Connecticut can give us some excellent points; that, as to the second, we can learn of New York; that, as to the third, our policy of supervision is thus far the best in the Union, and needs only to be clinched by making it universal ; that, as to the fourth, Massachusetts leads the Union in basing the support of public schools on local taxation, - a principle so favorable to sturdy development that she must never abandon it; but in granting State help to the schools she is behind most of the States of the Union,- so far behind, indeed, that, though she has some of the best schools in the land, there still linger within her borders some of the poorest. The third recommendation, in particular, merits an early consideration of the Legislature. The employment of a good superintendent has much to do with improving the teaching force, and not a little with enforcing the attendance laws, and so may be regarded as contributory to the policies indicated in the first and second recommendations. As to the fourth recommendation, the factors to be considered seem to the secretary so numerous and involved that he cannot see how they can be handled with the fullest intelligence and wisdom without a careful investigation and presentation of them by persons specially authorized to make them. These factors are mentioned in the sixty-second report of the Board, pages 130–132.

The Consistency and Unity of the Views held by Past Secretaries. – I take the liberty of repeating here what I said last year about the consistency and unity of the views of my

distinguished predecessors. The Massachusetts educational ideals of the last sixty years should be frequently set before the people, “ lest they forget.” Mann, Sears, Boutwell, White and Dickinson were not five men with five codes of educational principles, but five men with a single code. There are no harsh discords in their fundamental notes. The concord comes, not because of a set purpose to hang together regardless of convictions, but because of a sturdy grasp by each of the spirit, the aims and the needs of the Massachusetts school idea. If five men interpret that spirit correctly, formulate those aims and diagnose those needs successfully, they are pretty likely to agree, subject to changing conditions, upon the grander features of an educational policy. Consequently, these men never wavered in urging principles and policies of which the following, gathered in a casual turning of the leaves of their reports, may serve as illustrations :

1. Education is more than an individual, family or school district interest, it concerns the town and the State.

2. The schools do not exist to furnish places for the relatives and friends of the appointing power or for the residents of a locality, — they exist for the welfare of the children and the community.

3. The supreme need of any school is that of the thoroughly competent and wise teacher.

4. No pains should be spared by the State to train teachers for their responsible work.

5. School buildings should be the highest expression of sanitary and educational wisdom, as well as of civic pride.

6. The avenues of ascent through the schools, even to the college doors, should be open and free to the poorest child. Secondary as well as elementary education should therefore be fostered.

7. The prosperity of the State, materially, politically, morally, is vitally related to the prosperity of the schools.

8. It is the right of children to have their childhood reserved for its natural employments, - play, recreation, schooling and such lighter forms of work as children can do without loss of childhood's privileges. Thrusting them prematurely into factory life or any life akin to that is an abuse of children and an injury to the State not to be tolerated.

9. Habitual absenteeism or truancy works harm both to the child and to the State and should be stopped.

10. The smallest and poorest towns should have good schooling as well as the largest and wealthiest.

11. The State should insist in its laws on such schooling.

12. The main dependence of the schools for support should be local taxation.

13. Where local taxation goes as far as it ought and yet fails to provide money enough to insure good schools, the State should aid in securing the needed efficiency.

14. By as much as human minds and souls transcend in value the products of human hands, by so much does the need

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of the schools for competent supervision transcend the need of the factory. No sane corporation would let its workshop drift, and no sane community should let its schools drift, without a directing and unifying head.

And so the list might be extended. The present secretary renews his affirmation of last year, that there is not one of the foregoing principles or policies to which he does not heartily subscribe. There is not one of them which has not, in some shape or to some extent, been realized in practice; not one which has not, in some shape or to some extent, been violated in fact; not one of them, therefore, which the people can afford to drop from earnest thought and ignore.




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