means and facilities of supporting schools, the operation of dividing and creating new districts is still going on in the country.
The number of districts in the state is too large, and should be lessened. As a means of checking the increase of districts it is proposed to repeal that section of the law which authorizes a sale of the school-houses and other property of the districts from whose territory the new one is formed, and a division of the proceeds of such sale among the several districts entitled thereto.
It is also proposed that the formation of new districts of the town superintendent shall have the concurrence of the supervisor and town clerk, and give the trustees and others interested an opportunity to be heard before the board.
ESTIMATES AND ACCOUNTS OF EXPENDITURES OF THE SCHOOL FUND. The balance of this fund, on the 30th Sept., 1847, was
$124,947 Amount received during the year ending Sept. 30, 1848,
117,220 Amount from income of U. S. deposite fund,
$407,167 RECEIPTS AND APPORTIONMENTS FOR 1848. The whole amount of public money received from all sources, by the commissioners of cities and town superintendents, during the year ending July 1, 1848, was
Apportioned for teachers' wages,
657,331 09 91,485 92
$109,777 85 The capital of the school fund is
$2,211,475 14 The productive capital of the school fund, provided the legislature shall continue its annual appropriation of $ 165,000 for the support of schools, may be stated as follows:Productive capital of the school fund as above,
$2,211,475 14 Amount from the U. S. deposit fund, which would produce the
sum of $165,000 annually, appropriated for the support of common schools, at six per cent. interest,
2,750,000 00 To this may be added a sum that will produce annually $25,000,
which is reserved by the constitution, to be added to the capital of the school fund,
416,666 67 Making a total of
$5,378,141 81 The annual interest on this sum at six per cent. is $322,688 50.
SCHOOL DISTRICT LIBRARIES, The number of volumes in the school district libraries in 1844 was 1,145, 280; in 1845, 1,203, 139; in 1846, 1,310,986; and in 1847, 1,333,848. Reports from sixteen teachers' institutes have been received, situated in so many counties. The number of teachers in attendance was 1096. An increase of the appropriation for these institutes is recommended.
FREE SCHOOLS. The present system of schools is regarded as imperfect, and in its practical working, in many respects, extremely vexatious. “A system of entirely free schools is recommended to take the place of the present system. It may be
applicable only to the towns, requiring the cities, however, to make their schools free, but allowing them to adopt such an organization as their peculiar circumstances may require. Free schools now prevail in New York, Buffalo, Brooklyn, Syracuse, Rochester, Lansingburg, Williamsburg, Pough keepsie, Flushing, Newtown and Bushwick. These cities and towns are estimated to contain
about one-fifth of the population of the whole state. Adding Albany, Troy, and Utica, where the schools are substantially free, although not so by force of law, we find that free schools now prevail in about onefourth of the state.
It is believed that the people are not opposed to a free school system. The money now raised by the supervisors, equal to the amount appropriated from the funds of the state, is cheerfully voted and paid. In addition to this, many towns at their annual meetings, vote to raise another sum equal to that required to be raised by general laws. The aggregate sum thus voted in the state is very large. It was in 1847
$199,008 00 1846
155,974 20 1845
195,051 15 1844
191,473 93 1843
179,800 52 These sums were raised by the inhabitants of towns, voluntarily, and under special laws inserted in the charters of cities and villages.
The probable taxation, and the rate per cent. necessary to support a free school system, can be ascertained, by showing the actual expense in the cities and towns where it is established.
In the following table the first column shows the valuation of the city or town in 1847; the second, the whole amount of school money from all sources; the third, the amount of public money apportioned to the city, or town; the fourth, the amount ually raised in the city, or town, besides the public money; and the fifth, the rate of tax upon $100, of valuation: Valuation. School
money. Public money. Amount of tax. Rate upon. Albany, 11,387,376 13,044 50
29,565, 189 26,039 50 6,286 35 19,753 15 1,06.7 Buffalo, 8,497,152 21,142 60 3,142 60
18,000 00 0,21.2 Brunswick, 755,160 1,289 30 196 00
1,093 30 1,14.6 Flushing; 2,393,135
413 60 Hudson,
1,179 43 0,00.5 1,159,550 4,084 27 597 11 Newtown,
3,487 16 0,30.0 1,989,175 3,743 77 582 75
2,763 54 New York, 247,152,303 295,453 80
39,183 58 256,270 22 0,10.4 Poughkeepsie, 3,499,191 5,470 66 1,244 58 4,226 08 0,12.0 Rochester, 4,634,681 11,808 47 2,666 83
9,141 64 0,19.8 Utica, 3,480,766 10,278 16
8,991 46 0,25.8 Williamsburg; 3,125,162
8,640 37 420 31
7,443 77 0,23.8 With this table, any one can tell what would be his tax for the support of schools in either of the places named.
If he is a resident of New York, and is assessed $4,000, he pays a tax of $4 17. If he is assessed $100,000, he pays $104. The sum raised in New York for school purposes appears to be very large, but when it is apportioned upon the tax payers according to their property, it is a very little tax. And it would be light, even if it were doubled. If the common schools were what they used to be, and a system of high schools were engrafted upon them, every child could be educated in them--the poor gratuitously, and the rich at a less expense ihan at a private school.
In the city of Brookly the free schools are supported at the low rate of $6 tax upon $10,000 valuation.
In the cities the support of schools by a general tax, is but the association of all the citizens to effect an object in which all are mutually interested, and which can be better done by a combination of the means of all.
The Normal School, under the direction of its accomplished principal, continues to meet the expectations of its founders and friends, and to deserve the patronage of the state.
The continuance of the annual appropriation of $2,400 to the District School Journal is strongly recommended.
There is a gradual improvement in the construction of school-houses throughout the state. The log huts and unsuitable structures built at the first organization of many of the school districts, are giving place to more comfortable and convenient buildings.
The institutions for the deaf and dumb and blind in the city of New York, are commended to the continued favour of the state.
There are instances in the state, of trustees who are unable to read or write, intemperate, averse to schools and education; of town superintendents incompetent, and dishonest; of districts quarrelsome and blind to their true interests; yet these are all exceptions to the general rule.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN MICHIGAN. The report of the superintendent of public instruction in Michigan, just rendered, evinces a clear appreciation of the wants and the capabilities of the school system of the state, and proves the superintendent to be a zealous and very efficient officer. Beside his weekly labours, he has been engaged during the past year, in addressing the churches of the state, every Sabbath, on the subject of popular education, and with such success as thoroughly to persuade himself of the utility of the practice. In the statistical information of the report, a gratifying improvement in the workings of the common school system is observable. Reports have been received from four hundred and forty-two townships-seventeen more than the preceding year. The number of school districts reported is 3,071—one hundred and twenty-nine more than in any former year. Of this number, 2,548 have maintained schools for the constitutional term kept by qualified teachers-an increase of one hundred and seventy-seven over former years. Of children who have attended school, the number is 98,044, between the ages of four and eighteen-an increase of 9,964 over former years. The whole number reported in the state between these ages, is 117,952. The interest money of the school fund, last year, was $32,605 20-an increase of $1,330 46. Little doubt is entertained that the annual increase of the primary school interest fund, will be eight or ten thousand dollars per year, for several years to come.
The report states that while the number of scholars in the common schools has increased, the last year, nearly 10,000, the number in select schools has decreased upward of a hundred, whence an inference may be drawn of the increasing favour with which the common school system is regarded.
The libraries of the three hundred and forty-five townships contain 58,203 volumes-an increase, in the last year, of forty-five libraries and 14,277 volumes. The annual increase, it is presumed, is even much greater than this, as many libraries are not reported. The superintendent has also visited every organized county in the state, except the upper peninsula, and has established an educational society in each. In many counties, auxiliary societies have been organized in the townships, and another has been formed under the title of the Michigan State Educational Society. The aid of the press is acknowledged by the superintendent, and he also urges the importance of an exclusive journal for the state.