« AnteriorContinuar »
State under the direction of the State normal school faculty. They have had the triplo effect of presenting to the teachers the best methods of instruction and discipline, of inspiring them with a higher conception of the dignity of their calling, and of convincing the peoplo that the public schools are worthy of their constant care and their hearty support.
The report of the president of the State normal school shows a gratifying increase in its patronage. In fact this institution has outgrown its present cramped quarters.
(From the Massachusetts School Report, 1892-93.]
The increase from year to year in these means for secondary instruction indicates an abiding interest rather than any sudden impulse in favor of high schools, while an increase of seven in a single year shows how deep rooted tho interest is. With the exception of the city of Worcester, all the schools added to the list this year are in towns of rural populations, none of them having tho number of inhabitants or tho number of families requiring them to maintain high schools. It is not to be presumed that all these schools have extended courses such as the first-class city high schools afford. They provide some of the studies of the secondary schools, and so in a measure meet the desire for a more liberal culture than country grammar schools can furnish,
The number of persons enrolled in the high schools was 28,582, an increase of 1,100 over the enrollment of last year. Though in keeping with the increase in the number of schools, the increase in inembership is in tho numbers attending the schools as a whole and not due alone to the new schools established.
The ratio of the membership of the high schools is, for the whole State, 7.2 per cent of the membership in all tho public schools. The ratio has advanced in ten years from 5.8 per cent to 7.2 per cent. In a few towns over 10 per cent of all the pupils are in the high schools. A much larger per cent enters them and takes a partial course. In some towns as high a rate as 40 per cent enters these schools, and as the course of studies expands, students in larger numbers are attracted to them.
The number of towns required to keep high schools is 164; the number that do keep them is 228. Thus secondary instruction at public expense is provided by 64 towns that are not required by law to furnish it. The entire population of the 228 towns is 2,113,286; of the entire State the population is 2,238,913. The proportion of this population provided with high schools in their own towns is 94.4 per cent. Towns like Revere, which pay the tuition of their high school pupils to other towns, being included with the above, tho percentage would reach 95 per cent. If there be added to the above public provision that made for secondary instruction by individual citizens, it may be assumed that practically this form of instruction is available for all the children, without the necessity of very serious sacrifice on their part or on the part of their parents. That all the children included in the population do not receive its benetits is not on account of unwillingness to make for it ample provision.
There is in most high schools a larger number of girls than of boys; in somo schools it is as four to one. This fact deserves serious consideration by parents and school anthorities.
The whole number of different teachers employed in the public schools during the year 1892-93 was 11,233, of which 989 were males, 10,244 females. The average wages of the male teachers were $140.73 per month, which is an increase for the year of $6.51. The average wages of the female teachers were $48.13 per month, which is an increase for the year of $1.61 per month.
The average wages paid women for teaching are not in advance of those paid in other less responsible occupations open to women, and when compared with tho wages paid male teachers they are so low as to make it humiliating to report the two in connection. Moreover, the advance in the wages of male teachers in ten years has been at the rate of 36.2 per cent, while that for female teachers lias been at the rato of 14.8 per cent.
So long as the present low wages are paid to the mass of female teachers, tho tendency will be for superior young women to seek employment in other occupations, especially if places can be secured in them without long preliminary training, and give promise of greater permanence and less strain upon the nervons system. If it be said, there are always moro applicants than places for teaching, the roply is, yos, and the more nearly the work of the teacher approaches a menial service, or receives a menial's
pay, the greater will be the number of applicants.
It is somewhat encouraging to see the advance in the wages of male teachers. Not so encouraging is it to witness the decline, which has been pretty constant for the last ten years, in the number of male teachers employed. There is some slight relief from the solicitude occasioned by the steady falling off of male teachers in the fact that it is inore than compensated for in the number of male teachers transferred to the ranks of school superintendents. We believe it to be for the advantage of the youth of both sexes to be brought under the influence of male as well as of femalo teachers. The best private schools exhibit greater wisdom than the public schools in the greator number of malo teachers they employ.
EXPENSES OF TEXT-BOOKS AND SUPPLIES. Sum appropriated and rate per scholar, for the past ten years, for books, stationery, maps,
The average cost per pupil for text-books and supplies siuce the enactment of tho free text-book law, now nine years, has been at the rate of $1.63 a year; since the first two years there has been a slight annual increase; the cost for the present year is $1.75. The total sum paid is $562,228, which is an increase, as previously stated, of $35,064.40 for the year.
There is general satisfaction with the operation of the free text-book law, though the desire has been expressed quite emphatically, and the claim has been persist· ently urged in somo localities, that the children should be allowed to take with them, on permanently leaving school, the books they last used. This would somewhat increase the expense for supplies, but it would have the advantage of furnishing somo books which might serve for occasional reference in homes which otherwiso would have none, and it would secure to the schools a more frequent fresh supply.
EXPENSE OF CONVEYING CHILDREN.
Amount espended for transporting children to school for the past five years.
The law authorizing towns to appropriato money for the convoyance of children to school has been upon the statute book since 1869, and yet the towns did not for several years avail themselves of its privilegos. One direct advantago of the law is the facility it gives the towns for consolidating their schools. In recent years this has been going on in all parts of the State, and within the past three years at a greatly increased rate. The sun expended during the past year was $50,590,41, an increase of $11,864.34, or of 30.6 per cent as compared with the previous year. The plan of consolidation whero conveyance is provided proves most advantageous, and seems in practice to be attended with no unfavorable conditions,
SUPERVISION BY SUPERINTENDENTS. Since the year 1854 provision has been made by which towns can legally avail themselves of the service of school superintendents to supplement the supervision earlier provided for by town school committees. Until the law of 1888 the superintendent form of supervision was limited to the populous and wealthy towns and cities. The enactment of that year, with the amendments of last year, makes it possible for every town in tho State to employ a superintendent of schools. It provides that towns not exceeding two and one-half millions of valuation mav unite in groups
for this purpose; it limits each group to a maximum of fifty and a minimum of twenty-five schools. It requires that each group of towns shall pay for the support of a superintendent $750 a year. To aid the towns the law provides for the payment to every such group the sum of $1,250 from the State treasury, $750 of which shall go to supplement the sum paid the superintendent by the towns, so that his salary shall be at least $1,500, and the remaining $500 shall be paid for teachers' salaries. Both sums are intended, either directly or indirectly, to improve the work of teaching.
No recent enactment affecting the schools has met with more general and learty approval than the act of 1888.
Out of 352 towns in the State, 221 are employing superintendents. The number employing them under the original law and under that of 1870, which differs from it in no essential particular, is 105; tho number employing them under the recent enactment is 109. The former class of towns includes nearly every town in the State of considerable population and of high valuation; the latter class embraces the small, sparsely populated, and poorer towns of the State.
Included in these two classes of towns, the number of schools under this form of supervision is 6,235, ont of a total number of public schools in the State of 7,510, or 83 per cent of the whole number. The number of school children under superintendents is 347,804, out of a total in the public schools of 391,745, which is 88.7 per per cent against 85.8 per cent for the previous year.
There are still 131 towns, or 37 per cent of the whole number of towns in the Stato, not employing superintendents. The per cent of last year was 40.3 per cent. The greater part of these towns are small and relatively poor. Many of them have voted to aocept the provisions of the act of 1888, but lint no towns with which they can conveniently unito. The isolated condition of many towns makes it difficult to combine them with others to advantage. Tho difficulty of effecting unions for this class of towns increases as the towns first to avail themselves of the provisions of the law become more accustomed to working together.
There are still towns that do not exhibit an active interest in securing for their schools the benefits of skilled supervision. There is no known opposition to the principle upon which the employment of a special agent to superintend the schools is based; indeed, it seems to meet with universal acceptance. A large number of towns desirous of securing for their schools this form of supervision aro unable to do so for reasons already stated. I advise, therefore, that authority be given the proper persons to make such combinations of towns as shall provide for bringing every school under the superintendent form of supervision.
A provision could at least be maile for aiding towns of less than two and a half millions of valuatiou to unite with towns exceeding this valuation and employing superintendents. There are employed under the earlier laws superintendents who could give part of their time to superintending the schools of one or moro additional towns. Au amendment to the law of 1888, giving proportionate aid to such towns as would come properly under this law to enable them to obtain such superintendent service, would in some instances afford the needed relief.
It is certain that so important a means of supervising the schools as a good superintendent is admitted to be should be brought to bear upon every school and every child, even the humblest in the State.
From the report for 1892-93 of State Superintendent Henry R. Pattengill.] Educational councils and rallies.—The superintendent of public instruction early realized the necessity of harmonious work with the board of examiners and county school commissioners. He also realized the importance of acquainting himself with the school work iu every portion of the State, and of learning the sentiment and peculiar conditions existing in different counties.
With this in view the State was divided into twenty-one districts, and a convenient place of meeting suggested for each district.
The “council” was in all cases called to meet Friday, and to this meeting were invited all the examiners and commissioners of the district, the school officers, and superintendents of schools. Teachers and others were welcomo, and many attended.
These councils were entirely informal. Any question could be brought up. No formal speeches were made. Everyone could air his views as freely as he pleased. To show the nature of the councils we give herewith the list of topics suggested for discussion in the notices sent out from the department:
Amendments to the school law.
Relation of district board to school.
District libraries. These "councils” have provedl very helpful indeed to the State superintendent in making him conversant with public sentiment concerning school matters as viewed by all the factors that are active in the admivistration of school affairs. At every conncil there wero representatives from school boards, patrons, teachers, examinors, and commissioners.
Free text-books.—The system of free text-books which provides for the ownership of the books by the district and loaning them to pupils has been tried by some of our cities and a few of our rural districts for several years. In journeying about the State we have taken especial pains to inquire how satisfactory the system proves to be, and almost without exception it is most unanimously commended by both city and country districts. The cities of the State which have adopted the system are Detroit, Grand Rapids, Saginaw East Side, and Bay City. Of these cities East Saginaw has tried the system for the past nine years. None but landatory reports come from officers and teachers concerning the workings of the plan. We give herewith a table showing the average cost per capita for text-books during the past nine years in Saginaw East Side:
This should enconrage other cities and villages to try the experiment. The rural teachers and school officers of the districts where the plan has been tried say that the books are kept better than when owned by the individuals, the cost is reduced, uniformity secured, and time saved, because pupils are always provided with books on the first day of the term instead of being obliged to "wait until pa goes to town," till he forgets to get the books once or twice, and then buys the wrong book. The expense upon the whole district is insignificant, and the advantages are so apparent that it would seem advisable for every district to adopt the plan. The districts now working under the system are mostly in the northern part of the State.
Libraries.—The most important factor in a good school, next to the teacher, is a good school library. If my child could bave but one, either a college education or a taste for good literature with ability to read it, I would without hesitation choose the latter. Fortunately we are not obliged to make this choice. A taste for good reading, and a generous education are both within the reach of every child in Michigan. In many of our cities by means of the philanthropic gifts of wealthy men, or the far-sighted acts of school authorities, fully equipped libraries are established and made accessible to all the people. In nearly all our cities, and in many villages, there have been established what are known as working school libraries-selection of books adapted to the different grades of schools, and more especially designed to aid in the teaching of literature, history, geography, and science. These books are kept by the teacher of each grade, and are made very accessible to the pupils of the school. - Further than this, courses of reading have been mapped out for the pupils, and the teachers have sought to lead pupils to read these books, and converse with the teacher on the topics read. In this way a taste for reading has been formed in many instances, and a better spirit of study has been the direct result of this reading. Besides this, the parents of these pupils have oftentimes become interested in reading, and the pupils have been encouraged to start a little library of their own. Who can estimate the value of such beginnings ? Parents will find that the question of keeping the boy at home evenings is very largely solved when the same boy sba
become interested in the reading of good books. Wo are the heirs of all the ages in literature as well as in the more material things of which we boast. The publication of inexpensive editions of our classics has aided very materially in this spread of general intelligence and love for reading.
School architecture-Miscellaneous suggestions.-We give herewith some miscellaneous suggestions which should be carefully considered by those about to build schoolhouses.
1. The window-lighting surface should equal one-fifth of the floor surface.
2. No pupil should sit farther from the window than two and one-half times the distance from the floor to the top of the window.
3. The window should extend to the ceiling, only leaving enough room for the casing between the opening and the ceiling.
4. The windows should be grouped. 5. Light is better from both sides than from one side and the back. The light at the back, unless high, will cast the pupil's shadow on his work.
6. There should be no windows for pupils to face.
7. Light from one side should be from the left, so as not to throw the shadow of the pupil's hand upon his work.
8. The windows should be provided with green shades; yellow is not as good for 9. The blackboards should not have a glossy surface.
10. If windows are grouped as they should be, and as they are in the accompanying sketches, no black boards come between windows to try the eyes of the pupils.
Heating and rentilating.–1. A wood furnace is the cheapest and best means of heating small sehoolhouses where wood is abundant. The furnace heats and ventilates and will burn long wood, knots, branches, etc., that can not be used in a stove.
2. A jacketed stove is the next best heater and ventilator. A round, tall stove should be incased by a sheet-iron jacket, the jacket being placed 4 or 6 inches from the stove. The jacket should reach within 2 inches of the floor, and extend to top of stove. Air conductors 6 by 12 inches should lead from the wall on two opposite sides of the schoolhonse under the tloor, and open into a register immediately under the stove. This furnishes fresh air. Dampers can be placed in these ducts to regulate the amount of fresh air. A good stove and jacket can be bought for $25 or $10.
3. The chimney should extend to the ground and contain a flue 2 feet square, with either a brick partition dividing it into two parts or an 8-inch chimney tile for sinoke flue. This smoke flue warms the shaft, creates a current upward, and thus the impure air of the room may be drawn off.
4. Flues built into walls without provision for warming them are merely monuments to fools.
5. Place a large register in the room at base of chimney, and also one in the chimney near the ceiling. Let both be provided with valves with which to close them when necessary.
6. Place a ventilator in ceiling of room near the center, opening into the attic. 7. Hang windows with cords and weights if possible, or at least make them easy of movement, and supplied with easy catches at lists of short intervals. Place a 5-inch board under lower sash of window, just as long as window is wide. This will create a space between upper and lower sash, through which the air can come in without direct drast on pupils.
8. Occasionally open doors and windows, and let the air change while pupils are marching or exercising.
Miscellaneou8.-1. Wardrobes for country schools are better made of wainscoting 6 or 8 feet high, at both sides of entrance door, in the school room, Those old entries are great breeders of disorder.
2. The girls and boys slionld have separate wardrobes. 3. The teacher's desk should be in the opposite end of the room from the entrance. 4. The end of the room opposite the entrance should have no windows.
5. The blackboard should extend across the end of the room back of the teacher's desk and down each side to the windows. It will do no harm to run the blackboard the length of both sides as well as one end.
6. If necessary, stand over the builder with a club to make him put the blackboards low enough for the little people. The side boards should be within 2 feet of tho floor and made 4 feet wide. The end board should be 6 feet wide.
8. The floor should be of narrow and well-seasoned maple. Do not put in a soft wood floor.
8. Provide a neat wood box if no fuel room is given. 9. Provide at least one extra chair for stray visitors.
10. There should be an average of 16 square feet of floor space to each pupil. A little increase in the dimensions of tho building does not add materially to the expense, but adds much to health and comfort of pupils.