« ForrigeFortsett »
its amount, can not change or modify the solution and answer to the problem. The proportion
is but the simplified expression of a compound proportion, resulting from the necessity to take two things into account, first the force of gravity that draws downward, and secondly the force of resistance that operates in the opposite direction; both of which are governed by the same general law, viz., that in all cases where a uniform, continuous, and unimpeded action of gravity, or a corresponding counteraction takes place, the distances are always directly or inversely in the same proportion as the squares of the respective portions of time. Accordingly, considering alone the force which makes the water run downward, we get the proportion:
la2 + x2 : x
(1) 9 And considering exclusively the force of resistance which impedes its downward course, we have again :
+ 22 : 2 (2)
9 Combining (1) and (2), we get:
a2 + 2x2 : 2; or
above. 9 Now it is clear, that the effect of friction upon the descent of the water will be different according to the difference in the surface of the material or materials of which the roof is composed, and in the mode of its construction. Yet, whatsoever this effect may amount to, it will only retard the velocity of the running water; that is, it will increase the force of resistance in a certain ratio. Now, suppose this increase to be in the ratio of n to 1, then the proportion t :
a2 + 22 : 2 will become
la2 + x2 : x
ny a2 + x2
But, n being a constant factor, it can be omitted in the differen
nya2 + x2 tiation, and the differential of
will be the same as that
These examples will contribute to indicate the importance of general principles for thorough scientific investigation and correct reasoning. It can not be denied that the synthetic or generalizing process by which general principles are obtained, requires care, practice, and acquaintance with particulars, and that some German scholars, chiefly of the school of the “Naturphilosopher" (philosophers of nature), are apt in this respect to go too far, overleaping the limits prescribed to solid science. But, on the other hand, it is also true, that English scholars sometimes pass into the opposite extreme, and endeavor to undermine all true science by dissolving all knowledge, as far as possible, into a confused, variegated heap of incoherent particulars.
COUNTY SCHOOL SUPERVISION.
EDITOR MONTHLY-Dear Sir: I had an opportunity while on a visit to Wisconsin last summer, to see something of the practical working of what I hope soon to see introduced into the common school system of Ohio_namely, the county superintendency. I accompanied the Rev. Mr. Kidder, the Superintendent of San Claire county, on a two days' ride through the county, and visited with him eight or ten schools. This county has not been settled more than ten or twelve years, and, as might be expected, the school-houses are few and far between, small, and all the appointments of the rudest description. One that I visited, I think was the smallest school-house I ever saw. It was about ten by fourteen, unplastered, and with a large cooking-stove, in a very bad state of repair, in the middle of the room. In another house where I happened to be during a rain storm, the teacher and pupils took refuge around the sides of the room from the cataract which came down through the hole where the chimney ought to have been. The buildings recently constructed were, however, very fair under the circumstances, and in all cases the people seemed willing to do what they could. Large numbers of the
farmers of that section had settled on government lands within two or three years, and money was scarce with them.
I noticed that in the erection of new school buildings, the advice of the county superintendent was sought, so that what little money they had to spend for that purpose might be laid out to the best advantage. But it was in the instruction of the schools that the benefit of county supervision was most apparent. Very little was taught besides reading, writing, and arithmetic, but the work was almost uniformly well done. The reading of the first, second, and third reader classes would compare with those of the city schools. Although the teachers were young and inexperienced, the order and the general management of the schools, and the handling of the classes proved that some one who knew how to teach had pointed out to them the right way. They were not obliged to go through the tedious process of finding out for themselves the best methods, most of them never finding it out at all, but, under the guidance of the superintendent, the work was properly done from the beginning. Certainly the benefit derived from the services of the superintendent is not to be compared with the paltry sum expended in his salary.
When the election is fairly over I hope that every one interested (and who is not?) will go to work to bring about the passage of a law by our Legislature giving us the county superintendency in Ohio.
MR. EDITOR: I wish to join your Kent correspondent in his appreciation of your articles on the teaching of language.
I am glad to see the attention of teachers called to this important subject. Every one who has observed the results of the old rote methods of instruction, must be impressed with its barrenness both in thought and expression. Our pupils must be taught from the primer to observe and to think, and the results of their observation and thinking must be expressed in good English. I earnestly hope that the teachers of our schools will give the course of instruction you are presenting, a faithful trial. It can not fail to produce excellent results.
ACTING MANAGER OF SCHOOLS.
A school officer wishes us to mention some of the benefits arising from the appointment of an acting manager of schools as is provided for in the school law. The task is rendered easy by glancing at the duties which such an officer should discharge. Among these duties are the carrying out of the general rules of the board of education; the oversight of all school property; the systematic visitation and examination of the schools, and the correction of errors discovered in their instruction and government; the assistance of teachers, an inspection of their records, etc.; the awakening of an increased interest in the schools on the part of pupils, directors, and the citizens generally; and finally the suggestion of ways and means for school improvement and progress. Is spelling neglected ? The acting manager gives special attention to this branch when examining the schools, and its neglect soon ceases. Is reading poorly taught? He brings classes from the several schools together, and gives the teachers an opportunity to hear each other's classes and to witness model class drills. Is better instruction in writing desired ? He examines the copy books of the several schools with respect to neatness and improvement; offers, it may be, a premium for the best set of books; secures the use of the blackboard in giving instruction, correcting errors, etc.
Without going further into these details, it must be evident that the faithful discharge of the duties indicated can but result in greater uniformity and system; in better instruction, and, consequently, greater progress by the pupils ; in a more laudable emulation among the teachers and pupils of the several schools; in the correction of serious errors and abuses; in a deeper interest in the schools on the part of the community; in a more intelligent and hearty coöperation on the part of school officers; and, generally, in greater efficiency and success.
We have only space to add that local directors may largely thwart the best efforts of an acting manager, and render his services of doubtful utility. Very much depends on their hearty coöperation. Judging from the past, we fear that this feature of our school system will not work successfully until the management of the schools is entrusted entirely to the township board of educacation. We have discussed this subject in another place.
THE TOWNSHIP SYSTEM.
The Ohio school system in its local organization in townships is a combination of two distinct systems, and, as such, is necessarily complicated and defective. Instead of entrusting the management of the schools to one board of
officers, the responsibility is divided between the township board of education and the several sub-district boards of directors. To the township board is entrusted the duty of dividing the township into sub-districts and altering the same when necessary; of levying taxes for school purposes and distributing the funds thus raised; of determining when and at what cost school-houses may be erected, repairs made, etc.; and of adopting general rules and regulations for the government of the schools. The sub-district boards of directors are authorized to employ teachers; to make contracts for fuel, repairs, the building of school-houses, etc.; to visit and supervise the schools; and, generally, to take the local management and control of the school interest in their several sub-districts, subject to such general rules as may be adopted by the township board. Thus, as is evident, we have neither the township system nor the sub-district system, but a compromise between them. The responsibility of managing the schools is divided between separate and often conflicting authorities with a consequent loss of harmony and efficiency. What is needed to make the system more simple and efficient, is the abolition of the sub-district boards, and the transfer of their duties to the township board of education. This change will give us the township system, pure and simple—the only system that has stood the test of practical experience, or which, from the nature of the case, can work with efficiency and success.
It is unnecessary to point out the defects of the sub-district system. It is sufficient to say, that it has failed in every State in which it has been tried, and so signal has been this failure that it is universally condemned by all competent school authorities as “evil and only evil.” But we need not go abroad for experience or testimony on this point. Ohio gave the system a long and faithful trial. Its admitted lamentable failure led to the adoption of our present system, which has been in operation since 1853, and which has been successful just to the extent that it is a departure from the old sub-district system. Its weakness is largely due to the sub-district element unwisely incorporated into it. The time has come when this clogging element should be eradicated, and the system be made one-headed, compact, vigorous, and efficient.
This change may readily be effected, and without friction, by abolishing the sub-district boards of local directors, as above suggested, and providing for the election of a township board of education consisting of one member to each sub-district. To avoid too frequent changes in the board, and a consequent loss of experience, the members may be chosen for two years, the election in the sub-districts whose number is odd (sub-districts are numbered) occurring in the odd years and the election in the even sub-districts occurring in the even years. This is the plan adopted in several of our cities, and it works well. That the present system may glide into the proposed one without any jar, the present sub-district clerks might continue to be members of the township board until by the above plan their successors would be elected.
The advantages which would result from the proposed change, are many and important. It would reduce the number of school officers in each township to one third of the present number, thus securing more competent and efficient men than is possible under the present system. It would secure greater uniformity and system in the management of the schools; better teachers would