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TOPICS OF LECTURES ON EDUCATION. The advantages, individual, social and civil, of the more complete and practical education of every child in the state, and the necessary connection of ignorance or misdirected education with insanity, pauperism, vice and crime.
The peculiar advantages enjoyed by Rhode Island for an efficient and complete system of public instruction.
Prevailing defects in the public schools, and desirable improvements which can be made in their management, and instruction under the school laws as they now are.
Modifications in the organization, and administration of any general system of school laws to adapt it to the peculiar circumstances of a compact or sparse, a commercial, manufacturing or agricultural population.
The best modes of securing the regular and punctual attendance at school, of all the children of a district or town, and of enlisting the more active co-operation of parents in this and other objects connected with their education.
The evils resulting from the location, construction and internal arrangements of school-houses as they now are, and the best plans for improving them and for building new.
The disadvantages of small or poor districts, and the best way of assisting them so as to equalize the opportunities of common education in the same town.
The too prevalent and ruinous neglect of the primary branches, and of the younger children, and the importance of furnishing the latter, in every instance, with a slate and pencil to use in drawing or writing, or in any innocent way to amuse and improve themselves when not otherwise employed.
The importance of summer schools or of primary schools to be kept through the warm months for young children exclusively.
The prevailing errors in the classification of common schools, and the methods of teaching spelling, reading, penmanship, arithmetic, grammar, geography and composition, with the remedies for the same.
The moral and practical uses of music and drawing, as branches of education in every grade of schools.
The evils of a great diversity and inadequate supply of books in the same branches of study.
The evils of a constant change of teachers from male to female, and the importance of giving permanent employment to well qualified teachers of both sexes in the same school.
The various useful applications of the black board, slate, outline maps, and other cheap and simple apparatus, and the importance of resorting more to visi. ble illustrations in instruction.
Plans for an interchange of specimens of penmanship, maps and other drawings, and of mineralogical, geological, and botanical collections between schools of the same, and of other towns.
The establishment of district libraries, or of a town library, divided up into as many cases as there are districts or neighborhoods, to be passed in succession through each, for the older children of the schools, and the adults generally of the district or town.
The purchase of periodicals and books on education, and especially on the theory and practice of teaching, for teachers.
The necessity of providing in every system of public schools, for the professional education of teachers by the establishment of Teacher's Classes, and Normal Schools.
The formation of associations of teachers for mutual improvement, and the visitation of each other's schools, accompanied by a few of their best scholars.
The importance of parents visiting the schools, and the practicability of organizing an association of the mothers of a district or town, for this and other objects connected with the common school.
Instruction on real objects, and occasional excursions of a school with the teacher, to examine interesting objects in the neighborhood, such as a factory. an ingenious work of art, scenery, historical monuments, &c.
The assembling of all the children with their teachers and parents, once a year or oftener, for an examination, exhibition, or at least appropriate addresses and other exercises.
ASSOCIATIONS FOR THE IMPROVEMENT OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
WASHINGTON COUNTY ASSOCIATION.
Washington County, under the lead of several of her most intelligent and public spirited citizens, was the first to move in the form of associated action on the subject. The following circular gives an account of the organization and early movements of the Association.
To the Friends of Public Schools in Washington County. A meeting of the friends of Public Schools in Washington County, was held on the 7th of September, at the Court House in Kingston, in pursuance of previous notice, of which Wilkins Updike was made Chairman, and Sylvester G. Sherman, Secretary.
After a brief explanation from Mr. Barnard, of the present state of public schools in the county, and of the necessity of awakening a more earnest, enlightened and permanent public interest in their behalf, a Committee consisting of Elisha R. Potier, Thomas Vernon, Daniel Avery, John D. Williams, and Henry Barnard, were appointed to prepare a plan of an associated effort, in which parents, teachers, school committees, and the friends of education generally, in the several towns of the county, might co-operate in the work of making the public schools immediately and permanently better. On the recommendation of this committee, the following Constitution was adopted by the meeting:
Article 1. This Association shall be styled the “Washington County Association for the Improvement of Public Schools."
Art. 2. The objects of this Association shall be to awaken a more general and permanent interest in Public Schools and to diffuse information respecting them and popular education generally, by means of publlc lectures and discussions, and the circulation of books, periodicals, and documents on the subject.
Art. 3. The officers of this Association shall be a President, seven Vice Presidents, (one for each town in the county,) and a Secretary, who shall hold their respective offices till the next Annual Meeting succeeding the time of their appointment, or until their successors shall be appointed.
Art. 4. The Annual Meeting shall be held in the month of August of each year, at Kingston, on such day as shall be designated by the officers of the Association.
Art. 5. Any inhabitant of the county may become a member by subscribing this Constitution and paying to the Treasurer the sum of fifiy cents.
Art. 6. This Constitution may be amended by a majority of the members present at any Annual Meeting.
The choice of officers provided for in the above Constitution was postponed to an adjourned meeting, to be held in the Court House in Kingston, at 6 o'clock of the evening of Wednesday, the 6th of November, and in the mean time, the undersigned were constituted a committee to call the attention of the friends of public schools to the subject, and to make arrangements for holding a series of public meetings in each town in the county, where addresses on the various topics connected with the present condition and improvement of the schools may be delivered.
In pursuance of the objects of their appointment, the committee have the pleasure to announce to the friends of improvement in our public schools, that they have already made such arrangements ihat they are able to promise one or more addresses on topics connected with our schools and school system, at the places named below, or at such other places as the friends of education in the several towns may prefer, and make arrangements for, in the course of this or the following month.
South Kingstown-Kingston Hill, Peacedale, Mumford's Mills, Tower Hill, District No. 8, Point Judith, Moresfield, Perryville.
North Kingstown-Wickford, Davis' School-house, Allen's Corners. Exeter–Hall's School-house, Four Corners, Reynold's Factory, Meeting-house Hill.
Richmond-Brands' Iron Works, Carolina Mills, Knowles' Mills. Hopkinton-City, Seventh Day Meeting-house. Westerly-Bridge, Lottery. Charlestown—Cross Mills, Baptist Meeting-house, School-house near Joshua Card's.
Persons interested in the objects of the proposed meetings in any of the townsin the county, are respectfully requested to confer personally or by writing with Elisha R. Potter or Wilkins Updike, Kingston, as to the time and place which may be most convenient.
The committee are also happy to say, that one hundred copies of a very valuable work, entitled the School and the Schoolmaster, and one hundred copies each of the Massachusetts Common School Journal, and of the New York District School Journal, for the current year, the former commencing in January last, and the latter in April last, have been placed at their disposal by the State Agent of Public Schools, in such a manner that they are able io present to every one who shall become a member of this Association, a copy of one of the above works, and to furnish any member who will pay the additional sum of fifty cents, a copy of the other two works. Any inhabitant of the county, who will signify his wish to become a member of the Association, and transmit to E. R. Potter or Wilkins Updike, fifty cents, will be furnished with a copy of one of the above works, so long as any of them remain undisposed of. Specimens of each may be seen at the store of T.S. Taylor, Kingston.
The committee are further authorized to state, that any town in this county, where the friends of public schools will raise the sum of ten dollars, will be furnished with a library of at least twenty bound volumes, and the same number of pamphlets, embracing complete sets of the Massachusetts and Connecticut Common School Journals, (nine vols.,) and the most valuable books and documents which have been published in this country on the theory and practice of education, for the use of teachers, school committees, parents, and the friends of education generally.
In conclusion, the Comniittee would respectfully and earnestly invite ihe attention of every teacher, school committee, parent and friend of the State in Washing. ton County, to the importance of making a vigorous and united effort to provide the means of the more thorough and practical education of every child within our borders, and to co-eperate with those who have proposed the plan of association and measures herein briefly set forth, for awakening a more general interest, and diffusing more widely information on the subject. Let us on this subject forget all differences of opinion which divide and distract society on religious and political questions, and unite heart and hand in promoting that cause which holds every other good cause in its embrace.
ELISHA R. POTTER,
SYLVESTER G. SHERMAN.
WILKINS UPDIKE, President.
R. G. BURLINGAME,
TEACHERS' INSTITUTE OF WASHINGTON COUNTY.
CONSTITUTION. ARTICLE 1. This Society shall be called the “ Teacher's Institute of Washing. ton County:
Art. 2. Its object shall be to improve Public Schools, by frequent meetings of Teachers, to discuss the respective methods of each in government and manner of communicating instruction, -mutually to encourage each other in overcoming the various difficulties to be met with by all faithful Teachers,-to communicate information derived from experience or from other resources, and to secure addresses of a practical character.
Art. 3. The officers of this Institute shall be a President, Vice President and Secretary, who shall appoint the time and place of meetings, except when held by adjournment.
Art. 4. The Annual Meeting shall be held at Kingston, on the third Saturday of November, when officers shall be chosen, and shall execute their duties until others are elected.
Art. 5. Teachers and ex-Teachers may be admitted members of this Institute, at the discretion of the Secretary, by subscribing to this Constitution.
Art. 6. Any member shall have the privilege of taking notes of any remarks that may be made in the meetings.
Art. 7. This Constitution may be altered or amended, by a vote of two-thirds of the members present, at any regular meeting.
OFFICERS FOR 1844-45.
RHODE ISLAND INSTITUTE OF INSTRUCTION. The following Constitution was adopted at a public meeting of the friends of popular education from all parts of the State, held in Westminster Hall, Providence, January 24, 1845.
ARTICLE 1. This association shall be styled the RHODE ISLAND INSTITUTE OF INSTRUCTION, and shall have for its object the improvement of public schools, and other means of popular education in this State.
ARTICLE. 2. Any person residing in this State may become a member of the Institute by subscribing this Constitution, and contributing any sum towards defraying its incidental expenses.
ARTICLE 3. The officers of the Institute shall be a President, two or more Vice Presidents, a Recording Secretary, a Corresponding Secretary, a Treasurer, (with such powers and duties respectively as their several designations imply,) and Directors, who shall together constitute an Executive Committee.
ARTICLE 4, The Executive Committee shall carry into effect such measures as the Institute may direct; and for this purpose, and to promote the general object of the Institute, may appoint special committees, collect and disseminate information, call public meetings for lectures and discussions, circulate books, periodicals and pamphlets on the subject of schools, school systems and education generally, and perform such other acts as they may deem expedient, and make report of their doings to the Institute, at its annual meeting.
ARTICLE 5. A meeting of the Institute for the choice of officers shall be held annually, in the city of Providence, in the month of January, at such time and place as the executive committee may designate, in a notice published in one or more of the city papers; and meetings may be held at such other times and places as the executive committee may appoint.
ARTICLE 6. This constitution may be altered at any annual meeting by a majority of the members present, and any regulations not inconsistent with its provisions, may be adopted at any meeting.
OFFICERS FOR 1845.
JOHN KINGSBURY, President.
J. T. HARKNESS, Smithfield. JOSEPH T. Sisson, North Providence.
J. S. TOURTELLOTT, Glocester. J. B. TALLMAN, Cumberland.
Амоѕ РЕ Y, Providence. L. W. Ballou, Cumberland.
CALEB FARNUM, Providence. SAMUEL GREENE, Smithfield. The following Report, submitted to the meeting, in the State House, January 21, 1845, at which the Institute was formed, is published as part of the documentary history of the Rhode Island Institute of Instruction.
At the suggestion of Mr. Barnard, State Agent of Public Schools, a meeting of teachers and friends of education, was held
few weeks since in the City Council Chamber, for the purpose of considering the subject of a State Society for the promotion of Public School Education. "Mr. N. Bishop, Superintenderit of the Public Schools of Providence, was called to the chair; and after discussion by several individuals, it was voted: that Messrs. Kingsbury, Bishop, Perry, Day, and Stimson, be a committee, to take the subject into further consideration, and, if it be deemed expedient, to report at a future meeting. That Committee, having given the subject a considerable share of attention, beg leave to present the following
REPORT. Whatever doubt may exist in regard to the influence of popular education, in other countries, there can be none, in regard to the United States. Here it may be assumed as an axiom, that the people, the whole people, should be educated. Our institutions, civil, political, and religious, all imperatively demand it. How shall it be done? is the only question that admits of discussion. To this question only one rational answer can be given-chiefly by public or common schools.
Whatever influence may be exerted by ihe Press, by the College, and High Schools, in advancing education,—and we have no doubt but that influence is great and indispensable; it is not for a moment to be supposed, that these n.eans are sufficient io educate a whole people. History does not present a solitary example of a country or province, where education has been universal, without some instrumentality analagous to Common Schools.
Literature and Science may flourish, where only the wealthy fer are highly educated. It is possible that the few, by monopolizing the emoluments and privileges which superior knowledge confers, may, while the many are toiling in agriculture or mechanic arts, rise to higher atiainments, and cause Science and Literature to take deeper root and to bring forth mature fruits. Though such fruits might bring blessings with them, the genius of our Institutions requires rather the diffusion than ihe accumulation of knowledge. It was the boast of Henry IV. of France, that he would take care that every peasant should be in such a condition, as to have a fowl in his pot.” It should be the care of our coun try that every child should be cducated.
Our forefathers laid us under deep obligations, therefore, when they consecrated the Common School to the education of the people. Oughi we not deeply to regret that within our own State, that mission has not been fully accomplished. There are those among us who cannot read or write. Never should the friends of educa.