« ForrigeFortsett »
IION. NEWTON BATEMAN, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, was born near Fairton, Cumberland County, N. J., July 27, 1822, and early removed to Jacksonville, Ill. In 1843 he graduated from Illinois College ; subsequently entered Lane Theological Seminary, but retired, owing to ill-health ; was appointed Professor of Mathematics in St. Charles College, Mo., in 1847; became Principal of the Jacksonville, III., Public Free School in 1851 ; served four years as County Superintendent, and in 1858 was elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction. He has held this position for fourteen years, having been five times re-elected, and acquired a national reputation, through his writings and active efforts in behalf of education. He was not a candidate for re-election, and retires in January, 1875.
ILLINOIS was admitted into the Union in 1818. Five years later, a general law was passed providing for the establishment of free schools. The preamble set forth that it was "the peculiar duty of a free government like ours to encourage and extend the improvement and cultivation of the intellectual energies of the whole.” Subsequent Legislatures enacted more or less laws bearing upon education until 1854, when the office of Superintendent of Education was created, and the incumbent was given the general management of the school interests of the State.
The following year the Legislature passed a bill, the basis of which was the principle of State and local taxation for educational purposes. It provided that the educational affairs of the State should be administered by the State Superintendent, a School Commissioner for each county, and a Board of Education for each township. Provision was made for County School Conventions and Teachers' Institutes, and an Examining Committee for each county. State funds were to be distributed only among those schools which had, for six months during the year, offered equal and free instruction to all persons of legal school age.
THE PRESENT SCHOOL SYSTEM. Other legislation followed until 1872, when the present school system was adopted. The following are its main features :
The State Superintendent of Public Instruction is elected quadrennially, giving bonds in the amount of twenty-five thousand dollars. He has supervision of the public schools, makes such rules as are necessary for carrying the school law into effect, and grants State certificates to teachers.
County Superintendents are elected quadrennially, giving bonds of twelve thousand dollars. They distribute the school funds to the several townships, visit all the schools in the county at least once annually, and report their condition to the State Superintendent.
A Board of Trustees, consisting of three members, and holding office for three years, is elected by each township. They twice annually apportion among the schools the money in the township treasury designed for such purposes. They also report the condition of the schools to the County Superintendent.
The Board of School Directors consists of three members, elected for three years, one annually. They levy taxes to support the public schools, appoint all teachers, and fix the amount of their salaries. They enforce uniformity of text-books, but cannot permit books to be changed oftener than once in four years.
The Common School Fund formerly consisted of the proceeds of a two mill tax levied on the total valuation of the property in the State, the interest on the School Fund, the net proceeds of sales of public lands, and the interest on what is known as the Surplus Revenue. In 1873, however, the Legislature provided that, in lieu of the two mill school tax, one million dollars should be annually appropriated out of the State School Fund, to pay the amount of the Auditor's orders issued for the distribution of said fund to the several counties. No part of the School Funds can be devoted to sectarian purposes.
School districts having a population of two thousand, elect a Board of Education consisting of six members, and three additional members for every additional ten thousand, instead of school directors. They are required to annually publish a report of the condition of the schools.
LEGISLATION DURING 1874.
The General Assembly during 1874 enacted a law prohibiting all school officers from excluding, directly or indirectly, any children from schools on account of color ; the penalty in
each case being not less than five, nor more than one hundred dollars. Furthermore, any person who, by threats, menace, or intimidation, prevents any colored child, entitled to attend a public school, from attending such school, shall, upon conviction, be fined in any sum not exceeding twenty-five dollars. ..
The General Assembly likewise so amended Section 50 of the General School Law, as to abolish the provisional certificate. Every teacher must hold a regular certificate, either of the first or second grade. Certificates of the first grade are valid for two years, and certify that the holders are qualified to teach orthography, reading in English, penmanship, arithmetic, English grammar, modern geography, the elements of the natural sciences, the history of the United States, physiology, and the laws of health. Certificates of the second grade are valid for one year, and certify that the holder is qualified to teach orthography, reading, penmanship, arithmetic, English grammar, modern geography, and the history of the United States. The County Superintendent may at his option renew such certificates at their expiration, by his endorsement thereon, and may revoke the same at any time for immorality, incompetency, or other just cause.
A compulsory attendance bill was defeated in the Senate.
EIGHT YEARS PROGRESS.
YEAR 1872-3. Number of districts in the State......... 10,062.... 11,231 Number of schools....
10,291.... 11,396 Total number of pupils.
662,049 Total number of teachers.....
17,015.... 20,924 Number of school-houses.............. 9,164.... 11,289 Total amount expended...... ........ $3,193,636.... $7,480,889.24 Average monthly salaries of male teachers $38.09.... $50.00 Average monthly salaries of female teachers 24.96.... $39.00 Total number of persons between the ages
of six and twenty-one years......... 747,670.... 882,693
HON. MILTON B. HOPKINS, Superintendent of Public Instruction, was born in Ken. tucky, though having lived in Indiana since he was eight years of age. His education was obtained at the Public Schools of the State, and at Private Seminaries. He was for many years a teacher, part of the time in the Common Schools, and a part as Principal of High Schools and Academies. He educated himself more and better by teaching than by attendance upon schools. In 1862, while farming, the Democratic Convention, without his knowledge, nominated him for the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. He, however, declined the nomination. In 1870 he was again, unsolicited on his part, nominated for the same office. This time he accepted, led the ticket, and was elected by a handsome majority. After serving two years, he was renominated by acclamation, and was re-elected by a majority of one thousand votes, though most of the same ticket was defeated. He was warmly solicited by friends of both parties to accept a fourth nomination, but refused to do so. Isis present term of office expires on the 15th of March, 1875.*
EDUCATION IN THE PAST. INDIANA was admitted into the Union in 1816. Her Constitution enjoined the Legislature to provide by law for a general system of education, ascending in regular gradation from township schools to a State University, where tuition should be gratis and equally open to all. In 1821 the first school law of the State was passed. During the nineteen years that followed, this law was variously modified. All the legislation, however, seemingly failed to awaken an educational interest in the State, inasmuch as there were, in 1840, out of a population of nine hundred and eighty-eight thousand four hundred and sixteen, seventy thousand five hundred and forty persons, over twenty years of age, who could neither read nor write. About this time the subject of a free school system began to be agitated with renewed vigor in Indiana, and, in 1848, an Act providing a system of free schools was passed by the Legislature. It, however, left the counties to decide by a popular vote whether they would or would not adopt its provisions, and many of them preferred to cling to their old ways and prejudices. The Constitution of 1850, however, made it the duty of the Legislature to take decided steps to secure a greater diffusion of knowledge through the State. A new school law was enacted in 1855, and from that time the educational outlook in Indiana became much more encouraging.
* Mr. Hopkins diod on the 18th of August-since the above was written.
PRESENT SCHOOL SYSTEM,
This law was subsequently amended in 1865, 1867, 1869, and 1873, and now embraces the following main features:
A State Superintendent is elected on general ballot for two years. He is charged with the administration of the school system, receives a salary of $2,000 a year, is allowed $1,800 annually for clerk hire, apportions the school revenue, supplies school libraries with public documents, visits each county in the State at least once during his term of office, is allowed $600 annually for traveling expenses, is, ex officio, President of the State Board of Education, makes a biennial report to the Legislature, which meets only once in two years, and makes a report to the Governor on the off year.
The State Board of Education consists of the Governor, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, President of the State Normal School, and the Superintendents of Common Schools of the three largest cities in the State, viz., Indianapolis, Evansville, and Fort Wayne. The members of the Board, other than the Governor and Superintendent of Public Instruction, receive $5 per day for their services when employed. The Board furnishes State certificates of qualification to teachers, and takes cognizance of such questions as may arise in the practical administration of the school system.
County Boards of Education comprise all the Township and School Trustees of the county, together with the County Superintendent. The special province of the County Board is to secure the best text-books for the schools, and, at the same time, uniformity. Most of its decisions are merely advisory. No text-book adopted by the County Board can be changed within three years from the date of such adoption, except by unanimous vote of all members of such Board.
County Superintendents, numbering ninety-two, one for each county, are selected by the Township Trustees for two years. They are required to hold County and Township Institutes, to determine appeals from Trustees, make and report the basis of apportionment of school moneys, visit the schools, and receive $4 per day pay for every day employed. They average about $800 pay per annum.