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Hon. Justus K. JILLSON, State Superintendent of Education, was born at Gardner, Massachusetts, November 17, 1839. He was educated for the profession of Teacher, at the “ Wesleyan Academy," Wilbraham, Mass., and went to South Carolina, in May, 1866, under the auspices of the New England Branch of the Freedmen's Union Commission. He was first stationed at Camden, as Teacher of Freedmen, and elected to the State Constitutional Convention, froin Kershaw County, in 1867. He was elected State Senator from the same county, in 1868, for two years. While a member of the Senate, he was Chairman of the Committee on Education, and drafted and introduced the original “Bill to Establish and Maintain a System of Free Common Schools for the State of South Carolina." He was elected State Superintendent of Education in 1868, and re-elected on the 16th October, 1872. His present term of office will expire January 1, 1877.
EDUCATION IN THE PAST.
SOUTH CAROLINA was one of the original thirteen States, and ratified the Constitution of the United States, May 23, 1798. Her first Constitution contained no educational provisions. It was the policy of the people to leave elementary education to parents. In 1811, a free school fund was established by the State, with a stipulation, that if the fund should prove inadequate for all applicants, preference should be given to the poor. This proviso imparted a sort of charity appearance to the fund, and few, if any, of the wealthier classes availed themselves of it.
An attempt to raise the character of the appropriation, by increasing the amount, was not successful. In 1843, a systematic effort was made by Governor McAllister and others, to increase the number of schools in the State. After some years, their efforts were crowned with partial success, and common schools were being established in Charleston and elsewhere, when the war came on, and arrested all educational advancement. In 1868, a new Constitution was adopted, which required the General Assembly to provide for a uniform system of free public schools ; for the division of the State into school districts; for the compulsory attendance at either public or private schools of 'all children between the age of six and sixteen years, not physically disabled; for levying a tax on property and polls for the support of schools ; for the establishment of a State Normal School, a State Reform School, a State University, and educational institutions for the deaf, dumb, and blind. All the public schools, colleges, and universities, if supported in whole or part by the public funds, were declared free and open to all the children and youth of the State without regard to race or color.
PRESENT SCHOOL SYSTEM. During the same year, 1868, the educational department of the State was organized, and two years later (1870), the Legislature passed “ An Act to establish and maintain a system of free common schools for the State of South Carolina." In 1871, this act was amended, and it has since received some slight modifications. The following are its main features:
The State Superintendent is elected for four years, receives an annual salary of $2,500, gives bonds to the extent of $5,000, and has a general supervision over all the common and public schools of the State. He is required to secure uniformity of text-books, to forbid the use of sectarian or partisan books and instruction in the schools of the State, and to perform the other functions usually incumbent upon a State Superintendent.
The State Board of Education consists of the several County School Commissioners and the State Superintendent of Education, who is, ex officio, Chairman of the Board. The regular meetings of the board are held annually at the capital of the State, on the first Wednesday in October. The State Superintendent of Education has authority to call special meetings of the Board, at such times and at such places as he shall direct.
There are thirty-two County School Commissioners, one in each county. They are elected; their term of office is two years, and salary $1,000 per annum, except the County School Commissioner of Charleston County, who receives an annual salary of $1,200.
There is in each county a Board of County School Examiners, composed of the County School Commissioner, who is, ex officio, Chairman and Clerk of the Board, and two other members appointed by him. The principal duties of this board are: the examination of teachers and the appointment of School Trustees for the several school districts in the county.
Each county is divided into school districts. The management and control of the local educational interests of each school district are vested in a Board of School Trustees, consisting of three members.
A commission of five to decide upon which text-books shall be used through the State consists of the Governor, the Chairman of the Committees of Education in both houses of the State Legislature, and two other gentlemen, selected one by each of the two bodies.
Notwithstanding the constitutional provision, the Legislature has so far taken no steps looking toward compulsory education.
Teachers are examined by County Boards of Examiners and employed by the District Trustees.
Separate schools are generally provided by the Commissioners for white and colored children, though the law does not enjoin it upon them to do so. Schools are not graded, except in Charleston, where there are primary, intermediate, grammar, and high schools.
There are three sources of school revenue, namely: (1) State school appropriations, or the proceeds of the special State schooltax, (2) poll-tax, and (3) local or school district taxes. The State Superintendent of Instruction says in his last report:
The General Assembly, in 1872, authorized and directed the levy of a tax of two mills on the dollar on all the taxable property in the State for the support of public schools, and appropriated for the support and maintenance of free common schools, during the fiscal year commenced November 1, 1872, the sum of $300,000 from said tax. The sum of money realized so far from this special State school-tax is $270,285.82.
The total amount reported as collected on account of poll-tax for the year ended October 31, 1873, was $61,841. Of this amount only $56,492.70 were available for the support of schools, the sum of $1,138.70 having been allowed to County Treasurers for collection, and $4,209.60 having been collected and not accounted for.
The total assessment of polls for the year ended October 31, 1873, was $90,956, of which $61,841 were collected, $14,890 were returned as nulla bona and abated, and $14,225 were reported to County Commissioners for collection under the provisions of “ An act to enforce the payment of the poll-tax." It is believed that the effect of this act will be to increase considerably the amount of poll-tax collected.
Attention is called to the fact that while the voting population of the State is at least one hundred and six thousand seven hundred and twenty-two, yet the total assessinent of polls is reported at only ninety thousand nine hundred and fifty-six. In Charleston County, which has a voting population of at least thirteen thousand eight hundred and fifty, only $1,914 was collected on account of poll-tax for the last year,
The local taxes are subject to the will of the people of the several school districts. In very many school districts the people have refused to vote a local tax, giving, as the reason for such refusal, the failure of the State to make good its appropriations for school purposes.
During 1874 there was no legislation having direct or special bearing on the free common school system. There is a decided feeling, however, both on the part of the State Superintendent and others in and out of the State that something must be done at once to place the educational interests of South Carolina upon a better footing.
*1873–74. Number of Teachers' Institutes held during the year.. Number of Normal Schools in the State........
I School districts in the State....
463 School-houses erected during the year......
109 Pupils enrolled in the schools...........
85,594 Number of school officers............
1,422 Male teachers employed.......
1,439 Average wages.....
...$33 78 per month Female teachers employed.....
935 Average wages........................ ... $32 06 per month Legal school age............
(Not limited) Average cost of schooling for each scholar.
(about $1 50) Number of white scholars in State...
84,975 Number of colored scholars in State....
145,127 Total receipts for school purposes. ...........
$449,968 68 Total expenditures........
* There are no statistics for 1863.
Hon. JOHN M. FLEMING, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, was born in Hawkins County, Tennessee, December 12, 1832, and educated at Emory and Henry College, Virginia, graduating June, 1851. He taught school three years in Kingston, Tenn., and in May, 1855, became editor of the Knoxville Register, continuing as such three years. In 1858 he was admitted to the bar, at Knoxville, as a lawyer. In 1860 he was elected to the Tennessee Legislature, from Knox County, for 1861-2, on the Union ticket. He took no part in the Rebellion. In 1864, he was appointed by President Lincoln United States District Attorney for District of East Tennessee, but declined to take the “test oath" of office. In 1867, he founded the Knoxville Daily Free Press (now Daily Press and Herald) of which he continued editor, in connection with law-practice at Knoxville, until March, 1873. In 1869, he was again elected to represent Knox County in the Tennessee Legislature, serving as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives. In 1871, he was appointed District Attorney for the District of Knox. In 1872, he was elected for the State at large, on the Greeley and Brown ticket, in Tennessee. On the 25th March, 1873, he was appointed by the Governor, and confirmed by the Senate, Superintendent of Public Instruction for Tennessee. Term of office, two years ; salary, $3,000.
EDUCATION IN THE PAST.
TENNESSEE was admitted into the Union in 1796. Her original Constitution contained no educational provisions. In 1823, certain tracts of land were devoted to a perpetual and exclusive fund for the establishment and promotion of common schools in each and every county in the State. It was stipulated by the Legislature that the proceeds from the sales of these lands should be paid into the Bank of Tennessee, to be loaned out for the purpose specified. Four years later other revenues were added to this fund. In 1835, the amended Constitution enjoined the Legislature "to cherish literature and science, knowledge, learning, and virtue being essential to the preservation of Republican institutions,” and to preserve inviolate the school fund.
In 1858, upon the adoption of the Code of Tennessee, the school fund was declared by law to be $1,500,000, then constituting a part of the capital stock of the Bank of Tennessee. The annual interest upon this fund was distributed yearly among the counties, according to population. The only officers to administer the fund were District Commissioners, chosen by the people of the districts. The amounts received in distribution were not sufficient for much good, if well-applied; yet, in