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schools under the control of particular denominations; evening schools for the adult as well as the young, associations for lectures, debates, etc.; libraries of reference and circulation, gymnasiums and clubs for athletic exercises and sports, galleries of art and science, public grounds for popular health and recreation. On all these topics inquiries have been instituted. 6. Societies for the Advancement of Education, Science, Literature, and the Arts.

Passing beyond the institutions already mentioned for the development and discipline of the mind by the communication of existing knowledge, the Department has extended its inquiries to those whose special aim is the enlargement of knowledge by new contributions, and new discoveries in science, art, &c.

7. The Press. The object here had in view is not only to ascertain the number, particular objects and circulation of special educational journals and periodicals, but also the number and circulation of all the periodicals published in every State throughout the country. This is done on the ground that the press of the country is one of the most powerful among the educational agencies by which the character of the nation is acted upon, and on which this Department must rely for the dissemination of information as to the actual condition of schools, and the discussion of questions affecting their improvement.

8. School Funds and Educational Endowments. With the extension of the population of the country into its vast Western domain, the National government has not only provided for the territorial development of the new States, but more munificently, and with more of a parental providence than any government has ever done, for the growing educational and social needs of the people. Many States have likewise established funds for school purposes, besides making, from time to time, liberal grants to particular institutions, which have funded the same for the benefit of successive generations. To individual beneficence does the country owe the foundation and development of nearly all its higher institutions; and the aggregate amount of such donations and bequests, it is estimated, exceeds a hundred millions of dollars. To ascertain the amount and object of all these funds and endowments, the manner in which the capital is secured, and the annual income is applied, and draw practical lessons for future guidance, the Department has instituted the most comprehensive inquiries.

9. Legislation with respect to Schools. From the mode in which the attempt to solve the problem of popular education in this country has been made, namely, by National and State, by municipal and associated action, a vast amount of legislation has been rendered necessary, a history and digest of which constitutes an important part of the investigations now in progress, with a view of making the experience of each available to the benefit of all. To ascertain and note the changes in this legislation will of course constitute an important feature in the annual work and reports of the Department.

10. School Architecture. The immense amount expended in the construction and equipment of buildings for educational purposes, amounting to fifty millions within the last ten years, and the great importance of a wise expenditure of the still larger sum that will be necessary in the coming ten years, with reference to the health and successful labor of both pupils and teachers, (numbering each year probably not less than four millions of persons,) makes a comprehensive investigation into the condition and needs of this department of architecture a matter of the first importance.

11. Charitable, Reformatory, and Penal Institutions. Independent of the regular system of education, and growing to a considerable extent out of the neglect, defect or perversion of a good early training, is a class of institutions whose establishment and support devolves a heavy expense upon the community, and renders an inquiry into their statistics and working very important, in a pecuniary, educational, or moral point of view.

With all our State, municipal, and voluntary efforts for education, both secular and religious, there is an immense amount of absolute illiteracy, and of corrupting influences growing out of parental neglect and vice. The diminution of this illiteracy, vice, and crime, has not kept pace with our increased means of education, and the many undoubted improvements in the systems of instruction. In this connection properly comes the inquiry how far any thing has been done by public authority for the enforcement of the duty of parents to send their children to some schools, public or private, and how far the right of suffrage is denied to persons thus uneducated, or forfeited by the parents or guardians who neglect their duty in this regard.

12. Churches and other means of Religious Instruction. With a view to meeting the objection made in some quarters against our systems of public education, viz., that they contain no sufficient provision for imparting religious instruction, it has been thought fit to institute inquiries into the means of religious instruction existing in our country, additional to the general religious instruction and moral influences of the public schools, and it is


believed the result will show that the amount of salutary religious instruction actually received by the young in our country in the • schools and at home, and from special religious institutions, though of course capable of great increase, is not inferior to that in countries where religious instruction is enforced by the State.

13. School Documents. As a contribution to the library of the Department, and as the basis of a system of distribution as well as of exchange of official documents, copies of all reports and other publications issued by State and municipal authority and by institutions, have been requested, and the inquiry made of superintendents and schoolmen generally, how far they are disposed to come into such a system, conducted without expense to the parties after the documents have reached this office. The documents are important to the Department-an analysis of the suggestions made, and a summary of the statistics contained in them will form an important part of the monthly Circulars, as well as constitute much of the authority for the generalizations of the annual reports of the Commissioner.

14. Memoirs of Teachers and Benefactors of Education. Among the noblest benefactors of their race are to be numbered those men who have founded institutions of good learning or devoted their lives to the vocation of teaching, especially in public schools; and the country which fails to do honor to the memory of such benefactors, exposes itself to the charge of ingratitude, and withholds a powerful encouragement to the continued succession of such services. To


of such men and women as have devoted themselves or their means to these objects, materials for a record in some appropriate document of this Department have been solicited.

15. Open Competitive Examinations. Believing that Government-State, National, and municipal —can in no other way so well promote the cause of sound education and efficient official service, as by opening the career of public employments within its gift, to such persons only as shall present an authorized diploma of school attendance, and evince, in an open competitive examination, the possession of the requisite qualifications, an inquiry has been made how far a provision exists in any of the States for such diploma, or examination with reference to employment in its service of any kind, or for nomination for admission to our national military and naval schools.

On all these and other related topics, the results of inquiries car

preserve the

ried on by the Commissioner for the last fifteen years will be made available without cost to the Department; and if supplemented by prompt and hearty coöperation on the part of school officers and friends of education in the different States, a body of information, facts, and suggestions will be formed, such as can not elsewhere be found, the importance of which, in their bearing on the development of our educational systems and agencies, can scarcely be overestimated.


1. The main reliance for full and authentic information respecting public institutions must be the annual reports, and special replies of officers charged with their administration, supplemented for purposes of comparison and generalization by opportunities of personal visitation and conference by the Commissioner, or inspectors selected with special reference to their knowledge and experience of the subject on which information is sought. From superintendents, both State and municipal, from presidents of institutions, and professors devoted to special branches, the most cordial coöperation has been promised, and the strongest desire expressed to give the fullest publicity to the aims, means, methods, and results of their work, and to obtain an account of similar work done by others.

2. The annual meetings of national societies devoted to general or special educational objects, and similar meetings of State Teachers' Associations, as well as occasional conferences of persons interested in particular allotments of the great field of popular education, afford important opportunities of making inquiries widely and in a short time, and of meeting individuals who have devoted years to the investigation of subjects under consideration. Several of these meetings the Commissioner has attended, having been specially invited, and every opportunity of communicating with them opened.

3. From a long connection with the administration of systems of public instruction, and frequent personal visits to different States and countries, for the inspection of schools, an extensive correspondence with the active schoolmen of the day, both at home and abroad, has been established, which has been made immediately available in collecting information respecting the present condition of systems of public instruction, and institutions of learning of every kind in nearly every civilized country; the results of which will be made public as rapidly as possible, and the sooner, and in the most satisfactory manner, if the Commissioner is authorized to employ the necessary clerical and editorial help.

4. As a great central repository of the results of the experience of States, institutions, and individuals, in this work of education, on the basis of a collection commenced thirty years ago, of text-books, school documents and instructional appliances, and in exchange of his own publications for similar works, a library and cabinet of education has been begun by the Commissioner, and is already accomplishing the purpose of the law, by “collecting such statistics and facts as shall show the condition and progress of education in the several States and Territories."

5. As the main reliance both for collecting information of all important educational movements and discussions, as well as for disseminating information, the daily and weekly press of the country, both secular and religious, must be resorted to; and with such publishers and editors as have already expressed, or may hereafter express a desire to receive circulars and documents issued by the Commissioner, a system of exchange will be established which, it is believed, will greatly promote the objects of the Department.

MODES OF DISSEMINATING INFORMATION. The several agencies relied on for collecting information, the annual meetings of educational associations, national, state, and municipal; correspondence daily growing in volume and detail, with officers, teachers, and friends of educational improvement; the press, as well as personal interviews, have all been resorted to, to disseminate information as to the objects and needs of the Department. In addition to these, the following plan of publication, after such consultation as could be had, was adopted, and inaugurated, but will depend for its full development on the sanction and aid of Congress. It was set forth in Special Circular, No. 2, which is here introduced with slight verbal modifications, suggested by the experience of the Department.


As at present advised, the following plan of publication will be pursued:

1. Monthly Circular. To be issued monthly-each number to be devoted to such special subject as the correspondence or investigations of the Department may require; and if the requisite clerical labor can be devoted to its preparation, to a monthly summary of Educational Intelligence and Statistics in different States and Countries.

These Circulars will not be printed for general distribution, and as a general rule will be mailed, in answer or inquiry, to correspondents, or to persons known to be, or who may write, that they are specially interested in the subject.

The matter contained in them, in addition to the official, will not always be new, but such articles will be introduced from former publications of the Commissioner, or of others, as he may think illustrative of the special subject to which the Circular is devoted.

2. A Quarterly Publication. It is proposed to begin a National Series of the American Journal of Education, with a view of completing the encyclopediac view of Education—its His

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