Letter of transmittal V

Chapter I. Purpose and scope 1

The State and the schools 2

A State program for education 3

Illiteracy in the United States 4

Chapter II. General analysis of school organization and administration 5

State educational organization 5

State boards of education 5

Composition of boards 7

Methods of appointment 8

Size of board, term of office, mode of retiring members 8

Powers and duties of well-organized boards !)

State departments of education 10

The chief State school officer 11

Method of selecting 12

Title—number of assistants 13

Powers and duties 14

Organization for local management of schools 17

The district unit 18

Town and township units 19

The county unit 10

Larger units of organization 19

An effective county organization 20

Subdistrict trustees * 22

The county superintendent of schools 22

^s. Consolidated districts and consolidated schools 2-1

Standardization of rural schools 27

Chapter III. School costs and school support 30

Why school costs have increased 33

Sources of school funds 31

0 State taxes and appropriations 30

Newer types of State taxes 30

Equalization funds 38

/■ Local taxation 40

Chapter IV. School attendance and compulsory attendance laws 41

. Effectiveness of a school system determined by its use 41

if A school census important 43

\ Important provisions of compulsory education and child labor laws 43

J) Illiteracy 47

Children in isolated homes 47

Chapter V. Health and physical education 48

<a Object and scope 40

>= Legislative provisions 51

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Department Of The Interior,

Bureau Of Education, Washington, D. C, December 19, 1926. Sir: Interest in constructive legislation for improving State school systems in the United States apparently increases year by year. While each State sets up a system of public schools responsive to its needs and adapted to its resources, there are many similarities in the legal provisions underlying the establishment of school systems of the different States. Since its establishment the Bureau of Education has promoted desirable unity and assisted school systems considering fundamental changes in organization or practices to follow those proved successful in other systems, when adaptable to their needs. This has been done by the bureau acting in its capacity as a clearing house of information on matters of educational moment. Particularly are State officials and others interested in school legislation desirous of familiarizing themselves with progressive practice in other States in general and concerning special provisions along given lines of interest. The accompanying manuscript has been prepared to serve the purposes indicated during the legislative cycle of 1927, when the majority of our State legislatures will meet. I recommend its publication as a bulletin of the Bureau of Education.

Jno. J. Tigert,

Commissioner. The Secretary Of The Interior.


Chapter I

This manual is printed primarily to present to educational committees of the State legislatures, educators, legislators, and interested citizens, the essentials of a program of educational legislation, statewide in scope, based upon the experiences of the various States during the past several decades.

A large amount of proposed educational legislation is presented at each legislative session. Some of it is desirable, but a large part is not. It is with difficulty that those unfamiliar with school administration can pass upon it and know what ought to be enacted into law and what discarded. It is hoped that this publication will be of assistance in determining action. Topics are discussed in the light of experience of the States with different systems and of the best ideas of authorities in school administration.

Each of the 48 States has its own distinct system of education. The Federal Government assumes no control over the public schools throughout the country except with reference to the special Federal appropriations for specific purposes, as the Smith-Hughes Act for assistance to vocational education and the Smith-Lever Act for assistance to agricultural extension education. Nevertheless, because of proximity and interchange of ideas, the State systems have many points of similarity. Conditions affecting the kinds of school systems do not differ fundamentally; therefore, each State profits by the experiences of others, and through the adoption of what proves good the States are tending toward systems more similar than in the past. We have, therefore, what may be designated as the "trend in the school development" in the United States, an expression meaning the forward movement—generally toward similarity in systems and practices.

In enacting school laws legislatures may be guided in part by the experiences of other States. For instance, in one State legislation to provide that the State prepare and print its own textbooks is recommended. Before action is taken the experiences of California and Kansas may well be studied. In another the adoption of the


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