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Considered as the growth of ten years, the Delawaro system of “Free Schools” is a
most gratifying work. Never before has public sentiment been so strong in favor of
the support of free public schools as to-day. The press of the State is a unit in their
favor. The leading men of all parties and of all religious denominations acknowl-
edge and defend the truth that the State has duties as well as rights, and foremost
among them is the duty of securing a good common-school education to the children
of all classes.

The increase of interest in the free schools is evidenced by the number of beautiful
and commodious houses that havo been erected during the past year in the three
counties of the State; the old, comfortless, homo-made desks that have given placo
to now and improved school furnituro; tho willingness with which the people have
in many of the towns and rural districts used their influence to obtain good school
apparatus and efficient teachers, and the manifest general desire to elevate the stand-
ard of free education.

It is impossible to set forth in a brief way the good results of the county institute. In this State, especially, is its value incalcnlable. There is no normal school for the training of those who desire to become teachers; therefore, the young who enter the profession are almost wholly unacquainted with methods of teaching. Hence, the county instituto serves as a substitute for the normal school. In all these meetings the very best talent in the shape of instituto workers and lecturers which the availablo funds would allow have been summoned to assist in the work, while sono prominent educators ontside the State have given their services free of charge.

Prominent among the hindrances to the efficiency of many of the schools are: The want of permanency of employment of teachers, a misapprehension on the part of many parents and school commissioners of the real objects of the schools, and, in some places, the lack of trained teachers.

FLCRIDA. The growth and advancement made in the public school system of the State is apparent not only in numbers of schools, the attendance of pupils, and interest on the part of the people everywhere, but also in the excellency of the work done and the increased efficiency of the teachers, coupled with a most laudable ambition on their part to excel in everything that tends to make up a real teacher.

Much of this growth, advancement, and efficiency, and excellent result, is the outcome of the liberal provision made by the Legislature for the support and maintenance of all the machinery of the system.

The increase in the number of schools for 1886 over 1884 is 415 schools, with an in creased total attendance of 12,686 papils.

In February, 1886, there was assembled the first State Teachers' Institute and the first convention of county superintendents ever held in the State. A State Teachers' Association was formed and regularly organized, and the beneficent influences of this State Institute have been patent throughout the year,

GEORGIA. The census of 1890 makes the alarming exhibit that there are in Georgia 128,000 white persons over ten years of age and 392,000 colored persons of the same class, making a total of 320,000, one-third of the entire population, who cannot write their

Words cannot give as much emphasis to the necessity of an efticient State system of common schools as is given by these facts. In view of them it is pertinent to :29k what has the State clone to meet this necessity? Public schools have been in operation fifteen years. The increase in attendance has gone regularly forward, and from year to year small additions have been made to the fund. In 1895 71 per cent. of the white school population and 49 of the colored, 61 per cent. of the entire population, white and colored, were enrolled in the public schools,

The gross school fund of 15 yielded $1.63 per capita of enrolled children, and $2.42 per capita on average attendance. After deducting all expenses the actual amount that went toward paying for teaching the children was $1.54 on each pupil enrolled aud $2.29 on averago attendance. This sum was sufficient to keep up the schools for something over two months, and they were kept in operation for three months only by force of a provision of law which compels patrons to supplement. The superintendent further says: “The State ought now, in my judgment, to make provision from her own resources for a four montlis' school." I

The State makes no provision for normal schools or teachers' institutes, but the trustees of the Peabody fund have expended liberally of their available fund in Georgia for both objects. The opinion of those in attendance on the Peabody Teachers' Institute of 1806 was almost unanimously favorable. The following memorial to the Legislaturo was circulated amoug thoso present for signatures, and was signed by all to whom it was presented: "In view of the great necd of institute instruction among the 7,000 teachers of State Report, pp. 11, 12.

* Ibid., p. 17.


Georgia; in view of the good work which has been done by the Institute held in the city of Atlanta during tho month of August, in the year 1886; in view, moreover, of the fact that the appropriations froin the Peabody fund, by ineans of which the lustitute has hitherto been wholly supported, will most certainly be discontinued unless some corresponding appropriation is made by the State: We, the undersigned, do hereby petition the Legislature of the State of Georgia to make such an appropriation as will, during the ensuing years, continue and increase the work now being done."'!


The superintendent of public instruction earnestly recommends the change from the present district systeni to the township system in school administration. The following reasons are assigned: (1) Under township organization for school purposes, the work of 22-31 officers could be performed by tivo persons elected by the township at large, and performed better and more to the satisfaction of the people of the township. (2) Ineqnality in the taxation for school purposes would be remcdied. In the same township there are districts now paying 25 cents or less and others paying 200 cents on the $100 of the assessed valuation. (3) The 11,500 elections for directors throughout the State would be dispensed with. No class of elections causes more feuds and aniniosities than school elections and consequent litigation. (4) Grading the county schools, which is now done under great difficulties even in the best situated counties, would thus be solved naturally.

During the past three years the institutes in the different countics of the State have become a mighty power for good, not only in advancing the scholarship of the participants, but also in fostering more rational methods of instruction, and, what is not to be under-estimated, in arousing a greater interest among the people in behalf of the public schools and public education generally. And since the conduct of these institutes imposes no burdens upon the tax-payers, but all expense is borne by the teachers themselves, and the results are such as to convince the people of the advantageous effect of this agency, it is to be hoped that the law on the subjoct may remain in full forco until something better and more lasting may take its place.

Whenever the teachers of the State had an opportunity of expressing their approval of the recent amendments to the school law respecting the county superintendency, they have done so in the most unqualified terms. Heretofore only a few favored counties gave their superintendents time to visit schools and pay therefor; in the rest of them the county superintendent was reduced to a mere clerk, who had to keep accounts, to conduct teachers' examinations and grant certificates, and to make reports. Now all over the State the county superintendent is what his name implies-an overseer of the schools of the county--and this happy change for the better should be felt in the remotest nooks, and corners, thus tending to equalize the benefits of education and making the population of the State more homogeneous.

INDIANA. The experience of past years is convincing that there is not only a place among educational institutions and movements for such an organization as the State Teachers' Reading Circle, but that the present organization ovinces gratifying indications of permanency and usefulness. It must be understood that the course implies more than a more reading of the work suggested; it is designed that it be carefully studied. Tho action of the state board of education in giving credit for reading circle work in tlo science of teaching was on the presumption that the work should be carefully and faithfully pursued. Following is their action : "Ordered, That tho Reading Cirelu examinations in the science of teaching be accepted by the county superintendent in the place of the connty examination on that subject, and that the average of their four successive yearly examinations in the science of teaching be accepted by the State board in the examination for Stato certificates.!

Educational associations of all kinds are numerous in Indiana, and they are generally well sustained by the teachers and the public. In many counties tho teachers keep up activo and useful organizations, incoting once or twice a year. The county superintendents meet annually in general convention, and those in different parts of the State have occasional nieetings for consultation and discussion. The city and town superintendents in like manner maintain several organizations. The three most important institutious of this kind are the Indiana Teachers' Association, the Nortlıeru lodiana Teachers' Association, and the Southern Indiana Teachers' Association.3

How to secure the best text-books for the schools at the least expense is a question that bas boen much discussed in the State of late years by practical teachers and school suporintendents, as well as by Senators and Representatives in recent sessions of the General Assembly. The evils of frequent changes, of want of uniformity, and of heavy expenso are generally recognized. Indiana is fairly free from the first two of these evils. The county boards of oducation prescribe what text-books shall be

State Report, pp. 23, 24.

? Ibid., pp. 143-144.

* Ibid., p. 101.

asod in the schools under their jurisdiction, and books cannot be changed within six years from the date of their a:loption except by unanimous vote. Thus aro secured uniformity of books within eacli couuty and as much permanence as is consistent with progress. But the third named evil—the heavy expense of books—desorves careful consideration.'

Very little logislation in regard to the public schools is needed at this time. The educational system is a vast organized institution, the result of growth through ncarly half a century. At first every school district was independent, with a school board of its own. This plan was found to be ineffective, wasteful, and extravagant. All the districts of the township were, therefore, united into a school corporation under a single responsible trustee. This is a great step in advance. Order began to prevail and some life appeared in the schools. A State superintendent was next elected. Ho syatenatized the management of the funds and revenues and began to stimulate the schools. The State board of education was reconstructed, making it an educational body in fact. It began to plan and direct the school work. Finally the county examiner was made the county superintendent, thus giving unity to tho schools of each cowity by placing all the towns and townships under a single directing head, and also giving unity to the entire State by creating an agency through which the State board and superintendent could reach and intluence every school in every township. In proportion as this development has gone on the schools of Indiana havo improved, until it is believed that now something liko an adequate return froin their great outlay for the support of education is received by the people.s

KANSAS. • The National Edncational Association, which met in the city of Topeka in July, was a potable gathering of the most eminent educators of the United States, and one of the largest over convened in any country. Its effect upon the teachers of the State has been to awaken a fuller realization of the magnitude and importance of the work in which they are evgaged, while its general influence for good is felt by all ranks of society.

The State Teachers' Association, which meets during the holiday vacation, is accomplishing much in the way of stimulating professional pride among the teachers and elevating the educational standard. The ablest teachers are always present, and the general interest is manifest in the numbers that attend.

Normal institutes have been beld in eighty-four counties during the past year. There seems to be no moro potent means for improving the teachers of the common schools, and thereby iinproving the instruction in the schools, than the system of county normal institutes afforiis. Each year shows a larger attendance, greater interest, and moro efficient work.

There is an increasing demand from the patrons of tho ungraded schools for better facilities for higher education, and a strong desire to have the school system so unified that it will enaldo the public schools to fit their students to entor tho higher State institutions of learning.

MAINE. The conclusions deduced from the analysis of statistics may be broadly and briefly summarized as follows: (1) The gross and net quantity of work done in the comMon schools for 1885-'86, as compared with that of the preceding year, when measurel Jis attendance upon, and length of schools, was practically unchanged, though the former factor indicates increase and the latter decrease. (2) The quality of work done as atlected by character of schools, of teachers, of text-books, and other school applia ances, of mavagement, of school-bouses, and of supervision, was very considerably superior to that of the preceding year. (3) Theso results were attained at but slightly increascal cost.

"As is the teacher so is the school.” And yet to get the cheapest work, to make places for family connections or personal friends, “ to keep the money in the district," are often the grounds upon which selection of teachers is based, wbile the well being of the school is made a inatter of secondary inportance.

It is significant that 7,590 different teachers are annually employed to teach (or “keep") 4,678 diferent schools; and that 1,165 untried and untrained teachers are aongally put in charge of one to every four of the schools in the State. But these lamientable facts are due to the generally prevailing system of school inanagement. Were bunian ingenuity incited to its utmost in an eifort to invent a system of management for making the schools the most ineflicient possible, so far as should depend! upon the selection of teachers, the consommate ilower of such effort would be tho school district system. Not till it is utterly rooted out by legislative tiat will tho best availablo teachers be sought and retained.

The system of supervision is defectivo in several regards. The selection of the instructor is in the hands of the district school agent who bas no directive power over

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the instruction of the school; no authority to investigate thoronghly the fitness of the person selected; and, in nine cases in ten, is incompetent to make such investigation. The work of instruction is under tho inspection of the school committeo or supervisor, having no direct control over the selection of the instructor. From this division of function it comes to pass that neither party feels full responsibility for the success of the school, and neither has full authority to compel success.

In order to bring about certain needed reforms, the State superintendent suggests the following changes in law : (1) A more eficient law for compulsory attendance. (2) A law fixing the minimum annual lengths of all schools. (3) A law summarily abolishing the school-district system in all towns in the State. . (4) A law to make more efficient the local supervision of the schools. (5) A law compelling all towns to furnish free text-books.

MARYLAND. With the exception of Baltimore County, three-fourths of all the teachers in the State have had no special training for their work, and therefore the office of the county examiner (superintendent) is one requiring the brightest intelligence and the warmest zeal.

In the city of Baltimore, as in many other large cities, the teachers are elected for a year. At the end of the school year there is, by hypothesis, a general vacancy, and the school boards re-elect at least nine-tenths, probably ninety-nine one hundreelths, of the former incumbents. In the counties a different method obtains.

When a teacher is appointed to the charge of a school he is appointed for no definite term. When ho wishes to leave he gives thirty-days notice of his intention, and at the end of the thirty days he is free. If the trustees wish him to leave they give him thirtydays notice. In this way the teacher's mind is relieved and there is no scramble for places at the end of the year.

The State Normal School has enjoyed another year of prosperity, if numbers (272) are a sign of success.

MASSACHUSETTS. There is no principle of the educational system inoro jealously to be guarded than that of local control and supervision; and it is the towns, and towns alone, that can properly be entrusted with the education of its children,

About sixty towns of the Commonwealth are provided with public-school superintendents. The schools of the remaining two hundred and eighty-seven towns are under the supervision of school committees.

Tbe palpable obstacle to improvement is in the poverty and isolation of the smaller towns. Yet no one measure is inore imperatively demanded in the growth of the educational system of the Commonwealth than the extension of the principle of superintendency to the smaller towns and villages. It is entirely possible that several neighboring towns and villages should combine to maintain a superintendent, whose duties would be substantially the same as those of one placed over an equal number of schools contained within a single large town. Surely the time is ripe for such a movement.

But how are the superintendents to be trained? The answer is, in the colleges where chairs of pedagogy are maintained, and especially in the normal schools. It is impossible, under present circumstances, to supply every school with a good teacher; but there is no serious difficulty in the way of placing a well-trained superintendent, of either sex, in every town in the State.

The public statutes require every town to make all needful provisions and arrangements concerning habitual truants and children between the ages of seven and fifteen years, who are out of school, idle, and not subject to parental control. Suitable places are to be provided for their confinement, discipline, and instruction. Jlampden Conuty has provided such a school, and it is accomplishing good results. It was diminished the amount of truancy in the county, and has turnished to its pripils as good quality of instruction as that given in the public schools. It does not appear from the returns that the towns have all complied with the spirit of the truant laws.

The school law provides that books and all school supplies shall be purchased by the committee at the expense of the towns. The advantages of the free text-book system are: (1) Economy of time and money. There are no long delays in organiz. ing the classes, and experience has proved that the expense of books and supplies is reduced nearly one-half. (2) The new system furnishes a gooul occasion for training the children to take good care of those things not their own, but which they are allowed to use. (3) It bas, without doubt, increased the attendance upon the schools more than ten percent.

Before the act of 1884 was passed, sixteen towns in the Commonwealth had voluntarily adopted the free text-book system. In all cases of fair trial, the most satisfactory resnlis have been produced.


to go.

MICHIGAN. The current record and statistical history of the schools present a highly creditable exhibit, and lend countenance to the assertion “that our common schools and schools of bigher learning have taken rank with the best in the world."

The enrolment at teachers' institutes was larger than that of any preceding year. And yet only one-third of the teachers of the Stato reported at the institutes. Of those teachers holding State or normal certificates, there was an attendance of fifty per cent. ; of those holding first-grade certificates, seventy per cent. ; second grado, forty-tive per cent.; third grade, forty-six per cent.

The work of the State Teachers' Reading Circle has received recognition from the State board of education in the preparation of examination questions for county examinations, the questions being partially based upon the texts adopted in the course of study. The county school examiners, at Lansing, have adopted the following recommendation : "That for work done in the State Teachers' Reading Circle by an applicant for a certificate and accepted by the central committee, the examiners add at least one per cent. to the general average for each book read or part of the work 50 done.”

Minnesota may claim justly not only that she has schools of all grades, but that they are so related that each department, grade, or class is adapted to and contributes directly to the efficiency of the others. The system of schools may be likened to the elevator of a tower or palace. The car stops at every floor; the multitude may get out at the first, but the car moves on, and lands every one as high up as he cares

In all departments there has been uninterrupted prosperity. Efficient managoment, hearty co-operation, and hard work have made them more comprehensive in plans and firmer and better defined in their several lines of instruction.

During the past two years the experiment has been made of giving to the teachers of graded schools the professional aid which would be equivalent to that afforded to common schools in the regular institutes. The plan is to send to each school for one week, as previously arranged, an experienced instructor in normal methods, to act under the direction of the superintendent of the school, and to give him or her time for visiting classes, conducting recitations, holding teachers' meetings for the discussion of subjects taught, methods in teaching, discipline and organization, and in giving such criticisms as may be acceptable.

The defects of the common-school system of Minnesota, comprehensively stated, are a lack of thorough organization, by which the intluence and intelligence of the whole are brought to bear upon each part, by which the wise may direct the igno. rant, the rich help the poor, and the energetic and progressive urge forward the more sluggish. Then, again, large sections exist in which there is little or nothing American, either in langnage, intelligence, political ideas, and little or no sympathy with our institutions. The children of these districts attend no schools, learn no English, and give little promise of becoming better citizens than their fathers.

There seems to be no substantial aid gained from the law on compulsory education, Several superintendents have undertaken to enforce it, but the results have not been permanent. The reasons of failure have been (1) defects in the law; (2) the difficulty inherent in this method of improving the people.

MISSOURI. In a great State like this, with more than ten thousand school districts, differing in population, wealth, and culture, there will, of necessity, be found various grades of schools, ranging from the very best regulated to those the most poorly conducted. Under the law the public schools are classified as primary and advanced, or, as commonly designated, primary and high schools. The term “primary schools" is not used in the sense of primary department" in a graded school, but simply includes the branches required to be taught in all the public schools of the State ; they are the common schools of the country district and the ward schools of the cities or towns. These primary schools are, by far, of the greatest importance in any system of public schools that may be inaugurated; for in them must be laid the foundation upon which all future advancement must depend. In them the greater portion of the youth will receive all the benefits they can derive from the public schools ; the past and the present constitute somewhat of an index for the future, and statistics show that a very small proportion of those over sixteen years of ago attend the schools, while a large number never advance further than the primary schools. Notwithstanding the importance that necessarily attaches to this grade of work, too little attention has been given to the employment of teachers to give instruction in this department of the school work.

In many of the town and city schools the best of results have been secured by placing well-qualified teachers in charge of the rooms wherein this grade of instruction is given. This work generally requires about seven years, or covers seven grades, numbered from the "primary department" to the seventh grade.


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