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Table showing the statistical details of schools in Louisiana by parishes, derived from the State report.
Hon. THOMAS W. CONWAY, State superintendent of education, New Orleans.
MA I NE.
This State comprises 408 towns and 119 plantations, and has 4,019 school-houses, with 4,166 teachers employed in winter, and 4,130 in summer. The number of scholars registered in winter schools is 135,292; in summer, 120,262. The average attenilance in winter is 108,434, and in summer, 94,114. The estimated value of all school property in the State is $2,163,409. The amount of school money voted during the year 1869 was $792,815, being $89,698 in excess of the amount required by law. The aggregate amount expended for schools was $1,082,106. The average wages for teachers is, for males, $30 44; and for females, $12 16; being the lowest wages paid to any teachers in the thirteen States mentioned in the report. The number of school-houses built during the year is 121, costing $175,904.
There are two normal schools in the State, one having been in operation six years, the other four; and both together have graduated about a hundred students, most of whom are now teaching in the State. The total number of scholars in the State, as returned to the State superintendent, for 1870, is 228,167; for 1869, was 226,144; gain, 2,024.
The legislature of 1869 established county teachers' institutes, to be held under the direction of the State superintendent, appropriating the sum of $4,000 to be annually expended for the purpose. Institutes have been held accordingly during the past year in every county, with an aggregate attendance of 2,658. In addition to this, town institutes have also been held, under the direction of county supervisors, thus reaching more than 3,000 teachers, and arousing a general interest throughout the State in the subject of education. From this interest have sprung up teachers' meetings and town and county associations, whose value to the teacher, the parent, and the educacational life of the community cannot be estimated. The State Educational Association, reorganized two years ago, held its second annual meeting this year, at Batlı, at which the increased interest in educational matters was evidenced by the large attendance of teachers and earnestness in the discussion of practical questions. A journal of education has been published the past year by Brown Thurston, esq., of Portland.
The total amount of the State school fund for 1870 was $284,038 58. This is a permanent school fund, the interest of which is divided annually among the several towns upon the basis of the census of children between the ages of four and twentyone. Only about 50 per cent. of this number attend the schools, and after making due allowance for the absence incidental to the two extremes of the school age, it is estimated that, "in general terms, truancy and absenteeism deprive us of at least 25 per cent. of attainable results in the educational line."
By act of legislature, 1868, the educational department was localized at the capital, and an office established in the state-house. More than 20,000 blanks required by law have been prepared by this office and issued to the towns. Corresponding returns have been received, tabulated in the statistics embraced in this report, and properly filed. Twelve thousand circulars have been issued to teachers and committees, and five thousand reports distributed to the several towns and to the institutes.
Parents and teachers should employ all influences to win the willing to the schoolroom; the State should compel the attendance of the unwilling. The power which compels the citizen to pay his annual tax for the support of schools should, in like manner, fill the schools with all of those for whose benefit that contribution was mado. It is in the light of a solemn compact between the citizen and the State community. The private citizen contributes of his means, under the established rule of the State, for the education of the youth, with a view to protection of person and security to property; the State, compelling such contributions, is under reciprocal obligations to provide and secure the complete education for which the contribution has been made. This implies the exercise of State power, and involves compulsory attendance as a duty to the tax-payer. The State builds prisons and penitentiaries for the protection of society, and taxes society for the same. But does she stop here, leaving him who has violated law to be pursued by the community in a mass, to be apprehended by a crowd, and borne by a throng to the place of incarceration ? No; she pursues the criminal through legitimate instrumentalities, ferrets him out by the sharpest means of detection, and eventually secures that safety and protection to society for which society has been taxed. Now, to prevent crime, to anticipate and shut it off by proper compulsory efforts in the school-room, working with and molding early childhood and youth to the “principles of morality and justice, and a sacred regard for truth, love of country, humanity, and a universal benevolence, sobriety, industry, and frugality, chastity, moderation, and temperance, and all other virtues which are the ornaments of society," the State not only has the right to inaugurate such methods as may be deemed best, but is under strict obligations to do so by all the means in her power.
PORTLAND. Portland has nine primary schools, with primary departments in two of its grammar schools, with 2,961 children belonging to them, and an average attendance of 2,034; one intermediate school for boys, with 207 belonging, and an average attendance of 107; six grammar schools—two for boys, two for girls, and two mixed, with 1,152 belonging, and an average attendance of 969; and one high school, with 408 belonging; average attendance, 376. Of the number belonging to the high school, 187 were males and 221 females. There are 93 teachers—7 males and 86 females. Upon the islands adjacent to the city there are two districts, having about 100 pupils; while the almshouse and the orphan asylum havo schools connected with them, and about 30 children in each.
The amount expended for salaries was $49,750 for the year ending March 31, 1870. The expenditures for other purposes was $13,596 61. Total, $63,346 61.
The school committee of the city is composed of twenty members. In their last report they say of the high school: “The number of scholars in attendance has been larger than at any time previons since the school was established.” Sixty-four graduated last summer, having completed the prescribed course. “The course of instruction in the higher English branches has greatly improved within the last two or three years." In regard to truancy and irregular attendance at the schools generally, they say: “Our schools suffer more from this, probably, than from any other single cause." “The officer whose special business it is to look after this class, reports that during eleven months, ending March 1, 1870, he arrested 373 truants."
With reference to the teachers, the committee say: “Our settled policy should be to employ, or continue in employ, good teachers only, and give such an adequate compensation for their services." "A generous policy in this respect will, in the end, be the strictest economy.'
The whole number of scholars between four and twenty-one years of age, April 1, 1869, was 5,382. The whole number of schools was 57, including 1 high school, 7 grammar schools, 4 for girls and 3 for boys; 10 intermediate, 5 intermediate and primary, mixed ; 1 grammar and intermediate, mixed; 18 primary, 12 suburban, and 3 select schools.
The high school has an academic and a classical course, each extending through four years. As an inducement to regularity of attendance, a "roll of honor" is kept in the high and grammar schools of those who are not absent for one year or more, froin which it appears that one-Harry D. Thurston—was not absent from the high school for three years; Edwin A. Lynde was not absent for four years; and Cora F. Daggett not absent for six consecutive years. In each of the grammar schools several pupils are named whose attendance was perfect from two to four years.
In regard to examinations, the superintendent, Mr. C. P. Roberts, says:
“Another noticeable change and improvement introduced into our school system during the past year is the discontinuance of public school examinations. Although suggested in part by necessity, it was adopted upon its intrinsic merits. The special committee of the several schools now visit them near the end of the school year, and, free from the discomfort of a crowd of spectators and the excitement and embarrassment of pupils under such a pressure, and without the interruption of the crowd of extras incident to the former system of school examination, review the work of the year under the most favorable circumstances. At the very close of the year the schools have public exhibitions for the gratification of the pupils, parents, and friends."
In conclusion, the superintendent refers to the exhibition made by the pupils on the occasion of the centennial celebration by the city, when two thousand children and youth were in the procession, and says:
"For the rich years of harvest in store for our city, for the intellectual and moral activities which shall shape its enterprise and adorn its happy homes, our common schools are training and molding the materials; and as the plenitude and moral worth of that harvest will be in proportion to the seed our schools are sowing, let them have our wisest care and most judicious and liberal support."