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twenty other volumes through with his finger. Maps are prepared with tangible outlines for rivers and boundaries. States have square holes for the reception of type figures. Writing-cards have grooves in which the pupil writes with a lead pencil.

Much of the instruction is oral. The living voice of the teacher with text-book in hand, reads and explains the subject for the subsequent recitation which is well remembered the following day.

Music has a great charm for the blind. Nearly all desire to learn it, and their happiness is increased thereby. They are usually cheerful while in school or at work. Occupation is a necessity.

Many cases of distinguished blind persons could be named, if the limit of this letter permitted. The following table gives the probable results of the education of the Blind in the United States as reported to the Convention of Superintendents and Instructors, which met in Ohio in August, 1878. Of the graduates, 16 became superintendents of blind institutions ; 5, of Orphan Asylums; 214 became teachers of the blind; 10, teachers in public schools: 26, students and graduates of Colleges and Theological Seminaries; 34, ministers; 3, lawyers : 12, authors; 6, medical students and physicians; 65, lecturers and agents; 299, teachers of music and vocalists; 69, church organists ; 125, piano tuners; 12, composers and publishers of music; 19, teachers of handicraft ; 918, employers and workers in handicraft ; 277, storekeepers and traders; 45, owners of real estate ; 760, females, at housework and at home, on sewing-machines, crocheting, plain sewing, etc.; 78, in “Homes” of employment; 118, imbecile or incapacitated; 431, unknown. There were remaining in all the Institutions, August, 1878, 2,292; whole number of admissions from the beginning, 8942. Very Respectfully,

WILLIAM CHAPIN, Principal Pennsylvania Institution for the Instruction of the Blind. Philadelphia, July 28, 1879.

PHILADELPHIA, July 29, 1879. Hon. John Hancock, President National Educational Association.

MY DEAR SIR:-On behalf of the authorities of this University, I beg leave to extend to the Association which you represent, a cordial invitation to hold the Session appointed for Thursday morning in the Chapel of our Classical and Scientific Building. At the close of the session, or at such time during its continuance as shall be convenient to the Association, several of the Professors will be present to exhibit the various laboratories, lecture-rooms, and collections. The red and the blue cars on Walnut St., pass the University.

Truly Yours,


for the Provost.

Clinton, Conn., July 29, 1879. John Hancock, President National Educational Association.

I greatly regret that severe sickness in my family deprives me of the expected pleasure of joining your meeting.


PHILADELPHIA, July 29, 1879. To the President National Educational Association.

Sır:-I enclose evidence of a new system now being taught to classes of teachers and pupils of the Public Schools in Latin and German at PublicSchool buildings, by permission of the Board of Public Education. To all who may wish it I will give such explanation of its working as may be possible now where the Public Schools and with these the classes are closed ; particularly, if they will favor me with a card naming beforehand their coming. I am, Sir, most respectfully your obedient servant,


125 N. 17th St. The Rev. G: P. Hays moved to accept the invitation to meet in the chapel of the University of Pennsylvania. On motion of W: D. HENKLE, Mr. Hays's motion was so amended that thanks were tendered for the invitation but on account of the inconvenience its acceptance would cause the invitation was declined.

ANDREW J. RICKOFF, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Cleveland, Ohio, then read the following paper on


As a consequence of the war the value of education was greatly and justly enhanced in public esteem. Never had a great truth been more deeply impressed upon a people than that the Common School is the only safeguard of liberty and good government. It is not strange, therefore, that during and after the war the devotion of the people to the cause of universal education should manifest itself in greatly-increased expenditures for school purposes. Times were prosperous, the burdens of taxation were little felt, and States and cities poured out money lavishly for the erection of school-houses, for apparatus, and all that in popular esteem is held be most desirable for the promotion of the sacred cause.

When the alarm had subsided, reaction was inevitable, and when markets became stagnant, manufactories were closed, internal improvements were arrested and large numbers of men and women had been thrown out of business, the taxes became onerous and every cause of taxation was resented. It was quite natural, when this sudden pause came in the race for wealth, that men should open their eyes to the enormous growth and development of the educational machinery. It was to be expected that some, among thoughtful men, should question whether all this was necessary to the ends for which common schools were originally established. It needed only the suggestion of doubt from a few of the earlier friends of the public schools, to set the lighter and more inflammable spirits in a blaze. From Maine to California the schools, especially of the cities, were subject to severe criticism and their managers were denounced as having diverted them from the purposes for which they were originally established. Metropolitan journals and village newspapers united in raising questions whether the increased expenditures had been attended by any substantial improvement of the schools within the last generation or two, and in making complaint of the neglect of this or that fundamental branch of study. It was said that the essential elements in the education of the children of the poor and laboring classes were neglected for the higher and more ornamental studies. The crowded course was arraigned as being unfavorable to a true development of mind, hostile to real scholarship, destructive to the health of children and oppressive to teachers. It is difficult to enumerate all the counts in the indictment against the schools of to-day. Many have joined in one charge or another but there seems to be no general agreement upon any particular one, except perhaps the last, viz.—the overcrowded programmes of study and the neglect of the more important branches of a good English education. There are not a few teachers and school officers who have raised the question among themselves, whether there is not some ground for this criticism.


In this paper I propose to speak especially on this point. If there be any school man here who has found time for the reading which is necessary to form the mind, cultivate a taste for good reading and direct the attention of his pupils to that which is best, if any who have found time for a thorough, systematic, and continuous practice of their pupils in the use of their mother-tongue, if any who have found opportunity to give that instruction about the laws and institutions of our country which the citizen most needs, if there be any who have not been put to their wit's end to harmonize the claims of the older studies with what they are ready to concede to be the just demands of the new,-if there be any such teachers here, they will not sympathize with me when I say that this charge is true. The programmes of our schools are overcrowded. The best conditions of mental, moral, and physical development are not afforded even in our best schools; the fundamental branches of a good English education are neglected. Thoughtful educators have felt the truth more than their critics, but they differ from them as to what the fundamental branches of a good glish education are, and hence they differ from them as to the remedies which are to be applied. For myself, I avow the opinion that it is not the addition of the new branches, but the growth of the old, which has caused the chief difficulty.

The youngest of our teachers will scarcely credit me when I say that the work required in the study of Reading, Arithmetic, Grammar, and Geography in our best schools of to-day is from five to ten times greater than it was in the same studies and in the best schools of the first part of this century. I know of no better means of proving to them the truth of this assertion than by an appeal to some accounts which we have of the :schools of Boston at that period. Whatever their faults may have been, there is little reason to doubt that they were, even at that time, at least as efficient as any schools of the country. That we may understand the course of study and have the situation clearly before us, it is well to keep in mind the fact that from the time the children left the dame's schools, that is little Primary pay schools, and entered the public schools, the education of those who were destined for a liberal course of study was distinct and separate from that of those who proposed for themselves apprenticeship to the trades. For the former there were two Latin Schools in which Latin and Greek were the only things taught. If the pupils needed to be taught writing or reading, or wished to learn arithmetic, they had to get their instruction in these branches elsewhere. Besides these two Latin Schools there were two Writing Schools. The course in these schools was very brief indeed. Writing and arithmetic were the principal studies. Although reading and spelling were also taught in them, this instruction was only incidental, “being carried on,” we are told, “not attended to," while the teachers were making or mending pens preparatory to the regular writing lesson.

To the woman of the present day it may be of interest to learn that at this period the only schools in the city to which girls were admitted were kept by teachers of the public schools, between the forenoon and afternoon sessions. This of course must be understood to have been a private enterprise on the part of the public school masters.

In 1790 there was a reform in the school system, and the reformed course of study is what I want to get before you but you will not appreciate the reform, nor understand the programme unless you know the agents by which it was effected, and know something of the organization adopted.

In the year last named twelve citizens were added to the Board of Selectmen for the sole purpose of attending to the schools. Of these there were three doctors of divinity, three distinguished physicians, one doctor of laws, two judges, two who had been or were thereafter in the United States Senate, and one who was afterward Governor of the State. I mention these facts to show that probably all was attempted in the re-organization which was then thought to be possible. If such a Board would not at least aim to make the curriculum of the schools all that it might be made, in vain should we expect to find a Board that would.

In order that room might be made for girls, two other schools were established called Reading Schools. Each one of these was placed in a building with a Writing School, and the pupils attended them alternately, one in the morning, the other in the afternoon. This was the plan of organization. What was the course of study ?

I quote from Mr. Fowle's biographical sketch of the life of CALEB BINGHAM, who was one of the schoolmasters of the time. Mr. FOWLE was himself a pupil of the schools, probably from 1800 to 1810. One regulation required that the reading master should teach spelling, accent, and the reading of prose and verse and to instruct the children in English Grammar, epistolary writing, and composition. “ Another regulation required the writing masters to teach“ writing, arithmetic, and the branches usually taught in town schools, including vulgar and decimal fractions." The books used in the Reading Schools were WEBSTER's Spelling-Book, the Holy Bible, WEBSTER's Third Part, and the Young Ladies' Accidence. The Young Ladies' Accidence was a treatise upon English Grammar containing about sixty pages. The Children's Friend and MORSE's Geography were allowed, not required, and newspapers were to be introduced occasionally at the discretion of the master. In the Writing Schools no books were used save the copy book and a manuscript for recording the “sums" done by the pupil.

A teacher of the present day might find much to do under this simple course and with the few text-books prescribed; but what did the masters of that day find to do; That is, how was the course of study construed, what use was made of the books? Mr. FowLE tells us that in the Reading Schools the practice was for every child to read one verse in the Bible or a short paragraph of the Third Part; and that while one class was reading, the other studied the spelling lesson. This lesson was spelled in turns, so that, the classes being large, each boy seldom spelled more than one or two words. In Grammar, the custom was to recite six or more lines once a fortnight, and to go through the book three times before any application of it was made to parsing."

In the Writing Schools it was ordered that the children should begin to learn arithmetic at eleven years of age. Up to that age all that the pupils did in a whole forenoon or afternoon was to write one page of a copy book not exceeding ten lines. “When they began to cipher, it rarely happened that they performed more than two sums in the simplest rules. These were set in the pupil's manuscript ‘by the teacher' and the operation was then recorded by the pupil.”

“Such writing and ciphering, however, were too much for one day, and boys who ciphered did so only every other day.” Dr. MORSE's School Geography was occasionally read by the highest class in the Reading Schools. As to the rule requiring the introduction of newspapers and the writing of compositions, Mr. Fowle says “The misfortune was, that the rule was entirely neglected, as was that requiring composition to be taught in connection with English Grammar. The probability is that for twenty years, not a newspaper was read in any school, nor a word written.”

Such was the course of study and such the practice under it in those schools of which it has been said : “ There is reason to believe that more and better work was done by our schools in the early days of the Republic than is accomplished now.”

A comparison between the amount of work required in the old schools and the new, may be aided by reference to the text-books used then and

We must touch this point very briefly. Let us first look at the arithmetics. We have seen that in the early days no book was used except the pupil's manuscript which has already been spoken of. When the printed book was first introduced, it was designed only to take the place of the manuscript. It gave the rules which had previously been written out by the teacher or copied by the pupil, and the sums to be done,-that was all. In DANIEL ADAMS's Arithmetic, tenth edition, published in 1817, space is left for the solution of all the examples, thus completely adopting it as a substitute for the manuscript which it had superseded. This was one of the most popular, if not the most popular arithmetic of its day. It was a book of 204 pages, and in consequence of the vacant space left for solutions, the matter contained in it was equivalent to not more than ninety pages of the arithmetics now published. To show wherein these books have grown we may notice the number of pages appropriated to two or three of the principal subjects treated of in three different editions of this work, published, respectively, in 1817, 1842, and 1860. These editions, in the order named, treat of percentage


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