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liberality, and they rejoice to see it. For they believe that every dollar, appropriated by the town for the support of schools, and wisely improved, will return to them ten-fold, if not in money, in the increased prosperity, respectability and happiness of the town.

But have parents further manifested their interest by seeing that the money appropriated was wisely improved? Have they sent their children constantly and punctually to school, as long as it was in operation ? Let the registers, kept by the teachers in the schools, answer this question. * * Your committee are aware, that causes, over which parents have no control, necessarily produce some irregularity of attendance; but these incidental causes will not account for the whole, nor even for much the largest share of an average loss, in all the schools, which is nearly 33 per cent.

Again, have parents manifested their interest in schools, by visiting them often while in operation, and by attending the examinations, to witness the conduct of their own children, to watch their progress, and to compare it with that of other children; to learn the difficulties and embarrassments under which the teacher labors, and to give him their aid and countenance in the management and government of their children? For the last ten years, during which one of your committee has been a member of the board, it is not recollected that ten individuals, who had children there at the time, have been met in all their visits to all the schools.

Your committee would ask again, has sufficient interest been manifested by parents, in furnishing their schoolhouses with all the conveniences necessary to render them, not only comfortable but attractive to the children, and with all the apparatus, black-boards, maps, globes, &c. requisite to their proficiency in the various branches of study? It is, perhaps, in the want of some of these conveniences, that some apology may be found for the rare appearance of a parent in the school room; for there are few parents who possess the moral courage voluntarily to submit themselves to the torture of being confined, for any length of time, to the impure air, perhaps the smoke, and to the uncomfortable seats and benches in some of the schoolhouses in this town. And as to school apparatus, we find no article whatever in any of our schools, except here and there a black-board, or, what may be termed in some of them, an apology for one, which some teacher, who could appreciate its value, rather than have none, has procured at his own expense.

Again, have parents manifested their interest in the education of their children, by sustaining the committee in their efforts to raise the qualifications of teachers ? It is true, that in all instances in which teachers, who have been offered for examination, have been rejected, the decision of the committee has been submitted to; but by some, they fear, with a very bad grace, and not. without attributing to the committee motives, by which they are entirely unconscious of having been actuated.

If, then, such has been, for a series of years, the want of interest manifested by parents, is it strange that the condition of the schools should have become neglected ? Is it strange that it has become any thing but what it should be ? For if parents themselves do not manifest an interest in them, it cannot be expected that others will. The interest of neither committees, nor teachers, nor children, can be made, for any length of time, to surpass that of parents.

Let the committee now call the attention of the town to a single fact, as one result of this neglect of our Common Schools. The town has paid, during the last ten years, for teachers' wages alone, including both Public and Private Schools, not less than $6,000. And, as far as your committee have been able to ascertain, not one eighth part of that sum, during that time, has been paid for teaching, either here or elsewhere, to your own sons and daughters, who have received the whole, or even the principal part of their education in this town, and for the sole reason that teachers, qualified to instruct our Common Schools, could not be found in the town. But perhaps it may be said, we need an academy to supply this defect. It is true, an academy might furnish teachers for our schools; but is there not danger that it would increase the very evil we wish to remedy? By transferring the interest, together with the children of those whose wealth and influence are necessary to the success of the Common Schools to an academy, to which the poorer classes would be unable to

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send their children, there is danger that the condition of those schools would become still more neglected than it now is, and, consequently, the distinction, between rich and poor, would be increased by the greater advantages of education, which the former would possess over the latter.

But, is it asked, how shall our Common Schools be made what the wants of the people demand? We answer, let the town begin to-day, by appropriating liberally for the support of schools. Let them choose a committee, not only well qualified, but who are sufficiently interested to perform, faithfully, the duties of an office, in importance and responsibility, second to none, in the town.

Let the people, in the different school districts, interest themselves in the subject. Let them see that their schoolhouses are in perfect order, neat, convenient and comfortable; and furnished with every requisite, necessary to render the situation of their children, while there, pleasant, and their studies profitable. Let them see that their children are sent regularly, and punctually, to school. Every consideration, both of interest and duty, demands this of pa

Let parents, too, frequently visit the schools. This manifests, both to teacher and scholars, that they feel an interest in their progress, and it will inspire them with an interest, that nothing else can give. It will aid much, too, in securing the teachers influence and authority over their children, without which, whatever may be his qualifications, his labors will be nullified. Let them see, that their teachers possess mature and well-disciplined minds, or, they may be assured, that the minds of their children will not be well trained, and that the knowledge they acquire will be superficial and valueless.

Let them see, too, that their teachers exert over the minds of their children a salutary moral influence.

Your committee believe, that the requirements of the law, on this subject, are wise and salutary, and ought not to be neglected. “Knowledge is power, but it should be recollected, that it is power to do evil as well as good ; and that, to cultivate the intellect to the neglect of the moral powers, may be to confer, both on the child, and on the community in which he may reside, a curse, rather than a blessing. Let, then, the exainple and influence of all your teachers be such as, with the coöperation of parents, will suppress the spirit of insubordination and misrule, which too often manifests itself in our schools. Let profaneness, vulgarity, rudeness and obscenity be banished ; let the love of order, of truth, of justice and equity, and a regard for the rights of others; let a spirit of benevolence, of forbearance under injuries, and of universal love and good will to all mankind, he inculcated and instilled into the minds of your children, both at home and in the school room.

The committee would suggest the expediency of each district's procuring some suitable person to deliver a lecture to parents, at least once a year, on the subject of Common Schools.

The committee will close their report with one additional suggestion. Let any two or more contiguous school districts unite, and form a union school district. Let a portion of the money appropriated for the support of schools, in each district united in forming the union district, be applied for the support of a school to be kept by a male in the centre of these districts for the larger scholars. Let the remainder be applied in the separate districts for the support of schools to be kept entirely by females, for the smaller scholars. The committee merely suggest this subject, believing; that, if it were properly examined, a plan of union might be proposed, which, if adopted, would result in incalculable ad. vantage to the interests of the children of this town.

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SCHOOL COMMITTEE.-Isaac Boyd, J. Q. A. EDGELL.

MIDDLESEX COUNTY.

ACTON,

{(1) Population, 1,071. Valuation, $212,691 00. (2) No. of Scholars of all ages in all the Schools—In Summer, 245—In Winter, 309. (3) Average attendance in the Schools—In Summer, 168—In Winter, 231. (4) No. of persons between 4 and 16 years of age in the town, 327.—No. of persons under 4

years of age who attend School, 50.—No. over 16 years of age who attend School, 28. (5) Aggregate length of the Schools, 30 mths. 1 day-In Summer, 17 24—In Winter, 12 7. (6) No. of Teachers in Summer-M. –F.5.-No. of Teachers in Winter-M. 5—F. . (7) Average wages paid per month, including board—To Males, $26 40—To Females, $10 69. (8) Average value of board per month-of Males, $6 00—Of Females, $5 40. (9) Average wages per month, exclusive of board—Of Males, $20 40—Of Females, $5 29. (10) Amount of money raised by taxes for the support of Schools, including only the wages of

Teachers, board and fuel, $625. (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, 1.--Aggregate of months kept, 1.-Average No. of Scholars, 30.-Aggre

gate paid for tuition, $26 00. (14) Amount of Local Funds, $ .-Income from same, $

Books USED.-Spelling-Cummings'. Reading-Worcester's First Primer, Emerson's do., Young Reader, National, Introduction to same, Rhetorical, Political Class Book, New Testament. Grummar-Roswell Smith's. Geography-Olney's, Malte-Brun's, Roswell Smith's, Worcester's, Peter Parley's, Woodbridge's. Arithmetic-Roswell Smith's, Adams', Colburn's, Emerson's. All others-Worcester's History U. S , Blair's Philosophy. Comstock's do.

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SELECTIONS FROM REPORT. * In our judgment, the town has been, the past year, peculiarly fortunate in the selection of teachers, male and female. We have, in former years, frequently visited these schools, and we truly say, that, considering all the circumstances, especially the extraordinary shortness of the term this year, we have never seen the schools, summer and winter, appear so well as they have the past year.

By subdividing your districts, without you raise considerably more money, there will be a certain loss to your children of the blessings of Common School instruction. We advise rather that you have better schoolhouses, than more of them, and longer terms of instruction than shorter. No laws of this Commonwealth more directly concern the prosperity, the moral purity and happiness of the whole people, than those establishing our Common Schools, and regulating and improving them. These Common Schools are of far more importance than all our academies, and colleges, and seminaries of learning. We may dispense with them and not be ruined; but we cannot dispense with our Common Schools, and, as a free enlightened community, survive the loss. Let them, then, be attended to. Watch over your Common Schools, and remember, the more they are visited by parents and committees, the more they will flourish and bless the land; and the more they are neglected by both, the worse will they become.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE.-JAMES T. WOODBURY.

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ASHBY,

(1) Population, 1,201. Valuation, $266,285 00.

Number of Public Schools, 9. (2) No. of Scholars of all ages in all the Schools-In Summer, 325—In Winter, 381. (3) Average altendance in the Schools-In Summer, 240—In Winter, 257. (4) No. of persons between 4 and 16 years of age in the town, 319.—No. of persons under 4

years of age who allend School, 38.—No. over 16 years of age who attend School, 84. (5) Aggregate length of the Schools, 45 mths.-In Summer, 24 21—In Winter, 20 7. (6) No. of Teachers in Summer-M. .-F. 9—No. of Teachers in Winter-M. 7-F.2. (7) Average wages paid per month, including board—To Males, $25 28–To Females, $11 54. (8) Average value of board per month-of Males, $6 85–Of Females, $500. (9) Average wages per month, exclusive of board—Of Males, $18 43—Of Females, $6 54. (10) Amount of money raised by taxes for the support of Schools, including only the wages of

Teachers, board and fuel, $600. (11) Amount of board and fuel, if any, contributed for Public Schools, $ (12) No. of incorporated Academies, 1.-Aggregate of months kept, 114.-Average number of

Scholars, 45.-Aggregate paid for tuition, $380. (13) No. of unincorporated Academies, Private Schools, and Schools kept to prolong Common

Schools, 5.-Aggregate of inonths kept, 7.-Average No. of Scholars, 116.-Aggre

gate paid for tuition, $57 44. (14) Amount of Local Funds, $ .-Income from same, $

BOOKS USED.- -Spelling-Emerson's North American, and Introduction to do. Reading Worcester's 1st and 2d Parts, Young Reader, National do., Introduction to do. Grammar Smith's. Geography-Parley's, Smith's, Malte-Bruu's and Olney's. Arithmetic-Emerson's First Part, Colburn's do., and Adams' New. All others—Goodrich's History, Blake's Philosophy, Comstock's Chemistry, Watt's on the Mind, Colburn's Algebra.

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REMARK --The income of the Surplus Revenue is expended for Schools. Amount not given. SELECTIONS FROM REPORT.

Your committee entered upon the duties of their office with a full convincement of its importance and responsibleness, and also with the determination to do all, in their power, towards promoting the prosperity of schools and the great interests of education. They moreover entered upon their work with the unanimous opinion, that it would be necessary to propose a high standard in the qualification of teachers, and to see that there be an increased attention in all the schools to the elementary, fundamental branches of education.

Your committee would conclude this part of their report with recommending teachers' meetings, to discuss all subjects connected with the government and instruction of schools. They deem them of great importance. In a town where they were held one year, the report of the committee says, “to these meetings, more than to any other separate cause, do we attribute the interest which has been felt by the instructers, and the consequent improvement of the schools.".

According to the above statement, it appears that the school terms are short, particularly in the winter, when they do not average more than eight weeks. It is hardly to be expected that scholars can make much improvement within that period, whereas, by four or five weeks' continuance, they would reap comparatively greater benefit than from the other eight.

Your committee must complain of irregularity in the attendance of the pupils. During the past winter, it has been, in a measure, unavoidable. But the returns of the summer schools show there is ground for such a complaint. This is a serious evil. Irregular attendance is a great discouragement to the teacher, an interruption to the studies of the school, and a hindrance to the improvement of the scholars. Your committee would earnestly request parents and guardians to coöperate in removing so great an evil. Let them be willing to make sacrifices for the good of their children. A good education is all the inheritance that many parents can bequeath to their children, and, without that, all worldly possessions are of but little value. While, therefore, the young are

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favored with the opportunities of receiving instruction and gaining knowledge, to fit them for future life, they ought to be permitted to improve regularly those seasons, especially as their school terms are so short. Their attendance should be as stated as possible, and a portion of their time out of school ought to be allowed them for study. Parents will lose nothing by thus aiding their children. Even though they may hire a little more on their farms, in their stores, or their workshops, they will surely gain in the end by allowing their children to improve their present advantages of education; and they ought to consider what incalculable benefit they are thus rendering the immortal minds committed to their trust

Your committee have noticed, in some schools, the absence of many scholars on days of examination. On many accounts, this is to be regretted ; especially is it a source of great discouragement to the teacher. Your committee, therefore, would lay this grievance before parents, and beg of them to do all in their power towards removing the grounds for it.

Your committee are happy to state, that, in many of the schools, there is a good degree of uniformity in the books used In this respect, there has been a manifest improvement within few years. Still there ists a deficiency in some of the schools, where there are various kinds of spelling books and geographies. *

It has often been asked, " ought the Scriptures to be used in schools, and, if so, to what extent ?" Your committee are of the opinion, they ought not to be adopted as a general reading book, and yet should not be wholly discarded. They would recommend, that they be read once or twice a day by the teacher and first class. "Shall the higher branches, chemistry, philosophy, etc., be introduced into Common Schools," is a question frequently presented to a school committee for consideration. Your committee do not deem it expedient to have them introduced to a general extent. The evils are, that scholars will hurry over the elementary branches, deeming them of inferior importance, and they will occupy too much of the teachers' time. But, when scholars have made a good proficiency in the common branches, and have but few opportunities to attend high schools, your committee would say, let them be permitted to attend to the higher studies, if they wish; and, where the number of scholars is small, those studies may be introduced, if they do not draw off their attention too much from other lessons.

Your committee would also speak with approbation of the mode adopted in some of the schools, of explaining the meaning of words and terms, which occur not only in reading, but in the lessons generally. By this means, much valuable knowledge and practical information may be obtained

Your committee are also of the opinion, that there has been an improvement in spelling. They approve of the method adopted in most of the schools the past season, of the scholars' writing down their words to spell. Still it is thought, a greater attention ought to be paid to this department. There is a great deficiency in spelling noticed in letters, accounts, etc., and teachers may do much towards removivg the cause of such a complaint.

Your committee would also suggest to parents and guardians, the utility of visiting the schools at other seasons, during the period of their keeping. Such a course is encouraging to the teacher. It prompts the scholars to diligence and exertion; it removes diffidence, gives them confidence to speak promptly and loud. It is brlieved, if parents would adopt such a course in visiting schools, even should they not stay more than twenty five or thirty minutes at a time, that in time the oft repeated complaint, “ the scholars do not speak loud and distinctly enough," would, to a considerable extent, be removed. In this way too, parents will become acquainted with the faults of their children at school. There is another peculiar advantage, in the opinion of your committee, arising from this mode of visiting schools. Difficulties not unfrequently arise between teachers and scholars. Parents are apt to take the side of their chi dren, and blame, sometimes severely censure, the teacher, without having heard more than half the circumstances, or one word of explanation from the teacher. If parents would visit the schools when such difficulties arise, they might find reasons to form a different opinion of the case, and learn that their chil

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