Page images
PDF
EPUB

“shall be of good moral character, temperate, and otherwise well qualified,” and the act of 1842 made it obligatory upon the committee “to ascertain by their personal examination, or that of a commit. tee appointed by them, the qualification and capacity for the government of schools of all persons employed as teachers;" and required every teacher to obtain a certificate of qualification before opening his or her school.

The present school law re-enacts substantially the above provisions, making it necessary for every person employed to teach as principal or assistant in any school, supported in part or entirely by public money, to be able to exhibit a certificate of qualification signed either

1. By the chairman of the school committee, in case the examination is conducted by the whole board; or

2. By the sub-committee, in case one or more of the committee are appointed for this purpose; or

3. By one of the county inspectors, appointed by the Commissioner of Public Schools.

A certificate signed by the chairman or the sub-committee, of the school committee of a town, is valid for one year from the date thereof, in said town; if signed by a county inspector, it is valid for two years from the date in any town in the county; and if signed by the Commissioner of Public Schools, it is valid for three years in any town in the State, unless the same is annulled.

Neither of the above authorities can sign any certificate unless the person named in the same shall have produced evidence of good moral character, and have been found on examination or from experience qualified to govern a school, and teach the branches specified in the proviso of section XX.

Text Books. By section III, 16, it is made the duty of the Commissioner of Public Schools to secure as far as practicable a uniformity of text books in all the schools of the same town. With the prompt and vigorous co-operation of the school committee, this most desirable object can be accomplished in the course of this winter, without dissturbing the course of instruction in the schools, and without anyexpense to those who send children to school, beyond the amount they would otherwise incur. As a preliminary step it will be necessary for the school committee to ascertain accurately, the whole number of scholars in the several studies taught in each school of the town, and the name and number of each text book used in each study. As soon as these facts can be ascertained, the proper course of action to be pursued in each town can be determined on. And until this is done, teachers and parents should be requested not to introduce any new book into the schools.

County Inspectors. Under the provisions of Section III, 1 8, of the “ Act respecting Publie Schools," the following persons have been appointed Inspectors of Public Schools for the counties wherein they respectively reside ; and in the absence of any further instructions from this department they are hereby authorized to exercise the powers specified in the above section ; and in their examination of teachers they will be governed by the provisions of section XX of the act above cited. For PROVIDENCE County-Thomas C. Hartshorn, Providence.

Amos Perry, Providence.
Joseph T. Sisson, Pawtucket,
George C. Wilson, Manville.
John Boyden, Jr., Woonsocket.
D. P. Harriman, Pascoag.
0. F. Otis, Chepatchet.
Jesse S. Tourtellot, Chepatchet.
Charles P. Grosvenor, Smithville.

Sylvester Patterson; Clayville.
For Kent County-Elisha L. Baggs, West-Greenwich.

B. H. Horton, Washington village

William D. Brayton, Apponaug.
For WASHINGTON County-Thomas H. Vail, Westerly.

William S. Baker, Kingston.
Nathan K. Lewis, Locustville.

John H. Rouse, Wickford,
For NEWPORT COUNTY-Joseph Smith, Newport.

John M. Keith, Portsmouth.

Charles Almy, Tiverton Four Corners. For Bristol County_Thomas Shepard, Bristol.

School Register. The law requires of every teacher in any public school, to keep a register of the school in certain particulars, for the purpose of ascertaining the average and aggregate attendance of children at school, as the basis on which the apportionment of the public money to the several school districts shall be made. To facilitate the work of the teacher, and to secure uniformity in the different schools of the same town, a school register will soon be prepared embracing all the particulars specified in section XXI of the law.

HENRY BARNARD,

Commissioner of Public Schools. Providence, December, 8th, 1845.

, ,

LYCEUM-LECTURES-LIBRARIES. Under this general head we shall be happy to insert such notices and articles relating to this class of educational institutions, as shall help to make their objects more known, and lead to their more general introduction into the large villages of the State We look upon the Lyceum, in its diversified forms of organization and action, as among the most important means which can be adopted to awaken an active and intelligent public interest in the whole subject of popular education. We take this occasion to remind those gentlemen in Barrington, Pawtuxet, Wickford, East Greenwich, Valley Falls, Lonsdale, Lime Rock, Manville, Smithville, Chepachet, Pascoag, and other large villages, with whom we have had some communication in reference to a course of popular lectures during the winter, that as soon as they inform us that the conditions on their part are complied with, an introductory lecture shall be given, and shall be followed by a lecture every week, or once in two weeks, on some subject of a literary or scientific character, or of general interest, not connected with sectarianism, or politics. The conditions were :

1. That there shall be some kind of an organization, cr committee, thr gh which the necessary arrangem

nts can be made and carried out. 2. That a commodious church, lecture room, or hall, well lighted and warmed, shall be provided for the meeting.

3. That funds shall be provided by subscription, or otherwise, to defray the travelling expenses of the lecturers; and that this be done so as to exclude no person on account of inability or indisposition to pay, who would like to attend and who would be profited by the leciures. From an estimate which has been made in reference to villages situated in different directions, and different distances from Providence, it was calculated that the average expense for a lecturer would be three dollars. Provided their expenses are paid, more than twenty of the literary and professional gentlemen of the State have engaged to take part in the proposed course of Lyceum Lectures

Having been called upon to deliver the introductory lecture before the Westerly Lyceum, a few weeks since, we obtained a copy of the constitution, which we publish in this place as suggesting a good plan for similar associations in other villages.

WESTERLY LYCEUM.
Constitution of the Lyccum of Westerly and riciniiy.
ARTICLE 1. This association shall be called “ The Westerly Lyceum.

Art. 2. The object of this association shall be the dissemination of useful knowledge, by means of an annual course of lectures to be delivered weekly during the winter months, or at such other seasons as may be appointed by the

Lyceum; all topics having a sectarian or partizan character in religion or politics being excluded from the course.

Art. 3. The officers of this association shall be a President, Secretary, Treas. urer, and eight counsellors, who together shall constitute a Board of Managers.

Art. 4. It shall be the duty of the President to preside in all the meetings of the Lyceum, and of the Board of Managers; and in his absence the first counsellor in order, who may be present, shall take his place.

It shall be the duty of the Secretary to keep the minutes of the Lyceum, and of the Board of Managers, and to conduct any correspondence which the Lyceum or the Board of Managers shall direct; and also, to give written orders upon the Treasurer for the appropriation of money, subject to the direction of the Board of Managers.

It shall be the duty of the Treasurer to collect and keep the moneys of the association, and to disburse them, subject to the order of the Secretary, and at the annual meeting for the transaction of business, he shall report to the Lyceum his account.

It shall be the duty of the Board of Managers to make minor regulations for the conduct of the meetings, to approve the subjects for any course of lectures, and to procure lecturers; and public notification of their arrangements for any course shall be given by them before its commencement. They shall also appropriate the moneys of the Lyceum, in defraying its current and ordinary expenses, and in the hire of lecturers; and any balance which may remain in the hands of the treasurer, after the annual course of lectures shall have been concluded, shall be expended by them in the purchase of books for a Lyceum Library. They shall also appoint a librarian, in some convenient situation, who shall take charge of the books of the Lyceum, and circulate them amongst its members according to such rules as the Board shall prescribe.

Art. 5. There shall be a meeting of the Lyceum on the last Thursday in August, annually, for the choice of officers and the transaction of any business ; and special meetings may be holden at any other time when the Board of Man. agers, or when any ten members, after one week's previous notice, shall call them.

ARE. 6. Any person may become a member of this Lyceum, for the term of one year from its annual meeting, by paying such sum as he may please, not less than 25 cents, to the Treasurer; and he may thereupon receive a certificate of membership. Art. 7. This constitution may be changed at any meeting of the Lyceum.

OFFICERS AND MANAGERS.

THOMAS H. VAIL, PRESIDENT. J. J. Edwards, Secretary. Francis Sheffield, Treasurer. Edward T. Hiscox, 1st Counsellor. Jas. D. Moore, 2d do. 0. P. Tuckerman, 3d do. Alexander Campbell, 4th do. Orsmer M. Stillman, 5th do. Nathan F. Dixon, 6th do. Chas. Perry, 7th do. Horace Babcock, 8th do.

PROGRESS OF EDUCATION. Under this general head we propose to keep our readers advised of what is doing in other states and countries in the great field of popular education, and especially in reference to common or public schools.

VERMONT Extract from Governor Slade's Message to the Legislature, Oct. 11, 1845. “The present has been truly denominated an age of progress. The human mind is vigorously seizing, and carrying out to practical results the momentous truths whicii respect the relations of men to each other, and the appropriate means of accomplishing the purpose of human society and government. At the foundation of this vast inovement lies the great work of Education-the work of developing, and giving a right direction to mental and moral power. And if human government is to be regarded as an institution designed to perfect the pur.

[ocr errors]

poses of society, and improve the condition of man upon earth, it needs no labored argument to show that education, thus defined, is among the highest duties of those entrusted with its administration.

Nor should it be forgotten that there are rights correlative to this duty. Every child in the State has a right to be educated—a right as essentially reciprocal to the claim of the State to allegiance, as is the right to protection. The ques. tion whether the children of a State shali be educated, is no more a question of mere expediency, than is the question whether the people have a right to protection from foreign aggression, and domestic violence. Indeed, protection from the effects of ignorance and vice is, itself, protection, in the highest sense, from all the dangers which can arise within the limits of a State. Would we have obedience to law ? Let the children be taught, in the common school, as well as at the domestic fireside, the duty of self-control, and of reverence for the law of eternal rectitude writien in the word of God: while the development, in just and harmonious proportions, of their whole mind, shall give them at once, à conscious sense of the worth of mind, and an intelligent conviction of the great purposes it is fitted to accomplish.

All the children in Vermont-especially the children of the poor-are in the attitude of just claimants, in respect to education, upon the fostering bounty, and guardian care of the State. And what has Vermont done to satisfy this claim ? We have indeed, declared, by law, that “each organized town shall keep and support one or more schools, provided with competent teachers ;'' that the iowns shall be divided into school districts; that certain district officers shall be appointed ; that taxes shall be assessed and collected to build school houses and support schools ; and that, to the income arising from these taxes there shall be added, for the current use of schools, the annually accruing interest of the surplus revenue of the United States deposited within this state. And here, with ihe exception of making provision for certain returns of school statistics, we have left the matter. If school houses are built, we have taken no care whatever for their proper location or construction; and if teachers are employed, we have done nothing in regard to the all-important matter of their qualifications, aside from the barren enactment that they shall “ be competent." What shall constitute competency, or who shall judge of it, are matters entirely overlooked in our legislation. The result is an admitted and lamentable de. ficiency in the qualifications of teachers; great and manifest defects in the modes of instruction, and confusion and want of uniformity in regard to the books used for that purpose; while a large proportion of our school houses are located in highways, with little regard to comfort or fitness in their internal structure, and as little to taste and beauty, and convenience in the grounds connected with them; if, indeed, any grounds, but those of highways, are thus connected. And yet what an amount of money is annually expended for use of schools. To say nothing of the amount expended in the construction of school housesof which we have no means of forming an estimate-let us look at the expenditure for teaching

From the statistics returned to me last year, from 159 out of 240 towns in the State, I drew the conclusion in my report to the General Assembly, that there was paid to teachers in the whole Slale, exclusive of teachers of select schools —from which there were no returns—the sum of $120,000 annually. No one can soberly consider this subject, without feeling painfully impressed with a conviction of the utter waste of a very great portion of this large sum. It is not extravagant to say, that its power for good might have been doubled, if it had been expended under a system of supervision which should have carried into schools, teachers fully competent, and modes of instruction founded upon the true philosophy of mind, and a practical acquaintance with the means best adapted to its true and proper education. We do not so much need, at the pres

nt moment, additional pecuniary means, as we do a system adapted to give efficacy to those already possessed-a system which shall give a right direction to effort, and make it effectual to the proper education of the children of the State. The whole, so far as the aid of legislation may be properly invoked, is comprehended in the pregnant words--Supervision-Responsibility. We have provided, indeed, for the organization of districts, and the employment of teach

« PreviousContinue »