Imágenes de páginas

also maintained by Boston, for preparing teachers for Primary Schools.

The School Fund was first provided for in 1834, out of the sale of lands in Maine, and claims of the State on the Government of the United States for military services. It was originally limited to $1,000,000, but the maximum has been steadily raised from time to time, and the fund now amounts to more than $2,000,000. It is in charge of a Board of Commissioners, consisting of the Secretary of the Board of Education, and the Treasurer and Receiver-General. One moiety of it is distributed in proportion to the number of children between five and fifteen years of age, and the other moiety is used for the support of Normal Schools, Teachers' Institutes, etc. A special fund is provided for the education of the Indians in the State.

Parents and guardians are compelled, under $20 penalty, to send children in their charge, between the age of eight and fourteen, to school twelve weeks every year; no person can be excluded from the public schools on account of race, color, or religion. Towns and cities are required to provide for the education of orphans and children of drunken parents. The daily reading of the Bible is required in the schools of the State.


The acts passed during the last session of the Legislature may be summed up as follows:

ist. The School Committee of any city may appoint and fix the compensation of a Superintendent of Public Schools, and in every city where a Superintendent is appointed, the School Committee shall receive no compensation.

2d. Truant officers are authorized to serve legal processes.

3d. City and other authorities are forbidden under a penalty of not exceeding $500, to grant licenses to exhibitions or shows where children under fifteen years of age are employed as acrobats, contortionists, or in any feats of gymnastics or equestrianism.

4th. A recommendation of the Board of Education for the appointing of District Superintendents, and the imposition of a State school tax of one half a mill on a dollar were defeated.


years of

The following table shows the educational progress made by Massachusetts in ten years' time :

1862-'63. 1872-'73. Number of children between five and fifteen

age in the State..... 238,381.... 287,090 Average attendance.....


202,882 Ratio of attendance to the whole num

ber of children between five and fif. teen, expressed in decimals.......

76.... 70.67 Amount of money raised by taxes for

the support of common schools....$1,434,015 20....$3,889,053 80 Number of public schools..


5,305 Number of male teachers...


1,028 Number of female teachers..

9,071 ....

7,421 Average wages of male teachers...

$44 87.... $93 65 Average wages of female teachers.....

34 14 Average length of schools in months and days.....


8.08 Amount of School Fund.....

$892,007 83.... $1,627,388 86 Number of incorporated academies...


71 Average number of scholars in same.. 2,788....


18 90....

It has been decided to establish at Newburyport, Mass., a University of Modern Languages, for the purpose of affording pupils facilities for obtaining instruction in the principal modern languages of America, Europe, and Asia. The buildings are to be completed immediately, and it is expected they will be ready in September. James W. Preston, of Boston, has been chosen Secretary of the institution, and Hon. Oliver Warner, of Massachusetts, Rev. Asa Dalton, rector of St. Stephen's Church, Portland, and C. Cummings, Esq., of Medford, Mass., have been elected Vice-Presidents of the University. It is expected that a large number of foreign pupils, who are now pursuing their studies in various parts of the country, will enter the school.


DANIEL B. BRIGGS, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Michigan, was born at Adams, Berkshire County, Mass., February 13, 1829. He pursued his studies preparatory to a collegiate classical course at Lenox Academy, and graduated from Williams College, Massachusetts, in 1848. Subsequently he studied and practiced law. He was Principal of the High School in his native town during 1852 and 1853. He removed to Romeo, Macomb County, Michigan, in March, 1854, and had charge of the Dickinson Institute (formerly a branch of the State University), located at that place, during the years 1855-'58, inclusive. He was called to Ann Arbor, Mich., and had the Superintendency of the Public Schools of that city for the years 1859 and 1860, and from 1861 to 1865, inclusive, was Superintendent of the Public Schools at Jackson, Mich.

He was elected County Superintendent of Schools for Macomb County, in April, 1867, and re-elected in 1869, serving four years in that capacity, and during his latter term in that office was President of the State Association of County Superintendents. In November, 1872, he was elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction for two years.


The Constitution with which Michigan was received into the Union as a State (1837), provided for a State Superintendent of Public Instruction, for township libraries, and for common schools in each school district, for at least three months in every year, and consecrated the proceeds of all land grants for educational purposes, to such purposes and no other. The framers had, many of them, received the advantages of good schools in the Eastern and Middle States, and appreciated the importance of education. In 1838 a School Journal was started. In 1839 a School Convention was called, which was followed by county teachers' associations. In 1853 the State Teachers' Association was organized. In 1839 a State Normal School was founded. The new Constitution of 1850 adhered to the cardinal educational features of the first Constitution, and stipulated in addition that the Legislature should provide within five years for the establishment of “a system of Primary Schools, without charge for tuition, for at least three months in each year, all instruction to be conducted in the English language."


The present system of Public Instruction embraces :

First. Primary Schools, so extended and so expansive in their organization as to meet the wants of five thousand three


hundred rural districts, and at the same time by allowing of gradation in three hundred and eleven villages and cities to fill up all the educational demands below the University, and special schools, doing away with the necessity of incorporated academies and college preparatory schools.

Second. The Union and High Schools.
Third. The State University, with its professional schools.
Fourth. State Agricultural College at Lansing, Mich.

Fifth. State Normal School at Ypsilanti. The Superintendent of Instruction says, in his last Annual Report, "the benign influences of the Public School System are well understood and appreciated throughout the Commonwealth.

The liberal appropriations which are made for the maintenance of our State educational institutions, and the free expenditure of money in our cities and villages for the erection of costly school buildings, with the unstinted support which the schools receive, are sufficient evidence of the popular sentiment."

The State Superintendent of Instruction has the general supervision of Public Instruction in the State. His duties are specified by legislative enactment, and he is required to make an annual report of the condition of educational affairs in the State.

The Regents of the University of Michigan, eight in number, elected by the people for eight years, have the general supervision of the University, and the direction and control of all expenditures from the University Fund.

The State Board of Education, consisting of three members, one elected at each biennial election for six years, has the general supervision of the State Normal School.

The Board af Visitors to the University of Michigan, consists of three persons appointed biennially by the Superintendent of Public Instruction, to make an annual critical examination into the condition and affairs of the University, and report accordingly to the Superintendent.

There are fifty-six County Superintendents in the State. Counties with less than ten districts have Town Inspectors.

The Township Boards consist of three members each.

The School Fund, comprising the proceeds of every thirtysixth section of land, is distributed in proportion to children in districts that had a legal school during the previous year. The whole number of children of school age in the State, as

[ocr errors]

reported by the returns of 1873, is four hundred and twenty-one thousand three hundred and twenty-two, and the number upon which the apportionment was made for this year (1874) is four hundred and seventeen thousand four hundred and sixty-four, at fifty cents per child.

The school year begins on the first Monday in September. By a recent amendment to the original law, districts with less than thirty children are required to have three months school; with from thirty to eight hundred children, five months; and with over eight hundred children, nine months free school. Age, of itself, excludes no one from the privileges of the public schools; but in census returns a school child is between the ages of five and twenty years.


The compulsory school law of Michigan compels parents and guardians, or others having control of children, to send all between the ages of eight and fourteen years to school twelve weeks every year, unless physically incapacitated, or unless it is shown to the satisfaction of the School Board that the children are taught in a private school or at home. The penalty is not less than five dollars or more than ten dollars for the first offense, nor less than ten dollars or more than twenty dollars for the second and every subsequent offense, the fines to go to educational purposes.


The Primary School Law was so amended during the last session of the Legislature as to authorize a special meeting within two months previous to the annual meeting, to decide upon the length of school and sex of teachers. This gives rural districts that wish to have a fall term of school, an opportunity to perfect their arrangements in season, and allow the School Boards in graded districts to make all the necessary provisions for the ensuing school year, some time previous to the first Monday in September, which is the usual time of opening their schools. Section 5 was so amended as to require district officers to be chosen by ballot. Section 65 was so amended as to provide that the Board shall open the school-house for public meetings, unless by a vote of a dis

« AnteriorContinuar »