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2. Sufficient State aid to enable needy rural towns to secure teachers not inferior in ability and qualifications to those employed in large towns and cities.
3. High schools sufficient in number, and so located that, without too great hardship, the children of rural communities shall be within reach of their advantages.
Resolved, That, for the accomplishment of this much needed legislation, we request all subordinate granges to urge members of the Legislature to support a bill framed to secure superintendence, aid to teachers and extension of high school privileges specified in the foregoing resolution.
Educational Progress and Outlook in Massachusetts. — From an interesting and discriminating report upon the school situation and outlook in Massachusetts, prepared for the Massachusetts Teachers' Association by S. T. Dutton, superintendent of the Brookline schools, Miss Gertrude Edmund, principal of the Lowell Training School, and Eugene Bouton, superintendent of the Pittsfield schools, and accepted by the association, the following extract is taken:
The quality of the men and women who instruct is of first consequence. As the respect and dignity attaching to the profession of teaching becomes enhanced, we see an increasing number of strong, liberally educated persons anxious to enter its ranks. Organized facilities for superior pedagogic training give ground for present encouragement and are a hopeful prophecy for the future. Harvard University has more than one hundred students pursuing courses in the department of education. Clark University and the Institute of Technology offer Saturday lectures of a high order which should be of great value to teachers. The wise action of Wellesley College in offering courses in pedagogy is an example to other colleges for women, which, it is loped, may soon be followed.
There is abundant evidence that the excellent normal schools of the Commonwealth are not standing still. The policy of admitting only high school graduates has been initiated with success, and important changes have been made in the curriculum which insure a more thorough-going and vitalized treatment of the teaching problem. Model and practice schools have become a feature of the training work, so that child study, teaching and school management in all their various phases may receive adequate attention. A broader discrimination and a wider discernment in the treatment of children are sure to characterize the future graduates of these schools.
The training schools of several of the larger cities have been reorganized, with a view of making them as nearly equal in standing and excellence to the normal schools as possible.
Mention might be made of the many opportunities offered teachers now in service to continue professional study; as, for example, public meetings, the departmental work of the New England Conference of Educational Workers, the Saturday morning lectures under the auspices of the Twentieth Century Club, similar courses in other cities, as in Worcester, Pittsfield, Springfield, Fall River and New Bedford, and such local societies and clubs as hold meetings for the discussion of educational questions.
It would be gratifying to your committee were it possible to state that the majority of the teachers in the Commonwealth possess a professional spirit and are close students of education, that in selfculture and in professional growth there is little to be desired. We fear, however, that this statement could not be safely made. In every town and city there are to be found a few, perhaps one fourth or one third of the whole number, who are keenly alive to the privileges and duties of the teacher's calling. They read educational books and papers and are eager to participate in meetings and institutes, and what is accomplished in their schoolrooms becomes widely known and appreciated. Those who compose the able body of superintendents and supervisors now employed in Massachusetts can have no more worthy aim than to arouse in all teachers a spirit of investigation and study, so that teaching may be elevated from the domain of humdrum and routine to that of a fine art. However well trained and cultured are those who are newly admitted to the profession, the highest end is not accomplished until every teacher becomes an humble and docile seeker after truth and grows daily in wisdom and skill.
At a recent meeting of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents considerable time was devoted to the matter of qualifications of teachers, and resolutions were passed looking to more care in this direction. The subject of commercial education in the high schools was also discussed, and it is worthy of note that attempts in this direction are being made on broader lines than was formerly the case. It appears to be a current notion that it is possible to introduce the student to many problems of commercial life without unduly narrowing his education and unfitting him to meet successfully such choices and opportunities as may come to him.
All who have to do with elementary education at the present time have no easy task in trying to harmonize the claims of the nutritive
and the culture subjects with those of the narrower and more conventional studies. On the one hand we have physical training, manual or motor training, nature study, geography, history, literature, art and music, and on the other the school arts, number, writing, spelling, reading and formal language. There has been more or less competition between these two sets of studies, resulting, we fear, to the advantage of the three R's.” Wherever the culture subjects have been given in the schools, the place which the best authorities approve, there has resulted on the part of parents a certain degree of unrest, not to say dissatisfaction. The truth that education in its early stages is a process of nutrition, a gradual awakening and growth, is but poorly understood; neither does the average person appreciate the advantage of experience in the school arts when gained in connection with culture studies. It seems to us of much less consequence, at the present time, that the general public understand and appreciate the nature and aims of modern education than that those to whom is entrusted the sacred duty of organizing and directing our schools and those to whom the children are actually committed should be willing to stand manfully and courageously for what they believe to minister to physical, moral and intellectual health. While a wide conservatism which proceeds deliberately and cautiously is justifiable, any failure to deal positively with issues so vital to the welfare of the young, whether it be through ignorance or timidity, is not likely to end in the most genuine popularity.
In this connection there are several lines of effort which cannot be too strongly emphasized :
(a) We have already mentioned it, - the need of a high professional spirit on the part of teachers, which contributes to their own self-culture, refines and elevates their teaching and commends their work to the intelligent public.
(6) The education of fathers and mothers to a broader view of present problems. Wherever parents and teachers are brought into conference, it becomes possible to discover that unity which justly belongs to the education of the school, the home and the community, and to secure such co-operation as prevents wasted energy and imparts strength and confidence to all workers.
(c) It is encouraging to note that more attention is given to home study, its kind, amount and method of treatment. To so organize this phase of the school life as not to create panic or depression in the home, but rather enthusiasm and pleasure, is a most worthy end.
(d) The physical tone of pupils of every grade should be conserved by games and physical exercises, taken out-of-doors when the
weather permits; athletic sports, properly supervised ; and by such distribution of work in the schoolroom as permits of relief through variety, as well as of quiet study hours under right conditions. The highest skill should be employed in the selection, the grouping and the correlation of topics. For example, nature study should be a broad and intensive study of interesting forms of life, rather than an attempt to deal thoroughly with any branch of science. Wherever geography is taught, history should be added, so that students may gain a reasonable acquaintance with the historic landmarks of the centuries. This should include something of the history and the progress of art, and all this instruction should be made as objective as possible. In no other way can the capacity of the mind to absorb and assimilate real truth be utilized. Even spelling becomes of vital interest, when the growth of words and the ideals they represent are brought into prominence.
(e) The recent State exhibition of drawings was happily conceived and wisely managed. It revealed surprising progress in the representation of nature through the medium of color. The exhibit was largely wanting in constructive drawings. Objective drawings of all sorts in light and shade and color showed remarkable progress. Drawing as a means of expression in connection with other studies was an interesting part of the exhibit. In decorative design there was marked improvement, but in conventional design progress was less apparent. The work sent from high schools was not commensurate in quality with the exhibit as a whole. Those most competent to judge regarded the exhibit as interesting and promising.
(f) The successful attempts made to organize vacation schools are mentioned here as one evidence of the enlarged consciousness on the part of good people of the needs of that large class of children who remain at home during the vacation season, and who, if left entirely to themselves, fall into habits and tendencies detrimental to their whole life. Such philanthropy as has been practised in Cambridge, in Boston and in other places, in connection with the vacation schools, is a new witness to the progress of humanity.
The report closes with comments on what it calls an “illadvised” effort to increase the stringency of the law requiring scientific instruction in temperance, and with expressions of satisfaction that the effort failed.
Resolutions and Reports of Other Organizations. — The American Institute of Instruction, one of whose valuable reports is given in the Appendix, the National Educational Asso
ciation, and State and county organizations of teachers, farmers, granges, women and so on, without end, show a remarkable unanimity in their formulation of the grander needs of the schools; and in their recommendations of general lines of advance they generally agree with those just given.
Recommendations of the Secretary. — The recommendations of the secretary divide themselves, as heretofore, into two groups, one relating to details of administration and the other to general policies. In the first group are the following:
1. An increase in the clerical and messenger appropriation for the office from $2,000 to $3,000.
An appropriation of $3,000 for State institutes, in accordance with the amount specified in chapter 42 of the Public Statutes, and the repeal of the section restricting the expenditure for a single institute to $350.
3. An increase of $200 in the appropriation for census books, school registers and blanks for school returns.
4. A consideration of the expediency of so amending the sworn certificate in the annual returns of the school committee as to make it contain all the expenditures for schools except expenditures for buildings, alterations and repairs.
All of the recommendations relating to administrative details made last year by the secretary were adopted by the Legislature.
In the second group are what may be called standing recommendations. They have been repeatedly made in past years, and are as sound to-day as ever.
These standing recommendations relate chiefly to legislation in behalf of the following policies :
1. That of a more vigorous and general enforcement of the school attendance laws by means of State attendance officers.
2. That of requiring some minimum of professional preparation from new teachers appointed after a certain date.
3. That of requiring the supervision of all schools by superintendents specially appointed for the purpose.
4. That of insisting on good schooling everywhere, without reference to local ability to meet the necessary expense thereof, and of providing adequate State help to towns whose local efforts need to be supplemented for the purpose.
It may be said, as last year, that, as to the first policy,