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The matter of religion in the schools has been dealt with in an earlier part of this bulletin. Some other matters are likely to come before the convention with respect to the article of the constitution dealing with education.
There will undoubtedly be some discussion of the proposal for a constitutional recognition of the University of Illinois, or of both the university and the normal schools. The University of Illinois is now controlled entirely by statutory enactments, although an incidental reference to the university is contained in Article VIII, Section 2, with respect to lands, moneys or other property donated, granted or received for school, college, seminary or university purposes. The university is now subject to the management and control of a board of trustees, composed of the governor, the superintendent of public instruction, and nine other trustees, of whom three are elected every two years, to serve for a six year term. The elective trustees are voted for by the voters of the state at the biennial general elections upon the same ballots with the state officers to be chosen at such elections.
In 1911 provision was made for the levy of a one mill state tax for the support of the University of Illinois, this tax being based upon the principle of taxing property at one-third of its value. In 1919, when the basis of taxation was raised to one-half of full value, this tax was proportionately reduced to two-thirds of one mill. In the report • of the Efficiency and Economy Committee' will be found a full statement regarding the organization of boards for the control of state universities. The more common practice is to have appointive boards. However, a number of states have constitutional provisions regarding the state university. Perhaps the most important university controlled by an elective board is that of Michigan, whose constitution provides that "there shall be a board of regents of the university, consisting of eight members, who shall hold the office for eight years. There shall be elected at each regular biennial spring election two members of such board. When a vacancy shall occur in the office of regent, it shall be filled by appointment of the governor." Boards of regents or of trustees for state universities are also made elective by constitutional provisions in Colorado and Nebraska.
With respect to the county superintendent of schools, the constitution speaks of election, but provides that the manner of election shall be prescribed by law. The issue has never presented itself, but the use of the word "election", united with the uniform practice of electing that officer by popular vote under the constitution of 1870, may make
Report of Efficiency and Economy Committee, 1915, pages 439-440.
it doubtful as to whether the county superintendent could be made appointive if this were desired. With respect to any proposal for consolidation of city and county functions, either within the city of Chicago or within other areas of the state, attention should also be called to the fact that the constitutional provision regarding a county superintendent would in case of such consolidation make it necessary to continue a county school officer in addition to a city school superintendent.
In discussing constitutional provisions regarding education it should be noted that the state superintendent of public instruction is provided for by article V, section 1, of the constitution.
Article VIII, Section 4, provides that no teacher, state, county, township or district school officer shall be interested in the sale, proceeds or profits of any book, apparatus or furniture used or to be used in any school in this state, with which such officer or teacher may be connected, under such penalties as may be provided by the general assembly. Some effort may be made to change this constitutional provision, inasmuch as it substantially prohibits the use in Illinois of text books prepared by any school officer within this state. It may be possible to prevent the abuses aimed at without unduly restricting the preparation of text books within the limits of the state. In any case, it will be desirable to coordinate with this section the provisions of Article IV, Section 15, and Article IV, Section 25. The provisions regarding interest in contracts now do not cover the whole subject, and may be found in three parts of the constitution.
Efforts will probably be made to add specific constitutional provisions regarding kindergartens, vocational education or other types of educational methods. In connection with this matter, it should probably be said that Article VIII, Section 1, of the constitution lays down as broadly as is possible the duty of the general assembly to provide "a thorough and efficient system of free schools". (Powell v. Board of Education, 97 Ill. 375. 1881). Details as to elements constituting such a system of free schools may lead to judicial implications limiting the present full power conferred upon the general assembly. Here, as elsewhere in a constitution, details are dangerous from the standpoint of judicial construction, and it is usually true that details as to an educational system are likely to be quickly outgrown if placed in a constitution. The changing of such details then becomes a difficult matter.
In connection with the problem of education, attention should be called to Section 18 of the schedule by which "all laws of the State of Illinois and all official writings and the executive, legislative and judicial proceedings shall be conducted, preserved and published in no other than the English language". It seems unnecessary that anything should be added to this language, for the whole matter can now be adequately dealt with by statute, although attention should be called to the possibility of a proposal of amendment being made requiring that all instruction in schools be in the English language. Proposals of this character, in connection with the so-called Americanization movement, led in 1919 to the enactment of a statutory provision which reads as follows:
"Because the English language is the common as well as official language of our country, and because it is essential to good citizenship that each citizen shall have or speedily acquire, as his natural tongue, the language in which the laws of the land, the decree of the courts, and the proclamations and pronouncements of its officials are made, and shall easily and naturally think in the language in which the obligations of his citizenship are defined, the instruction in the elementary branches of education in all schools in Illinois shall be in the English language. Provided, that this shall not apply to vocational schools. where the pupils have already received the required instruction in English during the current year." (Laws of 1919, pp. 917-918).
The teaching of foreign languages under earlier statutes was sustained in the Powell case, cited above, and the enactment of 1919 appears not to forbid such teaching.
No suggestions have been received as to changes that may be proposed in Article XII of the constitution dealing with the militia. In connection with Article XII, attention should, of course, be given also to Section 15 and 16 of Article II. Most of the provisions of the article dealing with militia merely lay down principles which, in any case. would be followed, and the constitution with respect to this matter imposes no serious restrictions upon legislative action. Perhaps, however, proposals may be made (1) to establish general military training by constitutional provision and (2) to lay down some constitutional rule as to the relationship between the state and national governments in military affairs.
V. SUFFRAGE AND ELECTIONS.
Article VII should be considered in connection with the provisions of Article II, Section 18, that "all elections shall be free and equal".
With respect to Section 1 of Article VII, a material change will be proposed, granting suffrage to women. It will be unnecessary to discuss here the subject of woman suffrage, as a statement regarding the situation in Illinois and in other states will be found in the pamphlet upon the "Constitutional Convention in Illinois", second edition, pages 107-111. The rapid progress being made toward the ratification of the proposed federal amendment will probably result in full suffrage for women in this state in the near future; although a proposed amendment to the constitution of Illinois, if promptly adopted, may come into effect before the adoption of the federal amendment.1
With respect to Section 1, the question may also present itself as to whether there is need for continuing the provisions regarding those who were electors in the year 1848. This provision was adopted for the purpose of saving the right to vote to certain persons who would not otherwise have been qualified under the constitutions of 1848 and 1870, and is probably now unnecessary, although its retention would do no harm, and there may be a few cases of voters qualified before 1848 who would not be qualified under present constitutional provisions. The clause in this section with respect to naturalization is now unnecessary.
Certain other questions may present themselves with respect to the suffrage article. In connection with Section 1, the matter of compulsory voting may be urged. A discussion of this subject will be found in the Massachusetts constitutional convention Bulletin No. 24. An amendment was proposed by the Massachusetts constitutional convention and adopted by the people of that state in 1918 that "the general court shall have authority to provide for compulsory voting at elections, but the right of secret voting shall be preserved".
In connection with Article VII, Section 2, it is now clear that the requirements of a ballot means a requirement of secret voting. The supreme court of this state has held that the provisions that "all votes shall be by ballot" does not forbid the use of a voting machine, and that the primary purpose of the provision is to require secrecy in voting. Amendments have been adopted to some constitutions expressly authorizing the use of voting machines, in order to overcome decisions. of courts against the use of such machines. However, there is no difficulty of this character in Illinois, if it is desired to use voting ma
A full review of woman suffrage in the United States will be found also in Massachusetts constitutional convention Bulletin No. 3, Woman Suffrage in the United States.