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each free white male inhabitant over twenty-one years old. Still this new school system did not find favor.
A sparse population, and the antagonisms existing between the white and negro populations, together with other causes, stayed the progress of education until the war came on, when it was almost wholly arrested.
EDUCATION AFTER THE WAR. The Constitution adopted in 1868 provided that a State Superintendent of Public Education should be elected for four years ; furthermore, that all the children of the State, between six and twenty-one years, should be admitted to the public schools or other institutions of learning sustained or established by the State in common, without regard to race, color, or previous condition.
In harmony with the above, the General Assembly passed “An Act, No. 121, approved March 10, 1869, to regulate public education in the State of Louisiana, and to raise revenue for the support of the same."
This act provided for the appointment of a State Board of Education, consisting of the Superintendent of Public Education, and of one member from each Congressional District in the State, and two from the State at large, under the management of which board all schools established and maintained by the State should be placed.
The act further provided for the division of the State into districts, six in number, and for the appointment of Division Superintendents, one for each Congressional District, to whom was intrusted the supervision and general management of the schools in their respective districts, subject to the direction and control of the State Board of Education.
Provision was further made for the appointment, by the State Board of Education, of District Boards of School Directors for each school district in the State, who were empowered to establish and control the schools in their respective districts, subject to the supervision of the Division Superintendents.
To carry into effect this new school act, a two-mill tax on the taxable property in the State was authorized and directed, leaving it with the electors to raise, or refuse to raise, a voluntary additional local tax necessary for erecting or hiring school buildings. But little was accomplished the following year,
owing to the unsettled affairs of the State, resulting from the late war.
However, the State organization, viz., State Board of Education, was perfected, and Division Superintendents appointed, also many of the parish and town or district school boards organized. The principal educational event of the year was the enforcement of the rights of the colored children to admission into the schools.
PRESENT SCHOOL SYSTEM, The General Assembly of the State, at its extra session of 1870, repealed the provisions of Act No. 121, approved March 10, 1869, which necessitated the reorganization of the whole system, and substituted Act No. 6, approved March 16, 1870. Section three of this act requires the Governor to immediately appoint, on the nomination of the State Superintendent of Public Education, with the consent and advice of the Senate, one Division Superintendent for each of the divisions (Congressional Districts) and one for the city of New Orleans. Term of service, three years. Salary, $2,500 per annum.
Section four provides that the six Division Superintendents, with the State Superintendent of Education, should constitute a State Board of Education. The State Superintendent is, ex officio, President of the Board, and its executive officer.
The State Board of Education appoints Parish, City, Town, and District Boards of School Directors; (2) makes all needful rules and regulations for the government of the public schools throughout the States; (3) sees to the enforcement of the constitutional provisions relative to the admission of children into the schools, without regard to race, color, or previous condition; and (4) recommends a uniform series of text-books, and prescribes a course of study for the schools.
The State Superintendent has the custody of all the State educational documents, files the papers and reports submitted by the Division Superintendents of the several divisions, keeps records of all matters pertaining to his office, makes a report to the General Assembly at each session, and appoints a secretary, at a salary of $3,000 per annum. His own salary is $5,000 per annum, and he is elected for four years. He is charged with the general supervision of the Division Superintendents, and the carrying into effect of the school system, holding meetings
with the Division Superintendents in the several divisions of the State at least once a year. He issues teachers' certificates of qualification, apportions the current school fund, and examines and approves all plans for school buildings.
Division Superintendents have the general supervision of all the public schools within their respective divisions, subject to the rules and regulations of the State Board, and direction of the State Superintendent. They examine teachers, issue certificates of qualification, valid for one year for their respective divisions, hold Teachers' Institutes, organize Teachers' Associations, audit treasurers' accounts, make reports to the State Board and State Superintendent of Public Education, transmit to District Boards of School Directors or teachers, all blanks, circulars, and communications from the State Superintendent or State Board of Education, and entertain and decide all appeals taken from District School Boards to the State Board of Education.
Boards of School Directors elect a president, secretary, and treasurer from among their members, the treasurer giving a $5,000 bond, establish and maintain schools in their respective districts, make and carry into effect contracts with teachers and others, receive and disburse all school moneys, superintend and visit schools, and make reports to the Division Superintendent and State Superintendent, as called for from time to time.
Section forty-four provides that the Bible shall not be excluded from the public schools, but no pupil shall be required to read it contrary to the wishes of parents or guardians.
The school month consists of four weeks of five days each.
LEGISLATION DURING 1874.
Act 123 provides that the revenues of each year shall be for the expenses of each year respectively, and that School Directors shall be appointed from the City of New Orleans at large, instead of from Representative Districts, as before. It makes provision for the special examination of applicants for position of teacher in the Normal and High Schools, and the grading of the teachers in the Grammar, Intermediate, and Primary Schools; and for the appointment and removal, suspension and reinstatement, of teachers.
Section five provides for the appointment of an Assistant
Division Superintendent for the Sixth Division, New Orleans; salary, $2,500 per annum.
Section nine provides that in case of failure on the part of the Mayor and Administrators to cause to be levied and collected the school tax, as provided, the failure shall render his or their offices ipso facto vacant. The Governor shall fill the same by appointment.
Act 122, section one, provides that all Town and City Boards of School Directors be abolished, except the New Orleans City Board, and that the Parish (county) Boards of School Directors perform the duties of the abolished boards; also that no School Director shall officiate or draw salary as teacher.
Section four authorizes the State Board of Education to designate what text-books shall be used in the public schools.
Section five provides for the enumeration of the scholastic youths in the State to be made under the supervision of the State Board.
The General Assembly of 1874 also passed Act No. 125, to carry into effect the purposes of the donation by the United States of public lands for the benefit of Agricultural and Mechanical Arts, and to establish a college for that purpose.
EDUCATIONAL PROGRESS, The following figures show the progress made since the present school system went into effect:
1873-'74. Number of Normal Schools in the State. .... School districts in the State.....
483 School-houses erected during the year. Estimated total value of school-houses.
$573,510 00 Pupils enrolled in the schools.
57,433 Male teachers employed..
865 Average wages. .
$42 50 Female teachers employed. .
611 Average wages. Amount of State School Fund.
$1,050,000 00 Number of illiterate children...
92,105 Legal school age....
..6 to 21....
6 to 21 Average cost for schooling for each scholar...
$12 811 Total receipts for school purposes..
$678,473 52 Total expenditures. .
Hon. WARREN JOHNSON, State Superintendent of Common Schools, was born December 24, 1830. He fitted for college at Farmington Academy, and entered Bowdoin College in 1850, graduating in 1854. He then served one year as Principal of Foxcroft Academy, and two years as Tutor in Bowdoin College. In the fall of 1857 he established what is now known as “ Johnson Family School for Boys," at Topsham, of which school he continued in charge until appointed to his present position in April, 1868. He was re-appointed State Superintendent in 1871, and again in 1874.
EDUCATION IN PAST YEARS.
The first Constitution of Maine (1820), stipulated that the several towns should provide, at their own expense, for the maintenance of public schools, academies, seminaries of learning and colleges. Upon the following year the Legislature required the towns to raise a school tax, which amounted to at least forty cents for each inhabitant. This fund was apportioned under local agents appointed by each town, for the support of public schools, "equally free and accessible to all between the ages of four and twenty-one years.” Superintending committees exercised a general supervision of school affairs.
In 1825, the selectmen were required to make returns once in three years to the Secretary of State, of the number of school children, the number in actual attendance, and the amount expended for school purposes in their respective towns. In 1828, twenty townships of the State lands were set apart to be sold for the establishment of a permanent School Fund. In 1834, towns were permitted, by legislative enactment, to dispense with local agents, and place all their schools under one Board. In 1846, a State Board of Education was instituted, and the first Teachers' Institute was held. These, however, continued in existence only a few years. The State Teachers' Association had been organized eight years before. In 1863, a State Normal School was opened at Farmington. Two years later a second one was founded at Castine. In 1869, the office of County Supervisor was established, but subsequently abolished.