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methods, etc., because they have been in the high school for a year. Assuming that the principals and teachers of the senior high schools are sincerely anxious to aid junior high-school graduates, many problems present themselves which are difficult of solution. If the number of such pupils is small, it is almost impossible to organize them into separate classes or give them special attention. If such pupils are merged with the pupils who have been in the high school for a year, even slight differences in courses of study and textbooks, amount of ground covered, etc., stand out very prominently. These difficulties are removed, however, when, as a result of the organization of a system of junior high schools, large numbers of junior high-school pupils enter grade 10A of the senior high schools each term. Under such circumstances principals of senior high schools should be able to solve whatever problems arise through slight differences in method or subject matter.
Furthermore, it is an unwise educational policy to have two sets of schools— namely, the traditional 8B and the junior high schools—in a given neighborhood, by which some pupils attend the first type of school, pursue a uniform course of study through the seventh and eighth years and are transferred to senior high schools at the end of the eighth year, and other pupils attend the junior high schools for the seventh, eighth, and ninth years of instruction.
All experience points to the conclusion that since the organization of a system of junior high schools has been decided upon as an educational policy, steps should be taken to extend it, term by term, as far as practicable, with the ultimate aim of relieving the senior high schools of all or nearly all the pupils of the first year and of having all or nearly all the seventh, eighth, and ninth pupils included in junior high schools.
That there is a certain amount of confusion and irritation between the junior high school and the senior high school in the regular four-year high school is evident, but according to Mr. J. M. Glass,13 director of Junior high schools for the State of Pennsylvania:
The responsibility for the ninth-year curriculum in G-3-3 school systems has passed in part and should pass altogether from the senior high school to the junior high school. With the responsibility should also go the opportunity to reconstruct the ninth-year core curriculum in accordance with the reconstruction already initiated in the seventh and eighth years. Insistence by the colleges on 16 college-entrance units constitutes a condition which threatens the full realization of the principle of continuity in the reconstruction of the junior high school curriculum. The present tendency to modify college-accrediting relations in harmony with the objectives of the new 6-3-11 plan should be presented and encouraged until the junior high school is able to carry on unhampered the curriculum reorganization already initiated and partly effected in the seventh and eighth years. The junior high school must be free to make of itself a self-contained and integral unit in the public-school system.
11 Curriculum Practices in the Junior High School and Grades 5 and C.
By Kathebine M. Cook.
Contents.—Introductory statement—Tendencies to equitable school support—An important equalizing tendency: The improvement of the teacher staff—Supervision: A constructive and equalizing factor in rural education—Centralizing tendencies In administrative organization for efficiency and economy—Tendencies In secondary education for rural children.
The most conspicuous and pertinent tendency in rural education in the biennium is that toward better understanding of and intelligent accomplishment in the direction of more equitable distribution of school opportunities and school expense burdens. Rural education is still the weak spot in the American educational system. Equality of educational opportunity has in the past been the principle about which lay the most of discussion and the least of action. Ideals are ever in advance of accomplishment. It is therefore notable that the passing of this biennium marks a decided tendency toward complete emergence of rural education from the realm of sentimental oratory and general promotion to that of statesmanship and professional achievement.
Professional achievement is manifest in the growing number of research studies in rural-school administration and practice and conditions concerned with rural children. Among the important investigations made during the biennium worthy of special mention are the State survey of Texas; a state-wide study of conditions and needs in Pennsylvania, including rural-teacher training, rural high schools, etc., undertaken by specialists within and without the State, and contemplating changes in school legislation; an investigation of public education in Missouri; a study of the measurement of educational need as a basis of distributing State aid in New York; a number of research studies of conditions of children in two rural townships in Iowa, conducted by the University of Iowa; and an investigation for the formulation of a State elementary course of study now in progress in California, financed in part by the Commonwealth fund. These examples indicate a new professional attitude affecting rural schools in an increasing number of States. Statewide testing programs through the use of intelligence and standard achievement tests are reported from Nevada, Maryland, Connecticut, Louisiana, and Montana under the direction of State departments.
A full discussion of the question of the equable distribution of school facilities in the United States would involve a lengthy treatment of many phases of the subject. This chapter can give but a brief resume of tendencies in rural education. Details of accomplishment in 48 States, if attempt were made to enumerate them, would confuse rather than enlighten. For this reason it is believed that to select from among the accumulation of testimony certain outstanding and representative lines of achievement as indicative of the trend of accomplishment, rather than to attempt a complete account for each State, will be as enlightening as possible, with the time and space limitations necessary. A brief resume of the most important movements in certain arbitrarily selected but significant fields of rural education follows.
TENDENCIES TO EQUITABLE SCHOOL SUPPORT
Among the factors upon which equalization of opportunity is based financial support looms large. We are committed to a program of full elementary and secondary education as the minimum to be offered to all children regardless of place of living. Basic to the carrying out of this conception is an equitable distribution among taxing units of school-tax burdens according to ability and of educational facilities for children within the responsible unit, namely, the State. Upon recognition of these truths rests the fate of rural education. The biennium has added to the general knowledge of the inadequacy of present sources of support and of inequitable methods of distribution. Several important studies of educational conditions State-wide in scope, as in Texas, Missouri, and West Virginia; county and township surveys, as in Michigan and South Carolina, have been made or are in progress, which have emphasized weaknesses in the financing systems of the States concerned and have called general attention to them in others. Several volumes have been added to the series of studies presented by the educational finance inquiry commission, and other important studies of Stateschool financing of major interest have been made during the period. These are among the factors which have resulted in an increased realization of the inadequacy of present sources for securing money for the support of schools and of the unsatisfactory methods still prevalent in the distribution of funds, leading to renewed serious and widespread efforts on the part of several States to replace them. Marked effort to discover sources of income not yet tapped for school support has been made as it became more fully realized that property tax is neither adequate nor reasonable as the sole source of support. In all such efforts the rural schools arc those in which the greatest need exists, and therefore the chief beneficiaries from careful and serious study and consideration.
Two distinct tendencies are apparent, the first toward increasing school revenues from new and old State sources; the second toward better methods in the distribution of State funds designed primarily to equalize tax burdens and educational opportunity, and at the same time encourage local effort and initiative. In some States in which increased revenue has been secured new sources of income, such as adoption of a severance tax, as in Arkansas, have been found, and the amount so raised distributed either on the regular basis in vogue or a new and more nearly equalizing one. In other cases some form of equalization fund has been secured from old sources increased in amount and distributed among units within the State on the basis of need. In others, increased State contributions or subventions to aid specific school functions or activities or school buildings or equipment have been provided.
In most cases States which succeed in securing increased funds inaugurate at the same time better methods of distribution. Indeed, an equalizing fund is not properly so named unless the appropriation secured is properly distributed. States which contribute from State sources a large percentage of the total support generally purpose and necessarily achieve some approach to equalization, though unwise methods of distribution of State moneys tend to nullify that purpose. In some States securing increased funds has been possible without at the same time securing scientific methods of distribution, generally due to difficulty in changing constitutional provisions. The tendency, however, has been to secure both. Illinois is an example. During the year 1923 the State appropriation for schools was increased very considerably. At the same time a law was passed discontinuing the per capita method of distribution and apportioning funds on a more nearly equalizing basis. Certain questions concerning the constitutionality of this act delayed putting the improved method of distribution into effect until 1924. The full purpose of the new law was not, therefore, realized until that year.
In Massachusetts and Maryland increased funds were appropriated from State sources and scientific methods of distribution adopted during the biennial periods. A brief description of the plans followed in each of them is given as illustrative of good practice. Until about 1919 Massachusetts depended almost wholly on local funds for the support of her schools. Since then the State has contributed increasing amounts year by year. Data for 1924, as reported from this State, show the equalizing effect of a relatively small percentage of total expenditure from State funds if distribution is made on a scientific basis. The Massachusetts general school fund law was designed to equalize local school expenditures between larger and smaller towns and to increase teachers' salaries, thereby encouraging the employment of trained teachers. This fund is distributed to towns whose valuation is less than a fixed minimum and whose expenditure exceeds a fixed tax rate. The amount varies directly as the local tax and inversely as the valuation. According to a statement from a State department of education, the amount of this appropriation so distributed in 1923 was $4,782,644, exceeding that of 1922 by about $45,000, the total amount averaging approximately 10 per cent of the total school expenditure of the towns to which it was distributed. The percentage of this State fund varies among towns from 8 to 30 per cent of the total per capita expenditure. The local per capita tax revenue without equalization varies from $57 to $74 (in round numbers); the amount of State aid per capita from $6.47 to $24.50, while the total expenditure varies among these towns from $74 to $81 (in round numbers) per capita. The State, by paying an average of 9.8 per cent of the total per capita expenditure, reduces a discrepancy among towns from approximately $17 as between those of lowest and highest valuation groups without supplementation by State funds, to $7.93 so supplemented, with the poorest towns in the highest expenditure group.
STATE PROGRAM IN MARYLAND
During the biennial period just closed Maryland has put into operation a system of State financial participation in school support, the chief characteristics of which are: (1) Increased State school budget; (2) provision of equalizing fund and its distribution on a scientific basis. Provisions of distribution of the fund are: (a) Basis of need, thereby supplying sufficient State funds to 15 counties to enable them to maintain standards; (b) State assumes two-thirds of the cost of state-wide plan of supervision; (c) State pays one full-time attendance officer in each county; (3) increased State subventions mainly for the purpose of providing special aid to high schools, for training teachers in service, and for free textbooks.
Maryland's budget for school purposes for 1923 represented an increase of approximately 26 per cent over that provided for the preceding year. Of this increase the largest item was that providing for an equalizing fund. This was distributed to 15 counties, which, having levied the regular 67 cent county tax rate prescribed by statute, were still unable to carry out standards set by the State for higher salaries and better prepared teachers. This type of equalization is augmented in its results by another State subsidy providing for the payment from State funds of two-thirds of the salaries of officers for supervising instruction in all counties. For this purpose