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We have so long been accustomed to regard ourselves as a reading and writing people, par excellence, that we cannot be too frequently reminded of our opposite tendencies. The report under consideration deals effectively with the subject; space does not permit more than an allusion to the principal points. Of white persons from 10 to 14 years of age, inclusive, 11.8 per cent. are illiterate ; of colored persons, 66.2 per cent.
From 15 to 20 years, inclusive, the white illiterates are 7.2 per cent. of the total number; colored, 62.7; giving as a total of colored illiterates between 10 and 20 years of age, inclusive, 1,072,523, a weight which it is hardly necessary to remind the reader is upon the Southern States.
The school resources of these States are set forth with fullness and impartiality in the report, and are manifestly unequal to the demand. Even in view of later representations of the remarkable advance in property valuation, etc., which has taken place in the recent slave States since 1879, it is impossible to resist the conviction that the appeal for national aid to common schools is simply a protest against national disgrace and disaster.
A special study of illiteracy in twenty-four of the leading cities of the Union shows that the number of illiterates in these, below 20 years of age, is a very small proportion of their total illiterates, and makes it clear that the illiterate masses with which our municipal authorities must deal are chiefly foreign-born or colored, and of adult years.
The necessity of special training for teachers is so universally recognized · that the frequent attacks made upon normal schools in this country must be attributed to unpardonable ignorance of well-established principles and of the practices of nations whose progress cannot be a matter of indifference to ourselves. The Commissioner gives very full information as to the provision for this work among us; we have only to regret the absence of data for comparing this provision with the same in other countries.
The total number of schools that nominally provide for the training of teachers is 225.
These include 112 private schools, some of which are doing excellent work in the direction specified, but which as a class are not well equipped for the service, and are not subject to any tests or supervision by which a special work is kept up to a high mark. The public normal schools have larger resources, are subjec" to constant inspection, and have been so frequently investigated at the instance of their opponents as to warrant the conclusion that their survival is proof of excellence. It is not easy to distinguish between the academic and professional work of these schools, as will be seen by a glance at the classification of their scholars.
Here arises an important question: How shall normal schools, high schools, schools of science, and colleges be so adjusted as to prevent waste by overlapping and duplicating courses? A question that becomes more and more serious, as the relations between science and industry are more clearly perceived, and the demand for teachers of specialties increases.
With respect to their pedagogic function, the normal schools differ greatly.
A few summer normals or normal institutes, and a few departments or chairs in State universities are included in the table, while the schools proper vary in the length and adaptation of their courses. These differences correspond to differences in the conditions of elementary education which exist everywhere, and call for such a gradation in normal schools as is embodied in the Prussian scheme. We have, virtually, like gradations; what we want now is their formal recognition, and distinct organization.
A glance at the columns of students and graduates will show how small a proportion of our teachers profit directly by the superior training. Something of its benefits, however, is imparted to the body of untrained teachers, through the teacher's institutes. Here we have an agency which, at a com: paratively small expense, might be converted into the lowest grade of training schools, and sufficiently extended to cover the demand.
Those who consider our expenditure upon normal schools excessive will do well to look at corresponding foreign estimates. For a fair basis of comparison we may take the cost of the seven normal schools in the Netherlands, amounting in 1881 to 473,943.25 florins, about $27,490 each.
In the record of institutions that give, or profess to give, instruction above the elementary grade, we are met with a singular mixture of worth and pretension. An institution authorized to confer the B A. is a college or university even if it has no productive funds and no advanced scholars. In the case of schools for women the distinction between secondary and superior seems to be a mere matter of fancy. Taking the institutions at their own showing, we have in all secondary courses 224,815 pupils, or about 1 in every 223 of the population. Such of the schools as are supported by public funds are obliged to maintain a certain standard; the scholastic merit of the private institutions can only be inferred from their individual reputation, patronage, faculties, and resources. With the record before us we must admit the worst that has been affirmed of our conduct of this department, but we cannot allow that the worst is the whole truth.
In a section which includes schools like the Boston high schools, Phillips Academy, Worcester County Free Institute, Columbia Grammar School ; in a section which includes the Rose Polytechnic, the St. Louis Polytechnic, and whose high schools have been adjusted to a university of excellent standing, it cannot be said that secondary instruction is without organization, coördination, method, and purpose.
In closing his summary of this topic the Commissioner observes :
"It is important that the qualification of teachers and the curricula of secondary schools should correspond to some rational system of training. Here we have much to learn from European nations, in which secondary education is better organized, and adjusted more skillfully to the requirements of highly civilized and populous communities than in our own country." And again, “The keenness of international competition (in which we are becoming constantly more involved), the growth of our business interests, the development of superior instruction, -i, e., that which occupies studeuts up to twenty-four or twenty-five years of age-urge us to follow the example of European nations in the adaptation of secondary training. We are met at the outset of every such endeavor by the necessity for a fuller and more reliable presentation of the facts which must determine our adjustments. What is the proportion of scholars in each of these specified classes ? What is the course which each pursues, and with what results ? The demand for such information is increasing. Each institution seeks to know what others of the same grade are accomplishing, and those who meet for the general discussion of education realize the fatuity of counsels not based upon a knowledge of facts. In view of these manifestations I can but hope that the time is not distant when the teachers and officers of secondary schools will agree upon such a representation of the conditions of their work as the public interests demand."
Our survey of secondary instruction ought to embrace many schools, tabulated as superior schools for women, colleges, and schools of science, which are evidently not equipped for the work of liberal culture, or for a high order of special training. If these could be induced to rate themselves according to their quality, the role of superior institutions would be cleared of some amazing incongruities.
One of the most important facts in our recent history is the expansion of a few institutions which may justly be named superior. The recognition which this development receives abroad is sufficient evidence of its soundness and fullness. However satisfied we may be with ourselves, the satisfaction is enhanced by the favorable judgment of the best authorities; hence it comes to pass that our pride in such institutions as Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and Michigan University is strengthened by the knowledge that European savants are studying the details of their organization and publishing their achievements.
We must pass over the remaining topics of the comprehensive report here briefly reviewed, noting only the record of private benefactions to education during the year. The total ($7,440,22 4) is perhaps not large in pr.). portion to our wealth, but the increase ($2,190,414) over the same for 1880 is encouraging
As we close the volume the recent words of a German scholar came to mind with the sense of their special appropriateness to ourselves : “The glory which is achieved by martial exploits and conquests we may share with the most barbarous people, those with whom we should disdain comparison, the glory which is due to enlightenment, to moral elevation, can be shared only with the most civilized people, with the most illustrious benefactors of the race.
The past year has been fruitful in standard books in almost every department of knowledge. Among the more prominent works on Art are: Greece : Pictorial, Descriptive, and Historical, by Christopher Wordsworth ; new and revised edition, edited by H. F. Tozer, M. A.; with 450 illustrations of scenery, architecture, and fine arts; by Scribner & Welford, New York; price, $12.00. Dumas's Art Manual, an illustrated edition of the exhibitions of the world for 1882; containing about 250 original drawings, by J. W. Bouton, New York; price, $1.25. A History of Art in Ancient Egypt, by G. Perrot & C. Chipiez; edited by William Armstrong; with more than 600 illustrations ; 2 vols. Svo, 900 pages; by A. C. Armstrong & Son, New York; price, $15 50. W. M. Hunt's Talks on Art, compiled by Helen M. Knowlton; 8vo, 95 pp.; by Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Boston; price, $1.00. Japan : Its Architecture, Art, and Art Manufactures, by Christopher Dresser; with 200 engravings on wood, for the most part by Japanese artists; square crown, 8vo, cloth, gilt top; by Scribner & Welford, New York; price, $10.00. Every-Day Art: Short Essays on the Arts not Fine, by Lewis Foreman Day; with 80 illustrations; by Scribner & Welford, N. Y.; price, $3 00. Illustrated Text-Book of Art Education, edited by Edward J. Poynter, R. A. ; each volume contains numerous illustrations for the use of students; by Scribner & Welford, New York; price per volume, $2.00. English Painting, by II. J. Wilmot Buxton, M. A., and S. R. Koehler; including an account of the earliest paintings known in England ; 80 illustrations : by Scribner & Welford, N. Y. Notes on the Principal Pictures in the Louvre Gallery at Paris, and in the Brera Gallery at Milan, with illustrations, by Charles L. Eastlake; 4to, 443 pp.; by Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Boston; price, $2.00. The Early Homes of Prince Albert, by Alfred Rimmer; beautifully illustrated with tinted plates and numerous engravings on wood ; 8vo.; by Scribner & Welford, New York; price, $8.40. Modern Perspective, by Wm. R. Ware ; with portfolio of plates ; 12mo, 321 pp. ; by James R. Osgood & Co., Boston ; price, $5.00. Etched Studies for Interior Decorations and Domestic Furniture, by H. W. Battley; ten etchings in portfolio ; folio; by Scribner & Welford, New York; price, $20.00. Lectures on Painting, by Edward Armitage, R. A.; 29 illustrations by the author ; 8vo; by Scribner & Welford, New York; price, $300. The same firm published Practical Notes on Etching, by R. S. Chattock, with 8 illustrations showing the stages and processes of the art; 8vo; price, $3.00. Introductory Lessons in Drawing and Painting in Water Colors, by Marion Kemble; 12mo; 91 pp. ; S. W. Tilton & Co., Boston; price, 50 cts. Modern Painters, by John Ruskin; John Wiley & Sons, New York ; price per volume, $3.00. Water Color Painting, Flower Painting, IVild Flowers (40 plates), Garden Flower Portfolio (40 plates); by Cassell & Co., New York; each series, $1.50. Art of England, by John Ruskin; John Wiley & Sons, New York. Decoration in Painting, and Sculpture; 5 vols. ; 4to; by Scribner & Welford, New York; each volume, $3.00. Photo-Micrographs, and How to Take Them; illustrated; by Geo. M. Sternberry; James R. Osgood & Co., Boston ; $300. Decorative Placques; designs by G. F. Barnes; verses by Mary E. Wilkins; 8vo; D. Lothrop & Co., Boston ; $1.50. Purgatory and Paradise; illus. by Doré; Cassell & Co., New York; $10.00. The Princess, by Tennyson ; illustrated by eminent artists; Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Boston; $10.00; also Twenty Poems of H. W. Longfellow, by the same publishers , illustrated by Ernest W. Longfellow; 50 engravings and portrait; $9.00. Wild Flowers of Switzerland, or a Vear Amongst the Wild Flowers of the Alps; folio ; 16 plates; by Scribner & Welford, New York; $15.00. Original Etchings by American Artists; 20 etchings ; parchment. De Luxe, and regular editions, by Cassoll & Co., New York; parchment, $300 00; De Luxe, $125.00: regular edition, $20.00.
BELLES-LETTRES. Side Lights on English Society : Sketches from Life, Social and Satirical, by E. C. Greenville-Murray; illustrated with 309 engravings; 8vo, 450 pp.; Scribner & Welford, New York; $4.00. The Poet of the Breakfast Table, with new preface, by Oliver Wendell Holmes; crown 8vo, 418 pp.; Houghton & Mifflin & Co., Boston ; $2.00. The Promus of Formularies and Elegancies, being private notes in 1594 (hitherto unpublished), by Francis Bacon; illustrated and elucidated by passages from Shakspeare by Mrs. Henry Pott, with preface by E. A. Abbott, D.D.; Svo, 628 pp.; Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Boston; $5.00. Chats About Books, by H. M. Hazeltine; 12mo; Charles Scribner's Sons, New York; $1.50. Highways of Literature, by Daniel Pryde, LL.D.; 12mo; Funk & Wagnalls, New York; 75 cts. Imagination, and other Essays, by George Macdonald, D.D.; crown 8vo, 330 pp. ; D Lothrop & Co., Boston ; $1.50. The Epic of Kings, from the Persian of Firdusi; translated by Helen Zimmern ; 12mo, 339 pp.; Henry Holt & Co., New York; $2.25.
BIOGRAPHY. Ole Bull, by Mrs. Sara C. Bull; 12mo; Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Boston ; $1.50. “ American Statesmen Series,” edited by John T. Morse, Jr.; each $1.25: John Quincy Adams, by John T. Morse, Jr.; Alexander Hamilton, by Henry Cabot Lodge; John C. Calhoun, by Dr. H. Von Holst; Andrew Jackson, by Prof. William G. Sumner; John Randolph, by Henry Adams; James Monroe, by D. C. Gilman; Thomas Jefferson, by John T. Morse, Jr.; Daniel Webster, by Henry Cabot Lodge; James Madison, by Sidney H. Gay; Albert Gallatin, by John Austin Stevens; Henry Clay, by Hon. Carl Schurz; Patrick Henry', by Prof. Moses Coit Tyler, and others to be announced. Henry Ward Beecher : Aspects of his Life, by Lyman Abbott; Funk & Wagnalls, New York; $3.00. Life of Cromwell by Paxton Hood; Funk & Wagnalls, New York; $1.00. John G. Whittier, by James Underwood; James R. Osgood, Boston; $1.50. Oliver Cromwell: The Man and his Mission, by J. A. Pictou; Cassell & Co., New York; $2.50. Recol. lections of Arthur Perrhyn Stanley, by George G. Bradley ; Charles Scribner's Sons, New York; $1.00. The Life of Ralph Waldo Emerson, by Alex. Ireland; D. Lothrop Co., Boston; $1.50. The Letters and Memorials of Mrs. Carlyle; Annotations by Thomas Carlyle; edited by J. A. Froude; 2 vols. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York; $4.00. Life of Lord Lawrence, by R. Roswell Smith; 2 vols. ; Charles Scribner's Sons, New York; $5.00. Autobiography of Erastus 0. Haven, D.D., LL.D., edited by C. C. Stratton, D.D.; with introduction by Rev. J. M. Buckley; 12mo, 329 pp.; Phillips & Hunt, New York; $1.50. Biography of William Cullen Bryant, by Parke Godwin; with two steel portraits ; 2 vols; D. Appleton & Co., N. Y.; $6.00. Oliver Wendell Holmes, by W. Sloane Kennedy; S. E. Cassino & Co., Boston; $1.50. Memoirs of John Adams Dix, edited by Morgan Dix; 8vo, 2 vols.; Harper & Bros., New York; $4.00. John G.