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compulsion, to avoid a certain obtrusion of the force idea that tends to arouse antagonism and commit people to positions against their better judgment.
Table showing the Number of High Schools in the State for
Ten Years, from 1890 to 1899, with the Number of Pupils attending; also their Ratio to the Whole Number of Children in All the Schools.
The High Schools included in the Table. - The foregoing table is made out in strict accordance with the returns received from the school committees. It includes several schools that serve as public high schools, since they offer free tuition to the children, but which are not public high schools in the sense of being under the order and superintendence of the town authorities. The relations of trustees on the one hand and of school committees on the other to some of these schools are so interwoven that school committees are apparently perplexed to know whether such schools should be returned as public or private.
Academies serving as High Schools. — The following academies serve as high schools, though under the control of trustees only or under various kinds and degrees of joint control by trustees and school committees, and so are returned as high schools :
1. Andover, Punchard Free School.
4. Bernardston, Powers Institute.
7. Brimfield, Hitchcock Free School. 8. Deerfield, Deerfield Academy and
Dickinson High School. 9. Dudley, Nichols Academy. 10. Duxbury, Partridge Academy. 11. Hadley, Hopkins Academy. 12. Ipswich, Manning School. 13. Leicester, Leicester Academy. 14. Marion, Tabor Academy. 15. Monson, Monson Academy. 16. Newbury, Dummer Academy. 17. Newburyport, High and Putnam
18. New Salem, New Salem High
School and Academy. 19. Sherborn, Sawin Academy and
Dowse High School. 20. West Bridgewater, Howard Sem
inary and West Bridgewater
High School. 21. Westfield, High School, once the
Academy. 22. Westford, Westford Academy. 23. Winchendon, Murdock School.
For a detailed account of the relations of these schools to public and private authorities, see pages 106-109 of the sixtysecond report of the Board. In the cases of Ashfield, Bernardston, Ipswich, Newburyport, New Salem, Westfield and Winchendon, the control of the school committee is believed to be sufficient to make the school such a high school as the State can legally recognize in reimbursing small towns for their payments of tuition therein. Powers Institute at Bernardston, for instance, is under the control of the school committee and twelve trustees, but they are all chosen by the town. The Attorney-General has therefore advised the Board that Powers Institute may be properly regarded as a public high school. In some cases the school committee exercises full educational control, while the trustees control the funds.
High Schools returned This Year but not Last. — The following schools appear in this year's returns of the school committees, but not in the returns of last year:
Cotuit is a village in the town of Barnstable. Mr. Kingman, the superintendent of schools for Barnstable, says of the Cotuit High School :
The high school year has been lengthened 4 weeks, making 38 weeks, or 2 weeks less than the time the Barnstable High School is in session. I recommend that the year be extended to 40 weeks, as I can see no valid reason for a discrimination. It has been intimated to me that there is a desire on the part of some that still another year be added to the school. The addition of a fourth year would be ostensibly the introduction of a full high school course. When, however, one reflects that but one teacher is to give the instruction, the difficulty of the situation is apparent. I am aware that there are high schools in this State with a single teacher. The preparation which they can give for normal schools and colleges must necessarily be lacking in many respects, if they attempt to be something more than preparatory schools.
The modern public high school ought to minister to the needs of the masses, as against any favored class. A high school with only one teacher is too apt to grow away from the needs of the people who support it, if it has a special kind of work to perform. The pupils who are to be taught along special lines will receive the larger part of attention, because the teacher will feel that his success is to be measured by the ability of his pupils to pass the examinations for admission to higher institutions.
I firmly believe that three years in the Cotuit High School department are all that one teacher can well care for. The fourth year, if desired, can be very much more profitably spent in the Barnstable High School, where there are three teachers.
The Brimfield school is the Hitchcock Free School. It is returned because it serves as a free high school for the town. If for any year it has not been returned, it has been because it is not under the order and superintendence of the authorities of the town.
Tyngsborough has arranged to give a brief high school course at home, and to complete the course in the high school of Lowell. It did not return a high school last year, but did the year before.
High Schools returned Last Year but not This. — The following were returned as high schools last year but not the present :
The closing of a high school may be due to an ambition to improve the high school facilities of a town. The school committee of Lincoln, for instance, which by the census of 1895 has a population of 1,111, explains the closing of its high school as follows:
While the closing of the high school may be considered an extreme measure, and bears the decided impress of economy in the use of the school appropriation, your committee are free to admit that the saving of money was not the primary cause leading to such a result.
While economy, as viewed in the light of judicious expenditure, is much to be admired, and should be regarded as a moral obligation, especially in the use of public funds, when indulged in at the expense of more important considerations, where the hopes of the future are jeopardized for the sake of immediate paltry saving, its value is decimated to such a degree that “ a short-sighted policy "or, better still, “a future extravagance” might be a more fitting term.
There were other and more cogent reasons for the course pursued, which we think of sufficient weight to justify the proceeding.
Conspicuous in the list was the lack of sufficient material to make the school as an organization profitable or interesting. The meagre enrolment for the ensuing year forcibly called attention to the fact that a high school existed in name but not in substance, and that any local pride we might possess regarding the name might well be sacrificed for the good of the school system of the town. We were further strengthened in our convictions when considering the decided advantages that might accrue to the few pupils if the privileges of a thoroughly equipped and well-attended high school could be furnished them. To this end application was made to the school committee of Concord, and satisfactory arrangements were readily agreed upon for their instalment in the admirable school of that towy.
It is undoubtedly understood that this is no original scheme on our part, as many towns similarly situated have taken advantage of the thrifty, well-ordered schools of available towns.
Continued Gain in the High School Enrolment. The proportion of enrolled pupils who attend the high school is steadily increasing. In other words, the high school attendance is increasing more rapidly than that of the schools below. Ten years ago the high school enrolment was about one fifteenth of the total enrolment; now it is about one twelfth. While it is true that at any one time only 8 per cent. of all the children enrolled are in the high school, while 92 per cent. are in the schools below, it is preposterous to infer, as some persist in doing, that only 8 per cent. of the pupils reach the high school, while 92 per cent. never enter it. The fact is that a generous proportion of the 92 per cent, enrolled in classes below the high school are sure to move up and in due season enter the high school. Twenty-five per cent. of all our pupils are now reaching the high school, and in some of our towns and cities the proportion rises as high as 40, 50 and even 60 per cent.
Pupils retained by High Schools as successfully as by Schools below. — In large numbers of places — probably in most places
- there is no more diminution in the number passing from the highest grammar grade to the lowest high school grade than in the number passing from some of the grades below to the next higher; and this is true notwithstanding the fact that when pupils are ready to enter the high school the majority of them have emerged from the compulsory years. To find out definitely where losses occur, and what their values are classes move through the thirteen grades, it is necessary to know their annual reduction in membership from start to finish. A Cambridge table has been prepared to show this reduction in that city. The facts brought out by this table were so suggestive of a certain uniformity in the causes of such shrinkage that the question at once arose whether other places showed facts of similar suggestiveness. The secretary is indebted to Mr. Southworth, superintendent of schools for Somerville, for a Somerville table to go with that of Cambridge. The tables agree in their basis and the trustworthiness of their data is assured. Similar tables would be welcomed from other places, particularly from any whose population has remained constant during the years with which the tables deal.