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and New York place appointment with the legislature, in Pennsylvania the State board of education appoints, and Michigan makes it a matter for popular vote.
The tenure varies from 2 years in Connecticut to 12 in New York. In Massachusetts and Pennsylvania the term is 3 years; in California, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Virginia, 4 years; in Idaho, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Wisconsin, 5 years; in Alabama, Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas, 6 years; in Arkansas, 7 years; in New Jersey, 8 years; and in New York, 12 years. A G-year term is most prevalent, with 4 and 5 following in order. The term of ex officio members is, of course, determined in some other way and is usually 2 or 4 years. One, two, or three members are usually appointed annually or at each regular session of the legislature and retire accordingly in the same way. In some States one member is appointed annually. In such case the number of members and the tenure must necessarily be the same. New York is a good example of the method of appointment. There are at present 12 members of the State board of regents, 1 member being chosen from each of the nine judicial districts of the State and 3 from the State at large. Members are elected by a joint ballot of the State legislature. The term of office is 12 years, 1 member being elected annually.
In regard to size, the tendency seems to be toward a board of from 5 to 9 members. Arizona, Kansas, and Washington have small boards of 3 members, while the boards of Georgia vary from 9 to 20 members. Michigan has a board of 4 members; Illinois, Indiana, Maine, New Mexico, North Dakota, and South Dakota have 5; Idaho and Texas, 6; Colorado, Connecticut, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma, 7; Alabama, Arkansas, Maryland, and New Jersey, 8; Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, and Tennessee, 9; South Carolina and Wisconsin, 11; New York and Virginia, 12. Small boards are usually ex officio, but the Kansas State board of administration is an exception. The law specifies no qualifications. The board at present is composed of E. T. Hackney, a lawyer; E. W. Hoch, ex-governor and editor; and Mrs. Cora G. Lewis. They give their entire time to the work and receive an annual salary of $3,500 each.
Qualifications of members of boards; the data concerning qualifications.—An examination of data under this head reveals that few States specify qualifications for board members other than the restrictions relative to residence, political party, sex, and relationship to institutions. Later legislation reveals a tendency toward the selection of a board composed of persons who are somewhat prepared for the work they are to do. Indiana and Ohio merely provide that their boards shall be composed of "competent persons," but Iowa law specifies that "they shall be selected solely with regard to their qualifications and fitness to discharge the duties of the position." Oklahoma is more specific, and requires that two of the appointive members shall be practical school men who shall have had at least four years' experience in actual school work, two years of which shall have been in the State of Oklahoma. South Dakota laws contain the following provision: "They shall be persons of probity and wisdom and selected among the best and best-known citizens." The Maryland law requires that "members must be of high character, integrity, and-capacity." The North Dakota (1915) legislation provides that the State board of regents "shall consist of five members, all of whom shall be equally qualified electors and taxpayers of the State, appointed for their fitness and ability to efficiently serve the people of the State in such capacity." Under this provision the board is composed of two business men and farmers, a lawyer, a former governor and business man, and a physician. The Iowa board shows the following composition: Lawyer, editor, engineer and contractor, two bankers, and a merchant and banker. This board selects from outside its own membership a committee of three, called the finance committee. This body has charge of all the financial transactions of the institutions under the management of the board. According to Mr. W. H. Gemmill, the secretary of the State board, the finance committee performs the executive functions of the board, and in reality is " the eyes and ears of the board." This committee was formerly composed of two editors and Mr. Gemmill, who was superintendent of schools at Carroll, Iowa. Of course the members of the finance committee devote their entire time to committee work. A discussion of the composition of these boards is not offered to prove that the bodies in these States are of higher character than in those where no qualifications are required. The distinctive feature is that they are chosen to perform a definite function and are compensated for it.
Opinions concerning value of types of control.—Letters were addressed to a number of State educational officers and normal-school presidents requesting statements of their opinions concerning the best type of normal-school control. Naturally, most of the replies contained statements approving of the form of control now existing in the State in question. The reasons given for this approval are often illuminating, however, and valuable comparisons between several States are often included in these replies, a number of which are quoted, in part, below.
Principal J. M. Green, of the Trenton (N. J.) State Normal Schools, concludes, "I am of the opinion that it is an advantage to have all the State normal schools of the State under one board."
Mr. W. H. Gemmill, secretary of the' Iowa State Board of Education, writes:
While the single board of education for the management of the State educational institutions has been in existence only a few years, yet I assure you that the results already secured have far exceeded the expectations of the framers of the measure. The people of this State are convinced that the statute is a wise one, and the State board of education has the confidence and support of the leading people among all classes.
President G. E. Maxwell, of the Winona State Normal School, of Winona, Minn., summarizes the advantage of control by a single State board for normal schools in this paragraph:
Our unit board for all normal schools has proved a very excellent arrangement. It serves to bring a well-conceived and harmonious budget to the legislature, which has not failed in several sessions to appropriate every cent asked for. It unifies the schools, prevents unsafe and disorganizing forms of competition for students, maintains uniformity of standards of admission, instruction, and graduation.
President John H. Keith, of the State Normal School at Oshkosh, Wis., says:
My judgment is that the single board for the control of the normal schools of the State works out very effectively. I had formerly been used to a board for each school, as in Illinois. There are, of course, certain advantages in having a board of trustees for each school. There are also certain disadvantages. My judgment is that the single board for all normal schools of the State is preferable.
Mr. Keith adds this comment:
Perhaps the greatest merit of the system as it has appeared in Wisconsin is that the normal schools have not had to take any backward step. A nonpaid, nonexpert board has to be convinced that a proposal meets a social need and that it is a wise, sensible method of meeting it. When the board is thus convinced, mistakes are infrequent.
President Charles McKenny, of the Ypsilanti (Mich.) State Normal, says:
In comparing the administration of Michigan normal schools with that of other States, I think I am warranted in saying that the administration of the State board has been relatively efficient.
The Michigan State board is peculiar in that it has only four members and is elected by popular vote. In regard to the latter feature Mr. McKenny comments:
I am inclined to think from observation in Michigan and Wisconsin that, so far as these two States are concerned, at least as good a quality of men'has been chosen by popular election for regents of the university and for members of the State board of education in Michigan as was appointed by the governor of Wisconsin to similar boards. * * * While theoretically a board of four Is not ideal, as there is always a possibility of a deadlock, the practical working out of the problem in Michigan for the past 15 years has been in all respects creditable.
A criticism of unit control is made by Principal H. H. Roberts, of the Las Vegas (N. Mex.) Normal University. Mr. Roberts states:
For the past five years this institution has been practically governed by the president. The board of regents meets from time to time to pass upon his recomniendations, but each employee is employed and dismissed with the full assurance that his actions would be approved by the regents. Previous to that the board attempted to govern everything. Since the new regime the school has grown from 227 pupils for the nine months to practically 400, and the summer school from G9 to 430. I am convinced that the less the board has to do with the operations of a school the better it is for the school. If the president can not control the school, they should dismiss him and secure some one who can. * * * I do not believe in a single body over all the institutions of the State. There Is only one possible conclusion of this, and that is that some one will dominate the whole board to the advantage of one institution. Initiative could do little under such conditions.
Commissioner of Education David Snedden, in commenting on the Massachusetts system, says:
My conviction is that the training of the teachers for the public schools of any particular State should be under one authority, even though several schools distributed through the State are devoted to the work. It might be well to have local advisory committees of citizens.
President E. W. Bohannon, of the Duluth (Minn.) State Normal School, offers the following argument in favor of. a single State normal-school board. Mr. Bohannon says:
I have had experience in educational work In four States—Indiana, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Minnesota. It is my judgment that the administrative system for the normal schools in Minnesota is decidedly better than that In the other States mentioned. * * * I think it is advantageous to have these schools in charge of such a board rather than a State board of education intrusted at the same time with other responsibilities of an educational character. They are more likely to show initiative and far less likely to become mechanized, stereotyped, and bureaucratic. It is more immediately incumbent upon them to acquaint themselves with the demands made upon them and to devise ways and means of meeting them. They are more likely to experience the impetus to effort that comes from doing things on their own initiative. I do not believe there are any public boards which render so high a grade of service as the nonsalaried board, when rightly constituted. I know that no salary could obtain for Minnesota the quality of service which the State normal school board has rendered, and I am perfectly certain that a State board of education would not be composed of men who would render services of like value. The duties would he too heavy for a nonsalaried board.
An excellent judicial discussion of the advantages of control by local boards versus control by a single State board is contained in the following quotation from a letter written by President David Felmley, of the State Normal University at Normal, 111. In this State at present control of each school by a separate local board of trustees prevails. Writing concerning his own board, Mr. Felmley says:
Because of the size of the board and its infrequent meetings, great authority Is placed in the hands of the president of the institution. He is expected to recommend all appointments and dismissals of teachers, all increases in salaries, etc., and his recommendations are acted upon without amendment. In 15 years only one case has occurred in which recommendations of this kind were not promptly ratified, usually with very little discussion. In that case, after some discussion, the president changed his recommendation, which then was indorsed.
While the centering of power and responsibility in the hands of the president adds much to the promptness and directness with which things are brought to pass, nevertheless there are certain disadvantages in our system. The infrequent meetings of the board and the large size of the board both tend to diminish the sense of responsibility in the members and their active personal interest in the institution. Yet it must be said that some members of this board have, in spite of these tendencies, been of very high service to the institution. This has been due to the high character of the men who have composed the board and to the fact that usually half of them are active teachers and superintendents and to the long terms through which they have continued in office. Judge Green, of Cairo, served for 41 years; Supt. E. A. Gastman, of Decatur, for 36 years; Mrs. Ella Flagg Young served for 25 years; and many others for more than 20 years.
I am inclined to believe that a board of six, such as is found in connection with the younger normal schools, chosen from the territory immediately tributary to the normal school and holding more frequent meetings, is likely to be a more efficient body.
The efficiency and economy commission of Illinois has recommended one board for the five State normal schools. The normal school presidents themselves are inclined to prefer the present arrangements, for they believe that 35 men, residing usually in as many different counties and with the interests of a single institution at heart, are more likely to feel the personal responsibility for the welfare of that institution, are more likely to interest school boards in employing normal-school graduates and prospective teachers in attending normal schools than if a single board of a few members is charged with the entire responsibility.
It is believed that the total expense of the present board of 35 is no greater than the expense of a unit board of 9, if they give the same measure of attention to the various normal schools as is now given.
On the other hand, it must be confessed that the normal schools find great difficulty in securing unity of procedure in entrance requirements, in graduation requirements, in their definition of a unit of credit, in their fees required of students of different classes, in the amount of credit given to work in other institutions, etc.
While it is not desirable that the State normal schools of Illinois should have identical courses of study, it is important that they should have equivalent courses of study and that the units of credit should be equivalent and interchangeable. This we have been unable to bring to pass under the present organization.
Finally, an extreme plea for the absolute local autonomy of each normal school with no restrictions from any central State authorities may be noted in the following quotation from a letter by John R. Kirk, president of the State Normal School at Kirksville, Mo. In Missouri each normal school is controlled by a focal board of trustees. Mr. Kirk says:
There is no direct relation of the normal school to the State board of education. This is fortunate, since the normal school is closer to its constituents (the people, the school boards, and the public schools) than any State board of