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tricts into which the territory is divided. The Executive is called the “Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation," and is elected for four years.
Various school acts have been passed from time to time, until the last meeting of the Council, 1874, when a Board of Education was provided for. The following are the main features of the
PRESENT SCHOOL SYSTEM. The Superintendent of Public Instruction is elected by the Council for two years, and receives an annual salary of $700.
The Board of Education, of which the Superintendent of Instruction is ex-officio President, consists of three persons beside himself. They establish rules and regulations for the management of the schools and prescribe the text-books to be used.
The Public Schools of the Nation are divided into three grades, viz. : grammar, intermediate, and primary schools. There are three Directors for each school.
The school year consists of nine months and a half, commencing the first Monday in March, and is divided into two terms of twenty weeks each. The regular school day is six hours, for pupils under eight years old four hours. The scholastic age is from six to eighteen years.
No person can be employed as a teacher in the public schools without having passed a satisfactory examination, and received a certificate thereof from the “ Board of Education."
The Nation is divided into three educational districts, with a Commissioner for each one. Any parent or guardian feeling aggrieved by the government of any teacher, may make application for redress to the School Commissioner of his district, or an appeal may be taken to the “ Board of Education."
LEGISLATION DURING 1874. Superintendent Stephens wrote us in July, 1874:“I succeeded ·last winter in getting the Council to pass or amend the school law so as to give the nation a • Board of Education. It is not just what I want, but is a step in the right direction. We have now sixty-eight public schools, taught principally by natives. The children speak their vernacular language, and I have introduced object-teaching among them, it being a good way to teach them English. The language is not akin to'any known language on the globe.
“We have about one thousand seven hundred inhabitants, including those that have been adopted. I have not received the aggregate number of pupils attending school this term, but I judge the number will run as high as two thousand five hundred and average two thousand. The average cost of schooling for each pupil is $2 per annum. The estimated value of the sixtyeight school-houses in the Nation is $20,400.
“Three-fourths of the teachers are males, whose average monthly salary is $40. The salaries of female teachers vary from $30 to $50 a month. We expend annually $30,000 for school purposes, but intend to expend $50,000 next year.
“The following is a tabular statement of our School Fund, including the Cherokee Orphan and Asylum Fund.”
Cherokee National Fund..
$85.530 73 Cherokee School Fund..
49,877 04 Cherokee Orphan Fund.
22,420 92 Cherokee Asylum Fund
4,060 52 Total Annual Interest....
$161,889 21 Of the Annual Interest, $66,308.28 is payable in coin, and $95,580.93 in currency.
The Choctaws and Chickasaws, numbering some twenty thousand souls in the Territory, have three missions, twenty-five hundred church members, two boarding-schools, and forty-eight neighborhood day schools. Thirty-six of these are sustained by the Choctaws at a cost of $36,500, and fourteen by the Chickasaws, at a cost of between $30,000 and $40,000.
The Creeks have three missions, two thousand church members, one boarding-school, and thirty-one day schools. The latter were attended last year by eight hundred and sixty pupils, and cost $14,258.
Hon. CORNELIUS HEDGES, Superintendent of Public Instruction in Montana, was born in Westfield, Mass., in 1831, and educated at Yale College. In January, 1872, he was appointed Superintendent of Instruction for the Territory of Montana for two years. In January, 1874, he was reappointed for a corresponding term.
EDUCATION IN THE PAST.
MONTANA was organized as a Territory in 1864. The Territorial Legislature, at its first session, 1864-'05, passed a school act, and provided for a Superintendent of Instruction. Little interest was displayed, however, in educational matters. Subsequently, a new school law, modeled after that of California, was enacted, and went into effect January 12, 1872. Writing twenty-two months after this, October 13, 1873, Superintendent Hedges said: “Notwithstanding the general depression in all branches of business, and a considerable decrease of population since the census report was taken, there has been a steady improvement in our schools. Our people are generally poor, and very scattered. Many of our school districts are of greater area than whole counties in the Eastern States. There are, as near as I can estimate at present, about eighty organized school districts in the eight organized counties in this territory. In some of the principal cities there is some attempt towards grading, but it is poorly done at best.”
THE SCHOOL LAW OF 1874. In response to the appeals of the Territorial Superintendent, and others interested in education, who saw the marked defects in the existing system, the Legislature in 1874 passed a new measure, to be known as “The Montana School Law." The following are its main features:
The Territorial Superintendent of Instruction is nominated by the Governor of the Territory, and confirmed by the Council. He serves for two years, receives $1,200 annually and traveling expenses, and gives a bond for $2,000. He adopts the course of studies, and establishes the rules and regulations for all public schools in the Territory. He is required to visit the schools at least for three months every year, “to keep his office at some place where there is a post-office," and to make a biennial report to the Governor.
County Superintendents, numbering eight, are elected for two years. Their pay, which is fixed by the County Commissioners, is small, not being allowed by law to exceed $10 for each district in their county, and traveling expenses. They examine applicants for teachers' certificates, receiving $2 from each applicant, visit each school in their county at least once a year, and perform the other duties generally devolving upon County Superintendents.
Boards of District Trustees, for each district, comprise three members elected for three years each. They employ and dismiss teachers, enforce the rules and regulations of the Territorial Superintendent of Instruction, have charge of the schoolhouses, furnish school-books, etc.
The Legal School Age is from five to twenty-one years.
Upon the written application of the parents or guardians of at least ten colored children to any Board of Trustees, a separate school shall be established for the education of such children, and the education of a less number may be provided for by the Trustees in separate schools in any other manner, and the same laws, rules, and regulations which apply to schools for white children, shall apply to schools for colored children.
All schools must be taught in the English language. The school day is six hours long.
Whenever the interests of the district require it, the Board of Trustees may establish a high school, employ a principal teacher and subordinate teachers, and grade the school into departments and classes.
The Board of Trustees of any district may, when in their judgment it is advisable, submit to the qualified electors of the district the question whether a tax shall be raised to furnish additional school facilities for said district.
Any parent, guardian, or other person who shall upbraid, insult, or abuse any teacher in the presence of the school, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and liable to a fine of not less than $10 nor more than $100.
Any person who shall willfully disturb any public school, or
any public school meeting, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and liable to a fine of not less than $10 nor more than $100.
The School Fund is derived from the interest on all moneys accruing to the Territory from land grants, and it is distributed proportionately to the number of children between four and twenty-one years old. For maintaining common schools, County Commissioners are required to levy an annual tax of not less than three nor more than five mills on the dollar, on all taxable property.
Inasmuch as educational returns of Montana are made only once in two years, we have no later statistics than those for 1873. These, contrasted with scattering returns of previous years, indicate what educational progress has been made.
1873. Organized school districts...
91 Number of schools taught.
90 Number of school age....
3,517 Whole number attending schools...
919.... 1,881 Number of male teachers...
50 Number of female teachers...
13.... Average monthly compensation of teachers Number of private schools.....
7.... Number attending private schools...
149 Value of school-houses...
$21, 192 00 Total from all sources for educational purposes...
The elementary English branches are the foundation of education. Unless you begin with these, all your flashy attainments—a little natural philosophy and a little moral philosophy, a little physiology and a little geology, and all the other ologies and osophies—are but ostentatious rubbish.-Edward Everett.