« AnteriorContinuar »
of teachers, requiring certificates from competent authorities. In 1805 an act was passed empowering towns “to divide into school districts.” This work of “districting” was not completed until 1843, when an act was passed inflicting severe penalties in case of neglect. In 1808 the school-mistress was recognized in the school legislation of the State. In an elaborate law in 1827, the branches to be taught were specified.
In 1843 the first State Educational Convention was called. In 1845 the first Teachers' Institute was held. In 1846 the Legislature established the office of State Commissioner of Common Schools, and in 1867 the office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction. In 1870 an act providing for a State Normal School was passed, and subsequently amended. During the same year a compulsory education law was passed.
PRESENT SCHOOL SYSTEM. The result of this various legislation is the present school system, of which the following are the main features:
The State Board of Education comprises the Governor, State Superintendent, and Council, who have the general supervision of education in the State.
The State Superintendent of Public Instruction is appointed by the Governor and Council for two years, and receives an annual salary of $1,200 and expenses. His duties were at first restricted, but they have since been enlarged so as to conform to those generally performed by State Superintendents.
Town School Committees, consisting of as many persons as each town may see fit to have, from one upward, are annually elected. These Committees examine teachers, grant certificates, examine and superintend schools, dismiss teachers and scholars upon hearing, select text-books, report to the town and State annually, and, in joint action with the Selectmen, determine the location of school-houses and change of district bounds.
Prudential Committees for districts are chosen at the annual district meetings. They employ and pay teachers, provide board for the latter, and fuel for the school-houses, whose care is entrusted to them.
High schools may be established by vote of the town, or by the union of contiguous districts. Public schools are supported by taxation of property, each town being required to raise $350
for every dollar of its apportionment of the State tax. Towns or districts can raise, by vote, additional sums for school purposes.
A Literary Fund, arising from a tax of one-half of one per cent. on the capital stock of banking corporations, is appropriated for the maintenance of public schools. Several towns and districts possess permanent local funds for the support of schools. Provision is made for the proper registration of scholars, statistical returns, and for holding Teachers' Institutes in each county annually, at the expense of the State.
Recent legislation permits towns to abolish school districts, thus leaving the town one school district.
The compulsory educational law passed in July, 1870, requires all well children, between eight and fourteen years old, to attend school at least twelve weeks every year. The penalty for violating this law is $10 for the first, and $20 for every subsequent offense.
LEGISLATION DURING 1874. During 1874 the Legislature passed an act materially enlarging the powers of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
TEN YEARS' PROGRESS.
1873-74. Number of normal schools in the State. School districts in the State.....
2,328.... Cost of school-houses erected during
$18,563 oo.... $103, 742 00 Estimated total value of school-houses..$916,894 oo....$2,208,025 00 Pupils enrolled in the schools..
83,401... 69,178 Average daily attendance...
47,275 Male teachers employed.
482 Average wages.....
$44 87 Female teachers employed.
3,330 Average wages.
$15 05.... Amount of State School Fund........ $244, 263 00.... 8488, 104 00 Legal school age..
4 to 21....
4 to 21 Average cost of schooling for each
scholar. Total expenditures.
$271,156 oo.... $606,846 00
Hon. E. A. APGAR, State Superintendent of Education, was born March 20, 1836, in Peapack, Somerset County, N. J. His early education was received at the public school in his native village. At the age of twenty he entered the State Normal School, and graduated from that institution in 1858. After teaching four years in the public schools of the State, he entered Rutgers College, at New Brunswick, and graduated in 1866. A short time previous to his graduation, he was elected Professor of Natural Sciences in the State Normal School. In March of 1866 he was elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction by the State Board of Education. To this position he has been re-elected three times.
EDUCATION IN THE PAST.
NEW JERSEY was one of the original thirteen States. Her first Constitution, adopted in 1776, contained no allusion to schools or education. An Act was passed in 1816 to create a fund for the maintenance of free schools. In 1829 another Act was passed, authorizing towns to support schools, and requiring them to raise a sufficient sum by taxation to entitle them to their proportion of the school fund. Ten years later, towns were required to annually impose a specified school tax. In 1828 the first State Educational Convention was held. In 1846 the office of State Superintendent was created. In 1853 the State Teachers' Association was organized, and a year later the State made provision for holding Teachers' Institutes. In 1858 the State Normal School was established. From this time forward, for nearly ten years, the larger cities in the State obtained authority from the Legislature to establish graded schools. In 1866 E. A. Apgar was elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction. As a teacher, he had become satisfied that what New Jersey most needed, was a change from the township to the county system of supervision. As State Superintendent, therefore, his first attention was given to the framing of a bill which should secure to the State a more efficient supervision of the schools. It was submitted to and carefully examined and amended by the State Board of Education.
In his report for the year 1868, he urged that the time had arrived when the schools of the State should be made free. In order to accomplish this object, he recommended the levying of
a uniform State tax for school purposes. In the year 1871 he, in connection with A. L. Runyon, then member of the Legislature, drafted a bill incorporating the features set forth and recommended in his report for 1868. This bill received the approval of the Legislature and Governor, and became the law of the State.
FREE SCHOOLS ESTABLISHED.
By its provisions all the schools of the State were made free, and the system was placed upon a firm and reliable foundation. Prior to this time the cities and larger towns had had free public schools for many years, made free by special legislation and local taxation. The schools in the country, established under the general law of the State, had been pay schools, or virtually private schools with reduced tuition rates. Those who attended them were obliged to pay tuition fees; the State simply paid a part of the expenses of maintaining the schools, and thus reduced the amount to be paid by the patrons. By the passage of the Free School Act, the whole school machinery was very much simplified, and the full benefits of a public school system were accorded to all. County school supervision, which the law substituted for township supervision, secured systematic and uniform action, and a new impulse was given to education in all parts of the State.
PRESENT SCHOOL SYSTEM.
The new law is still in force in the State, and embraces the following main features:
The Superintendent of Public Instruction is elected by the State Board of Education, to hold office during the pleasure of the Board, not to exceed the term of three years. He receives an annual salary of $2,000. He is, ex officio, Secretary of the Board, enforcing all its rules and regulations, and has a general oversight and supervision of the schools of the State.
The State Board of Education comprises the Governor, Attorney-General, Comptroller, Secretary of State, President of the Senate, Speaker of the Assembly, and the Trustees and Treasurer of the State Normal School. There are ten Trustees, two from each Congressional District, appointed by the Governor, with the consent of the Senate. The State Board has the general control of public instruction in the State, appoints County Superintendents, subject to the approval of the Board of Chosen Freeholders, recommends to the Legislature such school legislation as it may deem desirable, prescribes all rules and regulations for holding Teachers' Institutes, decides all appeals from the decisions of the State Superintendent, and makes an annual report to the Legislature. The members of the Board receive no compensation.
County Superintendents are appointed by the State Board, and hold office during the pleasure of the Board, not to exceed the term of three years. They receive a salary at the rate of ten cents for each child in the county between the ages of five and eighteen, provided such remuneration does not annually exceed $1,200, or fall below $500. The County Superintendents examine and license teachers, apportion the school money, and perform the other duties usually incumbent upon Superintendents. County and City Superintendents together constitute an association called the State Association of School Superintendents, which meets at such times and places as the State Board of Education may elect.
The State Board of Examiners, consisting of the State Superintendent and the Principal of the State Normal School, grants teachers' certificates, valid in any part of the State.
County Boards of Examiners comprise the County Superintendent and three associates, selected by himself. City Boards of Education also appoint Examiners. These City and County Examiners grant teachers' certificates, which are valid in the cities and counties respectively where granted.
Township Boards consist of the District Trustees (elected for three years) of each township. These Boards meet at such times and places as the County Superintendents may designate, for the purpose of hearing from them communications and suggestions in regard to the management of schools, and for submitting to them questions for advice or opinion relating to the same.
The School Year begins on the first day of September, and ends on the last day of August. The scholastic age is from five to eighteen years. A compulsory law was passed by the Legislature of 1873. No teacher is permitted to inflict corporal punishment upon any child in any school in the State. It is not