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The amendment to the constitution, proposed last year by A. Earthman, was briefly discussed, and action upon it postponed for one year.
Brief reports upon educational progress throughout the state, were made by Messrs. W. D. Parker, H. H. Drury, H. C. Howland, B. M. Reynolds, L. H. Briggs, H. Barns, D. E. Gardner, E. A. Charlton, O. Arey, G. S. Albee, J. K. Purdy, J. M. Rait and C, H. Allen.
Ex-Governor Fairchild making his appearance in the room, he was called out and addressed the teachers in a few well-timed remarks.
After a recess of ten minutes, Miss Martha A. Terry read an essay on the subject “Woman's Wages for Teaching.”
The discussion upon this subject was commenced by A. F. North, who paid a high compliment to women as teachers, citing several cases which had come to his personal knowledge, and which led him to the conclusion that, in many respects, women were fully the equals of men, and in certain qualifications were undoubtedly their superiors.
He was followed by Miss Ella Stewart, upon the same subject.
The President then announced that the session would divide itself into two sections—the High School section to repair to the Senate Chamber; the Intermediate and Primary section to remain in the Assembly Chamber.
High School Section. W. D. Parker in the chair.
A paper upon “ The Self-reporting System,” was read by W.C. Whitford, and the discussion provoked thereby, was participated in by Messrs. J. K. Purdy, H. A. Hobart, E. E. Ashley and G. M. Bowen.
W. D. Parker presented a paper on “ School Economy,” and A. Salisbury one on “ Rhetorical Exercises.” The latter subject was further discussed by Messrs. A. 0. Wright and W. A. De La Matyr.
Intermediate and Primary Section. R. Graham in the chair.
Mrs. H. E. G. Arey read an essay, entitled “ The Child,” indicating the education our children so much need.
The subject here introduced was discussed by Messrs. J.Q. Emery and A. Earthman, both taking strong grounds against our present style of primary instruction, and in favor of the so-called Kindergarten method.
Owing to the absence of Miss Anna M. Moody, who was detained at home by the sickness of her sister, D. McGregor gave a Model Drill in Arithmetic, taking up the subject of Decimal Notation.
He was followed by C. H. Allen, who pointed out the necessity of training pupils more thoroughly in the use of the ten digits.
Adjourned to 7:30 P. M.
C. H. Allen offered the following report which was adopted :
Your committee to whom was referred the distribution of the subjects alluded to in the President's address, recommend the appointment of the following committees:
On Illustrative Teaching-0. Arey, Carrie E. Adams, Ella Stewart, Maria S. Hill.
C. H. ALLEN,
Committee. A. Earthman offered the following report which was accepted but not farther acted upon:
COUNTY ACADEMIES. Your committee, to whom was referred the subject of county academies, beg leave to report:
During the legislative session of 1871, the chairman of the assembly committee
on education, made a report in which he recommended the establishment of county academies, with a normal department attached. And the basis for such recommendation is given in said report in the following language;
“Have we a sufficient corps of skillful and efficient teachers? Any one who has visited our schools and understands but the rudiments of pedagogics, will answer
How can it be otherwise More than 90 per cent. of our teachers have never received any instruction in the art and science of teaching, 40 per cent. are new and inexperienced, changing their places every term, looking upon the schoolroom as a mere make-shift for the present. Need we wonder that their hearts and souls are not with their calling, that they are slaves to their text-books, and seem to believe that their whole duty consists in hearing recitations ?”
Then the report cites the language of President Phelps, of Winona normal school, as follows:
“While much has been done for the improvement of elementary instruction, especially in cities and larger towns, as a whole, the schools forming the lower part of our system, are deplorably deficient. They are mainly in the hands of ignorant, unskilled teachers. The children are fed upon the mere husks of knowledge. Poor schools and poor teachers are in the majority throughout the country. Multitudes of schools are so poor that it would be as well for the country if they were closed. They waste its resources. They are little else than instruments for the formation of mental deformities. They repress the native aspiration of the child for knowledge. They foster habits of indifference and carelessness, which are the bane of his future life. That the inefficient and worthless character of so many of these lower schools, is a prolific cause of ignorance, is proved by the fact that whenever good schools take their places, a large increase of attendance at once occurs, and the noble army of trual:ts and absentees’ is correspondingly diminished.”
Certainly a deplorable state of affairs, calling with the voice of thunder for a remedy, and that a speedy one. Will the establishment of County Academiesor better, County Normal Schools-rid us of this crying evil of the hour? If so, is such measure advisable at the present time? Let us see.
Much has of late been done in our state to elevate and improve the standard of our common schools. Institutes-long and short term—have been held and are being held in various parts of the state, reaching thousands of teachers by their influence; teachers associations have sprung up in many counties; educational columns are daily becoming more numerous among the newspapers of the country; and the late enactment of the legislature to admit graduates of graded schools to our State University, cannot fail but have a salutary influence upon all of our common schools.
Three Normal Schools are, at present, in running order; and, although it is claimed that they do not benefit the schools in the rural districts, it will perhaps not be denied that they are furnishing many of our graded schools with skillful teachers, and if a remedy is to be applied to the sore and vulnerable points in our school system, let the process be commenced with the graded schools. If our Normal Schools will give to this State a class of teachers for our graded schools, who will carry with them normal methods of teaching, and a heart full of the love of the most noble work on earth, they will accomplish their mission, at least in a great measure, and will do much to bring about in our rural districts a change for the better.
With these agencies at our disposal, do we need any more? What the necessities of the times demand, is not so much the establishment of new agencies, as the thorough and universal application of those already at hand. Our educational machinery is far too complicated already, and it were useless to make it more so. Let the means we have, be lifted out of their present chaotic state and be systematized, and the cry for the establishment of more will fall to the ground.
Again: If County Normal Schools were established in the different counties of our State, where would we obtain the teaching force needed? Is it not true that of all the instructors at present employed in our State Normal Schools, scarcely one has received Normal training himself? Is it not true that the Board of Normal Regents find it difficult sometimes to fill the places of instructors in those schools with suitable persons? Is it not true that the proper institute workers are not readily obtained?
Another consideration must enter into a discussion upon this subject. Will the people be in favor of the establishment of the proposed schools? The legislative report estimates that an expenditure of $200,000 will be involved in the experiment; would our people be found willing to tax themselves to that amount, knowing that our present facilities and advantages are but half used? The opposition to our present system is already great, in many quarters; and it will certainly not be considered wise to endanger the existence of what we have, by endeavoring to force upon the people the establishment of another addition to our educational apparatus, the workings of which must necessarily be enshrouded in doubt.
Finally, we must not overlook the fact that we have on our statute book a law looking to the establishment of town high schools, which has, up to the present time, been almost a dead letter. Now, as long as the people are loth to even make a trial of the township system, although it has been recommended time and again, by the highest authorities in this and other states, would it be wise to cumber our system by the enactment of another law which must necessarily be of the same permissory character, and which would no more be acted upon by the people than the present law for the establishment of high schools? We think not.
For the reasons above given, your committee are of the opinion that it would be impolitic, at the present time, to favor, or ask for, the enactment of any law having in view the establishment of the county academies proposed. All of which is respectfully submitted,
On Resolutions—0. R. Smith, W. A. De La Matyr, J. C. Yocum.
Rev. J. L. Dudley, of Milwaukee, then delivered a lecture upon“ Conscience and Culture,” with the former left out, it being-according to the speaker—too dry & subject for this hot weather.
The style of the speaker being so very peculiar, and the fact that he occupied a position right in front of the Secretary's desk, the Secretary acknowledges that he was entirely unable to take down a synopsis of the lecture, and therefore takes the liberty to introduce into this report the following from the State Journal:
" Rev. J. L. Dudley, of Milwaukee, was then introduced, and delivered an admirable address on Conscience and Culture, which was sparkling, thoughtful, quaint and wise. He said he wished to be instructive rather than etertaining. Everybody was trying to do something. The great business of life was to get ready to do something. This tendency in life invaded the schools. He knew it was well to have professional schools for ministers, lawyers and doctors; he wished there were more polytechnic schools.
"The tendency was toward specialties. In colleges boys were permitted to select certain studies. He doubted the propriety of this. He hoped we should ere long have a National University for post graduates. He thought the tendencies to specialties should stop. Primary schools should be mainly to prepare the mind to do anything. When an engine was constructed, it was not to do a special thing, but to get power, to do anything. Primary instruction should be held to this object. What we needed was culture. What he meant by culture was that which made the man and woman more than the vocation. It was the power waked up and harnessed, ready for the summons. Culture was the hunger and thirst of the fine fibres of the roots of the heart, shooting out beyond for sustenance. This made the man more than the artisan. This made mere builders rise to the scale of architects. Ceasing to be artisans, instructors would be artists. Through culture the teacher rose from instruction to inspiration. That was one of God's grand words. The inspired rose from knowledge-gatherers to knowledge-creators. If an engineer wanted a ten-horse engine he put in a thirty-horse boiler to prevent jerks and irregularity. So too the teacher should have a surplus power, know more than he taught. It was so with a bank account. The prudent man had a surplus on deposit in excess of paper out. Culture kindled enthusiasm. Culture was the charm and contagion of personal influence. Culture wooed and won the mental passion of the whole school-room. The birds flocked in October in the sunny places, preparing to fly South; so the teacher
warmed the air in the school-room. Culture propagated knowledge. It did not like the book; it was the aroma exuding; the purple and gold in all the skies. He remembered the time when it was thought that this world was built by a great antagonist, or antagonistic forces (we
did not hear all the speaker's words), until he learned better. We should study nature, should know our own country.
“ He knew what teachers said about pay and half pay. That was right. They should keep saying it. If it did'nt come they would go to the legislature and ask for a subsidy to pay for travel in a foreign land. [Applause.] One difficulty about teaching was that some regarded it as a temporary occupation. This should not be. They should learn to love the profession. Referring to the platform, pulpit and press, he said the platform was for the speaker. The pulpit asks for culture. The old worn out technics of theology are gone. Journalism should be broad, high, touching all the ranges of thought; not for Grant or Greely or the other. He did not know who the other was. [Applause.] Scientific men would be better if they would read Emerson, Coleridge, the Bible. They should get more oxygen, which made quick and excellent blood. So with artists. A shoemaker would make a better shoe if he was educated; the doctor becomes a magician who understands nature. In every school there should be general exercises each day, and the teacher should lecture for half an hour. In this way general ļaws would be inculcated. In this way a fine wine, a phrenzy, could be breathed into the child, and he would never be lonely, but always be company wherever he was. We should arouse the instinct of a child.
Lectures might be on business; on international law, citizenship, civilizationbreathing a frenzy in everybody's mind. This would be useful. We wanted to make men and women-citizens. What we did not want was sectarian schools; what we never would submit to was theological schools supported at public expense. [Applause.] No class institution, based upon race or caste, but all should be educated
and shaken up together, and then they would know each other in after life. What we wanted in this country was the greatest manhood and womanhood ever known on earth. Life and power should be forced into schools. War had done a great deal for the land. This capital was ablaze with names and deeds. We have done much for civilization. There was coming a stress in this land. The siege trains were to come up yet. The soldiers were to be trained in our public schools, and they knew that our public schools vouched for victory. He alluded to a paper read there on Kindergartens. He knew how we were getting nervous here and running down to early imbecility. No child should be put to think until they were eight years old. They should be put in clover fields and be chasing bumble bees, whether they caught them or not. [Applause.] A child who had attended Kindergarten got knowledge in his blood. He knew truth when he afterwards saw it in books.
“ Five qualites were requisite in teachers: High mindedness, deep heartedness, lofty moral sense, tact and devotion.
“He came to learn about teachers, and was glad he came. He felt that he knew now about Wisconsin teachers and schools. The teachers were a power. They were sceptered, and when the fight came they would be heard. No education was perfect except it stimulated. No life work was done so long as anything was left that could be done better. He bade them go forth to their work, and hoped the blue sky would bend over them; the beautiful flowers spring up at their feet; beautiful fingers weave chaplets for them, and bright jewels shine in their crowns." Adjourneå to Thursday A. M.
THURSDAY, July 11th, 9 A. M. Session opened with prayer by Rev. J. B. Pradt.
Reports of committees and other business being called for, Messrs. Graham, Albee, Charlton, and Wright, Chairmen, respectively of the committees on Mixed Schools, Teaching Forces, Course of Study, and Increase of School Fnnd, were allowed one year's time for the preparation of their reports.
W. D. Parker offered the following nominations which were confirmed: Committee on Kindergarten.-G. S. Albee, E. A. Charlton, O. Arey. On National University.-Dr. J. W. Hoyt, A. H. Weld, J. C. Pickard. Dr. J. W. Hoy: addressed the association upon the subject of the establishment of a National University, and offered a resolution which will appear in the report of the committee on Resolutions.
0. R. Smith offered the following, which was adopted: “WHEREAS, We believe all children in the State ought to be fitted for the duties of citizenship; and
“WHERAS, The State, recognizing its obligation to discharge the duty of thus fitting the children, has established its public school system, and also its special schools for the Bind and the Deaf and Dumb; and
“WHEREAS, There is another large class whose infirmities demand special modes of instruction that cannot be given in our public schools ; therefore
“ Resolved, That the State Teacher's Association hereby reaffirms its often-expressed conviction that it is the duty of the State to speedily provide a school for the education of the Idiotic and Feeble-minded children of Wisconsin."
G. S. Albee offered the following:
“ Resolved, That it is expedient for the best interests of schools and teachers, that a committee of three be appointed to act as an Intelligence Bureau, for the mutual accommodation of teachers and school officers in securing desirable workers and desirable positions.”
Adopted, and the committee appointed as follows : G. S. Albee, Oshkosh ; A. Earthman, Reedsburg; J. Q. Emery, Grand Rapids.
The Business session being closed, T. C. Chamberlin presented “The Mental Faculties neglected in School ;” after which a discussion on “Course of Study," by Alex. Kerr and C. F. Viebahn took place.
After a recess of ten minutes and the singing of "Cast thy Bread upon the Waters,” the question “ To what Extent should the Bible be used in Schools ?” was discussed by S. Fallows, 0. Arey and M. Montague-all three taking strong ground in favor of reading the Scriptures.
Superintendent J. L. Pickard, of Chicago, being invited to address the association, availed himself of the invitation by giving a brief sketch of the work of the past year in the city of Chicago, as connected with the public schools. He paid a fitting tribute to the heroic sacrifices made by the teachers of the city and stated that the schools of Chicago are actually in a better condition to-day than they were last September, before the fire swept away fifteen of those magnificent schoolhouses, for which Chicago is sojustly noted. 0. Arey offered the following:
Resolved, That the president appoint a committee of three, whose duty it shall be to report at each annual meeting upon the condition and improved methods in education."
Adopted, and committee appointed as follows:
The election of officers being next in order, a ballot was taken for president, with the following result:
Whole number of votes cast, 125; necessary to a choice, 63. J. K, Purdy received 52; D. McGregor, 48; W. A. De La Matyr, 24; scattering, 1.
There being no choice, another ballot was taken, resulting as follows:
Whole number of votes cast, 119; necessary to a choice, 60. J. K. Purdy received 73; D. McGregor, 43; scattering, 1.
J. K. Purdy was thereupon declared elected president of the Wisconsin State Teachers' Association for the ensuing year. Being called out, he came forward and thanked the Association for the honor conferred upon him.
J. H. Terry the offered the following report:
Your committee on nominations would recommend the election of the following persons as officers of the Wisconsin Teachers' Association for the ensuing year: For Vice Presidents-D. MoGregor, T. C. ('hamberlin and Ella M. Stewart.
Secretary-M. T. Park.
Executive Committee-S. Shaw, G. S. Albee, C. H. Allen, W. H. Chandler and A. Salisbury.
J. H. TERRY,
Committee. Report accepted; the secretary cast the ballot for the Association and the above named persons declared elected.
It being after 1 o'clock, the section work was postponed till 3 o'clock P. M., to which time the Association adjourned.
High School Section. Owing to the absence of several of the appointees, but little business was done, Two papers were read-one by G. 8. Albee, on the “ State School System,” and the other by Geo. Peck, on“ Frequent Examination of Scholars."