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of teachers and friends of education, the improvements adopted in any one district are made known to all; and the experience, observations and suggestions of each county Superintendent, annually communicated through their reports, to all. By these means the stream of popular education, purified at its source and relieved from many of its former obstructions, is dispensing its invigorating waters over a very considerable portion of the state.
“ The reports of the several county Superintendents exhibit unequivocal evidence of efficient exertions on their part, in the performance of the responsible duties assigned them by law and by the instructions of this department. To their efforts is to be attributed, to a very great extent, the revolution in public sentiment, by which the district school from being the object of general aversion and reproach, begins to attract the attention and regard of all. To their enlightened labors for the elevation and advancement of these elementary institutions, we owe it in a great measure, that new and improved modes of teaching, of government and of discipline have succeeded in a very large proportion of the districts, to those which have hitherto prevailed; that a higher grade of qualifications for teachers bas been almost universally required; that parents have been induced to visit and take an interest in the schools; that private and select schools have been to a considerable extent discountenanced, and the entire energies of the inhabitants of districts concentrated on the district school; and that the importance, the capabilities and extended means of usefulness of these nurseries of knowledge and virtue, are beginning to be adequately appreciated in nearly every section of the state. Collectively considered, these officers have well vindicated the confidence reposed in them by the legislature and the people, and justified the anticipations of the friends of education."
Having brought these sketches to a close a general summary of the leading features of the system, as at present organized, may not prove an inappropriate introduction to a more precise and specific delineation of each separate branch:
The affairs of each district are managed under the general direction of the inhabitants entitled to vote therein, by three trustees, one of whom is annually elected, who hold their offices for three years, a district clerk, collector, and librarian. These trustees are required annually, between the 1st and 15th of January, to report to the Town Superintendent, the length of time a school has been taught in their district during the preceding year, by qualified teachers, the amount of public money received and expended, the number of children taught, the number between 5 and 16, residing in the district, together with such other information as may from time to time be required of them by the Superintendent of Common Schools; they have
power also and are required to call annual and special meetings of the inhabitants, to make out tax lists of all iaxes voted for district purposes, and annex their warrant for the collection of the same; to purchase or lease sites for the school house, when designated by the inhabitants, and to build, hire or purchase, keep in repair and furnish such school house with necessary fuel and appendages, out of the funds collected and paid to them for that purpose; they have the custody and safe keeping of the district school house; contract with and employ teachers, and make out the necessary rate bill for so much of their wages as is not paid from the public funds applicable to that purpose; exempting indigent persons either wholly or in part, and levying such exemption upon the taxable property of the district. The Town Superintendent is annually elected by the people at town meetings, and has the general supervision of the interests of common schools in his town; visits and inspects each school within his jurisdiction as often at least as once in each quarter; advises and directs as to the government, discipline, and course of instruction therein; examines and licenses teachers annually; receives and apportions the school money belonging to his town, among the several districts, according to the number of children between the ages of 5 and 16 residing in each, at the date of its annual report; forms, regulates and alters school districts, in conjunction (when required by the trustees of any district interested) with the supervisor and town clerk; prosecutes for and collects all fines and penalties imposed by the school act upon the officers of districts; and annually reports to the County Superintendent the number of districts in his town, the amount of public money received and expended, from what sources received and how expended, together with a condensed abstract of all the reports of the trustees of districts made to him, and a variety of other information relative to the condition of the several schools under his charge. The County Superintendent is appointed once in two years by the board of supervisors, and is removable by them, and by the State Superintendent, for neglect of duty or mal-conduct. He is charged with the general supervision of the schools of the county; hears and determines all appeals arising within his jurisdiction, subject to the review of the state Superintendent; examines and grants permanent certificates of qualification to teachers, which are available throughout the county; may, with the concurrence of any town superintendent, annul any certificate granted by the latter; annually visits and inspects the several schools of the county as often as practicable; inquires into all matters relating to their government, course of instruction, the condition of the school houses and of the districts generally; advises and coun sels with the trustees and other officers in relation to their duties, and with the several teachers in relation to their modes
of teaching, government and discipline, course of studies, tex! books, &c. and generally, subject to such rules and regulations as the state Superintendent may from time to time prescribe, is directed “ by all the means in his power to promote sound education, elevate the character and qualifications of teachers, improve the means of instruction, and advance the interest of the schools committed to his charge.” He is required annually to report to the State Superintendent, the result of his examinations and inspections, together with a great variety of useful statistical information relating to the condition of the several schools under his charge; an abstract of all the reports of the Town Superintendents; and such other suggestions for the advancement and improvement of the interests of education generally, as he may deem advisable. These officers call periodical meetings of the Town Superintendents, teachers of common schools, officers and inhabitants of districts for the purpose of mutual consultation and advancement; organize teachers' institutes preparatory to the summer and winter
terms wi the view of instructing the several teachers and preparing them for the efficient discharge of the duties devolving upon them; and deliver familiar lectures in each district, at each visitation. The ability, fidelity and success with which their duties have thus far been discharged, have exerted a bighly beneficial influence on the interests of education.
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 public money among the several counties and towns; distributes the laws, instructions, deci.. sions, forms, &c., through the agency of the County and Town Superintendents, to the several districts—is the ultimate tribunal for the decision of all controversies arising under any of the laws relating to common schools 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 the several districts; 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; reports annually to the legislature the condition, prospects, resources and capabilities of the common schools, the management of the school fund, and such suggestions for the improvement of the system as may occur to him: and vigilantly watches over, encourages, sustains and expands to its utmost practicable limit the vast system of common school education throughout the state.
The sum of $275,000 is annually apportioned by the state, from the school fund, and paid over to the several counties in proportion to the population of each: an equal amount is re quired by law to be raised on the taxable property of the several
counties and towns: one-fifth of the aggregate is required to be expended either in the purchase of suitable books for a distric' library, or for maps, globes and other school apparatus: and the residue, augmented by local funds and by an amount equal to that received from the state, to be raised by vote of the town, at the discretion of the inhabitants, in paying the wages of duly qualified teachers.
During the year embraced in the last annual report of the Superintendent of common schools, the aggregate amount of public money received and expended in the several districts from which reports have been received, was $660,727.41; of which $565,793.76 were applied to the payment of teachers' wages, and $94,933.65 to the purchase of suitable books for the district libraries. The number of volumes in the latter amounted in the aggregate to 875,000. The amount paid by the inhabitants of the several districts on rate bills for teachers' wages, over and above the public money applied to that purpose, was $509,376.97: making an aggregate amount of upwards of $1,000,000 applied during the year to the payment of the wages of teachers alone.
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 nearly forty years; a system comprehending the best and dearest interests, present and prospective, 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 public and private virtue, which alone can enable us worthily to fulfil the noble destinies involved in our free institutions. EstO PERPETUA!
The table upon the following page presents a connected view of the progress of the system from the period of the first statistical report, in 1815.
COMPARATIVE STATEMENT Of the condition of the Common Schools, from 1815, the period of
the first statistical report, to 1843.
May 1, 1815 2,755) 2, 631 140, 106 176, 449 $48, 376 $55, 720 98 1816 3,713 2, 873 170,385 199, 440
46,399 64, 834 88 1317 3, 264 3,228 183, 253 218,969
51,799 73, 235 42 1918 4,614 3, 841 210,316 235,871 59,933 92,010 54
1819 5,763 5,118 271, 577 30:2, 703 69,968 117,161 07 Jan. 1, 1820 6,332 5,489 304,559 317,633 59,930 146,418 08 16
1921 6, 659 5,892 332,979 339, 258 79,967 157, 195 04
Including revenue from United States Deposit Fund.