Page images
PDF
EPUB

SCHOOLS.

school, those who are in no school, public or private, 5. EXAMINATION OF TEACHERS AND VISITATION OF should apply for admission at the schoolrooms at present provided in these places, they czuld not be seated,

The requirements of the law in these particulars much less instructed properly by the teachers now em- have been more faithfully complied with during the ployed. To improve the education of the poor, espe- past two years than before. In most school societies' cally in cities, a class of primary schools located wher- the board of visiters have appointed a committee of one ever there are fifty or sixty children, and of evening or two persons, who have examined all the teachers, schools for the older children, must be established, and visited all the schools, made out reports respecting the instruction in them must be the best, because it is their condition and improvement, for the information all that many of these children will ever obtain. of the Board, and their several societies, and for the

When established, the public schools must be sup. time thus employed, they have received in most instanported in such a manner, that their prosperity and ces the compensation allowed by law. As an example success shall be a matter of public and parental inter- of fidelity in all these particulars, and of the beneficial est combined. To accomplish this, the public inust results, I can refer, among other instances, 'to Farmbe required to contribute to their support, and, as far ington. as practicable, have a direct interest in securing the at I have heard of no complaint against this provision tendance of children in them. This may be done by from school societies, where the work has been faithinaking it the duty of societies or districts to raise by fully done, and where there is a willingness to make tax an amount equal to what they receive, and by grad- some effort for the improvement of the schools. uating the amount received, not to the number who jections have generally been made in quarters where can go, and ought to go to school

, but to the number before the passage of the act of 1839, there was a mere who actually do go. This first provision would induce formal compliance with the requisitions of the law, and the public to look after the expenditure of their own not always even that. money at least, and the last would make it the interest

It is the opinion of the most intelligent friends of of school committees and parents to see to the regular schools, that a county or senatorial board for the and punctual attendance of the children; for by so examination of teachers, and the inspection of schools, doing the amount of public money coming to the dis- would impart new vigor to the local administration of tricts would be increased, and the rate per scholar to our school system, give a healthy stimulus to teachers, be paid by the parents diminished.

sili out those who are qualified, collect and disseminate But other provisions will be necessary. The neces- the best plans of school government and instruction, sities and cupidity of parents, and the self-interest of and in various ways awake an interesi in the commuemployers, and the proprietors of factories and manu- nity, and secure the progress of improvement. faciuring establishments, are liable to co-operate to in this opinion I fully concur.

Such a board comwithdraw children at too early an age from the school- posed of teachers, who had proved by their success, room, for the profits of their labor. This gross injustice that they know what the qualitications and duties of a to the children, and the community in which such good teacher are, and of visiters who are experienced children are afterwards to live as parents and voters, in visiting schools and comparing the merits of differmust be prevented, by humane laws, firmly adininis- ent methods of education, would constitute a competered.

tent and independent tribunal for the examination of No child under fourteen years of age should be teachers, and introduce an intelligent, vigilant and employed to labor in a factory or manufacturing estab. etcient school inspection. In Holland, the whole fablishment, unless such child can show a certificate of ric of pubhc instruction, rests on such a system of inschool attendance for at least three months of the spection, and in no country are the advantages of twelve next preceding; and the period of their daily education more widely diffused. In Ohio, such a employment should be limited to eight hours, and their board of examination exists. And in New York, employment at night entirely prohibited, so as to admit county superintendents have been recently created, to of their regular attendance at evening schools. visit and exainine all the schools and school districts

Any owner or proprietor of any factory or similar committed to their charge, and to inquire into all malestablishment who shal employ a child under four: ters relating to ihe government, instruction, books, teen years of age, contrary to these provisions, should studies, discipline and conduct of such school, and the forfeit the sum of twenty dollars, to be recovered condition of the schoolhouses, and of the districts genby the district committee, before any justice of the early. They are also required to make such suggespeace, for the use of the comin in school in the dis- tons to schovi utlicers, teachers, and parents, as may be trict; and the district cominitive that neglects to pro-called for by the state of the schools, or the districis, secute every violation of these provisions should be and in every way to promote sound education, and admade liable to the same forfeiture, recoverable by any vance the prosperity of the schools. Each superinmember of the district, in the same way, and for the lendent is allowed iwo dollars for each school district,

and not exceedmg five hundred dollars in the year. Any person under sixteen years of age, bound to

6. TEACHERS. labor as an apprentice, or employed in any capacity for the year, should be enulled to three continuous

I can do little more under this head, than reassert the months' schooling, and for a proportionate time when general conclusions of my former report, confirmed as employed for six months.

they are by the united voice of the school visiters.

While only seventeen hundred teachers, including assistants in the large districts, are required in all the common schools as at present organized, the number

same use.

of different teachers actually employed, amounts to the duties and labors of the teacher in the schoolroom. not less than twenty-seven hundred.

Every lawyer, physician and clergyman is required to Female teachers are employed in the summer pursue a specified course of study, before he is thought schools almost universally, and inale teachers in all the entitled to the confidence of the public. He buys or large, and in most of the small districts in the winter. reads the best works relating to his profession, espeNot one in a hundred, except in cities and central dis- cially those which treat of its practical duties, and aims tricts, continues in the same school through the year, or to keep up with the knowledge and spirit of the times, even for two summers or two winters in succession. in his own department. It is a discouraging circum

Many of the teachers are young, with but little know- stance, that so few teachers are willing to make any ledge of the world, or experience in self-government, efforts themselves, to gain that information which the and most of them entered on their office, with no other study and experience of others have bequeathed for preparation than such as the district school affords, and their benefit. propose to continue in it, no longer than until some Teachers should be invited, encouraged and assisted more lucrative business presents.

to associate together for mutual improvement. The The wages of teachers, although they have advanced attainments of solitary reading should be quickened by within the last three years, do not bear a fair proportion the action of living mind. The acquisitions of one to the rewards of skill and industry, which intelligence should be tested by the experience, ihe approbation, and enterprise can command in various other fields of or the strictures of others. New advances in any labor, or to the compensation paid in private schools. direction should become known, and made the com

Female teachers are employed for a longer period mon property of the profession. New hints should of the year than formerly, and as far as my own obser- be taken up and followed out by trial and investigation. vation extends, they have shown themselves competent Old and defective methods should be held up, exposed to teach all that can be, with any prospect of success, and abandoned. The sympathies of a common pursuit, required of districts schools.

the interchange of ideas, the mutual benefit of each As a class they have a quick perception of the wants other's experience, the discussion of topics which conof the young, an instinctive fondness and tact in com-cern their common advancement, would make every municating knowledge, especially by means of oral teacher feel that he was a member of an important methods, a patience under the manifold trials of the body, and thus increase his self-respect. The commuschoolroom, a gentleness of manners, a purity of char- nity too, would thus be made to feel the importance acter, and an insensibility to the temptations of ambition of the profession in its aggregate strength, and accede and avarice, which admirably adapt them to the holy to it a higher social and pecuniary consideration. responsibilities of education, especially in the early peri They should be authorized and encouraged by school od of life. The wages of this class of common school committees, to visit each other's schools, and in this teachers are far below the real worth of their servi- way, witness other methods of discipline and instrucces; are not equal to the compensation realized in pri- tion than their own. Teachers, no more than others, vate schools, or in the factory and the work-shop; and will continue long in practices which their own obserare altogether disproportionate to the average compen- vation convinces them are not as good and profitable sation of male icachers.

as those pursued by others in their neighborhood, and Teachers as a class are better prepared to instruct which others can compare and contrast with their own. than to govern schools, and to teach the more advan. By means of conferences and visits here spoken of, ced, than the primary studies. Their attainments are improved methods of arrangement and instruction, beyond their iact and skill in communication, or their have in the course of a single winter been transferred ability to call into vigorous and harmonious action, the from one district to nearly all the districts in a society. various powers of the mind and heart.

But the most effectual way of improving the qualifiMany of the difficulties in instruction and govern- cations of teachers, of creating in them and in the comment, experienced by teachers, arise out of the pre- munity a proper estimate of the true dignity and usefulsent constitution of the district school, composed as it ness of the office, of carrying out into practice the is of every variety of ages, of both sexes, of all the soundest views of education, is to establish at least one studies, from the lowest rudiments to the highest, of institution for their specific training. small but numerous classes, and the want of parental Such an institution, in the outset at least, had better co-operation with the efforts of the teacher at home, be confined to the preparation of female teachers. both in instruction and discipline.

The course of instruction should have especial referThe practice of " boarding round," still prevails very ence to common schools in the country. The model generally in the country districts. It may not be ob- school should, as far as practicable, bear a close resemjectionable to young men, to be thus deprived of a regu- blance in its elements to an ordinary district school. jar and quiet home, but to young ladies of education The pupils should be such as are willing to meet a and refinement, it is attended with so many incon- portion of the expense of residence at the institution, veniences, that many are driven from this their ap- by the assistance they would render at such times as propriate field of labor and usefulness rather than en- would not interfere with the studies and exercises of counter them.

the place. Much can be done to improve the existing qualifi The whole spirit of the institution should be such as cations of teachers, and to make their services far more to invite those only to come, who have a natural fondefficient.

ness for the office of teaching, and are animated in their Teachers might be assisted in the purchase, or at preparatory work, by higher mtives than the hope of least to the perusal of the best books on education, and pecuniary returns they are likely to receive. especially of that class which have special reference to The establishment of one or more schools of this

description, is recommended in nearly every commu- but the cost will depend somewhat on the scale with nication from school visiters. They have been objected which it is commenced. An appropriation of 810,000 to, in four instances, for the following reasons. They on the part of the state, united with what could be raiare of foreign origin.” They need not necessarily be sed by individual subscriptions, would be sufficient to modelled, and indeed ought not to be, after foreign make a fair trial. institutions. They should be adapted to ineet our own

7. STUDIES. wants, to raise up Connecticut teachers for Connecti. cut schools. The objection is as valid against institu Spelling, reading, writing and arithmetic are taught tions for the deaf and dumb, or the blind, or the insane, in every district school, and grammar, geography and or colleges, or even the common school, which is only history to some extent in most. In addition to these, an improvement on the parochial schools of Germany. there are classes in natural philosophy, and other

* They are unnecessary : our colleges, academies branches, which it is very desirable should be pursued and private schools, can furnish teachers for the higher during the school life of every person, but which canorder of common schools, and these last for the district not, with due regard to thoroughness in the primary school." It is possible that much might be done in this studies, be taught in our district schools as they are. way, but at present, there are no adequate means pro

Vocal music has been introduced to some extent with vided in any of the institutions for the specific training, the happiest results. or the apprenticeship required. We have good teach

There is a disposition, or at least a temptation, on ers, but they have become such, by improving their the part of most teachers to hurry over the primary native tact by experience in the schoolroom ; but who branches, and to neglect the young children. This is knows how many minds and hearts have been ruined a radical error, and impairs the value of all after ator injured by the experiments of beginners. The best tainments. teachers universally acknowledge the value and neces Spelling, instead of being confined as it too generally sity of such schools.

is, to a mere repetition of long columns of words, no “ Those who are educated there, will not become matter on what principle they are arranged, should be teachers for life, or teachers in common schools.” taught to some extent at least, in connection with readThey will however be more likely to make teaching ing and writing, otherwise it becomes of little practia profession, than any other class. It would answer a cal use. good purpose, even if they taught for a few years. Reading, as generally conducted, is the most toilTo provide against the last result, the institution should some and defective exercise in the school, instead of be confined to females, and those who receive its being made the most attractive, spirited and useful. benefits, should come under obligations to teach two Arithmetic is not commenced with a due underor three years in common schools; but above all

, they standing of the first principles, and continued in such should be such only as are actuated by the highest a way, as to give every scholar the mastery of the devotional feelings.

practical application and combination of their prin“The teachers thus educated, will be few compared ciples, or those habits of attention and reflection, which with the number of schools.” But a begining must be this study properly pursued, is so well calculated to made, and in the present state of the public mind, form. The arithmetic of daily life, is not often acquired and of the public schools, a single demonstration of in the school. what can be done, and of the best manner of doing it, Writing is not taught in connexion with drawing and is needed. The good which a few teachers properly composition, or so thoroughly taught in any way, as to trained, would do, would not be confined to the dis- enable many of the graduates of the district school, to tricts in which they labored. Their schools would put their thoughts into the form of a business or friendly become model schools for other districts, and the awa. letter rapidly, legibly and grammatically. kening influence of their example and precept, would

The mastery of the English language, combining be felt all around them. Teachers who have not en- spelling, reading, speaking, grammar and composition, joyed the advantages of such training, would strive to should be the leading object of the district school, as . excel those who had, and thus a wholesome spirit of far as intellectual education is concerned. emulation would be provoked among teachers.

The department of religious and moral instruction, “ Districts will not pay wages sufficient to empivsy is too much overlooked. The Bible is used as a readteachers who are thus prepared." There are districts ing book, or as a religious exercise, at the opening of which pay liberally, and who look long and far to find the school, but in such a manner as not always at least good teachers. Such districts would go directly to to inspire a proper respect for its divine character, or such an institution for their teachers. Besides an im- to give a practical knowledge of those great truths provement in the qualifications of teachers, would to which it contains, and which are so important to be some extent increase the demand for them, and the known and felt, by every one who has an obligation to demand would increase the compensation.

perform, a right to maintain, or a futurity to expect. " The time required for this preparation, is more than As to physical education, there is nothing taught inost teachers can give.” Although it would be desira- respecting it, except by a practical violation of all its ble to extend the course of instruction to two years at great principles in the location, light, temperaturu, least, still much can be accomplished in a brief period. ventilation, seats and desks, of the schoolhouse. Sia imonths residence in such an institution, with daily

8. BOOKS. practice or observation in the model school, or even a shorter period would be of incalculable service. Since the act of 1839, authorizing school visiters to

** The expense of such an institution, will be great." prescribe regulations respecting books, some progress Like other good institutions, it will cost something, has been made in diminishing the diversity of school

a

books in the several studies, not only in the same real objects. Some advance in this respect has alschool, but in all the schools of the same society. It is ready been made. still a serious evil, increasing the number of classes,

10. GRADATION OF SCHOOLS. reducing the number in each class, shortening the time of each recitation, taking away all opportunity for oral

The practice almost universal in the state, is to proinstruction, besides increasing unnecessarily the school vide but one scnoot in a district, for children of all ages, expenses of parents. It is loudly complained of in the from four to sixteen, and even from three to eighteen, returns of school visiters, and various plans are sug: highest branches of an academical education, under

in every variety of study, from the alphabet to the gested by them to remedy it. Among them, it is proposed, that the legislature should authorize the board a female teacher in summer, and a male teacher in to make a selection, or appoint a select committee of winter. The variety of ayes, necessarily leads to a both houses—or appoint a committee for each county, corresponding variety of studies. The variety of or each senatorial district, or a convention of the school studies, requires a corresponding number of classes, at visiters of each county or senatorial district to prescribe school books, and the different stages of proficiency of or recommend the selection for general use.

The most effectual and least objectionable mode of the several scholars. The number of classes, calls for introducing something like uniformity, would be an equal number of recitations, and as the number in through a teachers' seminary. The principal and the same study, and the same book, is small, the teachdirectors of such an institution, would be obliged to er can devote but little time to each recitation, and his select the best books in each study, and the teachers explanations, if he has time to make any, must necestrained there, would naturally prefer

the books which sarily be brief and confined to a few. He is thus oblithey had studied, and in which they had received their ged to spread his labors over a great extent of surface, own lessons how to teach. The selection of books and must possess the rare talent of governing and inby such a seminary, would be the best recommendation structing equally well the old and the young, the simthey could have.

plest rudiments and the hignest branches of common Much more than is now done can be effected by school education. The difficulty in this respect, is to school visiters. Let them make the best selection they some extent lessened by the practice of sending the can. Let the list be reported to the society meeting, if small children in the summer, and the oldest in the thought advisable, for their approbation, and entered winter ; and of employing a female for the former,

and male teacher for the latter. But as there are a on the register of each school, with direction that the teacher introduce no other book or admit any new

few at least of each extreme in the school at every book of a different character, until the list is changed period, the evil still remains. Besides the change of by direction of the school visiters. If the list is for teachers from summer to winter, and from female to warded to the authors and publishers of the several male, and from year to year, leads to the employment

of at least one thousand teachers more than are necesbooks, and to such merchants in town, as keep a supply of school books, parents will find no difficulty in pro. sary, destroys all permanence in the profession, introcuring those recommended or prescribed.

a loss of from one to four weeks of each season, during

which time the teacher is becoming acquainted with The blackboard is the only article of apparatus the attainments and characters of the pupils, and the which has found its way to any considerable extent pupils with the teacher's methods of instruction. into the common school, and teachers are too fre To remedy in all, or in part, the evils thus summaquently unacquainted with the manifold uses to which rily presented, it is proposed, that so far as practicable, even this cheap article can be applied. To the want the younger children with the primary studies, be asof globes, maps, diagrams, models, specimens of real signed to female teachers, and the older children and objects, and modes of communication based upon, and more advanced studies, to male teachers, and that both adapted to them, much of the vague generalities and classes of teachers be well qualified for their appropriinetficiency of schoul education of every name and ate grade of schools. This it is thought can be done in grade may be traced. The knowledge of practical one of the following modes. life, is acquired by daily experience, it is sunething 1st. By employing in every district numbering over wiich we have heard, seen, tested, or worked out by fifty children in school, two or more teachers, as is our own hands, or our own reflections. The more of now done in more than cighty districts. There are this kind of knowledge that can be obtained in the several hundred districts, which could adopt this cominon school, the better, and the subsequent suc- course. cess in the great field of self-culture, will depend on the 2d. By the union of two or more adjoining districts, thoroughness and accuracy of the habits of observa- for the purpose of maintaining a union school for the tion, comparison, classilication and reasoning formed in older children of such associating districts, while the the schoolroom.

younger children of each, are left in the district schon!s. Little children, who are now required to sit still, on There is scarcely a school society in the state, where at seals wihout any backing to lean against, and so high least one such union district cannot be formed. that in many cases, their feet cannot rest on the floor, 30. By the establishinent of a central sciiool, where and without any occupation for the hands, the eye or the circumst inces of the society will admit of its being the mind, might be usefully employed with a slate and done, for the older children of all the districts. pencil, in printing the alphabet, combining letters, syl By the establishment in each society of one central lables, words, and whole sentences, and in copying the school, or one or more union schools, for the older chil. outlines of angles, circles, solids, maps, diagrams or dren, and more advanced stud.es, the district school will

9. APPARATUS.

[ocr errors]

be relieved of at least one half the number of classes alike to rich and poor, is occupied by private schools, and studies, and the objections to the employment of in which the tuition is so high, as effectually to exclude female teachers in the winter, on account of their the poor, alleged inability to govern and instruct the older boys,

11. PRIVATE SCHOOLS. will be removed.

Judging from the returns of school visiters, and my As the compensation of female teachers is less than own inquiries, there is a private school, of no higher one half that paid to males, every instance of the em grade ihan what the common school should occupy, ployment of a female teacher in place of a male in every district numbering over one hundred persons teacher in the district school, will save one half of the between the ages of four and sixteen, and in many wages paid to the latter, which can be expended in which are much smaller; and where no such school increasing, partly the wages of the former, and partly exists, the children of professional, educated and the wages of the male teacher in the union or central wealthy parents are sent elsewhere to private schools, school. It will be found that the same amount of

or academies. money now expended in three districts, on three female These schools have their origin in the real or supteachers in summer, and three male teachers in winter, posed deficiencies of the common schools, or the supe. will employ three female teachers for the whole length rior wealth, intelligence, or estimate of education, of of the summer and winter school, and one male teacher comparatively few parents. Their establishment, too, for the winter, at an advance of one third or one half is fostered by the practice of supporting common of the average rate of wages paid to each.

schools almost exclusively by public funds, and a tax This arrangement will thus lead to the more perma- on such parents and guardians only as send children nent employment of a larger number of female teach- to them. Men of property and education, being no ers, at an advanced compensation, thus holding out an longer taxed for this class of schools, expend their additional inducement to females of the right character money willingly and liberally on schools of their own, and qualifications to teach in the district school. It

When compared with the district schools, the school will also reduce the demand for male teachers, except buildings are more spacious, attractive, and commodiof the highest order of qualifications, and increase the ous; the scholars are less numerous, and nearer the wages of those who are employed. In both ways same age and proficiency, while their attendance is it will diminish the expense, the loss of time, and other more regular and punctual; the studies are less varievils of a constant change of teachers in the same ous, and the books more uniform ; the classes are school, and give permanence and character to the pro- fewer, and the number in each class greater; the recifession of teacher.

tations are not as numerous, but longer, and accomIt will enable the teachers of the several schools, to panied with more of oral instruction and practical introduce studies, discipline and instruction, appropri- illustration; the teachers are better paid, better ate to each. In the district primary school, the youn- qualified, and employed for a longer time; and parger

children need no longer be subjected to the discom-ents exhibit more interest in the prosperity of the forts and neglects which they now experience, or the school: in fine, although these schools differ from primary studies be crowded one side, to make room each other in these respects, and many of them fall for the higher branches. In the union crcentral school, below the standard required, still they embrace more the scholars, coming as they would, from the primary of the elements of a good school, in happier combinaschool, well grounded in the fundamental branches, tion, than the district schools. will be prepared to enter profitably upon studies which Although the number of children in these schools are now pursued to advantage, only in academies and does not exceed 12,000, there is expended for tuition other private schools of a similar grade. Thus all that alone at least $200,000, or more than is provided for is now accomplished in the district school will be bet- the education of the other 70,000 children in more ter done, the course of study very much extended, than 1600 district schools. and the advantages of a more thorough and complete Could the intelligence, the parental interest, and peeducation, be more widely diffused.

cuniary means, which are thus withdrawn, be brought In the cities of this state, there is a pressing necessity, back to the common schools, these schools would soon as well as every facility for carrying out as complete partake of the improvements of the age, better teachers a system of common schools, as exists in any state or would be employed, and the length of the schools procountry. And yet when compared with some of the longed to ten months in the year. As it is, the proslarge iowns of other states, such as Boston, Lowell, perity of the private schools is a pretty sure indicaNantucket, Charlestown and Roxbury in Massachu- tion of the inferiority or deficiency of the district setts, [See appendix, education in other states,] the at- schools, and the most powerful cause to sink them lower tendance in the public schools of our cities is less, the and lower. Under their direct and indirect operation, attendance in private schools greater, the appropria the great mass of the children of the community are tions for school purposes smaller, the course of in- doomed to an inferior or imperfect school education, struction less complete, the supervision of committees while a few, without any merit or superior capacity less vigilant, and the interest of parents and the com- of their own, but from the mere accidents of parentage munity less active and intelligent. The explanation is and wealth, enjoy the highest privileges of moral and simply this : in the cities of this state, there are not intellectual improvement. True it is, that many of the enough public primary schools, conveniently located, former, by mere force of native talent and self-training, to gather in the younger children, and no high school make up in after life for the deficiency of their school (except at Middletown) with two departments for the education; and many of the latter are no better for older boys and girls. The place of these schools, open all their advantages, are even ruined by the false no

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »