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WISCONSIN STATE NORMAL SCHOOLS.

HISTORICAL.

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In 1857, an act was passed by the Legislature of Wisconsin appropriating twenty-five per cent of the income arising from swamp and overflowed lands, for Normal School purposes, and creating a Board of Regents to regulate its distribution. This Board did not consider itself authorized under that act to establish a Normal School, and the income from the first year was applied to the aid of Colleges and Academies which organized and instructed normal cl sses.

In August, 1858, Henry Barnard became Agent of the Normal Regents, and organized a system of oral and written examinations of the Normal Classes in the Colleges, Academies and High Schools of the State, as a basis of the distribution of the income of the Normal Fund, and commenced in 1859 a series of Teachers' Institutes in the different counties and of Educational addresses in the principal towns of the State. By these examinations, Institutes and professional gatherings of teachers in Town and County associations, he was able to reach in a single year, (1860) three fourths of all the teachers in the State-both those who entered on their work for the first time, as well as those more experienced. His plan of operations ir. 1861, embraced besides an Institute of four weeks at Madison as the nucleus of a Normal Department in the University, a series of special classes, at different parts of the State, viz. : for Teachers and such as proposed to teach ; 1, The ungraded District Schools; 2, Primary Schools, and home classes of little children; 3, Intermediate and Grammar Schools and the largest or central district schools ; 4, High Schools and Academies ; 5, Normal Schools and Classes; 6, Colleges and all higher institutions which have a common curriculum. He had received from the most accomplished teachers in the State such pledges of co-operation in their respective fields of labor, that he anticipated larger professional gatherings and more systematic professional instruction than had ever been given elsewhere. This plan of Institutes was to be crowned by the establishment of at least three State Normal Schools, (of which one was to be a Special School of the University at Madison,) and a training or practicing school in connection with the High School in each large city.

Connected with an account of these County Institutes, and the names, residence, previous opportunities of professional instruction, and experience in teaching of each member, Mr. Barnard projected in 1859 the publication of a series of papers, selected from the American Journal of Education, on the organization, instruction and discipline of schools. In pursuance of this plan, four volumes were issued with the title of Papers

for the Teacher, and more than one thousand copies of each were distributed among the teachers of the State. The entire series embraced twenty treatises, and would have constituted the most comprehensive Library of Education yet issued in this country.*

The Superintendent of Public Instruction, (J. L. Pickard,) in his Report for 1863, remarks: “ These Normal departments of Colleges, Academies, and High Schools, have not satisfactorily met the necessity. They are almost always subordinate departments; nor will the aid furnished warrant giving them a prominent place. Much good has been accomplished by these agencies, but they are at present inadequate to the demand. Permanent Normal Schools are needed, whose sole business shall be the training of teachers."

The Normal department in the State University was opened in 1863, and the attendance was for a time quite large.

In 1865, the Legislature passed an act to dispose of the swamp and overflowed lands, and the proceeds were appropriated to the Normal School fund. This act provides that the income of the Normal School fund shall be applied to establishing, supporting and maintaining Normal Schools under the direction and management of the Board of Regents of such schools, provided, that twenty-five per cent of said income shall be annually transferred to the school fund income, until that shall reach the sum of two hundred thousand dollars.

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These plans, as agent of the Normal Regents, as well as his larger plans as Chancellor, for the developinent of the State University, and of schools and education generally in Wiscousin, were crippled from the start by inadequate resources, (at least one half less than was promised before he accepted the responsible position, both from the University Fund, and the Normal School Fund.) and were finely relinquished in cousequence of severe illness, which was followed by a prolonged physical prostration from which he did not recover for two years. His plans for the University embraced,

1. General co-operation with the State Superintendent of Public Instruction in developing a system of elementary instruction, and in establishing in every city and large village a Public High School, open to both sexes, and with a scheme of studies equal to the most advanced school of this grade in any part of the country.

Into this class of schools were to be merged the incorporated Academies, with their endowments as far as practicable pledged to support such studies as the majority of citizens might not appreciate sufficiently to maintain by public tax-and with them was to be established a system of university scholarships. These Public High Schools were to be developed as the natural reliance of the State University for students and into them were to be absorbed the studies then constituting the first year of a college course.

(2.) The discontinuance of the Preparatory Department, or Grammar Schools in the University, and its re-establishment as part of the City High School of Madison, as a model school of its grade, in which the classical department was to be under the care of the Chancellor.

(3) The reorganization of the University on the basis of a General Course of two years which was to be an extension of the studies of the Public High School, and in which proficiency in the English language and its literature, as well as in the German, was to count as high in the distribution of College honors, as either the Latin or Greek, and on the completion of this course (six years on the elementary course, ) the first Academic degree was to be awarded.

(4.) To the General Course was to be added Special Schools, devoted to Education, Law, Medicine, Agriculture, Mining, Engineering, Commerce, and the other industries of the State.

(5.) As the crowning feature of a State system of professional training of teachers, there was to be a Normal Department open to both sexes, in which the course of instruction should be liberal, as well as special--and embrace Ethics, Metaphysics, and logic,-physiology and hygiene, the constitution of the United States, and of Wisconsin, the law of the citizen and the man of business, the principles of public economy, and the history and priociples of Art.

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The Normal School fund amounted in 1867 to $600,000 already invested and paying seven per cent interest, and 750,000 acres of land yet to be sold and the avails added to the fund, which will thus be increased, it is supposed, to amount to a million and a half of dollars.

The Normal department of the University has been reorganized under the law of 1867, and is now practically a college course for young women. Students in this department may also attend all the University lectures, and may, in addition to the course of study prescribed for graduation, elect any study in the College of Arts and Letters.

Five Normal Schools have already been located-one at Platteville, Grant County; one at Whitewater, Walworth County; one at Oshkosh, Winnebago County; one at Sheboygan, Sheboygan County; and one at Stoughton, Dane County. These schools are under the immediate supervision of the Board of Normal School Regents appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. There is also an Examining Committee appointed annually to visit and examine the Normal Schools. Hon. John G. McMynn, in his report for 1866, says:

" The development of our Normal School system is the most difficult educational problem that presents itself for solution at the present time. To make these schools promote the interests of public education, to so conduct them as to secure for them the confidence of the people, to so manage them as to train teachers in them for the common schools, to guard against the tendency to convert them into academies or high schools, to render them so attractive and so efficient as to bring large numbers of teachers under their influence, and to carry them on with such economy as to keep their expenses within the income provided for their support, will demand the watchful care of the people, the heartiest coöperation of the Legislature, and the greatest discretion and wisdom of the Board appointed to manage them.

They may be well attended, the discipline may be excellent, and their teachers well qualified; classes may graduate with honor, and the people may cherish a just pride in the attainments of those who have pursued their course of study; in fact they may be excellent colleges, but if they are not training schools for teachers, and if every thing else be not kept subordinate to the specific object for which they were founded, the result will be disastrous, not only to these schools, but to our whole educational system. The success of Normal Schools in other States—while it has been such as to warrant a hope that the policy we have inaugurated may be successfully carried out-has not been so marked and so uniform as to assure us that we shall not encounter difficulties that prudence, forecast and energy alone will enable us to overcome.”

STATE NORMAL SCHOOL AT PLATTEVILLE. The State Normal School at Platteville was opened October 9th, 1866. It occupies, for the present, the building formerly known as the Platteville Academy, which cost about $20,000. Adjoining buildings are now in process of erection which will be ready for occupancy in 1868, and will cost $15,000 or more.

The Faculty of Instruction already appointed includes three gentlemen and two ladies. Charles H. Allen is Principal.

ADMISSION OF STUDENTS. The Board of Regents of Normal Schools has adopted the following regula. tions for the admission of students to any State Normal School:

1. Each Assembly district in the State shall be entitled to six representatives in the Normal Schools, and in case vacancies exist in the representation to which any Assembly district is entitled, such vacancies may be filled by the President and Secretary of the Board of Regents.

2. Candidates for admission shall be nominated by the County Superintendent of the county, (or if the County Superintendent has not jurisdiction, then the nomination shall be made by the City Superintendent of the city,) in which such candidates may reside, and they shall be at least sixteen years of age, of sound bodily health, and good moral character. Each person so nominated, shall receive a certificate setting forth his name, age, health and character, and a duplicate of such certificate shall be immediately sent by mail by the Superintendent to the Secretary of the Board.

3. Upon the presentation of such certificate to the Principal of the State Normal School, the candidate shall be examined under the direction of the Principal of said school, in the branches required by law for a third grade certificate, except History and Theory and Practice of Teaching, and if found qualified to enter the Normal School in respect to learning, he may be admitted, after furnishing such evidence as the said Principal may require, of good health and good moral character, and after subscribing the following declaration :

“I do hereby declare that my purpose in entering the State Normal School is to fit myself for the profession of teaching, and that it is my intention to engage in teaching in the schools of this State."

4. No person shall be entitled to a diploma, who has not been a member of the school in which such diploma is granted, at least one year, nor who is less than nineteen years of age; and a certificate of attendance may be granted by the Principal of a Normal School to any person who has been a member of such school for one term, provided, that in his judgment such certificate is deserved.

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The instruction is adaped to those who design to teach, and hence is thorough and comprehensive. The discipline is such as to secure self-control, and to promote respect for law and order. Certificates of attendance will be given to those who attend the school for at least one term, and to those who shall attend at least one year and pass an examination, a diploma will be granted. Section 13 of chapter 116 of the general Laws of 1866, provides that “ After any person has graduated at the State Normal School, and has taught a public school in this State one year, the Sperintendent of Public Instruction shall have authority to countersign the diploma of such teacher, after such examination, as to moral character, learning, and ability to teach, as to the said Superintendent may seem proper and reasonable."

Section 14 provides that “ Any person holding a diploma granted by the Board of Regents of Normal Schools, certifying that the person holding the same is a graduate of a State Normal School, and that he is qualified to teach a common school, shall, after the same has been countersigned by the Superintendent of Public Instruction, as provided in section 13 of this act, be deemed qualified, and such diploma shall be a certificate of qualification, to teach in any common school of this State, and as such shall have the full force and effect of a first grade certificate, until annulled by the Superintendent of public Instruction."

The Board is authorized by section 12 of chapter 116, to provide lectures on Chemistry, Anatomy, Physiology, Astronomy, the Mechanic Arts, Agriculture, and on any other science or branch of literature that shall be deemed proper, and it is the design to afford such facilities for acquiring knowledge as will enable those who wish to fit themselves to teach, to save both money and time by availing themselves of the advantages of a Normal School. All students will be taught how to teach, by being required to do in the experimental school, what they must afterwards do in the public school.

In professional training, lectures are given daily in some one of the following subjects, viz: proper course of study and training in public schools; methods of instruction and school government; and the students prepare essays and reviews of these lectures.

There is a Model School connected with the Normal School, in which the Normal students practice teaching during the last year of the course.

The Scholastic year is divided into three terms: the first to commence on the first Tuesday of September, and to consist of sixteen weeks; the second to commence on the Tuesday succeeding New Year's day, and to consist of fourteen weeks; and the third to consist of ten weeks and to end on the last day of June.

Students nominated by County or City Superintendents will be admitted at any time during the term.

To all persons, residents of this State, if found qualified to enter a State Normal School, tuition is free. Board may be obtained at reasonable ratesfrom $2.25 to $3.25 per week. A small charge, of from 75 cents to $1.25 per term, is made for the use of text books.

It is expected that, for the present, the Normal Schools of Wisconsin will do most of their work upon the State at large, through under-graduates. Teachers of some experience will come up and stay one, two, or three terms, to attend the lectures on teaching, and to be present at and receive the training of the classes.

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