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two or even three classes doing second-grade work in arithmetic or grammar; this will depend wholly upon the number of pupils in the school, their comparative proficiency, and the time at the teacher's disposal. So far from holding back bright pupils, the chief danger of the New Jersey system has been found to lie in its enabling them to get on too rapidly. To counteract this tendeney to complete the course too early, it has been found necessary in nearly every county to adopt a rule that no pupil shall be allowed to graduate under the age of 13 or 14 years. The point to be clearly apprehended is this: That the system of grading under discussion is not for the purpose of reducing to a minimum the number of classes, but for directing and especially for vitalizing the work of a school by the adılitional incentives that it introduces, as will be seen bereafter. In theory, at least, every pupil is working wherever he can to the best advantage; if otherwise, it is not tho result of the system, but of the natural and unavoidable couditions that limit the time of the teacher and consequently the number of recitations she is able to hear. It may be said, however, that the tendency of the system is to reduce somewhat the number of daily recitations common in ungraded schools.
(?) The second essential feature of this system is that it broadens the work of the county superintendent.-The success of a school depends largely upon the ability and intelligence of the teacher; the success of any system of grading, whether city or rural, depends also in a great measure upon the superintendent. This does not imply, however, that some systems are not better than others. Some may be run with less friction; some produce better results than others. The graded system under discussion needs just as careful supervision to make it efficient as a city system. Many, if not most, of the evils that attend the closely grated city system also appear in the ungradeıl rural schools. Thus, for instance, ** marking time” will be found in its worst form not in the city, but in the ungradell country schools.
I well remember how the district school teacher of my boyhood days always started the advanced class in arithmetic at common fractions. This enabled us to get on to percentage, say, at the end of the term. At the beginning of the next term it was the same old story—“ The first class in arithmetic will begin at common fractions.” But in rural schools this evil of “marking time” is not dne, as in the city systems, to annual or semiannual grading, but rather to no grailing. The tendency of rural schools is always toward too many classes for economy in teaching; of city systems toward too few. There is a point where the two extremes meet. I believe it is found, so far as rural schools are concerned, in the system under discussion. But no system will make careful and intelligent supervision unnecessary. One of the chief ailvantages claimed for uniform grading is that it compels and encourages the county superintendent to live in the saddle, so to speak; to visit, inspect, and supervise his schools with indefatigable industry and untiring zeal.
(5) Uniform county eraminations.-It was early found in the history of the New Jersey system that uniform examinations could be made an important and valuable accessory. These are held annually at or near the close of the school year. Tho questions are made out by the county superintenılent. The examinations are conducted in the several schools by the principal or regular class teacher, by whom also the papers are all first examined and marked. The results are tabulated and sent to the county superintendent. In most counties, also, the papers of the three upper grades are submitted to the county superintendent, who is assisted in reviewing them by a county board of examiners.
By all who object to stated examinations this feature of the New Jersey system will be regarded as a defect. We must not, however, lose sight of the fact that examinations in rural schools are less frequent than in city schools, and for that reason are looked upon with much greater favor by both pupils and teacher. Properly conducted they are not only a great incentive to pupils, but are anticipated with pleasure. The demoralizing effect of examinations as ordinarily conducted is due to the fact that a pupil's promotion depends thereon. Renove this feature, as may be done under this system, and examinations are no longer a buybear. A pupil's promotion at the end of any given period will depend, under this system, upon the conditions that prevail when new classes come to be formed. The county examinations will be only one factor of many to determine this result.
It is not improbable, however, that under certain conditions a system of county grading, just as a city system of grading, could be carried on successfully without examinations. Where, for instance, principal, teacher, and pupils are doing the best they can, the spur of an examination is not necessary. But it is not true, in my opinion, that examinations are always and necessarily an ovil. They have their proper place in the school system; not their use but their abuse is to be deplored; They can be made so comprehensive as to render cramming impossible; they may be so carefully and discreetly conducted as to reduce deception and fraud to the barest niinimum.
(4) Permanent and systematic records are indispensable to this system.-One of the most common defects to bo noticed in ungrailed schools is the lack of permanent records. The frequent change of teachers in rural schools makes them especially
necessary and desirable. Without them a new teacher, usually a novice, is compelled to make a reclassification of the school. The result is a woeful loss of time, both for those who are imprudently set back in their studies and compelled for the second or third time to go over the same ground, and for those also who are quite as unfortunately pushed into water beyond their depth and left to flounder as best they may. A properly graded system will make necessary two sets of records-one, tho class records of each school, showing its peculiar classification and the proficiency of each of its pupils; the other, the county records, which certify the results of the official inspection and examinations made by its superintendent. The former will enable a new teacher to organize her school with easo and dispatch; the latter will enable her to compare lier school with others of the same class in a town or county, and will serve also as a general guide for framing a suitable programme. Promotions, as a general rule, will be made upon the local class records; the official county records will enable pupils removing to other districts in the county to be more readily classified.
(3) Certificates for cach grade and a final diploma.-Pnpils who complete any grade receive a certificate bearing the signature of the county superinten lent, district clerk, principal, or teacher. Those who complete the four grades below the high school receive a diploma; the fifth or high school grade a special diploma. I need not say that these certificates are highly prized in rural districts. To the chill who at the age of 7 or 8 years receives his first certificate it is the greatest experience of his life. Nor does the desire to gain these paper honors grow less until the age of 14 or 15, the last in the series to be secured. Some moralists will doubtless decry the practice that supplies to the children and youth motives so base. But are we not all of us chasing madly after some supposed good, as useless and ephemeral when we get it as the paper on which the child's certificato is written? It is the present or immediate and not the remote good that appeals to the child of interest. Time may come when these farmer boys will “Seek honor, e'en at the candon's month," but now the height and breadth of their ambition is a roll of parchment. Who shall say which is the more laudable ambition, this or that? But, moralizing aside, the influence of the county certificate on the rural schools is an incentive to effort which can hardly be overestimated.
(6) Recognition of diplomas by higher institutions. All gradnates of the county grade course are admitted to the State normal school and to many city high schools without a reexamination. So, also, several colleges accept these county examinations in lieu of their own in the same subjects. This is an advantage not to be lightly estimated.
Such, then, in brief, are the essential featnres of the Now Jersey system of grading rural'schools. A few words now as to the general working of that system. It was devised to correct certain evils and to secure certain definite ends. It should be judgeel, therefore, by its specitic results.
The principal evils which it aimed to reach and correct are the following:
(1) The short period of school attendance. The entire school attendance of most children in the large cities does not exceed upen the average three to four years. In rural districts pupils attend through a longer period of years, but for fewer months in a year and with frequent lapses of one or more terms. The cause of this short perioil of school attendance is not infrequently the actual neeil of the child's labor at home; but quite as often it is due to an inditiorence on the part of the pupil him. self. The value of an etlucation is not realized by him. The end is too remote. Some more immediate end, such as securing a county diploma, is a more powerful incentive. Take a single county. For instance, in Atlantic County, prior to the introiluction of a gradeil system tifteen years ago, not one person pursuel advanced studies where twenty or more are doing so now. So, also, of matriculants at the normal school and colleges; the number has increased at least twenty times in the same period.
(?) Irregularity of attendance. This is one to many causes, such as sickness, bad roads, need for pripils' work at home, ete. Experience has abundantly proved, however, that the principal cause of irregular attendance is lack of interest on the part of pupils. When deeply interested in the school nothing but absolute necessity will keep them away. The county grailing, with its system of examinations, certificates, and diplomas, furnishes the necessary incentive to keep pupils in school.
(3) Untrained and incrperienced teachers. The small salaries paid in most rural districts compel the employment of untrained and inexperienced teachers. They neeel every help that can be devised. It is impossible for the county superintendent, owing to the extent of his district, to visit and adviso with great frequency; hence, reliance must be hand upon some general directions. These are furnished by the course of study and the regulations that govern it.
(1) Frequent change of teachers. The average term of service of the country district teacher is less than two years; just time enough to undo the work of a predecessor, and not enough to establish a new régime. Hence, chaos is likely to prevail without the guidance and help afforded by some uniform system of grading. Grant that the most important need is the personal supervision of an intelligent and enthusiastic superintendent. In lieu of suclı supervision the county graded system is a necessity; with it, an additional lielp.
(5) Large number of cla88€3.-This must always be an obstacle in the way of improvement of rural schools. It is the opposite extreme to the city system, where, by reason of a large number of pupils and the employment of a greater number of teachers, advantage can be taken of the economic principle of "division of labor.” There is a compensation, however, even in a large number of classes; individual work, so rare in cities, is made obligatory. Pupils are necessarily thrown upon their own resources. Hence, the two principal evils attendant upon the city system of grauing, to wit, mechanical routine and marking time,” are less likely to arise. There is a happy mean to be found between too many classes and too few. The system of grading under discussion aims to find it.
(6) Lack of esprit de corps.--The preceding conditions that I have mentioned, tend, without some corrective, to reduce the esprit de corps of the rural schools to the lowest ebb. There is little in the ungraded school to fire the ambition or excite the love of the average boy or girl. Truc, history affores many examples of illustrious men and women who hare flourished upon such a soil. But history fails to record the achievements of that far greater number whose buds of promise never opened in that ofttimes cheerless atmosphere. Next to the intelligent, enthusiastic, skillful teacher, the system of county grading, with its awards and diplomas, will be found the inost effective stimulus to arouse and foster a love for school.
In conclusion, it may be said that the conditions prevailing in rural districts are so unlike the conditions that prevail in cities that any a priori judgment, baseil on a knowledge merely of city needs, must be carefully scrutinized. The contention of Dr. Harris, that the greatest neer of all schools, city or rura), is a frequent reclassification, in order that all pupils may at all times find their normal level in the school curriculum, is not traversed by this paper. On the contrary, this need of frequent readjustment of classes is admitted. It is claimet, however, that the New Jersey system of grading rural schools makes this freqnent reclassiticatiou possible, while attoreing certain additional advantages, such as comparative standard, proxiinate uniformity, and stimulus, so essential to intelligent organization, protitable instructiou, and etlective supervision.
Under an act of the legislatnre passed in 1881, and under another act passed in 1883, the State may appropriate, in any one year, any sim not exceerling $5,000 to introduce and to maintain manual training in any school listrict of the Sjate raising by donation or taxation an equal amount. It might naturally be expected that so liberal a State subsidy would tend to iucrease rapidly the number of manual training schools. The fact that no large and immediate increase has taken place is due to the general belief that manual training is still to some extent a matter of experiment; that its adaptation to existing courses of study is not yet complete; that it is wiser to await the outcome of its trial where already introduceil than tó undertake its introduction and maintenance without suflicient knowledge. Moreover, no effort has been inade by the State department to lasten its introcluc. tiou. On the other hand, it has been thought wiser, safer, and more economical to strengthen the existing schools by exacting better and more extended work; to carry on the necessary labor of adaptation and coorálination in a few schools only until the experimental stage is over than to encourage the broadcast introduction of a form of education the limitations and value of which have not yet been fully determined.
Attention is called to the detailed reports of the several schools which havo undertaken to carry on manual training, for an opinion of its merits and successful operation to date. To summarize briefly these reports, it may be said: (1) That without exception all the schools referred to report favorably.
(2) That so far from abridging the time devoted to this species of instruction, all, withont exception, aro disposed to extend it.
(3) That wherever tauglit by capable and competent iustructors the manual training studies are very popular with girls and boys alike.
As the result of my personal observation and experience I incline to the belief that all of the following results flow naturally from manual training when rightly tauglit:
(1) A greater interest in school, especially on the part of boys approaching the high-school age. The desire to do something with the hands, to engage in some form of labor such as they witness adults engaged in, to become men in the sense of being able to perform acts that look toward gaining a living; these and other considerations of a similar nature seem to give school lifo a more real and attractive character to boys at an age when book study is becoming irksomo.
(2) Growing out of this changed attitude toward school life and its duties there arises, by operation of the law of transference of interest, a greater liking for the ordinary literary studies of the school.
If this, indeel, were the only gain by incorporating manual training into the school curriculum it would be a sutficient consideration for the expenditure of time and money:
(3) Lastly, the training acquired by a judicious course of manual instruction in a well-ordered school and under competent instructors is, per se, of great intrinsic value.
Drawing, for instance, lies at the foundation of all the industrial arts. It is the prime study of the manual training school. Its admitted failure heretofore, in the elementary schools especially, to produce any wholesome and valuable results has been due largely to the abstract character of the instruction given. Taught in relation to and in connection with the industrial arts it becomes vivified, and attords to the pupil a sense of gratitication while giving him a valuable knowledge and power.
I am disposed to believe that carving and wood joinery are most valuable forms of manual training in the upper grades of grammer schools, first, because especially enjoyable to the pupils, and, second, because the results obtained are exact as well as obvious.
The knife and the saw, for instance, cut to an exact line. Precision as well as facility is acquired. Accuracy of eye and nicety of touch are cultivated. All these powers appeal to the self-satisfaction of the pupil; he can measure his own progress; his ideal is attainable; he knows when he reaches it.
The satisfaction of having made an original demonstration in geometry or a correct translation in Latin is by no means so intense as that of having made a wooden box with accurate measurements and perfect joints.
As a proof of this, observe the lad who on the same day has done both. Which does he exhibit to his instructor, fellow-pupils, or parents with the greatest show of delight? I grant that the demonstration in geometry exhibits a higher reach of trained faculty than is required to make a box of wood; it is not intended to disparage the demonstration; it is intended merely to «all attention to the moral and spiritual elevation or, still better, exaltation that arises from the sense of honorable achievement.
Our schools are doing their best work when arousing such laudable feelings of a higher self-appraisement. Scholarship is one of the ends of the people's schools, but not the only one; for usefulness in its highest sense, i. e., the ability to secure for one's self and for others all that life is worth living for, falls not a wbit below scholarship as an appropriato end for school instruction. The boy or girl imbued with the feeling of capacity for usefulness in the simple activities of life will become a better citizen than the boy or girl who is taught to look for honorable distinction only in the attainment of encyclopedic book knowledge. The simple arts of sewing, cooking, and other handicraft are real elements of intellectual as well as of economic education.
Indirectly upon the moral life they are no less valuable than direct formal instruction in duty to one's self and society.
It is my conviction, after much careful observation of the results obtained, that manual training is a legitimate and invaluable addition to the common school curriculum; and this on social, political, and economic grounds. The individual is made happier; society is benefited; the State is made more secure; and the wealth of all is increased by shaping to some extent the instruction of the schools along industrial lines.
The adaptation of manual training to the needs of pupils of the last year's grammar and of the high school age is well advanced. What is best for pupils of a lesser age is not so well ascertained.
It has been the policy of the department to discourage, for the time being, State appropriations to schools not having a high school department; and this for the reason that it is not clear as yet how manual training instruction of a suficiently specitic kind upon which to base an appropriation can be carrieel on in the lower grades.
Applications for manual training appropriations from several large and important cities and school districts are pending. As soon as the wisdom of its introduction into the school curriculun becomes settled in the minds of the people at large, the rapidity of increase in number of manual training schools in the State will be great. Below is given the amount of money granted by the State to the soveral schools receiving an appropriation on account of manual iraining for the year 1892–93: Atlantic County: Atlantic City.
$1,000.00 Bergen County: Carlstadt
530.00 HackensackDistrict No. 31.
800.00 District No. 32.
500.00 Camden County : Camden City
5,000.00 Cumberland County : Vineland.
1, 000.00 Essex County: Montclair..
1,500.00 Orange .
1,800.00 South Orange.
750.00 Hudson County: Town of Union
618.55 Passaic County: Passaic City
600.00 Paterson City
[From the report of State Superintendent James F. Crooker, 1894.)
TILE ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF EDUCATION.
The first duty of the State in educational matters seems to me to be to provide sound, useful instruction to all children within its borders; such instruction as will lay a firm, thorough foundation for any structure of education which time and opportunity may afterwards design.
The majority of school children, about 90 per cent, can not enjoy the advantages of advanced education at the expenso of the State, since necessity compels their parents to withdraw them from school about the time they have completed the study of the elementary branches. The elementary schools should therefore be the first and chief solicitude of the State until their needs are supplied and their efficiency in the remotest country district assured. They are conspicuously the schools of the people, the nurseries of future citizens.
I am compelled to dwell particularly on this subject, as it is a regretable fact that teachers and pupils in many instances have slıown indifference toward the study of the fundamental branches and unreflecting eagerness to reach the higher studies without due preliminary steps.
It is a serious mistake to regard elementary classes in a school as unworthy of the zealous care of any teacher and the unstinted encouragement of any school board. It is to the thousands of children whose education is necessarily limited to the elementary classes that the State must look in the near future for the mass of its citizens; not to the comparative few who are enabled by more fortunate surroundings to graduate from high schools, academies, and colleges.
To attain success in the public schools and to expend to the best advantage the liberal appropriations made by the State for education it appears to me that there is one only practical course, and that is thoroughness in every branch of instruction. The tendency in many schools is, unfortunately, to attempt too much, without a thought as to doing the most necessary part of the work well. It is chargeable to the misdirected ambition of parents as much, if not more, than to the teacher.
When the programme of studies is increased so as to produce mental congestion, the main object of public instruction is lost. To do a few things in school, and to do them well, is preferable to cramming the tender mind with odds and ends of a multitude of subjects - the merest superficial knowledge, which can never be made practical. But it is unhappily the case that parents too frequently lose sight of this vital principle of education, and are prone to insist upon their children being pushed forward into higher studies before they are well grounded in the essential branches. They take pride in repeating the names of the various studies with which their children are vainly laboring, and disregard the necessity of obtaining a thorough knowledge of the elementary branches which must bo biougut into the walks of ordinary business life.