Page images
PDF
EPUB

By $$ 17 and 18 (No.'s 42 and 43) of the school act, “All moneys apportioned by the Town Superintendent to the trustees of a district, part of a district or separate neighborhood, which shall have remained in the hands of such Superintendent for one year after such apportionment, by reason of the trustees neglecting or refusing to receive the same, shall be added to the moneys next thereafter to be apportioned, and shall be apportioned and paid therewith in the same manner; aud in case any school moneys received by the Town Superintendent cannot be apportioned by him for the term of two years after the same are received, by reason of the non-compliance of all the school districts in the town with the provisions of this title, such moneys shall be returned by him to the county treasurer, to be by him apportioned and distributed, together and in the same manner with the moneys next thereafter to be received by him for the use of common schools.”

If the Town Superintendent knows, or has good reason to believe, any district report to be erroneous or false, he may withhold the public money from the district, and submit the facts to the Superintendent. - - . . . If, after the time when the annual reports are required to be dated, and before the apportionment of the school moneys shall have been made by the Town Superintendent, a district shall be duly altered, or a new district be formed in the town, so as to render an apportionment founded solely, on the annual reports unjust, as between two or more district of the town, the Town Superintendent is required by § 15 (No. 40) of the school act, to make an apportionment among such districts, according to the number of children in each, over the ages of four and under twenty-one years, ascertaining that number by the best evidence in his power ; and by the first section of chap. 206 of the Laws of 1831, § 16 (No. 41) the same provision is extended to all cases where a school district shall have been formed at such time previous to the first day of January, as not to have allowed a reasonable time to have kept a school therein for the term of six months, such district having been formed out of a district or districts, in which a school shall have been kept for six mouths, by a teacher duly qualified, during the year preceding the first day of January. . . . . . . .

The apportionment of public money by the Town Superintendent can in no case be made prior to the first Tuesday in April, except where reports from all the districts and parts of districts in the town, and all the public moneys, have been received before that time; but under certain circumstances it may be made subsequently. The specification of time in the statute is not intended to limit the exercise of the authority of the Town Superintendent in this respect, but may be regarded as directory merely ; and it has accordingly been held that if for any justifiable cause the apportionment is not made or completed on the day specified, it may be made at a subsequent period. - -

In all cases where school districts have complied substantially with the law, the trustees may be allowed to correct their reports, as to mere matter of form, at any time before the money is actually apportioned and paid. A district ought not to lose its money in consequence of a misconception of the law, or a mere clerical error on the part of some of its officers. The Town Süperintendent should consider himself the guardian of the equitable rights of the districts, and when he discovers an error as to form, which, if not corrected, would deprive a district of its just share of public money, he should point it out to the trustees, to the end that it may be corrected, and the fair rights of the district secured.—Per FLAGG and Dix, Sup’ts. Com. School Dec. 36, 181. by a regulation of the Superintendent of Common Schools made in pursuance of law, Town Superintendents are prohibited from paying over the share of library money apportioned to any district in the following cases: . . . . . . 1st. Where a catalogue of the title of all the books in the district library, purchased or obtained since the last preceding catalogue, with the number of volumes of each set or series, and the condition of such books, signed by the trustees and librarian, has not been delivered. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2d. Where the number of books belonging to the library is not stated in the annual report of the trustees. 3d. Where it does not clearly appear from such report that the whole of the library money paid to such district the preceding year has been expended within the time and in the mode prescribed by law; and if for the purchase of maps, globes or other school appa

t - - *3 c o e ratus, or for teachers' wages, for what particular articles, and un

der what authority or resolution of the district.

4th. Whenever it appears that any portion of the library money of the preceding year has been expended in the purchase of any text book or any book clearly improper to be admitted into a district library. In cases where there may be room for an honest difference of opinion as to the admissibility of any book or books, purchased by the trustees, the Town Superintendent should include the district in the apportionment of library money, and refer the inhabitants aggrieved by such selection to their remedy by appeal. . * .

III. THE INSPECTION AND LICENSING OF TEACHERs, AND THE visitATION AND supeRVISION OF SCHOOLs.

The Town Superintendent is, by virtue of his office, inspector of common schools of his town; and it is his duty “to examine all persons offering themselves as candidates for teaching common schools in such town.”. In making such examination it is his duty “to ascertain the qualifications of the candidate in respect to moral character, learning and ability.” If he “shall be satisfied in respect to the qualifications of the candidate, he shall deliver to the person so examined a certificate signed by him, in such form as shall be prescribed by the Superintendent of Common Schools.” * He may annul any such certificate given by him or his predecessor in office, when he shall think proper, giving at least ten days’ previous notice in writing to the teacher holding it, and to the trustees of the districts in which he may be employed, of his intention to annul the same. ; - .

Whenever he shall deem it necessary, he may require a re-examination of all or any of the teachers in his town, (not holding State or county certificates or the diplomas of the State Normal School.) for the purpose of ascertaining their qualifications to continue as such teachers. The annulling of a certificate does not, however, disqualify the teacher to whom it was given, until a note in writing thereof, containing the name of the teacher, and the time when his certificate was annulled, shall be made by the Town Superintendent and filed in the office of the clerk of the town. Where any school district is composed of a part of two or more towns, or any school-house shall stand on the division line of any two towns, the Town Superintendent of either town may examine into and certify the qualifications of any teacher offering to teach in such district, and may also in the same manner annul the certificate of such teacher—$ 33–40, (Nos. 59–66) school act. The duties and powers thus confided to the Town Superintendent are most important and involve great responsibility; and upon their proper fulfilment, depends in a very essential degree, the elevation and improvement of the district schools. If none but properly qualified teachers are permitted to find their way to our schools; if the certificate of the examining officer, and the sanction of his authority, are given only to those who are intellectually and morally fitted adequately to discharge the duties of instructors of youth, “apt to teach,” competent to communicate instruction in the mode best adapted to develop the various faculties of the expanding mind, patterns alike of moral and social excellence; these elementary institutions will speedily become the fitting temples of science, the nurseries of virtue and the pride and boast of the state. Hitherto this duty has been deplorably neglected; and the disastrous conseqences are every where visible in the degradation of the district school, the substitute of private and select schools of every grade, the low estimation in which the profession of the teacher is held, and the miserable pittance—too often most costly in its utmost scantiness—which is reluctantly doled out to the needy and destitute adventurer. A thorough reform in this respect is imperatively demanded as well by public sentiment, as by a just regard to the paramount interests of education ; and no consideration of temporary convenience to a particular district, of favor to individuals, or of regard to the prejudices or preferences of inhabitants or trustees, will, it is hoped hereafter be permitted in any case to sway the action of the certifying officer, or incline him, either to the right or the left, from the plain path of duty and obligation. A certificate should in no case, and under no circumstances, be granted, unless the candidate is found upon a careful examination, well qualified to instruct in all the ordinary branches usually taught in common schools—thoroughly versed in the principles of elementary science—capable of readily applying them to any given case, and able to communicate with facility, the results

of his knowledge; and anless in addition to this, his character and demeanor are irreproachable, his habits exemplary, and his moral principles undoubted. In order as well to be assured that the impressions resulting from the examination were well founded, as to make himself acquainted with the condition and prospects of the schools, the Town Superintendent should, once at least during each term, visit and inspect the schools; and whenever practicable, should be accompanied by the trustees of the districts and such of the inhabitants as may be prevailed upon to attend. To afford every reasonable accommodation to those teachers desiring to offer themselves as candidates for examination, Town Superintendents should appoint a particular day and place in the town,

and when the town is very large, in different sections of it, when they will be in readiness to examine teachers. Public notice of Such appointment should be given. It is probable that this will bring together several applicants, and thus diminish the labors of the superintendent, particularly as this course will obviate the necessity of special examinations, as well as prevent the necessity of a re-examination during the year. In making such examinations, they should confine themselves to the subjects specified in the statute § 35, (No. 61,) and should ascertain the qualifications of the candidates in respect, 1st, to moral character; 2d, learning; and third, ability. . . . . .

FIRST.—They should require testimonials of moral character, from those acquainted with the applicant, which is to be either verbal or written, and the latter is to be preferred. This is not a matter to be neglected or slighted. Those to whom the training of our youth is to be committed, should possess such a character as will inspire confidence in the rectitude of their principles and the propriety of their conduct; and it is to be understood as a positive regulation of this department, that no license is to be granted, without entire satisfaction on this point. This must be understood to relate to moral character—to the reputation of the applicants as good citizens, free from the reproach of crime or immoral conduct. It does not extend to their belief, religious or political : but it may apply to their manner of expressing such belief or maintaining it. If that manner is, in itself, boisterous and disorderly, intemperate and offensive, it may well be supposed to indicate ungoverned passions, or want of sound principles of conduct, which would render its possessor obnoxious to the inhabitants of the district, and unfit for the sacred duties of a teacher of youth, who should instruct as well by example as by precept. - -

SECOND.—As to the learning of the applicants. It should appear from their examination that they are good spellers, distinct and accurate readers, write good and plain hands, can make pens and are well versed, - r 1st. In the definition of words: 2d. In arithmetic, mental and written: 3d. In geography, as far as contained in any of the works in ordinary use. 4th. In the history of the United States, of England, and of Europe generally : 5th. In the principles of English grammar ; and, 6th. In the use of globes. e If they are found well acquainted with the other branches, a more slight knowledge of the 4th and 6th heads, as above enumerated, may be excused. . THIRD.—The ability of the applicants to teach. Mere learning without the capacity to impart it, would be of no use. The superintendents should satisfy themselves by general inquiries, and particularly by a thorough investigation of the applicants respectively, of their qualifications in this respect, of their tact in dealing with children, and especially of their possessing the unwearied patience and invariable good nature, so necessary to constitute useful teachers of youth. Having satisfied themselves on these several points, the town superintendents will grant certificates in the usual form. . The certificates of qualification granted by Town Superintendents are to be in the form prescribed by the State Superintendent; to remain in force for one year only; are available only within the town for which they were granted, and may be annulled at any time by the officer granting them, or his successor, giving ten days notice in writing of intention to annul the same, to the teacher and trustees. By $ 41 and $42 of the school act, (Nos. 67, 68,) it is made the duty of the Town Superintendent to visit all such common schools, within his town, as shall be organized according to law, at least twice a year, and oftener if he shall deem it necessary. At such visitations, he is required to examine into the state and condition of such schools, both as respects the progress of the scholars in learning, and the good order of the schools, and may give his advice and direction to the trustees and teachers of such schools, as to the government thereof, and the course of studies to be pursued therein. “If the opinions of the best and most experienced writers on primary education are not entirely fallacious, and if all the results of experience hitherto are not deceptive, the consequences of such a vigorous system of inspection will be most happy. The teachers and pupils will feel that they are not abandoned to neglect; the apprehension of discredit will stimulate them to the greatest effort; while the suggestions of the visitors will tend constantly to the im

« PreviousContinue »