Imágenes de páginas

of public schools has been thoroughly and completely organized, and facilities afforded to all the inhabitants of the State for a free education of their children.' When to this provision we add another clause, that the state normal school, the agricultural college, and all public schools, colleges, and universities supported in whole or in part by the public funds, shall be free and open to all the children and youth of the State, without regard to race or color,' it is pretty certain that the law of compulsory attendance is not likely to be passed in this generation, and if passed, will be inoperative.

In 1868, the educational department of the State was organized and a Superintendent appointed, but up to 1871, this oflicer could report only meagre statistical returns. In 1870, a general system was organized and appropriations and taxation made for its support -$37,500 for the university at Columbia, $10,000 for the blind and deaf mutes, $15,000 for the State orphan asylum, $150,000 for free common schools, besides $50,000 from the capitation tax. These are large amounts, and under favorable conditions as to public opinion, and a concentration of popolation in villages, great immediate results might be anticipated. The law provides for the usual county and district officers, and it remains to be seen if school habits can be fostered by their judicious action, and if time will soften the asperities engendered by civil strife and social revolution. In 1810, the national census returned 20,615 white persons over

who could not read and write; and in 1870, according to the same authority, there were 265,892 persons over 10 years of age who could not read, and 280,370 could not write, and out of a school population of 233,915 between the ages of 5 and 18, there was a school attendance of only 38,249.

In view of the early school policy of the State, Gen. Marion, just before his death in 1795, in a conversation, reported in his life by Gen. Ilorry and Rev. Mr. Weems, remarked : ‘God preserve our legislature from such penny wit and pound foolishness.' What! keep a nation in ignorance, rather than vote a little of their own money for education ! Only let politicians remember what poor Carolina has already lost through her ignorance. * * Ambitions demagogues will hereafter rise, and the people, through ignorance and love of change, will follow them. Vast armies will be formed, and bloody battles fought. And after desolating their country with all the horrors of civil war, the guilty survivors will have to bend their necks to the iron yoke of some stern usurper, and, like beasts of burden, to drag unpitied those galling chains which they have riveted upon themselves for ever.'


20 years

of age


Tennessee was originally settled in 1765 from North Carolina, of which it remained an integral portion till 1796, when it was ceded to the United States and admitted into the Union with an area of 45,600 square miles, and a population in 1790 of 35,798, which had increased in 1870 to 1,268,520 (322,338 colored), and taxable property to the value of $254,673,792.

The laws and constitution (1776) of North Carolina extended over Tennessee till 1796, and after that time the only legislation respecting schools was in 1785, to incorporate Davidson Academy at Nashville and Martin Academy in Washington county, and in 1794, Blount College at Knoxville, and Greenville College in Green county.

The constitution of 1796, as amended in 1835, enjoins on the general assembly 'to cherish literature and science,' knowledge, learning, and virtue being essential to the preservation of republican institutions,' and to preserve inviolate the funds realized out of land and other appropriations for the support of common schools.

Down to 1825, the educational legislation of the State was confined to incorporating colleges and academies; and by the act of 1817, all academies were considered as schools preparatory the introduction of students into the colleges of this state.'

In 1823, the first provision for public schools was made by devoting certain lands • to a perpetual and exclusive fund for the establishment and promotion of common schools in each and every county in the state.' In 1827, certain other sources of revenue were added, and the whole was designed to be protected by the constitutional provision of 1935, but proved ineffectual against the executive necessities in the early stages of the war of secession, at which tiine the fund had reached the sum of $1,500,000.

In 1867, a new system was inaugurated, but in the political revulsion which followed, its efficient features were stricken out, and the State is now trying to see how a vigorous administration can be established without authority in the law, or will in the hearts of the people, while the astounding fact in the census of 1870 confronts the statesmen of Tennessee that 290,549 persons over 10 years of age can not read, and 364,697 can not write.

In 1873, the legislature reconsecrated the permanent school fund (estimated to be $2,112,000) to its original purpose, and appropriated the income (at six per cent.), and the avails of a capitation tax of one dollar, and a property tax of one mill on the State valuation, to public schools. Provision is also made for a State superintendent, county superintendents, and three directors for each district.



Texas was settled in 1792, and admitted as a State in 1845, with an area of 2:37,321 square miles, and a population in 1850 of 212,592, which had increased in 1870 to 808,579 (253,475 colored), and taxable property to the value of $149,734,929.

In the constitution of 1845 it is made the duty of the legislature to make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of public schools, and as early as possible to establish a system of free schools throughout the State. It creates a school fund out of all funds, lands, and other property before set apart for the support of schools, including the alternate sections of land reserved by the State for railroad purposes, and of any other lands which may be derived from the United States government, and also empowers the legislature to levy a tax for educational purposes from year to year throughout the State, and reserves all sums arising from taxes collected froin • Africans, or persons of African descent,' for the exclusive maintenance of a system of public schools for the children of such Africans among whom public schools may be encouraged. It further authorizes the appointment of a superintendent of public instruction. But with all this wise constitutional enactment, no efficient law was put on the statute book down to 1862, when the war disorganized society still more, and the census of 1870 showed 189,423 persons over 10 years who could not read, and 221,703 who could not write. By the constitution of 1869, and the school law of April, 1871, school officers were created with all the machinery for administration ; but the great work of awakening parental interest, and creating a public opinion has not yet been attempted.

The national census of 1870 returns 248 schools of all kinds, with 707 teachers, and 23,176 pupils. Of these schools, 13 are returned as classical, of which 4 rank as colleges, with one school of law, medicine and theology, each.

There is also a university returned, with 6 teachers, and 129 students; and one school of law, medicine, and theology, each.

The first report of the State Superintendent for 1871 is devoted, mainly to an exposition of difficulties in organizing a compulsory system over a vast area, with a sparse population, and without the inheritance of good school habits. The only encouraging feature is the existence of a permanent School Fund to the value of $2,267,971, yielding $136.096 August 31, 1871. There are vast resources left in hand undisposed of, to increase this Fund, but the as yet untouched fund is the hearty good will of the people.

VERMONT. Verniont was settled in 1724, largely, from the State of Connecticut, and was admitted as one of the United States in 1791, with an area of 10,212 square miles, and a population in 1790 of 85,416, which had increased in 1871 to 330,551, and a valuation for taxable purposes of $102,548,528.

The constitution of 1793 declares that “a competent number of schools should be maintained in each town for the instruction of yonths, and that one or more grammar schools should be incorporated and supported in each county in this State.' Prior to this date, schools had been maintained in each neighborhood, and by a general law passed in 1782, provision was made for the division of towns into convenient school districts, and the appointment of trustees in each town for the general superintendence of the schools, to whom was coinmitted the power of raising one-half of the money required to build school-houses and support the schools by a tax on the grand list, and the other half, either on the list or the pupils of the schools, as the districts might order.

In 1825, the State made provision for a State School Fund, to be reserved until the capital should yield an income sufficient to keep a free common school in each district for a period of two months, but after the lapse of twenty years, the accumulations seemed so slow and the necessities of the State requiring a State House, the law was repealed, and the capital, amounting at that time to $250,000, was borrowed and converted into a granite structure; and the schools were kept open quite as long each year in the old ways, which according to the census of 1840 had reduced the amount of illiterary relatively below that of every State but one in the Union. In 1837, the share of the United States surplus revenue deposited with Vermont was distributed among the several towns, and the annual interest ($40,000) to be divided in the same manner as a three per cent. assessment on the grand list for the support of schools in the same.

In 1845, a State Superintendent (Gov. Eaton) was appointed, and teachers' institutes were held for the first time under his auspices, in 1846. Since 1856, State supervision has been exercised by a Board of Education, acting through a secretary; and town supervision has been administered by a single officer. In 1870, the town superintendents in each county were required to meet the secretary at such place and time (in March or April), each year, as he may designate, to agree on a uniform standard of


examination for all candidates for positions as teachers, make preliminary arraugeinents for the annual session of the institute for the county, and confer generally on the interests of education. Each town superintendeut must bold two public examinations of candidates, and the State Superintendent must do the saine, at the county institutes.

In 1866, State Normal Schools were instituted, of which there are now three, at Randulph, Johuson, and Castleton, to each of which $1,000 is appropriated. These schools are doing a good work, but they are inadequately equipped for professional schools, especially to provide teachers for the higher and the primary departments of graded city and village schools.

The report of the secretary (John M. French), for 1872, is a document of 566 pages—full and instructive as to the condition of the schools, and the difficulties of getting the old district system . on to the higher plane of a true system of graded schools. Towns are now (since 1870) authorized to abolish the district system, and place all the public schools under the management of six directors, one-third elected each year for a term of three years. This board may provide for the instruction of all the scholars of the town, in all the branches, higher as well as elementary, of a thorough education, in a series of schools, located for the convenience of families, and adapted to the different stages of advancement of groups of pupils, under teachers best qualified for each stage. Towns are also authorized to establish central schools for the advanced pupils of all the districts.

The following are among the statistical items for 1871–2 : towns and cities, 250; organized school districts, 2,160; fractional districts, 464; families, 67,162 ; families without children of school age, 46,018; children between five and twenty, 84,946; children attending common schools, 70,904 ; children attending academies, etc., 4,913; common schools, 2,503; male teachers, 671; female teachers, 3,544; teachers without experience, 861; teachers teaching in same district, 939; teachers, State Normal graduates, 377; teachers who board round, 1,313 ; school-houses, 3,399, and cstimated value of same, $1,265,387; wages and board of teachers, $397,165; amount distributed by State, $116,678; amount raised by town tax, $69,380; amount by district tax, $346,051; total, $520,000.

The national census of 1870 returned 15,185 persons over 10 years of age who could not read, and 17,706 who could not write..

« AnteriorContinuar »