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the Kindergarten to that of the university, freely furnish the information in their possession, sometimes at the cost of considerable effort to themselves, and with no other return than the receipt of copies of the publications of the Office and the satisfaction of having in this manuer contributed to the general progress of education. Only that information is sought which is deemed important in the field of education, and which educational officers wish to give.
When the work of collecting educational statistics was begun by the Office, it was found that there was no authentic list of the colleges in the United States, or of academies, or normal schools, or schools of science, law, or medicine, or of any other class of educational institutions. The lists of nearly all grades of schools are now nearly complete. Information on all other matters relating to educational systems was equally incomplete and difficult of access.
Starting with a nomenclature that well-nigh precluded the possibility of any satisfactory comparison, either for use in our own country or elsewhere, now, year by year, purely on the voluntary principle, these institutions and systems of education, numbering in all more than 6,000, report the facts most indicative of their success or failure in terms susceptible of substantially correct inference and comparison.
The work to be provided for, therefore, is no longer a matter of conjecture. It can be seen and described.
Work of the Commissioner. It is the work of the Commissioner to supervise and direct the business of the Office; to keep himself informed of all details in the progress of education at home and abroad ; to receive the constantly increasing number of visitors seeking information on particular phases of education ; to visit educational institutions and to attend educational associations, and to read and answer all communications needing his personal attention. The work of answering the large and increasing number of the class of communications just mentioned cannot be performed without the aid of one skilful and well-informed stenographic clerk, and at times two are required.
Duties of the chief clerk.-Under the chief clerk comes the general work of the Office, such as the opening, recording, and answering of the mail matter; briefing and recording of the letters received; writing and recording of letters sent; distribution of the mail to the proper sections in the Office; keeping a record of all expenditures and duplicate vouchers of the same; folding, directing, and stamping parcels or documents sent, &c. During the year 1875 more than 4,000 letters were written; 3,500 acknowledgments were made, and a large number of printed letters on routine business sent out.
The four copyists allowed by the law are engaged in this work when not detailed to copy statistics or manuscript for the several divisions preparatory to printing.
So numerous have been the interruptions in this work, caused by the various details just mentioned, that it has been impossible to keep up the permanent record of letters sent or permanent record of briefs on letters received; and the regular work of the Office has been much delayed on this account. Only press copies of letters sent have been taken, and letters received have not been recorded in books, as is usual.
The number of documents sent out during the year 1875 numbered over 7,000 bound volumes, and 95,000 pamphlets on educational subjects, published by the Office. For the discharge of these duties, though absolutely essential to the administration of the Office in answering the demands of the public, there is no force specifically provided.
This Office occupies seventeen rooms: six in the basement, four on the first floor, six on the second floor, and one on the third floor. Four rooms in the basement are occupied by furnaces, which have to be attended to in winter. Twenty-six large windows must be washed, and the wood work of at least thirteen has to be kept clean. These rooms have also to be swept, dusted, &c. For this work the law makes no present provision, and the laborer to do it is requested in my estimates.
Division of abstracts.-In the division in which the annual abstract of education in the States and Territories is made out, so great an amount of matter is received that the one clerk to whom that work is assigned is overtasked with the labor of properly condensing it. From fifty to sixty thousand pages of printed matter additional to thousands of written returns have here to be gone over in order to prepare 400 pages of annual abstract. In addition, 200 letters conveying information drawn from these sources, and answering inquiries not answerable directly by printed documents at the command of the Office, were written in this division during the past year. Of these letters a considerable number are quite extensive discussions of the subjects treated in them. Two additional clerks of class one are needed for this work.
Statistical division.—The value of the reports of the Office largely depends on the fulness, accuracy, and systematic arrangement of the statistical material embodied in them. Hence it is necessary that the force of the statistical branch should be sufficient to do its work well and thoroughly.
While no adequate idea of the extent and variety of this work can be conveyed by a mere statement of the number of educational institutions which directly report their statistics to the Bureau, a glance at the following figures may indicate in some measure the annual increase therein since my first report was issued, in 1870:
Statement of educational institutions in correspondence with the Bureau of Education in the
States and Territories
70 140 37 94
38 99 676
42 104 2, 200
53 27 29
27 26 40 28 269 56 9
The above statement relates solely to the statistical labor on the annual report. There has been a like increase of work, not shown in the annual or special reports of the Office, in answer to special and individual demands for educational statistics. These requests come from all classes of educators and school officers and from all parts of the United States and from many foreign countries, and relate to every grade of instruction and to every class of institutions. The usefulness of the Office largely depends on its ability to meet these appeals, and is diminished by inability to do so as fully as their importance merits.
In a word, while the work of the statistical branch has increased more than fourfold since 1870, there has been no corresponding increase in its clerical force under the law. While the quantity of statistical work has necessarily increased so largely, its quality has also improved, as a comparison of the earlier with the later reports shows. As the sphere of statistics enlarges in the discussion of edncational questions, the demand for specific statements of results and experiences increases; and as the study of such knowledge becomes more thorough, all statistics are more closely and intelligently scrutinized and their conclusions challenged. To keep pace with the more rigorous requirements of the present, it is clearly necessary that the clerical force should be increased.
The law recognizing this branch of the service provides only for a statistician. I have added, by detail, a clerk of class two authorized by law. This work on no fair estimate can be performed with less than the addition of another second class clerk and two copyists.
Work of the translator.-The foreign correspondence and the documents received from foreign countries contain matters of very great interest, and this Office in the nature of the case is the only medium through which their contents become generally known among American educators. Over 32,000 pages of foreign periodicals, reports, and works on education have been examined by the translator, 500 printed pages were translated in full, as well as a large number of letters in German, French, Spanish, Italian, and other languages, in a single year. The law provides for only one translator for this work, with a salary of $1,600.
Publications.-It will appear from the above statement that the labor of editing and proof-reading demanded annually imposes no small task upon the Office. In this connection it should be remembered that the utmost exactness is required in the very nature of these publications. Each figure put down against the name of a place or institution or individual is liable to be questioned at once.
A librarian needed.—Nothing is more essential to the efficiency of the Office than a well ordered collection of all publications upon education, whether in the form of periodicals, reports, catalogues, or treatises relating to its various phases. By purchase and exchange, during the past five years, the library has attained a growth of 4,500 volumes and thrice that number of pamphlets. It is hardly necessary to add that it needs the services of an expert, or that, without the aid of a competent librarian, two-thirds of the usefulness of the library is lost. There is in this country no other collection similar in character of equal extent. It therefore affords the only opportunity within the reach of American citizens for investigating many phases of this subject. But the law provides no librarian, and the volumes, so far, are only put on the shelves, entered in a list, and used in the current work. There is no catalogue. The character of the works and subjects treated requires a librarian of special qualifications, familiar with educational topics, and competeut to classify, catalogue, and index the additions as they are received.
This would save much time in all the departments of the work that require the use of the library, and greatly increase its usefulness to the country. The working value of such a technical library depends almost wholly on its classification and the efficiency of its librarian.
The collection and publication fund.-Recurring now to the extracts from the law, it will be seen that the only relief from these embarrassments is the temporary employment, as assistants, of persons paid to collect information and statistics.
I have found that, by using the information in my possession, (thus imposing additional demands on the increased skill of my trained assistants, but involving no expense,) I have been enabled, by employing clerks at moderate pay, to accomplish much more than would be possible with the same amount of money if only experts were employed, eminent for their qualifications in the special subjects investigated; both of which courses are understood to be authorized in the appropriation for collecting and publishing information.
If we have not the best methods, in every particular, for doing the work required by law with the means provided, it is simply because we have not been able to devise them, and others have not suggested them.
It should be noticed that while in this way only could the regular work of the Office proper be performed at all, much in addition has been accomplished in the way of special investigation and the treatment of particular subjects by persons specially qualified.
“ The relation of education to labor," "The value of common school education to common labor," "Ignorance and pauperism," "Ignorance and crime,” and “The constitutional provisions for education made by the several States," and numerous other subjects which have been treated in this way, in the reports and circulars of the Office, may be mentioned as instances.
I should state here that putting the $11,000 in a single item was not at my suggestion. But gentlemen in Congress overruled my specific requests, and preferred to include the whole amount of the estimates for the various details of the work in one sum.
It will be seen from these facts that experience has shown theirs to be the wiser plan, and that the Bureau has been enabled to expend this money far more effectively than if it had been limited to specific items, to be expended without any discretion on the part of the Commissioner. This will be appreciated when the character of the work is regarded ; and it is seen that intelligence, accuracy, and culture are specially required.
The advisability of making the appropriation in one sum rather than in specific items, was inferred from the experience of the Department of Agriculture, where the sum of $15,000 appropriated in this way had been found necessary.
Never before has there been manifested such a spirit of inquiry and investigation in regard to every phase of education, or such a desire for specific and accurate knowledge of our educational condition. The Office is in almost daily receipt, from university and college professors, public school officials and teachers, and eminent private citizens, of suggestions for the preparation and dissemination of documents on important educational topics of present interest, which bear witness to this spirit, to the growing usefulness of the Office, and to the expediency of increasing its efficiency. Much material for such documents—which would be of the greatest value to educators were the means afforded to prepare and place it before them-has already been gathered; and there would seem to be no question of the expediency of so increasing the Office force that such material may be made available to the educators of the country. So deeply have I felt this, and so fully have I been confirmed in this view by all educators who have looked carefully into the work ; so fully have I become aware that the Office could not accomplish what is reasonably expected of it without a larger sum for these special reports—subjects of earnest, widespread inquiry—that I have asked that this amount should not only be retained but increased, and the other items specified. added.
RECORDS OF EDUCATION. No person can at any time study any phase of social science and not be impressed with the need of greater accuracy and fulness of records. The lessons of ancient and medieval history are, on this account, largely lost to mankind. This is especially true in the field of education. Only here and there do we get glimpses of school life in ancient times; as, for example, that allusion by Aristophanes in his “Clouds,* to the fixed attention and determination of youth under instruction in Athens, which Mitchell translates as follows:
No babbling then was suffered in our schools:
A loftier key.
When they were on the public roads to walk along in silence, not to look around in any direction, but to keep their eyes on what was before their feet. You would hear no more the sound of a voice from them than from stone statues. You would have as much difficulty in turning their eyes as if they were made of brass.
Thus, in literature, and occasionally on memorials, are found expressions descriptive of the principles and methods employed in caring for the young among those ancients who rose to eminence and live in history. The passages of this character in ancient literature have never been brought together and made available for general use. Although a collection of such references would necessarily be unsatisfactory from its incompleteness, the high character of the intellectual life to which some ancient states attained suggests the great value such a work would have.
How invaluable to us would be the essential facts in the child's family, school, and social life, which have determined the character and career of the adult among the Egyptians, the Hebrews, the Assyrians, the Chinese, the Greeks, and the Romans.
If we were living only for the lessons to be communicated to a remote future by our experience, full records would be due. But more than this, the current life of a republic cannot be guided aright without them. Nor is it sufficient to place the facts within the reach of the student only. There must be present to the minds of all citizens the fulness and correctness of view which guard euch against misconduct and misgovernment, and inspire all with a choice and appreciation of what is good for themselves and their country, and a disposition to preserve and defend it.
RECORDS IMPROVED BY THE CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION.
The centennial commemorations are quickening the historical spirit. Anniversaries of battles or other important events in our national history are increasing in frequency. Orations and newspapers are full of history. We may expect histories, national and local, already published, to be revised ; and records of families, societies, churches, institutions, towns, and states to be searched out, studied, and published. Amid all this, it would be most anomalous, as well as perversive of the relation of facts to individual and public weal, were the quarter of a million of teachers now engaged in training the nine millions of youth in the schools of the land to be forgotten and ignored. What could more certainly foreshadow a century of darkness and evil?
There is among the workers in the educational field a clear appreciation of the truth that the value of generalization respecting education depends upon the correctness and fulness with which allessential details are embraced. Institutions and localities enter into the work with a lively sense of the fact that they, in each case, are part of the whole, and seek to discharge their responsibility with the same fidelity which they expect from this Office in working up tbe general results.
All who attempt to compare 1776 with 1876 in matters pertaining to the intellectual and moral training of youth are made deeply sensible of the paucity of our records. Till recently there has been little opportunity for studying, year by year, our educational condition as a nation. The best effort of an institution or system, whether of a city or State, reached little beyond itself or the circle of those directly interested. Now, each may be studied as a part of a whole.
Fortunately, the approaching Centennial Exhibition is international, and we shall be ·called upon to compare ourselves, not with each other only, but with the rest of the world.
Our fathers, in their Declaration of Independence, “out of a decent respect to the opinions of mankind,” submitted the facts in their case “ to a candid world.” Now that a century has passed, we, their children, invite the world to gather at the city where their declaration was made, to put to test the results of our experiment. Those engaged in the pursuit of art, science, education, itanufactures, &c., will assemble to learn the lessons there taught relating to their several callings.
Other nations will come, but not merely to study what we have to present; they will show us their triumphs, in art, science, and education, and challenge ours. Attention will not be limited to the present; the past will come in for its share of consideration. It will be a study of cause and effect; of all the main forces which are shaping civilization. However much the instructors of the young in these United States may congratulate themselves upon their opportunities and the results of their labors, they are as yet prepared to furnish but little of the exact and detailed history of their profession. How