if an incompetent person appears and applies for a certificate, he must obtain it, or the school he would keep cannot commence; and the prudential committee, who always ought to be, but seldom is present, is subjected to the trouble of finding another, after, as is supposed, the best are engaged. Your committee then are often charged with being unnecessarily rigid ; and, if a teacher fails, after obtaining a certificate, either in aptness to teach, or skill in managing a school,-two requisites without which no teacher can succeed, and of which an unerring judgment cannot be formed when the certificate is given,-your committee are then held responsible for the failure. *

Your committee feel bound to complain, that, in their visitations, they have not enjoyed that coöperation of the prudential committee and parents, which must be rendered before our schools will be what they may be. There is reason to believe, but few even of the prudential committee visit their schools during their continuance. Would it not give a new impulse to our schools, if prudential committees and parents would visit their teacher and children in school, at its commencement, during its progress, and at its close ? Could they not then better judge of its success or failure? Will parents rise early, sit up late, toil through life, and eat the bread of carefulness, all for their children, and yet forget their mental improvement? Will they not watch their children's progress with all a parent's care? In what other business do you employ a male or female one half or three fourths of the year, and never inspect their work, taking it for granted that all is well ?

Your committee have given special instruction to those teachers, to whom they have given certificates, to attempt to enforce and instruct in, the first rudiments. In years past, there has been an error with our teachers in this very thing Our teachers have paid too much regard to the higher branches of education, to the neglect of first principles. They have taken to philosophy, or the dead languages, before obtaining a thorough knowledge even of reading and spelling

Our teachers more often fail in this very point, not having sufficiently mastered that, which they are required to teach. It is well known, that our Common Schools are adapted to elementary instruction, which can only be learned easily in the early period of life. Reading and spelling should be thoroughly taught there. If a scholar leaves the district school without a thorough foundation, being a poor reader, or a poor speller, he is likely to remain so all the days of his life. Your committee have the satisfaction of reporting, that the above instructions have not been without success.

Your committee have to say, that, in their opinion, the majority of schoolhouses in town are badly located, and worse constructed ; that is, some of them are crowded almost into the highway, or unnecessarily exposed.

In Chester, are recorded seventeen school districts, which, in the opinion of your committee, might be reduced to twelve, and the town be benefited Give io twelve teachers what you give to seventeen, and you would obtain a higher grade of teachers. You could keep twelve longer than seventeen, with the same money, and the only objection to this is, cost of change, and extra travel, for, perhaps, a few of the children. Those children, who go further in consequence of such change, would be likely to be compensated for their extra travel, with a better teacher, a longer school, at a less average expense, and a guaranty of better progress; for every man of observation knows, or may know, that, under a competent teacher, a scholar will learn more in four months than in three, and much more in a school of forty, than iu one of ten scholars.

Your committee are of the opinion, that the interests of the Common Schools demand some action of the town in reference to the school districts.

After giving the above detailed specifications, your committee, in brief, report, that, generally, the schools are all they had a right to expect, and, as a whole, appear to be doing much for the education and improvement of those, who, in the ordinary course of things, must soon fill the places you now occupy.

In conclusion, your committee wish to say,-go on with unfaltering steps, in the support of all measures, which promise to give efficiency to your Common





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Schools ; for they are incomparably the most important of all the institutions of learning, in this land of colleges, academies and private schools.



S (1) Population, 1,439. Valuation, $277,358 00.

Number of Public Schools, 11. (2) No. of Scholars of all ages in all the Schools-In Summer, 308—In Winter, 402. (3) Average attendance in the Schools—In Summer, 235—In Winter, 245. (4) No. of persons between 4 and 16 years of age in the town, 459.—No. of persons under 4

years of age who attend School, 18.—No. over 16 years of age who attend School, 22. (5) Aggregate length of the Schools, 88 mths.-In Summer, 53—In Winter, 35. (6) No. of Teachers in Summer-M. -F. 11.–No. of Teachers in Winter—M. 6–F.5. (7) Average wages paid per month, including board To Males, $19 17—To Females, $10 76. (8) Average value of board per month-of Males, $6 21-Of Females, $5 30. (9) Average wages per month, exclusive of board—of Males, $12 96—Of Females, $5 46. (10) Amount of money raised by taxes for the support of Schools, including only the wages of

Teachers, board and fuel, $550. (11) Amount of board and fuel, if any, contributed for Public Schools, $509. (12) No. of incorporated Academies, .-Aggregate of months kept, :-Average number of

Scholars, .--Aggregate paid for tuition, $ (13) No. of unincorporated Academies, Private Schools, and Schools kept to prolong Common

Schools, 3.-Aggregate of months kept, 24.3.-Average No. of Scholars, 44.-Aggre

gate paid for tuition, $604. (14) Amount of Local Funds, $

.-Income from same, $ Books USED.-Spelling-Webster's Spelling Book and Dictionary. Reading Child's Guide, Intelligent Reader, Reader's Guide. Grammar-Smith's. Geography-Smith’s. Arithmetic-Smith's. All others-Comstock's Philosophy.

SELECTIONS FROM REPORT. * No position can be more certain, than that all political order and happiness depend upon the correct training of the rising generation. Sagacious men have been fully aware, that, if the young are thoroughly initiated into any system, good or bad, that system will prevail. Hence it is, that the youth of every country have been regarded, by the wise and the good, with intense interest. Hence, too, the Common School system, if well managed, must be valuable beyond all price.

This town, from its first settlement, has been liberal in the support of Com. mon Schools But, as the standard of education rises, teachers of higher qual. ifications will be required, and there should be a steady advance in appropriations for their support. On this subject, there is an increased interest through the Commonwealth, which begins to be felt, in no small measure, in this place.

The schools, during the year which now closes, have proceeded quietly, for the most part, and with evident proficiency. Experience proves, beyond debate, that schools under female teachers, are, generally, the most prosperous. Even in winter schools, which are not large, and especially where the more forward scholars are sent to select schools, female teachers are employed with

It is well known, that they possess a full share of kindness, patience and perseverance. Nor are they deficient in that peculiar management, which is so happy in Common Schools.

The disposition to employ cheap teachers is fast passing away. The general voice is, “ Give us good teachers and pay them accordingly.

After all that can be said in favor of our schools, there are many things, to which your committee cannot refer but with sadness and censure. Many things need correction in relation to schoolhouses. Some are located on the highest points of land, exposed to the winter blasts; others on low grounds, where children must wade in water or in mire. Some are in such a state of dilapidation as to be utterly unfit for use. The schoolhouse in South lane district,


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West Parish, is of this description. In this wealthy district, with fifty children to be educated, such a house ought not to be tolerated a single month. In some instances the school-rooms are not properly ventilated. In the Southeast district is a new house, finely arranged, and yet we learn, that the teacher lost his health, the last winter, and prematurely closed the school.

The committee remark, with pleasure, that, wit the past two years, schoolhouses have been much improved. One house has been erected, and six have undergone thorough repairs. The prospect brightens, that the defects in schoolhouses will soon be remedied, and it is earnestly recommended, that this subject receive the attention which it merits Your meeting-houses are built with taste and convenience, and why should not the schoolhouse, where your children are doomed to spend ten or twelve of the most precious years of life, be prepared and furnished, in such a manner, as to contribute to their comfort and attract their attention.

Parents are often much in fault, in relation to the duties which they owe to Common Schools. In some instances there is a disposition to listen to the tale-bearing of children, in their fault-finding agaiost the teacher. Thus the teacher, upon a mere ex-parte hearing, is censured, or even turned out of school.

There is great neglect, on the part of parents, with respect to visiting schools. In one district only, the Northeast, has this duty been regularly performed, and here the effect has been perceptible and salutary.

But the greatest fault,-of all others the greatest,-in our schools, is the inconstant attendance of the children. The average attendance has not much exceeded one half the average number of the scholars. If the registers, kept by the teachers, had not furnished this fact, it would not have been credible. That nearly one half of the children, on an average, should be kept from school, is full proof of great apathy on the part of parents. By this means, one half of the expense of our Public Schools is lost, for it costs no more to teach the whole school than half of it. And, besides, how can children learn, who are kept away from school, one, two, or three days in a week? What perplexity must it give the teacher, to meet one set of scholars, one day, and another the next? How will it derange his plans and his classes! This evil might be remedied. If it is not remedied, our schools can never bring to children the greatest amount of useful learning. *

Some parents, we are happy to know, are not guilty of this error. Their children are at school, punctually and constantly. Distance is no hindrance. The storm and the cold are no hindrance. They are at school, except they are sick. They may suffer, through the delinquency of others. The whole school suffers, in its discipline, order and proficiency, through the inconstancy of the delinquent children. But those who attend daily, will form habits, which will be permanent. If permitted to live, they will occupy the first places of business and usefulness. They will constitute the bone and sinew of our beloved country. May this town, the coming year, furnish many examples of children, who are never delinquent in attendance at school, except they are sick.



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(1) Population, 495. Valuation, $82,941 00. (4) No. of persons between 4 and 16 years of age in the town, 104. (10) Amount of money raised by taxes for the support of Schools, including only the wages of

Teachers, board and fuel, $200.

REMARKS.—There is no return from Holland, but only a certificate of the number of persons between 4 and 16 years of age, and the amount of money raised by taxes for the support of schools.

SELECTIONS FROM REPORT. * * Universal praise is no praise at all. When we say that our teachers, during the past year, did well, we would not be un



derstood to mean, that some of them might not have done better. There is always room for improvement, and in nothing more than in the science of teaching, training and governing, undisciplined and untaught minds.

There are several things that lie in the way of the improvement of our schools, which it is the business of your committee to point out, that a reform may take placé soon.

Our schoolhouses are uncomfortable places of abode, in their present condition, and it is obvious that something must be done soon, to make them better. Our children, as the houses now are, sometimes suffer with the cold, sometimes with the smoke, and always with uncomfortable seats and writing tables.

Another thing that lies in the way of the improvement of our schools, is a want of uniformity in class books *

Apother difficulty, is the want of prompt and constant attendance by our scholars. Some of them are not at school till late in the morning, and others want. leave of absence by the middle of the afternoon. Such get but little, or no good themselves, and they injure others, for coming in and going out of school, in the proper hours of study, makes confusion among the whole.

Another evil, that is in the way of the improvement of our schools, is the want of a deeper interest of the parents of our children, in these schools. It was not so in former days. Some 20 or 30 years ago, your committee were teachers of Common Schools, and so far as they are acquainted, parents took a greater and deeper interest in these schools, than they now. do. The close of a district school then, was quite a holyday. The schoolhouse, inside, would be as white and clean, as soap and water and many hands could make it; the scholars dressed in their best habit, and the whole house full to overflowing, of fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, and others, from neighboring distriets. This closing examination and exhibition of the school, was anticipated from the beginning, by the teachers and their scholars, and much pains were taken to make it meet the high expectation of the districts and of the town. At the present day, parents seem to stand aloof, and are seldom seen inside of a schoolhouse, when the school is in session.

While we are teaching our children to be wise, we must teach them to be good, or they will make a bad use of their wisdom. If sound religion be not made the foundation of an education, the superstructure will fall to the ground. The history of the human character proves this. We should, therefore, desire good men to teach our schools, that they may diffuse a spirit of goodness into the minds of our children, at the same time they are teaching them human knowledge.



Ş(1) Population, 1,251. Valuation, $300,172 50.

Number of Public Schools, 8. (2) No. of Scholars of all ages in all the Schools-In Summer, 235—In Winter, 334. (3) Average altendance in the Schools In Summer, 188~In Winter, 277. (4) No. of persons between 4 and 16 years of age in the town, 326.–No. of persons under 4

years of age who attend School, 12.—No. over 16 years of age who attend School, 27. (5) Aggregate length of the Schools, 58 mths. 7 days—In Summer, 28 7–In Winter, 30. (6) No. of Teachers in Summer—M. -F. 8.—No. of Teachers in Winter-M. 5–F. 6. (7) Average wages paid per month, including board—To Males, $22 20—To Females, $10 91. (8) Average value of board per month Of Males, $7 20_Of Females, $5 37. (9) Average wages per month, exclusive of board of Males, $1500-Of Females, $5 54. (10) Amount of money raised by taxes for the support of Schools, including only the wages of

Teachers, board and fuel, $700. (11) Amount of board and fuel, if any, contributed for Public Schools, $307 50. (12) No. of incorporated Academies, .-Aggregate of months kept, -Average number of

Scholars, .--Aggregate paid for tuition, $

(13) No. of unincorporated Academies, Private Schools, and Schools kept to prolong Common

Schools, 2.-Aggregate of months kept, 8.-Average No. of Scholars, 62.-Aggre

gale paid for tuition, $187. (14) Amount of Local Funds, $731 00.-Income from same, $43 86.

BOOKS USED.- :-Spelling-Webster's Spelling Book and Dictionary. Reading-Angell's Union Series, Nos. 5 and 6, Porter's Rhetorical Reader, Intelligent Reader, Bible, Child's Guide. Grammar-Hall's, Smith's, Murray's. Geography Huntington's, Malte-Brun's, Olney's, Village School, Smith's. ArithmeticSmith's, Adams', Colburn's First Lessons. All others--Assembly's Shorter Catechism.

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SELECTIONS FROM REPORT. * There has been a general and marked improvement in the schools, the past year, and they are in a better condition than we have ever before found them. So far as your committee have been able to observe, there has been a more punctual attendance by the scholars, which has contributed much to the order of the schools, and to the progress of the scholars in their studies. There is, however, still some deficiency in this respect, and we know not how it can be remedied, until parents and guardians see the evils of it, and feel the necessity of sending their children to the school, so that they shall be present at the hour the school begins. *

The younger scholars have learned to read in less time, and more correctly, by *

being taught letters and words at the same time. There has also been improvement, in defining words and phrases. Efforts in this respect appear to have awakened new interest in scholars, and so far as made, have been successful. Here, much yet remains to be done, which can be accomplished only by efforts continued from year to year.

With all the improvements made, your committee still find some deficiencies, which do prevent, and, unless they are remedied, which will prevent, the greater improvement which might be made. To some extent, there is yet a deficiency in the school-rooms. The seats are badly constructed, and badly arranged; they cramp or draw the body into an unnatural and uncomfortable position; the scholars are soon fatigued, uneasy and restless, and therefore do not study. Some of the seats and desks are so arranged, that they are much more convenient for play than for study; and until children cease to be children, there will be some who will take all possible advantage of this; and the teacher must spend much of his time and strength in preventing mischief, and in the end be blamed by some, for not having done more in teaching their children.

Another deficiency is, a want of interest in the schools among parents and guardians. Some parents have manifested more interest, and have visited the schools, with very happy effect; but very much yet remains to be done in this respect.

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(1) Population, 1,329. Valuation, $285,423 08.

Number of Public Schools, 10. (2) No. of Scholars of all ages in all the Schools—In Summer, 290—In Winter, 426. (3) Average attendance in the Schools—In Summer, 227–In Winter, 336. (4) No. of persons between 4 and 16 years of age in the town, 361.–No. of persons under 4

years of age who attend School, 27 —No. over 16 years of age who attend School, 38. (5) Aggregate length of the Schools, 68 mths. 14 days.-In Summer, 32 14-In Winter, 36. (6) No. of Teachers in Summer-M. -F. 10.–No. of Teachers in Winter-M. 5—F. 8 (7) Average wages paid per month, including board—To Males, $22 80—To Females, $12 20. (8) Average value of board per month-Of Malcs, $7 20_Or Females, $5 10. (9) Average wages per month, exclusive of board of Males, $1560_Or Females, 87 10. (10) Amount of money raised by taxes for the support of Schools, including only the wages of

Teachers, board and fuel, $766.

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