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commend, first, “the establishment of schools in the several counties for the education of teachers ;” and second, "the gradual introduction of the sys. tem of mutual instruction.” The improvement of the system of female education is also adverted to, as well as the propriety of furnishing the schools with a judicious selection of text books." The course of instruction in the common schools ought to be adapted to the business of life, and to the actual duties which may devolve upon the person instructed. In a government where every citizen has a voice in deciding the most important questions, it is not only necessary that every person should be able to read and write, but that he should be well instructed in the rights, privileges and duties of a citizen. Instruction should be co-extensive with universal suffrage."
The sum of $100,000 was this year apportioned by the Superintendent, among the several school districts, in pursuance of the provisions of an act passed the preceding year, authorizing the annual distribution of this amount from the common school fund. The several laws relating to common schools were also revised by the legislature and republished, with the necessary expositions and instructions from the department.
Gov. Clinton, in his message at the opening of the session of 1828, again adverts to the subject of common school education, in the following terms:
“That part of the revised laws relative to common schools is operative on this day, and presents the system in an intelligible shape, but without, those improvements which are requisite to raise the standard of instruction, to enlarge its objects, and to elevate the talents and qualifications of the teachers. It is understood that Massachusetts has provided for these important cases; but whether the experiment has, as yet, been attended with promising results, is not distinctly known. It may, however, be taken for granted, that the education of the body of the people can never attain the requisite perfection without competent instructors, well acquainted with the outlines of literature and the elements of science. And after the scale of education is elevated in common schools, more exalted improvements ought to be engrafted into academical studies, and proceed in a correspond ent and progressive ascent to our colleges.
“In the meantime I consider it my duty to recommend a law authorizing the supervisors of each county to raise a sum, not exceeding two thousand dollars, provided the same sum is subscribed by individuals, for the erection of a suitable edifice for a monitorial high school in the county town. I can conceive of no reasonable objection to the adoption of a measure so well calculated to raise the character of our schoolmasters, and to double the powers of our artizans, by giving them a scientific education.”
From the annual report of the Superintendent, it appeared that the number of school districts had increased to 8,298, from 7,806 of which returns had been received, showing that the whole number of children between the ages of five and fifteen, in the districts, was 419,216 ; and that the whole number taught in the common schools during the year reported, was 441,856 ; being an increase of 10,225 since the preceding year, and of 301,750 since 1816. The aggregate amount of public money received and expended by the several districts, in the payment of the wages of duly qualified teachers, was $222,995.77 ; of which $100,000 was paid from the state treasury, $110,542.32 raised by tax upon the several towns and counties, and $12,453.45 derived from local funds.
The productive capital of the school fund was increased during the year reported, $256,121.50, by the transfer of $33,616.19, the balance due on the loan of 1786 to this fund; and of $100,000 of bank stock owned by the state; by the avails of the premiums received on the sale of the stock of the Hudson and Delaware canal company, amounting to $31,156.50; and by the sale of lands owned by the state at Oswego, by which $91,349 were realized for the benefit of the fund.
The Superintendent recommends the affording additional facilities for common school instruction to children engaged in manufacturing establishments; and suggests the appropriation by the commissioners of common
classes. A small eum applied to the publication and distribution among the several school districts, of similar works, would have the most favors. ble influence.”
It will have been perceived, however, that Gov. Clinton, in his message at the opening of the session of 1827, called the attention of the legislature to the expediency of providing “small and suitable collections of books and maps, to be attached to the common schools.
Gov. Throop, in his message to the legislature at the opening of the seesion of 1831, thus alludes to this great interest of the state:
“There is no one of our public institutions of more importance, or which has better fulfilled public expectation, than that providing for instruction in common schools. The large fund appropriated to that object has produced a complete organization throughout the state ; and although the system has had to encounter all the obstacles to a new enterprize of such magnitude in its operations and objects, yet it has been well seconded by public zeal and liberality. Its imperfections may receive some correction from legislation, yet more is to be hoped from individual exertions to carry tbe design of the legislature into effect within the several districts."
From the annual report of the Superintendent for this year it appears that the whole number of districts was 9,062, from 8,630 of which reports had been made in accordance with law; that the number of children between the ages of five and sixteen residing in the several districts from which such reports had been recerved, was 497,503; and the number of children taught therein during the year reported, 499,434, being an increase of 19,333 over the number so taught the preceding year. The aggregate amount of public money received and expended in the several districts for the payment of the wages of duly qualified teachers, was $239,713.00; of which $100,000 was paid by the State from the common school fund; and the residue derived from a tax on the several towns, and from local funds. In addition to the public money, there was paid by the inhabitants of the several districts, on rate bills for teachers' wages, $346,807, making a total of $586,520 paid for teachers' wages alone. The average annual increase of the number of scholars instructed in the common schools, during the preceding eleven years was 20,000.
The productive capital of the common school fund amounted at this time to $1,696,743,66 ; and the revenue actually received into the tréssury on account of this fund, during the year 1830, exceeded the sum required for apportionment among the several districts by $678.60, it being the first year in which the revenue had produced the sum requisite for this purpose.
The Superintendent, in this report, examines and discusses at considera ble length the various plans for the education of teachers, and recommende the conversion of the several academies, equal in number at that period to the counties in the state, into seminaries for training teachers. On this subject he remarks: “The state has done much for these schools, and something in aid of the cause of the common schools may reascnably be expected from them; and if the required information to fit a person for teaching can be obtained in the present institutions, sound policy and good econcmy are in favor of relying upon them for the training of teachers.” He adverts in this connection to the proposition presented to the legislature at its preceding session, by a committee of the citizens of Rochester, for the estab lishment of a state seminary for the education of teachers, and a town central school in each town in the state, as a documeut exhibiting "much ro search and attention to the subject of common school instruction.” In this memorial (legislative documents, 1830, volume ir, no. 387,) the ocmmittee, ** (Messrs. Penney, Comstock, Brown, Ward and Norton,) after recapitulating the prominent defects in the existing condition of ccmmcn echool lucation submits a plan, designed
"1. To furnish a comre:ent copy of wall qualificd teachers
2. To diffuse the benefits of good teaching, at an early period, through all the districts in the state, and to accomplish the intention of the law as to an efficient inspection.
"3. To secure such a degree of respect and compensation to teachers, as to induce men of good talents and qualifications to make teaching a profession for life, and
"4. So to organize and govern the whole system of common school education as sufficiently to protect this great interest from every kind of abuse, and to cherish it for the various useful ends it may be made to serve!
"It is proposed to effect the first of these objects by the establishment of say three state seminaries, for the education of teachers; the second, by promoting the erection of one central school of the most approved description in each town, having the duties and services of its teacher so connected with all the other districts of the town, as to secure the object of good teaching to all, and gradually to qualify good teachers for the whole.” The particular details of the plan were also presented under the five following general heads :
“1. Of the proper qualifications of a teacher.
"2. Of a state seminary for educating teachers its government-its course of instruction-admission of studentstheir diplomas and privileges.
“. Of the town central schools their government, &c.
“4. Of an annual meeting of the faculties, and report on school boooks, &c.
“5. Of the government and general superintendence of the whole."
The great length of this document precludes its insertion here. It is, kowever, well worthy of a deliberate and attentive examination, in the present advanced stage of educational science; and its sound suggestions and practical views commend it to the favorable regards of all desirous of elevating and expanding to their utmost practicable limits the capabilities of our unrivalled system of public instruction. The condition of the common school fund at the period when these views were presented, interposed an insuperable obstacle to the adoption of the plan proposed. This objection has now to a great extent disappeared ; and it is believed that a sound and enlightened public sentiment will sustain the public authorities in carrying into execution, with such modifications and improvements as experience has subsequently brought to light, the recommendations and suggestions of the memorialists, at least so far as a state seminary for the preparation of teachers is concerned. The Superintendent, in his report for the present year, also examines and discusses the question, how far the expenses of supporting and maintaining the common schools, and supplying them with competent teachers, may advantageously be provided from the public funds of the state, and to what extent they may safely and successfully be committed immediately to the inhabitants of the several districts. He compares the operation of our system in this respect with those of Pennsylvania, Virginia, Connecticut and other states, in the two former of which the public funds were exclusively appropriated to the beneñt of the children of indigent inhabitants of the several districts, and in Connecticut, were lavished with an indiscriminate profusion, furnishing ample means for the gratuitous instruction of all classes. ; “Our system” he observes, “is well calculated to awaken the attention of all the inhabitants to the concerns of the district school. The power given to district meetings to levy a tax, to a limited extent, upon the property of the district, excites a direct interest with all the tåxable inhabitants to attend the district meetings, whether they have children requiring school accommodations or not. The wealthy are thus prompted to act as trustees, and to watch over the concerns of the district, in order to see that its affairs are conducted with care and economy; and much of the intelligence of the district is put in requisition by the peculiarity of our plan, which