Page images

It was further maintained that education is necessary to the well-being of this country, as tending to elevate and instruct all classes of citizens, who must be educated because the genius of our institutions demands not a restricted ballot, but a universal one of enlightened men. It was argued that the only practical question was how far the Government should go in this direction, what means it is authorized to take, and to what extent it can properly adopt legislation. The beneficial results of the general systems of education adopted in several states of Europe, as Switzerland and Prussia, were dwelt upon and shown to have practically changed the doctrines of those nations. The course now being taken by Austria, in the same direction, was also commended, and authorities were cited to prove that the late triumphs of the Prussian soldiers over the Austrians (perhaps also over the French) were due to the superior national education of the Prussians, which is now being widely followed throughout the Austrian dominions. It was argued that a high degree of education is absolutely essential to the success of republics, and that the development of it in Europe is swiftly working the downfall of all despotic one-man powers, and establishing constitutional monarchies or republics in their stead.

The previous course of our own Government, in this direction, was noticed, and it was shown that before 1866 it bad practically done nothing save to vote certain lands for the benefit of schools in the country. In that year, through the efforts of the leading educators of the country, a measure was carried through Congress for collecting statistics of the educational interests of the country. A Bureau was founded, consisting of a Department of Education, for gathering statistics, and for disseminating information of this nature throughout the country. A Commissioner of the Bureau was appointed, at a salary of $4,000 per annum, with authority to appoint the necessary number of subordinates, and with instructions to present an annual report to Congress concerning this question. The act also instructs the Commissioner to investigate and report concerning the present condition of the various funds appropriated by the Government for educational purposes.

He urged that a full Department of Education should be created, equal to any by the Government, the secretary of which should be a member of the cabinet, and possessed of equal power with the other cabinet ministers; and that the educational interests of the country should rank fully as high as those of finance, of state, or of war. He would not have the national system conflict with the State systems, but coöperate, so as to render them more wide-spread and effective. There was, in his opinion, no difficulty in establishing such a system, and there should no delay in adopting it.


Tuesday morning a report was made by Superintendent Bennett on the subject of superintendents' records,” which was followed by a discussion, Hon. J. D. Pierce, of Ypsilanti, recommending the simplest form as the best, in which opinion there was a general concurrence.


Superintendent Antisdale read the next paper, devoted chiefly to the proper and best means of enforcing order and discipline in schools.

In the discussion which followed, Superintendents Hill, Latta, Fancher, Ford, Mudge, and Hon. J. D. Pierce took part, when Superintendent Mudge introduced the following resolution, which was subsequently adopted, after a full discussion, by about two to one:

Resolved, That it is the sense of this convention that, while the utmost effort of the teacher should be to build up, within the mind of the child, a moral principle producing self-government, until such principle is developed, resort to means of compulsory restraint, after persuasive instrumentalities are exhausted, is proper, legal, and necessary to the success of our primary schools.”

COUNTY TEACHERS' INSTITUTES. This topic was presented by Superintendent Follas, setting forth the work that institutes should aim to accomplish. They should not be conducted by means of lectures alone. The teachers themselves should take part in them. Professor John M. Gregory, president of the Industrial University of Illinois, being present, he was introduced as a gentleman who had conducted the educational interests of the State for a long series of years successfully. He was in favor

of teachers' institutes. He inferred that those present would prefer to hear Pestalozzi (if he could be present) lecture rather than see him drill a class. If Horace Mann could appear we would listen with more pleasure to his theory and philosophy of education rather than observe his methods. if a teacher of less acknowledged eminence and lack of original ideas were to hold forth, we should say, “Let us see your class exercise; let your speech go.” So institutes should be conducted. The instructors should be assigned to the positions they were best calculated to fill. If those seeking public notoriety can be kept by some means in the back ground, institutes will be successful.

Among the other matters discussed during the afternoon sessions were “Term reports by teachers to county superintendents; “Compulsory attendance;” “Examinations;">“ A State journal;"*“ School legislation,” &c.

In the evening Hon. John M. Gregory gave an address on “The motive powers of our educational machinery.” This subject was presented in an attractive and earnest manner. “The great driving-wheel of all this machinery,” he said, “is the body politic. When public sentiment pronounces education a good thing, it enkindles in the mind of the parent, the teacher, and the child a desire to secure it. To-day,” said he,“ your high schools stand half-filled, your colleges comparatively empty, because public sentiment thinks that to read a newspaper and keep accounts is all that is required.” Adverting to the public-school system of Prussia, and enumerating its universities filled with students, he asked “Why are these so 'full ? Because that in Prussia the university stands in the way of the professions, and young men seek the universities as the only open door to their hopes. Here we have no such motive. We cannot subject our young men to any such compulsion. What there remains to us is to suit education to their felt wants. If the mountain will not come to us, we must go to the mountain. We must make our higher education what the practical sense of the country demands. And this our leading institutions were doing. What has Harvard been compelled by public opinion (instead of leading it) to do? To make her whole course above the sophomore year the optional course, and more, and others will be called upon to do the same. It is true that Latin and Greek are time-honored, but at the risk of being called a heretic, he claimed that they were inadequate to fit a man to battle with the great industries of the earth. The point was not mere rounded development, and not mere indefinite discipline, but education practically directed to the great duties and business of life. If you can so educate it with Latin and Greek, do so; if you can do it by scientific education, do so. He was not a politician, but he felt that the great experiment of the world would have to be made by America, and that was the free exchange of products and manufactures, in short, free trade. Applause. In the competition that must then come for the markets of the world, we can only hold our place by the power of cultivated brains. The great inventions of Americans that had reflected glory and honor on the name, were but a tithe of what they would be, had our people the benefits of a polytechnic education. He congratulated those present on what had been accomplished in Michigan. He felt grateful for the little part he had been enabled to bear in shaping the foundations. He had pointed with pride to the institutions of Michigan, her colleges, her high and union schools, and her university, which had made the name of Michigan honored.”

The subject of Normal classes in the high school" was presented Wednesday by Superintendent Palmer, and a paper on “ The relation of Christianity to education was read by Superintendent Hill. The closing address was by Hon. J. D. Pierce, his theme being, “What and how much ought to be expected from our schools, and are they worth preserving ?”


This association met at Grand Rapids, August 10, 1870, the opening exercise being at 8 o'clock p. m.; Hon. Duane Doty, of Detroit, president, in the chair. The lecture of the evening was by Rev. C. H. Bingham, of Ann Arbor, on “Words and their uses."

Thursday morning an address of welcome was given by Professor Strong, when the first topic of the day was presented by him, also, on “A high school course of study.” A lengthy discussion followed. President Doty drew a diagram on the black-board to illustrate the proportion of students in each grade of schools in the State; which, according to his estimate was, for primary schools, 4,000; intermediate, 2,000; grammar, 1,000; high, 200; the complete department of the high school, 20; the university, 2. Mrs. Kate Brearely, of Lansing, read a paper on “The force of human nature,” tho subject being treated to show how the teacher should replace, if possible, the evil forces by good ones. In the afternoon a paper was read by Captain F. R. Brockway, superintendent of the House of Correction of Detroit, on "The influence of education upon crime."

Mr. Doty inquired what was to be done with insubordinate boys. Whipping would not reform them; they could not be imprisoned. Should they be expelled from the schools? Mr. Brockway replied, “You must keep them in the schools." He would, if necessary, construct a school expressly for them. To deprive them of education was to thrust them, with great impetus, into a criminal career. In the prolonged discussion which followed, the prevailing opinion expressed was that the best remedy for the cases referred to is to diminish the number of pupils for each teacher. A good

teacher, with not more than twenty-five pupils, might do anything he pleased with them; but when sixty or seventy pupils are under the care of a single teacher, it is impossible to restrain them properly. In the evening Professor A. A. Griffith gave a lecture on "Elocution and gymnastics combined,” with appropriate illustrations of his subject in reciting several selected pieces. Papers were presented in the course of the meeting, which closed Friday, on “ The teacher's personal danger," by Professor H. S. Tarbell; on “Teaching mathematics,” by Professor Doty; and on "Teaching; by whom, when, and where,” by Professor E. A. Frazer, of Kalamazoo. Among the resolutions adopted was the following: “That the elimination of crime from the land, as well as the safety and perpetuity of our republican institutions, are grounded upon the universal intelligence of the people.” The association adjourned to meet in Ypsilanti, in December 1870.


The third session of this association was held in the hall of the house of representatives at Indianapolis, July 7, 1870. The president, Hon. B. C. Hobbs, in the chair, who read an address on “The relation and duties of the colleges to the public schools,” strongly opposing the practice of spending so much time in the study of Latin and Greek. The paper was discussed by Professors Hamilton, Brown, Garritt, Bowman, and Jones. Professor L. L. Rogers, of Asbury University, read a paper on "The correct pronun

a ciation of the Latin language.” A discussion followed, in which Professors Hamilton, Thompson, Renbelt, and Pearson took part.

In the evening a discussion was had on “Higher religious culture in colleges, and the means of securing it."

The exercises of the second day were, the reading of a paper by Professor J. A. Renbelt, on "The study of the ancient classics.” After discussion, a resolution was adopted, on motion by Professor Hoss, “That the study of the ancient classics should be made auxiliary to the mastery of the English language." Professor R. T. Brown read a paper on “Some of the means of preserving the physical health and vigor of college students," which was heartily indorsed by the

association, and one thousand copies were ordered to be published. The following officers were chosen: Dr. R. T. Brown, president; E. A. Ballentine, vice-president; William A. Bell, secretary; William T. Stott, treasurer.


Over four hundred teachers attended the session of the Wisconsin Teachers' Association, held at Watertown, July 12-14. Lectures were delivered by R. Edwards, president of Illinois Normal School, Normal; E. O. Haven, president of Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois; and W. E. Merriman, president of Ripon College. The proceedings thoughout were interesting. The following officers were elected : President, Robert Graham; vice-presidents, D. E. Holmes, F. C. Pomeroy, B. M. Reynolds; secretary, A. Earthman; treasurer, G. W. Heath; executive committee, W. D. Parker, S. Shaw, G. S. Albee, W. A. Delamatyr, D. G. Purman,

VIRGINIA EDUCATIONAL MEETING OF COUNTY SUPERINTENDENTS. A large and highly respectable meeting in the interest of education, with special reference to promoting the work of the public schools in Virginia, was held November 2, in the hall of the bouse of delegates, Richmond, being called together by the State superintendent, Hon. W. H. Ruffner. Governor Walker presided, and on taking the chair he explained the objects of the meeting, being the gathering together of the county superintendents of public instruction, and all others interested in the cause of education, to consider and propound the most efficient means of carrying out the present system of free schools, and to impress upon the county superintendents the importance of their mission and duties. He made an eloquent address upon this subject, dwelling upon the importance of educating the people, to enable them to understand the duties and privileges of citizenship. In conclusion, he introduced the Rev. J. L. M. Curry, D. D., who spoke upon the general principles of education and its important bearing upon the welfare of the country.

Rev. Dr. Sears was next introduced. He spoke of the general advantages of education, and cited the power of Prussia as an instance. She owed her success not to her might as a power, not to the needle-gun, but to her educated soldiery. In the course of his remarks he alluded to the Peabody fund, and explained the reason why the board of directors had distributed the fund for the advancement of private rather than of public schools.

Rev. Dr. W. W. Walker, of Westmoreland, made a very fluent and interesting ad(ress, pointing out the diffinities in the great work, and the importance of nerviug ourselves to meet and conquer them. With his remarks closed the proceedings of one of the inost interesting educational meetings ever held in Richmond.

A meeting of the county superintendents was held at 6 o'clock in the afternoon, at which important matters, relating to their work in organizing the schools of the State, were discussed.


The twenty-sixth annual meeting of this association was held in Syracuse, July 26, 27, and 28. The address of welcome was by President White, of Cornell University, who proceeded to review the “Battle-field of education," saying that the contest is between the spirit of public education and the spirit of bigotry, and discarding all sectarian schools.

S. D. Barr, of Rochester, president, responded in behalf of the association, paying a high compliment to President White for his efforts in the cause of education, and then gave his inaugural address, in which he traced the history of the association for the last twenty-five years, and especially commended the work of the normal schools, advising teachers to add to the elementary course the culture of the higher course.

A report on “The condition of education” was made by Dr. Jutlden, of Albany, in which he claimed that correct ideas on the subject of education are gaining ground. The vitality of the system depends upon teachers. Ladies do not yet receive pay in proportion to their work.

Professor Krusi, of Oswego, reported on “Improved methods in education,” advocating mainly the development of principles without text-books.

Dr. J. W. Armstrong, of Fredonia, gave a lecture on “Natural science, and how it may be introduced into the school-room. Dr. S. J. Williams, of Cleveland, Ohio, spoke of the results in that city from the appointment of female principals in the grammar schools, stating that the boys were better prepared for the high-school than ever before, when taught by male teachers. Dr. M. McVicar, of Potsdam, read a paper on “The

a teachers our times demand.” Professor C. D. McLean, of Brockport, read a paper entitled “The teacher as a citizen.” Professor J. H. Hoose, of Cortland, presented

. “The true idea of school discipline," which was followed by a discussion, in which Rev. S. J. May, of Syracuse, and Professor C. H. Anthony took opposite sides on the question of corporal punishment, the former saying the rod was abolished three years ago in Syracuse and good results had followed, other means of discipline, mainly rewards, being substituted; the latter replying that he considered this world a great school, and our Heavenly Father the schoolmaster, and that we could take lessons from Him in the matter of governing pupils. He thought scholars educated without the rod were not fully educated, and he pitied the children of Syracuse.

Other papers were read and discussed; one by Professor H. A. Balcom, proposing to throw overboard the study of English grammar; one by Mrs. A. T. Randall, of Oswego, on “The school mistresses;” others by Professor Anthony, by Mrs. H. B. Hews, by Mrs. Emily A. Rice, of Darien, Connecticut, and by Miss Ellen J. Merritt, of Potsdam. Appropriate resolutions were adopted noticing the decease, during the year, of Hon. Victor M. Rice, Mrs. Emma Willard, and Miss Ellen M. Seaver. The revised constitution, as reported by H. R. Sanford, was adopted. The treasurer reported $550 in the treasury.

J. D. Steele, of Elmira, was chosen president for the ensuing year; corresponding secretary, James Cruikshank, Brooklyn.

The next meeting is to be held at Lockport, July 25, 1871.



This association met in Mercantile Library Hall, San Francisco, Tuesday, September 13, 1870, and was called to order by Hon. O. P. Fitzgerald, State superintendent of public instruction, who gave the members a hearty welcome. Hon. J. M. Burnett, chairman of the city board of education, and G. K. Godfrey, esq., of Siskiyou, were chosen vice-presidents, and W.J. Dakin, of Calaveras, secretary. Miss Carrie Field and Miss Kate Kennedy were chosen assistant secretaries.

Hon. J. M. Burnett then delivered the opening address, after which án enrollment was taken, showing 520 members present. This number was subsequently increased to nearly 600. Mrs. M. L. Jordan, of the State Normal School, then gave an illustration of the Oswego method of object teaching, which was warmly applauded.

In the afternoon Professor E. S. Carr, of the State University, gave a lecture on "Air,” adapting his remarks especially to the hygienic principles applicable to the schoolroom.

Wednesday, J. P. Garlick, esq., spoke upon “Ungraded schools;" the methods of teaching reading were discussed by Professor E. Knowlton and others; Miss Clara G. Tolliver gave a poem on “Equality of compensation for men and women;" Professor T. Bradley gave a lecture on “Forgotten things;" Professors Burgess and Andrews presented the claims of penmanship; and Professor E. S. Carr spoke on “Industrial education."

In the evening Hon. 0. P. Fitzgerald, State superintendent, gave his official lecture. He adverted to the agricultural and mechanical fairs and exhibitions in different parts of the State, representing our industrial condition. He referred to the many and wonderful improvements going on throughout the State, in our various industrial pursuits. None of them could compare in importance to society with the cause of popular edu.



cation. He referred to his connection with the public schools of this State, and cordially bore evidence to the moral worth of the great majority of our educators. He was proud of the manner in which they had thrown aside all party feelings and prejudices, and had assisted him in advancing the cause of education.

Thursday “The science of grammar” was presented by Dr. Schellhous. Mrs. Penwell, of Alameda, spoke of “The art of teaching,” and Miss Laura T. Fowler gave an essay upon “ The radical defects in our education."

In the afternoon W. W. Stone, of Yolo, read a poem. Professor W. Wilkinson, principal of the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind Institution, introduced a class of his pupils to illustrate his method of teaching, and to show the progress which that class of pupils may make. In the evening Dr. Joseph LeConte, of the University of California, gave a lecture on "The universal law of cyclical movement."

Friday, a committee, appointed to wait on General Sherman and invite him to visit the institute, reported that they had received a hearty welcome from the General, and that he greatly regretted his inability to comply with the invitation on account of a previous engagement, at the same time expressing himself very much interested in the educational interests of the State.

The institute then adjourned temporarily, to allow the State Educational Society to hold a session in the hall. After the meeting of the State Educational Society the institute resumed its session. Dr. W. T. Lucky, principal of the State Normal School, addressed the institute upon the subject of the State Normal School, showing its great and growing importance as a training-school for our future teachers. He spoke of the intimate connection between it and the common schools of the State, and of the normal schools of other States. He referred to the positions they occupy, and the good they accomplish. Dr. Lucky's address was well received, and gave evidence of his love for and fidelity to the noble work in which he has been so long and so successfully engaged.

In the afternoon the committee previously appointed, to whom a list of questions had been referred, reported, giving the following answers:

Question. Should drawing and music be taught in our ungraded schools ?-Answer. Emphatically, yes.

Q. Should corporal punishment be abolished from our schools ?-A. If a teacher can make the school discipline what it ought to be without, yes. If not, no.

Q. Ought the teacher in country schools to be required to do outside work for his school, such as looking after absent and truant pupils, urging trustees to do needed work, working up the interest of indifferent parents ?-A. No. His zeal in his profession should stimulate him to do it without a requisition from any source.

Q. Ought teachers to introduce illustrations and topics outside of text-books, for the purpose of making recitations more interesting?-A. Yes.

Q. Can a course of study for country schools be wisely prescribed by the State authorities -A. Yes.

Q. Should the facts in descriptive geography be committed to memory by pupils ?A. Yes.

Q. Are normal schools, as an instrumentality for the advancement of popular education, worthy of the consideration bestowed on them ?--A. They are worthy of more consideration than they now receive, and when their merits are appreciated as they deserve, they will receive that consideration in the public mind.

Q. Would it not be well to amend the school law so as to fix a penalty for nonattendance of teachers at county institutes ?--A. Yes.

Q. What plan can be adopted by which a free school can be supported in every district of the State for ten months in each year?-A. The committee beg leave to report this question, and refer the matter to the institute for answer.

The last question, having been referred to the institute, was discussed at length by Messrs. Nutting, Godfrey, and John Swett, principal of the Denman School, and then referred to a committee of three, with instructions to report at the next meeting of the institute.

After some further general business, and the passage of sundry resolutions of thanks to parties who had favored the institute, before putting the vote on adjournment, Superintendent Fitzgerald said:

“We are about to close a memorable session of the State Teachers' Institute, a session remarkable for the numbers in attendance, the interest maintained from the beginning to the end, the ability displayed, and the harmony of spirit manifested. I am glad and I am sorry-glad that my arduous duties as your presiding officer are about to terminate; sorry that the pleasant associations of the occasion are to be broken up. We · met as friends and co-laborers in the great work of education; we part better friends and better prepared for the work before us. I shall be greatly mistaken if the action of this body does not impart a fresh impetus to the cause of education in California."


« PreviousContinue »