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school law was passed, the appropriation to each of the Normal Schools was increased to $1,000, and several minor school measures were passed. In 1872, an act was passed increasing the salary of the Secretary of the Board of Education, and requiring him to take general charge in person of all the Teachers' Institutes in the State. The bill, owing to some unaccountable and mysterious delay, did not, however, reach the Governor until eight days after the final adjournment of the General Assembly, too late to receive his signature. During the same year, 1872, measures were passed defining the power of school districts, changing the pay of Town Superintendents, and defining their powers, concerning the division of the property of school districts, and relating to the town and district systems of schools. Since 1872 there has been no school legislation of importance. The State school laws of Vermont have never been codified or published in a volume separate from the session laws and school reports, and the running history we have given of educational legislation in the State has been derived from a variety of sources. The different acts and amendments to which we have alluded comprise the
PRESENT SCHOOL SYSTEM. The following are its main features:
The State Board of Education consists of six persons, biennially nominated by the Governor, by and with the advice of the Senate. Two of the six must be residents of each Congressional district, and three of them must be practical educators. They receive $4 pay for every day's service, and their traveling expenses.going to and from the place of meeting are paid by the State. The board is required, among other duties, to select once in five years a list of text-books for use in the schools of the State, and publish the same in all the newspapers. The last selection was made for five years from November 1, 1873. The Governor is ex officio a member of the board.
The Secretary of the Board of Education is annually elected by the members. He receives $1,200 per year, and his actual
is also allowed his expenses in holding Teachers' Institutes, not to exceed, however, $30 for each county.
Town Superintendents receive $2 a day pay, and by the act
of 1870 are required to meet the Secretary of the Board of Education at such a place and time in March or April each year as he may designate, to agree on a uniform standard of examination for applications for teachers' certificates, to make preliminary arrangements for holding the Teachers' Institutes, and to confer with the Secretary and with each other upon their duties and the interests of education.
The officers of each school district are a Moderator, to preside in the meetings, a Clerk, a Collector of Taxes, a Treasurer, one or three Auditors, and a Prudential Committee, consisting of one or three legal voters in a district, all of which officers are elected annually on the last Tuesday of March.
Towns are authorized, as before said, by the act of 1870, to abolish the district system and place all the public schools under the management of six Directors, one-third elected each year for a term of three years. These Directors, who receive no pay, have a general charge of instruction in their respective towns.
There is no School Fund now in Vermont, the schools being supported by direct taxation. In 1825 the General Assembly laid the foundation of a school fund by granting to the several towns in the State, for the benefit of Common Schools, the amount of the avails accruing to the State from the Vermont State Bank; also the amount of State funds accruing from the six per cent. on the net profits of the banks, and the amount received from peddlers' licenses.
In 1845, the aggregate of these sums was $235,000. The State was in debt to the School Fund to nearly this amount. An easy way of canceling this debt was to appropriate the fund to its payment, which was accordingly done. In 1837 the share of the United States surplus revenue deposited with Vermont was distributed among the several towns, the annual interest ($40,000) to be divided in the same manner as a three per cent. assessment on the grand list for the support of schools.
The Compulsory Education Law requires parents and guardians to give their children and wards between the ages of eight and fourteen years, three months' schooling annually at the
companies from employing those who have not enjoyed such schooling. The statute fixes a penalty of from $10 to $20 for
the violation of this law, one-half to go to the complainant and the other half to the treasurer of the town in which such child resides.
TEN YEARS' PROGRESS. The Secretary of the Board of Education makes only biennial reports. His next report will be published during the year 1875. He forwards us the following statistics in advance of his returns to the Legislature :
1863–64. 1873–74. Teachers’ Institutes during year...... Number of Normal Schools in the State. None....
3 School Districts in the State.....
2,682.... 2,754 School-houses erected during the year. .Not reported....
38 Cost of the same...... ..............
.... $80,400 00 Estimated total value of school-houses..
" ....$1,334,364 00 Pupils enrolled in the schools......... 76,021..... 78,139 Average daily attendance.............. Not reported.... 50,733 Male teachers employed.......
667 Average wages, per month.....
$45 62 Female teachers employed....
3,603 .... 3,739 Average wages, per month. ........
$16 48.... $25 65 Amount of State School Fund. ........ None.... None Legal school age......... ........... 4 to 18 yrs.... 5 to 20 yrs. Average cost of schooling for each scholar.Not reported.... $7 27 Number of scholars in State........... 85,795.... 89,54 1 Total receipts for school purposes......Not reported.... $409,421 45 Total expenditures....... ......... $327,249.... $622,227 28
In the new University of Modern Languages at Newburyport, Mass., all the foreign professors are to be natives of the countries to which their particular languages belong; and the students acquiring any special tongue are to be domiciled as boarders with a family speaking it as its native language.
The Dunkards, at their late National Convention, denounced the use of “the ungodly piano.”
Rev. WILLAM HENRY RUFFNER, State Superintendent of Instruction in Virginia, was born in Lexington, Virginia, and graduated in Washington College in that place in 1842. He studied theology at both Union and Princeton Seminaries, preached in Philadelphia and elsewhere, and subsequently returned tỏ Virginia in broken health. In 1870, he was elected first State Superintendent of Public Instruction in Virginia. Like his father Henry Ruffner, LL. D., he has written a good deal on social and political subjects, and published one book called “Charity and the Clergy." He is a man of great erudition.
EDUCATION IN THE PAST, The first Constitution of Virginia (1776) contained nothing regarding education. Two years later an unsuccessful effort was made to secure the adoption of a law to promote education, which was framed by Jefferson and Wythe. In 1796 the first general school law was passed, with a long preamble beginning in this wise: “Whereas, it appeareth that the great advantages which civilized and polished nations enjoy beyond the savage and barbarous nations of the world are principally derived from the invention and use of letters," etc. In 1810 the Literary Fund was instituted. Six years later the directors reported to the General Assembly a system of public education, to compre. hend a university and such additional colleges, academies, and schools as might be required in the Commonwealth for diffusing the benefits of education. It was similar in many respects to the Jefferson-Wythe scheme, which had been defeated sixteen years before. In 1818 an act was passed appropriating $45,000 of the revenue to the primary education of the poor, and $15,000 a year to endow and support a university, to be known as the “University of Virginia.”
In 1839, Governor Campbell, and in 1843, Governor McDowell called upon the Legislature to make further provision for the education of the people. Governor McDowell said in his message, “ This plan of common education, viz., that based upon the Literary Fund, and the Act of 1818—which reaches only twenty-eight thousand out of the fifty-one thousand poor children, and gives them only sixty days' tuition—is a costly and delusive nullity, which ought to be abolished and another and better one established in its place." Little or no advance was, however, made, and illiteracy alarmingly increased.
A NEW ERA. The new Constitution of the State (1867) together with a new school law, passed in 1870, inaugurated a new educational era, and the Old Dominion is now making more rapid progress than any other southern State. The bill of 1870 was matured after great deliberation by some of the leading educators, and then laid before a joint conference of the Senate and House Committees. Finally, after animated and protracted discussion, the act passed both bodies, was signed by the Governor, and became a law July 11, “ a day which," says the present Superintendent of Education, “marks an epoch in the history of Virginia.” “ Popular education then took its proper place among the great public interests, and its machinery became nearly allied to that of the State. The administration centered at the capital, and was in the hands of special officers. Each county had its executive, and each district its Board of Control. The State is the administrative unit, counties its grand divisions, and districts its subdivisions.”
The State Superintendent is appointed by the Legislature.
The State Board of Education consists of the Governor, Superintendent of Instruction, and the Attorney-General of the State.
The County Superintendents, to the number of ninety-three, and the District Trustees, are appointed by the Board of Education.
The three sources of revenue for the support of schools, are the annual proceeds of the Literary Fund, a capitation tax not exceeding $i on every adult male citizen, and an annual tax on property, of not less than one nor more than five mills on the dollar; besides the State taxation, counties and school districts are each allowed to levy a tax on property, and counties may levy a capitation tax of fifty cents for all purposes, which may be applied in whole or part, or not at all, to school purposes. The whole amount of State school funds available for the year 1872-1873 was $464,740.91.
Teachers’ Institutes were held in sixty-seven counties and cities during 1873. Eighty-eight counties and cities reported an improvement in the qualifications of teachers. Forty-eight counties and cities report that complete uniformity has been secured in text-books. Fifty-three others have nearly succeeded in securing uniformity. Eighty-one counties and cities report