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from 1612 down to 1813, respecting the Free Schools, and the laws as they now are, together with the Annual Reports of the Board of Education, and the Secretary of the Board, from 1838 to 1814, and the Abstract of School Returns, and a selection from the Reports of School Committees of the several towns in Massachusetts for 1812-3.
In his annual reports to the Board of Education, collected in this volume, Mr. Mann has presented a more didactic exposition of the merits of the great cause of Education in Massachusetts, and some of the relations which that cause holds to the interests of civilization and humanity, than is given in his lectures. That part of the volume devoted to selections from the annual reports of school committees, presents the views of practical and educated men, in more than three hundred towns in a state where the free school system has been tried on the most liberal scale, and for the longest time.
A DIGEST OF THE COMMON SCHOOL SYSTEM OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK: together with the forms, instructions, and decisions of the Superintendent; an abstract of the various local provisions applicable to the several cities, &c.; and a sketch of the origin, progress, and present condition of the system. By S. S. Randall, General Deputy Superintendent of Common Schools. Albany: printed by C. Van Benthuysen & Co. 1814.
LAWS AND REPORTS RESPECTING THE COMMON SCHOOL SYSTEM OF New YORK IN 1814.
This volume embraces the Annual Report of the Superintendent of Common Schools, and the Annual Report of the several County Superintendents for 18-13-4, making a volume of over 600 pages, together with the Law as it now stands, with forms and instructions for its administration.
ANNUAL REPORTS OF STATE AND COUNTY SUPERINTENDENTS FOR 1815.
These three volumes present a complete view of the origin, progress and condition of the most thoroughly organized and administered system of public elementary instruction in the United States. The reports of the County Superintendents are full of practical suggestions as to improvements in the classification, instruction and government of schools.
REPORTS AND DOCUMENTS RELATING TO THE COMMON SCHOOL SYSTEM OF CONNECTICUT, by Henry Barnard, Secretary of the Board of Commissioners of Common Schools. Hartford : Case, Tiffany & Co.
This volume embraces all the official documents of the Board of School Commissioners and their Secretary, from 1838 to 1842, together with a sketch of the origin and progress of the Common School System of Connecticut, from the foundation of the State down to 1842. The Appendix to the Second Annual Report of the Secretary of the Board, contains an account of the school system of Europe,-in England, Scotland, Ireland, Holland, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland, -with copious extracts from the Reports of Cousin, Stowe, and Bache, which would make a document of at least 500 pages, in ordinary octavo form.
THE CONNECTICUT COMMON SCHOOL JOURNAL, edited by Henry Barnard, from August, 1835 to 1842. Four volumes.
THE COMMON SCHOOL JOURNAL, edited by Horace Mann, from November, 1835 to 1815. Six volumes.
The District SCHOOL JOURNAL FOR THE STATE OF New YORK, edited by Francis Dwight, for 1844 and 1845. Two volumes.
The Common School JOURNAL OF THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA, edited by John S. Hart, for 1844. One volume.
THE TEACHER'S ADVOCATE, edited by Edward Cooper, will be added as soon as the first volume is completed. One volume.
Access to the volumes above described, and to various pamphlets and documents relating to the organization and management of public schools, and to the general principles of education, can be had by applying to
Rev. John Boyden, Jr. Woonsocket.
George C. Wilson, Manville.
Nathan K. Lewis, Locustville.
Tiverton Four Corners.
PROGRESS OF EDUCATION. It is gratifying to see from the plain and decided manner in which defects in existing systems of public instruction and plans for their improvement, are presented in the annual messages of Governors to their respective legislatures, that this subject has at last arrested the attention of public men, and will fast draw around itself the warm regards of the whole people. Heretofore it has been the “ order of the day" to praise the virtue and intelligence of the people, to laud the condition of common schools as the source from which this virtue and intelligence flowed, and commend the subject in well turned periods, to the fostering care of the legislature, and there leave it. But the day of inquiry into the condition of the schools, and of more prompt and efficient action, has at last come. In our last Extra, we noticed the recommendations of Governor Slade, of Vermont, and the prompt action of the legislature in providing a system of thorough supervision. We have since received the Circular of Lieutenant Governor Eaton, who is State Superintendent of Common Schools, addressed to County and Town Superintendents, and Teachers, and from the manner in which the whole subject is treated by the public press of the state, we should argue most favorably for the new movement. We continue our notice of what doing in other states.
The people of Virginia owe a lasting debt of gratitude to Governor McDowell, for the urgent and eloquent manner in which he has in his annual communication to the legislature presented this great subject, till it would seem, from the action of the people in their several primary meetings, and of the convention recently held in Richmond, that the public mind is now prepared for a thorough revision of their system of public instruction. Mr. Jefferson, more than sixty years since, gave the outline of a system of public primary schools, which, if it had then been adopted, would have prevented the disgrace which is now felt like a wound, by every high-minded Virginian, of having
every twelve of her grown-up white population who can neither read or write."
In his message in 1843, Gov. McDowell thus presents the subject :
Having brought to the notice of the last legislature the subject of general education and of free schools, and recommended it to a consideration it did not receive; I should be faithless to one of my clearest and most honorable duties if I did not present it again, and again invoke for it the care, the thought, and the legislation to which it is entitled. Weighty as this subject confessedly is, and every one feels it to be, and knows it to be, with the sale, just and enlightened action of popular government, and with all the pursuits of rational and civilized man, and consecrated, too, as it has long been, by an inviolate provision of one of our permanent laws, it is nevertheless sadly neglected in our public councils, and year' after year is thrust aside as if it had no admitted place among real and practical things. It would seem as if the very provision which was made for its support years ago by doing something, had thereby intercepted the larger and more beneficent provision which is necessary to support and nourish it aright. Satisfied, as it would appear, that something had been done, the higher and bolder duty of doing more and more until nothing should remain to be done, has long been pretermitted, and successive legislatures have handed down the existing plan and provision of the law under paintul and accumulating proofs of their ruinous insufficiency. When it is considered that this plan of common education has been nearly thirty years in existence; that its whole machinery has become perfectly familiar to those who administer it, and whose duties of administration are enforced by penalties; that its minor defects have been corrected as perceived; that material alterations of structure have been introduced, and that every efficiency of which it is capable has been given to it by its controlling head, whose system, vigilance and fidelity, which makes him an honor to the government, have been so long and so laboriously devoted to the perfection of this scheme; when this is considered, and it is considered also that there is one in every twelve of our grown-up white population who can neither read nor write; that out of fifty-one thousand poor children for whom this scheme is designed, only twentyeight thousand have been taught any thing at all, and that these bave been taught an average period of but sixty days during the past year; when these things are considered, will it be said that the result is satisfactory? That it demonstrates a condition in this branch of public interest and in the means appropriated to sustain it, with which the legislature and the country ought to be contented ? If sixty days' tuition to one half of the “indigent” children of the state is the grand sult which our present system is able to accomplish after so many years of persevering efforts to enlarge and perfect its capacities, it is little more than a costly and delusive nullity which ought to be abolished, and another and better one established in its place. Supposing it entirely improbable that the legislature, partaking in all respects in the hopes and interests of the public, will regard it as a duty to continue a system which operates in such manifest subversion of both, they are earnestly invoked to enter at once upon the work of preparing a better, and of preparing it with the ultimate and comprehensive purpose of
extending the rudiments of a cheap, if not free education, to every child in the State.
After proposing a modification of the existing system, which is repeated in his message for this year, viz., to establish in each county, with the consent of a majority of its tax-payers, free schools for common education, the Governor goes on to remark:
By associating the people of the several counties, as it is proposed to do, responsibly and intimately with the government in support and administration of their own schools, not only will the general subject of education be kept alive at its proper and fountain head, but the actual education of every one, resting no longer upon the footing of a parental duty alone, will come to be claimed and contended for as a legal right. Should the legislature regard the plan suggested as worthy of any attempt on its part to elaborate it into a system, a principal recommendation of it is the ease with which it can be converted into one for free education, and it is earnestly hoped whatever the scale on which it may be thought best to begin, that nothing less wise, patriotic and perfect than this will be thought of for its final and crowning result. Let your system of primary education, which is supported by the funds and protected by the vigilance of all, be free to all; and it will be found at last not only to be the cheapest and the best, but the surest of any to extinguish that spirit of exclusiveness which the education of a part is certain to inspire, and to nourish amongst our people, from their earliest youth, all the sympathies of mutual interest and dependence. Let it be free, and the poorest and most desolate child in the State will have a dowry in your laws which nothing can wrest from his hands, and never will your own call upon him for service be so legitimate, never can you demand that he shall submit himself, for your sake, to pains and dangers, and death itself, with so perfect a right as when you have sought him out in his hours of helplessness, and ministered to his wants, and have put away from his mind one of the heaviest and bitterest afflictions which orphanage and poverty can bring.
In his message to the legislature now in session, Governor Mc Dowell presents the subject anew, with an array of facts and considerations which we are sure must carry conviction to every member of the legislature of the necessity of immediate and efficient action.
After pressing upon the legislature the importance of settling definitely the question, whether education is to be treated as a private affair, or as a great state interest, the Governor remarks as follows:
If the sounder judgment is entertained, that education is a public as well as private concern; that, unlike the acquirement of property, which can be pursued by each one for himself, without dependence upon others, its only permanent success depends upon the effectiveness of the co-operation with which it is con. ducted; that this co-operation can be more fitly settled by public authority than by casual and voluntary arrangement; and further, that education is too sacred an element in the well-being and safety of a State, governed like ours, to be left to the hazards of unorganized, individual combination; if this is its opinion, it follows, that the public aid which it recognizes as a legitimate aid in the case, should be extended to every grade of education, and every description of learners. The first rudiments of the language, and the highest attainments of the scholar, should be provided for as the objects to be accomplished. The provision which is recognized as due to all, should be sufficient for all, and in the case of primary instruction at least, it should be free to all. Nothing less than this will satisfy the obligation assumed, nor the wants to be supplied, and nothing greater could be effected for the honor, advancement, and renovation of the State. Once establish education upon this basis of public liberality and justice, and watch over and develope it afterwards in the fostering and determined spirit which esteems nothing to be done whilst any thing remains to do, and Virginia will soon throw from her soil the reproach and the pain of rearing upon it a body of children outnumbering the revolutionary soldiers who gave us the power to rear them as we pleased, and to whom, from year to year, not a moment of instruction is afforded by the State.
If the legislature can aree upon the preliminary principle that education is a state duty or a state trust, which ought to be provided for by law, it can have no difficulty in determining upon the point to which its fiduciary labors should be chiefly directed. A single glance at the statistics of this subject will show that the greatest want which we suffer is that of common education, and the greatest suflerers are of course that very mass of our people upon whom the State depends for its support and defence in every possible event, and who are therefore especially entitled to be spared from so undue a share of public misfortune. In the higher grades of education this want is far less seriously felt. The number of pupils at the university, colleges, academies, classical and grammar schools of this State, being soinctimes less than two per cent on our whole population, is greater, nevertheless, than is to be found in any of the States except those of New England, and is less than it is there only by an inconsiderable fraction ; a difference which is unquestionably owing to the greater facility and cheapness with which education can be had in the midst of a country and village population so much more crowded than our own. As an evidence of this, it is shown by the late census, that the eleven thousand and eighty-three students which belong to the grammar schools and academies of this State, are distributed among three hundred and eighty-two schools, being an average of twenty-nine to the school; while the forty-seven thousand seven hundred students of like kind in New England, are parcelled out among six hundred and thirty schools, or in the proportion, separately, of ninety-seven to cach school in Maine, eighty-five in New Hampshire, sixty-six in Massachusetts, and upwards of seventy in New England generally. Thus, more than four times the number of scholars are taught, at less than twice the number of schools; and consequently, at something like a proportionate reduction in the expenses of each particular one. In other words, we have an almost equal rateable number of our young men taught at our classical schools, but taught at a higher than equal rate of expense; a fact which shoirs incontestibly that the desire for this degree of education is as strong, if not stronger, here, than any where else in the Union, because submitting to greater inconvenience and expense in order to be gratified. It is, indeed, in this very spirit of our people for academical and collegiate education, and the great relative extent to which they have been able to acquire it, that we are to look for a main cause of that high intellectual character which this commonwealth has at all times enjoyed. She has never wanted for the active and cultivated mind which her public or professional depariments required; has never sustained, as to these, a reproachful comparison with the best of her sister communities; and may, in truth, have been the less able, on this very account, to realize the wretched inferiority of her common education, or the deplorable degree to which it was impairing her highest capabilities. Realizing it now, however, she would be the more wilfully and cruelly guilty, if she permitted the spirit and advantages of her people upon this subject to he crushed and denied any longer. Only consider that of the one hundred and sixty-six thousand persons in this State, who are of a suitable age to be taught, that is, between seven and a half and sixteen, forty-six thousand only are reported as receiving any kind of education, and if the twelve thousand and upwards of those who are credited to the colleges, academies, and classical schools be deducted, there will be left but thirty-four thousand who are going to common schools, and one hundred and twenty thousand who appear to be going to no school whatsoever!
Such a stale of things in the midst of a civilization like ours, and above all, in the very heart of a liberty and a government like ours, is absolutely appalling; and calls for redress with a power of entreaty, to which werds can add nothing. Let the fostering hand of the government be extended for this redress, and extended to those, in chief, who are most dependent and most in want. case, the first and controlling duty, as the facts presented demonstrate, is not to provide for the highest grades of scholarship, so much as its humblest elements; it is to remodel our system of common education to such extent that we can ofier the alphabet of knowledge to all who will receive it, and can rescue at once from the destiny of unlettered ignorance, the helpless and neglected thousands of our youth, upon whom, if nothing is done, it will be fixed beyond remedy and for
It cannot be that this patriotic duty will be declined and evaded any longer,