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will be smothered under the wet blanket of a formal course of lectures, and an occasional promenade of young ladyhood through the school-houses of the city.
To supplement the course of high-normal instruction in our colleges, superior academies, and State normal schools, and the high and training-schools of cities and large villages, our system of school institutes should be reorganized, and vigorously worked by the central school authority of the State. State taxation, State supervision, State examination of teachers, is now the absolute demand of our American system of public instruction. And the central board, that has oversight of the whole field, should control the institutes that carrry the best methods of instruction to the remotest country village. The institute should be nothing less than a perfect normal school on wheels; handled systematically and only by first-rate experts; combined with the ex amination of teachers for service in country schools. We are glad to know that the new superintendent of the board of education of Massachusetts, Mr. Dickinson, has this problem well in hand; and we look to his administration to greatly awaken and inspire the country district schools of that Commonwealth.
The profession of pedagogy is the latest comer among the liberal professions of this country. The law, theology, and medicine are already so crowded with partially and well-educated candidates, that the people are able to select the wheat from the chaff. No community of any considerable pretension is now compelled to take up with a pettifoger for its lawyer, a quack for its doctor, or an ignorant gospel-ranter for its minister. The objective point of our system of normal education is to stimulate the preparation of teachers, by agencies, public and private, popular and collegiate, till the same
“ glut in the market” enables the school committees to go into the field and choose the best the money supplied by the people will command.
Till this is achieved, the vision of Horace Mann will not be realized; and the common school will flounder on through a melancholy slough of expensive incompetency, towards the promised land. The bottom economy of the public school is to invest and re-invest in the teaching man or woman who is the center of the children's world. For all good things follow a living soul; and a race of teachers competent to handle Young America in his day of preparation for the coming century, will draw after it the model school-house,—the best aids and surroundings,— all things needed by that teaching man and woman to furnish the model citizen, who shall see that the reconstructed republic “receives no harm.”
THE EDUCATIONAL OUTLOOK, AND ITS
BY A. P. STONE, A.M.,
After more than two hundred and fifty years of our country's history; after a well-rounded century since the keel of our ship of State was laid; after a varied trial of a system of education for the people, and by the people, — a system in some respects new, crude, and defective; after such events, assembled as we are, colaborers in the cause of education and improvement, and seeking mutual interchange of thought and experience, it is not unfitting that we should inquire
“Watchman, what of the night ?” Let us, then, take a bird's-eye view of the present educational outlook, and the lessons it suggests; and before so doing, a threefold remark may be made as prefatory to what shall follow:
1. The proprieties of this occasion demand brevity in this as in other papers presented.
2. As a consequence of the above, the subject being a broad one, its treatment must be in. outline and by suggestion, rather than by fullness of discussion and detail.
3. An interpretation of the lessons which the topic enjoins must be emphasized, as having a practical bearing upon the duties of the hour.
4. This is not a paper of statistics.
Whoever would fully understand the status of our educational affairs at the present time, must not only, like the seeker after a beautiful country, look around him, but must also explore the pages of educational history. This is, however, by no means my present purpose, but it will amply repay the inquirer who would be master of the situation. To appreciate fully what our educational agencies are, what are their capabilities and defects, — to know why some features have survived intact, while others have been greatly modified or have utterly perished, one must begin with the school, the family, and the town meeting, of the Puritan, the Knickerbocker, and the pioneer whose star led him with his household gods, his Bible, and his spelling-book, into the wilderness of the far West; and must there trace the thread of varied events down to the present, even to the year of grace 1877, which witnessed the assembling, and the adjournment, also, of the New York Legislature.
We have no national system of education; and the relation of our General Government to the schools is of a character almost wholly negative. Perhaps this is all for the best; for when we remember the fate of most measures for the public good that have been taken in hand by the average Congress, we ought to thank God, that the existence and welfare of our educational institutions do not depend upon that sehool for politicians, which meets annually upon the banks of the Potomac on the first Monday in December.
Yet the spirit of our government is in favor of popular education, which, however, it would not seek to
control, but would rather leave to the fostering care of the several States and municipalities. Without discussing the question whether this is the true doctrine, it certainly is to be regretted that our government does not, through its Congress, do more for the encouragement of education, — a work which certainly belongs to the proper function of government, and one for which our own Government has great capabilities and ample means, without any direct expense to the people.
There are really but two educational measures for which we have occasion to thank our Congress. Some fifteen years ago, the government made a grant of public lands to the several States for the encouragement of agricultural and industrial education. This has resulted, in a majority of the States, in the establishment and organization of industrial colleges and departments, which have made a good beginning in that branch of education hitherto comparatively new in this country, and one evidently destined to occupy a large share of attention, and to accomplish grand results in giving a broad and progressive character to our educational system and policy. In this respect it surpasses, in importance and fruitful promise, all recent educational enactments. It is hardly necessary to mention, although it is a pleasure to do so here, that the leading champion of this measure on the floor of Congress, the person by whose efforts it was carried through to success, was Senator J. S. Morrill of this State.
Another measure of great importance, if allowed to be developed, is the National Bureau of Education at Washington. This did not originate in Congress, but grew out of the expressed wants of teachers and working educators of the country. As an agency for the collection, systematizing, and interpretation of all kinds