Sidebilder
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

66

[ocr errors]

ally held up before the others. The best | very excellent city systems under the sumethods, the best results, are made the pervision of able and well paid superirstandard, and popular opinion elevates its tendents, while their country schools are demands. That which feels itself merely suffering for want of a like supervision, tolerated is forced to struggle for self. because they have no county superintendpreservation. The “struggle for exist- ency. ence” ends in development.

For the reason that this link of county The links of supervision in our Amer- superintendency is the most important of ican system of schools embrace the fol. all the supervisory links, inasmuch as it lowing:

concerns the education of three-fourths of I. National Commissioner of Educa- all the people of the land, it deserves far cation at Washington, who has charge of more attention on the part of legislators the Bureau for the collection and dissemi. than it has received. It is the most prenation of educational information. In carious link in the system. It is attacked the reports of that Bureau as in a mirror, annually by the friends of retrenchment, one may see reflected the actual status of and the enemies of public schools seize education-its organization and results, the occasion to strike a most dangerous not only in the United States, but in all blow to the cause of popular education. parts of the world.

In order to convince the well-wisher of II. State Superintendent of Public In. public schools, that these remarks are not struction, resident at the state capital, and hasty and ill-considered, I will ask his having charge of the apportionment of attention to the following summary statethe State School Fund, the organization ment of the duties of the county superin. of educational institutes, collection of sta- tendent; not mere ideal duties which he tistics, and a general supervision over the ought to perform but does not, but rea? common schools, so far as the execution duties, most of which he cannot "shirk," of the state laws is concerned.

and which for the most part are discharg. III. County superintendents, having ed with great conscientiousness by many supervision over all schools in their county county superintendents with whom I am not organized under special charter (as personally acquainted. systems of city schools).

The county superintendent's functions IV. Superintendents of City Schools. involveTheir jurisdiction extends over systems of I. His duty to confer with other school schools organized independently of county officers and directors: (1) with the State supervision.

Superintendent, whose interpretation of V. In large cities the supervision of the state school law he is obliged to prothe superintendent is supplemented by mulgate, and to whom he has to report assistant superintendents and supervising the enrollment of school population as a principals. The latter have charge of basis for the division of the school fund; large schools and smaller subordinate (2) with the county clerk as treasurer, as schools, and spend most of their time in an intervening official charged with the inspection of the work of their assistant transmission of statistics, receipt of funds, teachers, and in giving effect to general etc.; (3) with local school-boards, includ. arrangements, devised for the perfection ing (a) township boards, (6) village boards of management and instruction.

and (c) city boards. With each of these, With this five-fold system of supervis. if located in his county, he is brought ion, American educators may feel a degree into necessary relation, and with the first of satisfaction. In a very large number of them he has very distinct duties as reof states—such as Michigan, Illinois, Mis- gards advice and consultation. (4) With souri, the system is complete. In all the the sub-district directors he has similar states are found the second, fourth and relations, and is expected to keep posted fifth links with a greater or less degree of in their plans and arrangements, and to perfection. There are many states having communicate to them his information as

[ocr errors]

to the state laws and decisions, as well as cises in the several topics of instruction; the practices found beneficial in other to draw out from the teachers present a places. He must give unity and purpose profitable discussion of the practical points to their proceedings.

presented in the exercises and lectures. It is clear that a competent man could improve the schools of his county by

These departments of labor well consid. proper attention to these duties alone, to ered, I do not see how any one can avoid

the conclusion that the work of the county an extent sufficient to pay the salaries of many superintendents. In the one matter superintendent is the most important link of advice as to buildings, in the way of

in the entire system of educational super.

vision. Its cost to the state is very small economy and proper construction, in the way of the prevention of breaches of the

in comparison with the entire outlay. By state law, he could do this. But these du. no other agency can the school system of ties are not the most important.

a state be so potently lifted up and at so II. His duty to examine teachers and

small an expenditure of money.-Ameriaward certificates to the competent ones.

ican Journal of Education. He is obliged to test the extent of infor- PROFESSOR AGASSIZ AT PENIKESE SCHOOL. mation both as to theoretical and practical knowledge of the art of teaching. He has BY A. B. MILLER, A, M., PITTSFIELD, MASS. to find out whether the candidate knows MR. EDITOR:-Doubtless most of your how (a) to grade and classify a school ac- readers have heard something of the school cording to the most approved methods; of Natural History established last sum. (6) to assign lessons of proper length and mer on Penikese Island near New Bedford, guide his pupils to correct habits of study; Mass. Perhaps a few reminiscences of it, (C) how to work up a sentiment in favor of from one who richly enjoyed its privischools in the community where he is to leges may not be without interest, and not teach ; (d) whether he possesses sufficient without value either, if it may direct atbook knowledge to instruct properly. tention to the doings of next summer's

III. His duty to visit schools. He has session. to see that the qualifications which he re- On the 5th of July last, about fifty teach. quired in the candidate to whom he gave ers gathered from all parts of the country, the certificate, are actually exercised by sailed down from New Bedford fourteen that teacher in the school. (1) He must miles, landed on a rough looking little look after the grading and classification island, were met and welcomed by Prof. of the pupils; (2) after the modes of in- | Agassiz, and for about two months gave struction; (3) after the habits and deport- their time and thoughts to the study of ment of pupils as indicating the general whatever living things they could lay their influences of the teacher; (4) after the gen. hands or their eyes on, under his kindly eral spirit of the district as affected by the direction and powerful inspiration. teacher.

I am sure I shall be understood as giv. IV. Educational Lectures. It is his ing very high praise to the school, to its duty to present before teachers at their methods of study, and to its skillful, genial, institutes, and before the community at admirable conductor, when I say that large, the subject of education and its though I have taught school now over various practical bearings.

fifteen years, and had supposed all my V. It is his duty to hold Institutes. boyishness have been long ago evapoThis is one of the most important and rated, yet as soon as I landed upon the difficult of his duties. He has to devise island and began in earnest to search for measures to get his teachers together, and star-fishes, sea-weeds, barnacles and jellyarrange for their accommodation and con- fishes, and to look at them in the light of venience; he has to get up a suitable pro- Prof. Agassiz beautiful, glowing, compregramme of exercises ; to secure the proper hensive, philosophic descriptions, I began persons to conduct the lectures and exer- to feel that my whiskers were an anachronism, and my gray hairs a delusion. For so far as is recorded, has ever seen what in enthusiasm, in wonder, in satisfaction, we now see, a full formed egg in the body in implicit confidence in my instructor, I of a skate. For many years I have been was instantly reduced from forty to four-looking for this very thing.” He seemed teen years of age.

as happy and as nervous as an inespe. At the last summer's session, the rst rienced young maiden with an unexpected object which the director of the school love letter. When he began to trim proposed to himself and to us, was to away the flesh so as to show the egg in teach us to see the things that were before its bed to better advantage, his hand our eyes. Of course this was not fully trembled so that he could hardly use it. accomplished, else we when we came away, But more was to come. As he was careshould have been to the world around us, fully, slowly clipping away the fleshy objects of as great wonder and admiration covering, there came a sudden, a very exas the learned Professor was to us. But pressive ah !-h-h, and then the words, we felt that we learned something of this “truly here are two of them. How beautiprecious lesson. The second lesson he ful they are! The sight of those two eggs taught us was how to better appreciate and alone would pay me for my whole sum. enjoy the wonderful mechanism of every mer's work," and then with a soft, happy, object we might examine, however com- boyish whistle, he went on with the dis. mon or simple. The reader may smile if section to make it ready for the drawing he will, but one of the important things master. When it was drawn showing we learned at the Anderson school was both eggs entire in the shell, it was brought how to dissect a fish or a toad or a lobster down for a second dissection preparatory with an intense interest and a more pro. to a second drawing. On removing the found reverence for the Divine Artificer upper part of one of the shells there ap. who fashioned it.

peared a very pretty egg somewhat like Perhaps the recital of an incident of that of a hen. The yolk seemed pink our school life will best enable me to pre rather than yellow and in its 'general apsent to view the controling spirit of the pearance, including the germination ves. institution. On Saturday, the 20th of cicle suggested the idea of some large July, while one of the students in the lab. bird's egg. At this the Professor's feel. oratory was dissecting a skate, he found ings and the interest of the observing in the body of the fish an egg. Now this students reached a climax. “Before it is may seem a matter of small consequence moved,” said he, “I must take a good to one who has walked along the beach look at it lest something happen to it." and noticed how frequently the curious" Ah,” continued he, “it is a splendid shell which encloses this egg may be sight; it is the most beautiful specimen I seen. It certainly seemed quite an indif. ever saw. Now Dr. Wilder raise it out of ferent matter to the student and when he the water. Stop! give me a good look at took his tray up to the professor to exhib. in the air before it goes into the alcohol. it his discovery he had very little idea of Yes, there is the blastoderm perfect. Now the sensation he was about to cause. An carefully lower it into the alcohol.” Then exclamation from Dr. Wilder to whom it a long, proud, happy look before the utwas first shown brought forward Prof. terance, evidently with intense feeling, and Agassiz, and the excessive astonishment apparently with perfect sincerity, of the and satisfaction which he manifested im- following words, “I would not take two mediately called around him a wondering thousand dollars for that rare specimen. circle of ladies and gentlemen.

No human eye has ever seen so rare a one. Prof. Agassiz was interested in the egg, I would not exchange it for the Madonna we in him, and it seemed quite worth our of Raphael! Come, Mr. Hawkins, draw while to observe him as he studied it. this beautiful thing once more.” Beaming and sparkling with delight, he Such enthusiasm could not but be consurprised us by saying, “No human eye, tagious. The objects we examined and

ܪ

[ocr errors]

studied seemed almost as novel and inter-, a class of studies never pursued in after esting as those we would expect to find on life,-except for special ends, or by reason some other planet.

of peculiar tastes. The higher matheThe school proposes to itself to be a matics, for instance, or chemistry, or as. normal school for teachers of Natural tronomy, or geology, are by the vast maHistory where they may learn how to ob- jority of public school scholars as sure to serve and how to communicate; and also be utterly dismissed from their thoughts a center of investigation for original dis- as the rules of the school and the order of covery, that this field of human knowl. recitations. They are forced into the edge may be enlarged as rapidly as may minds of pupils at an age when the reabe.-N. Y. Educational Journal.

soning powers are undeveloped, and the COMMON SCHOOL EDUCATION.

memory in its highest state of receptivity.

Obviously, that is the age when elemenCommon school teaching has been al- tary facts should be laid in store, and lowed to be governed more and more by when the art of using facts should begin half truths and conventional ideas. The to be taught in that careful and guarded efforts of its friends and promoters have way which takes care not to anticipate desought an end which was by no means as velopment. Take a class of the same age, clearly kept in view as the importance of and, with slight exceptions, the power of the matter warranted. This end was that learning by rote will be about the same. the public school should give the best and But the power of reasoning and applying most complete education to be obtained. will be almost in abeyance with them all. Public school teaching was to supersede Just where it is found there will probably all other teaching, by dint of being supe be less capacity for accurate memory rior to all other. To reach this end, the Indeed, accurate, literal memory almost al. effort has been made to crowd into the ways leaves the mind when the higher pow. common school course as much of every- ers come in play. Idiots and feeble-minded thing to be taught, as the limits of the children are slow to receive impressions, system would allow. The obvious way of but they hold to them with painful tenacity. reaching this point, or or of appearing to The common school system is fast drift. reach it, rather, was to have as many ing into that devotion to cramming, which studies on the list as possible, and to is the very reverse of true education. be seen constantly passing from the Secondary facts are crowded upon the easier to the more difficult. This sooner memory, to the exclusion of those ele. or later diverts the attention of the public mentary ones which are needed for the from the question. “ How do you teach ?" foundation. The plea that is offered in to that of " What are you teaching !" It defence of this system, is that everybody's is an easy way of surmounting difficul- child has a right to the best education the ties. It serves to satisfy parents and State can give, and that, therefore, it ought guardians, not to say the school commit- to know whatever will be of use to it in tee, or the “Board of Education." To nine after life. We suggest that a good many out of every ten it is eminently satisfac- things may be left till the time shall come tory to hear that “our high school teaches for them to be learned to advantage. For as much as is taught in most colleges." instance, little boy in one corner of a To ninety-nine out of every hundred there bench in the public school may become a is denied the power of knowing whether | bishop, but it would be hardly worth while any of these things have been satisfactorily to instruct him now in the canons of the learned. Of many of the subjects which the church concerning the trial of bishops. are set forth in the text-books carried by The lad next him is in nowise excluded the youthful scholar in his leathern from the hope of being chief justice of strap, or under his arm, none but an ex- the supreme court of the United States, pert can judge whether any real know- but would hardly be advanced toward the ledge has been attained. They belong to bench by being now set to work upon

2-50l. IV, No. 2.

[ocr errors]

any sta.

Smith's Leading Cases." There is a SUFFRAGE WITHOUT EDUCATION.-Horfallacy in the theory, somewhat akin to ace Mann expressed the danger to our gov. that under which careful country mothers, crnment of universal suffrage without uni. who pack the trunk of the boy departing versal education, as follows: for a week's visit to the metropolis, with "The human imagination can picture specifics against all manner of diseases. no semblance of the destructive potency If the sickness do come, the doctor in the of the ballot box in the hands of an ignor. next block, and the druggist on the corner, ant and corrupt people. The Roman cowill furnish all that is needed, and there horts were terrible; the Turkish janizaries will be no danger of the bottles breaking were incarnate fiends; but each were and mingling their pleasing contents over powerless as a child for harm compared the Sunday suit and the new shirt bosoms. to universal suffrage without mental illu

For, to carry out our principles—as the mination and moral principle. The power boy may be either bishop or chief justice, of casting a vote is far more formidable not to mention all other conceivable offices than that of casting a spear or javelin. -it would be proper to cram him with

“On one of these oft-occurring days, both canons and cases, and with whatever

when the state of the Union is to be de. else any possible contingency of after life

cided at the polls, when over all the land might find it handy to possess.

the votes are falling thick as hail, and we It seems to us that the common school

seem to hear them rattle like the clangor system should be limited to the exact op- of arms, is it not enough to make the lover posite of this, and allowed to teach noth.

of his country turn pale to reflect upon ing special; nothing but what, in tion of life, would be certain to be useful, and the consequences to which they may

the motives under which they may be given This, however, it should teach well and

lead! By the votes of a few wicked men, thoroughly; so thoroughly, in fact, that

or even one wicked man, honorable inen the child could pass at once to the special study appropriate to its calling, prepared may be hurled from office and miscreants

elevated to their places; useful offices to make the best use of that. It is not im.

abolished and sinecures created; the pubportant, nay, it is undesirable (unless a

lic wealth, which had supported industry, man proposes as his destiny to edit ency, squandered upon mercenaries ; enterprise clopædias), that a boy should leave school

crippled; the hammer falling from every knowing a little of everything. A little

hand; the wheel stopping in every mill; knowledge of all things almost inevitably

the sail drooping to the mast on every sea; involves a vast ignorance of all things,

and thus capital, which had been honestly and that, too, unhappily, without the ca.

and laboriously accumulated, turned into pacity to perceive that ignorance.

dross. In fine, the whole policy of the Under this system, the rivalry of public schools with private would be mainly government may be reversed and the social

conditions of millions changed to gratify done away. The public school would be

one man's grudge, or prejudice, or revenge. above rivalry, because, under its limita

In a word, if the votes which fall so nutions, it would teach as no other couldexcept in those individual and isolated merously into the ballot box on our

days of election emanate from wise councascs where a child is best taught on a

sels and a loyalty to truth, they will despecial system, adapted to its own pech. scend like benedictions from heaven to liarities. Then private or special schools for the advanced could take up their par.

bless the land and fill it with joy and ticular branches. There would be schools gladness, such as never have been known of modern languages, schools of music, upon the earth since the days of paradise; schools of drawing-possibly, even, schools but, if on the other hand, those votes come ai which the American youth might ac

from ignorance and crime, the fire and

brimstone that were rained on Sodom and quire some knowledge of luistory and ge-1

Gomorral would be more tolerable." ography. - Churchman.

« ForrigeFortsett »