Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

284

MISSOURI

Missouri was first settled in 1763 and admitted into the Union in 1820, having an area of 67,380 square miles, and a population in 1820 of 66,586 (10,222 slaves), which had increased in 1870 to 1,721,295 (118,071 colored), with a valuation of taxable property of $556,129,969.

The constitution of 1820 provides for the security of school lands (section 16 in each township, or 1,199,139 acres, and 36 sections, or 46,080 acres, for a university), and enjoivs “the establishment of one or more schools in each township, as soon as practicable and necessary, where the poor shall be taught, gratis.' But little progress was made outside of St. Louis until after the constitution was revised in 1865.

In St. Louis, under the Territorial legislature, a Board of Trustees for schools in the town of St. Louis,' was organized in 1817; but this Board did little more than legally assert the claims of the city to certain out-lots, which were more vigorously prosecuted by the new Board constituted in 1833, when these claims were converted into a fund which already amounts to over $1,000,000, and yielded in 1871 an income of $53,000. The first school was opened in 1838, and the first building was erected in 1842 at a cost of $10,000; and in 1871 the buildings owned by the city and occupied by the public schools were valued at $2,000,000, the schools having increased from two in 1841, with 350 pupils, to sixty eight in 1871, with an enrolled attendance of 31,221 pupils, under 559 teachers, and maintained at a cost of $723,362. The schools consist of one Normal School for female teachers; one High School for boys and giris; one intermediate school for boys and girls; twenty seven district schools in which pupils are classified according to age and attainments in the primary and grammar divisions; six separate schools for colored scholars; sixteen evening schools culminating in a higher industrial school; and a public school library of 10,000 volumes.

The first general law was passed in 1820, but repealed in 1825 by an act 'for establishing and governing common schools' through commissioners of the school land in each township, appointed by the county commissioner and trustees in each district, which shall be laid out and constituted by the same county officers. Under this act, in a few townships, schools were opened, but nothing effectual was done until 1837, when a State fund was instituted out of the proceeds of the saline lands and the State's proportion of the

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

United States surplus revenue. This fund has increased to $2,253,000 in 1872.

In 1853, the office of Superintendent, which had been associated with that of Secretary of State, was made independent and elective by the people, and commissioners were appointed for each county. Under this new act the schools were multiplied, but the system did not attain any efficiency until the revision of the constitution, and the school law in pursuance thereof, in 1865. By the constitution of that year the Legislature must maintain common schools for the gratuitous instruction of all persons between the ages of 5 and 21 years, and establish separate schools for children of African descent.' Their supervision is vested in a Board of Education, of which Board the Superintendent is made President.'

No township can receive any portion of the public fund unless a free school shall have been kept therein for not less than three months during the year for which the distribution is made ; and every child of sufficient mental and physical ability can be required to attend the public schools between the ages of 5 and 18.for a term equivalent to sixteen months, unless educated by other means.' "To supply any deficiency in the public school fund to sustain a free school, at least four months in every year, a property tax may be levied in each county, township, or school district, as the General Assembly shall provide. In the distribution of the State fund, any inequality in the county, town, or city local funds may be corrected.'

Under the operation of the law of 1865, the schools have increased from 4,840 to 7,547; the teachers from 6,262 to 8,862, and children in attendance from 169,270 to 389,956. But with this increase there is yet a great work to be done in Missouri. According to the census of 1870, out of 577,803 between the ages of 5 and 18 years, only 324,348 attended any school in the year preceding; and there were 146,771 persons over 10 years of age who could not read, and 222,411 (206,827 natives and over 130,000 whites) who could not write.

The State Auditor's report for 1872 gives a few items of disbursements for educational purposes: Superintendent, assistant, and contingent expenses, $6,348; blind asylum, $27,500 ; deaf mute asylum, $29,500; State school moneys paid to the counties, $355,427; Normal Schools (Teachers' Institutes, &c.), $17,000; Agricultural College, $8,500; township funds (16th section), $2,271,582; seminary fund (university sections), $108,700; Congressional Agricultural College grant, 330,000 acres, with 640 acres given by Boone County.

NEBRASKA.

Nebraska was organized as a Territory in 1854, and admitted as a State in 1867, with an area of 75,995 square miles, and a population in 1870 of 122,993, and taxable property of $56,584,616. The constitution of 1867 provides that all educational funds accruing out of the sale of all lands or other property granted or intrusted to the State for educational and religious purposes, shall forever be preserved inviolate and undiminished, and the income thereof shall be applied to the specific objects of the original grants or appropriations, and no religious sect or sects shall ever have

any exclusive right or control of any part of the school funds of the State.' The legislature must secure a thorough and efficient system of common schools throughout the State.

The school lands were estimated by a committee of the constitutional convention to exceed 3,000,000 acres, which, if sold at the minimum rate recommended, would give a permaneut 'fund, estimated by the same committee at $15,000,000.

The system now in operation under the school law of 1866 is administered (1,) by a State Superintendent; (2) 40 County Superintendents, one for each county, elected by the people, subject to the rules and instructions of the State Superintendent; (3) trustces for the several districts. Teachers are examined by the County Examiners, and receive three grades of certificates running for different periods of time, according to their qualifications. The law requires a county Institute under the County Superintendent, and one for a wider territory by the State Superintendent.

In 1870, there were 1,032 organized school districts, with 41,063 children between the ages of 5 and 21 years, of whom 23,158 attended school under 1,080 teachers, whose wages amounted to $145,975. The cost of school-houses and value of school lots is returned at $445,538, and the total expenditure for all purposes for the year, was $363,524,

NEVADA.

Nevada was organized as a Territory in 1861, and admitted as a State in 1864, with an area of 81,539 square miles, and a population in 1863 of 43,000, which in 1870 as given by the census, stood at 42,491, with taxable property valued at $25,740,973.

The constitution of 1864 enjoins the legislature to encourage, by all suitable means, the promotion of intellectual, literary, scientific, mining, mechanical, agricultural, and moral improvements; provide for the election of a superintendent of public instruction, and the establishment of a uniform system of common schools, by which

a school shall be established in each school district for at least six months in each year; and any school district neglecting to establish and maintain such school, or which shall allow instruction of a sectarian character therein, shall be deprived of its portion of the interests of the public school fund during such neglect or infraction, The legislature is anthorized to pass such laws as shall secure a general attendance of the children at school. The 16th and 36th sections in every township, the 30,000 acres for each senator and representative in Congress by act of 1862, the 500,000 acres granted to new States in 1841, all escheats and fines for penal offenses, shall be held and used for educational purposes, the interest thereof only to be applied as directed in the laws donating the same. • The legislature shall provide for a State university, which shall embrace departments of agriculture, mechanic arts and mining, and is authorized to establish normal schools and schools of different grades, from the primary school to the university, ‘in which no sectarian instruction shall be imparted or tolerated.' A special tax of one half of one mill on the dollar of all taxable property, inust be provided for the maintenance of the university and common schools. The governor, Secretary of State, and Superintendent are a board to manage the university funds and affairs.

The school law of 1865, and amended in 1867, makes it the duty of the State Superintendent to convene an institute of teachers annually, and visit each county for the purpose of addressing public asseinblies on subjects pertaining to common schools, and consulting county and other school officers. In 1870 there were 2,883 pupils out of 3,952 children between the ages of 6 and 18 years, under 53 teachers; and 727 persons over 10 years

of

age not read, and 872 who can not write.

who can

NEW HAMPSHIRE.

By the first national census in 1790, New Hampshire had a population of 141,899, which had increased in 1870 to 318,300, on an area of 8,280 square miles, and with taxable property to the value of 149,065,290.

The first settlements within the present limits of New Ilampshire were made from Massachusetts at Dover and Portsmouth in 1623, and down to 1680 all the settlements were treated as belonging to the connty of Norfolk; and for brief periods afterwards it was united to Massachusetts, and the school policy of that colony prevailed generally in its legislation as an independent province. In the first constitution of New Hampshire, adopted in 1784, the language introduced by John Adams into the second section of

REESE LE

OF THE

UNII..

CALIFORNIA

the article on education in the constitution of Massachusetts, relating to the encouragement of literature, the sciences, and seminaries of learning, was followed literally.

In 1789, a general school law was passed, repealing all former acts on the subject, and providing: (1) That the selectmen of the several towns and parishes shall assess, annually, the inhabitants of the same according to their polls and rateable estate, in a sum to be computed at the rate of five pounds for every twenty shillings of their proportion for public taxes for the time being, 'to be applied to the sole purpose of keeping an English grammar school or schools for teaching realling and writing and arithmetic within the towns and parishes for which the same shall be assessed; except such town be a shire or half-shire town, in which case, the school by them kept shall be a grammar school for the purpose of teaching the Latin and Greek languages, as well as reading, writing, and arithmetic aforesaid ; and in failure to assess, collect and apply this tax in the manner set forth, the selectmien must pay out of their individual estates, for the benefit of the town schools, a sum equal to that in which they may be found delinquent,' on the requisition of the town clerk, whose duty it is made to look after this matter. (2)

No person shall be deemed qualified to keep a town public school, unless he shall produce a certificate from some able and reputable schoolmaster and learned minister, or preceptor of some academy, or college president, that be is qualified to keep such school.'

These simple and salutary provisions, coupled with another dating back to 1691, empowering the towns to build suitable school-houses by tax on the rateable estates of the inhabitants, rigidly enforced would have kept up a system of public instruction on a uniform basis over the state, when, unfortunately, in 1805 the towns were authorized to divide their territory into districts; and school districts thus constituted were authorized to provide school accommodation, appoint a local committee, and in general, to manage the public school in their own way. The lack of intelligent, vigilant, and responsible town inspection over the district schools in which the local management was left to themselves, and the establishment of academies in the large centers of population and business, which met the wants of the educated, were followed with the same real or relative deterioration which characterized the common schools of New England, generally.

The subject of school improvement attracted attention as early as 1830, in the lyceum movement conducted by Josiah Holbrook, and was continued by county common school conventions and

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »