« PreviousContinue »
reform schools, and industrial schools, for children who are already given to idle, truant and pilfering habits; and to bind together the various occupations and conditions of life in the bonds of a common citizenship, and of christian brotherhood, these things, and more, will be done, as experience shall make its suggestions, and practical wisdom shall devise the best ways of accomplishing them. Bristol, Warren and Newport will not be behindhand in originating and carrying forward plans of social and educational improvements for their own population.
When city and country, the large and the small towns, the agricultural and manufacturing sections, are all engaged in the work of educating the whole people, Rhode Island will occupy a place among the States, which neither her past history, or her present enterprise even, can secure. To Rhode Island belongs the great and peculiar glory, that on her soil, since Roger Williams made his first lodgment upon it, the mind and the soul of man were free. She guards this fact as her peculiar glory and her choice treasure. Her enterprise has, from the first, made the State known throughout the world. Her commerce has extended to every nation. Her brave soldiers and seamen have gathered for her trophies on the land and on the sea. The pames of her great captains are written upon the rolls of their country's fame. In the peaceful fields of industry, the skill and enterprise of her merchants and manufacturers have won for her the highest material prosperity. Let her now make the mind and soul of every one of her people truly free, by giving to each “ the freedom to be good",--that inward freedom which comes from the disciplined and furnished intellect, and from chastened and regulated affections. Let the same spirit, which has won such triumphs on the battle field, on the deep sea, in the marts of commerce, and amid the resounding hum of adventurous industry, be directed to the highest of all concerns, the improvement of the men, that, in her case, do with an emphasis * constitute the State," and her future destiny will be one of the highest glory.
Commissioner of Public Schools. PROVIDENCE, November 1, 1845.
REFERRED TO IN THE PRECEDING REPORT.
CIRCULAR TO TEACHERS The teacher of the Public School of this District is respectfully requested to answer the following questions as fully and completely as he can, from his own knowledge or the information of the School Committee.
Wherever a precise answer cannot be given, the nearest practicable approximation should be stated with the expression, estimated or about.
The teacher is further requested to communicate his views at any time on any subject connected with the condition and improvement of the school in this Dis. trict, or the Public Schools of the State generally.
HENRY BARNARD, Agent for Public Schools. Providence, January, 1844.
I DISTRICT. What is the name or number of the District? What is its territorial extent ? How many families reside in it? What is the prevailing occupation of the inhabitants? What is the valuation, or taxable property of the district ? How many children are there over four and under sixteen years of age? How much money does the District receive from the Town Treasury ? Has it a local fund—if so, what is the capital, how invested, and what is the annual income thereof? How much money is set apart for the winter school? How much is set apart for the suramer school ? How much money is raised by a tax on the scholar?
II. SCHOOL-HOUSE. Is the school kept in a school-house? Does the District own the school-house? When was it built, of what materials, and at what cost? Is it in good, ordinary or bad repair? Is the location elevated, dry, and pleasant ? Does it stand in or on the highway, or has it a play-ground? What are the dimensions of the house? Is there a wood-shed and other out-buildings? Is there a separate entry for the boys, and for the girls, with shelves for hals, cloaks, &c. ?
III, SCHOOL-ROOM AND FURNITURE. What is the height, length and breadth of the school-room? Is there an opening in the ceiling above, or any other means for ventilation ? Is the room well lighted Are the windows furnished with curtains or blinds? Is the room warmed by coal or wood, in fireplace or stove? Is fuel of the right quality and in good condition furnished? What is the arrangement of the desks and seats? Are seats provided with backs, and in all respects comfortable? What are the accommodations for small children? How high are the seats from the floor for the oldest scholars ? How high for the youngest ? Has the teacher an elevated platform and desk? Is there a separate room for recitation ? Is there a black-board? and if so, how large? Is there a globe, or other apparatus ?
What is the name and age of the teacher? Does the teacher reside in the District or Town? How long has the teacher taught this school before? How long has the teacher followed the business of teaching? For how long time is the teacher engaged ? What is the compensation per month ? Has the teacher a fixed place to board, or does he board round? Was the teacher examined and found qualified by the appointed Committee before opening the school? Will the teacher continue to teach in this District or Town in a private school, after the close of the public school ?
V. ATTENDANCE. What is the whole number attending schools this winter? How many boys under four years of age? How many girls? How many boys over four and under ten? How many girls? How many boys over ten and under sixteen ? How many girls? How many boys over sixteen? How many girls ? What is the average daily attendance ? How many attended a public school last sum. mer? How many attended school of any kind for six months,? How many for four months ? How many for two months ?
VI. STUDIES—BOOKS-CLASSES. How many attend only to Spelling? How many attend to Spelling and into how many classes are they divided ? How many attend to Reading and into how many classes are they divided? How many attend to Arithmetic and into how many classes are they divided? How many attend to Geography and into how many classes are they divided? How many attend to Grammar and into how many classes are they divided? How many attend to History and into how many classes are they divided? How many attend to other studies and into how many classes are they divided ? What is the name and number of each book used in Spelling? What is the name and number of each book used in Reading? What is the name and number of each book used in Arithmetic? What is the name and number of each book used in Grammar? What is the name and number of each book used in Geography? What is the name and number of each book used in History? What is the name and number of each book used in other studies ? Are there any scholars unsupplied with the necessary books? How many distinct recitations are there in the morning? How many in the afternoon? What is the order of recitations in the morning? What in the afternoon ?
VII. LENGTH OF SCHOOL, &c. How long will this school be kept as a public school? Will this school be keps by the same teacher as a private school, after it closes as a public school ? How many parents have visited this school this winter? How many of the school committee have visited it? Is there much interest felt by the community generally in the public schools ?
VIII. PRIVATE SCHOOL, &C. Is there a private school now open in the District ? Is it under a male or female teacher ? What is the average number of scholars attending? What is the rate of tuition per week or month? How many children of this District are now attending school in other districts or towns? How many children of the proper school age are in no school public or private ? Is there a social Library in this District, and if so, of how many volumes ? Is there a Lyceum, or Debating Society, and if so, how many members are there?
IX. BUMMER SCHOOL, 1843. Was there a public school kept in this District last summer by a male or female teacher ? What was the length of the school? What was the tuition per week, month, or qnarter? How many scholars attended ?
X. SUGGESTIONS. Under this head the teacher is requested to suggest any plan of improvement.
CIRCULAR Addressed to School Committees and other Friends of Education. Dear Sir: You will lay me under personal obligations, as well as render me essential service in the discharge of my official duties, if you will communicate lo me your views respecting the present condition of the public schools of your town, or of the State generally, together with plans and suggestion for their improvement in all, or any of the following particulars.
1. PARENTAL OR PUBLIC INTEREST. Under this head you are requested to state what proportion of the inhabitants of the town take an active interest in establishing the public schools; the amount of money raised by tax, or otherwise, to support the schools, in addition to the money received from the State; the considerations which seem to govern in the selection of teachers, and in determining the length of the school; the amount of parental visitation to the school while in session, and any other facts which will indicate the state of public or parental interest in the welfare of common schools.
II. DISTRICTS. Under this head you are requested to notice any inequality between different districts, in the means of education arising out of the diversity of school districts in respect to territory, population, pecuniary ability, or other causes, and how far the present mode of supporting schools can be modified so as to give to the children of each district an equal opportunity to obtain a good English education.
III. SCHOOL-HOUSES. Any facts as to the location, construction, size, internal arrangement, light, veno tilation, warmth, seats and desks of the districi school-houses, which will show their influence in those, or other particulars on the health, comfort and successful study of the scholars, are requested. The consequences of not having appropriate out-buildings, and play ground for both sexes, on the morals, manners and health of the children, should not be omitted.
IV. ATTENDANCE AND NON-ATTENDANCE Under this head, you are requested to state how large a proportion of the children of your town attend the public schools, and the reasons and causes which operate to keep any class of children from them; also, to suggest any plan for securing the regular and punctual attendance at school of those who belong to it.
V. EXAMINATION OF TEACHERS AND VISITATION OF SCHOOLS. Under this head you are requested to state any defect in the law or its administration, as to the mode of ascertaining the qualification of teachers, and to propose any alterations which will give greater efficiency to this important part of a school system, such as a single officer to a town, or a county, or state board.
VI. TEACHERS. Under this head, you are requested to state your views, as to the moral and intellectual qualifications, age, experience in teaching, compensation and success of the teachers who have been heretofore employed in the public schools; also, the evils, if any, of changing teachers every season, and the practicability and advan. tages of employing female teachers more generally. Under this head, please to state your views on the policy or necessity of institutions, where young men and young women can have an opportunity to review and extend the studies of the common schools, and become practically acquainted with the best methods of school government and instruction, before being employed as teachers; also, on the importance of forming associations of teachers in all the different towns, or of incorporating a Teachers’ Institute, embracing all the teachers of the State, and giving it the power of giving certificates of qualification to such as shall be found qualified to teach.
VII. STUDIES. If undue importance is given to any study, or defective methods of teaching it are pursued, or any important study is neglected, you are requested to notice it
VIII. BOOKA. After specifying the number of different books used in the several studies tanght in the public schools, you are requested to point out the evils and expense attending the multiplicity and constant change of books in the same school or town, and to propose a remedy. And whether the selection of books had better be left to a town, county or state committee.
IX. SCHOOL APPARATUS. You are requested to mention how generally a black-board is furnished, and how far it is used by the teacher, when supplied by the district; also the advantages, if any, which would result from furnishing the schools with maps, globes and other apparatus, and especially the young children with a slate and pencil.
X. GRADATION OF SCHOOLS, You are particularly requested to consider the practicability of reducing the number of classes, arising out of the variety of ages, studies and books, of preventing the too common neglect of the primary brar.ches and the younger children, and of securing, greater permanency in the employment of teachers, by placing the younger children and the primary studies by themselves under female teachers, and ihe older children under male teachers qualified to teach the more advanced studies, and how far this can be done in your town. 1. By supplying two teachers in the populous districts. 2. By employing some of the more advanced scholars to hear the recitation of the younger. 3. By bringing the older scholars of two or more adjoining districts to some central point under a male teacher, and leaving the younger children in their several districts under female teachers. 4. By a town school or schools for the older children of the town, for a part or the whole of the year.
XI. LENGTH OF SCHOOLS. Under this head you are requested to state how long a majority of the children of the school age attend a school during the year, and what can be done to prolong the public schools at least eight months.
XII. PRIVATE SCHOOLS. Please to state to what extent private schools now supply the means of education, and their influence on the public schools.
XIII. ALTERATIONS OF THE SCHOOL LAWS. Under this head you are requested to propose any specific alterations in the organization or adıninistration of the laws relating to public schools in the following or any other particulars.
1. The powers and dwies of towns. 2. The formation, powers and duties of School Districts. 3. The school committee of the town-the number, duties and compensation. 4. The district committee, how appointed, duties, &c. 5. School houses, location, building and furnishing, 6. Teachers-qualification, and examination.
7. Length of school-how long the district should keep a public school open in winter and in summer.
8. T'he attendance of children under sixteen years of age, and especially of those engaged in factories.
9. Distribution of the public money-on what principle, and conditions. 10. State superintendence-how far, and in what way it can be best extended.
You are further requested to invite teachers and others practically acquainted with the subject, or interested in the more extended usefulness of the common schools, to communicate their views to me at any time. It is my wish to base the report, which I am expected to make to the Legislature, not only on my own observations, but the suggestions and plans of the wise and experienced in every part of the State.
I am, very respectfully,
Stale Agent of Public Schools. Providence, January, 1844,