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It is regarded a salutary law of 1895 that the course of study in the Girls' High School shall be approved by the State superintendent, so as to make their graduate able to enter the training school for teachers. This has served to raise to four years the course heretofore limited to three. Girls are now admitted to the manual training high school which the report believes should have been coeducational from the beginning.
Earnest appeal is made for additional high schools, the superintendent contending that there should be at least six for the support of which provision is entirely practicable.
There are some interesting things in the report about principals' certificates, in the various grades. Congratulation is indulged in for increased school attendance, which is due partly to increased school accommodations and partly to the enforcement of the compulsory law. The truant school, under careful management, is proving a blessing.
The report argues for manual training in elementary schools, and concludes thus: "The tasks that lie immediately before us comprise the building of new schoolhouses, to the end that every child of school age in this city, may, with proper surroundings, and under proper conditions, have the opportunities for education that modern life demands, the establishment of kindergartens for children between 5 and 6 years of age; the extension of our high-school system, the provision for manual training-sewing and cooking for girls and sloyd work for boys-in the grammar schools, and the weeding out of inefficient teachers."
BUFFALO SCHOOL REPORT.
Report for 1895, Henry P. Emerson, superintendent of education.
The registry of children in the public schools shows 46,665, a gain over last year of 1,952. The frequent assertion that there are as many as from 10,000 to 20,000 children in the city who do not attend schools of any sort, the superintendent denies, arguing that many children are not sent to school until 7 years old and past. "It may be stated with confidence," he says, "that there are not more than 1,000 within the meaning of the compulsory law." Regarding this law the superintendent contends that great caution should be used in its enforcement. Unexceptional vigor sometimes puts a hardship upon families for whose support the work of its children are indispensable. He contends that the city ought to create and maintain a distinct institution for detention of incorrigible truants and their reformation. It is believed that such an institution would prevent the incipiency of truancy in very many cases, as boys, foreseeing imprisonment therein, would avoid it by resorting to the schools as a choice of evils.
In the interest of economy, the grades have been reduced from ten to nine, some unnecessary positions in schools abolished, and other such work been done. It has been necessary, however, to construct eight new buildings and put annexes to several others; five other new buildings have been ordered, yet there is need of more because of the continual rapid increase of school population.
Free text-books, within the two years of operation, have proved a great benefit, shown in increased attendance, more speedy organization, holding pupils longer in schools, and preventing dwindling in the upper grades. Besides, books are better preserved and their cost greatly diminished."
Under a law of the last legislature, all applicants for teachers' positions after January 1, 1897, must have had at least three years' successful experience in teaching, or have graduated from a high school, academy, or other equally ranking institution, and had at least one year of professional training. The act also provides for the maintenance in cities of one or more classes for such professional instruction. The superintendent intends to ask also for the establishment of a teachers' training class in connection with the high school, the sessions, if appearing necessary, to be held in afternoons. He contends that it is in the high school chiefly that "the young," ," to use his own words, "become imbued with that civic pride, that public spirit, so essential in the preparation of city teachers."
The report makes an earnest appeal for the creation of a teachers' retirement fund, not only in behalf of humanity, but for the sake of more easily obtained relief from continuance in the profession of teachers who have become superannuated, and who, with the infirmity of mind common in far advanced age, are unconscious of decay and regard it a hardship when asked or forced to retire.
The report speaks of the defects inherent in the graded system, of promotions which necessarily take insufficient note of the numerous inequalities in pupils' understandings and development, and gives some changes which it was believed important to make in the matter.
Doubts concerning the value of manual training in schools have heretofore hindered any general demand for it. Yet, a small beginning was made during the year,
the results of which thus far are too indefinite to be noted in the report. Yet it believed important to introduce sewing into the schools, and steps to that end a being taken.
Night schools show that registration and attendance are uniformly greatest de ing the first term. For this reason the opening is now postponed to October. Appended are full reports of school examiners, directors, subordinate superintense ents, etc., and elaborate tables of statistics.
NEW YORK CITY SCHOOL REPORT.
Report for 1895, John Jasper, city superintendent.
The whole number of pupils taught during the year was 355,623. This is ascen tained by counting the adinissions to the several schools, every pupil counted a often as admitted. The average attendance was 188, 75, an increase over the las year of 5,907, decrease being only in the evening and corporate schools. Besides th 4,989 regular teachers, including principals, 129 were employed for the special teach ing of drawing, music, German, French, sewing, cooking, physical exercise, and phonography.
For several years past principals, except in very small schools, have been exemp from teaching and do only supervisory work. They are made responsible for al matters in pedagogy and administration, the subordinate teachers being guided by them exclusively. Violations of duty on the part of the teachers are reported to the committee on instruction. No unfavorable action is taken on such reports with out giving a hearing to the teacher accused. The rule allows also the city super intendent on his own motion to report any case of dereliction coming within his personal observation.
The law forbids corporal punishment in every form in the public schools, substituting suspension in cases incorrigible by moral suasion. Every principal has the right to suspend a pupil, and must give immediate notice of such action to the parent or guardian, reporting to the city superintendent and the chairman of the board of trustees of the ward. A right of appeal to those trustees within ten days is allowed, and their decision is reported to the city superintendent, whose duty, in case of no appeal or its dismissal, it is to notify the principal of every other. school for the same sex, of the name of the pupil thus suspended. Readmission is allowed upon proof of amendment satisfactory to the superintendent. We quote the following under the head "School accommodations":
"For a number of years the dy development of business in certain localities, the demolition of dwellings, a the consequent transfer of the residents to other parts of the city enable the school authorities to judge with accuracy the probable necessity for the erection of additional school buildings. Of late years the varied immigration, combined with a decided tendency to 'colonize' a special part of the city, has led to the removal of old dwelling houses and the erection of large tenements intended to house many more persons. As a result some of the lower wards had shown an abnormal increase in the school population-schools which, but five years ago, were fully adequate to the wants of the neighborhood have been filled to their utmost capacity and have refused many applicants for admission. In this connection it is important to note the fact that, although but 35 per cent of the attendance is in the schools below Fourteenth street, more than 47 per cent of the nonadmissions through lack of room were found in those schools. The whole number of such nonadmissions in the city during the year 1895 was 24,000, of which more than 11,000 were in the down-town wards." The growth has been great, especially in the Eleventh, Twelfth, Seventh, Tenth, Nineteenth, Twenty-second, and Twenty-third wards.
During the year manual training was established in two additional schools. It is pursued now in eighteen grammar schools and twenty-five primary schools. Sewing is taught in all the female departments of the manual training schools, and to the girls in the first, second, and third primary grades in all primary schools for at least one hour in the week. Praise is bestowed upon the results of the introduction of cookery. The superintendent recommends the introduction of new appliances and of charts showing the cuts of meats and specimens of the several food products. Three additional kindergartens were established within the past year, the whole number now being ten.
The register of pupils in the evening schools was 25,922, average attendance at which was 35 per cent. Formerly the evening high schools were under the control of the committee on evening schools, but during the last year they were put under the city superintendent. Under his direction several changes in regulations have been made and the standard of scholarship elevated. The number of students registered was 6,977, average attendance 2,571. The evening is divided into two sessions, each an hour long. Each pupil has one, but may not have over two studies which he elects.
Generous provisions have been made for teachers placed upon the retired list. On . a recommendation of the city superintendent, and a two-thirds vote of the board, those women who have taught thirty years, and those men who have taught thirtyda five, receive an annuity of half their salaries, provided they do not exceed $1,000. They are empowered, however, when appearing proper, to reduce the annuities, the reduction being required to be at the same rate per annum.
A considerable number of institutions styled corporate schools, as they participate in the school revenues, are under the general superintendence of the board of education. The report says of these:
"The instruction and the discipline in the schools of these institutions and societies were, as a rule, quite satisfactory, and the State law prohibiting sectarian instruction and the use of sectarian text-books appeared to have been complied with." Among the recommendations in the report is that on completion of the highest primary schools fitness of pupils for the grammar schools should be determined by the principals of the former; first, because such mode of promotion is that used from grade to grade in any department, and because it would prevent competitive examinations for schools which have insufficient accommodations. Another recommendation is for semiannual examinations in the grammar schools, from the fact that every grade, except the first grammar, is completed at the end of each half year.
ROCHESTER SCHOOL REPORT.
Report for 1896, Milton Noyes, superintendent of instruction.
It claims a larger number of school organizations than ever before, and increased daily attendance of pupils.
A noteworthy fact it is that during the year, in the intermediate grades, pupils have been encouraged to submit to the superintendent short stories written by themselves upon subjects presented to them. The development of originality by such exercises has been very apparent. An additional fact of importance is the habit of taking pupils in the ninth grade to visit industrial and manufacturing establishments in the city.
While the report does not undervalue industrial training-sewing, stenography, and the like-yet it doubts the necessity of introducing them into the public schools, particularly as the Mechanics Institute is in every way adapted for instructing in them. The following extract is from the remarks made by the report on the relative increase of pupils and teachers:
"During the time that the number of pupil
as increased 100 per cent, the num
ber of teachers has increased 300 per cent. Therage number of pupils to teachers is too small. From a financial standpoint the increase is extravagant. . . . There is a correct average in these matters, which may be arrived at by reducing the whole of the teaching force, and asking all instructors to complete correcting work and necessary reviews after the dismissal of grades." The report insists that, admitting the fact that in small classes instruction may be better than in large, yet in this case the average could be enlarged without subtracting from the efficiency of instruction. It is a noteworthy fact that of the graduates of the university with honors 40 per cent were free academy students.
The enrollment of registered pupils for the year showed 22,518, an increase of about 800 over the year previous. This does not include 1,705 enrolled in the evening schools.
The school for truants was efficiently maintained, the pupils being constantly under the supervision of a male teacher and an attendant. None were received who had been convicted of any crime, great or small. A good exhibit of the work was made at the end of the year. Besides usual text-books pupils were furnished with reading matter and manual training imparted. Children between 7 and 16 years who are habitual truants may be sent either to a truant school or an orphans' home under charge of those having the same religious faith as their parents.
Four evening schools were maintained, but complaint is made of great irregularity of attendance. Out of 1,705 enrolled the average attendance being only 133. An additional kindergarten was started, being the eleventh.
SYRACUSE SCHOOL REPORT.
Report for 1895, A. B. Blodgett, superintendent.
The suggestion of the preceding report regarding the taking of a more accurate census of school population was complied with, but in a very unsatisfactory way. Efforts are being made to introduce an efficient system of manual training, and a line of work has been begun supplemental to at least the work done in the High School. Attention is again called to the continual unsatisfactory condition of the High School building.
Evening schools come in again for high praise, in which the work done is equal to the best done elsewhere in the city. It is earnestly hoped that a larger number will seek the advantages of an institution in which so much good is being imparted. Kindergartens are growing apace, the Porter School, the Solvay Circle, and another newly started, having been adopted by the board of education.
In the matter of compulsory education not much has been done thus far. Says the report:
"A truant officer has been named, and in some measure has succeeded in awakening the truants and the people to the fact that the law is present, and that another year will see it properly and fully enforced. A truant school, without which all effort will fail, will be provided, and then, but not till then, will this city see the value of this long desired legislation."
The report regrets the long continued delay in the matter of new furniture for the schools which has been clearly shown to be solely needed.
The whole number of registered pupils is 16,657, an increase of 581; average daily attendance, 12,578.
Report for 1895 and 1896, Hon. John C. Scarborough, State superintendent.
The report begins with a candid appeal for greater State aid for the public schools. "I recommend," says the superintendent, as large increase of school taxes direct by the legislature for the support of free schools as the legislaturə may find it possible to levy, and leave a sufficient margin for the necessary expenses of the State and county governments."
Referring again to the fact that the constitution actually commands that one or more public schools in every school district shall be maintained at least four months in the year, and the further fact that they are maintained less than thirteen weeks. He shows by figures that 9 cents on $100 in addition to the present rate of 18 cents as at present existing, making 273 cents is indispensable for making practicable compliance with the requirements of the constitution.
"Therefore, it is said plainly, "every odd and end not necessary for State and county purposes with economical management ought to be cut off and placed to the free public school fund in order that good public schools may be placed in easy reach of every citizen's home and means. We ought not to play any longer with this question of schools for our people."
And then the following is added:
"After this shall be done--and it must be done if we are to discharge our duty under the constitution-and every dollar possible turned into the school fund by school tax levied directly by the legislature, we will still need more money for the public schools-'the neighborhood schools'-in reach of every citizen. Then a system of local taxes from schools must be made effective if we would lead our people to more interest in the education of the children for citizenship."
To this end it is recommended that certain sections under the laws of 1889, which included only particular localities, should be made applicable to all the counties, and elections ordered to be held in what are termed "off years," so as to remove them from the influence of the partisanism and general excitement of political campaigns. It is a subject of much regret that not more interest is taken by the people at large toward making school terms longer and the work done in them more efficient. Even private schools are "crippled," sometimes destroyed altogether by poor public schools. Parents send their children what little time the schoolhouses are open and then content themselves with the thought that they are getting all that is to be had. These private schools, having only about 7 per cent of school children, are frequently closing for lack of adequate support, and the only safeguard against the present young generation growing up in ignorance is in the public schools, sadly in want as they are of more generous legislative aid. The spirit of the people has at length grown to be in sympathy with the public schools, and would hail with gratification whatever would tend to make them more efficient.
The legislature of 1895 abolished the county superintendency and the separate county boards of education. The superintendent considers this a mistake, and recommends their reestablishment as well as some sort of provision for more effective and practical system of county teachers' institutes.
County commissioners, with no executive officer at their head, can not possibly manage all the multiform affairs in the system. Instead of the good results anticipated by those through whose agencies these county boards and county superintendents and teachers' institutes were abolished the report says:
"On the other hand, the school interest has languished, the teachers have failed to make progress, the school districts, left to themselves, have multiplied neighborhood disputes, communities have been hopelessly divided, and confusion reigns in many
places for the want of a wise executive officer to settle matters and to urge forward educational sentiment and work, and to put teachers on lines of study and improvement of their responsible work.
The report suggests that the State superintendent be directed to divide the State into sixteen institute districts, with six counties to each district, with a conductor at the head of each district, charged to hold once in the year one institute of a week's length in each of the counties, conducted during the six consecutive weeks of the period, attendance on which institute should be made obligatory upon all teachers. It is estimated that the whole cost of such institutes would not exceed $3,000 or $3,500.
Regarding the normal schools for colored teachers, the report suggests that instead of all the seven existing being consolidated into one they remain separate as they On this head it says:
"These schools have been of immeasurable benefit to the village and country public schools for negro children by supplying those schools with teachers reasonably well prepared for such work and in touch with the people whose children they are to teach. There are seven of these schools now, receiving annually the aggregate sum of $10,000. I recommend that these seven schools be given $2,000 each."
As it is, these schoo's have a pupilage of 1,000. If consolidated into one, this would reach hardly above 200.
Usual reports are submitted by the board of directors, and the president of the Normal and Industrial School at Greensboro. Attendance of pupils keeps on the increase, ninety-three of the counties being represented. Many applicants are denied admission for lack of accommodation.
Report for 1895 and 1896, Emma F. Bates, State superintendent of public instruction.
Since Dakota became a State the number of school children has increased from 40,000 to 67,000. The only institution of higher learning there was the State University. Besides this there are now two normal schools, the Agricultural College, and the Deaf and Dumb School.
It is considered a mistake was made in changing the time for election of county superintendents, which, together with that of other school officials, theretofore was in the month of June. The change was made to the date of election of the general county officers, which takes place in the fall of the year. Objection is stated in these words:
"This has been universally regretted as a move backward for education, since it makes the county superintendent thus much more a part of partisan political machinery, and makes it less likely that a person of educational merit is chosen, and more impossible to separate educational matters from the influence of baser politicians who desire to use the educational offices for partisan purposes." It is added: "A few counties have too large territory and too many teachers to make personal supervision by the superintendent either possible or efficient. These should be divided into superintendents' districts and have another superintendent, for the most effective work is in the personal inspection and supervision by a capable county superintendent."
In view of the great number of teachers in the State who from lack of training are inefficient for their work, the legislature at its session of 1895 passed a law in accordance with which the high school board formulated a system and a course of study. Of this board the State superintendent is a member, and she states that with only two exceptions the advanced schools are employing it in endeavors to elevate their rank as high as possible. The value to the State from the uniformity destined to result from such action is twofold
“First, because the schools themselves are better; second, because, since many district school teachers have only a high-school preparation, the better the high school the better will be this class of teachers."
Liberal appropriations, however, will be necessary to make the system satisfactorily efficient.
The normal schools thus far have been crowded with grammar-grade students for academical preparation, instead of (what would be far better) with high-school graduates and others holding second and third rate certificates, who resort there only for the purpose of being trained in the art of teaching. This latter would redound far better to the benefit of the rural schools which, it is claimed, should be the principal aim of the normal schools.
While there has been marked improvement in rural schoolhouses newly constructed, yet the superintendent, like her predecessor, urges greater attention to sanitary conditions and cleanliness. A bill drafted by herself on this subject was passed by the legislature of 1895, known as the health and decency law. The following language is pointed and earnest: