and be the general adviser and assistant of County Superintendents, to make an annual report to the Governor of the condition of the schools, and to require of school officers and teachers a rendering of the necessary schedules and reports. He also apportions the public school fund among the several counties on the ist day of August, of each year, or as soon thereafter as possible. He is likewise empowered by the Amendments of 1874, to issue instructions and regulations, binding for observance on all officers and teachers, in all cases where the provisions of the school law may require interpretation in order to carry out the designs expressed therein.

County Boards of School Directors consist of five persons (for each board), elected for four years. They define the course of study in the public schools, select text-books and apparatus, prescribe the duties of trustees and teachers, appoint teachers where vacancies exist, and lay off school districts, and are allowed $4 each per day for every whole day employed, provided the number does not annually, after the first year, exceed ten days. They elect from their number a President.

County Superintendents are the respective Presidents of the School Boards. They examine teachers, issue certificates to them, and report to the State Superintendent. They are allowed $4 per day for every whole day actually employed as County Superintendents, other than examining teachers, provided that they do not receive such pay for over thirty days in any one year. They are permitted to charge applicants for teachers' certificates $3 each for examination.

Three Trustees are annually elected on the first Tuesday of September. They take the census of the scholastic population, making separate lists of white and colored children, and provide schools and school-houses for “separating the children, and so arranging the schools and school-houses that good order, peace, and harmony may be maintained in the schools." They employ teachers, and see that the schools are taught and properly conducted for at least four months in the year. The trustees, in taking the scholastic census, are entitled to five cents for the name of each child reported.

All the children of school age in the State are required to attend school, unless prevented by certain specified causes, as sickness, danger from Indians, or great distance from school, except such as may be shown to have received regular instruction for four months in every year from any private teacher having a proper certificate.

If the public school fund apportioned to any particular district should not be sufficient for the support of the schools during four months in each year, an ad-valorem tax upon all the taxable property of the district must be levied by the County Board of Directors.

Whenever there may be, in any school district, a high school, college, or university, the principal of such high school, or the president of such high school or university, shall have the privilege, with the consent of a majority of the trustees of the public free schools, of incorporating the public free school as a preparatory department into such high school, college, or university, provided said preparatory department shall be conducted under the control and supervision of the County Board of Directors.

The legal school age is from six to eighteen years.
There are no Normal Schools in the State.

The Permanent School Fund comprises the revenue from all funds, lands, and other property set apart, appropriated, or donated for the maintenance of public free schools, and all sums of money that may come to the State from fines and forfeitưres. In 1874 it was as follows: specie, $21,515.45; currency, $1,600.65; sundries, $2,541,702.95. This fund is constantly increasing as the proceeds from the sale of all public lands are added to it year by year.

The Available School Fund comprises all interests which have accrued, or may accrue to the State, from railroads or otherwise, since March 30th, 1870; one-fourth of all the ad-valorem and occupation taxes assessed since that date, and such other taxes as have been or may be provided by law for the support of public free schools. The available fund for 1874 was $650,000. The Legislature of 1873 appropriated $500,000 out of the available school fund for the payment of teachers' salaries for the year ending August 31st, 1874.

LEGISLATION DURING 1874. In May, 1874, the Legislature passed an act amending Sections nine, ten, eleven, fifteen, seventeen, twenty, twenty-two, and thirty-eight of the school law. The amendments of importance we have incorporated above.

Superintendent Hollingsworth writes us that notwithstanding the present school law has proved cumbrous and expensive, and the Legislature failed to carry out certain reformatory suggestions made by him, the returns from the counties indicate that confidence in the public free school system is almost restored, and they present a more flourishing condition of affairs than during any previous year.


The educational statistics of Texas are far from complete. The following figures indicate the progress made since 1871, when the first public school system went into operation. The returns in the second column are the maximum figures.

187172 1873-74 School (judicial) districts in the State.......... .... 136 Number of schools organized.......... .... 1,324.... 1,874 Total scholastic population........... ...191,009....300,000 Number enrolled in public schools.......

....129,542 Number of pupils in public schools. .......... 63,504.... Number of pupils in daily attendance.

.... 83,082 Number of teachers.... ........

1,578.... 2,236. Average appropriation per child....... $1 75.... Cost of each pupil in daily attendance...

.. $1 4914 Average monthly wages male teachers.....

.. $80 oo Average monthly wages female teachers........ .. $50 00 Legal school age. ........

.... 6 to 18

A COLORED girl at Brucetown, Ky., aged nine, has displayed an extraordinarily retentive memory. A man reading in her presence for some length of time was astonished to hear her repeat, word for word, what he had said twenty-four hours previously. She has been proved capable of repeating fifty lines from a book after hearing them once read.


Ilon. JOHN HOMER FRENCH, LL.D., Secretary of the State Board of Education, was born in Genesee County, New York, in 1824. With the exception of five months at an academy, he had no other educational advantages than were afforded by the common or district schools. He was first elected Secretary of the Vermont Board of Education—to fill a vacancy, the Secretary having resigned-in May, 1870. His first term of office expired in November. He has since been elected annually, in November, by the State Board of Education. He was Engineer-in-Chief of the New York Topographical Survey made in 1855-'59; is the author of French's New York State Map and Gazetteer, published in 1860; and discovered the mathematical process known as French's Binomial Theorem. He is an advocate of compulsory education, and of authoritative courses of study for all public schools.

EDUCATION IN THE PAST. VERMONT was settled about 1724 by emigrants from Connecticut and Massachusetts. It was claimed by, both New Hampshire and New York, and was for a time under the government of the latter. In a convention, however, held in Westminster, January 16, 1777, Vermont was declared a free and independent State. During this period, neighborhood schools were maintained in various parts of the State. In 1782 a law was passed for the division of towns into school districts, and the appointment of trustees for the general superintendence of the schools. They were empowered to raise one-half of the money required to build school-houses and support the schools by a tax on the grand list, and the other half either on the list or the pupils of the schools, as the districts might order. In 1791 Vermont was admitted into the Union. Her original Constitution provided that “a competent number of schools should be maintained, in each town, for the instruction of youths, and that one or more grammar schools should be incorporated and supported in each county in this State.” In 1825, and again in 1837, provision was made for a school fund. Other legislation took place until 1845, when a State Superintendent was provided for. During the following year, 1846, the first Teachers' Institute was held. In 1856 an act was passed establishing a Board of Education, with a Secretary as the executive officer. In 1866 the General Assembly passed an act, making it the duty of the Board of Education to authorizing towns to establish central schools, appropriating $500 to each of the three State Normal Schools, appropriating $1,500 to aid indigent young men and women at the Normal Schools, and providing compensation for the members of the Board of Education. During the same year a compulsory school law was enacted. In 1868 laws were passed to encourage the formation of union or graded school districts, definitely fixing the pay of members of the Board of Education, and defining the qualifications of voters. In 1869 laws were passed regulating the attendance of teachers upon Teachers' Institutes, and authorizing school districts to send scholars to academies in certain cases.

The statute calling into existence the Board of Education specified that the members should, from time to time, recommend to the Legislature such alterations, revisions, or amendments to existing school laws as in their judgment were demanded.


Accordingly, in 1869, the Board and the Secretary made an urgent appeal to the Legislature for “the entire abolition of school districts and the vesting of all authority in the towns." The then Secretary, Hon. A. E. Rankin, argued that the district system brought constant change of supervision, poorly qualified teachers, constant change of teachers, lack of interest in schools, employment of relatives and favorites without regard to qualifications, and a long train of other evils. The Board of Education declared: “The spirit of progress in matters of education, which has been at work during the past twelve years, has found one of its most formidable obstacles in the old district system. Here are over two thousand little educational republics practically independent of each other and of all the world, a large number of them remote from intellectual centers, and wedded to practices which were necessitated by sparseness and poverty in early times." In response to these appeals, the General Assembly, in 1870, passed a bill authorizing towns to abolish the school district system by a majority of the voters present at any annual (March) meeting, and elect school directors in their place. During the same year another compulsory

« ForrigeFortsett »