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cessful operation in the State, with three thousand pupils and one hundred professors and instructors. The last annual appropriation to all the schools was $60,000. Students who prepare for teaching receive from the State fifty cents per week (soldiers' orphans one dollar), and fifty dollars at graduation.
There are one hundred and ninety thousand eight hundred and forty-four adults in Pennsylvania who cannot write their own names.
The last census gave Pennsylvania six universities and thirtythree colleges, with three hundred and forty-nine teachers and six thousand three hundred and fifty-seven students, including fourteen hundred and seventy females. While there are in the State some thirty-nine institutions with the corporate powers of colleges, but one-third of that number possess full collegiate rank. During the past six years as many new colleges have been established, and some $2,500,000 have been expended in college buildings and endowments. The Superintendent of Public Instruction in his last report deprecates the increase of colleges, and says: “The Legislature should grant no more charters for colleges without requiring those asking for them to bring the institutions up to the full rank of a college. Some way should be provided for drawing a line between colleges worthy of the name and those that are not."
LEGISLATION DURING 1874. The State Superintendent writes us that the change made in the school laws by the New Constitution, or by the last Legislature, was slight, beyond the following:
First. The title of the Bureau was changed from Department of Common Schools to Department of Public Instruction.
Second. The title of the chief officer was changed from Superintendent of Common Schools to Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Third. The new Constitution requires the Legislature to make an annual appropriation to the common schools of not less than $1,000,000.
Fourth. Women can be elected to any office under the common school system.
TEN YEARS' PROGRESS.
The following table of figures shows the educational progress made by Pennsylvania during the past ten years :
1873-'74. School Districts in the State....
1,825.... 2,050 Schools...........................
12,566.... 16,305 Graded schools...............
1,453.... 15,307 Number of pupils.........
637,785..... 834,020 Average number of pupils. ....
399,522.... 511,418 Teachers.......................... 14,688.... 19,089 County Superintendents.........
86 Average monthly pay of male teachers, $25 42.... $42 69 Average monthly pay of female teachers, $20 16.... $34 92 Cost of tuition for the year. ........$2,132,067 86....$4,325,797 47 Cost of tuition per month for each pu
: $0 58.... $0 96 Total cost, including expenses of all
........... $3,218,355 79....$8,345,836 41
A Philadelphia paper, in speaking of Mr. Asa Whitney's bequest to the Pennsylvania University of an endowment for a Professorship of Dynamical Engineering, mentions several special practical subjects inviting the study of the occupants of endowed professors' chairs. These include the minute organisms floating in the atmosphere, and said to have relations, not precisely known, to fevers and other epidemics; the invention of contrivances for heating and cooking, which shall prevent waste of fuel and life in America; ways of consuming the smoke from bituminous coal; ventilation of dwellings, factories, and public buildings, and “spontaneous combustion.”
Hon. Thos. W. BICKNELL, Commissioner of Public Schools for Rhode Island, was born at Barrington, R. I., September 6th, 1834. He attended the common schools of the town from six to fifteen years of age ; prepared for college at Thetford Acad. emy, Thetford, Vt., from 1850-1853, and entered Amherst College, September, 1853, where he spent one year. He taught school from 1854 to 1857; entered Brown University in February, 1857, and graduated with degree of A. M. in June, 1860. He was Principal of the Arnold street Grammar School. Providence, three years, and of the Bristol High School six years. He was elected to the office of Commissioner of Public Schools of R. I., May, 1869. The office was then filled by the nomination of the Governor, and the confirmation of the State Senate. In 1871, a Board of Education was established, and the Commissioner is now elected annually by that body.
EDUCATION IN THE PAST. RHODE ISLAND was one of the original thirteen States, and ratified the United States Constitution May 29th, 1790. The General Assembly in 1800 passed an act to establish Free Schools, but encountering violent opposition, the measure was repealed three years later. In 1828 an act was passed, authorizing towns to impose a school tax, not, however, exceeding in any one year twice the amount received from the State, the whole appropriation not to exceed $10,000 during any one year. In 1839 the annual State appropriation was raised to $25,000. Other legislation followed, until a general school system was established in 1855, after the matter had been agitated and discussed in every town in the State. In 1867, the work of establishing Evening Schools was vigorously undertaken, and they have ever since constituted an important feature in the educational system of the State. In 1871, the Legislature began to make special appropriations for the Evening Schools.
PRESENT SCHOOL SYSTEM. The school system has been subjected to some modifications nearly every year, until it now embraces the following main features:
The State Superintendent is appointed by the State Board of Education. His term of office is one year, and he receives an annual salary of $2,500.
The State Board of Education consists of the Governor, LieutGovernor, ex-officio, and a member from each county.
Town and City Superintendents are elected for one year, and receive from $25 yearly in Barrington to $2,500 in Providence.
Town School Committees are elected for three years (formerly one year); membership to these committees is open alike to men and women, as in Illinois, Massachusetts, and some other States. The experiment is now being made in Rhode Island of permitting ladies to officiate as school officers. Providence and three other towns have elected women to the School Boards.
The Permanent School Fund of the State is $412,685,00; an annual State appropriation of at least $50,000 for schools is required by law, including the income from the Permanent Fund. The State and town appropriations for the support of Public Schools amounted during the year 1873–4, to over $600,000. This sum includes amounts expended in erecting new schoolhouses.
The Length of the School Year in the State has been increased to thirty-five weeks and four days; the longest average schoolyear in the New England States, and with the exception of New Jersey, the longest in the United States.
Teachers receive certificates for one year from the Town School Committees who examine them, and they are employed by District Trustees. The scholastic age is from five to sixteen years.
While there is no compulsory educational law, factory children are required to attend school four months in the year. The schools are of five grades: primary, intermediate, grammar, high, and mixed.
Superintendent Bicknell sends us the following items of interest :
The State Normal School which was suspended at Bristol, R. I., in 1865, was re-opened at Providence, September 6th, 1871, with one hundred and twenty-five pupils, and the success which has attended it, marks it as one of the first schools in the country. This school is still full, and new buildings are required for its accommodation.
1873 showed the largest average school attendance ever recorded in the State, namely, thirty thousand four hundred and forty-eight.
The average yearly salary of teachers, male and female, was last year (1873) $420 ; monthly salary, $46.91.
Thirteen Teachers' Institutes were held during 1873.
The annual meetings of the R. I. Institute of Instruction have assumed a character of great excellence and powerful influence, and the exercises now draw together the great body of our teachers and school officers, and the most earnest and intelligent friends of education in our State.
A compulsory school law is under discussion, and a bill will probably be introduced into our General Assembly at its next January Session.
LEGISLATION DURING 1874. School legislation for the present year is devoid of general interest.
The most important bill passed is an Industrial School Act, which looks to the suppression of truancy and absenteeism.
The leading points which we wish to secure for our State, are,
Third. The attendance at school (public or private) of all the children of school age.
Fourth. Supplementary schools for adults, such as evening schools, with the accessions of reading-rooms, libraries, and debating clubs.
Fifth. Teachers' associations in every town, and local, town, county, and State institutes of a normal character. TEN YEARS' PROGRESS.
1863–64. 1873-274. Number of Normal Schools in the State......
1.... School Districts in the State..
400.... Cost of building and repairing
school-houses.......... $21,587 04.... $171,292 00 Pupils enrolled in the schools. 28,358....
30,448 Average daily attendance.....
24,698 Male teachers employed.....
112 Average wages............. $677 69 per year.... $75
....... $677 69 per year.... $75 72 per month. Female teachers employed...
430.... Average wages............. $375 63 per year $41 97 per month. Amount of State School Fund
$450,000 00 Total receipts for School purposes.......
$160, 747 77.... $589, 861 32 Total Expenditures........ $108,487 68.... $602,812 28