« PreviousContinue »
The attention of the legislature was called to the importance of establishing a reform school where vagrant and vicious boys and girls might be taken in charge and educated. At present, when a boy at school is found to be ungovernable he is dismissed, and thus the probabilities are that he will grow still worse. Such a school should be separated from the evil influences of city life, and the pupils should not only be instructed in the ordinary branches of an education, but they should be taught different trades, so that they would afterwards be enabled to lead honorable lives.
The 14th day of February was appointed as Arbor Day, and the county superintendents were instructed to see that the day was properly observed. The number of schools observing the day was 476, the number of pupils participating 13,468, and the number of trees planted was 5,353. Oaks, cedars, magnolias, hickories, and fruit trees were planted, and, in addition, many church premises and cemeteries were cleaned up.
NOTE.-We quote the following from a letter of a superintendent of schools n Florida: "We have about 200 pupils in the schools, with no State or county funds from which to obtain anything but advice and teachers' salaries, the school buildings and seats, which cost $6,000, being the gift of private citizens.”
From Special Report for 1888-89 of Superintendent Charles C. Stevenson.]
During the year the question arose whether Mormons were legally qualified to teach school. Superintendent Stevenson decided that inasmuch as the law declared that no certificate should be granted to any person who is not known to be a law-abiding citizen and of good moral character it was the duty of the county superintendent to reject any applicant who failed in the above particular, notwithstanding the fact that the applicant had passed a satisfactory examination; that all persons who indulged in practices prohibited by law or who belong to or aid, support, or assist in the support of or encourage any order, organization, or association that teaches such practices so prohibited by law, or who teach, counsel, or advise any person to belong to such a 1 order or organization, were not law-abiding citizens within the meaning of the law, and could not be allowed to teach in the public schools or draw public money."
"In the southern counties, commonly known as the Mormon counties, there is a decided opposition to the public school system manifested by members of the organization known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,' or Mormons.
"This sect, dominating the souls, minds, and actions of its devotees, has used and is still using its influence against the successful operation of the school laws. Many Mormons refuse to send their children to school unless the teacher is of the same faith. Every Mormon from childhood up is a teacher, compelled to teach their peculiar doctrines to all who will listen, especially to those under him. This being the case, it is no wonder that 'Gentiles' refuse to allow their children to be placed under such influences. Thus the public school is between two fires, but is gradually getting out. The strong hand of the law is too powerful for such a state of affairs to last long, and soon the cause of free education will shed its light in the dark paths of intolerance and priestcraft. The school offices are gradually getting into the control of the 'Gentiles,' and the result in each district is an awakening of educational interest.
"An act was passed at the last session of the legislature compelling all who withdrew from such an organization to declare their intentions before the clerk of the district court, and they can not vote until two years have elapsed thereafter. This is made applicable to all elections."
"During the school year ending August 31, 1889, it has been very gratifying to observe the awakened interest regarding the building of new and commodious schoolhouses. As will be seen in an accompanying table, there has been an increase of thirty-five schoolhouses, and they for the most part have been erected on sites the title of which is vested in the district. There seems to be a growing desire for the districts to own the realty. A great many districts have erected their schoolhouses on Government land, from which they can be and are often moved at the whim of the board of trustees. When, however, the district owns the land the building is anchored, so to speak, and the grounds become the subject of ornamentation and decoration. Thousands of trees were planted with interesting ceremonies on Arbor Day, which in a few years will beautify and adorn these temples of education."
"In some counties there is a decided opposition to the public schools, unless they are in control of the religious denomination which is most numerous. Many schoolhouses are erected by popular subscriptions, and are used alike for school and religious purposes. In many districts the buildings are owned by religious organizations and are rented by the district. In Bear Lake County twelve out of the fifteen districts rent buildings from the peculiar sect there prevalent and dominating. Five are thus rented in Oneida County. Under such circumstances the power of the church is thrown against the erection of public schoolhouses, and the course of public education is trampled under the foot of religious fanaticism."
"Probably the most substantial and beautiful educational structure in Idaho is situated at Boisé City, being the property of an independent district. Hailey and Bellevue are not far behind. Lewiston and Moscow possess large three-story frame buildings, endowed with all of the latest improvements. Beautiful and creditable schoolhouses have been erected at Caldwell, Shoshone. Idaho City, Ketchum, Pocatello, Blackfoot, Eagle Rock, Salmon City, Genesee, and Albion. Elegant buildings are under process of construction at Rathdrum, Weiser City, and other points. Many districts are adding the latest globes, physiological and historical charts, geographical maps, dictionaries, and other appliances."
A general law for the establishment of independent school districts has been "enacted by the legislature, with a view of providing better educational facilities for special localities. Any school district which has within its limits taxable property of the amount of $200,000 or over may be organized into an independent school district. It then has power to sue and be sued, to have a corporate seal, to hold and convey such real and personal property only as is needed for actual school purposes, and to choose such officers as are provided by law. The board of trustees have complete control within the powers delegated to them by law."
Two districts have been already organized under this law in addition to Boisé City and Lewiston, which had previously been organized under special enactments.
The lands reserved for the support of the public schools amount to 970,240 acres. These lands will not become available until Idaho is admitted as a State into the Union.
WOMEN AS COUNTY SUPERINTENDENTS.
An act approved January 25, 1889, provides that no person elected to the office of county superintendent shall be disqualified from holding such office on account of sex..
[From Report for 1887-28 and 1888-89 of State Superintendent Henry Sabin.]
Reports from every county in the State indicate that there is a very general desire to administer the law faithfully. Considering the difficulties naturally arising when a new branch is introduced into the course of study, the progress made is very encouraging. The attention the subject received last year in institutes greatly assisted teachers in their work. Much more will be accomplished during the coming year.
The superintendent recommends a law making it a misdemeanor, punishable by a heavy fine, to sell tobacco in any form to a minor under sixteen years of age.
NUMBER OF CHILDREN NOT ATTENDING SCHOOL.
In response to a resolution of the general assembly the following information regarding the number of children between 8 and 16 years not attending school in city independent districts was furnished by the State superintendent:
Total number of children between the ages of 8 and 16......
It is true that in some instances the results have been estimated, but they are sufficient to determine the fact that in all the cities there is a large number of children who are not in attendance upon any school. This number would undoubtedly be greatly increased if made to include those who have not been in attendance at school for twelve consecutive weeks during the past year.
As a result, the enactment of a stringent compulsory attendance law is recommended, regulating also the employment at labor of children of school age.
THE TOWNSHIP SYSTEM.
The adoption of the township system of organization is strongly urged. It is remarked that if the people of the State could be made to understand how much time, and money, and strength is wasted in carrying the present complex system into effect, and how much the efficiency of the schools could be increased by the adoption of the civil township as the unit, they would demand that the legislature take immediate steps toward accomplishing that result.
The reports for 1889 show that the money which is paid out for school purposes must pass through the hands of about 4,650 school-district treasurers; that the orders upon which it is paid out must be drawn and signed by 4,650 secretaries, and that they must also be signed by an equal number of presidents of boards of directors. Thus, under the present system, it requires some part of the time of about 13,950 different persons before the money reaches those to whom it is due. It is a fair estimate that, including officers, directors, and subdirectors, it requires over 25,000 persons to manage school affairs.
ENUMERATION AND APPORTIONMENT.
It is recommended that the enumeration of school children be made every alternate year instead of annually; also that the apportionment of school moneys be made upon the basis of average attendance instead of school population; the money would thus reach those schools in which there is the most work to be done on account of the large number of pupils. In fact such an enactment, together with one providing for free textbooks, would doubtless increase the attendance and act as a very efficient auxiliary to a compulsory law.
[From Report of State Superintendent Jos. Deshu Pickett for 1887-89.]
[From the Biennial Report of State Superintendent Jos. A. Breaux for the years 1888 and 1889.]
Act 81, to regulate public education in Louisiana, was duly promulgated in 1883. This act was summarized in the Bureau's Report for 1887-88.
In accordance with the requirements of its first section a State board of education was appointed by the Governor, consisting of one member from each Congressional district "a decided improvement on the former method of organization of the board of education. In each district there is a representative gentleman who takes an active interest in common schools and in general education." In addition to these there are three ex-officio members-the Covernor, the State superintendent, and the attorney-general.
In compliance with section 3 of the school law, the State board of education adopted a list of books to be used in the public schools. Contracts were entered into with publishing houses, stipulations being made to have the books sold at certain specified prices.