Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

to make retirement plans more liberal with respect to the teacher and to organize them on a sound actuarial basis has continued through the period comprehended in this study.

THE TRAINING OF TEACHERS

New Jersey in 1923 provided for the establishment of a new State normal school at Paterson and for the support and management of the same. In Alabama, a normal school at Daphne which had previously been rated a nonstandard school was by legislative act put on the basis of a “ Class A normal school,” of which there are now five in the State. A Maryland act of 1924 provided $205,000 for buildings and equipment for the new normal school previously located at Salisbury on the “Eastern Shore” of that State. A Georgia act of the same year provided for the introduction of teacher training in one of the State agricultural schools maintained in congressional districts.

Teachers' colleges, by change of name, displaced State normal schools in several States, and generally a four-year course of study was authorized in addition to the usual two-year course. In Colorado under an act of 1923 the normal school at Gunnison was designated “The Western State College of Colorado.” All State normal schools of Texas were changed to teachers' colleges in 1923, and in the same year Utah made its normal school a department of the university, to be known as the “State school of education."

The support of teacher-training institutions continues reasonably liberal in spite of efforts in some quarters to cut down State appropriations. A phase of the subject which by this time would seem to deserve more than passing notice is seen in the scholarships now provided in several States. In 1923 two States made provisions of this kind. The Delaware Legislature authorized the State board of education to create at the University of Delaware not to exceed 60 scholarships of the value of $200 each and to be awarded on “satisfactory assurance” that the holder will teach in the elementary schools for two years after graduation. The Utah Legislature created at the State School of Education 100 scholarships of the value of $25 each. The Utah scholarships exempt holders from the payment of a registration fee.

TEACHERS' QUALIFICATIONS

This is a subject of constant legislation. The tendency is continually to raise the qualifications required of teachers, or at least to eliminate certificates of the lower grades. At present the standard which the States, by legislation and otherwise, are working toward is high-school graduation plus two years of normal training

27301°--27- 21

for every teacher in the elementary schools. But as yet this standard has been attained in but few States. Within the two-year period considered in this review about one-third of the States passed laws relating to the qualifications required of teachers. These acts varied from unimportant amendments in some cases to complete revision of the State's law on the subject in others.

Two important aspects of certification have been noticeable in the legislation of recent years. One of these is a tendency to vest in the State department of education all authority in the granting of certificates and by the same measure to take this authority away from county superintendents, except as they may serve as agents of the State department. The other aspect is that seen in laws which conceive all certificates as divided into two general classes_namely, standard and nonstandard or “provisional.” In this classification the standard may, for example, represent graduation from a high school and two years of normal training in addition, while the nonstandard certificate may represent all grades below the standard, as first, second, and third grades. In such a plan it is usually provided that the holder of the highest grade of nonstandard certificate may “build” to a standard. An Indiana act of 1923 exemplifies the first of the aspects or tendencies above mentioned, and a Kentucky act of 1924 exemplifies the second.

SCHOOL ATTENDANCE

The present status of compulsory school attendance in this country may be shown in outline by means of a brief statement of facts from attendance requirements of State laws. The statement follows: Number of States fixing 7 years as the age when attendance must begin... 28 Number fixing 8 years for such age--. Number fixing 14 years as the age to which attendance must continue.Number fixing 15 years for such upper age limit -----Number fixing 16 years for such age-------Number requiring attendance for full school term--Number requiring attendance for less than full term---

Within the past two years Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Kansas, Minnesota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming passed acts relating to school attendance. All of these were amendments of earlier laws. The Connecticut act adds to that State's law the provision that a child over 14 years of age whose physical or mental condition is such that his attendance at school would be impracticable can not be compelled to attend even though his schooling is deficient. The Delaware act gives justices of the peace jurisdiction in cases of violation of the attendance requirements; in some States this matter of jurisdiction is one of the weak points in attendance laws. The Florida act authorizes the employment of county superintendents of schools as attendance officers. Minnesota and South Dakota provided for excusing children from school for a brief period each week for the purpose of receiving religious instruction. A Rhode Island act more clearly defined delinquent children and provided for dealing with them. Wyoming extended the age limits prescribed in its laws and now requires attendance for the full school term between the ages of 7 and 16, unless the work of the eighth grade is completed. Kansas and Texas amended their attendance laws generally. In the former, children between 7 and 16 years old are now required to attend school for the entire term; in the latter, those between 8 and 14 must attend at least 100 days each year.

From this brief survey of the attendance legislation of the past two years, it will be seen that the tendency is toward the standard indicated in the preceding paragraph. Without doubt the conception is now reasonably well fixed in the American mind that children should be required to go to school, or, to put it in a more American way, should be guaranteed the opportunity of going to school, at least until the work of the elementary grades is done.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION AND SCHOOL HEALTH This general subject falls into three parts, namely, child health provisions of a general nature, physical examination or medical inspection, and physical training.

A Rhode Island act of 1923 concerns more than one phase of school health. It provides for State subvention of medical inspection and school health work. Under its terms any town or city providing for the inspection of pupils by physicians or for nurse visitation is entitled to receive from the State one-half of its annual expenditure for the purpose, if the work has the approval of the State board of education, but not more than $250 is allowed to any town or city. School boards are authorized to employ school physicians and visiting nurses; and pupils, teachers, and janitors must be examined at least once a year. An act of the Washington Legislature of 1923 authorized any school district of the first class to furnish milk to public school pupils under 14 years of age. A Wisconsin act of the same year provided for instruction in the public schools in the symptoms of disease and the proper care of the body. An Oregon act authorized the board of education of any city having a school enrollment of 25,000 or more to provide for dental inspection and for dental clinics and treatment of publicschool pupils. Legislation of 1924 included a Massachusetts act, authorizing towns and cities to establish health camps, within or without the town or city limits, for underweight and undernourished children; a New York act, authorizing the State commissioner of education to appoint a specialist for eyes and ears; another New York act, authorizing the county supervisors of any county to establish a school hygiene district and permitting union free school districts and city districts of less than 50,000 inhabitants to become part of any such county school hygiene district; and a Kentucky act, authorizing the establishment of playgrounds and recreation centers.

Some legislation relating to the physical examination of school pupils has already been noticed under Rhode Island and Oregon. Other States which passed laws on this subject within the period considered here were Connecticut, Nebraska, and South Carolina. The Connecticut act provides that the State board of education furnish test cards and blanks for testing the eyesight of school children and requires that superintendents, principals, or teachers in towns not employing school physicians shall make the tests annually instead of triennially as formerly. Under the Nebraska act no child can be compelled to submit to physical examination by other than the teacher if the parent's written objection to the examination has been delivered to the child's teacher, but this provision can not operate as an exemption from the quarantine laws of the State. The South Carolina act requires that physical examination of pupils be made within the first three months of attendance each year.

There has been directed at medical inspection laws some criticism which deserves a measure of notice. One criticism has been in substance that medical inspection merely discovers the physical defect and does little or nothing about it after it is discovered, that it is a sort of Hygeian procedure which includes diagnosis without the application of a remedy. A few years ago there was more justice in this criticism of the inspection law than there is at the present time, for there is now more “follow up” of the examination or inspection than there formerly was. With the widespread and growing practice of employing school nurses, the development of closer relations between the school and the home, and the possible growth generally of a better appreciation of sound bodies, there has undoubtedly been effected a closer relation between the physical examination of the pupil on the one hand and constructive effort on the other to remedy any defect that may have been discovered.

With respect to physical education laws, there has been some very noteworthy legislation within the past two years. The Legislatures of Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Tennessee, and South Carolina passed new laws on the subject. The Iowa law provides that there must be established in all public elementary and secondary schools “physical education, including effective health supervision and health instruction of both sexes," and requires that every pupil physically able shall take the prescribed course, but no child is compelled to

take the training if his parent or guardian files a written statement that it conflicts with his or her religious belief. The State superintendent of public instruction is authorized to prepare a manual for teachers, and teacher-training institutions must provide courses in physical education. The new Minnesota act requires physical education in public schools and teacher-training institutions and provides for a State director. The Tennessee act likewise requires physical education in public schools and training institutions, but makes no provision for a State director or supervisor of the subject. The Wisconsin act is not unlike that of Minnesota—that is, it requires physical education courses both in the public schools and in normal schools and provides for a State supervisor. All of the acts above mentioned were passed in 1923. South Carolina passed its law in 1924. This law contains substantially the same provisions as that of Iowa, except that it has no clause exempting a child on the ground of parental objection. Ohjo had a physical education law prior to 1923, but in that year it revised its law generally.

To the reviewer of school legislation, physical education laws lack a certain definiteness which would seem necessary to make them most effective. It appears that promoters in this branch of education, or others interested, have as yet failed to work out a well-defined program which has been widely accepted; hence legislation on the subject is wanting in definite aims or objectives. However, as the laws provide for State directors and State supervision, better State programs will be evolved, the States will learn one from another, and more definite nation-wide objectives will doubtless come to the fore.

PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY HANDICAPPED CHILDREN

This is a heading meant to include such unfortunate children as the crippled, the deaf, and the mentally backward. Laws with respect to these several groups are of very much the same character and may be considered together. In recent years there would seem to be a new interest in this field, or perhaps it should be called a tendency to change the program with respect to the physically and mentally handicapped. The older - institutional” plan of handling these groups of children is, where practicable, giving way to the “special class” plan maintained by local administrative units. A number of the States now specifically authorize local school boards to establish and maintain schools or classes for the deaf, the crippled, or the mentally retarded, and in several cases State funds are granted in aid of these special schools or classes. .

Only a brief enumeration of laws can be given here. With respect to special classes for the deaf, Massachusetts in 1923 authorized its State department of education to cooperate with the school committees of not more than six towns in the establishment of classes for

« AnteriorContinuar »