Page images
PDF
EPUB

of Ohio; Hon. A. S. Willis, of Kentucky; Hon. H. A. M. HENDERSON, of Kentucky; Prof. J. J. RUCKER, of Kentucky; Dr. CHASE, of Kentucky; J. M. Fish, Arkansas; Prof. J. M. HALSELL, of Kentucky; and J. M. CorBIX, of Arkansas.

Mr. WICKERSHAM said it is well known that he lives north of Mason and Dixon's line, and he has enjoyed no special opportunities for informing himself in regard to the condition of Education in that part of the Union. The President of the Association was sometimes facetious, and he might have appointed him to open the discussion for the fun of the thing. But he might have been in earnest and desired to fill the place with a Northern man known to sympathize with the educational work now going on in the South. If so, he was free to say that no one felt more interest in that work, or would do more to aid it than himself. The people of the South -the whole people of the South-must be educated in order to keep their great country free, and make it prosperous and happy. His opportunities had been too few to enable him to speak of the Educational wants of the South from his own observations; but what he had to say would be based mainly upon the reports of school officers in the South, educational journals published there, and conferences and correspondence with Southern men. One thing is clear that everywhere, in all the States—there are indications of improvement. A better public sentiment in regard to systems of popular education is being formed, and men high in social and political influence are becoming more and more outspoken in favor of the education of the people. The facts just presented by the gentleman from Texas look unmistakably in this direction, and so do those mentioned from time to time on this floor by gentlemen from other Southern States. The progress may be slow, but it will be sure; and our Southern friends must work away and wait in patience.

But what are the Educational wants of the South, as stated by Southern men ?

You want better school-houses. So do we want better school-houses at the North. Yours may not be so numerous, or so good as ours; but we have been thirty, fifty, a hundred years in building them. You have just begun in earnest, and a school system is not built up in a month or a year. I know you have many good school-houses, next year you will have more, and the next-until you rival the best of ours.

You want better teachers. This want is also felt in all States and coun tries. It can be supplied only by.the establishment of Teachers' Seminaries or Normal Schools. You have begun this work. Let it go on. Let training schools and normal schools e founded one by one, and your teachers will be gradually listed up to a higher level and new life will be infused into the whole work of education.

Southern educators complain that the work of supervision is incomplete Your laws in this respect are quite as good as those of the North. It is true that a State system of public instruction requires a general officer at its head, with subordinates in each county and subdivision of a county. We must have in the end, in every State in this country, three grades of school inspectors or superintendents—in the township, in the county, and in the State. To provide these officers will be good economy. Teaching is becoming too much of a science to be directed by any but experts. Everywhere, in all countries, the efficiency of systems of schools may be meas-ured by the frequency and thoroughness with which they are inspected. But we must have patience for some years with our Legislatures on this question.

Complaint comes from the South, too, on the question of non-attendance at school. And with reason, for if I read your statistics aright, not more than one-half, perhaps not more than one-third of the children of schoob age in the South attend the public schools in any one year. This fact has an ugly look, but a change for the better is taking place; and as your country fills up and becomes more prosperous this change will be more rapid. But look to the children out of school, I beg you, for universal suffrage will prove a curse unless accompanied by universal education.

You say your financial affairs have been disordered, and you are in need of money to carry on the work of education. Time will cure this evil. It is now in process of cure. The hand of industry will in the coming years bless your fruitful country with plenty, and your children need not long lack on that account for an education, high or low. Meantime, I would that Congress should grant you aid. We have just voted that the proceeds of the public lands should be set apart for educational purposes. For one I am willing that for some years the South shall have all the money coming in this way,-aye, I would be willing were it ten times as much. Whatever makes you strong strengthens us.

But let me caution you against relying mainly upon funds coming through the hands of the State or the General Government to carry on the work of education. A fortune is, many times, the ruin of a man. We are apt to value slightly that which comes easy. We set most store upon what we work and pay for. The levying and collecting of local taxes for school purposes turns the attention of the people to the schools, and induces them to interest themselves in their management. It awakens discussion and promotes progress. The best touchstone of a right public sentiment respecting education is a willingness on the part of the people to put their hands in their own pockets and take out the money necessary to make liberal provision not only for their own children but for all the children in the community. Possibly, there are towns, counties, or States in the South that at this time cannot bear the application of such a test; but let the drift of the work be in this direction and in the end there can be no mistake as to the result.

You need, as we do, patience, for the time when education shall be universal seems long in coming; but, brothers, be of good courage, for the victory cannot be uncertain. The republic must either educate or die.

Mr. HANCOCK said: It is not my purpose to detain the audience by any extended remarks on the educational wants of the South. I prefer to leave that duty to educators much better acquainted with those wants than myself. It is scarcely necessary for one who has devoted so many years to the cause of general education to assure the educators of the South of his profound sympathies in the educational difficulties under which they may be laboring from local or other causes. I feel sure the

[ocr errors]

educators of the North have no disposition to dogmatize in the least, in indicating the means that they may deem best adapted to supply the educational wants of the South. We desire to enter into friendly counsel with Southern educators on the educational questions that may grow out of the present situation of affairs in that section. Culture ought to make men liberal, and is bounded by no political lines. We are ready to enter into a general rivalry with our brethren of the South in arousing the enthusiasm of the whole people in the cause in which the whole people has so vital an interest. I now give way in order that we may hear from the representative educators of the South.

Dr. GJORGE A. Canse, of Louisville, Ky., contended that the professors and presidents engaged in college work in Kentucky were generally interested in the success of common schools. The State Teachers' Association had been greatly dependent for its usefulness and efficiency upon the efforts of the college and private school teachers. He believed there was more union of effort here in this respect than where the common.school system has been more fully developed and strengthened. But he did not rise merely to endeavor to modify the sentiments of the last speaker, but to convey some information to the educators of the North in regard to the progress made in Louisville in the education of the colored children.

He stated that about sixty-five thousand dollars had been expended Sere in the building of handsome public school buildings for them; that the schools are managed by the white board of trustees, through the agency of an advisory board of colored visitors; that they are taught by competent colored teachers who have obtained their certificates as teachers from the same board of examiners that examine the white teachers; that the pupils study the same course of study, using the same text-books, and that they are examined upon the same questions, and in the same manner as the white children.

He then stated, as a fact, that, as the result of the examination of the first grade of the public schools—both white and colored-seventy-four per cent of the colored children passed, while but forty-one of the white pupils reached the same result-or, in other words, fifty-nine per cent of white pupils failed against but twenty-six of the colored. He could explain this by giving a statement of circumstances, did time and place permit, so that the conclusion might not be drawn by the audience favorable to the superiority of the colored race. He merely brought forward the fact as an evidence of the marked attention to the education of the colored race very creditable to Kentucky.

J. M. Corbin, of Little Rock, Ark., said he did not believe the vital interest in the question had been touched upon by the speakers in the discussion. He understood that the purpose of the topic was the consideration of some method of benefiting the rural districts of the South by the comprehensive school systems of the North.

The following persons announced their intention of becoming Life Members: Hon. J. H. SMART, of Ind., Louis Soldan, of Mo., J. M. HARLEY, of Ind. Terr'y, Hon. CALEB Mills, of Ind., J. M. Fish, of Ark., M. B. FRANKLIN, of Texas, Dr. R. C. BURLESON, of Texas, Mrs. L. L. MONTSERRAT, of Ky., Miss ANNIE F. Ralfus, of Ky., and W. H. BARTHOLOMEW, of Ky. T. MARCELLUS MARSHALL, of W. Va., announced his intention of becoming a Life Director. The teachers of Louisville donated $60 to the funds of the Association, and the State Teachers' Association of Ky. donated $15 to the same fund.

Adjourned to meet at 8 P. M.

EVENING SESSION, AUG. 15, 1877. The Association was called to order at 8 P. M.

Hon. Geo. W. Hill, State Sup't of Arkansas, was introduced and read a paper entitled

EDUCATED MIND—ITS MISSION AND RESPONSIBILITY. [This paper was not furnished for publication.]

The President announced the following names as a Committee of 15 to memorialize Congress in behalf of the Bureau of Education:

Wm. T. HARRIS, Mo., W. F. PHELPS, Wis., J. L. PICKARD, Ill., A. J. RICKOFF, O., J. B. Bowman, Ky., EDWARD Brooks, Pa., W. H. RUFFNER, Va., B. G. NORTHROP, Conn., T. W. BICKNELL, Mass., S. M. Etter, Ill., J. H. SMART, Ind., LEON TROUSDALE, Tenn., S. R. THOMPSOX, Neb., R. C. BURLESON, Texas.

The Committee on Resolutions reported as follows, and the resolutions were adopted :

Your Committee offer the following resolutions of thanks for adoption by the Association:

1. Thanks to the lines of Steamboats and Railroads which have carried teachers to this meeting at reduced rates, and to the Hotels for liberal reductions from their usual terms.

2. Thanks to the Press for the full and accurate reports furnished the public of the proceedings of the Association.

3. Thanks to the Board of Education of Louisville for the free provision of such an elegant and convenient place for our meetings.

4. Thanks to the Kentucky Teachers' Association and to the Louisville Teachers' Association for the courtesies extended to our members.

5. We would express our special obligations to the Hon. H. A. M HENDERSON, State Superintendent of Instruction for Kentucky, and to Prof. W. H. BARTHOLOMEW, of Louisville, for their untiring efforts to make the meeting of the Association what it has been, one of the most pleasant and profitable it has ever held.

6. Thanks to the Hon. A. M. NEWELL, the retiring President of the Association, for the ability, impartiality, and courtesy with which he has presided over its deliberations.

J. L. PICKARD,
J. HANCOCK,

J. D. RUNKLE,
Committee on Resolutions.

The Committee also offered the following resolutions, but no motion for their adoption was made.

Having examined carefully the deliverances of this Association upon matters discussed at its several annual meetings, and desiring to avoid repetition of its well-known opinions, your Committee on Resolutions has thought best to confine its attention to the two subjects made prominent in the deliberations of the present session :

1. The Relations of Education to Labor.

2. The Interrelations of the Several Departments of Educational Work.. and the following report is respectfully submitted :

WHEREAS, There is a strong and growing public sentiment, which has been intensified by recent events, that the elements of Manual Education should become an integral part of our Public-School system, therefore:

Resolved, That in the judgment of this Association the Russian system of Mechanic Art Education, as presented by President Runkle, is the one which, on account of its thoroughly-educational and disciplinary character, and its entire harmony with the methods of instruction in other subjects of study, especially adapts it for this purpose.

Resolved, That this system of Manual Education is hereby earnestly recommended to the attention of educators and legislators in all parts of the country, and particularly in all centres of large population.

WHEREAS, The rapidly-changing current of industrial life in this country brings into prominence education in the Arts and Sciences and in their practical applications to the pursuits of men

Resolved, That in the judgment of this Association the Colleges should admit to all their courses of study, Classical as well as Scientific pupils from the Public Schools without an examination in the Greek language, accepting in lieu thereof a better preparation in the English language and such increase beyond the present acquirements in the Latin language as may be an equivalent to the Greek in matter of linguistic culture.

REPORT OF COMMITTEE ON DECEASED MEMBERS. 1st, Resolved, That in the death of Hon. John A. NORRIS, late State School Commissioner of Common Schools of Ohio, and a life member of this Association, and in the death of Hon. WARREN JOHNson, late Superintendent of Public Instruction of the State of Maine, it has lost two valuable members, the teachers' profession able and successful educators, and the country useful citizens.

2nd, Resolved, That the National Association extend to the families of the deceased their sympathy and condolence, and further

3rd, Resolved, That copies of these resolutions be forwarded by the Secretary of the General Association to the bereaved and sorely-afflicted families.

With the consent of the Association, your Committee begs leave to append to the above resolutions a brief sketch of the lives of the deceased to be published with the proceedings.

R. W. STEVENSON,
R. D. SHANNON,

Committee.

« PreviousContinue »