Page images

time the latter look up to the former with envious emotions. They feel that injus. tice is done them. They either shrink under it, and relax their exertions, or resolve to rise above their imagined superiors, and as a means of doing so, redouble their efforts. In this case the whole man is harmoniously developed.' The physical and intellectual energies are strengthened and quickened. After two or three gen. erations, at farthest, their posterity will have changed conditions. The history of the past corroborates the truth of these remarks. Instances might be cited were it not in vidious. This is the tendency of creating mischievous distinctions in youth. Educate the sons of the rich and poor together in the common school, and they become permanent friends, and mutually assist each other through life.

COMPENSATION OF TEACHERS. The average wages paid qualified male teachers in the state is $11 98 per month, and females $5 24, exclusive of board. The highest average wages per month in any town is $30 24 to male teachers, and $21 37 to females, exclusive of board.

For such compensation it is not reasonable to expect that a high degree of literary attainment coupled with professional skill would be called into service. The wages and qualifications of teachers must be proportional. The payment of high salaries to inferior teachers will not insure good schools. The tendency, however, of pay. ing higher wages will be to direct the attention of a greater number of persons to the profession of teaching. A competition will thus be created, and soon higher literary attainments and greater professional skill will be brought into the service.

Neither will the payment of moderate or low salaries to good teachers necessarily produce poor schools. It will not, however, long secure the services of good teachers. As is the demand so will be the supply. If a reasonable compensation is offered for the services of good teachers, young ladies and gentlemen of the first order of talent will attain the requisite qualifications and cheerfully tax their best capabilities in the interesting though arduous duties of this profession. He who can teach a good school can engage with proportionate success in other pursuits. If he is not reasonably compensated for teaching, he will seek a more lucrative employment. It is the opinion of some that a second or third order of intellect is all ihat is desirable to constitute a successful common school teacher. This is evidently erroneous. It may be all that the present compersation will long retain in the service. But it is not all that its importance claims. As is the teacher so will be the school. And as are our common schools so will be our future legislators and statesmen.


There is a great variety of school books in use in the schools of nearly every township in the state. This variety causes an unnecesary expense to parents; is a perplexiiy to teachers, preventing, as it does, a proper classification of scholars ; and is, hence, an impediment in the improvement of our common schools, which should be removed as early as practicable.

It is not particularly important that the same series of books be used throughout the state. It would be well, however, for all the schools of a township to use a uniform series of books; and when practicable, for the schools of a county to do so.


We have district and township libraries. In the former, the district owns a library which circulates exclusively in the district. In the latter, the township owns a library, from which each district is entitled to draw books quarterly. There are in the sta e, according to the returns, 115 district libraries, containing 8,460 volumes. There are also 293 township libraries, containing 24,905 volumes, The township libraries contain more than seven times as many volumes as the district libraries. According to the reports, these libraries are generally well selected, and in many cases, are eminently useful.

The following is an extract from ihe report of the board of school inspectors for Cambria, Hillsdale county:

“ The character of our township library, so far as our information extends, is unexceptionable, containing nothing of a sectarian character, or of an immoral tendency. The circulation, though not as extensive as could be wished, nor as it would be under a strict performance of duties by the directors of districts, is nevertheless, fair. In some parts of the township, the circulation is very general, and its influence upon the morals of the inhabitants plainly perceptible, Juvenile readers manifest a great attachment to many books contained in the library, and the many hours heretofore spent in idleness and sports, are now devoted to the acquisition of knowledge; and their progress in the art of reading, is in many instances rapid. In those of maturer years and more expanded views, political discussions and neighborhood slanders give way, in a great measure, during the long winter evenings, to the perusal of works of a higher character in the midst of the family circle."


In some of the older counties of the state, there are many very creditable schoolhouses. In the counties more recently settled, and to a considerable extent throughout the state, there are many poor and incommodious houses. There is, however, a desire, and a determination expressed in many cases, to supply their places with better ones. The place where nineteen-twentieths of our youth receive their entire scholastic instruction, should not be overlooked. School-houses are important auxiliaries in the great work of education. If they are unpleasantly located, of mean architecture, and incommodiously constructed, if they are suffered to become and remain filthy; if they are uncomfortably warmed, and their vital parts are literally, whittled out; in short, if they more resemble' hovels than "temples of science," their tendency will be to lower in the scale of being, to brutalize the youth who resort to them for purposes of instruction.

On the other hand, if they are pleasantly located, comfortably constructed, and inviting in their appearance, within and without, their tendency will be to clerate the minds and hearts of both teachers and pupils.

If there is one house in the district more pleasantly located, more comfortably constructed, better warmed, more inviting in iis general appearance, and more elevating in its influence than any other, that house should unquestionably be the district school-house.

TEACHERS' ASSOCIATIONS AND EDUCATIONAL SOCIETIES. There is probably no class of men who can so much improve themselves, and increase their usefulness, by forming associations for mutual improvement as school teachers. Such associations have, within a few years, been extensively formed in different portions of the Union, and especially in New York and New England. Their tendercy uniformly has been to promote a healthy, social feeling among teachers; to magnify, in their own estimation, the great work of educating our country's youth; to increase their attachment thereto, and better to prepare them for the successful discharge of their duty as educators. By addresses, reports and discussions each has been enabled to avail himself of the experience of others; and thus all have had an opportunity of improving themselves in the art of teaching.

Should a call be given for the organization of a College of Teachers in the early part of the ensuing summer, ) am fully satisfied it would be promptly responded to from every part of the state. Professors in the University, principals of branches, and teachers of common schools, would unitedly engage in so noble an enterprise.


Such a periodical is deemed an indispensable auxiliary to the work of common school education in New York and Massachusetts, and other states; and it seems to me to be equally important in Michigan. At present we have no efficient means of disseminating information on the subject of common schools.

FEMALE INFLUENCE. Females are the natural guardians of children. Hence the fitness of the general custom of employing female teachers to take the charge of summer schools, where small children chiefly attend. In visiting schools of small children taught by gentlemen, I have frequently been reminded of the condition of young children in the families of widowers. Indeed, in visiting the schools of many young ladies, I have been reminded of widowers' families, in which the children were entrusted exclusively to the care of inexperienced domestics. Wheo children are transferred from the family, to the neighborhood or village nursery, would it not be wisdom to continue the exercise of maternal supervision over them? The eye of the vigilant mother is ever quick to discover the wants of ch Idhood, and her kind heart prompts her to supply those wants. In many districts the children of poor parents remain at home because their clothes need some attention which it is not convenient for the

family to bestow. In such cases, should a committee of mothers call upon them to supply their little wants, and invite them to attend the school, whai joy would spring up in their hearts. He that gives bread to u starving child, does ihe work of a Christian, but whoever iinparts the bread of intellectual life to a famishing mind, does an angel's work, and will receive his reward. Who in this world can so appropriately render this interesting service as “man's guardian angel ?" Benevolent females are usually modest and unassuming. If the proper authorities in tuwns and districts will invite their co-operation they will cheerfully engage in this good work.

In this connection Mr. Mayhew quotes the following resolution, adopted by the gentlemen at a public meeting held in connection with a Teachers’ Institute of Oneida County, New York.

" Resolved, That we will forward the cause of common schools, by inviting the ladies of districts to which we severally belong, as we may have opportunity to take such action in the common schools of such districts as may seem to us that they are peculiarly fitted to perform ; and such as we regard as properly belong to their own sphere in the social system.”

This was followed by another resolution, proposed and adopted by the ladies.

Resolved, That if the men, whom we recognize as by the laws of God and man, our directors, and to whose superior wisdom we naturally look for guidance, shall call us into the field of active labor in common schools, that we will obey the call with alacrity, and to the best of our abilities, fulfill such tasks as they may judge to be suitable for iis to undertake.”

Both of these resolutions were ably supported by Mrs. Emma Willard, of Troy, who was present. We hope soon to publish an address by this lady, on the “ Relations of Females to the Education of the People.

OHIO. The first act under which a system of common schools was organized in Ohio, was passed February 5, 1825. In 1827, 1829, 1830, 1831, 1834, 1836 and 1838, the system was the subject of legislation. The act of the last date was distinguished by the creation, for the first time, of the distinct office of Common School Superintendent. During the continuance of this office, the common schools advanced in interest and usefulness, with a rapidity hitherto unparalleled. By an act of March 23, 1840, the duties required of the State Superintendent were devolved on the Secretary of State; whose duty it now is to collect information generally in relation to the common schools in Ohio, and especially to report the condition and value of all school lands with the amount of the different school funds due to each township from lands or interest. We are indebted to Hon. Samuel Galloway, the present Secretary of State, for a copy of the following document, from which we shall make several extracts of general interest.


SCHOOLS FOR 1845, This document opens with the acknowledgment that the state of education in Ohio, is not complimentary to its dignity and reputation. Our position, in this respect, is so unenviable and inferior, compared with our capabilities, the wants of our people, and the preeminence of some of our sister states, that an accurate portrait must be unattractive, and humiliating to the pride of all who boast of it as the place of their nativity or adoption.”

STATISTICS. Whole number of school districts, 5,661; fractional, 797. Number of common schools, 5,385; number of teachers—male, 3,224, female, 2,095; number of scholars enrolled-male, 10,794, female, 8,520; number of scholars in average daily attendance-male, 49,166, female, 35,250; amount of wages paid to teachers from public funds—male $130,737 88 9, females, $33,178 29 7; amount paid teachers from other sources-males, $28,054 83 females, $12,439 06 5; nimber of months common schools have been taught by males, 10,453, by females, 6,464; number of school-houses built, 194; cost of school-houses and repairs, $42,120 89 5; amount of building fund by tax, $37,360 36 2; tax from county duplicate, $126,270 67 2.

How imperfect these statistics are, and how far below reality, may be ascer. tained by comparing them with the lowest estimate from the only attainable data. There are, in the state, by actual enumeration, 712,152 youth between the age of four and twenty-one. Not less than 9,000 districts, 12,000 teachers, and 175,000 scholars in average daily attendance. 250 school-houses have been built, and $60,000 expended in their erection, and for general repairs.


It is impossible even to conjecture what is the number or condition of the school-houses in Ohio: but it is more than probable that a faithful description would embrace a grotesque scenery of broken benches, rocking slabs, broken sashes, absent panes, gaping walls, yawning roofs, and floors bowing with infirmity, forcibly suggesting Falstaff's account of his regiment: “No eye hath seen such scare-crows. There's but a shirt and a half in all my company, and the half shirt is two napkins tacked together, and thrown over the shoulders like a herald's coat without sleeves."

EDUCATION MORE NEGLECTED THAN ANY OTHER STATE INTEREST. Our shameful delinquency could be better tolerated if it were permitted in any, even the most unimportant branch of state affairs; then the wretchedness of school operations could claim a partnership in the same mantle which shrouded other measures, and we would at least possess that insensibility which arises from familiarity with the signs and feelings of deterioration ; but this vital interest is conspicuous in the loneliness of its destitution. Although education holds an acknowledged superiority, by the professions of our people, and, in intrinsic merit, is unrivaled by any competitor, yet, it has been exiled from an honorable companionship in the family of state interests, and has been thrown out like a poor, despised foundling, half clad and half fed, to beg for protection. We have claimed to regard it as a paramount topic, and yet our admiring eye has been caught by some trilling interest of party or policy, as in the case of the astronomer, "who, while looking at the sun, saw an animal of huge limbs and immense bulk rushing up on one side, and soon overshadowing and darkening its whole surface, which proved to be only a fly crossing the upper lens of his telescope.”


The auspicious omens which appear and urge us onward, are, that in the cities of Cincinnati, Cleveland, and other important points, common schools, under the kind influence of philanthropy and an enlightened public spirit, are exhibiting those rich fruits which alike show the practicability of the scheme, and excite others to a participation in similar benefits; teachers' institutes and associations are springing up in many sections, enlisting the zeal and activity of men of all grades and professions ; greater success in elections favorable to a school tax; more enthusiasm exhibited for the advancement of the cause by county superintendents, as will appear in the fuller and more interesting communications trans. mitted this year, abstracts of which are given in an appendix to this report; and more satisfactory statistics than in any previous year since 1839.


There has been distributed in the year 1845, by the apportionment of the Auditor, $285,585 78 4, composed of the following items: $200,000, state common school fund; $11,854 72 8, interest and rents on Virginia military school fund; $7,150 06 interest, on United States military school fund; $9,519 51, interest on Connecticut Western Reserve school fund ; $57,015 38 6, interest on section sixteen; $36 07, interest on Moravian school fund.

If the whole amount produced by these various sources had been equally distributed, it would have given between forty and fifty cents to each youth in the state between four and twenty-one, and more than iwice that amount to those who actually avail themselves of these privileges. In addition to the general appropriation, it is also provided in section two of the same law which creates the common school fund, that “there shall be annually levied and assessed, upon the ad valorem amount of the general list of taxable property in the state, two mills on the dollar." By an amendatory act passed March 16, 1839, it is provided, “that the county commissioners of any county, at their discretion, may reduce the school tax to be levied and collected in their respective counties, as provided for in the second section of the act to which this is an amendment, to any sum not less than one mill on the dollar.” The later act was unpropitious, as it caused a withdrawment of patronage from our educational interests, in their infancy, when struggling for life, they needed all the kindness and nourishment which parental love couli supply. But for the amendment, there would have been realized this year, from the tax specified, the sum of $288,320 93, an amount which, if combined with the nearly equal sum distributed by the state, would have yielded at least $1 50 to each of those who attend common schools, and consummated the benevolent intention expressed in the law, by furnishing not less " than six months good schooling” to the youth of every district. In other states, the provision is embodied in their school laws, requiring the counties to raise an amount equal to, if not greater than the amount given by general distribution.

The inquiry may here be suggested, is it equitable, as the apportionment is equal and for the common welfare, that some counties should meet that bounty with a less contribution than others? Were the education of the youth in each county an interest, in its immediate and ultimate consequences, bounded by geographical lines, then the use or misimprovement yf a general fund, would be a matter exclusively of their own concernment. As, however, the connexion is so intimate and mutual, that, “ if one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it,” ought not each to be taxed proportionably to its ability, and benefits received ? One or two examples may be cited in exemplification of these remarks.

Pickaway county returns as the annount assessed, $2,876 46 ; but a tax of two mills on the amount of her taxable property, $2,880,349, ought to yield $5,750 69, more than twice the amount rendered. Stark county has also assessed but one mill on the dollar, and Warren about the same, whilst Morgan, Pike and other counties, have fulfilled the provisions of the original law. is not the inequality produced by the amendment adverse to the common weal, and, in an enterprise 60 general and commanding, as all share equally in the blessings, ought they not to bear equally the burthens ?

« PreviousContinue »