Sidebilder
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

-a

Had we space and time, we could present evidence showing increased uniformity and efficiency in the general management of the schools; an increase of graded sub-district schools; a better arrangement of school terms; more permanence in the employment of teachers; more regular attendance of pupils ; a greater uniformity of text-books and a consequent better classification of pupils; a great revival of teachers' institutes; more efficient teaching; and greater interest in the schools on the part of school-officers. We do not assert that the condition of the country schools is in any of these respects what it should be, or is even satisfactory. What is claimed is, that there is conclusive evidence of substantial progress.

Among the causes and agencies which have contributed to this result, we may specify

1. The increased importance which the subject of education has assumed in the popular mind as a result of our recent civil war. Universal education is now more widely recognized as a national necessity than ever before.

2. The school legislation of 1864 and 1865, which made plainer the duties of school officers; provided for fuller and more reliable reports; checked abuses in the distribution of school funds; provided for increased school levies; required under effective penalties at least six months of school in each township; sent a copy of the School Commissioner's report to each sub-district: provided a teachers' institute fund; and placed among the necessary qualifications of teachers a “knowledge of the theory and practice of teaching provision already bearing much good fruit.

3. The efforts of the School Department. We will not attempt to recapitulate these efforts. Suffice it to say, that through his annual reports, official circulars and letters (which may be sent as often as he chooses), the School Commissioner is able to lay before every board of school officers in the State important plans and recommendations for the improvement of the schools. By his personal labors in the institutes and among the people, he may also exert a wide and potent influence.

4. The influence of the graded and higher schools. The graded schools of our cities and towns are felt more widely year by year, and increased attention is given by our colleges, high schools, seminaries, and academies to the preparation of teachers. The number of teachers' institutes held annually has greatly increased. The fact that in the past four years an aggregate of not less than 140,000 monthly copies of the Monthly have been circulated, largely in the rural districts, may also be worthy of mention.

That these agencies and efforts mainly directed to the improvement of the country schools and actually reaching every sub-district, should exert a potent and beneficial influence, is reasonable; that they have exerted such influence, is certain. On every hand is evidence that new life and interest have been awakened, improvements initiated, and advancement secured. Indeed, all things considered, it would seem that the country schools have made since 1863 as great if not greater progress than the schvols in the cities and towns. Their actual condition is, however, much too low. Still more rapid progress is needed, and, to this end, new agencies are demanded. While we strive to secure these, let us push forward the good work begun.

MISCELL A NY..

Death or MR. EDWARDS.-It becomes our sad duty to record the death of Wm. N. Edwards, for fifteen years Superintendent of the Troy Union School, and one of the most eminent and successful educators in the State. He died on the 2d of August, of congestion of the bowels, after an illness of only thirty-six hours. The event caused the deepest sorrow in the community in which he had so long lived, and it was generally recognized as a public calamity. His funeral was largely attended, and, as a token of the esteem in which he was universally held, the business houses were closed and, with many private residencs, draped in mourning.

Mr. Edwards was fifty-five years of age, and had been a teacher for about thirtyfive years. He was an accurate and thorough scholar, a skillful teacher and disciplinarian, and an influential and public-spirited citizen. He died as he had lived, a devout and humble Christian. His end was peace. But we stand too near the newmade grave of our departed friend and brother to write his eulogy. We wait for a more fitting hour.

ENGLISH REPORT ON AMERICAN Schools. We have just received a copy of Assistant-Commissioner Fraser's report on the School System of the United States, accompanied by the following letter:

2 VICTORIA STREET, WESTMINSTER,

2 July, 1867. Sir: I have the pleasure on behalf of Her Majesty's Schools Inquiring Commissioners to convey to you their thanks for the kind assistance you afforded to their Assistant Commissioner, the Rev'd James Fraser, in making his recent inquiries into the Common School System of the United States, and to request your acceptance of a oopy of his Report.

I have the honor to be, Sir,

Your obedient servant, The Hon. E. E. WHITE.

H. J. ROBY, Secretary.

The report is a very valuable one, and we shall take pleasure in preparing for our readers an epitome of the conclusions reached in it. They will be found remarkably accurate and truthful. The extracts printed in another place in this number, are evidence that full justice has been done our noble system of public instruction.

MORAL CULTURE.— The last annual report of the Board of Education of Maine strongly urges that increased attention should be given to moral culture in our schools. It is argued that the design of a national system of education can never be fully answered until moral culture receives a due share of attention. We want direct teaching on the nature and obligations of moral duties, not so much in the way of reproofs and punishments, as of gentle appeals to the children's hearts, winning them to virtue. We need to cultivate the sense of duty, the love of goodness and excellence, for their own sake, not to stimulate ambition or love of applause. Both teachers and pupils are exposed to the same temptation. The teacher is naturally inclined to teach what yields the quickest and most prolific returns. He too loves the recognition of success and popular applause, which is much more readily granted to the more brilliant results of intellectual gain than to the slower and less showy fruits of moral progress. Let moral truths be impressed on the younger scholars by familiar illustrations, simple narratives calculated to set forth the beauty of truth, purity, honor, and to find their ready way to a child's heart. Train them to prize the approval of their own conscience (the secret voice of God in the heart) and that of their parents above the smiles and applause of the world around them.

[ocr errors]

TOBACCO AMONG TEACHERS. — Mr. Editor: As teachers, principals, and superintendents, we meet in annual convention at different places in the State, for the purpose of interchanging views, discussing disputed questions pertaining to teaching, and, in short, for mutual benefit, and the general advancement of the educational interests of the State. All this is right; and we believe that by this means there will be a more speedy approximation to uniformity in our professional work. But, admitting the above to be true, as all teachers attending the convention do, we would ask our professional brethren whether we do not stand in open self-condemnation when indulging in that worse than useless habit of smoking and chewing tobacco, such as was seen at all the conventions I have attended. As teachers of the youth of our land, we should remember that our example before them, which should ever be untainted, is the main lever by which to teach morals effectually.

At our last convention at Springfield, the cloud of smoke in the hotel was so thick that we were several times driven out into the open air for the want of something less polluted to breathe. We have but little faith in him who pretends to teach what he does not practice, both in public and private, nor that he has at heart the real good of either those he is teaching or his profession. If we are in error, will some professional brother correct us ?

GALION.

MULTIPLICITY OF COLLEGES.—Hon. Newton Bateman, State Supt. of Public Instruction of Illinois, writes strongly, in his last annual report, in favor of fewer colleges. The alleged unpopularity of colleges in Illinois is attributed, among other causes, to their excessive multiplication. This causes the number of full-course collegiate students to be out of proportion to the number of professors who being inadequately paid in consequence, resign their situations for more lucrative employment. The bulk of the nominal students that go to swell the annual catalogue consists of mere boys and girls who constitute the preparatory department, and who, therefore, ought to be in the public schools, with which the so-called colleges come into unworthy and unprofitable competition. These remarks apply to Ohio as well as Illinois.

OUTLINE DRAWING.—This anecdote which we take from a pamphlet on the Use and Necessity of Common Schools, by Dr. J. S. Hart, well illustrates the utility of outline drawing as a branch of ordinary school education :

A gentleman had frequent occasion to employ a carpenter in various odd jobs, alterations, and adaptations to suit special wants. Time and materials were wasted by the repeated misconceptions and blunders of the workmen. At length, a Prussian was called in. After attentively listening to the directions, he would whip out his pencil, and, in a few minutes, with a few rapid strokes, he would present a sketch of the article wanted, so clear that any one could recognize it at a glance. The consequence was no more waste of materials and time, no more vexatious failures. The man was not really a more skillful carpenter than many of his predecessors; but his knowledge of drawing, which he had gained in a common school in his own country, made his services more valuable than those of any other workman in the shop, and he actually received two dollars a day, when others in the same shop received only one dollar and twenty-five cents.

CITY NORMAL INSTITUTES.-The Cincinnati Normal Institute held the last week in August, was conducted by Prof. E. A. Sheldon, assisted by Mrs. Mary Howe Smith and two other teachers from the Oswego Normal and Training School. The same distinguished instructors are engaged to hold a normal institute in Cleveland the first week in September. A normal institute under the direction of Ohio teachers will be held in Columbus the first week in September. We are glad to see the boards of education in our cities waking up to the importance of normal training as a means of improving school instruction.

TEACHERS' Schools.-One of the most noticeable features of school progress in central and southern Obio, is the rapidly increasing number of teachers, schools or normal institutes, as they are usually called, held in the summer months. The main work of these schools is a review of the common branches, the attention given to professional instruction being, as a general rule, inconsiderable. The time allotted to this review is limited—from three to six weeks--but classes are formed and recitations conducted as in an ordinary school. The instructors usually consist of one or more of the examiners or other leading teachers of the county, assisted, in some intances, by teachers from other localities. In some of these schools considerable attention is given to the how of teaching, instruction in methods being imparted and each recitation being made a model for imitation, but we fear that this important matter is too often lost sight of in the strife to go over the several subjects in the brief time allowed for the purpose. We have recently heard recitations in normal institutes which were anything but proper models of class work, and we raise the query whether these examples of poor teaching and worse reciting are fully offset by the knowledge of the several branches imparted and acquired? We are more and more convinced that the wide and increasing demand for normal instruction in our State should be met in a more efficient and satisfactory manner. The good results now attained in some of the normal institutes held, show what would be possible under an efficient system.

[ocr errors]

SUMMER INSTITUTES.—We have delayed the writing of our institute notices until the last hour, and now find that our space is all taken up with other matters. We will make the omission good next month. Suffice it now to say that many institutes have been held, and that, as a general rule, they have been well attended and otherwise successful. We have been favored with reports from about one-half of the institutes held. We desire to hear from all. The facts specially solicited are (1) the time and place of the session ; (2) the number in attendance; (3) names of instructors and lecturers; and (4) the general character of the exercises.

The institute reports received have been almost uniformly accompanied with a good list of subscribers. We have received from the S. W. Normal Institute at Lebanon, 43 subscribers ; from Waynesville, 27, by Mr. Ridge; from Batavia, 31, Messrs. Kirk and Laycock; from Hillsboro, 20, Mr. Colburn; from Bellefontaine, 22, Mr. Shaw; from Zanesville, 15; from Middleport, 12, Prof. Tappan; from Morristown, 23, Prof. Henkle ; from London, 12, Mr. Kirk; from Troy, 12, Mr. Hawthorn; from Cambridge, 11, Mr. McBurney; and from Oakland, 6, Mr. Kinney. Good friends, please accept our thanks.

CLEVELAND.—Hon. Anson Smyth, who, for four years past, has filled the office of superintendent of the Cleveland schools, has resigned, giving as a reason therefor his dislike of the present system of annual elections, which invests the position with a degree of uncertainty that renders it unsatisfactory. The daily papers refer to Mr. Smyth's administration of the schools in the most flattering terms. The Leader affirms that he has discharged the duties of his office “ with marked ability and efficiency,” and that “he has given the most unqualified satisfaction to the members of the schools and the citizens generally, and all will sincerely regret the circumstances which have induced him to retire.” Mr. Smyth has accepted the general agency for Ohio of a life insurance company. We wish him abundant success in his new sphere of labor. -Thos. W. Harvey has been elected Mr. Smyth's successor in the Cleveland schools, but he declines to accept the position. He remains in charge of the schools at Painesville.- -Dr. Theo. Sterling has resigned the principalship of the Central High School of Cleveland to accept the Peabody Professorship in Kenyon College. He is a ripe scholar and a superior teacher.Reuben McMillan, the late

a

efficient superintendent of the schools of Youngstown, O., has been elected Dr. Sterling's successor at Cleveland.-S. N. Sanford, of the Cleveland Female Seminary, is traveling in Europe.

INCINNATI.-The election of a superintendent has engaged the attention of the school board for several successive meetings, but no result has as yet (Aug. 24) been reached. A new course of study has been reported by the proper committee, and adopted.-Wm. E. Crosby has resigned the principalship of the First Intermediate School to accept the superintendency of the public schools of Lima, O., at a salary of $1,900.-U. T. Curran, of Glendale, has been appointed principal of the 13th District School, and Mr. T. McC. Dill, of Carthage, has been appointed assistant principal of the 12th District School.

PORTSMOUTH.-James H. Poe, for many years the efficient principal of the Fourth Street School, has withdrawn from the profession on account of a partial loss of sight, and entered the insurance business. On the occasion of his leaving the school, his pupils presented him with a handsome watch and chain as a token of their appreciation of his merits. Mr. Poe has been engaged in teaching some twenty years, and has won a high reputation, both as a teacher and as a disciplinarian. He has removed to Chillicothe.- - The report of the public schools for the year ending June, 1867, shows that they are in a prosperous condition. 1,401 pupils were enrolled with an average daily attendance of 980 pupils. The schools are in charge of Mr. John Bolton—a thorough scholar and an experienced teacher. A fine building has been purchased and fitted up for the accommodation of the High School-an improvement greatly needed.

-The McClain property has been purchased by private parties for a young ladies' seminary. It is to be known as “Rose Ridge Hall,” and will be opened on the 5th inst. under the charge of Prof. B. L. Lang, late of Kenyon College, assisted by a competent corps of teachers.

COLUMBUS High School.—This school enrolled last year 189 pupils—80 boys and 109 girls. The average daily attendance was 155.3 and the average daily absence 2.8. The average per cent. of attendance on the average number belonging was 98.2. Average age of boys, 15.7 years; of girls, 15.9 years. The per cent. of attendance for the last term was 99, and 90 pupils were neither absent nor tardy. Eighteen pupils graduated, and their graduating exercises were exceedingly creditable. What school can show a better record than this? Mr. Westgate, the principal, is a fine scholar and a skillful teacher, and he has an excellent corps of assistants. Few cities in the West can boast of a better High School than Columbus.

WELL DESERVED.-At the close of the last school term the teachers of Toledo met in a body at the house of Col. De Wolf, their excellent superintendent, and presented him a silver ice-pitcher, salver and goblets, with books, etc., as a testimonial of their personal esteem and their appreciation of his zealous efforts to advance the interests of the schools. We take pleasure in recording such an incident as this. Col. De Wolf has labored zealously and successfully to make the schools under his control thorough and efficient, and we are glad that he has received so gratifying a token, though not needed, of the good-will and hearty co-operation of his entire corps of teachers.

STATE BOARD OF CHARITIES.—The Governor has appointed Col. Harrington, of Columbus, Dr. Albert Douglass, of Chillicothe, Douglass Putnam, of Marietta, R. W. Steele, of Dayton, and Joseph Perkins, of Cleveland, members of the State Board of Charities, recently organized by an act of the General Assembly. The selections could not well be improved.

« ForrigeFortsett »