Page images
PDF
EPUB

to

the

and it is their duty to apply for and receive from the county treasurer and town collector respectively,all school money apportioned or belonging their town; and on or before the first Tuesday in April of each year to apportion the same among the several districts of their town, according to the number of children between the ages of four and twenty-one, residing in each, as reported to them by the trustees, provided such districts have in all respects complied with the directions of law during the preceding year, and made the annual report required of them.

No district, without the special permission of the state superintendent can participate in such apportionment, which has not had a school taught within it for at least six months during the year reported, by a duly qualified teacher ; which has not faithfully expended all its public money in the mode prescribed by law; or in which a school has been taught for a périod exceeding one month by an unqualified teacher.

In making such apportionment, the town Superintendents designate the respective sums applicable to the payment of teachers, and to the purchase of, libraries and school apparatus ; and hold the former subject to the order of the trustees, or of a majority of them, in favor of the teachers employed by them and duly qualified according to law; paying over the library. money directly to the trustees. They are also to examine candidates for teachers and to grant certificates of qualification, which are valid for one year only, and may at any time be annulled by them, on notice to the teacher holding such certificate; and to visit and inspect the several schools of their town at least twice in each year, and oftener if they deem it necessary. On the first day of July of each year, they are to make and file with

county clerk, a report in the form prescribed by the State Superintendent and containing such information in reference to the condition of the schools in their town, as he may from time to time direct. At the expiration of their term of office they are to account to their successors for all the school moneyş received and disbursed by them, and to pay over any balance remaining in their hands. For their services they are entitled to receive $1,25 per day for every day actually devoted by them to the discharge of their official duties.

At the seat of government, the STATE NORMAL SCHOOL semi-annually receives under its instruction from two hundred to two hundred and fifty pupils of both sexes, selected by the Board of Town Superintendents of the respective counties, each county being entitled to two pupils for each member of Assembly. After spending from two to three years in the institution, the graduates return to their respective counties, and enter upon the active discharge of their duties as teachers ; communicating, as often as may be practicable, through the agency of the TEACHERS INSTITUTES, in the spring and fall of each year, a general knowledge of the modes of teaching, government and discipline attained by them in the Normal School. These INSTITUTES, under the supervision and general direction of the most experienced guides, enable every teacher to acquaint himself practically and familiarly with the duties devolving upon him, and secure to each one of the eleyen thousand districts of our State, a faithful and efficient teacher.

At the head of the whole system-controlling, regulating, and giving life and efficiency to all its parts is the state Superintendent. He apportions the state tax of $800,000, and the public money among the several counties and towns,--distributes the laws, instructions, decisions, forms &c., through the agency of the town Superintendents to the several districts, -has final jurisdiction on appeal, from all the acts and proceedings of the inhabitants of the several districts and their officers, as well as of Town Superintendents, keeps up a constant correspondence with the several officers connected with the administration of the system in all its parts, as well as with the inhabitants of districts seeking aid, counsel or advice; exercises a liberal discretionary power, on equitable principles, in all cases of inadvertent, unintentional, or accidental omissions to comply with the strict requisitions of the law; grants state certificates of qualification to

buch: teachers as he deems worthy: reports annually to the legislature respecting the condition, prospects and resources of the Common Schools, and the management of the School fund, together with such suone Viools, the improvement of the system as may occur to him; and vigilantly watches ; oyer; encourages, sustains, and expands to its utmost practicable limit, the vast system of common school education throughout the state.

Such is a condensed view of our present system of COMMON SCHOOL EDUCATION ;-a system elaborated and matured to its present state, by the exertions of the highest minds among us, during a period of forty years; a system comprehending the best and dearest interests present and prospect ive of an enlightened and free people--full of promise for the future, and containing within itself, the germs of the most extended individual, social and national prosperity; a system identified with the highest hopes and interests of all classes of the community; and from which are destined to flow those streams of intelligence and of public and private virtue which alone can enable us worthily to fulfil the noble destinies involved in our free institutions.

But in this country, no systems, however perfect, no enactments, however enlightened, and no authority, however constituted, can attain to the full accomplishment of their object, however praiseworthy and laudable, without the hearty and efficient co-operation of public sentiment. Aided by this co-operation, the most important results may be anticipated from the most simple organization. The repeated and solemn recognition by the representatives of the people, of the interests of popular education and public instruction; the nearly unanimous adoption of a system, commended to the public favor as well: by practical experience, as by the concurring testimony of the most enlightened minds of our own and other countries, and the simplification of much of the complicated machinery which served only to encumber and impede the operation of that system; these indications afford the most conclusive evidence not only of the importance which the great mass of our fellow citizens attach to the promotion of sound intellectual and moral instruction, but of their determination to place our common schools, where this instruction is chiefly dispensed to the children of the state, upon a footing which shall enable them most effectually to accomplish the great objects of their institution.

It is upon the extent and permanency of this feeling, that the friends of education rely; and this spirit to which they appeal, in looking forward to the just appreciation and judicious improvement of those means of moral and mental enlightenment which the beneficent policy of the state has placed at the disposal of the inhabitants of the several districts. The renovation of our common schools, distributed as they are, over every section of our entire territory, their elevation and expansion to meet the constantly increasing requirements of science and mental progress, and their capability of laying broad and deep the foundations of character and usefulness, must depend upon the intelligent and fostering culture which they shall receive at the hands of those to whose immediate charge they are committed. There is no institution within the range of civilization, upon which so much, for good or for evil depends—upon which hang so many and such important issues to the future well being of individuals and communities, as the common district school. It is through that alembic that the lessons of the nursery and the family fire-side, the earliest instructions in pure morality, and the precepts and examples of the social circle are distilled ; and from it those lessons are destined to assume that tinge and hue which are permanently to be incorporated into the character and the life. Is it too much then, to ask or to expect of parents, that laying aside all minor considerations, abandoning all controversies and dissentions among themselves in reference to local, partisan and purely selfish objects, or postponing them at least, until the interests of their children are placed beyond the influence of these irritating topics, they will consecrate their undivided energies to the advancement and improvement of these beneficent institutions. Resting as it does upon their support, indebted to them for all its means of usefulness, and dependent for its continued existence upon their discriminating favor and efficient sanction, the practical superiority of the existing system of public instruction, its comprehensiveness and simplicity~its abundant and unfailing resources—and its adaptation to the educational wants of every class of community, will prove of little avail without the invigorating influences of a sound and enlightened public sentiment, emanating from, and pervading the entire social system. The district school must become the central interest of the citizen and the parent; the clergyman, the lawyer, the physician, the merchant, the manufacturer and the agriculturist. Each must realise that there, under more or less favoring auspices, as they themselves shall determine, developments are in progress which are destined, at no distant day to exert a controlling influence over the institutions, habits, modes of thought and action of society in all its complicated phases; and that the primary responsibility for the results which may be thus worked out, for good or for evil, rests with them. By the removal of every obstacle to the progressive and harmonious action of the system of popular education, so carefully organized and amply endowed by the state, by a constant, and methodical and intelligent co-operation with its authorized agents, in the elevation and advancement of that system in all its parts, and especially by an infusion into its entire course of discipline and instruction of that high moral culture which can alone adequately realize the idea of sound education, results of inconceivable magnitude and importance to individual, social, and moral well being may confidently be anticipated. These results can only be attained by an enlightened appreciation and judicious cultivation of the means of elementary instruction. They demand and will amply repay the consecration of the highest intellectual and moral energies, the most comprehensive benevolence, and the best affections of our common nature.

COMPARATIVE STATEMENT Of the condition of the Common Schools, from 1815, the period

of the first Statistical Report, to 1850.

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

May 1, 1815 2,755 | 2,631 140,106|176,449| $48,376 $55,720 98

1816 3,713 2,873 170,385 198,440 46,398 64,834 88
1817 3,264 3,228 183,253 218,969 54,799 73,235 42
1818 4,614 3,844 210,316 235,871 59,933 93,010 54

1819 5,763 5,118.271,877 302, 703 59,968 117,151 07 Jan.1, 18201 6,332 5,489 304,559 317,633 59,930 146,418 08

1821 6,659 5,882 332,979 339,258 79,957 157,195 04
1822 7,051 6,255 351,173 357,029 80,104,173,420 60
1823 7,382 6,705 377,034 373,208 80,000 180,820 25
1824 7,642 6,876 402,940383,500 80,000 182,741 611:
1825 7,773 7,117 425,566 395,586 80,000/182,790 09
1826 8,114 | 7,550 431,601 411,256 80,000/185,720 46
1827 8,298 7,8061441,8561419,216 80,000 222,995 77
1828 8,609 8,164 468,205 449,113 100,000 232,343 21

1829 8,872 8,292 480,041 468,257 100,000 214,840 14 $297,048 44 at

1830 9,063 8,631 499,424 497,503 100,000 238,640 36 346,807 20 1831| 9,339 8,841 507,105 509,967/ 100,000 244,998 85 374,001 54 1832 9,600 8,941 494,5951508,878) 100,0001305,582 781 358,320 17 1833 9,690 9,107 512,475 522,618 100,080 307,733 08 369,696 36 1834 9,865 9,392 531,240 534,002 100,080 316,153 93 398,137 04 1835 10,132 9,676 541,401 540,285 100,080 312,181 20 419,878 69 1836 10,207 9,696,532,1671538,398! 100,000 313,376 91 425,560 86 1837 10,345 9,718 224,1881536,882 100,000 335,895 10 436,346 46 1838|10,583 9,830 528,913539,747 110,000 335,882 921 477,848 27 1839 10,706 10,127 557,229 564,790 113,793 374,411 61, 521,477 49 1840 10,769 10,397 572,995 592,564 *275,000 633,685 94 476,443 27 1841 10,886 10,588 603,583 583,347*275,000 658,954 70 483,479 54. 1842 10,893 10,645 598,749 601,765 *285,000 676,086 07 468,688 22 1843 10,875 110,656667,782 677,995 *275,000 660,727 41| 509,376 97 1844 10,990 110,3571709,1561696,5481 275,0001639,606 601 447,565 97 1845 11,018 10,812736,045 690,914 275,000 725,066 191 458,127 78

1846 11,008 10,796 742,423 703,399 275,000 772,578 02 460,764 78 i

1847 11,052 10,8591748,387 700,443 275,000 829,802 83 462,840 44 1848|10,621 10,494475,723 718,123 275,826 858,594 84 466,674 44 184911,191 10,928 778,309739,655 284,902 846,710 45.489,696 63 1850 11,397 |11,1731794,506735,188 285,000/767,389 20 508,724 56

*Including revenue from United States Deposit Fund.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

AN ACT TO ESTABLISH FREE SCHOOLS THROUGHOUT

THE STATE.

Passed April 12, 1851. The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assembly, do enact as follows:

§ 1. Common schools in the several school districts in this State shall be free to all persons residing in the district, over five and under twenty-one years of age, as hereinafter provided. Persons not resident of a district may be admitted into the schools kept therein, with the approbation, in writing, of the trustees thereof, or a majority of them.

§ 2. There shall hereafter be raised by tax, in each and every year, upon the real and personal estate within this state, the sum of eight hundred thousand dollars, which shall be levied, assessed and collected in the mode prescribed by chapter thirteen, part first of the revised statutes, relating to the assessment and collection of taxes, and when contact shall be paid over to the respective county treåsurers, subject to the order of the state superintendent of common schools.

§ 3. The state superintendent of common schools shall ascertain the portion of said sum of eight hundred thousand dollars to be assessed and collected in each of the several counties of this state, by dividing the said sum among the several counties, according to the valuation of real and personal estate therein, as it shall appear by the assessment of the year next preceding the one in which said sum is to be raised, and shall certify to the clerk of each county, before the tenth day of July in each year, the amount to be raised by tax in such county; and it shall be the duty of the several county. clerks of this state to deliver to the board of supervisors of their respective counties, a copy of such certificate, on the first day of their annual session, and the board of supervisors of each county shall assess such amount upon the real and personal estate of such county, in the manner provided by law for the assessment and collection of taxes.

$ 4. The state superintendent of common schools shall, on or before the first day of January in every year, apportion and divide, or cause to be apportioned and divided, one third of the sum so raised by general tax, and one third of all other moneys appropriated to the support of common schools, among the several school districts, parts of districts, and separate neighborhoods in this state, from which reports shall have been received in accordance with law in the following manner, viz: to each separate neighborhood belonging to a school district in some adjoining state, there shall be apportioned and paid a sum of money equal to thirty-three cents for each child in such neighborhood (between the ages of four and twenty-one); but the sum so to be apportioned and paid to any such neighborhood, shall in no case exceed the sum of twenty-four dollars, and the remainder of such one-third shall be apportioned and divided equally among the several districts; and the state superintendent of common schools shall

, by proper regulations and instructions to be prescribed by him, provide for the payment of such moneys to the trustees of such separate neighborhoods and school districts.

$ 6. It shall be the duty of the state superintendent of common schools, on or before the first day of January in every year, to apportion and divide the remaining two-thirds of the said amount of eight hundred thousand dollars, together with the remaining two-thirds of all other moneys appropriated by the state for the support of common schools among the several counties, cities and towns of the state, in the mode now prescribed by law for the division and apportionment of the income of the common school fund; and the share of the several towns and wards so apportioned and divided shall be paid over on and after the first Tuesday in February, in each year, to the several town superintendents of common schools, and ward or city officers, entitled by law to receive the same, and shall be apportioned by them among the several school districts and parts of districts in their several towns and wards, according to the number of children between the ages of four and

:

« PreviousContinue »