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demands progress and development. To accomplish the proper results will require zeal, energy, and constant labor of every school officer. Means and agencies must be invented or discovered or formulated through which to reach the masses of the people, hence, constant watchfulness, study, and labor is necessary.”
REPORT OF THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION ON THE CONDITION OF THE SCHOOLS
OF NEW HAVEX COUNTY.
[The following report calls attention to some of the results of an investigation into the true condition of the schools of New Haven County, Conn This report may be considered as a noteworthy document. The investigation was of the most searching, methodical, and thorough character, the methods of proceduro admirable, and the results calenlateıl to put the public on their guard against reposing too great confidence in the conduct of the schools. The facts disclosed are of value in bringing to notice the ineffectiveness of the instruction in many schools, and the causes of the same, while the methods by which more satisfactory results are to be obtained are indicated. The detailed record of the investigation, with numerous facsimiles of examination papers, is contained in the 1893 report of Hon. C. D. Hine, secretary of the board.]
The first legal duty of this board is to “ ascertain and keep informed as to the condition and progress of the public schools in the State;" its second and correlated duty is to “ apprise the general assembly of the true condition, progress, and needs of public education."
It is the obvious intention of these provisions of law to charge the board with constant oversight of the working of the common school system, in order that they, and through them the legislature and the people of the State, may know whether said system is producing the results for which it is maintained. It is not the business of the board to make out a case for the common school system, neither should we be justified in maintaining silence concerning faulty buildings or bad instruction. If it was proclaimed that everything is hopeful and prosperous, without a close examination of the facte, a delusion might be prolonged as to the real character of the schools, from which the children would be the sufferers.
It would be pleasant to dwell upon the excellent schools here and there, whose merits are great and obvious. In these proficiency is attained in the common branches, and what is infinitely more important and satisfactory, the intellectual life of the children is stimulateil. But it is those which do not reach a high standard of merit to which attention is above all demanded.
In executing the duties laid upon them by the provisions of law above quoted, the board has caused a thorough investigation to be made of the schools of New Haven Couty. The results of this investigation are shown in detail in the report of the secretary. Only the most important general results are here indicated.
I. Iu too many schools, sometimes in all the schools in a toun, children at 12 and over do not know more than children at 8 can easily know. The result in one town having six schools was as follows: (1) There were 37 children over 10 years of age; the average age of these
children was over 12. All had attended public school more than six
201 (8) Nineteen did not multiply correctly 604 X 29. (9) Fifteen did not divide correctly 546 lvy 3. (10) Nineteen did not work correctly the following example: It is now ten
minutes after 10, what time was it five minutes ago? (11) A larger number dil not work correctly the following example: A school
room is 0 yards and 2 feet long. How many feet long is it? (12) A still larger pumber did not work the following example: A man nses
124 envelopes in a month. How many will ho use in six months ?
In both oral and written work there was practically no time limit and the children could use such helps in counting as they had at hand. They were asked to write at dictation a few sentences, with the following result:
(1) Thirty did not begin their sentences with capital letters.
(7) Thirty-seven did not use quotation marks. Spelling had been taught from a spelling book in which the children were learning words of three to five syllables.
The following ten words were given out to each of the, 37 children. Of the 370 words, 248 were spelled incorrectly. busy comb eyes goes
such They had studied spelling, but could not spell in the only place where spelling is useful-on paper.
Not more than five papers exhibited penmanship which was tolerable. These children had learned their letters and a few words, but could not read. They had been allowed to use one book in a year as a reading book. The younger children could repeat from memory the words of the reading book if it were opened and they were started. They had not gained the ability to read intelligently any book suited to their capacity. The school furnished them no opportunity nor incentive to read.
They had studied arithmetic and could not manage the simplest operations in arithmetic.
They had studied grammar and could not write a single sentence correctly. Not one of the papers in this town showed acquaintance with “the art of speaking and writing the English language correctly.'
In the six schools in this town there was not a single book, map, or globe, and not more than 60 square feet of blackboard.
If this were a single or an exceptional case it might be attributed to peculiar circumstances and difficulties. The sole cause here and elsewhere is :
These children have not been well taught.
Has the money of the town been well erpended that has produced no greater result than this? The loss of money is quite insigniticant in comparison with the loss of time to which these children have been subjected. Six years of their lives have been elaborately thrown away. The school system in operation for six years has turned out children at 12 whose education is not equal to what an ordinary child can acquire at 8.
The misfortune can not be fully estimated until we realize what might have been accomplished in these active years.
In order to show what may be done we give the following case:
In another school the average age is 8 years and 7 months, and most of the children have been in school two years; a few two years and a half.
In one year the children have read the following books in school: Pratts' U. S. History, No. 1.
Irving: Eggleston's History.
Sketch Book; History of New York. Greek Heroes.
Kingsley: Fables and Folk Stories.
Greek Heroes; Water Babies. Fairy Tales.
Hawthorne: Little Folks of Other Lands.
Wonder Book; Tanglewood Tales. Seaside anıl Wayside, No. 1.
Lowell: Selections from:
Vision of Sir Launfal. Pilgrims and Puritans.
Longfellow : Grandfather Stories.
Hiawatha. Stories of Heroic Deeds.
Mrs. Burnett: Normal Readers, III and IV.
Little Lord Fauntleroy; Little St. Shaler's Geology.
Elizabeth ; Editha's Burglar.
Seaside and Wayside, No. 2.
Snow Bound; Barefoot Boy; Nan
hanght, the Deacon; In School
The following was their work in arithmetic:
Numbers developed from 45 to 114; multiplication; division; problems combining first four processes, in Popular Educator Arithmetic and Peck's New Arithmetic; lincar measure; dry measure; Jiquid measure; part of square measure; objective work, oral drill and problems with 1, 1, $; !, !,1, 1, 12; first case in percentage.
The same test which was given to the thirty-seven children above was given to this school, numbering forty, except that they were not allowed in the oral work any time to count.
(!) All added correctly 9 + 5; 17 + 9; 38 + 9.
(5) All added correctly b ++; } +$. These children looked with contempt at the example, “ It is now ten minutes after 10, what time was it five minutes ago?” In English tho following was the result:
(1) All began sentences with capital letters.
7) Ten did not use the quotation marks correctly. The result in this case is due to good teaching,
The contrast is between children at 1.. who hare not gained the elements of a common school education and children who at 8 years and 7 months have secured this education.
In this connection it is important to consider those children who from one cause and another do not remain in school until they are 12 or 14. Under this dawdling system most do not get further than the primary school. Last year in one town 581 entered the primary schools. In the grammar schools, representing the eighth year, there were 98. The usual number that gratluated from the high school was 20. Five hundred and eighty-four went in at the bottom and 20 came out at the top. Barely 100 at the age of 12 to 15 have secured a common school education; others have fallen by the way, having attained a part only of what has been outlined above as clearly possible. It is an unredeemed hardship to many children to remain in school unless the schools are doing the most and best for them. It is a crying injustice to waste the time of any child.
Thie question whether children as a result of instruction in schools read and desire to read was made the subject of particular inquiry. We tind
(1) Many children of 12 can not read any ordinary book or paper intelligently. (2) In most schools they are not allowed to read more than a tow paragraphs
which are set for a reading lesson. (3) They are not encourageil anal incited to read at home or in school upon sub
jects which they aro studying or are interested in. (1) In very few cases they are directed in their rearling. The subjects which
they study are presented to them only in text-books; this is true in geog
raplıy and history. (5) As a result the children could not name any books which they had read,
and inquiry did not elicit the fact that they had read many. (6) Few schools bail libraries to which children had access, and in few towns
were the public libraries open to children. This replorable result is not due to inability of children, but to radically defective teaching. The methods of teaching can not secure the most and best education in a reasonable time.
Ono book is prescribeıl for the reading of a year, and the class read this book over and over again and they read no other. They can recite this book fluently, and they can read no other book iluently. Often when the book is opened, a picture or a word suggests the text, which can be recited as well without the book as with it. If an other book be opened to the child, he looks at it as a stranger and the teacher considers such a test an imposition and a reilection on her teaching. The result, so sad and harmful, is that for a whole year the reading of the child has been narrowed and impoverished, and the delusion is that a child is learning to read.
When we think how noble and admirable a thing real literature is, it is provoking to know that one book, sometimes containing rublish, is, with the sanction of school officers, crammed into children as their only reading.
Every known method of teaching reading is permitteil, the good and the bad are open, and the choice is left to the untrained and inexperienced. Can it be wondered at that 135 of the teachers in New Haven County still well upon the letters in the vain belief that the naming of the letters is learning to read?
They teach as they were taught.
In reading should be found the crown and reward of the intellectual influences which the schools call into activity. If children have been taught to see and to hear, to experiment, and to express their ideas, the reading of the lowest classes is a test of intelligence, and the reading of the highest a test of training. There is not monotonous reading; tho tono and quality are regulated by the children's ideas. Indistinct ntteranco is banisbed because the chilren havo something to say. Reading then displays the play of intelligence which we enjoy, and which lights up a school.
But consider for a moment the chaff which the schools often serve up to these intelligent human beings-stuff
' which would not be offered to children in their home reading, nor anywhere except in school. The system is based upon the supposition that children are not of full size physically, and therefore must be treated to small words without meaning mentally.
These text-books are not merely a means of misleading teachers, but they are a means of paralyzing the brains of children. Note the disinal contents of books given to children for their early reading. To show what children are compelleil to do in contrast with what they are able to do, we give below specimens of the actual reading in two schools where the children are on an equality in years, the average being about 7.
READING IN S('11OOL A.
f-an. c-an. at. h-at. c-at. r-at. Fox. A fox. A bad fox. Hen. A hen. A large lien. Pig. A pig. The fat pig. Now, Tom, let us look at! See the fat cat.
See this cat and this man. the kits.
I see the fat cat.
The man has a fan in his They liave milk in a can. See the red hen.
hand. They will lap it up.
I see the red hen. Ilis hat is on the mat. Nell fed her kits and chicks.
The cat is on the mat, too. Tom fed the pigs.
READING IN SCHOOL B,
Henry went to school when he was only It travels a long way to get here. 3 years old.
It travels with the light millions of miles. There was no nice kindergarten like ours. Some heat comes from the fires that we A coloredi man worked for Mr. Longiellow. make, Sometimes the colored mau carried Henry Heat is often made without any light. to school on horseback.
This is the case with the heat of our When Henry was 6 years old the teacher bodies.
said, “Master Longfellow is one of the Our bodies are not maie warm by fire or best boys we have in school.”
clothing: When Henry was 12 years old lie wrote They keep themselves warm. 8010 Verses.
The fires and clothing are to keep the These verses were his first poem.
heat from flying off too fast.
Heat is also made by rubbing.
Rub your hands together swiftly.
See how much warmer they grow. A cube has faces.
Now rub two smooth sticks together. It has six faces. The faces are square.
See how warm they become.
The Indians used to kindle their fires in Here is one face of the cube. A cube has twelve edges and eight corners. The edges are straight.
They rubbed two sticks together till they
burned. Some boxes are like cubes.
Before matches were made it was not We had a story about Pandora's box. Here is a picture of her box.
easy to get a light.
A flint was struck upon a piece of steel. Cylinder.
In this way a spark was mado.
The spark would set fire to the wood. The cylinder has three faces:
So you see heat is sometimes made by One-half as many as the cube.
striking two hard things together. Two of the faces are plain. One face is curved.
A piece of lime was put into water.
The water was cold.
Soon it became very hot.
The lime and the water had uited.
Heat is made when lime and water unite. Most of the heat in the world comes from When two things unite in this way, leat the sun.
is always made.
A great deal of heat is made inside the Sometimes the people are buried in the earth.
ruins. The inside of this big ball is like a Such skakings of the ground are called furnace.
earthquakes. Sometimes the fire comes out.
This heat inside the earth is very strong. It comes out through the volcanoes. It can do a great deal. Volcanoes send out fire, ashes, and lava. There is really no such thing as cold. Lava is melted rock.
When we say a thing is cold we mean Hot springs are found in many countries. there is little heat in it. The hot water rises from the inside of We do not know whether all the heat can the earth.
get out of anything. Sometimes the ground trembles.
There is a little heat even in ice, Houses and trees are thrown down.
The following is a list of books found in one good school library. The average age of children in the school was 8.1 years : American Revolution. Fiske.
War of Independence. Fiske. Our New Arithmetic. Wm. M. Peck. Normal Course in Reading. 4th book, (10 copies.)
(10 copies.) Stories of Ainerican History. Dodge. Through a Looking Glass. , (10 copies.) American History Stories. (10 copies.) Stories of Heroic Deeds. Johonnot. (10 Pilgrims and Puritans. Moore.
(10 copies.) copies.)
Little Red Riding Hood. (10 copies.) From Colony to Commonwealth.
Natural Science for Young People.
The Middle Kingdom.
Cyclopedia of Common Things.
Cyclopedia of Persons and Places. The children were able to use the dictionary, consulted the cyclopedias, and were reading the books intelligently.
Few teachers erer learn to teach penmanship; they lean upon the copy book. These books pretend to be graded for different stages of progress. The children copy the letters at the top of the page a few minutes each day. The last line is often less correctly drawn than the first, because it is an inch or two farther removed from the copy. Yet to ask children to write outside of the copy book is often called unfair.
Can it be said that permitting the children to make the letters or words in one or even live writing books is teaching penmanship? Should a person who can not teach penmanship be given a certificate of qualification: The record shows that more than half of these teachers do not claim to be able to teach penmanship.
Consider the instruction in arithmetic, the so-called "practical" branch. The best instruction in arithmetic does not regard addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division as four processes graduated from the lowest to the highest, and to be learned successively; it assumes that the true progress is from small numbers to large, and from easy processes to more difficult oues. Hence, the beginner adds, subtracts, multiplies, and divides all the numbers in succession. He ascertains the parts of each number, including its fractional parts. Ho then applies the number to common things, like time, and measurements of every kind. Ho learns to perform different arithmetical processes and explains what is within the limit of numbers he las gained.
lle proceeds in this way from one number to another. Large numbers and all extensive notation are reserveil until later, or entirely discarded. By thus knowing simple and manageable numbers, and by infinitely varying the exercises upon them, he obtains a mastery of cominon and useful processes. Ho gains genuine preparation for dealing with larger numbers if he ever needs them. Ile approaches problems which are not obscured by large figures. The method is a workable and rational one.
The papers of all children under 10 were rejected in making the summary, and the result of the test shows what children of 12 have learned in the public schools. In giving the oral questions, the children were allowed reasonable time and all reasonablo helps. In the written work and problems they were allowed all the time they desired.
It should be noted that these are the elementary, the very simplest processes, perfectly casy to children of 6 or 7, as can be readily shown. They onght to have been acquired in the first two years of school life.