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PRESENT SCHOOL SYSTEM.
The school system of the State, as it now exists, embraces the following main features :
The State Superintendent is appointed by the Governor and Council for three years, or during the pleasure of the Executive, at a salary of eighteen hundred dollars annually. He exercises a general supervision of schools, advises and directs town committees, collects and disseminates information relating to school systems, etc., prescribes studies to be taught, acts as superintendent of the State Normal School, holds County Teachers' Institutes, on the application of twenty-five teachers in any county, makes the necessary arrangements for holding State Educational Conventions, and annually presents to the Governor and Council the result of his inquiries, investigations and labors generally.
Superintending School Committees consist of three members in each town, one elected each year for the term of three years. They examine candidates possessed of good moral character in reading, spelling, English grammar, geography, history, arithmetic, book-keeping, and physiology, employ and dismiss teachers for the several districts; prescribe regulations for the studies, books, discipline, and prepare and forward to the State Superintendent an annual report of the condition of the schools for the year, the proficiency made by the pupils, and the success attending the modes of instruction and government of the teachers. They are likewise required to make out an annual statement containing the following among other particulars : the amount of money raised and expended for the support of schools in their respective towns, average length of summer and winter schools, and number and wages of male and female teachers. They are allowed one dollar and fifty cents a day, and all necessary traveling expenses when in the performance of their duties. Instead of such Committee, however, any town is authorized to choose a Supervisor of Schools, whose duties and pay are as above.
School Agents are elected by towns or districts. They look after the school-houses, provide fuel, etc., keep an account of
the expenditures, and return certified lists of children to Assessors.
Teachers are not entitled to pay for their services until they have deposited with their respective Superintending Committees registers of their schools properly filled up.
The School Fund consists of one quarter of one per cent. tax on all deposits in Savings Banks, one mill per dollar tax on all assessed property in the State, and the interest on the permanent fund. The total amount of the School Fund for the year ending April 12, 1874, was $374,606.
In 1872–3, the Legislature on the advice and recommendation of the State Superintendent, passed an act providing for the establishment of Free High Schools. It stipulated among other things that any town establishing and maintaining a Free High School for ten weeks in a year, should receive from the State one-half the amount actually expended for instruction in said school.
Warren Johnson, the State Superintendent of Common Schools, writes us : “The school revenue has been increased one-third by the direct tax on property of the State. The Common School branches have been enlarged by adding book-keeping and physiology. The Free High School System, established two years, is a great stride towards superior education, and takes the place of the Academy System, thus affording free education to all from the primer to the threshold of the college proper. State uniformity of text-books is settled by the Bath plan,' so called. By this arrangement towns furnish books to the youth free of expense, same as school-houses and tuition. Legislation and public opinion begin to demand better supervision, which in time will give us some efficient agency intermediate between State Superintendent and Town Committees. Compulsory education passed one branch of the Legislature of 1872-3 unchallenged, and failed in the popular branch by only three votes."
No educational legislation of importance took place during
Number of children registered in summer schools.... 141,168
128,134 Number of school districts in the State..
3,967 Number of school-houses...
4,083 Number of school-houses built during the year.
I 22 Cost of the same
$77,003 00 $153,695 00 Number of male teachers employed in summer..
140 “ winter.
1,904 “ female teachers
4,094 " winter
2,327 Average wages of male teachers, excluding board, per month.....
$34 28 Average wages of female teachers, excluding board,
$3 79 Amount of School Fund..
$168,677 00 $319,273 00 Aggregate of expenditure for school purposes.. $833,516 64 $1,147,242 00
LANGUAGE is transformed with time. The French language of our day is not the French of five centuries ago; the Frenchman of to-day must study specially and with dictionaries before he can read the French of the past. So language alters, changes, even when there has been no displacement of population. And all the more when immigration intervenes; if mixture occurs, the language will be altered, and a new language will arise. This new language may differ so much from the primitive one as to appear, at first, to have no resemblance to it. happen not only for one people and for one language, but for many. A language may also become the mother of many different languages. But these daughter languages always preserve something in common with that from which they descended; and men who have made these questions the object of continued study, the linguists, know very well how to discover the filiation.
A Rochester (New York) paper notes the fact that three of the Hamilton College graduates have entered journalism, and goes on to say that “it is a hopeful sign that so many journalists regard a liberal education as a necessary preliminary to their professional duties.”
M. A. NEWELL, Principal of the Maryland State Normal School, Secretary of the State Board of Education, and (ex officio) State Superintendent, was born in Belfast, Ireland, educated at Belfast College, and afterwards at Trinity College, Dublin. He went to Baltimore in 1848, and was appointed Professor of Natural Sciences in Baltimore High School in 1849. He was Professor of Mathematics in Madison College, Pennsylvania, in 1854; and was Principal of the Commercial and Collegiate Institute in Baltimore from 1856 to 1862. During the War he held the Principalship of a City Grammar School. In 1865 he was appointed Principal of the State Normal School, which he then organized. In 1868, on the overthrow of the “Van Bokkelen” school system, he was continued as Principal of the Normal School, and was made State Superintendent without additional salary. In the various changes which have since taken place, he has not been disturbed. He has written six Annual School Reports, which are models of brevity, and is joint author (with Superintendent Creery) of a series of Readers.
EDUCATION IN THE PAST.
MARYLAND was one of the thirteen original States. Her first Constitution, that of 1776, contained no educational provisions. The same was true of that of 1851. So far back, however, as 1723, “ free schools” were established in many of the counties. Subsequently, teachers, as would appear from the following advertisement in the Baltimore Gazette of February, 1774, were subjects of barter and sale: “To be sold, a schoolmaster, an indentured servant that has got two years to serve.—John Hammond, near Annapolis. N. B.-He is sold for no fault, any more than we are done with him. He can learn book-keeping, and is an excellent scholar." In 1825, an Act was passed "to provide for the public instruction of youth in primary schools." It established the offices of State Superintendent, County Commissioners, and School Inspectors. Two years later the office of State Superintendent was abolished.
The Constitution of 1864, the first that made any provision for Free Schools, decreed that Free Schools should be taught in every School District at least six months in each year. It provided for general and local supervision, and fixed an annual tax upon the property of the State, to create a School Fund, to be divided among the counties and the city of Baltimore, according to population, between the ages of five and twenty years. The general supervision was vested in a State Board of
Education, composed of the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, Speaker of the House of Delegates, and State Superintendent of Public Instruction. The local supervision was to be entrusted to School Commissioners selected by the State Board. Acting under the mandates of the Constitution, the General Assembly organized, with great unanimity, a system of Public Instruction to which nc material amendments were made during the two succeeding years. Then followed a series of advancing and retrograding legislative enactments, which had but little effect on the educational interests of the State. In brief, the General Assembly of 1872 repealed the School Act of 1870 (which had repealed the Act of 1868, which, in its turn, had repealed the Act of 1865), and then re-enacted it with but very slig changes.
THE PRESENT SCHOOL SYSTEM.
The law of 1870, modified and re-enacted in 1872, is now in force in the State. The following are its main features, embracing the leading amendments of 1874:
The State Board of Education comprises the Governor, the Principal of the State Normal School, and four persons appointed by the Governor and the Senate jointly. They have the general care and supervision of the Public School interests of the State; act as assistants and advisers of the various County Boards; examine candidates for the office of County Examiner when requested to do so; and grant “professional certificates" to experienced teachers. They receive no salary, and are, ex officio, Trustees of the State Normal School. The Principal of the School is the executive officer of the Board.
The Board of County School Commissioners consists of three persons (in the larger counties, five) appointed by the Judges of the Circuit Courts. They serve for two years, and can be paid per diem for their services a sum not exceeding $100 each a year. They have the general supervision and control of all schools in their respective counties, build and furnish school-houses, fix the salaries of teachers, and purchase and distribute text-books. They elect persons not members, who serve as Secretary, Treasurer, and Examiner. The Secretary corresponds precisely to the County Superintendent elsewhere. He is compelled to devote his whole time to school work, and receives a salary varying from $500 to $2,500.