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PAROCHIAL AND PRIVATE SCHOOLS.
From the various reports under this head we glean a few items which are suggestive of some of the difficulties to be surmounted in the work of bringing order out of chaos.
WORDS FROM EXPERIENCE.
The sister in charge of the Loretto School at Mora writes: "I think it would be a good idea if parents would not take their children from school so soon, but leave them at least two or three years. The generality of people here think education is not necessary for women, and therefore leave them in the school sometimes only two or three months, with irregular attendance, and then, if they do not learn, charge the fault on the teacher. It is rather disheartening to have so many beginners every year. This is the reason why we have so few in the higher classes this year."
RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION NOT OBLIGATORY FOR NON-CATHOLICS.
The sister in charge of the Loretto School at Las Vegas writes: "Religious instruction not obligatory for non-Catholics." The school of the Sisters of Charity at Santa Fé is "for girls-orphan and desti
Brother Botolph, president of St. Michael's College, writes: "When the Christian Brothers established St. Michael's College, in 1859, they opened at the same time a free department for the poorer classes, which has been attended by a yearly average of 180 male pupils. In 1872, the school commissioners deemed it proper to make an annual appropriation of $700 to the members of the society as a token of appreciation of their charitable services."
"In addition to the ordinary school hours, half an hour is devoted to the religious instruction of Catholic children attending the college and the free school. A similar custom is observed in our schools at Mora and Bernalillo. This instruction being given after the regular class labor is terminated, non-Catholic children are at liberty to return to their homes before its commencement, thus losing none of the usual school exercises." Actual attendance, 45 boarders, 47 day scholars, ard 143 free school.
Father Vito Tromby, S. J., in charge of the Jesuit school at Albuquerque, writes: "The apartments for school purposes are small and incommodious; we are desirous of building a new and commodious edifice, intending to apply the income derived from salaries of teachers as a part of the funds, and to ask the school authorities of Bernalillo County for a donation out of the surplus in their treasury in aid of the undertaking."
CONGRESS SHOULD ENACT A GENERAL SCHOOL LAW.
George G. Smith, principal of the English and classical school at Santa Fé, says: "Now that one branch of the legislative assembly have shown themselves such slaves to sectarian influence that they dare not adopt a wise and admirable bill for the regulation of the schools of the Territory, Congress should enact a general law requiring, as a condition of territorial authority, the establishment of good public schools, such as any person might send his children to without violating religious examples, rather than to engage in the passage or consideration of an enabling act to confer on New Mexico the Sovereignty of a State."
We learn incidentally, on good authority, that the school represented by Mr. Smith has several thousand dollars assured, with prospects of other thousands, sufficient for the purpose of erecting commodious quarters for recitation rooms, apparatus, and a boarding house, and on a plane with the academic schools of the country at large.
Professor Annin, of the Presbyterian Mission School at Las Vegas, writes: "While our curriculum of study is confined to the primary and common branches, with music, we are prepared to extend it into the higher English and classical studies, according to demand.
"We are much interested here in the school law under discussion in the legislature. We would like a good law to be passed making the schools entirely non-sectarian, of course, and making effective provisions for a stringent accountability of the school fund. The school interest is much improving in our town, and we can see clearly that our private mission school has been a powerful stimulus."
Professor Roberts, of the Presbyterian school at Taos, says: "It is, in my opinion, better to teach the English first. In so doing, the pupils learn correctly all the different sounds used in English, which they are not apt to do if they have first learned Spanish. As there is usually but one sound given to each letter in Spanish, having first learned all the sounds in the more difficult language, with essentially the same alphabet in use in both, the pupil learns to read correctly in Spanish in a few weeks. ** To induce my pupils to use what English they know, in common conversation, is an unfinished problem in my experience with these children."
Professor Harwood, of the La Junta Mission Institute, and superintendent of the Methodist Episcopal missions in New Mexico, writes: "We have in the Territory five
schools in operation. Our school-house doors are never closed against poor children. If parents are able to pay full price or part, we ask them to do so; but if not, as is the case with many of the Mexican parents, their children are permitted to attend free."
THE PROTESTANT SCHOOLS RELIGIOUS BUT NOT SECTARIAN.
"We teach, in school," says Professor Harwood, "the general principles of religion, such as honesty, truthfulness, love to each other, obedience to parents, reverence to their Creator; but sectarian differences are not touched."
And it may be remarked that this, with reference to admission of pupils and moral precepts, expresses the substance of the reports of the respective mission schools of the Presbyterian Church as well.
NORMAL SCHOOLS AND INDEPENDENT DISTRICTS.
Professor Ronguillo, of Lemitar Academy of Progress, thinks a normal school in each county, with independent school districts in cities, villages, and towns, under a local board, essential to secure qualified teachers and to educational reform.
PUEBLO INDIAN SCHOOLS.
OFFICE PUEBLO INDIAN AGENCY, TERRITORY OF NEW MEXICO,
Santa Fé, January 29, 1876. SIR: In compliance with your request, I have the pleasure of giving the following information in regard to the work done in the year 1875 for the education of the Pueblo Indians:
Since May last there have been 7 day schools in operation; prior to that time there were only 2. In these schools there were enrolled at the close of the year 242 scholars, and of this number 180 were in daily attendance; but during the summer months the attendance was less than half that number. The number of scholars who can read and write is 47, and 15 work in the first four rules of arithmetic, while spelling, reading, writing, arithmetic, and geography are all successfully taught in English.
But few of the children understand English, and on that account it is necessary to use numerous devices to get them started in acquiring the language. The Indian children are able to make as rapid progress, apparently, as any other class of children, and, but for certain superstitions and the carelessness of the parents, very rapid advance would be made in their education.
It is very difficult to secure teachers of proper energy and conscientiousness to accomplish the greatest amount of good possible at these pueblos. If the agent were allowed to pay higher salaries for teachers or if he were even properly supported on all occasions in the best use of the funds already at his disposal, much more might be accomplished in this work than is now possible. Still, there is much encouragement in education actually accomplished, and I hope much from the present year.
B. M. THOMAS, United States Agent Pueblo Indians.
Hon. W. G. RITCH,
Secretary of New Mexico.
IMPRESSIONS OF A PUEBLO INDIAN.
In addition to the above we give an incident which tells its own story: The governor of the Indian pueblo of San Juan, situate on the Rio Grande 30 miles northwest of Santa Fé, was one of a party of this semi-civilized village of Indians who made a trip to Washington last fall. A few weeks since he called on Governor Axtell and voluntarily called attention to the fact of his having been east, and that he had seen and realized the advantages of education to the American people; that he then resolved he would have his people educated. The Indian governor has shown his faith by his works. The Government school, which had only 6 pupils when he returned, now, through his influence, has a daily attendance of 60.
W. G. RITCH.
SUMMARY OF STATISTICS.
SCHOOL POPULATION AND ATTENDANCE.
Number of boys in the Territory 4-16 years of age.
INCOME AND EXPENDITURES.
$15, 000 00
Expenditure per capita of population between 6 and 16, including interest on school property
-(Report of territorial superintendent, Hon. O. H. Riggs, for 1874 and 1875, pp. 30, 31.)
SCHOOLS OTHER THAN PUBLIC.
Number of church schools: Methodist, 5; Presbyterian, 5; Protestant Episcopal, 2....
Number of private and select schools ...
Number of teachers in these schools: Male, 25; female, 52..
Average daily attendance..
Number studying the higher branches in these schools
Number of free pupils enrolled....
Whole amount paid teachers..
Value of school property...
The above summary includes the University of Deseret and the Timpanogos branch at Provo.-(Report of territorial superintendent, p. 22.)
According to a new school law presented in the report of the territorial superintendent for 1874-75, a law understood to have been approved February 18, 1876, the school officers of the Territory are to be in the future, as they have been in the past, a territorial superintendent of district schools, county superintendents of the same, and district school trustees, with county boards of examination.
DUTIES OF THESE OFFICERS.
The territorial superintendent, to be elected by the people every two years, is to have the general supervision of school affairs; to furnish blanks for the use of school officers; to provide for printing and distributing the school laws; to keep a record of the district schools throughout the Territory, and of course to make regular report respecting them, though this, somewhat singularly, is not called for in the law. He is also to apportion the school moneys to the counties and districts, according to the number of children in the districts between 6 and 16 years of age, and, with the county superintendents and president of the University of Deseret, is to decide what text books shall be used in the schools.
County superintendents, elected by the people at the general election every two years, are to take the general supervision of the schools of their counties; to visit them at least twice a year; to examine and audit the trustees' books; to see that they are diligent in the discharge of duty; to keep account with the county treasurer and the trustees as to all funds received and disbursed for school purposes in the county; to audit school accounts against the county treasurer, and draw warrants in favor of the districts for the payment of them, annually, by the first Monday in November, making full report to the territorial superintendent of all matters relating to the schools.
School district trustees, three in number for each district, are elected by the people at a called district meeting for terms of two years, and are to provide suitable school-houses for their districts; keep the same in repair; employ teachers; furnish maps, charts, fuel, and other necessaries for them, and may, at their option, collect tuition fees. They are also empowered to assess and collect, annually, a tax of one-fourth of 1 per cent. on all taxable property within their districts for school purposes, as well as to remit taxes; to prescribe the manner in which schools shall be conducted, and to establish outhouses and play-grounds for them.
County boards of examination are to be appointed in each county by the county court, and are to consist of three persons competent to examine and judge of the qualifications of school teachers applying for schools. To all applicants of good moral character, considered competent, they are to give suitable certificates signed by the board, without which certificate no person shall be eligible to employment as teacher by the district
All schools organized under the direction of the trustees in the respective school districts of the Territory are to be known, in law, by the name and title of district schools, and are to be entitled to a just and equitable apportionment of any public school fund arising from the General Government or from a legislative act of the Territory. Tuition in them may be charged for, and generally is.
Provision is made for a normal department in the University of Deseret to train teachers for these schools. Teachers' institutes-which are substantially brief normal training classes-are held in several counties.
The territorial fund for the support of schools has been, for two years past, a legislative appropriation of $15,000 annually. It is to be, hereafter, $25,000 annually; $5,000 to go to the support of the normal department of the University of Deseret, on condition of its receiving 40 free pupils to be trained as teachers for the Territory.
Local taxes are sometimes raised in the districts to eke out the territorial apportionment, but the main dependence-the superintendent says-is on tuition fees collected by the teachers.