Imágenes de páginas

position what it ought to be. The place is not a sinecure. It may be desirable to increase the principal's pay, that when the right persons have been found they may more easily be induced to stay.

kindergartens. There can be no doubt that a relatively small annual expenditure for kindergartens would give rich returns to the school and to the community. It is not difficult for the teachers of experienco to select from the children entering the first grades those who have had training in the kindergarten. They learn enough more rapidly and enough moro thoroughly to warrant the maintenance of this kind of school for its economic value alone. This is more evident when it is considered that the child who does not get training in the kindergarten before coming to the primary school gets, in too many instances, a training that is a hindrance to progress until it has been corrected.

Much of evil found in many persons that lasts, and whose fruitage is measured in the police court, is implanted in early life at the kindergarten age. It would be in the interest of good government anel of economy to get hold of these persons and properly care for them beforo germs of evil are planted in their susceptible young lives, which, when strength of character qevelops, make criminals of theni. No small part of the effort of the primary teachers is given to counteracting the teaching that has been dono ly the street the year or two preceding the time the child enters the school. An earlier start at this by one year or more would be an inestimalle advantage. The kindergarten offers this.

Gradation and promotion of pupils.-The gradation and promotion of children are two subjects requiring the utmost care aud the most profound consideration of those who manage school systems. It is detrimental to a pupil's interests for him to be improperly graded for any great length of time. The effect of having to work in too high a grade may be as barınful as having to work in a grade that is too low, thongh of quite a different charactor. The graded school scheme may work injury to the child if the course of instruction is inflexibly fixed by metes and bounds of text-books, as indicated by page, chapter, section, or paragraph. A graded course of instruction so outlined or determined, in the hands of a machine teacher or an inexperienced teacher not under close and correct professional guidance, will do the child harm from which he may never recover. The value of graded instruction, that is, teaching many pupils the same lesson at the same time, as compared with that of individual instruction, is receiving the attention of many earnest thinkers among those who are investigating the effects of our social institutions. The evil to which I have alluded has been pointed out by many of these inquirers, some of whom have sought a remely for it.

Among the various plans that have been offered as remedies is that of shortening the perioil of the grade; that is, making a grade a half year or a quarter of a year long and allowing talented or competent pupils to pass along rapidly, but detaining for a longer time those who are unable to do the work-a plan of gradation and promotion now in vogne in so100 of the cities of the l'nited States. The effect of this is, of course, to allvance the talented pupil along the straight line of the course more rapidly than he would be advance were the grades each a year in length, requiring him to do more waiting for the less fortunate pupil to accomplish prescribed work. The effect of the plan must be to foster and emphasize in the mind of the teacher that view or understanding of the grated course of work from which the greater portion of the poor grade teaching proceeds, namely, that the course of study contains, in its letter, all that any need learn, and only that which all must learn. This is the root of the evils of graded work, as opposed to individual work.

The evils of the plan for prevention may become more serious than the one which it is intended to prevent. These evils are threefolel:

First, the tendency otrapid promotion is to prevent, in the interest of “going up" more rapidly within prescribedl lines, a breadth of learning for which some children who are sent up in advance of their mates are capable, and to minimize the broadening which all should get before they are allowed to advance. This broader learning involves (a) the assuring or confirming part of perception and conception that is secured by testimony, testimony of merous examples or of authority, or botlı, and (b) the synthetic steps of mental acts, rounding them ont, perfecting or completing them, and applying them, as opposed to the purely analytic steps of mental acts, a most necessary part of education indeed.

Second, rapid promotion results in taking the child while he is yet young and immature, as graded courses of study are now plameil, to higher work, work suiteil only to maturer minds, minds that have proved their sense impressions and synthesized their powers and their percepts. If the advanced grades of instruction were simply for giving broader views and more numerous applications of principles learned in the grades below them, and for formulating such views and applications, rapiil advancement along the straight line of the course would be conducive to healthy mind growth; it would be strength giving in its tendency, and would secure to the pupil that possession of confidence in himself which is a result of all

correct learning. But such is not the case. The child, in passing from grade to grade, encounters at each step a new subject or a new part of a subject that is to him a new subject, which must be approached by analysis. Concepts come only by synthesis, but the child thus rapidly moved from one thing to another of greater difficulty is accumulating unrelateà percepts. Because of this,' he is given little opportunity to complete his mental acts anal make totals of them, resulting to bim on the culture side in unorganized, unrelated bits of strength, and on the acquistion siilo “patchwork" kuowledge, whose relations he has never been made to seo fully and of whose uses he is in the main ignorant. The pupil who is a:lvanced rapidly from grade to grade often meets with subjects that are too intricate for him to understand, and which he consequently learns ouly in an inprofitable, memoriter way. If didactic teaching is not done and memoriter learning not allowed he may yet be hurried from one point to another before his mind has had testimony enough to shape or give character to a sense impression and make a percept of it, and exercise giving it strength enough to hold tho percept in consciousness as a permanent acquisition. Then, too, it must be remembered sense impressions are not percepts, nor does it make percepts of them for the teacher to name them for the child and cause him to commit the names to memory. What must be the influence of this kind of training (?) on the mind of the boy, continued for a greater part of the time devoted to elementary and secondary education? It is not strange that pupils thus taught disappoint their friends and employers when tested in practical life. It is not strange, perhaps, thongh it ought to be, that a pupil thus taught can get into college, and while there be one of the bright lights of his class, and graduate from it an honor man."

Third, rapidly hurrying part of the class over a course of studły does great injustire in many instances to those who are left behind. The totality of the mind of one boy may be as great or even greater than that of another, yet the former may appear to the unskilled teacher much duller and less talented than the latter, because he gets percepts less easily, which power only is considered by the teacher in rating the two boys. But the slowness with which he gets percepts is not proof that he is less talented than the other. His mind may require more testimony before a percept becomes, and yet when it is fixed he may have natural aptness in synthesizing or applying percepts, or both, of which his apparently moro fortunate inate may have little. Tho ono boy is only apparently “bright" and tho other is only apparently “dull," and that to a teacher incompetent to judge of mind aggregations. The kind of teaching that rapid promotion almost inovitably induces prevents the teacher from striking a balance and knowing the working value of a child's mind. In a majority of cases gives no opportunity to test the minds of the class, as simple justice demands they should be tested before the serious distinctions are made that are shown by the promotion of some and tho detention of others. The stronger person, as shown by an aggregate of mental endowments, is often found at the foot of the class, and is therefore left behind when promotions are made.


(From the report of State Supt. Ed. Porter Thompsoa for 1892-93.)

Some leading facts.— There are at present in Kentucky between 8,000 and 9,000 public schools, under the supervision of city and county superintendents.

The teachers employed in these schools number approximately 9, 100. The number of white teachers in the counties receiving first-class certiticates for the year ended June 30, 1893, was approximately 13 per cent, as compared with 23 per cent for that ended June 30, 1891, and this notwithstanding the fact that the examinations have been gradually growing more difficult.

The average annual State fund (disburseilin cities and counties for the two years ended June 30, 1891, was $1,275,181.78; contributed by local taxation for all purposes, $723,215.51. Tho average aumnal State fund for the two years ended June 30, 1893, was $1,668,308.37; contributed by local taxation for all purposes, approximately, $831,115.33. This remarkable incre:lso of State fund, moro than 30 per cent, was due in part to the fact that in 1892 the direct tax due to Kentucky by the General Government, $606,611.03, was returned, and by constitutional provision was made part of the school fwd, au on wlicli a semiannual interest of 6 per cent is paid yearly; in part to the fact that the new revenno law has materially increased the State's finances. It is to be remarked as a most favoralıle indication that the increase of local aid during the two years was more than 15 per cent.

Character of the system.-Apparently much, indeed most, of what the active friends of popular education have been contending for as to organization and State aid has been secured. The system is so comprehensive and symmetrical as to present the appearance of having that close organic connection of schools of all grades, from that of the ordinary district to the State college, for which the Swiss plan is so much

commended. Harmonious working is assured, and so liberal are its provisions that it not only places within the reach of every child a common school education, but contemplates graded free schools in every county, which shall afford to all within their districts higher and more thorough training, and give to those in districts not so favored this opportunity at the smallest reasonable cost-schools supplying the place of what has been much insisted on, a central high school for certain prescribed territory. In the cities excellent organizations are established and maintained-in part by the State, in part by municipal tax-that give adequate instruction, generally for ten months in the year, through all the grades from kindergarten begin. ning to preparation for college.


I. Uniform term prorided for:-Of the new conditions already established and in process of establishment may be mentioned that which insures to every district a five-months school. It puts away the injustice which has long been perpetrated upon thousands of children in the State—the curtailing of their school term one and two months because they were unfortunately residents of small districts.

II. Grading the schools.-Another, and one that will eventuate in benefits hardly to be estimated, is that mandatory provision of the act of July 6, 1893, requiring the grading of all the public schools. The State board of education, anticipating this, had formulated a systematic course of study, with suggestive daily programme of study and recitation, and a one-year register corresponding, to supply temporarily the place of the four-year grade book now required by law. With the opening of the schools for the year 1893–94, some thousands of teachers evinced their intelligence by reducing to practice the plan outlined. The schools have thus, at this writing, begun their transformation from a species of chaos to order; from haphazaıd to system; from the reign of whim (that made a hobly of grammar or arithmetic or geography, and consigned to almost utter neglect the other brauches) to methodical attention to every subject and consequent symmetrical training.

III. County teachers' association. The new school law makes this association a distinet part of the county organization, with obligations of meeting, discussions, etc.

IV. Teachers' libraries. The new law also provides that each county shall have a teachers' library. Under a system where it is the exception and not the rule for the county schools to be supplied with trained teachers, this is especially important.

1'. Kindergarten work and manual training.-A most signiticant indication is the ever-increasing attention paid to kindergarten and manual training work. In the cities these features are being introduced into the public schools, equipment provided, and very admirable work done. It is, of course, impracticable to introduce these distinctive features into the common district schools where the teaching force is limited, as a rule, to one person; but in most city schools, and in those graded free schools provided for in sections 100 to 130, school law, the plan is feasible.

Legal provisions relating to teachers.--Recent legal enactments, tending to improve teachers in their profession, may be noted as follows:

1. The payment of teachers according to grade of certificate.
2. The limiting of third-class certificates to a single issue.
3. The requirement that all schools shall be graded.

4. The increasing difficulty in the way of obtaining certificates. The law is exacting, and county boards are growing more and more disposed to rule firmly and justly.

5. The prohibiting of the more immature from obtaining certificates.
6. The county library and the reading circle.
7. The county teachers' association.

8. The issuing of State certificates and State diplomas- difficult to obtain, but good for long terms.

9. The effort to reduce institute work to uniformity and give definiteness of aim to all instructors.

10. The requirement that teachers shall so demean themselves, and interest themselves in their respective districts, as to win the good will and contidence of patrons, and thus insure at least a reasonable attendance of pupils.

11. Better wages.

Training schools.- The State does have one for the whites, and it is doing a great work. The normal department of the State college-to and from which transportation is free, where tuition is freo, the facilities excellent, the teaching force sound and strong-had during 1892-93 a large number of matriculates. This is well, but it is not sutticient. Many of our young people, whether necessarily or not, go to the training schools of other States.

The State normal school for colored persons is devoted in part to the training of teachers for the schools of that people, and has an attendance that, measured by the relative populations, exceeds that of the white training school at Lexington. The faculty having in charge its various departments will compare favorably with

any body of colored teachers in the Union; and this single institution, if somewhat enlarged and improved as to its facilities, would adequately supplement the work now being done by mission and other schools in supplying the State with well educated and trained colored teachers.

The Louisville system comprehends a splendid training school for her own teachers, well manned, well appointed, and fruitful of results.


(From the report for 1892-93 of Hon. A. D. Lefargue, State superintendent of public education.)

State text-books.-On June 10, 1893, the State board adopted, for the ensuing four years, a uniform list of school text-books, and contracts were made with the several publishing houses for furnishing the same to patrons of the public schools at advautageous prices. Later on in the year supplemental books for general reading and for high school grades were added to the regular list, with a view of giving an option in choice to localities where great expense hall been incurred in the purchase of books under former contracts. The general policy of the board was not to change books hitherto in use save in cases whero exceptional advantages as to price and quality of books were offered by publishers.

High schools established.A board of trustees appointed by the State board of education have erected at Opelousas a commodious and well-furnished building for a central high school. This school has some revenue from its own property, and also receives assistance from local corporations. Tho State board also has authorized the school board of the parish of St. Mary to establish a high school at Franklin.

Educational societies.-As one of the indications of awakening pullic sentiment in regard to educational matters within the past few years, it will not be amiss to refer to the origin and continuance of numerous societies or associations which have in view the dissemination of learning or the institution of scientific research. In many instances these societies have lecture and practical departments with their regular work, and their chief aim is educational. Combining in their membership all grades of ability, they include the skilled and amateurs alike. These associations or unions are unquestionably a means of valuable instruction in technical knowledge.

The city of New Orleans may be said to contain as many societies for the dissemination of technical knowledge or the cultivation of wsthetic tastes as perhaps any city in the nation.

In an age when all professions and trades are organized into associations and guilds, the teachers have not been idle; the public school teachers of this State have now a State organization whose entire purposes are comprehended in their Vowed objects to elevate the profession of teaching and to promote the school interests of the State.

Local taration.—The State superintendent recommends that constitutional amendment be submitted to the people " by which local corporations shall be compelled to levy the school tax mentioned in articlo 209 of the constitution. It is earnestly hoped that this needful amendment will bo made, and that all restrictions on local taxes will be so far removed as will enable the people to levy requisite taxes for the support of the schools."

The poll tax.— The revenue received from poll tax continues to increase each year, but the collections are not as completo as the school officers desire. Officers in charge of the collections are generally active in their endeavors to collect the tax, but the law does not afford sufficient opportunity for compulsory taxation. If some means by which each adult male would surely pay his poll tax could be devised, the amount accruing to the school treasury would be considerable, and would bring abont the further improvement and enlargement of the school system. Many citizens have advocate i that the payment of this tax be made a qualification for suffrage. This plan seenis generally preferred and advocated, and I am heartily in favor of it. One of the many points urged in its favor is that its enforcement will tend to interest all classes in schools, thereby inducing them to patronize an institution which they help to support.

The State normal school.-In the improvement of our school system that has taken place during the last few years, one of the most powerful factors has been the State normal school at Natchitoches. The establishment of this institution by legislative act of 1884 was the beginning of a new era in our educational development.

The graduates whom it sinds forth annually in increasing numbers are carrying their ideas of improveil methods of teaching into the remotest corners of the State. And it is a significant fact that the most rapid improvement in public schools has taken place in those localities in which normal gradnates have been employed in greatest numbers. To these valuable results of the training afforded by tho State normal school should be added the incalculable benefit that our teachers and our people generally have derived from tho teachers' institutes held throughout the

ED 93—104

State under the direction of the Stato 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 outgrownits 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 the 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 the number of inhabitants or the number of families requiring them to maintain high schools. It is not to be presumed that all these schools havo extended courses such as the first-class city high schools afford. They provide some of the studies of the secondary sehools, 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 membership is ju the numbers attending the schools as a wholo and not duo 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 the 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 papils 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 161; 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 popnlation is 2,238,943. 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, the 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 tho children, without the necessity of very serions sacrifice on their part or on the part of their parents. That all the children included in the popnlation do not receivo its benefits 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 some schools it is as four to one. This fact deserves serious consideration by parents and school authorities.

TEACHERS' WAGES. 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 $18.13 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 the wages pail 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 has been at the rate of 14.8 per cent.

So long as the present low wages are paid to the mass of female teachers, the tendency will be for snperior young women to seek employment in other occupations, especially if places can be secured in them withont long preliminary training, and give promise of greater permanence and less strain upon the nervous system. If it be said, there are always moro applicants thau places for teaching, the reply is, yos, and the more nearly the work of the teacher approaches a monial service, or receives a menial's pay, the greater will be the number of applicants.

« AnteriorContinuar »