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and one book of Homer's Iliad, with prosody. In Latin, four books of Cæsar's Commentaries, six books of Virgil's Æneid, six select orations of Cicero, Sallust's Catiline, Sallust's Jugurthine War or the Eclogues of Virgil, and twelve chapters of Arnold's Latin Prose Composition. The preceding requisites presuppose thorough preparation in arithmetic, English grammar, descriptive geography, classical geography, history of the United States and Greek and Roman antiquities.
We learn by the report that these requisites have been adopted by all the leading colleges of the state, a few making exception of the plane geometry. President Barnard, of Columbia College, wished to include also some knowledge of the modern languages and natural science. President Anderson, of Rochester University, urged that some method should be adopted which would secure a higher class of scholars than the average body of students are qualified to become. All the associated colleges seemed earnest in demanding greater thoroughness in preparation and more severe examinations in matriculating candidates.
We are glad to see that these men propose to take no steps backward, and hope that their efforts will not cease until they have made full provision for elevating the standard of collegiate scholarship. The faculty of Hamilton College report that the increased quantity of requirements has not lessened the quality of the preparation nor diminished the number of applicants. We hope that our Ohio colleges will make note of the proceedings of the convocation and strive to keep pace with the times. Experience has shown that mere local attractions will not suffice to keep students from seeking the most thorough institutions. In fact, , this action is taken for the explicitly avowed purpose that the New York colleges should not be behind those of New England.
If classical education is desirable, it ought to be sufficiently comprehensive and exhaustive to make it respectable. At the same time, provision should be made for those whose predilections or necessities lead them to substitute modern languages and the natural sciences for Greek and Latin. Many of the New York colleges have made such provision. Union College, for example, offers four distinct courses to the choice of the student: the Classical or usual course; the Scientific, in which German, French, Italian and Spanish take the place of the dead languages; the Civil Engineering, which is sufficiently indicated by its name, and the University course, in which the studies are all elective by the student under the direction of the faculty. Columbia College has several distinct "Schools."
8. A. N.
School Officers' Department.
The articles in this Department have special interest to school officers. Communications
from the State Commissioner of Common Schools and other school officers, are specially solicited. All articles not otherwise credited, are prepared by the editor.
A SCHOOL DIRECTOR vs. A SCHOOL EXAMINER.
We find in one of our exchanges a communication from a “School Director,” in which the School Examiners of his county are sharply called to an account for licensing teachers who are hot competent to teach the branches required by law. He takes as an example the case of a young man who was refused a certificate eight years ago, and who has since given no attention to school studies. We quote from the letter, omitting the names of the parties referred to:
It was my fortune to be present at the same examination in November last, that this young man was. Before the examination in Grammar began, Mr. and said: “I know nothing of your qualifications who are here to-day, but I feel safe in saying that one-half the parsing in our common schools is wrong.” Then turning to Mr. he said: "Am I too severe ? “No," said Mr. you would say three-fourths you would be as near right, in my opinion.” Now, if these gentlemen are honest men, they certainly should meet the requirements of the law, and commission only those who are competent to teach correctly the required branches. In the examination aforesaid, the sentence, “ John is a boy loved by all,” was written on the board, and the applicants required to parse it. The young man beforementioned, parsed “ boy as in the objective case, and governed by the preposition by, and "all” as an adjective qualifying persons understood, leaving persons undisposed of. · Now, any person that knows anything about grammar, knows that such parsing is a perfect absurdity, and yet these gentlemen commissioned this young man to teach this branch in one of our common schools. Such limited education has cost the possessors thereof but a very meagre sum; and they can afford to teach in direct keeping with what their education has cost them; consequently, our schools are supplied with this class of teachers to a very great measure, while those who have expended means, by which they have accomplished an education capable of teaching, are forced to desist, and follow other pursuits.
I call upon the district clerks of the several townships of county, to send to these gentlemen a remonstrance against such examinations, admonishing them to commission for us only teachers whose qualifications are good. Will the respective boards act at their next spring session ?
In a subsequent issue of the same paper, “An Examiner” pleads guilty to the charge without argument," and offers this significant apology:
The Board, in order to supply the schools with teachers, are obliged to certify to a great many exaggerated truths, if not absolute falsehoods. I know that I have signed certificates, especially within the past six weeks, for persons wholly incompetent to teach grammar.
I will further inform “School Director," disparaging as the assertion is to a large part of our teachers, that if the Board insisted upon the correct parsing, saying nothing about the analysis, of the sentence quoted by him as placed on the blackboard, viz: “He was a boy loved by all who know him,” in which sentence there is not a single word difficult to be disposed of, they would vacate one-half of the schools of the county, and they would be vacated permanently, too, unless supplied by importations from abroad, and this opinion is confirmed by those who have served upon the Board of this county for many years.
He admits, however, that it might be better to insist on a proper standard of
a temporary vacation in a goodly number of the schools would undoubtedly cause an increase of wages, and high wages would eventually secure competent teachers." He then adds this important suggestion, which we earnestly commend to school directors and boards of education:
I can see, however, that four months employment during the year, even with adoquate compensation, does not afford sufficient inducement, at least to young men, thoroughly qualify themselves for the profession of teaching. I have no doubt it would contribute vastly to the improvement of our country schools, if the six, seven, or eight months, which they are usually taught, should be made continuous from October to April or May, with a vacation of two weeks during the holidays, after the manner of our town schools, instead of being divided as they now are between winter and summer with long vacations of months between the terms.
Leaving out of consideration the vast advaatage that would accrue to pupils by this arrangement, the fact that it would afford continuous employment to teachers for a large part of the year, leaving that portion of the year at their command in which they can most readily engage in other pursuits, would contribute largely to supplying our schools with better talent and higher qualifications.
He seconds the suggestion of "School Director” that the sub-district clerks send in remonstrances against the granting of certificates to unqualified applicants, but fears that the Board will never be entertained" with such strange but sweet music"-the music they are accustomed to hear being of a very different character.
The facts presented in this remarkable correspondence are worthy of the most serious and earnest consideration. So long as one-half of the teachers in our schools are, in the honest judgment of those who have licensed them, not qualified to teach the branches required by law, there will be small cause for enthusiasm over the near approach of the educational Millennium. The most vital question involved in the improvement of the schools, is the supplying of them with competent, efficient teachers. To this great task we must apply ourselves resolutely and earnestly. Let the remonstrance of “School Director" come up
sub-district. We wish to add that the Board of Examiners referred to, is one of the most efficient and faithful in the state.
UNIFORMITY OF SCHOOL BOOKS.
A want of uniformity in the text-books used in our country schools, is unquestionably a great inconvenience and a serious evil. It burdens the teacher with a multiplicity of classes, and cripples all his efforts in the direction of sys tematic and thorough instruction. The remedy for this evil is plain. Boards of education have the authority to say what text books shall be used in the schools under their control. What is needed is simply the wise exercise of this authority—a duty we have heretofore often urged, and, as we are glad to learn, not wholly in vain. Hundreds of boards have taken the necessary action, and have had the satisfaction of seeing order come out of confusion.
But all boards have not found the exercise of this authority an easy matter. Some have met with bitter opposition not only from parents, but also from school directors. We gave a case of this kind in our February number, occurring in Warren county. We have since learned that the rebellious attitude of
several of the sub-districts, was based on an objection to the series of books adopted by the board. It was, in other words, a war between two rival series of text-books-the questioning of the authority of the township board being & flank movement by the defeated party. The result was a stormy session of the board in April last, and a modification of their former action. Both of the rival series were adopted, and the responsibility of deciding which shall be used in the several sub-districts was shifted from the board to the local directors, who are required to use one and only one of the series adopted in the same school.
What is wanted is a uniformity of text-books in each school. We care not how this result is secured, whether by the action of the township board or by the local directors acting under the board's direction and by their authority. The law recognizes the fact that there is an advantage in having the same books used in all the schools of a township, and we hope to see this result generally secured.
AUTHORITY OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS TO BUILD SCHOOL
QUESTION.-When a levy has been certified by the county commissioners for the
purpose of erecting a school house in a sub-district, what is the remedy in case the township board of education refuse to build ? Have the commissioners power to authorize the local directors to proceed to build the school house?
ANSWER.-Section 22 of the school law, as amended March 18th, 1864, provides that if any board of education shall, in any one year, fail or refuse to estimate and certify a levy or levies, sufficient to provide a suitable school house in each sub-district, “it shall be the duty of the county commissioners of the county within which such district is located, upon being advised and satisfied thereof, to estimate and cause said levies to be made and entered upon the tax duplicate, the same as could have been done upon the estimate and certificate of such board.” When the county commissioners have discharged the duty of certifying to the county auditor the proper levies, their authority in the
The local directors of the proper sub-district are fully authorized by section 7, to proceed at once to make the necessary contracts for building and furnishing the school house. If such contracts are properly made and reported to the township board at their next meeting after the making of such contracts, the board will be responsible for the performance thereof on the part of the subdistrict.
Several instances have occurred within the past year, in which township boards of education have attempted to thwart the purposes of the law by abolishing the sub-districts for the benefit of which levies were made by the county commissioners, and by appropriating the funds thus arising for the purpose of erecting school houses in other parts of the townships. Such proceedings are clearly illegal; a writ of injunction has, in most instances, settled all further controversy.--Annual Report of State Com. of Com. Schools.
Our readers will discover that the plain headings “ Geography,"
." "Elementary Arithmetic," “Reading,” etc., in this number, cover articles of great excellence. No true teacher can rise from their perusal without a sense of profit. We have never crowded more practical suggestions into a single number of the MONTHLY than will be found in this.
All our yearly subscriptions which began July, 1866, end with the present number, and, when a subscription closes, it is our custom to strike the name from our list. We do a cash business. The non-appearance of the July number may, therefore, be accepted as a hint that it is waiting for an invitation. We trust that such invitation will not be long delayed. We shall be sorry to part with
any of our readers. We wish, in this connection, to thank all who have rendered generous assistance in extending our circulation. The first half of the current volume closes with a larger subscription list than any of its predecessors. The MONTHLY relies on the tried professional spirit of Ohio teachers for a still larger support, and it points, with some assurance, to its practical character and worth as a sufficient ground for such reliance. Subscriptions may begin in January or July. We are still able to supply back numbers.
All improvement in school instruction must relate to its subject-matter, its methods, or its spirit. In one of these directions every step of progress must be taken. They constitute the three grand lines of professional advancement. In which direction has the profession hitherto made the greatest progress? On which line is it now moving most rapidly? A cursory survey of the field will furnish an answer to each of these important inquiries.
Comparing common-school instruction of thirty years ago with that of today, the greatest change will be observed in the subject-matter—the branches taught. Not only is more now attempted in each branch of study, but several new branches have been added to the course. The Three R's" once constituted the common-school curriculum; now neither of the nine digits will represent the number of elementary branches that receive attention.
But an increase in the subject-matter of instruction is not necessarily progress. The vital question is, “ Are these studies pursued in their natural and true order ?". -an inquiry that relates not only to the leading branches of knowledge, but to the general subjects that constitute each branch, and the