Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

lation of each, and for establishing free public schools for the education of all white children. The several counties in the State had voted to raise, by taxation in the county, an additional school fund, equal to at least half the sum apportioned to the county from the State fund.

From the year 1840 to the beginning of the civil war, from two hundred thousand to two hundred and fifty thousand dollars were paid annually to support from two to three thousand free schools, three months every year. The school law was administered by a State superintendent of common schools, a board of five superintendents in each county, and a school committee of three in each school district.

PRESENT SCHOOL SYSTEM. The school funds were almost entirely destroyed by the results of the war, and the public schools were closed till about the year 1870.

The constitution adopted in 1868 makes provision for public schools as follows:

“The General Assembly at its first session under this constitution, shall provide by taxation and otherwise for a general and uniform system of public schools, wherein tuition shall be free of charge to all the children of the State between the ages of six and twenty-one years. .

“Each county of the State shall be divided into a convenient number of districts, in which one or more public schools shall be taught at least four months in every year; and if the county commissioners of any county shall fail to comply with the aforesaid requirements of this Section, they shall be liable to indictment.

“The proceeds of all lands that have been, or. hereafter may be granted by the United States to this State and not otherwise specially appropriated by the United States or heretofore by this State; all moneys, stocks, bonds, and other property now belonging to any fund for purposes of 'education; the net proceeds that may accrue to the State from sales of estrays, or from fines, penalties, and forfeitures; the proceeds of all sales of the swamp lands belonging to the State; all money that shall be paid as an equivalent for exemption from military duty, shall be securely invested, and sacredly preserved as an irreducible educational fund, the annual income of which, together with so much of the ordinary revenue of the State as may be necessary, shall be faithfully appropriated for establishing and perfecting in this State a system of free public schools, and for no other purposes or uses whatsoever.”

The constitution also appropriates seventy-five per cent. of the entire State and county capitation tax to the support and maintenance of free public schools. It gives to the county commissioners supervision and control of the public schools in their respective counties, and provides for the election of a school committee of three in each township biennially, and for the election of a State superintendent of public instruction every four years.

In addition to the fund provided by the constitution, the law appropriates all taxes upon retailers of spirituous liquors and auctioneers, and a tax of eight and one-third cents on every hundred dollars worth of property and credits in the State for the support and maintenance of free public schools. The entire education fund in the State is estimated at about three hundred thousand dollars a year. The law requires that if the fund thus provided shall be insufficient to maintain the public schools four months each year in every school district in any county, it shall be the duty of the county commissioners of such county to submit the question of the levy and collection of an additional school tax to the electors of the county; and if at such election the majority shall vote for the additional tax, it shall be the duty of the county commissioners to levy a sufficient tax to maintain the schools four months.

The law apportions the school money to the children of the two races, according to their respective numbers, and provides separate schools and school districts.

The present permanent education fund of the State is $2,190,564.65. Of this sum, $65,117.50 consists of individual notes, generally secured by mortgage; $1,040,347.15 of North Carolina State bonds and certificates of indebtedness; about $40,000 of United States bonds, and $1,047,100 of ante bellum bank stocks. The bank stocks are worthless; the State and individual securities are at present unproductive,

No provision has ever been made for city schools, or for local taxation. A bill was introduced at the last session of the Legis

ICS

lature to authorize cities and towns of more than two thousand inhabitants, by a majority vote, to levy a municipal tax sufficient to maintain free public schools ten months every year. It was believed at one time that the bill would pass; but its friends dropped it under an apprehension that the civil rights bill, pending in Congress, would seriously affect, if not totally destroy the public school system of the State.

The administration of the Peabody Education Fund contributes much to public education in the State. From twenty to thirty graded schools, each containing from one hundred to five hundred pupils, are maintained ten months of the year, by combining the public school money with the assistance given from the Peabody Fund, and voluntary contributions by the people of the neighborhood.

The school report for the year ending June 30, 1873, shows that there are 348,603 children in the State between the ages of six and twenty-one, and that 146,737 of this number were in the public schools two and a half months on the average, from September 30, 1872, to June 30, 1873. The number of public schools in the State during the same time was 3,311. The number of teachers examined and approved was 2,690. The State Educational Association was permanently organized in July, 1873. There are no statistics to indicate the educational progress made during the past ten years.

DR. PRIESTLY, the great theologian and chemist, was sometimes condemned as a materialist. Rev. David Davis, the celebrated school-master of Castle Howill, wrote the following epitaph for him in advance :

“Here lie at rest

In oaken chest,
Together packed most nicely,

The bones and brains,

Flesh, blood, and veins,

And soul of Dr. Priestly." When the doctor read it he is said to have indulged in a very hearty laugh.

OHIO.

THOMAS W. HARVEY, State Commissioner of Common Schools of Ohio, was born December 18, 1821, in New London, N. H. He removed to Ohio in 1833, and attended the winter sessions of the common school until fourteen years of age, when he was apprenticed to learn the printer's trade. The most of his academic education was obtained at the Western Reserve Teachers' Seminary, when it was under the management of Dr. A. D. Lord.

He started the Geauga High School, at Chardon, O., in the fall of 1845 ; took charge of the Seneca County Academy, at Republic, O., in the fall of 1848 ; was elected superintendent of the Massillon Union Schools in the spring of 1851, of which schools he had charge until September, 1866, when he was elected Superintendent of the Public Schools of Painesville, O. He was elected State Commissioner of Common Schools in the fall of 1871. His term of office expires January 11, 1875.

Mr. Harvey has been elected Superintendent of the schools of Cleveland and Columbus, and has declined both, choosing, rather, a more limited field of labor.

EDUCATION IN PAST YEARS.

THE Congressional Act of 1802, providing for the admission of Ohio into the Union as a State, stipulated that Section 16 of every township should be given to the inhabitants of every such township, for the use of schools, and the first State constitution enjoined that “schools and the means of instruction be forever encouraged by Legislative provision.” In 1825, a general school law was passed recognizing the principles of taxation, but failing to provide a practical plan of operations. In 1831, the teachers and active friends of schools organized an association called the College of Teachers, which began in their annual gatherings the work of school agitation. In 1835, school returns from the county auditors were required by the Legislature. In 1836, Samuel Lewis, of Cincinnati, was appointed first State superintendent, with a salary of five hundred dollars annually. In 1837, the Legislature passed, after great opposition, an act which made the office of superintendent permanent, created a State school fund, imposed a county tax of two mills for the support of schools, gave incorporated towns and cities a board of education, and provided county examinations for candidates for the office of teacher. This was the beginning of a State system of education. Other legislation followed, until three general and a large number of special laws for the organization and maintenance of schools were in force in the State.

RE-ORGANIZATION OF THE SCHOOL SYSTEM.

In 1873, the sixtieth General Assembly assumed the task of codifying the various acts, and making one general law for the State. The latter was passed May 1, 1873, and the following are its main features :

First. The State is divided into school districts, which are thus classified: “City districts of the first class,” to which belong all cities having a population of ten thousand or more. “ City districts of the second class,” to which belong cities having a population less than ten thousand. “ Village districts," which include incorporated villages. “Special districts" and “ Township districts."

Second. Clerks as well as treasurers of education are required to give bonds.

Third. No member of a board of education is entitled to receive any compensation for official services except as clerk.

Fourth. County examiners are allowed two dollars a day for every day necessarily spent in the performance of their official duties.

Fifth. County commissioners can remunerate auditors not to exceed ten dollars for each school district in their respective counties.

Sixth. Boards of education are empowered to authorize and require a levy not to exceed seven mills on the dollar to be assessed on the taxable property in their respective districts; an affirmative vote of a majority of all the members of a board is necessary to carry a motion to authorize the purchase or sale of property, to employ a superintendent, teacher, janitor, or other employee, or to pay any debt or claim.

Seventh. Boards of education can, whenever they deem it expedient, require any language whatever to be taught in the schools under their control. It is made their duty to cause the German language to be taught when demanded by seventy-five freeholders, representing not less than forty pupils, who shall in good faith desire and intend to study both the German and the English language. Branches of study pursued in the common schools must be taught in the English language.

Eighth. The studies to be pursued, and the text-books to be used in the schools are to be determined by the boards of edu

« ForrigeFortsett »