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the absence of anything like organization, public instruction was but little better than a farce, the schools being almost invariably in charge of incompetent teachers, and the school moneys being regarded only as so much charity doled out to the indigent. In consequence of the war, however, this school fund was lost, or directed to other uses. In 1867, the Legislature undertook to establish a State system of public schools, with State and County Superintendents, County Boards, Commissioners, etc., and to support the same by levying a direct school tax throughout the State. Owing to the abnormal state of society and government then prevailing, this system became only partially operative, and was practically a failure.
There was a general outcry against it. Writing two years later, October 7th, 1869, John Eaton, Jr., the then State Superintendent, said : “Seeking of leading men prominent in State affairs in the past, I failed to find any one who could tell me in detail exactly how the former system operated in its various provisions, from District Commissioners to State Treasurer. The new school law was hardly less a dead letter for the first seven months after its passage. The Comptroller assured me he could not see how the money for school purposes could be spared; others thought the schools should be delayed in their organization until the State had reduced its debt; besides, it was said the people were poor. From other quarters there was expressed a bitter, determined opposition to the organization of schools provided for the equal instruction of colored children."
Accordingly, the Legislature of 1869-70 repealed the Act of 1867, thereby abolishing the State system, and enacted in lieu what was known as the “ County system,” leaving it discretionary with the several counties to establish county schools, but making no action whatever obligatory. Under this act, twentynine out of ninety-three counties made attempts to keep up their schools, but, there being no general head, the system lacked coherence and vitality—and therefore practically failed.
PRESENT SCHOOL SYSTEM. In March, 1873, the present law, providing for a general State system, was enacted. This law restored the lost school fund, together with the suspended interest thereon, making now a Permanent Fund of $2,512,500, bearing six per cent. interest, distributable semi-annually among the counties of the State, according to scholastic population. It also levied a polltax of $1, and a tax of one mill on the dollar upon all the taxable property of the State. It is also further provided that, “When the money derived from the school fund and the taxes imposed by the State shall not be sufficient to keep up a public school for five months in the year in the districts of the county,” the County Court “shall levy an additional tax for the purpose, or submit the proposition to a vote of the people.”
The State Superintendent is appointed for two years, receives an annual salary of $3,000, and performs the duties which generally devolve upon that officer.
County Superintendents are elected biennially by the County Courts, which also fix their salaries. They are required to visit the schools from time to time, keep records of the scholastic population and number of school districts, and to observe and enforce such rules and regulations as the State Superintendent may, from time to time, prescribe.
District Directors employ and dismiss teachers, suspend or dismiss pupils, enforce the school laws and regulations, and expend the school fund apportioned to their districts. There are three Directors for each district, elected for a term of three years each. They are not permitted to be teachers in the public schools.
The Public Schools are declared free to all between the ages of six and eighteen years, provided that white and colored persons shall not be taught in the same school, but in separate schools, under the same general regulations, as to management, usefulness, and efficiency.
The total amount annually accruing from the Permanent Fund and State taxation, is $600,000. The amount of additional taxation by counties, the first year, amounted to $300,000, making a total of school, revenue, the first year (exclusive of city school taxation), of $900,000.
So far the new school system has worked satisfactorily. In a circular address the Superintendent says: “It embodies the essential elements of an efficient general system of elementary schools. It aims to establish nothing higher-it will be satisfied with nothing less."
EDUCATIONAL STATISTICS. At this writing (August, 1874) the first scholastic year has not yet closed, and, consequently, no reports are made up. The following facts, however, are ascertained: Scholastic population of State, between six and eighteen years of age-white, three hundred and thirteen thousand five hundred and eightytwo; colored, one hundred and four thousand six hundred and three; total, four hundred and eighteen thousand one hundred and eighty-five. During the first three months of the scholastic year (beginning September ist, 1873), of which special reports were made, the following results were obtained : Number of schools organized-white, three thousand four hundred and seventy; colored, five hundred and eighty-nine ; total, four thousand and fifty-nine. Number of pupils enrolled—white, one hundred and forty-nine thousand five hundred and seventyseven ; colored, twenty-three thousand five hundred and twenty-four; total, one hundred and seventy-three thousand one hundred and one. Number of teachers licensed, four thousand six hundred and eighty; total number employed, three thousand six hundred and eighteen; average wages per month, $32.04. This for the first three months. The State Superintendent expects the annual reports of the County Superintendents to greatly increase these figures. There are no returns for 1863-4, with which to compare present statistics.
The citics of Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, and Chattanooga, have well-organized systems of public schools, and in the towns of Shelbyville and Gallatin, public High Schools have been successfully organized and conducted under the present law. During the year, sixty.one Peabody Schools have been organized ; and Teachers' Institutes, under the authority of the State Superintendent, are in progress in the three grand divisions of the State. The State Teachers' Association has acquired new life, and gives vigorous support to the public school system. Its incumbent President is Dr. J. Berrian Lindsley, of Nashville.
It is expected that the next Legislature will change the school law in some particulars.
HON. ORLANDO N. HOLLINGSWORTH, Superintendent of Public Instruction, was born in Calhoun County, Alabama, April 5th, 1836, and early removed with his father to Rusk County, Texas. He received a good education in the schools of that county, and completed his course of study at the University of Virginia, in 1859 and
1860. He entered the Confederate army as a private, became adjutant of his regiment, and was severely wounded at Corinth, where he distinguished himself for his bravery. At the close of the war, which found him teaching and studying law, he proceeded to San Antonio, Texas, where he taught for some time. He subsequently founded and successfully conducted the Coronol Institute, at San Marcos ; afterward he practiced law there, and was sent to the Legislature, as a Democratic candidate, in 1872. In 1873, he was elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction. His term of office expires in 1877.
EDUCATION IN THE PAST. TEXAS was admitted into the Union in 1845. Her Constitution created a school fund out of all funds, lands, and other property, before set apart for the support of schools, and enjoined the Legislature to make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of public schools, and to establish—as soon as might be--a system of free schools throughout the State. It also empowered the Legislature to levy a tax for educational purposes, and stipulated that all taxes collected from “ Africans or persons of African descent,” should be set aside for the exclusive maintenance of a system of public schools for the children of such Africans. In February, 1858, an act was passed, adding to the principal of the school fund the proceeds of all sales of public lands. Other general legislation followed, but prior to the war, no efficient school law was passed in Texas. After the war had commenced, the Act of 1858 was repealed, to enable the State to apply the moneys from the sales of public lands to military purposes. About $1,300,000 of available money were from time to time, during the war, withdrawn from the school fund and expended for military purposes. Following the war, the Convention of 1866 provided for a Board of Education, consisting of the Governor, the Comptroller, and the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and having the general management and control of the school fund and common schools, subject to regulation by the Legislature. The new Constitution of the State (1869) provided for a State Superin
tendent of Public Instruction, and made it the duty of the Legislature to provide for the support and maintenance of public schools throughout the State, free to all between the ages of six and sixteen years. The act admitting Texas to representation in the Congress of the United States, approved March 30th, 1870, contained this stipulation : “ The Constitution of Texas shall never be so amended or changed as to deprive any citizen or class of citizens of the United States of the school rights and privileges secured by the Constitution of said State.” In August, 1870, the State Legislature of Texas passed a general school law, organizing each county into a school district, and giving each County Court, composed of the five justices of the peace, full jurisdiction in school matters. The indisposition of a great majority of the County Courts to take any action under this law, led to the passage of a new school law, in April, 1871. Under this last act a Board of Education was established, to whom was confided the appointment of thirty-five Supervisors of Education for the State. To each of these supervisors the management of a school district was intrusted, together with the appointment of a Board of School Directors for each county in lieu of the County Courts. In the following November, a supplemental act was passed, which, among other things, authorized the State Superintendent to make, with the approval of the Governor, requisitions from time to time upon the treasury, for the necessary funds to pay teachers and employees of the Bureau of Education.
PRESENT SCHOOL SYSTEM. In May, 1873, the Legislature abolished the school law which had been in operation since April, 1871. In 1874, this new law was amended in several. important particulars. The following are its leading features:
The State Superintendent of Instruction is elected for four years, receives an annual salary of $3,000, and is allowed $1,800 for a clerk. The Superintendent may be impeached and removed from office for sufficient cause, and may also be removed by the Governor, at the request of two-thirds of the members of the Legislature. His duties are to counsel and advise with teachers as to the best manner of conducting public free schools, to have the supervision of all the public free schools in the State,