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The school committee are pleased to observe, that there has been more uni. formity in the use of school books the past year, than in former years; at the same time, they regret, that, in some instances, school books have been introduced by teachers, which were not authorized by the school committee. * * *
SCHOOL COMMITTEE._AARON HOBART, EZRA KINGMAN, WELCOME Young.
S(1) Population, 781. Valuation, $117,330 36.
Number of Public Schools, J. (2) No. of Scholars of all ages in all the Schools In Summer, 124—In Winter, 159. (3) Average attendance in the Schools In Summer, 92-In Winter, 120. (4) No. of persons between 4 and 16 years of age in the town, 160.-No. of persons under 4
years of age who attend School, -No. over 16 years of age who attend School, 10. (5) Aggregate length of the Schools, 28 mths. 21 days-In Summer, 14 14-In Winter, 14 7. (6) No. of Teachers in Summer-M.-F.5.-No. of Teachers in Winter-M. 3-F. 2. (7) Average wages paid per month, including board—To Males, $23 00—To Females, $11 20. (8) Average value of board per month Of Males, $600-Uf Females, $4 80. (9) Average wages per month, exclusive of board—Of Males, $1700_Of Females, $6 40. (10) Amount of money raised by taxes for the support of Schools, including only the wages of
Teachers, board and fuel, $400. (11) Amount of board and fuel, if any, contributed for Public Schools, $ (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, 4.-Average No. of Scholars, 35.-Aggre.
gate paid for tuition, $70. (14) Amount of Local Funds, $ .-lacome from same, $
BOOKS USED.-Spelling—National and Cummings'. Reading-Worcester's Series, American First Class Book, National Reader and Introduction, New Testament. Granmar-Smith's. Geography Woodbridge's, Smith's and Parley's. Arithmetic-North American, 1st, 2d and 3d Parts, Šmith's, Colburn's. All others-Blake's Philosophy, Paley's Theology, General History, History of the U. S., Watts on the Mind, Chemistry:
REMARK.— The Surplus Revenue is appropriated to the support of the schools. Interest, $96.
SELECTIONS FROM REPORT. * Your committee are happy to state that teachers have been employed the past year, possessing suitable literary qualifi, cations, and who have labored generally with much zeal and with considerable
But it is to be hoped, that when the art of communicating knowledge shall be more fully attained by teachers, still more rapid improvements will be witnessed, and consequently much time and labor will be saved, and greater facilities for acquiring an education enjoyed.
But as this subject is receiving much attention in our community, it may be unnecessary to introduce it here, any further than to give our hearty concurrence in the establishment of the Normal school systen.
It will be seen, by looking at the return and comparing the whole number of scholars with the average attendance, that in some districts there has not been that punctuality which is desired.
It must be apparent to every person, that where scholars are coming in and going out of school at all hours in the day, we cannot expect much improvement; and we may expect still less, when children are allowed to attend school one or two days in a week, and kept out the remainder of the time.
If parents, instead of sending children to school when they can be spared from home, should keep them at home only when they may be spared from school, they would save inuch time in the end, besides affording their children a much better opportunity for acquiring an education.
The experiment of employing female teachers has been tried in two of the districts the past winter, and, as your committee believe, with satisfactory results. It is admitted on all sides, that female teaching is preferable to male, especially for small children,--therefore we can see no reason why it should be confined to one part of the year rather than another. In one district the school has been lengthened two months in consequence of employing a female.
Your committee would beg leave to call attention to the importance, in point of economy, of having a warm and comfortable school-room.
In one district, where the schoolhouse is old and very open, a suitable stove was purchased at the commencement of the winter school, which has not only added much to the comfort of the room, but made great saving in fuel. Formerly it cost $15 for wood ten weeks,—this winter it cost only $10 for wood twenty weeks.
In another district, the past winter, $23 have been expended for fuel for a school of fourteen weeks, and still the house has been extremely uncomfortable.
Your committee have no other object in view, in throwing out these hints, than the welfare of the rising generation. The appropriations of the town for schools for two years past, as compared with former years, have been liberal; indeed, under present circumstances, we cannot ask for more. But it becomes us to apply our funds with all the prudence and wisdom which we can command.
SCHOOL COMMITTEE.-Cyrus Morton, Moses C. CROOKER, JOAN T. Z. Thomson.
$(1) Population, 1,435. Valuation, $254,178 33. (2) No. of Scholars of all ages in all the Schools In Summer, 357-In Winter, 401. (3) Average attendance in the Schools-In Summer, 249—In Winter, 280. (4) No. of persons between 4 and 16 years of age in the town, 461.–No. of persons under 4
years of age who attend School, No. over 16 years of age who attend School, (5) Aggregate length of the Schools, 56 mths. 14 days.-In Summer, 34 14In Winter, 22. (6) No. of Teachers in Summer-M. -F. 8.-No. of Teachers in Winter-M. 6-F. 2 (7) Average wages paid per month, including board To Males, $26 75—To Females, $12 68. (8) Average value of board per month-Of Males, $7 83—Of Females, $4 87. (9) Average wages per month, exclusive of board Of Males, $18 92—Or Females, $7 81. (10) Amount of money raised by taxes for the support of Schools, including only the wages of
Teachers, board and fuel, $1,000. (11) Amount of board and fuel, if any, contributed for Public Schools, $20. (12) No. of incorporated Academies, 1.-Aggregate of months kept, 10.-Average number of
Scholars, 25.--Aggregate paid for tuition, $300. (13) No. of unincorporated Academies, Private Schools, and Schools kept to prolong Common
Schools, 2.-Aggregate of months kept, 3.-Average No. of Scholars, 20.—Aggre
gate paid for tuition, $30. (14) Amount of Local Funds, $
.-Income from same, $ BOOKS USED.- Spelling -National. Reading-Worcester's 1st, 2d, 3d and 4th Books, Rhe. torical Reader, National Reader, First Class Book, Scriptures. Grammar-Smith's. Geography-Smith's. All others—U. S. History, Russell's Lessons in Enunciation, Watis on the Mind, Natural Philosophy.
SELECTIONS FROM REPORT. The committee feel bound to state, that the experience of the past year convinces them of the necessity of greater caution in the selection of competent teachers, and of a more rigid examination, especially in the first rudiments of learning. It is here, that they have found the greatest deficiency-one that lies at the foundation of the failures, that have attended some of the schools the past year. Persons, who present themselves for the important office of teaching our children and youth, should be rebuked for their presumption, when they are manifestly ignorant of the simplest rudiments of school learning, by justly withholding from them certificates of approbation. The committee are opposed to a captious examination, carried to vexatious extremes. But they would recommend, that the town require the school committee to make a fuli and candid examination of the qualifications of the candidates, who would assume the responsibility of giving to the town some equivalent for the money they receive. The amount of money raised annually for schools, is surely worth looking after with a careful supervision, especially when we consider the immense good which a proper expenditure would secure, and the vast evil which results from an unwise one.
The committee have no hesitation in saying, that too great indifference to this subject seems to prevail throughout the town. The inhabitants look out with greater interest, after their roads and bridges, and other concerns of comparatively minor importance, than what they evince in the great subject of educatiug the rising generation. Every parent, every citizen, the rich and poor, the high and low together, have an interest in the suitable education of the rising race, proportionate to the unspeakable value of our republican institutions, which can be transmitted and perpetuated through future generations, only by a virtuous and an enlightened people. Let us look well then to our Coinmon Schools. Let the inhabitants of the various districts unite in requiring their agents to employ only such persons as teachers, as will bear a good examination ; and this will do much towards elevating our schools. The committee regret to state that the schools, generally, are too backward, considering the amount of inoney, which is raised for their support. This is not owing to any want of capacity or aptitude, on the part of the scholars attending the schools; but to the apathy which prevails too generally, in relation to education. The committee would recommend, that the inhabitants of the several districts endeavor to excite a deeper interest in the welfare of the schools in their own district, and the schools generally. By conversation, by reading, by visiting occasionally the schools in their own district, by encouraging the teachers and scholars, in their several labors, it is believed, that the character of th schools would be speedily elevated, so as to bear a comparison with any of the Common Schools in the Commonwealth. One great cause of the low condition of the schools, the committee attribute to the erroneous practice of putting the scholars forward beyond their real attainments, to the neglect of studies absolutely essential to success in any study whatever. This evil, the committee endeavored to remedy, and, in a number of cases, succeeded to the manifest improvement of the schools concerned. They are constrained to state, from a sense of duty, that in several cases, they were unable to effect a change, such was the apparent determiuation of the instructers to pursue their own plans, irrespective of the suggestions and request of the coinmittee made in the regular discharge of their prescribed duties. Such a disregard of the wishes of the committee was attended by such results as they had reason to anticipate; and the schools, where the instructers had the wisdom, or the assurance, to dishonor the action of the committee, fell far behind the others, at the closing examinations. ***
It gives the committee, however, great pleasure to say, that most of the teachers employed, evinced great deference to their opinions, and zealously carried out their suggestions to the manifest advantage of the schools under their care, in respect to good order and mental improvement. The first rudiments of learning were diligently attended to in those schools, and perfect lessons, in most cases, required and secured, and the closing examinations were highly satisfactory
The district have erected a large and commodious schoolhouse, and very fully provided for thorough ventilation. A library of fifty volumes, through the liberality of a gentleman, who received the first rudiments of his education in the district, has been given for the use of the scholars and the parents. It has been much used by the scholars, with the most decided benefit.
In relation to einploying fernale teachers for the winter term in districts where the schools are large, consisting of youth, in a large proportion not in school during the summer, and verging on majority, the committee are of the opinion, that it is inexpedient. For the younger portion of scholars, there can be no doubt, that females are, in some respects, even better fitted than males. But, for large schools, filled up with large boys and young men, there can be
no doubt in reflecting minds, that men of nerve and firmness, of the requisite qualifications, are especially needed. The young and fragile female, however well fitted, intellectually, for the task, instinctively shrinks from the ardor and turbulence of ripened boyhood, and turns to the easier and not less important duty of instructing the younger portion of our children. These remarks are not intended for any particular case, but are made as involving a general principle, which in its operations, is connected with the highest welfare of the youth attending our winter schools.
Another cause of disorder and confusion in our schools, is a want of interest and coöperation on the part of parents. A little more interest in the parent's breast, would lead to inquiry and coöperation with the teachers and the committee, and would do very much towards reducing the schools to good order and wholesome discipline.
Another prolific, and almost necessary, cause of disorder and bad management, is found in the bad construction of most of our schoolhouses. Many of them are too small. The seats are too narrow and high. The floor is an inclined plane, so steep that it is almost impossible to move upon it without disturbance. The writing form, or desk, is too far from the seat on which the scholar sits, who is obliged to make movements attended by some noise. There is little or no provision made for purifying the air by ventilation, or for regulating the temperature of the room. The air in a short time is vitiated, and made noxious to health. A necessary lassitude or morbid excitement follows, resulting in the evils named, which renders it exceedingly difficult, if not almost impossible, to keep a school, under such circumstances, in subordination. If any intelligent parent will visit one of these small schoolhouses, filled with small scholars, in the afternoon, and stand upon one of the seats where he will inhale the vitiated air; if he will investigate the physical causes of the disorder which will almost spontaneously, be breaking out, he will be fully convinced of the truth of these remarks. The committee are of the opinion, that the interests of education, and of future generations, would be imineasurably promoted by an enlargement and scientific arrangement of most of the schoolhouses in town. Another defect is a deficiency of appropriate books, in some of the schools.
* To send a child to school for three months, without the needful books, is not so wise as to send a hired man into the cornfield, without a hoe or plough, to till the soil. *
Another defect, in some districts, arises from the non-attendance of the scholars, belonging to the schools. It is for the future respectability of the scholars, for the honor of the town, and for the welfare of the State, that every scholar should be induced to attend school. The inhabitants of the several districts, by a little attention to this subject, might cause the blessings of a common education to be enjoyed by all.
Another important defect in our schools, is a want of moral training and instruction, required by law, and essential to the perpetuity of our free institutions and government. Too many of our teachers neglect this part of their duty alınost entirely. They appear to think that they have discharged their duty, when they have attended to the intellect of our children, and that they have little or nothing to do with their manpers, and morals, and habits. But this is a gross mistake, as considerations drawn from reason, common sense, morality, religion, and the character and requisitions of our government, will fully show. There need be nothing sectarian taught in our schools. But where a teacher is encouraged and qualified to impart instruction in morality, and the common principles of religion, he is a most powerful coadjutor of parents, and a most useful conservator of republican institutions, and the numberless blessings of liberty and good order.
Another defect, which has already been alluded to, is a neglect of the foundation of learning, and atteuding to studies which belong to the superstructure. Spelling, and defining the powers and sounds of letters, and reading, are too much neglected. The consequence is, that our children grow up greatly ignorant of these things, and when called to make use of these qualifications, ihey experience embarrassment and mortification, where they ought to be perfectly at home. The committee have labored to correct this defect, but they need the coöperation of parents to be successful.
Another defect, and breach of law, is the employment of teachers in the schools before they have been examined and approbated by the committee. Where a teacher has commenced his school before passing the ordeal of examination, it places the committee and candidate both, in embarrassing circumstances. The committee resolved to follow the law on this subject, and not usage ; and in this they need the concurrence of the several prudential committees.
The committee would suggest to the town, the expediency of requiring the s prudential committees to engage teachers for their several schools, on the exe press condition that they shall follow the directions of the school committee.
Were this to be a rule of the town, the schools might be brought into a better condition, without the embarrassment and difficulty, which attend, at present, the action of the committee.
The law authorizes the several districts to raise money for procuring appaa ratus, and forming a library. From inquiry, and witnessing the beneficial ef
fects of the library, in district No. 2, the committee are fully persuaded, that a small amount of money, annually appropriated to this object, could not be more usefully expended. Even a few copies of Parley's Magazine, a monthly periodical at one dollar per year, and so universally a favorite with children, would do much in exciting a taste for reading, which is so deficient in our schools.
But the committee are inclined to think, that the districts would realize a great good, which would be realized by their children also, were they to establish small libraries, for the use of the several schools and the parents, under such rules and regulations as they should see fit to adopt. There are two series of books in preparation, in Boston, under the direction and supervision of the Board of Education, which, from all that the committee can learn, will afford great facilities to towns, in forming libraries of a high order, adapted to impart knowledge on all subjects needful to respectability and usefulness in the various walks of life.
The committee have witnessed in the schools, an evil arising from the great diversity of systems, and the 100 great neglect of all system, in writing. The scholars hardly have time to adapt themselves to the notions of one teacher, before they are called on to unlearn his notions, and follow those of some other teacher. In this way, the scholar seldom is able to form an easy and elegant hand writing.
The committee will close, by reminding the town of the vast importance of education. It has been said by the enemies of our free institutions, that the people are incapable of self-government; and, consequently, that our republic must sooner or later be shivered to atoms. But an experiment of fifty years has shown, that the people are capable of self-government, and of understanding the principles of civil and liberty, and carrying them out in their manifold applications. But what is it which fits the people for this high trust ? What, but virtue, nurtured by morality and intelligence? Our fathers, by farreaching wisdoni, not only built the meeting-house, and trained their children to attend its hallowed ministrations, but erected also the schoolhouse, as the nursery of learning, patriotism, morality aud virtue. Let us cherish the insti. tutions, which our fathers laid in their wisdom, sanctified by their prayers, and defended by their blood. Let us cherish our Common Schools, and make them to our children, and children's children, the blessings they are designed to be; and then they will be the place, where future Washingtons and Franklins shall drink in the principles of morality, intelligence, patriotism, and universal liberty. *
SCHOOL COMMITTEE.-A. G. Duncan, JOSHUA STUDLEY.
S (1) Population, 1,058. Valuation, $164,427 25.
Number of Public Schools, 7. (2) No. of Scholars of all ages in all the Schools-In Summer, 263—In Winter, 255. (3) Average attendance in the Schools—In Summer, 179–In Winter, 175. (4) No. of persons between 4 and 16 years of age in the town, 316.-No. of persons under 4
years of age who attend School, 21.–No. over 16 years of age who attend School, 18.