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HON. HOWARD A. M. HENDERSON, Superintendent of Public Instruction, was born in Paris, Ky., August 15, 1836. His father was a distinguished scholar and educator, and was killed by an accident in 1841. Howard Henderson received his preparatory education at the Franklin Academy, Dover, N. H., and his collegiate training at the Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, O. He also graduated at the Cincinnati School of Law and Commerce. He entered the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, in 1857, and has been a pastor at Newbern and Demopolis, Ala., and Frankfort and Lexington, Ky. He is distinguished for pulpit and platform oratory. He was a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Confederate States army. He was elected Superintendent of Public Instruction in 1871 for a term of four years, and is a candidate for re-election. He is the editor of The Kentucky Freemason, and a contributor to the leading magazines and periodicals of the country, and a hard worker. The degree of D.D. was conferred upon him by the Kentucky Mili. tary Institute, in which he was formerly a professor.
EDUCATION IN PAST YEARS.
KENTUCKY was admitted into the Union as a State in 1791. No general provision, however, was made for Common Schools until 1821, when one-half of the clear revenue of the Bank of the Commonwealth were set aside as a literary fund. In 1830, a bill “to establish a uniform System of Public Schools” was passed containing this proviso: “Any widow over twenty-one years of age, residing and owning property subject to taxation for school purposes in any school district, shall have the right to vote, either in person or by written proxy;" also infants so situated, may vote by proxy. In 1838, a system of Common Schools was established, embracing a Board of Education, and a Superintendent of Public Instruction. In 1854, provision was made by the Legislature for the education of one hundred and fifty teachers in the State University at Lexington.
RE-ORGANIZATION OF THE SCHOOL SYSTEM.
Other educational legislation followed until the winter of 1872-3, when the whole school system was re-organized, and now comprises the following general features:
The Superintendent of Public Instruction is elected for four years, and his salary has been increased to three thousand dollars per annum. He is also empowered to appoint a clerk at an annual salary of twelve hundred dollars. He is enjoined by law to ascertain the net revenue for school purposes, and the pro-rata
each child is entitled to; to report to the County Judge any delinquencies of subordinate school officials, to annually distribute through the State the school laws, and information bearing upon schools, and to furnish blanks for reports, certificates, etc., and to perform other duties generally devolving upon superintendents.
The State Board of Education formerly consisted of the Attorney-General, Secretary of State, and Superintendent of Public Instruction. To these have been added two professional educators, who, together with the Superintendent, constitute a Standing Committee, to prepare rules, by-laws, and regulations for the government of the Common Schools, and also to recommend a proper course of study, and suitable series of text-books, to be adopted at discretion by the County Board of Examiners. The two professional educators belonging to the Board are Professor W. H. Bartholomew of Louisville, and Professor R. W. McRery of Shelbyville.
The State Board of Examiners consists of the State Superintendent and two practical educators appointed by himself, they hold sessions in July for the examination of teachers applying for State certificates. These certificates, for which the examiners are allowed to charge three dollars, entitles the receivers to teach for five years in any of the Common Schools without examination by County Boards.
The County Commissioners correspond to County Superintendents in other States, and their functions are of a similar character. They are elected by the presiding County Judges and Justices of the Peace for two years.
The County Board of Examiners consists of the County Commissioner and two "well educated and competent persons," appointed by him. The three examine teachers for certificates, and select from the list of text-books prescribed by the State Board, a uniform series of text-books to be in use two years.
The School Fund consists of six per cent. interest on a $1,327,000 bond issued January 1870, in aid of Common Schools, the dividends on seven hundred and thirty-five shares of the stock of the Bank of Kentucky, and whatever distinct tax the people of the respective school districts may vote at the annual election for trustees to impose upon themselves. The old law made the tax obligatory. Now the people of the districts
can decide for themselves whether they will impose any tax, and if so, how much up to twenty-five cents on every one hundred dollars of taxable property.
Trustees (only one to a district) are elected in July. They may locate school-houses, and organize school libraries.
Teachers' Institutes are required to be held annually during July or August by the respective County Commissioners and the teachers are required to attend them.
The legal school year is five months of twenty-two days each. The scholastic age is from six to twenty years. The law specifically says, “ No books, tracts, paper, catechism, or other publications of a sectarian, infidel, or denominational character shall be used or distributed in any Common School, nor shall any sectarian or infidel doctrine be taught therein."
COLORED COMMON SCHOOLS.
Laws passed 1874. In February last, the General Assembly of the State passed an act to establish a Uniform System of Common Schools for the colored children of the Commonwealth, which contains the following provisions: “It shall not be lawful for any colored child to attend a Common School provided for white children, nor for a white child to attend a Common School provided for colored children. No school-house erected for a colored school shall be located nearer than one mile of a school-house erected for white children, except in cities and towns, where it shall not be nearer than six hundred feet.” The colored school officers and teachers may organize for themselves a State association and auxiliary county institutes under similar provisions to those made in the General Statutes for the officers and teachers of white schools. A colored school fund is provided for, consisting of the revenue tax on taxable property and dogs owned by colored persons, fines, penalties, and forfeitures imposed upon and collected from colored persons, and the moneys derived from Congressional land grants. The pro-rata share of the latter to each colored pupil shall not exceed that apportioned to the white. The scholastic age for colored children is from six to sixteen years.
“ The State and County school officials shall have the same
general control over the colored schools which they exercise over the white schools. The State Board of Education shall prescribe a course of study and adopt rules for the government of the colored common schools." In accordance with this last provision of the act, the State Board have met and decided upon rules and regulations for the government of the colored schools ; they do not differ materially from those for white schools.
EDUCATIONAL STATISTICS. In reply to our request for the educational returns for the year 1873-'74, Superintendent Henderson writes us: “Our statistics are so imperfectly reported that I cannot satisfactorily fill the blank.” What is true of this year appears to have been true of a series of years. We would suggest that the association organized last summer, under the name of " The Society for the Advancement of Education in Kentucky," directs its first efforts to the obtaining of annual educational statistics. Even ten years ago, and during the war at that, returns were made and collated. Of the one hundred and ten counties in Kentucky, one hundred and eight officially reported to the State Superintendent for the school year ending December 31, 1862. The whole number of children living in districts in which common schools were taught three months and over, in conformity to the general law, was one hundred and fifty-eight thousand nine hundred and eighty-nine. The average number attending school was forty-three thousand six hundred and fifty-four. The whole amount of funds in the treasury to the credit of common schools on the first of March, 1863, was $341,528.30. The number of school children, white and black, reported for the year 1873, was four hundred and sixteen thousand seven hundred and sixtythree, an increase of ten thousand seven hundred and sixtythree over the previous year. Notwithstanding his inability to obtain educational statistics from the various counties of the State, Superintendent Henderson says, in his report for last year: “It is my gratifying privilege to state that it has been a year of substantial progress in every department of the school system. With but rare exceptions, the reports of the Commissioners, and correspondence of this office, bear to the Superintendent cheering evidence of a great educational revival pervading almost every section of the State."
HON. WILLIAM G. BROWN, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, was born in Trenton, N. J., in 1832. In early youth he removed to Demerara, where he received his education, and remained until 1868. The emancipation of the slaves, and the restoration of the Southern States to their place in the Union, as well as the necessities of his people, prompted him, with many others, to return to the United States. He proceeded to Louisiana in 1868, and at once identified himself with the important movements then agitating all classes. Without seeking office himself, he rapidly mastered the situation, identifying himself with the people, and acquiring a reputation as a journalist, teacher, and speaker. He was elected State Superintendent of Public Education in 1872, for four years.
EDUCATION IN THE PAST. LOUISIANA was admitted into the Union as a State in 1812. Authority had been given, four years before, to institute ele'mentary schools in each parish. In 1819 they were placed under police juries, and in 1821 under five trustees, appointed by the police jury of each parish from the resident land-owners. During the same year, $800 were annually appropriated to each parish for such schools, which sum could be increased by a local tax on the property of the parish. From 1833 to 1846 the General Assembly made the Secretary of State Superintendent of Public Education, and enacted other school legislation. The results, however, were not satisfactory. In his report, dated March 10, 1846, Hon. Charles Gayarre, then State Superintendent, said: “I am fully satisfied that, except in some parts of the State, the existing system has not produced the beneficent results which were expected from it, that it is extremely vicious and imperfect, so far as it applies to the county parishes, and that there has been a lavish expenditure of the public money to comparatively little purpose.” Accordingly, in 1847, a new bill was passed by the Legislature to establish free public schools for all white children between six and sixteen years of age. It provided for the appointment of a State Superintendent and Parish Superintendents, the collection of a one-mill tax, and the establishment of a State School Fund out of a consolidation of all land grants (seven hundred and eighty-six thousand and forty-four acres, for common schools) and individual donations made for educational purposes. To these revenues was added, in 1855, a capitation tax of $i on