« PreviousContinue »
Whether, and how far, the great library shonld extend its scope to include great collections of paintings and the like is a question too large to be considered here. It is not a little remarkable that we have in the country, as yet, no systematic and orderly collection of fine copies of the great paintings of the world. The originals we can not have. The Nevada millionaire found to his surprise that it was impossible to compete in this respect with “those kings.” Fine and faithful copies we can have, and at no extravagant expense. Such a collection intelligently made would be an immense educator anil a source of permanent pleasure. The other extreinity of policy should be considered also, namely, the direct encouragement of originality in our own artists, rather than the education of their pupils and of the public. The artist-popes of Italy-Raphael's and Angelo's popes-were perpetually seeking new works; and thus perpetually contriving new opportnuities. Room was made for Raphael's frescos by sweeping a way those of Perugino and Cortona. Wall space to spare there must be in all great buildings. Let the architect provide suitable light, anıl perhaps the pictures may be forthcoming, either by private gist or by public appropriation. To pass throngh a hall of noblo statues is no bad introduction to a working day among great books.
There are many other points of interest and of prime importanco which snggest themselves in connection with the era of library reorganization which has now set in all over the country. Perhaps the foregoing are the chief ones. If we are to be blessed with many great libraries in this country let us resolntely devote a few of them to the interest of the scholar and of the specialist, making this our first concern, and being willing to sacritice all lesser interests. It is to them that we must look for the creation of new ideas, of now plans, of new applications of old concer tions. So far as it is practicable to provide for the interests of those wlio absorb knowledge, and of those who create it, by a single plan, this should be done. The fundamental matter is to realize that both ideals can not be followed in all cases, and to make up our minds that the interests of the scholar shall bo safeguardel in at least a few of the greater establishments. Wo may safely leave to the smaller ones their no less important duty.
CALIFORNIA SCIIOOL REPORT.
Report for 1895 and 1896, Hon. Samuel T. Black, superintendent of public instruction. The report declares that within the last five years has been a greatly enhanced interest in education througlont the State. A notable impulse was given by the establishment of the Leland Stanford University. The number of students there and in the State University is more than four times that formerly in the latter. To eaclı has been attached a department of pedagogs, to which a far larger number of students than was expected resorts.
The schools ennmerated in the publie system are primary and granmar schools, ovening schools, normal schools, and technical schools as may be established by the legislature, or by municipal or district authority. The report says: “Erening schools lave been established in nearly all the cities of the State, and are doing a noble work. While little has been done in the way of technical schools proper, departments of manual training have been established in many of our cities and larger towns. Two of the normal schools are provided with manual training departments and are doing gooil work.'
High schools have been raised to the dignity that their students, having eompleted the course, are preparod to enter the university.
The normal schools, being designed purely for the elueation of teachers, are mainly technical. Graduates from grammar schools heing admissible therein, the academio studies necessary to bo further pursnel havo led to fixing tho course at fonr years. If the law were such that high-school preparation were required for admission into the normal schools, the course in the latter might safely be reduced to two years. By this means they, as they ought, might be made professional schools, as are those in other professions. To this end thoughtful minds generally are striving. Some quite pointed observations are quoted from the report of the committee of fifteen. One of the paragraplis is here inserted :
“It is a widely prevalent doctrine, to which the customs of our best schools conform, that teachers of elementary schools should have a secondary or high-school erducation, and that teachers of high schools should have a college education. Tour committee believe that these are the minimum acquirements that can generally be accepterl; that the scholarship, cnltore, and power gained by four years of study in advance of the pupils are not too much to be rightinlly demanded; and that, as a
rule, no one ought to become a teacher who has not the age and attainments pre, supposed in the possession of a high-school diploma. There are differences in high
schools, it is true, and a ligi-school diploma is not a fixed standard of attainment, but in these United States it is one of the most definito and uniform standards that wo possess, and varios less than college degrees vary or than elementary and local standards of culture vary."
Yet the committee maintain that high-school gradnation innst be of unexceptionable reputation and completeness, else applicants be subjected to close examination.
Considering that the high schools get no aid from the State, it seems surprising the number that have been established by private initiative. At the writing of this report there were as many as 98, with 381 teachers, whose average salary was over $1,000. Their buildings are not far from $2,000,000 in cost. The average of daily attendance is 78 per eent of the number en rolled, thus being in excess of that in the elementary schools, which is 71 per cent. This liberal support voluntarily extended augurs strongly that this secondary system will in good time receive from the Stato the aid which has been plainly shown to be merited. The university has shown appreciation of their importance, as seen by the following language in this report:
"The State University has a lopted a system of accrediting high schools, whereby, on account of the bigh order of work done, their graduates will he admitted to the university, on the recommendation of the principal, withont examination. During the last year as many as 67 were thus complimented. In the list, however, were several private acadoniies."
Besides the three normal schools supported lụy the State, there is one which is fostered by tlie city of San Francisco. The course is one year, in which only the theory and art of teaching aro tanght.
Although there was not time to visit the various orphan asylums of the State, those which were visited showed good, homane management.
The normal schools from time to time bave raised the standarıl of admission, and gratifying increase of applications come not only from high schools but even from those bolding only primary and grammar graded certificates. These institutions, besides their set curricula, are doing much of what the report styles "seminary work” among teachers, through teachers' circulars and other agencies.
Report for 1895-96, Mrs. A. J. Peavey, superintendent of public instruction.
Mrs. Peavey begins with candidly admitting that the system of public schools suutors from serious defects.
""The laws have been changed from time to time, and lack not only harmony but are confusing and difficult of interpretation, and should be thoroughly revised. The rights of superintendents are circumscribed, and those of the school directors are too unrestricted."
Yet it is said that improvement has gone along tho educational lines, especially in what to superintendent calls "ethical culture.”. Quite a number of voluntary associations have been formed, including parents, with teachers and other officials. These havo resulted in creating considerable inspiration in several localities.
A serious movement has been contemplate for some timo to modify the office of directors. It was recommended that tho school system bave two departments of administration, one for supervising instruction and the other for managing the business. The report says that this change is very much needed in the Stato.
“With all deference to the faithful and consecrated ones, in many instances the school fund is being wantonly and unrighteously wasted; men and women who havo inado a failure of their own lives and enterprises are to-day occupying these positions, and they are not only engendering factional differences, but are evading the law in every possible way in order to loot the treasury and rob the children of their rights.
Let the directors give our schools the same permanent equipment as is given to all other professions, unvexeil by the murky ininds of politics, tho unrighteousness of favoritism, or the fear of sectionalism.
The standard of teaching would be elevated just as soon as it was understood that a man or woman was to be employed, not to pay a political debt, but to serve the public; not to occupy a certain position and draw so much pay a month, but to find it, and earn by honest work the money that is paid out."
In general the superintendents are reported as doing honest work; but there are a few exceptions in those who have been devoted mainly to furthering political schemes.
A notable change has lately taken place in the make-up of superintendents, of whom women have increased during the present administration from one to twenty-six; and tho new appointees, it is declared, have done faithful, efficient work. There has been considerable improvement in schoolhouses.
It is recommended that all instructors and directors applying to teach in normal institutes, of which there are thirteen in the State, should have testimonials of fitness from the State board of examiners. Ten of these institutes were held during the year 1896, with notably good results.
Compulsory education has been much more effectually enforced. The falling off in Arapahoo County has been far less, being only 45 per cent of those in attendance upon public schools. This would be diminished considerably further if that in private schools were counted.
The State board of examiners held nine sessions. The conditions of getting diplomas are very stringent, and they are gradually raising the standard of the teaching force.
A very large number of decisions are printed in the report, that were given by the superintendent upon questions submitted by her subordinates upon several subjects. Among those seeming particularly noteworthy is the following touching use of the Billo in schools:
“Neither the constitution of the State nor the statutes touch directly the reading of the Bible or prayer, or any other form of religious or devotional exercises, except to forbid that observance or participation shall be compulsory. The spirit of the constitution permits religious exercises in school if nothing sectarian is introduced and the trustees do not object.”
DENVER SCHOOL REPORT.
Report for 1896; Aaron Gove, superintendent.
The report dwells at some length on the various studies in the school course, as German, music, physical culture, and drawing. The department of sloyd was introducel six months ago, and has been studied by quite 4 number of pupils in the eightb, sereuth, and part of the sixth grade.
Kindergartens have become notable favorites, their number having been doubled during the year. The superintendent, under instruction of the board, opened 20.
Níuch attention has been paid to cooking and sewing.
It is a boast of the superintendent that school funds are the more easily raised aud bear less heavily upon the people because of the fact that there are no outstanding bonds of the city on which interest is to be paid.
On the subject of clubs among students of the high school, the principal, Prof. William H. Smily, has to say the following:
“With the exception of the lyceum and attic society, the cadets, and the athletic associations, the school gives no countenance to societies, but invites the cooperation of the home in checking the formation of small clubs and the holding of socials."
The report discusses, under the head The Public Library, the question of the quantity of books on fiction it is proper to have there. The decision is to cut down gradually the present list until it includes only what is “distinctively standard."
Appended is the charter for the support and regulation of the schools of Denver, approved February 13, 1874, as amended February 2, 1876. It appears to be a carefully prepared paper and intended to provide for all contingencies in school life. Amoug them we note the following salutary provision :
"62. Any child coming to school without proper attention having been given the cleanliness of his person or dress, and whose clothes need repairing, shall be sent home to be properly prepared for the schoolroom." And this:
"63. Text-books are furnished to pupils by the board; but books can not be taken from the school building except by special permission of the principal.”
Teachers' certificates are valid during only one year after their issuance. The following serves to show that extremio care is taken in the matter of obtaining and ietaining teachers:
“The teachers are elected by the board of education, but first must be present at an examination and receive a legal certificate to teach. The examination is both oral and written, occupies three days, and embraces reading, spelling, English grammar, physical and descriptive geography, arithmetic, elements of algebra, United States history, English literature, elements of vocal music, methods and theory of teaching and drawing."
Those in kindergartens, besides these, must holdi Stato certificates for kindergartens, issued only by the constituted kindergarten authorities.
Report for 1895 and 1896, from the State board of education to the governor, and from the secretary,
Hon. Charles D. Iline, to the board. Attention is directed first to the law forbidding child labor in factories, passed in 1886, amended by that of 1887, by which appointed agents could compel school attendance. These agents are reported to have done their work with diligence and with excellent results. In this respect the last year, 1896, was notable. lucrease in
attendance within the five years last past has gone beyond increase in enumeration, potwithstanding quite a number of withdrawals to private schools. Not that the evil bas been entirely abated ; for, despite all attempts thereto, it yet exists to an unhappy exteut, and is regarded as the very greatest impediment to educational
Serious complaint is made of the incertitude and partial inefficiency of the rules regarding teachers' examinations. On this head the report this speaks :
• The object of these examinations is to secure trustworthy evidence of fitness to teach. While there is a law requiring local examinations, these examinations do not raise the standarıl of teaching, nor keep out the inefficient and untrained. Whether disregarded willfully or negligently, the administration of the law relating to examinations is lax, and is an open door to the unqualified and disqualitied.”
To the law of 1889 establishing evening schools, an amendment was suljoined in 1893, enjoining the boarı of education to compel attendance of the illiterate between 14 and 16, and although considerable good has been achieved, yet inspection of factories shows that a considerable number of these unfortunates avoid the search of those charged especially with the care of their cases.
The State has three normal schools, with capacity for 700 students.
The report calls special attention, which it urses at considerable length, to an exteudel report of the secretary on the subject of high schools. Among the influences supposed to be operating to their hurt are the colleges. We give an extract from the discussion of this point :
“Only about one iu fifteen of those who enter the high schools of this State afterwards go to college. If any of the fourteen are bauly odlncated, the fact is not denonstrated through any accepted test. If, however, the one who takes the college examination does not pass this examination, his school is thought to be tried and found wanting. It is therefore natural that the best teachers should be set by the principals to teach the small college classes. This, of itself, would be bearable. The existing evils result largely from the fault that college examinations are adopted to test the amount of memorizing that has been done, rather than the intellectual power that has been acquired. The college classes have to be got ready for an examination-not educated. They can best be prepareal, as things now are, by securing the memorizing of lessons through the tests of the oral recitation, and ly a skillful mechanical drill. We can not justly criticise the purposes or methods of those who are engageil in preparing boys and girls for college. Their work is laid out for thom by the college authorities. It is, however, unfortunate that most high school principals and most of the best teachers should be, perforce, accustomel to narrow ideas of education. From this it results that the thousands of scholars who are not going to college are also set to memorizing lessons instead of being wisely educated.” This question, referring the while to the overmuch time spent with Latin and Greek (wbiel, in the boaril's opinion, ought not to be taught to those who are not to go to college) is elaborately discussed. The report of the secretary in general appeals for a more modern and workable system of education, for better preparation for teaching, and for extension of higher education to all the children.
A tablo is adıled giving reports of the agents to whom is intrusted the duty of en forcing the law appertaining to child labor. A part of its violation is due to manufacturers who employ children within the law's provision, relying for protection upon parents' certificates. To remedy this, one of the agents recommends that certificates of age, instead of coming from parents, should be gotten from the bureau of vital statistics in the counties and towns where they were born.
There are some interesting things in the reports inade to the secretary by the teachers. One of them speaks of what he regards serious evils. Among other things he says :
"The foregoing statistics suggest :
“3. The great number of persons allowed to begin without proparation-a monstrous abnse of children.
Half of the teachers in the State do not receive more than $8 per week, or $288 a year. Out of this grows a crop of evils. The well qualified are justly uneasy, and seek better pay and permanent tenure. The poorer districts are depleted for the benefit of the richer, and the children bear the burden of incompetency and change.”
Tho Stato still holils to the twofold system of school administration. “One, the original town system, is distinguished,” says the report,“ by a single board of otticers, anıl a direct, efticient, and reasonable method of doing business. The other, thé district system, is distingnished by two independent sets of otticers, the one hiring and paying teachers and caring for schoolhouses, and the other examining teachers aud supervising the schools."
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
Report for 1895-96, Hon. J. W.Whelpler, president of the board of trustees. The attendance both at day schools and night schools has increased over the last year, due, perhaps to some degree, to the system of providing free text-books. It is surprising, the board contends, that with appropriations hardly adequate, so much of good work has been done in education. They earnestly maintain that the average salaries of teachers are too low, being sensilly below those paid in most of the otber cities. They reiterate the appeal for an assistant superintendent and for a conveyance for the distribution of text-books and other supplies to the varions schools. Notwithstanding the recent construction of new buildings the schools are yet overcrowded, and many pupils are limited to half-day's tuition. Especial need in this respect is for the manual training schools.
Attention of the Commissioners to kindergartens is again besonght. Observation has satisfactorily established their utility in preparing very young children for the primary schools.
They also request of Congress a more effective law than those now existing for compulsory attendanco at school, and they earnestly represent the need of a general system of frequent medical inspection. Not alone the capacity of children in regard to bearing and seeing, and the means of correcting individual safety should be inquired into, but their seats, desks, supplies of light, study rooms, cloak rooms, play grounds, with unceasing watchfulness for appearance of serious contagious diseases.
The report of the superintendent, Hon. W. B. Powell, shows a cousiderable inerease in enrollment of pupils, and he gives elaborate statistics of all subjects under bis supervision. He urgently repeats the request for a delivery wagon and man for conveyance of books and general school supplies, a matter which has grown too large to avoid giving much inconvenience to the present force of employees. Sanitary considerations in conuection with these supplies seem to become more and more important with the accumulation of worn-out books. The superintendent, after much observation in this regard, expresses the opinion that "the only consistent system or rule of furnishing books is to give the child the book, when he enters school, to hold him responsible until it is worn out, but to let no other person use it. The plan would be in the interest of cleanliness and good health, and thereforo to be commended aside from considerations of contagion.
The superintendent with much earnestness repeats the crying need of more buildings to remove the unlappy pressure in to half-day schools, of which there are more than 250 in the city.
The work in the normal school is much commended, and promises yet better results to come from the extension of the course from one to two years, which will go into operation the coniug year. The argues that the board of education shoulil restriet the work done in this school to learning more definitely what, and how intelligently to teach what is known as the common school branches.
In regard to sanitation the superintendent, regarding it of increasingly exigent importance, suggests to tho Commissioners to apply to Congress for a medieal commission, directed to examine at frequent brief intervals the sanitary condition of all school buildings, and at stated intervals to examine pupils and direct teachers in the disposition of cases of sickness or other physical infirmities.
It is claimed that advance has been made in the attempts to give a greater amount of individual teaching. Experimentation has led to more intelligent groupings of those pupils of similar capacity, development, and receptivity.
The report of Superintendent Cook, of the colored schools, contains some interesting mattor. The habit of corporal punishment, although not get crtirely dispensed with, is gradually becoming extinct, suspension and other things being substituted. Similar opinions with the rest are held by him about kindergartens, and the beer of more school accommodation. The high school, among others, las outgrown the enrollment of its pupils.
All the reports furnish detailed statements of all items composing the educational endeavors of the District. It is gratifying to note the excellent repute in which ibe teachers are held. High praise of their culture, disciplinary capacity, and tidelity is generously bestowed by those whose office is to inspect their work,
Report for 1896, Hon. W. N. Sheats, superintendent. Much apprehension was felt for the schools as well as for all other business enterprises in the Stats by the appalling disaster wrought by the memorable freezes in the State, the first in December, 1891, and the last on February 8, 1895. The mag