Page images
PDF
EPUB

166

Connecticut Common School Journal.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

bility, resting where it should primarily on the popular subdi On these and other topics, the opinions of school visiters, vision of school districts and societies, and calculated to in-gathered up from every section of the state, will carry with list as widely as possible, the active interest of every parent, them great weight-altogether beyond the views of an indiby bringing home the state of the school to each individual vidual who is necessarily familiar only with the more obviannually, and at all times through the registers of the teach-ous features in the condition of the schools. We wish too ers, to every parent who chooses to inquire at the school that they would invite teachers and other intelligent friends house, must, we think, be appreciated by every intelligent of education who do not happen to be school committee men, friend of the schools.

to communicate their views on the best method of improving With this general view of the law, we now recall the at- common schools. We have but one wish in this whole mattion of school visiters to the annual reports which they are ter, and that is to ascertain and spread out before the board, required to submit to the school society. It was the inten- and through them, before the legislature and the people of tion of the framers of the law of May, 1838, that this report Connecticut, the exact condition and best means of improv. should cover the official year of the committee, and hence in ing those common schools which have been, and are still, her a majority of cases where the annual meeting of the society pride and her beauty, and which hold in their embrace her for the choice of committee is held, this report would not be progressive advancement in every thing that it becomes a made till soine time in the autumn. The clerk is required to state to cherish and labor for. read the report at any meeting held previous 10 April. We We only add a request that all reports and communications should esteem it a personal favor, and regard it besides as an (and in these we would include copies of reports made last invaluable service to the general object, if the visiters would year) should be forwarded to Hartford, as early as possible. make out a report of the condition of the winter schools still in session, or which will soon close, together with their views

TOLLAND REPORT OF SCHOOL VISITERS and modes of improving the common schools in winter and in

FOR 1839. summer. As evidence, these reports will carry deserved weight. They will contain the testimony and suggestions of

The Committee soon after they were appointed, held a

meeting to consult respecting the manner the interests of edumen, whose intelligence and character in the eyes of their sel-cation as entrusted to them demanded they should act. The low townsmen secured their appointment, respecting schools visiters present were of one opinion—that there oughi to be a which have been under their direct supervision, and measures full and minute examination of those who proposed to teach, of improvement and refcrm to meet evils now suffered, and dif. in the various branches of learning in which they were lo inficulties and dangers recently encountered. We would espe- tion to teach who could not sustain well such an examination.

struct, and that no individual ought to receive their approbacially call their attention to such subjects as formed the topics It is believed that a practical adherence to this rule bas been of our report to the Board last year, and may also be found in highly beneficial. The several schools have been iwice visthe extracts in the last number of the Journal, viz., the location,

ited. No one of the visiters visited all the schools, and hence construction, internal arrangement and ventilation of school ascertained. Yet, with some exception, it is believed by the

the relative condition of the respective schools cannot well be houses; the expediency of a gradation of schools, by the em- visiters, that the schools have been in a better condition than ployment of well qualified female teachers for the younger usual. There are some faults of which the committee feel children, and the formation of a union school for the older disposed to speak. The standard of spelling, in most of the children of two or more adjoining districts; the best mode of schools, is far too low. Good spelling is an essential part of ascertaining the qualifications of teachers, by a senatorial dis- should furnish to every child. Correct spelling is one part of

an education, and of such an education as the common school trict, or a county board of examiners; the gain to districts in an education best titting individuals to do business respectably employing weil qualified, instead of cheap teachers; the im- and well. A child that cannot spell correctly at ten or twelve portance of paying more attention to the younger children, in years of age, will not be likely to do much better at iwenty, respect to their teachers, and their einployment, health and well is not acquired at an early age, in the common school, it

and will spell worse when a man. If the habit of spelling comfort in the school; the large amount of non-attendance in is not often acquired anywhere, at any age. It should be a any school, public or private; the late and irregular attend- principle, carried into practice in every common school, that ance; the deficiency and diversity of school books; the neg- every child, if capable, must be taught to spell correctly.

In some of the schools, there has not been, in the opinion lect of the primary branches; the great variety of studies; the want of black boards, and other school apparatus ; the mechan- scholars. One important object of education is the cultiva

of the visiters, sufficient attendance to the manners of the ical character of instruction; the necessity of introducing tion of the social and moral feelings. This object is greatly more of oral teaching; the advantage of district or society overlooked, where no proper pains are taken to form in chilschool libraries for the older children ; the origin and influ. dren right and becoming manners and habits. And the many ence of private schools of the same grade as the common object is lost sight of. The whole character and conduct are

happy influences of education fail to be appreciated, if this school on the latter; the best mode of apportioning the school intimately connected with the social and moral babits and money; the influence of the present mode of supporting the manners formed. The district school works with a mighty common schools; the improvements which have been made power in deciding what our children shall be in after life.

More knowledge of the best modes of teaching, on the part of in the common schools; the best modes of supplying the

the instructers, would have been greatly to the advantage of schools with well qualified teachers; the advantage of teachers' the schools. associations; the annual meeting of ihe schools for examina There are three prominent wants in respect to our schools : tion, exhibition or appropriate addresses; occasional excur- teachers better qualified for their duties, a greater supply of sions of the scholars with their teacher in summer after- books, and more suitable houses in which our youth may

instructed. For these the remedy is plain. Let the Siate, noons; the best mode of securing moral and religious educa- with its more than two millions of common school fund, estabtion in common schools; the importance of parental visits to lish teachers' seminaries, and see that books in some way are

the schools, and the best mode of securing a vigorous and provided ; and let those whose duty it is, take care to provide faithful inspection and superintendence of the schools in dis- a pleasant and convenient home for the youth while in school

. victs, societies and the state.

It is with considerable satisfaction the visiters contemplate the
change, which has begun in the condition and prospects of

!

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

be

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

School Returns. Annual Report. Tolland Report, 1839. Meetings of Children.

167

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

and ge

10 inprobaaliou. = been e vis

ence Ell be

our schools. There has been a spirit of improvement opera- PUBLIC MEETINGS OF CHILDREN, TEACHERS AND
ing on and in the schools during the past season, which it has
been cheering to witness. There have been better speci-

PARENTS.
mens of reading and spelling, and of recitation in grammar
and arithmetic, ihan in previous seasons. These are the re-

We have at different times recommended the convening of
sults of increased attention to the interests of education, and all the schools of a society or town, once or twice in the course
of having teachers possessed of higher qualifications. In of the year, for the purpose of an examination, exhibition or
some instances which could be named, much praise is de- appropriate addresses, as should be deemed most expedient.
served. Yet but few teachers have acquired any considerable We would commend this suggestion again to the considera-
knowledge of the best methods of instruction, and of the in-
tellectual and moral capabilities of their profession. And the tion of parents, teachers, and the friends of the schools gener-
reason is, teachers have been compelled to prepare themselves ally. If it should be too late to hold such meetings in refer-
without ihe requisite advantages; and if some are better qual-ence to the winter schools, still let them be held and let the
ified to teach than their predecessors, it is owing more to thein- exercises be framed to give a higher and better impulse to the
selves than to any helps afforded by the community which
they serve. Teaching is a science as well as an art, and the summer schools, which are so generally overlooked. Let them
best methods of teaching are conformed to the knowu laws be made a happy meeting, for the children, and encouraging
and operations of inind. It is therefore evident that ihe indi- to the female teachers who are so soon to take charge of the
vidual who has knowledge of the best mode of teaching, and of district schools. They need something of this kind to sustain
the studies to be laughi, combined with apiness to teach, and
skill in government, will be the best teacher. Education itself them amid the wearying, thankless, unpayed and unvisited
in one point of view, is but a means to an end. The final object labors of their responsible calling. We have heard of several
of teaching is not the cultivation of the mind nor the acquisition meetings of this character, and have been obliged to decline
of knowledge, but the preparation of those taught, in the best invitations to be present. We are happy to find these sug-
manner, for the various and serious duties of life. Our
schools should be a system of moral and intellectual training, gestions confirmed and reiterated by Dr. Humphrey, in his
tending directly and effectually to this end. But in order that our “Thoughts on Education.”
common schools may produce results equal to the measure of • Besides the examinations, which should be held at each
usefulness of which ihey are capable, there must be greater de school house in spring and autumn, when the winter and
sire for it on the part of parents, and all the friends of the well
being of society. This desire must be so strong as to call suminer terms close, it appears to me very important, that as
forth legislative action, wise, liberal, and efficient, ia adopting many of the schools as can conveniently meet in one place,
and fostering measures that shall tend to the desired results. - should be brought together once in a year, for a more public
It must be so strong as to lead the community to co-operate in exhibition. Reading, spelling, exercises in grammar
signs of the Legislature. The state, in the capacity of rulers, ograpby, and speaking, would always be appropriate, and
signs of the Legislature. The State

, in the capacity of rulers would be highly interesting, at such exhibitions. They used
comnion scl ools what they can be and should be—a great to be commun, thirty years ago, in that part of Connecticut
means of ministering in numerous ways to the good of the indi- with which I was best acquainted ; and I believe they are, in
vidual educated, and to the good of the great whole.

some places, still. I should rejoice 10 see them introduced
As a means of awakening this desire, and of producing right and tried every where. There may be difficulties in the way,
action, there must be, on the part of the community, more
knowledge of what our common schools can and should be. or evils attending them, which I have no contemplated. But
On this point there is but the beginning of knowledge. We judging from my own experience, both as a scholar and teach-
have all seen the common school ;-but what is it compared er, there is no stimulus which you can apply to a school, which
with what it might he in its capacity for doing good ? Very will operate so powerfully, and for so long a time, both upon
limited indeed. It is true, we have a system of common edu-
cation which has been the means of good. We should be parents and children, as the expectation of appearing at such
thankful for the good it has done, while we ought to look at its an exhibition. I do not think it any exaggeration to say, that
defects and make it better.

for the two preceding months, twice as much proficiency is
Compared with the systems of common schools in Prussia, often made, in the most important studies, as could ordinarily
Holland, and even France, our system is greatly defective.
What is the condition of many of our school-houses? What | be secured without the stimulus. I have known a bridge re-
have we done to encourage and help teachers to qualify them- built, after a great flood, and with much difficulty, by the pro-
selves for their important duties? Some have made laudable prietors of a school, early in March, because they would not
exertions to fit themselves to serve us. But as yel, neither by have their children hindered from appearing with the other
public authority and liberality, nor by individual munificence,
is there even one serninary on the map of our State to educate schools of the town at the public exhibition. Where such a
the common school teacher. Would we have our schools sub- spirit prevails in a district, you may be certain that the school
serve the interests yet more of the scholars, and the welfare of is in a prosperous state, and it will prevail where such exhi-
society, and would we have our teachers understand better bitions are common and popular."
their profession, and the intellectual and moral training those
need who are put under their care, we must do more for the
education of the leachers themselves. They must have the

SUMMER SCHOOLS.
right qualifications, intellectual and moral. If our children

We would again call the attention of parents and district
and youth are not so educated as to tend to make them intelli-
gent, moral, and useful members of the community in which committees to the wisdom of making early and liberal provis-
they dwell—the true and wise and philanthropic purpose of ion for the summer schools, which will soon commence.-
our common schools, is not attained. On this end, all should These schools are too much overlooked, all over the State.-
Jook with sincere and earnest desire, hoping for its accom- The impression is, that anything will do for the summer
plishment. As one means, under the favor of a wise Provi-
dence, for securing it, we close our report, by affirming, in our

school-any teacher will answer for small children. A more
opinion, that the first great desideratum for the improvement of erroneous opinion could not prevail. The practice of neglect-
our common schools, is a teachers seminary, both on the ing the young mind, just when the most decisive marks will
east and west side of Connecticut river, to supply competent be set upon it, for good or for evil, should be reversed. We
instructers. Respectfully submitted,

By order of the Committee for examining teachers and vis- hope that mothers especially will wake up to this truth now,
iting the schools in Tolland.

before another summer shall have witnessed their children
TOLLAND, 1839.

ABRAM MARSH, Chairman. crowded into hot, unshaded, dirty school-houses, seated on

y the

than

[ocr errors]

of the art of chool art of tably velve enty, elling pol, it be a that

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors][merged small]

slabs, without backs to lean against, and too high even for the

FEMALE TEACHERS. older children who attended the winter schools, taught by

"He, it seems 10 me, is a dull observer, who is not convincheap instead of well-qualified teachers, and in that process ced that they are equally qualified with the other sex, for the or mutual instruction which goes on with fearful certainty in study of the magnificent creation around us, and equally entievery ungoverned and poorly taught school, returned at the tled to the happiness to be derived from its pursuit; and still close of the season, in a worse state than when it commenced. more blind is he, who has not learned that it was ihe iotenWe could mention some appalling facts in this connection, portion of responsibility in the education of youth of both sex

tion of the Creator to commit to them a higher and greater but we prefer to give an extract from a communication which es. They are the natural guardians of the young. Their we lately received from a parent who is now awake to the im- abstraction from the engrossing cares of life affords them portance of this subject. Are there not many hearts in Con- leisure both to acquire and communicate knowledge. From necticut who can respond to these plain spoken sentiments ?

them the young more willingly receive it, because the severity

of discipline is relieved with greater tenderness and affection, “Dear Sir,—Believing that you are wishing to know the condi. while their more quick apprehension, enduring patience, extion of every school in the State, I have concluded to communicate pansive benevolence, higher purity, more delicate taste, and some facts respecting those in this village. I am sensible that there elevated moral feelings qualify them for excellence in all deare other persons better qualified to perform the task than myself, but partments of learning, except perhaps the exact sciences. If I fear their minds are so much taken up in other matters, that they this be true, how many a repulsive, bigoted, and indolent prowill quite forget the schools.” After giving the particulars of the fessor will, in the general improvement of education, be comschools last summer, the letter goes on to say :-" These schools pelled to resign bis claim, io modest, assiduous, and affectionwere the means of bringing me to my senses. It is about four years ate woman. and a half since I came to this village. I had from a child lived wield the rod in our Common Schools, without the knowledge

And how many conceited pretenders who may far from school, in a thinly settled district. I had three children, of humar, nature, requisite for its discreet exercise, too indowhich I had sent one mile and a half to school. When I came here, lent to improve, and too proud to discharge their responsible I expected much advantage to my children by living near a school, and I thought, as a matter of course, that as it was in a village, il duties, will be driven to seek subsistence elsewhere."

Gov. Jer rd. must be a good one. But I have found myself sadly mistaken. In. stead of finding, as I expected, the village children far in advance of my own, I found a large majority in their rear, although they had

EDUCATION IN OTHER STATES CONTINUED. been in school two or three times as much as my children of the same age. People have constantly complained of the poorness and

MICHIGAN. bad management of the public schools. Many have abandoned them, and sought better opportunities for their children in private We have, on a former occasion, paid our humble tribute to the educaschools. Last summer capped the climax. There was a universal tional policy of this young State, but we cannot forbear in the review complaint, against every school, public and private. The fault was which we are now presenting of the condition and prospects of comall laid upon the committee and teachers; but the fault did not rest there. It belonged principally to the people; and I will confess none

mon school education in the United States, to call the attention of our were more guilty than myself. I was guilty of doing nothing, readers to the efforts which have heen made, and are still in progress yes, just nothing. I did like the rest; I paid no attention to the in Michigan, to lay the broad and deep foundation of public instrucschools. There was no regulation or order in the schools, or tion for the benefit of all her citizens. out of the schools. There was a vote taken in the spring, in

The Constitution of the State embraces more liberal provisions for the school meeting, that the committee should employ two female teachers to teach the public schools as long as the public money public instruction than any other in the Union. would pay the teachers' wages and board, and that there should

It provides for the appointment of a “ Superintendent of Public Inbe no tax whatever for the summer school. A school without a tax struction,” by the Governor with the consent of the legislature. To was just the thing that suited the ideas of many, myself among the this provision we are confident the state owes its present advance in rest. But may I be delivered forever from another worthless school, the outward organization of a school system, and the prudent disposiI care not how cheap it may be. * The district, numbering over 200 children of the school age, hastion and husbandry of her school funds, over other states of the west

, but one school house, with two rooms, and those not large enough which were in the outset as liberally endowed as herself. The great to accommodate one half of the children, and withal every way un defect in most of the states has been, the want of state superintendence comfortable. The committee employed two teachers, one for each to preserve efficient, wholesome, and uniform action. room. The children went where their parents sent them, or suited

It provides that all lands which have been, or may hereafter be themselves. As it happened, the teacher who took the smallest room, that was best calculated for the smallest children, was soon thought granted to the state for the support of schools and a university, shall be to be the best teacher of the two, and as there was no regulation made a perpetual fund, the interest of which shall be inviolably appropriain regard to the division of the scholars, the consequence was, that ted according to the purposes of the grant. The avails of all lands over sixty, of all ages, crowded into that small room. could not find room on the benches, sat or lay down on the floor.no granted to the state by Congress

, as it is estimated by the superintenThe teacher was experienced, and did the best she could, under such dent in one of his annual reports, will amount to upwards of six milcircumstances. The other school had about twenty.tive of the most lions of dollars, of which sum five millions are consecrated to the sup. unruly, or they soon became so; for I have since learned that the port of common schools. boys capered about during school hours on the benches, on all fours, It provides that the legislature shall establish such a system of comand out and in the windows, just when they pleased. So it went on for about five months, and nobody paid any particular attention to it. school district, at least three months in the

mon schools, as shall cause at least one, to be supported and kept in each I sent two litile boys there, one nine and the other seven years of

year. age. Although others who sent to the different schools, complained

It provides that school libraries shall be established, one at least in that their children learnt nothing, my little boys learnt fast, and it is each township, and sets apart the proceeds of certain fines, &c, for their with feelings of horror that I think what they learnt. They learnt support. This provision was altogether in advance of public opinion in school to be disorderly, disobedient, and other branches of the in the older sections of the country, but the importance of procuring same kind of knowledge, and they carried it out in practice at home, until I found it necessary to put them under the strictest discipline, good books for those who are taught to read, and thereby securing their to keep them in any kind of order. After having trouble enough of further education after leaving school, is now beginning to be felt in this sort, I began to search for the cause, and traced it back to the New York and New England. school. There I learnt the cause, and I think I shall not soon for. The constitution further provides the means for establishing a uniget it. Then I began to arouse from my stupor ; then my eyes began versity with branches. to open, and see multitudes of other children in the same predicament with mine. I saw the need of doing something forth with to

In pursuance of their noble provisions, the legislature at its annual improve our schools. I was ignorant, and sought with deep interest session in 1837, enacted the laws necessary to the organization and adfor information from every source within my reach, and I found much ministration of an educational system. We gave, in a former numin your valuable Journal."

ber, the outline of the system, as far as relates to common schools. The
following abstract of the leading features of the system as far as re-

rents.

1
ates to the university and its branches, is from a very able article in what circumstances it can be most easily enlarged and improved
the Democratic Review.

Such knowledge is essential to the instructer, and equally so to pa

Children should be early taught to turn their thoughts back The University and its branches are placed under the direction of a upon themselves, for the purpose of observing the varied operations board of regents, nominated by the Governor, and appointed with the of their intellectual, moral and religious being. advice of the Senate. The board consists of twelve members, exclu

It is highly important to know more of the relation between mat. sive of the Chancellor, Justices of the Supreme Court, and Gover- ter and mind, and how each is affected by this relation. If the nor, who are members by virtue of their offices. The University is to brain is the chief instrument of mind in all its operations, then what. consist of three departments or faculties; one of literature, science, and the arts, one of medicine, and one of law. In the first depart- ever may affect the brain must necessarily affect the mind. Both ment is established a professorship of ancient languages and litera- parents and teachers should fully understand and appreciate this ļure, one of modern languages

, one of rhetoric and oratory, one of law of our present existence. Without this knowledge a child in intellectual philosophy, logic, and the philosophy of history; one of feeble health may be permanently injured, if not sent to an early grave. moral philosophy, natural theology, and the hisiory of religions, one

It implies moreover, a knowledge of our country. Every child of political economy, one of mathematics, one of chemistry: one of should know the geography of his native land—its boundaries, geology and mineralogy ; one of zoology and botany, one of fine arts, grand outlines and features-the relative position of its principal and one of civil engineering and architecture. In the faculty of law, mountains and valleys, bays and harbors, lakes and rivers, and navi. a professorship of riatural, international, and constitutional law; one gable waters. Destitute of this information, no person can read un. of common and statute law and equity; one of commercial and mari- derstandingly a common newspaper. It is equally important to tine law. In the medical faculty, a professorship of anatomy, one of know its political divisions--the number and relative position of the surgery, one of phisiology and pathology, one of practice of physic, states—their capitals, chief towns, ports of entry, and principal one of obstetrics and diseases of women and children. The regents commercial cities. are empowered, at the first organization of the University, so to ar The institutions and laws of our country should be known. Every range the professorships, and to appoint such a number only, as the citizen should be acquainted with the government under which he wants of the institution may require, or its resources warrant. lives, in its legislative, judicial and executive departments; and

The regenis have power to prescribe laws for the government of the have a full understanding of the federal and state constitutions, University, to appoint the professors, tutors, and ministerial officers, which secures to every man his rights and liberties, civil

, political and remove them when they judge proper, and generally to exercise and religious. The names and duties of public officers, the tenure the corporate powers of the institution. It is their duty, together with of their respective offices. The same is true of public works. the superintendent of public instruction, to establish such branches of | They are matters of general interest. the University in different parts of the State as may be authorized by

The history of our country is another branch of knowledge imthe Legislature; and to establish all needful rules for their government. plied in a good education. It must be a burning shame to be igno. It is their duty to proceed to the erection of necessary buildings for the rant of the history of one's own country—of such a history as ours University, as soon as the state provides funds for the purpose; and to faithfully expend all moneys appropriated for the use of the Universi- usefulness and entertainment-teaching by actual experiments, nev.

--so full of novelty combined with instruction--so rich in incident, ty; and to make an annual report, to the board of visiters, on the condition of the University. The immediate government of the several

er besore made, lessons of wisdom. departments is intrusted to their respective faculties; but the regents animal kingdoms.

Something should also be known of the mineral, vegetable and have power to regulate the course of instruction. The initiation fee is in no case to exceed ten dollars, and the course

The principles of architecture and mechanism must not be for. of instruction, in all the departments, is to be open to all the inhabi- gotten. tants of the Siate without charge, under regulations to be established

In a republic like ours, every man needs to be acquainted with by the regents. Students from other States are to be admitted on such numbers. A knowledge of the first elements and rules of compuconditions as the regents may prescribe. The money accruing from tation is essential. The ordinary trades, transactions and business the initiation and tuition fees, is to be applied to the repair of the Uni- of life requires it. versity buildings, and the increase of the library.

To this should be added a knowledge of book-keeping. With a Connected with each branch of the University, there is required to commercial credit going people, accounts must be kept; and every be an institution for the education of females, in the higher branches of person should know how to keep them. knowledge a department especially appropriated to the education of As language is the instrument of thought, and medium of com. teachers for the primary schools; a department of agriculture, with inunication, a good education must carry along with it a knowledge competent instructers in the theory of agriculture, including vegetable of the proper construction, use and power of language. physiology, agricultural chemistry, and experimental and practical Above all a knowledge of our relations, domestic and public, and farming; and snch other departments as the regents shall judge neces- consequent obligations and duties to each other, to our country and sary to promote the public welfare ; but no branch of the University to God-is exceedingly important and desirable, of things of this shall have the right of conferring degrees.

nature, no human being should be suffered to grow up in ignorance; The superintendent of public instruction is required to appoint an- and no one need be ignorant of them. Our schools should cover the nually, a board of visiters, to consist of five persons, whose duty it is to whole ground and furnish the required information. make a personal examination into the state of the University, in all its departments, and report the result to the superintendent, suggesting is a good education implies what has been claimed for it, then it is

Here it may be proper to anticipate an objection. It may be said, such improvements as they may deem important; which report the useless for the children of tradesmen, farmers, mechanics, and oth. superintendent is required to lay before the legislature.

er laborers, to think of obtaining it. This objection has sometimes ANNUAL REPORT OF THE SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC

been urged with confidence against the introduction of any branches INSTRUCTION, FOR 1839.

into the primary schools, beyond the simplest rudiments. We are indebted to the Hon, John D. Pierce for his Annual With proper instruction, children may obtain a correct, though in Report to the Legislature, from which we abridge the following they are twenty years of age. In any event, many will do more

some cases limited, knowledge of all the subjecis mentioned before sound views of education :

than this. But it may be asked shall they be kept in school the year As there probably is some difference of opinion on the subject, it round till twenty? By no means. From four to six months in the may be proper to consider at some length what is implied in a good year, under good teachers, is all sufficient. During the balance of education in such an education as the primary schools ought to iheir time, if properly directed, whether in the kitchen, dining-room furnish.

or parlor, at home or abroad, in the field, workshop, mill or counting A good education necessarily implies a knowledge of ourselves. room, they will be constantly increasing in knowledge. And it may The body is the dwelling place of the living rational agent. be added, that the knowledge thus obtained is an essential part of a

Children should be early informed in regard to their bodily con- good education. Experience teaches us that it is no: necessary for stitution. They ought to have a clear and correct knowledge im- young persons to spend all their time at books to become learned. parted to them of what is necessary to its highest beauty, perfection, The history of the greatest and best men in our country—of those activity, vigor, and health. Much of their usefulness and enjoy who have attained the proudest eminence in literature, science and ment of life through corning years depend on the early attainment of arts, makes it certain that high attainments and usefulness are not this essential knowledge.

confined to those who have nothing to do in early life but go to If a good education implies a knowledge of our bodily frame, school. Few of this class have ever been distinguished for any how much more a knowledge of our rational nature. This nature thing but idleness, extravagance and dissipation. is obviously three.fold, intellectual, moral and religious. It is in But how is a good education to be obtained? Public instruction the highest degree important, and essential to our welfare as indi. must be based upon domestic teaching, viduals, to have a correct knowledge of this intellectual, moral and It is while at home, in the infancy of days, that children learn the religious nature. We ought as a people to know more of the pow. names of a multitude of objects. ers and susceptibilities of the human mind—of its workings—of its Here we have the first elements of langnage, and the first and relations; what it can and what it cannot achievem-when and under | most essential principles of knowledge, acquired before the child

1

PROGRESS OF EDUCATION.

teen.

[ocr errors]

is of sufficiens age to be sent to school. He has acquired a knowl. Could soine plan of this nature be put in successful operation, it edge of things and their names.

would doubtless contribute to the public advantage. As it now is, But as parents have not, generally speaking, the requisite time, if the districts, in most cases, are obliged to rely upon the merchants they always had suitable qualifications, to give their children all the for a supply. This supply is often irregular-many of the books instruction which they need, public schools are established. Here purchased are of the most inferior description—and frequently sold they should be taught to spell the words they have already learned, at high prices-some purchase one kind, some another; and this and while learning to spell them, be taught, how to put them togeth. introduces confusion of books into many of our schools. But er so as to form correct sentences. This may be done, by requiring whether any system like that proposed can be safely attempted, is them to desribe the objects, with which they are acquainted. Let for the Legislature in its wisdom to determine. the first lesson be a description of the house, in which they live ; !he next, a description of the objects around him; the next, a description of the objects between their own dwelling and the school house.

It is certainly a matter of high gratification to witness the increas. The advantage of this course, which ought to be pursued for some ing interest, apparent in nearly all parts of the state, in promoting time, would be the early formation of a habit of close observation the great work of education. This is shown in the general fullness and accuracy of description. Reading, writing, and numbers, would, of the returns—the length of time the schools have been kept in as a matter of course, come in from day to day. Easy lessons in the different districts, and in the amount of money voluntarily raised geography and history would soon follow; and from time to time, for their support and the building of school houses. In 1836, 2337 the elements of other branches of knowledge should be introduced were reported—in 1837, 15,471-in 1838, 34,000 ; while the present It is hence obvious, that the amount of valuable instruction to be year 45,892 have been reported between the ages of five and sevengiven in the primary schools may be amazingly augmented. Let this method be pursued, and it will soon appear that much may be

The Report does not give any aggre ofi e returns respecting done beyond mere reading, writing and first rules of computation. the Common Schools. From the Report of the Regents of the Uni

More experiments should be introduced into our schools. Much (versity, it appears that there are seven branches in operation, including might be done in this way with little or no additional expense. Many 222 pupils. facts in geography, in natural history, in chemistry, in natural phi. losophy, in astronomy, and in other branches, may be readily illus. trated and by the simplest apparatus. With such an apparatus eve.

NEW YORK. ry primary school may and should be furnished. The happiest Annual Report of the Superintendent of Common Schools, made effects would result froin its use. This is no mere conjecture, but sober reality.

February 11, 1810.—p. 104. Suitable books and teachers constitute another important means We gave, in a former volume of this Journal, a full account of the of promoting a good education. Such books are highly valuable, Common School System of this great State, drawn up from a re. but competent teachers are essential to the success of schools. A thoroughly trained and skillful teacher, with the most ordinary books port of the late Superintendent of Common Schools—General Dix. will do vastly more for his school than an incompetent teacher can, We are now able, through the politeness of the FIon. J. C. Spencer, in with the best books ever written. A good spelling book is impor sending us his late Report to the Legislature as Superintendent, to tant, so is a good reading book.

present the condition of common school instruction up to the begin. PROPOSED MODE OF SUPPLYING SCHOOL BOOKS.

ning of 1839, together with many valuable suggestions of the Super. By “ An act relative to school books and books for school dis

intendent. trict libraries, approved March 4, 1839," it is made the duty of CONDITION OF THE COMMON SCHOOLS IN 1838. the superintendent in his next annual communication to the Legisla.

Whole number of towns in the State,

880 ture, to report what provision in his opinion could or ought to be

(1) Number from which Returns were received,

879 made by law to insure a regular and sufficient supply of such books

Whole number of School Districts,

10,706 to every school district on the most economical terms, or what other

(2) Number from which Reports were received, 10,127 provision, if any, should in his opinion, be made to insure uniformi.

Whole number of children over 5 and under 16 years, 564,790 ty, as near as may be, in the books to be used in primary schools.”

(3) Number of children reported as having been in. The act, of which the foregoing forms a part was passed in con.

structed in common schools,

557,229 sequence of a petition, praying the legislature to provide by law, for

Average number that attended school in each district, 55 a better supply, as well as a greater uniformity, of school books.

8 This petition grew out of the difficulty, which many experience in

Average length of schools in months,

Amount of money appropriated by the State for the different parts of the country, in procuring at a reasonable price

Teachers, $110,000.00 suitable books. The following letter from a respectable citizen, ad.

Amount raised by tax by the Board dressed to the undersigned, contains the plan of the petitioners.

of County Supervisors,

$110,000.00 Burlington, Calhoun Co., Nov. 29, 1839.

Amount received from permanent " SIR-Agreeable to your request, that I should briefly give you

local funds,

19,725.76 the views of those who have heretofore petitioned the Legislature

Under special statute in New York,

72,651.00 to provide by law for a uniformity of elementary books to be used

“ Albany,

3,556.40 in the primary schools, and for the supply of schools, and school

“ Brooklyn,

2,045.46 district libraries, with approved works at cost prices,' I would re

• Buffalo,

451,37 spectfully suggest that legal provision be made, directing the Su.

Amount voluntarily raised by taxes perintendant of Public Instruction to purchase legally approved books

in towns,

55,981.62 and stationery at his discretion, equal to the probable wants of the

Amount paid by individuals for teachers' wages, 521,477.49 schools and school district libraries, and establish a general deposi.

Total amount of expenditures for wages of tory at such place in the state as he shall think proper, and from

teachers,

$895,889.10 time to time shall cause to be distributed a suitable portion of them

Male, $16,60 10 each organized county, the treasurer of which shall be the keep. Average compensation of teachers per month,

Female,

5,50 er of a depository for his county.

Whole number of districts inspected according to law, 5,872 Each treasurer shall appoint a person in each organized township

Number not inspected,

5,279 in his county, to keep a depository of school books. Each keeper of county and township depository shall sell to resi.

The report gives no returns respecting private schools, their num. dents of Michigan at such uniform prices as shall be established by ber, the number of scholars in attendance, price of tuition, &c., nor the Superintendent.

of the number of persons who are in no school public or private, and The superintendent to be authorized to use such portion of the principal of the school fund as shall be necessary to pay for the yet these are very important items, books purchased, and add the interest thereof, with the necessary (1} We know of no other school system under which such full returos are charges and commissions, to the cost of the books, in graduating received, the selling price.

(2) The deficiency of reported districts, compared with the whole number in

the State, arises in part, according to the Report of the Superintendent, from an The whole to be under such legal guards and restrictions as erroneous method of ascertaining the whole number of districts, and in part from shall ensure the faithful execution of the system.

the fact that many new districis recently organized are included in the latter, All which is respectfully submitted, by

but not among the districts reported,

(3) We are anxious to see some explanation given respecting respecting this Yours, &c.

item. From the well known fact, that in all cities and populous villages, there

ELISIIA TYLER. are a large number of children between 5 and 16, not in any school, and a still Hon. J. D. PIERCE,

larger number in private schools, it has always been a matter of surprise to find

so large a proportion of all the children in the state in the Common Schools. Superintendent of Public Instruction."

[Ed. Com. School Journal.

wages of

[ocr errors]
« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »