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The following persons have received the benefit of our State appropriation for the blind :
Providence, June, 1846, June, 1847.
Alexander Kenyon, S. Kingstown, October, 1847,
Novem. 1849, Novem. 1850.
James H. Graham, Newport, May, 1850.
The payments on account have been—
The beneficiaries of this State have heretofore been sent to the Perkins Institution and Massachusetts Asylum for the Blind, at Boston. The charge at that Institution is $160 per annum, which covers board, washing, medicine, use of books, musical instruments, and all expenses except clothing and travelling expenses. Pupils must be under fifteen when ad
piring to be men, can hardly fail to recognize. I need not add that they are honorably distinguished from the other sex by warm affections, by greater faith in human nature, and in its capacity for good, and by disinterested and untiring zeal in behalf of objects that they love. Says the present chief magistrate of this State, (Gov. Seward of New York,) "He it seems to me is a dull observer, who has not learned that it was the intention of the Creator to commit to them a higher and greater portion of responsibility in the education of youth of both sexes. They are the natural guardians of the young. Their abstraction from the engrossing cares of life affords them leisure both to acquire and communicate knowledge. From them the young more willingly receive it, because the severity of discipline is relieved with greater tenderness and affections, while their more quick apprehension, enduring patience, expansive benevolence, higher purity, more delicate taste, and elevated moral feeling, qualify them for excellence in all departments of learning, except, perhaps the exact sciences. If this be true, how many a repulsive, bigoted, and indolent professor will, in the general improvement of education, be compelled to resign his claim to modest, assiduous and affectionate woman. And how many conceited pretenders, who may wield the rod in our common schools, without the knowledge of human nature requisite for its discreet exercise, too indolent to improve, and too proud to discharge their responsible duties, will be driven to seek subsistence elsewhere," -School and Schoolmaster.
"A man may keep a difficult school by means of authority and physical force: a woman can do it only by dignity of character, affection, and such a superiority in attainment, as is too conspicuous to be questioned.-Horace Mann.
mitted, and of good character; free from epilepsy or any contagious disease; and the friends of the applicant are required to answer certain queries respecting his age, and the cause and degree of his blindness, and to furnish an obligation that when discharged he shall be removed without expense to the Institution. If possible, pupils should be taught the letters before going to the Institution. Books in raised letters for the blind, can be procured there.
IDIOTS AND IMBECILES.
The only person who has yet received the benefit of this appropriation, is James Lee, of Providence. The sum of $200 has been paid to the Institution at Boston, for his support from October, 1850, to October, 1852, by an order on our Treasury, dated December 21, 1851. Two others have lately been placed upon the list, but no payments yet made on their ac
Appended to this report will be found the number of the Insane, Idiots, Deaf and Dumb, and Blind, in every town, taken from the census. The number of these, however, as reported by Thomas R. Hazard, Esq., who, under authority of the Legislature, examined into the subject, is mnch greater, viz :
Of the insane and idiots, Mr. Hazard found one half in the condition of paupers, dependent upon the towns for support.But it is believed that even Mr. Hazard's enumeration is not complete. Families are sometimes unwilling to have misfortunes like these exposed to the public. The census takers, perhaps, do not always enquire for them, and sometimes their enquiries may have been evaded.
The thorough revision and codification of our School laws made the past year, it is believed will have a very favorable effect. The principal changes are such as are calculated to facilitate the collection of school taxes, and to remove doubts and ambiguities which had arisen relating to construction.The ambiguity of some provisions, and the difficulty of collecing a tax, were calculated to produce frequent lawsuits, and these often led to frequent quarrels in a district, resulting in great injury to the schools. It is believed, that under the new law, there will be less opportunity for these hereafter.
Otherwise the new law is principally a condensing and consolidation of the old ones.
Although in revising our school laws, we have had the benefit of several years experience under our last law, and of the suggestions and criticisms of many friends of education in different parts of the State, and it was for two years before the Legislature, examined by committees and amended at various times by both houses, yet we are not to expect perfection in it. It seems almost impossible for human ingenuity to frame a law which shall be free from all ambiguity. The law is necessarily a long one, resulting from the various circumstances of different sections of the State, for all of which it was necessary to provide; but the index accompanying it is believed to be very complete, so that any one may find any part of it without difficulty. The law, in conformity to a resolution of the Legislature, was immediately published. It was accompanied with very full notes and remarks on the duties of different officers under it, and the proper manner of performing them, and with forms for transacting all ordinary school business. It is believed that these remarks and forms have been, and will continue to be, the means of preventing much litigation.
The provision in the law by which the Commissioner is authorized to hear appeals and decide disputed cases, has also tended materially to diminish the number of lawsuits. These cases of appeal have been quite numerous, and have been decided as the law requires, without cost to the parties. The members of the bar have rendered important service to the cause of education, by discouraging litigation in cases growing out of the school law.
A revision of our general law for the assessing and collection of taxes, would contribute much towards preventing of difficulties in school districts.
Many of the towns have appointed superintendents, or some one person to perform the duty of visiting the schools. This duty, if divided among a large committee, is seldom attended to: and even if not neglected, it cannot be so well done as by a single person.
By a provision in our new law, school committees are authorized to cause their reports to be printed. It is desirable that the committee in every town should avail themselves of this right. A full statement of the expenditures of school moneys, an account of all the schools, with remarks upon the school houses, the teachers, their qualifications and mode of teaching, should be printed and placed in every dwelling house in the town. It would tend to keep up interest in the schools,
and to awaken interest in some quarters where they are now neglected.
MEANS OF IMPROVING THE SCHOOLS.
It is interesting to look back upon the condition of our schools a few years ago, and consider what a great change has been wrought amongst us. A few years since, we were in a state of comparative indifference to education-at least a large portion of the community was so. Now, we see everywhere the evidences of increasing interest. Nearly all our villages and the greater part of our country districts have been supplied with new and improved school houses. Efforts are generally made to secure better qualified teachers, and meetings of teachers and of parents are held to aid and encourage each other in this good work.
But of all the means designed to promote the cause of sound education, there is none more important than the improvement of the teachers themselves. We may build fine school houses and collect the children together in them. If the teacher is not what he ought to be, all previous trouble and expense is thrown away. They will be as a body without a soul. On the other hand, we may have poor school houses and a poor and uneducated people; send the good teacher among them, and his influence is soon felt. As is the teacher, so is the school.
It is a serious truth, that there are many sections of our coun try, and perhaps some districts in all parts of the State, where the great body of the people do not seem to know the difference between a poor school and a good one. They have been so long taught by the dunces who have been sent among us from abroad, and who took a school because they could do nothing else, or came here to keep school because they could not get one where they were better known, that they have no idea of anything better than what they have been used
Now what is wanted in such places? First of all, there uust be a feeling of deficiency, and a desire to improve. Then they should not only choose a good school committee, but should let them understand that they are to be supported in making strict examinations, in rejecting the poor teachershowever many friends they may have--and in raising the standard of qualification. There are some powers belonging to school committees, such as settling of district boundaries, location of school houses, &c., about the exercise of which, there may be an allowable difference of opinion: but, about
this, the requiring of strict examinations, there should be but one opinion. Even when there is a well qualified committee, difficulty frequently arises from their endeavouring to accommodate themselves to circumstances and the state of popular feeling, from lowering the standard to suit some particular district where the candidate proposes to keep. Of course, discretion is always to be used, but it were as well, perhaps better, that some of our country districts should have been without schools for years, than be taught by such teachers as they have had-teachers who could only make stupidity more stupid.
Teachers themselves for the credit of their profession, should mark and discountenance the dunces and quacks who dishonor it.
The means of improving in the art of teaching have been so multiplied within a few years, that there is now but little excuse for committees or trustees in employing incompetent teachers, or, for the teachers themselves in not improving.— We have no Normal School it is true, but we have numerous High Schools and Academies. And then we have the Teachers' Institute, where for a week or more at a time, they may receive instruction without money and without price, from the most able instructors of this and other States. The State pays for the instruction, the inhabitants of the villages generously entertain them. Our best teachers generally attend as many of these meetings as they can find time for. It is a pleasure as well as profit to them. Yet, although held in all parts of the State and almost brought to their very doors, there is a large number of teachers who never attend any. If they are poor teachers, they will probably remain so. Poor they may be in worldly goods; they will probably remain so. Heaven helps those who help themselves.
I shall devote a portion of this report to considering what teachers may do to improve themselves, and what they may do to improve the community around them. Some of the topics may be trite, yet it is a subject which needs and justifies repetition and on which too much cannot be said.
The teacher should not think that he is doing his duty by merely spending the allotted time in the school room and hearing recitations in their prescribed order. To make a good teacher requires considerable energy of character, and he who has it not should endeavor to cultivate and acquire it. Without it, he cannot succeed in teaching or in any other business. He should put his whole soul into his business, whatever it is for the time being. Whatever his hands find to do, he should do it with all his might. By applying himself energetically