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shillings in the amount of the rate bill. They ting and threatening, but who never execute. therefore hired the thirteen shilling teacher, and They tell their pupils if they do thus and so, what was the result? Several of the scholars they will whip them ; and in less than a minute who read very prettily at the beginning of her the same offence is again committed, and again school, and who attended it with much regulari. the same promise is made but never performed. ty, could scarcely be understood in that exercise Thus they go on from the commencement to the at its close. Many of them, particularly the close of the term ; spoiling the children by al. smaller members of the school, had acquired a lowing them to do as they please, and producdrawling lazy habit whilst reading. I reminded ing in their feelings a spirit of insubordination the teacher of this practice of some of her pupils, and misrule, which will submit to no restraint, and told her I thought it ought to be broken up. and acknowledge no authority. Here the foun. She then corrected the child by telling him “ you dation of a riotous and mobocrative feeling is must not draw your words so." The manner in laid broad and deep ; which the subsequent exwhich the admonition was given was much more ertions of competent teachers, and the watchful faulty, than the example which it was intended care of fond parents will hardly break up. I to correct. As is the teacher, so in a great mea. | believe that teachers, who manage in this way, sure will be the scholar. In the case above quoted seldom or never realize the immense and incal. the trustees thought to save a few shillings by culable amount of injury they thus inflict upon employing an incompetent teacher. But instead community. They do not consider that their of saving a small amount in the operation, the course is directly calculated to undermine the precious time of the children and the money paid best interests of society, and promote feuds, for their instruction were almost a total loss. contentions, riots, mobs, and every evil passion
that enters the human heart. How long will THE GOVERNMENT AND DISCIPLINE OF SCHOOLS. community continue to sleep over this momen.
We find in this respect as in other things a tous subject? When will the proper attention, great diversity of appearance. A few succeed on the part of the inhabitants, be directed to the in governing without any apparent effort. Every consideration of this all important question ? member of the school seems to know and keep his proper place. A look of disapprobation or ABILITY OF THE DISTRICTS TO SUPPORT SCHOOLS. word of encouragement is sufficient to excite to It would seem that in those distrists where the most dilligent attention and strict obedience. the people are clearing and paying up for their Every thing seems to be in perfect order. I farms, and where the settlements are small, have visited three or four schools where the they could not well support schools taught by teachers could pursue the business of instruc- competent instructers. But compared with the tion half a day without an exertion to produce whole number, those districts are not numerous good order. And this admirable discipline and -generally the districts are abundantly able to good government have not been produced by the build good houses, and support first rate teach. use of the rod. The barbarous practice of flag- ers. Those who plead poverty so strongly, and gellation has justly received a condemnatory clamour so loudly when any improvement in resentence by first rate teachers, and they find it gard to school houses or schools is proposed, much easier and more agreeable to govern oth have money enough to attend all the caravans ers by motives and arguments addressed to their and places of diversion for many miles around. understanding and reason, than by the infliction They can afford to buy this and that article of of stripes. They have found that children are luxury; their children can be sent to the dan. men in miniature, and that an appeal to their cing school; and in some cases from 25 to 50 judgment and a treatment corresponding with dollars a year can be expended for rum; but their natures, are in almost every instance more talk to them about a new school house, and you powerful auxiliaries in producing obedience than would suppose they were on their way directly any corporeal punishment whatever. There are to the poor house ; that all they had was about others who maintain a forced obedience by a to be sold to the highest bidder. reference to the rod for almost every offence. The feelings of the scholars of such schools are constantly agitated. It is impossible for them INDIFFERENCE OF THE INHABITANTS IN REGARD to bring their minds to a free and tranquil state so necessary to perform any operation in num. bers, or learn any thing which requires thonght There is scarcely any other subject which is and diligent attention. In all my visitations I beheld with so much indifference as the district have never seen a teacher make use of the rod. school. It often happens that the annual meet. But from their own confessions, I believe the ings are entirely neglected, or if attended to at practice is too prevalent. In one school I per. all, the numbers in attendance are so few it is ceived that several of the children had been cry. I almost impossible to transact the necessary busi. ing, and upon looking around, I saw the butt ness. I have sometimes spent nearly an hour ends of several large rods, shivered at one end, in a district before I could find a man that could and several more that were entire, ready for tell me the name of the distriet clerk. I have use at a moment's warning. In this school I saw called upon men to act as clerk of the district no smiling faces, or countenances which bespoke who would stoutly deny that they held any of tranquillity of soul; but the pale and agitated fice in the district, but afterwards would relooks, and trembling frames of the children, remember that a neighbor had told them they minded me more of the house of death than of a were appointed clerk. In other cases they have seminary of learning.
mistaken their office, supposing themselves There are many more who support no govern. clerks when they were trustees. In the town ment at all, or next to none. They are those of Eagle, I asked a trustee, what is the number who are constantly scolding, finding fault, fret. l of your district? He did not know. I wen
TO THESE FOUNTAINS
asked the teacher. She replied, “I cannot tell They furnish him with a scanty supply of wood,
- I wanted to know the other day, and asked “sled length,” but no axe, and then wonder • the trustees, but they did not know." This trus why he does not commence school at nine o'clock.
tee had resided in the district ten years. I call. They provide him with a stove or chimney ed upon a gentleman to visit the school with which draws more smoke into the house from me. It was just after a heavy shower. “I without than it carries out from within, and can't possibly, I must get in my oats this after think it passing strange that he should be so noon. I should be very glad to go, but you careless as to leave the windows open, so cold a must excuse me for this time." The 'school day. They tell him to govern his school; but if he house is the last place men generally seek. If does so, they complain of severity and treatment. they chance to pass by one they will look the They enjoin upon him to teach correct;" but other way. If it becomes necessary for them if it varies a hair's breadth from the manner in to see the teacher, or any of the scholars, they which they were instructed forty years ago, it will perhaps come within calling distance of the cannot possibly be right. school house, but no nearer. They seem to be in They agree with him to board with those be in perfect torment if they chance to get into sending to school; but instead of finding board house, or if there is a prospect of their doing so. as he expected, and according to the contract, Men are not wanting who are on any occasion he is often obliged to call upon half a dozen of ready to talk about the school for hours togeth. inhabitants before he can find lodgings for the er. They will lavish praises upon the admira. night. They agree to pay him within thirty ble system adopted by the State of New York days after the apportionment of the public for the instruction of the rising generation; they money; but he considers himself peculiarly for. will acknowledge that school visitation by the tunate, if he gets all his pay, and obtains a full inhabitants is necessary, and cannot be neglect. settlement with them within thirty months. ed without a violation of the most sacred duties; They sometimes instruct their trustees at their but invite them to perform those duties, and annual meetings, to pay no more than a speci. they wish to be excused ; some other business fied sum per month, and then consign them to presents itself which requires immediate atten. obloquy because they employed a teacher that tion. “As soon as we get a little through with is good for nothing. They use every means this hurrying time we will attend to the school." within their power to reduce the wages of first But the leisure never comes. They always rate teachers to the same amount that is paid to have something on hand to occupy the present the common laborer. What is the frequent con. time, if it be nothing more than to lounge in a versation in a district about the time a teacher store or bar-room. There seems to be a lethargy is to be employed ? A. calls upon one of the deeply pervading the mind of community in re trustees. "? Well neighbor A.," says the trus. lation to this matter, which must be thrown off, tee, “ we have hired a man to keep our school or we shall look in vain for the improvement of this winter.” “Ah! how much do you give a our schools which the friends of popular educa month ?” "Twelve dollars." "You must be tion so fondly anticipate. Men act wisely in rela. a bright one to pay a man such high wages, tion to other things. They do not employ a these hard times, to keep our school. I've jusi man to perform service, and pay him for its now hired a man to work for me this winter, at performance, without knowing whether the chopping, threshing, and drawing logs, and I work has been done according to contract. He give him only eight dollars a month, and he's is daily watched, and all he does is critically a real smart fellow too. He can thrash ten or examined ; and it' his employer find he does not twelve bushels of wheat in a day, and clean it understand his business, or that he is unfaithful up in the evening; and he'll chop his four cords or inattentive to his interests, he at once dis- of wood, day after day, and not wink at charges him. Not so with the teacher. He is it; and I think it is a pity if we can't employ employed for a certain length of time to impart a man to set around the stove all day, and have instruction ; to give a proper turn to the youth thirty or forty to wait upon him, as cheap as I ful mind; to instil into it those principles and can hire one to do the work I have for a man to maxims by which, in a great measure, the man do; and I think it is a chance if he has much of will be governed in all subsequent life. In the a school." "I know,” says the trustee, “it is discharge of these solemn duties, how much at. too much ; but no one else came along, so we tention does he receive from the inhabitants ? thought we had better hire him." “ Didn't you They promise to visit his school, but never per. try to beat him down any ?” “I should think form those promise. They are ready to listen we did. We worked upon him from noon 'till with attention to every idle tale and frivolous nine o'clock at night, and got him down four complaint their children make against the in. dollars. He asked sixteen dollars at first."structer. They complain in the presence of the “ You ought to have beat him down four dollars scholars, of cruelty and severity, when means more, and that would be more than a teacher are used to maintain good order and discipline. ought to have." Who, that has been personally They send their children to school irregularly, acquainted with the way in which the affairs of and at the close of the term blame the teacher many school districts are managed, has not fre. because they have learned nothing. They fur- quently heard conversation like the above ; and nish him with a house unfit for the comfortable who does not know that such feelings prevail to accommodation of half a dozen swine, and then a considerable extent in almost every district ? publish through the community that he keeps a noisy school. They send their children to
SMALL DISTRICTS. school without books, and wonder why they re. main ignorant. They neglect to furnish the trict is found, we find a backward, ignorant and
In almost every instance where a small dis. house with a broom, and call the teacher a slo- indolent school, if we find any at all. In such ven, because every thing is not in neat order. I districts, schools are not maintained generally
more than from four to six months during the and five-sixth cents per pound. They profess year. In the long vacations that take place, to have knowledge enough of English grammar children are apt to forget nearly or quite all to give instruction in that branch, but cannot they learned while at school, except what they tell how the nominative case governs a verb.should have never known. It is not unfrequent. They pretend to have a thorough knowledge et ly the case that children are sent to school four geography, but cannot tell whether Cape Horn months to learn the alphabet; at the expiration is in north or south latitude, or whether it is on of which time the school closes, and a vacation the eastern or western continent. They have follows of eight months, when another school is been permitted to learn without much thought started; these same children are now sent ano. or reflection, and without gaining much practi. ther four months to learn a, b, c. Thus time cal knowledge even of those things they have passes on, and no real advantage results to the pretended to learn. They have not been taught scholars from the time they spend at school, that their country has claims on all to be as because of so long vacations. I have conversed useful as the means within their reach will per. with many of the inhabitants of these districts mit them to be, and that that this claim reaches relative to this subject, and in every case have children as well as persons of maturer years. found them satisfied that a small school is not They have not been shown that the great end so advantageous as a large one. Besides their of their existence is to make others happy, and inability to sustain a school more than four or consequently to increase the sum of their own six months during the year, they are obliged felicity and enjoyment. They have not been to hire cheap teachers who are of course incom. taught the great truth, that upon the intelligence petent. The instruction children receive from of the people rests the stability and existence of such teachers does them more hurt than good. our free institutions. What little truth they inculcate is so mixed with In this way they are permitted to pass their error, that when the child comes to think for him. juvenile years without gaining scarcely one idea self, it takes longer to separate the compound than that will be of use to them in after life. They it would to have learned correctly at first. And have then every thing to learn, and often look besides, a mind that has been thus filled, sel. back and curse the day when they were placed dom sees things in their true light ever after under the instructions of incompetent and cheap ward ; a mist enshrouds the mind which is sel. teachers. Let the friends of the district school dom entirely dissipated.
and of popular education solace themselves with the belief, that these primary fountains of
knowledge are in a flourishing condition ; that Notwithstanding the very favorable account
the rising generation are receiving all the in. given by the acting superintendent in the last struction that is necessary to fit them to discharge annual report to the Legislature, relative to the the various and responsible duties of civil life schools of this mighty State, it must be ac with honor to themselves and usefulness to their knowledged by all who are personally acquaint. country ; a personal examination of these insti. ed with them,
that generally, those in this re tutions will unveil the fallacy of such belief, gion are very far in the shade; that they have and show that something more than has yet not made that improvement, even in the most The present state of the district school must re
been is wanting to effect their resuscitation. simple and elementary branches, which the fos main until the inhabitants cease to employ cheap tering care of a munificent Legislature seems to demand. There are but few persons in this re
teachers. For generally, men who are compe. gion, compared with the whole population, but with success, can do better, in a pecuniary point
tent to give instruction and manage a school will acknowledge, that it is to the schools we are to look for the broad foundations of view, than to engage in teaching for the conof that civil and social superstructure, which,
sideration offered by trustees generally. To pro. as a people, we are engaged in erecting” It is duce this change in the mind of community, with equally true that when these philanthropists are regard to cheap teachers, seems to be a Hercuurged to put forth an effort to assist in this lean task; for where people are in the habit of great work, the plea of povery is set up with but with complacency, the wreck of a mind,
with horror the expense of a shilling, giant strength. “The old house and cheap teacher will serve our purpose well enough yet." more than ordinary means are needed to pro. Thus things go on; the old house is still used,
duce a revolution in their feelings. How long and the cheap teacher is still employed. Chilmust our common schools be down-trodden, de. dren are reared up in ignorance, or what is still based, and degraded, through the avarice and worse, in error. They form habits of inatten- stinginess of the people? When will they view tion and carelessness. They become unwilling this most momentous subject in its true light, to submit to those restraints so necessary to the and employ none to have the charge and man: welfare and happiness of society. They imbibe agement of these intended nurseries of science, prejudices in this forming season, which stamp
but such as will impart knowledge to the rising the character of the future man. These preju" generation, and lead their minds to the contem. dices may be of that kind that shall give a their
learning should be the honor of their Crea.
plation of this great truth, that the chief end of wrong bias to their conduct through life, and in a great measure deprive them of the satisfactor, the good of their fellows,
and the happiness
of themselves. tion and benefit to be derived from civil society. They go to school month after month, and hear
A, BURGESS, not a word from the teacher in relation to the
Dep. Sup't for Allegany county. great practical duties of life. They boast of
Nunda, October 1, 1842. having gone through with Adam's and Daboll's arithmetics, but are unable to show the value of five and two-thirds pounds of beef at four
DISTRICT SCHOOL JOURNAL. past constantly in view, we hopefully look for
ward to the future for a brighter developmen? FRANCIS DWIGHT, EDITOR.
of that wisdom, intelligence and virtue so essenANNUAL REPORTS OF THE DEPUTY tial to the perpetuity of our free institutions. SUPERINTENDENTS.
CONDITION OF SCHOOL-HOUSES-THE
" MATTEAWAN DISTRICT." We commence in our present number the publication of such portions of these reports as the
It appears from the reports of she several depressing demand upon our columes will permit puty superintendents that of 7,534 school-houses, us, from time to time, to give to our readers. examined by them, THREE THOUSAND FIVE HUNThe clear and able exposition which Mr. Bur.
DRED AND THIRTY-rour, were in a dilapidated GESS, the late deputy of ALLEGANT County, has state, unfit for the purposes for which they were given of the condition and prospects of the se
designed The wretched condition of these veral schools within his jurisdiction, will be buildings is fully and faithfully depicted in severead with interest by all. Indeed it may with ral of the reports ; and we trust that nothing truth be averred, that the picture so graphically more is necessary to arouse parents, to the nedrawn by him of the condition of the schools, cessity and importance of a thorough reform in the qualification of the teachers, and the alarm- this respect, than the searching expositions here ing indifference of parents in reference to those made of the fatal consequences to health and 10 subjects, which above all others should most life, which a continuare of the present state of powerfully enlist their affections and feelings, things cannot fail to induce. is applicable, with a few slight and occasional
We recur to this subject now, however, for exceptions, to every portion of the state. On the purpose of exposing to the public indignaThese subjects the report speak but one language. tion, the disgraceful negligence of the inhabiThey unanimously concur ir representing the tants of a district situate in the village of Matgreat interests of elementary education, as oc teawan, and town of Fishkill, in this state, cupying but a subordinate place in the regards -a district comprising over $300,000 of laxable of a population, all whose prosperity, welfare property, and more than FoUR HUNDRED CHILand greatness are indissolubly bound up in the DREN between the ages of five and sixteen. It advancing virtue and knowledge of the masses ! appears from an investigation instituted under They speak of miserable, shattered and dilapi. the direction of the state superintendent, that for dated edifices, destitute of every convenience nime or ten years past, the school of the district and accommodation within and without, as the has been kept in the basement, or rather CELprison-houses of children in more than half of lar of a church, the condition of which will apthe districts in the state, during the whole of pear from the following extracts from the testithat most interesting and important period of mosy taken by one of the commissioners of their lives, which is to determine their future common schools, in connection with the deputy character, for good or for evil, and to lay the superintendent, of that section of the county. foundations of their happiness and usefulness, " Wm. N. Reid, present teacher in District in all coming time.
No. 33. Has taught the school nine months, in They tell us that parents have grossly ne. the basement rooms or cellar of the Presbyterian glected the schools in which their children are church. The larger room is 22 by 23 feet-the taught—that trustees and inspectors have gross. smaller 23 by 12. The average attendance of ly neglected their duties, and that inhabitants of scholars in the large room is 78in the smaller districts, instead of devoting their energies and 25. The large room is so dark in rainy or their ambition to the elevation and improvement cloudy weather, that he has frequently been of their school, have sought only by any means obliged to dismiss school an hour or more beto lessen the trifling expense which the suitable fore the proper time. Has applied to trustees education of their children would demand; and to have the room furnished with lamps for use "viewing with horror the loss of a shilling, during school hours. In spring and fall and wet have looked with complacency upon the wreck weather generally, the room is very damp, and of a mind!" But we forbear. A new era has the air unhealthy. In rainy weather the water dawned upon our common schools. The first comes in the door-way, and passes through the great step to reform, the full and fearless deve floor through holes cut for the purpose. Has lopment of the evil to be reformed in all its ex. thought the dampness produced the frequent fits tent, and with all its aggravations, has been ta of languor and head-ache observed in the scho. ken; and with the melancholy experience of the l lars. Parents frequently keep their children
THEY FEAR INJURY FROM SOME
from school on account of ill health, which they almost all testifying that the school-house is not aseribe to the unhealthy state of the school rooms. fit for its use—is dark, damp, unlighted, &c.I have suffered myself and am suffer ing now from and yet patiently enduring it. And I must conthe same cause."
fess that it is very singular. All that I can say “ IN THE SPRING OF THE YEAR THE SPACE UN. to account for this strangeness is contained in DER THE FLOOR MOST BE INHABITED BY FROGS,
the evidence. AS SEVERAL HAVE MADE THEIR APPEARANCE IN HEAVY TAX-PAYERS !" THE SCHOOL ROOM to the great amusement of of the nature, amount and extent of the in. scholars."
fluences which have been brought to bear upon One of the trustees does not think these rooms the inhabitants of this district, AND BY WHOM are fit for school rooms; they are too dark, damp we do not purpose now to speak, farther than to and unhealthy. Thinks the health of children say that the MATTEAWAN COMPANY, a large ma. is endangered. A gentleman by the name of nufacturing establishment, with a capital of some Bell taught the school in 1839, and sickened $250,000, is located in this district, and has in while so doing, and shortly died.
its employ in various capacities, a large propor. Another witness testified that the rooms tion of the inhabitants of the district. The were damp and unhealthy—"not well ventilated whole subject has undergone a thorough and or lighted. Parents complained that the rooms rigid investigation under the direction of the de. were damp, and that their children became sick partment; and the results will, in due time, be at school."
submitted to the public. Meanwhile we have Several witnesses, inhabitants of the district, deemed it a duty thus briefly to advert to the testified substantially to the same matters; and barbarities, (for they admit of no milder desig. to various instances of sickness contracted by nation,) which have for nearly ten years been children from attending the school. One witness tolerated in one of the wealthiest school districts stated that he "was told by Mr. Bell, (the teach of the state, and in the heart of a flourishing, er who was taken sick and died while engaged intelligent and enterprising community. in the district,) that he heard frogs singing or NEATNESS AND ORDER NECESSARY IN croaking under the floor which he (the witness)
THE SCHOOL ROOM. thought true, as he thinks there are large cavities made by taking out the earth from under the
It has become a frequent remark, and one gefloor, which would contain water for a long formed in youth, are our companions through
nerally acknowledged to be true, that habits time.” Another witness stated that he “ HAS life ; and who does not know that most of our KNOWN THE WHOLE FLOOR COVERED habits are formed in the school room. How ne. WITH WATER TWO INCHES DEEP.”- cessary then, that impressions made at this peMr. Bell, the former teacher, complained that influence in after life. To be plain and short, I
riod, should be such as will exert a salutary these rooms severely affected his health. The would ask the simple question-Are not a mageneral tone of his remarks previous to his jority of our teachers guilty of a very great death, was that the “school room had shortened neglect in this particular? It is to be feared
from the appearance of many of our schoolhis days."
houses, that the teachers have but a very conOne of the former trustees of the district les fused notion of the importance to be attached to tified that while trustee he "had a complaint this part of their duty. They should remember
that parents are solicitous about the external from the teacher, Mr. Clark, that frogs sung appearance, manners and habits of their chiland croaked under the floor, to the annoyance of dren, as well as of their mental and moral alhis school."
attainments. They have a right to expect much Another inhabitant of the district testified that wish their children taught to be neat in their
from their teacher in this particular. They he “attended a meeting in said rooms, when you persons,-neat with their books, and to exer. could SCRAPE DAMPNESS OFF THE WALL cise a degree of neatness about the house-in WITH THE HANDS. His child is naturally short, they want them to become gentlemanly
and lady-like, as far at least, as school influence healthy—sent her to school two or three weeks, can make them so. It is in the extreme dis. when she was taken sick. On her recovery she gusting to visit some of our school-houses, and was again sent, and was again taken sick ; RE. witness with what looseness and shiftlessness
the affairs of the school-room are managed.PEATED THE
Dirt and filth are allowed to accumulate upon SEND AGAIN."
the floor, to the depth of from one-fourth to oneThe commissioner who aided in taking this half an inch ; the becches, desks, &c. are in so testimony, accompanies it with the following sible for the scholars to observe any degree of
filthy a condition, as to render it wholly imposremarks. “You will think this district presents neatness al their clothes or bo ; the walls a very singular aspect-inhabitants and trustees having po appearance of ever having been