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"The provisions of the law for the appoint. ll the present system of supervision and inspecment of town superintendents,” says the county |tion, has had a salutary influence in improving superintendent of Genesee, "meet the approba- ll our schools. The standard of qualification for tion of the people generally. It is thought to teachers has been materially raised ; and at be less expensive and more efficient than the for- ll this day it is very rare that a person of low acmer system. The officers appointed in this coun- quirements presents himself as a candidate for ty feel the responsibilities of their station, and teacher. I have no doubt that the act of the enter upon the discharge of their duties with last session, abolishing the office of inspectors zeal and ability."
and commissioners of common schools, and sub"Public opinion has evidently, in this county,'' |stituting that of town superintendent, has al. says the superintendent of Hamilton county, “un- ready had an important influence on the prosdergone a radical change on the subject of school perity of our schools. In this county that of. supervision; and the law of last winter reducing | fice, almost without exception, has been filled the number of town officers, has done much to by competent men, having a full sense of the satisfy the inhabitants that it is the wish of our | importance and responsibility of their station ; Legislature to improve the schools, without in and the effect has been, that men of low acquire. creasing the expense to the districts.”
ments have rarely applied for license as teach"I was accompanied by the town officers,"
ers, and when such have applied they have al. says the superintendent of Jefferson county, “sel. |most uniformly been rejected. There is now a dom, previous to the first of June last. On the
complete co-operation between the town and second day of June, the day after he received his county superintendents, which has ensured, and appointment, one of the town superintendents will hereafter ensure, the employment of more commenced his labors by accompanying me in competent teachers, and of course remove one my visits to the schools; and since that time I great hindrance to the elevation of our schools. have been left to visit alone, only about ten days. The town superintendents have been selected When there were five officers, it was hard to find with reference more to their ability and learnone sufficiently interested to go even to see what| ing than to their political creed or party serwas doing in the schools; now there is but one, ll vices." I have always found him ready and generally " The law abolishing the offices of commis. efficient. This, with me, is sufficient evidence of sioner and inspector, and creating that of town the excellence of the present system of town of superintendent of common schools," says the sun ficers over the former.”
perintendent of the northern section of Wash. “ The law of last winter," observes the coun.
ington county, “ has received the almost unani. ty superintendent of Rensselaer, "abolishing the mous approval of the people. It is a decided offices of town inspectors and commissioners, Il improvement in the system. The town superinand substituting in their places town superinten- tendent feels that the character of the schools dents, is almost universally regarded as an act ofll in his town depends very much upon his efforts, wise legislation.” “These important officers and that there is no one else to discharge the were selected with much care and discretion, by duties of his office but himself. The result is, the appointing officers of the several towns. I those duties are performed with fidelity and a They are good scholars, moral men and faithful commendable zeal. The labors of the county officers-ready to co-operate with the State or superintendent are made much more useful by county superintendent in any measures for the this change. A correspondence can now be improvement of the schools under their supervi. easily kept up with each town, and constant sion."
and correct information of the state of all the " That the present system of conducting the schools be possessed by the co. superintendent, affairs of our schools," observes the county su. enabling him properly to direct his efforts, and perintendent of Steuben, “is less expensive, to make his visits at a time and in a manner more simple and more efficient than the old || most beneficial to the schools." method, are features in its character which can. | The correct and harmonious movements of not escape common observation, and which are the school machinery of this State depend to a beginning to make a favorable impression on very great extent upon the proper selection of the public mind." "The concentration in the county and town superintendents. However hands of the town superintendents of the powers || judicious any system may be in theory, yet the formerly vested in the commissioners and in perfection of its practical operation is graduated spectors, thus throwing upon this single officer by the skill and ability of those to whose care the responsibility which was formerly divided is committed its administration. Among the among five, must certainly have a tendency to various systems which might be devised, it augment the importance of the office itself in would hardly be a figure of speech to pronounce the estimation of the people, and to make them that careful in the selection of those who fill it.” 1 "Whate'er is best administered is best."
“ The substitution of town superintendents. The ability, zeal and singleness of purpose for inspectors and commissioners,' says the su. ll of any set of officers, even under an imperfect perintendent of Sullivan county,'" is, without and disjointed system, might accomplish much doubt, a valuable improvement in our common good ; and without these indispensable qualifi. school system. In this county, selections have cations, the most simple and perfect organization been made solely with reference to the ability would prove a failure. of the men for discharging the duties of the of. Hitherto the supervisors, with some few exfice; and in every town I have found them able ceptions, have appointed individuals as county auxiliaries in promoting the interests of the superintendents who were highly qualified for schools."
the station, and in canvassing the State, it will “I am much gratified in being able to state,"|| be found that in all those counties where the says the superintendent of Ulster county, “that" most happy selections have been made, the po
pularity of the system is the most firmly estab. obtaining a satisfactory account of the affairs lished. That these officers by a capable and of the district from their predecessors; and not zealous discharge of their duties, can confer unfrequently, large amounts have been recoverbenefits infinitely more valuable than theired by legal process against the former, on the meagre compensation, begins to be understood ;l unexecuted contracts of the latter, for which no and it is servently hoped that in every election indemnity, short of legislative provision, exist. hereafter to be made, of either town or county led. Under the present system, ample time is superintendent, the most competent individual, afforded for the complete execution of all conwithout reference to sect or party, will be se tracts entered into by the trustees; and on the lected. On such a subject, where the good of accession of a new officer, he will always find their children is at stake, men should dismiss two colleagues intimately acquainted with the their narrow prejudices, and tear in sunder the concerns of the district, and prepared to co-ope. shackles of party. They should consult only rate efficiently in the administration of its af. " the greatest good of the greatest number" of fairs. Every facility will thus be afforded for the rising generation. They should direct their the systemaiic transaction of official business, preferences to those only who are the ardent and for the enlightened discharge of official du. friends of youthful progress-10 those only, thel'ty. smoke of whose incense offered in this holy 1 Apportionment of Public Moncu. cause, daily ascends to heaven; and whose Owing to the frequent changes in the laws lips have been touched with a burning coal relating to common schools which have occurred from the altar.
during the past few years, and to the irregularThe appellate jurisdiction conferred by thellity with which the successive provisions of law act or the last session on county superintendents, and the expositions and instructions of the Deover the several acts and proceedings of town
partment in reference thereto, have been receiy. and district officers relating to common schools,
led by the officers and inhabitants of the several has been productive of very beneficial results. Il districts, numerous instances of forfeitures of the Few appeals have been brought, owing to the public money have unavoidably occurred; and facility with which controversies arising among applications for the exercise of the discretionary the inhabitants and officers of the several dis-lland equitable powers vested in the Superinten. tricts. are checked in their incipient stages byldent by law. have uniformly been allowed when. the prudent counsels of the county superinten lever supported by the reouisite evidence of dents, who by a personal interview with the
good faith and an unintentional or unavoidable parties and with the means of obtaining an ac.
omission to comply with the strict requisitions curate knowledge of their peculiar situation and
of the act. Deeming the results of the legislawants with reference to school district accom.
tion of the last session, in connection with that modation, is enabled to harmonize conflicting which had preceded it, as intended to settle the interests, which experience has demonstrated
policy of the State in respect to the organizamight otherwise ripen into inveterate neighbor-Il tion and principal details of our common school hood feuds and lead to protracted litigation.
system, and to place the system thus adopted The salutary effects of this pacific system havellon a permanent basis, I have caused the vari. been extensively felt throughout the State; and|lous provisions of law relating to this subject to it is believed that no more efficient means of be consolidated, and arranged under the various dispensing equal, exact and speedy justice, I heads to which they appertain, and the whole, could be devised, than have thus been provided.l together with the instructions and expositions By the denial of costs in all cases where schoolllof my predecessor and myself, to be published officers, acting in good faith, are subjected to in three successive numbers of the District legal prosecution, and by providing a tribunal School Journal, and forwarded to the clerk of fully competent to settle all controversies grow.lleach district in the State and to the various ing out of the operation of the laws relating to town and county officers charged with the percommon schools, without cost. or delay to either formance of any duty under those laws, with party, the most abundant facilities are afforded for
specific instructions to the several town and a prompt and peaceful adjustinent of the various
he various county superintendents to see that they are in differences incident to the practical operation of ley
every case duly received. I have also deemed a system comprehending so great a diversity of lit expedient to authorize. by
it expedient to authorize, by a general order di. interests.
rected to the several town superintendents, the Trustees of School Districts.
apportionment and distribution of the propor. The election of trustees of school districtstionate share of public money for the ensuing
which for a term of three years, in connection with l year to each district, the reports from the annual election of one of their number. I shall show a substantial compliance with law. cannot fail to secure a much more efficient and or be accompanied with a satisfactory excuse. systematic administration of the affairs of the under oath, for any deficiency in this respect. several districts, than has heretofore been found |By the adoption of this measure, the several practicable. The duties and responsibilities of districts will be enabled to enter upon the new this class of officers are important; and their organization of the system, upon an equal footintelligent performance requires exnerience, asing and with every facility for a future punctual well as public spirit. Great embarrassments compliance with the various provisions of law; have heretofore been experienced in relation to land all pretence or necessity for any subsequent the pecuniary concerns of the districts, and departure from their requisitions, excepting un. the fulfilment of contracts with teachers and der extraordinary circumstances, will be obvin. others, arising from the frequent and entire ted. change of trustees, and the impracticability in
District Libraries. many cases, on the part of the new officers, ofl. The aggregate number of volumes in the seve
ral district libraries, is reported at about 875,000.) in the Circular of Gen. Dix accompanying the In consequence of the prevalence of a defective publication of the act of 1838, to be to dissem. method in the returns heretofore made to the inate works suited to the intellectual improve. Department in this respect, by which the num. || ment of the great body of the people, rather ber of volumes in the libraries of joint districts than to throw into school districts for the use of was reported to the commissioners of each of the young, books of a merely juvenile character; the towns from parts of which the districts and that by collecting a large amount of useful were composed, the aggregate number of vol. information, where it will be easily accessible, umes in the State has been over-estimated in the influence of these establishments can hard. previous reports of this Department. Measures ly fail to be in the highest degree salutary to have been adopted to obviate this source of er. those who have finished their common school eduror in the reports for the past year; and it is cation, as well as to those who have not. The believed that the number now stated is as near object in view will probably be best answered by ly accurate as it is practicable to make it. having books suitable for all ages above ten or
The average circulation of the books belong. twelve years, though the proportion for those of ing to the several district libraries, is steadily | mature age ought to be by far the greatest." increasing, and a more enlightened appreciation When it is considered that the foundations of of the value of these repositories of instruction education are laid during the period of youth,and beginning to prevail. Through the indefatiga- that the taste for reading and study is, with ble exertions of the several county and town rare exceptions, formed and matured at this superintendents, objectionable books have been period, if at all, the importance of furnishing promptly removed, and their places supplied an adequate supply of books, adapted to the with other and more suitable works, wherever comprehension of the immature but expanding the attention of trustees and inhabitants has intellect-suited to its various stages of mental been directed to the subject. The principles by ll growth, and calculated to lead it onward by a which the selection of books for the several gradual and agreeable transition, from one field district libraries should be governed, and in of intellectual and moral culture to another, subordination to which well written works in cannot fail to be appreciated. And even if the the various departments of literature, science, intellectual wants of many of the inhabitants and political and social economy, may advan- of the districts, of more mature age, are duly tageously find a place in these institutions, are considered, it admits of little doubt that a due ably canvassed in the special report of the sus proportion of works of a more familiar and ele. perintendent of Cortland county; and the results mentary character than are the mass of those to which that officer arrives in relation to the il generally selected, would have a tendency not kind of books proper to be introduced into the only to promote, but often to create that taste common school libraries, as well as those which for mental pursuits which leads by a rapid and should be systematically excluded, correspond sure progression to a more extended acquain. in all respects with the views of this Depart. tance with the broad domains of knowledge. ment.
Those whose circumstances and pursuits in There is reason to apprehend that the officers life, have hitherto precluded any systematic in. charged with the duty of selecting books for vestigation of literary subjects, and who, if they these libraries have too generally failed to ap- possessed the desire, were debarred the means preciate the importance of a suitable provision of intellectual improvement now brought withfor the intellectual and moral wants of the child in their reach, can scarcely be expected to pass dren of the district. Much misapprehension at once to that high appreciation of useful has existed on this subject, in consequence of knowledge, which the perusal of elaborate trea. the general prohibition, contained in the instruc-tises on any of the numerous branches of tions heretofore communicated from this Depart. science or metaphysics requires ; and the fact ment, against the introduction into the school li- | brought to view by the annual reports of the braries of books of "a merely juvenile charac. ll county superintendents, that by far the greater ter. The true principles upon which the selec- l proportion of the inhabitants of the several tions for these institutions should be made, may districts neglect to avail themselves of the pri. be clearly inferred as well from the original vileges of the library, indicates too general a design of the appropriation, as from the contem. |failure, to supply these institutions with the reporaneous exposition of ihe Superintendent, ll quisite proportion of elementary books. under whose immediate auspices it was first In the selection of books for the district libra. carried into effect. The distribution of the sundries, suitable provisions should be made for every provided for this purpose, was directed by the gradation of intellectual advancement; from that act under which it was supplied to be made in of a child, whose insatiable curiosity eagerly like manner and upon the like condition as the prompts to a more intimate acquaintance with school moneys are now or shall hereafter beihe world of matter and of mind, to that of the distributed, except that the trustees of the seve. | most finished scholar, who is prepared to aug. ral districts shall appropriate the sum received | ment his stock of knowledge by every means to the purchase of a district library.” The which may be brought within his reach. The amount of library money, therefore, under this prevalence of an enlightened appreciation of the provision, to which each district became enti-requirements of our people in this respect, has tled, was in proportion to the number of chil- || already secured the application of the highest dren between the ages of five and sixteen, re-l grade of mental and moral excellence to the ele. siding therein, compared with the aggregate mentary departments of literature; and works number in all the districts, and not in propor-|| adapted to the comprehension of the most im: tion to the adult population merely, or the whole mature intellect, and at the same time capable population combined. The primary object ofl of conveying the most valuable information to the institution of district libraries, was declaredll more advanced minds, have been provid
wholly free on the one hand from that puerility ||ation of $1,200 to each. A first rate teacher in which is fit only for the nursery, and on the other such an establishment cannot be procured short from those generalizations and assumptions of $1,500 a year: and it is believed that at the which are adapted only to advanced stages of commencement of the system, none but the very mental progress. A more liberalinfusion of this best should be employed. A different course class of publications, sanctioned by the appro- might lead to a failure; and thus one of the great. bation of the most experienced friends of edu-l est improvements in modern times, might be in. cation, into our district libraries, would, it is definitely postponed. confidently believed, remove many of those ob Since the appointment of county superintend. stacles to their general utility, which otherwise ents, and under their influence, new and volun. are liable to be perpetuated from generation to tary associations called " Teachers' Institutes," generation.
have been organized in several of the counties, District School Journal.
from which great improvement bas resulted. This valuable periodical continues to exert a
The first of these institutions was established favorable influence on the interests of the schools.
two years ago under the auspices of the superIts circulation is steadily increasing; and wher
intendent of Tompkins county. A teacher of ever it is regularly received and read, the offi- 11h
h oftill thirty years' experience (Salem Town, A. M.) cers and inhabitants of districts, and teachers, I was
has attended the sessions of several of these vol. derive great benefit from its pages. Measures
untary associations, and communicated to them have been taken to secure its prompt and regu.
not only the lights of his long practical know. lar reception in the several districts of the State;
ledge, but also the benefits of his ample scientific and it is hoped that those especially to whom it|
ll attainments. In a communication from him to is gratuitously sent, at an expense of several
this department, which is herewith transmitted, thousands of dollars by the State, will not fail
the course of discipline and instruction pursued in to appreciate its importance in the diffusion as
these Institutes is clearly explained. It will be well of useful practical information concerning
no seen that Mr. Town, at ihe three sessions which the interests of education generally, as of the
he has attended, has aided in imparting instruc. laws relating to common schools, and the in
tion to four hundred and thirty-six teachers, of structions, exposition and decisions of the de.
whom two hundred and sixty-six were females partment under those laws. The county super
and one hundred and seventy males. By thus intendents, with very great unanimity, bear the
associating together for two or three weeks in most decisive testimony to the value and the
the year, the teachers of a county may commuutility of this periodical; and the fact that its
nicate to each other every improvement within editor is himself an efficient co-operator in the
the knowledge of any one of them: and by listgreat work of public instruction, as superintend |
ljening to lectures, and submitting themselves to ent of the county of Albany, will doubtless give
the regular discipline of a school, may augment to his suggestions and recommendations that
their scientific knowledge, and make great acpractical cast which is so indispensable to their 9
Iquisitions in the theory and practice of teaching. general adoption by the people. There has hith
| Poorly as teachers are usually paid, (they de. erto been very great neglect on the part of the
serve great credit for the sacrifices of both time officers of the several districts in preserving and
and money, to which they thus voluntarily subbinding this periodical at the expiration of the
mit, in attending these associations. And strong. year; but under the instructions recently issued
ly impressed with the utility of such associations to the town superintendents on this head, it is
in the advancement of educational knowledge, believed that the provisions of the law will be
I earnestly recommend to the Legislature the more generally carried into effect.
passage of a law by which the sum heretofore
appropriated to sustain teachers' departments in Normal Schools and Teachers' Institutes academies-a system which has to a great ex. In the last annual report from this Depart. l tent been a failure-shall be applied in equal por. ment, the subject of normal schools was brought|tions among the teachers' Institutes, which may before the Legislature; and it was proposed that be organized and maintained for at least two the money bestowed on sixteen academies, for weeks in each year, in the several counties in the purpose of sustaining teachers' departments,
this State. Should the teachers in every county should be divided into four parts of $1,200 each, of the State form associations, the sum of $4,800 and applied to the establishment of four normal divided among fifty-nine associations, would af. schools, to be connected with four academies in
ford but a very inconsiderable amount to each, different sections of the State. In conformity It would in that case, however, be sufficient to with this suggestion the Regents of the Univer
Regents of the Univer- || pay the rent of a room for the meeting of the as. sity withheld from the sixteen academies in
sociation, to procure a few able addresses from which teachers' departments had been estab. competent lecturers, and perhaps some little inlished, the sums which they had previously re. dispensable apparatus. It would be much more ceived. During the last season a very extensive encouraging if the sum was sufficient to cover correspondence with many individuals in respect all the pecuniary expenditures of the teachers to the establishment of these schools has been for board and travel. In such case, many would had, and numerous applications from academies doubtless attend, who would not otherwise be to be selected for this purpose, have been made. llable, and the lights of educational science be The result of the examinations which during thus more widely diffused. the last year have been made on this subject, has The sum of $275,000 annually distributed from satisfactorily established the fact that four nor- the School Fund, gives to each of the 657,782 mal schools, although connected with academies, ll children of the State, less than forty-two cents : and subjected to no expense for rent, or for or- l whilst it will be perceived, by referring to the dinary academic apparatus, cannot be estab- last annual report of the Regents of the Univer. lished and maintained with an annual appropri. Ilsity, that the students in the academies of this
State, who are generally the sons of the rich, ll and intellectual development of the six hundred receive annually from the avails of the Litera- llthousand children of this State ? ture Fund, the sum of $3.55 each ; and this is | The great mass of the rising generation have wholly independent of the $4,800 heretofore ap-lno agents specially charged in their behalf to plied to teachers' departments. On the subject | beleaguer the halls of legislation, in order that of normal schools, which last year was brought they may bestow their assiduities upon membefore the Legislature, no law was passed, nor || bers, in the solicitation of special favors. They was any legislative action had. From the his. have not the means of employing or paying such tory of their operation in Europe, as well as in agents: and if they were allowed to speak on this country, and from additional information and this subject, actuated as they would be by the reflection as to their details, an increasing con- llgenerous and confiding impulses of the youthful viction of their great utility in simplifying and heart, they would ask no more from their rulers expediting the communication of knowledge tollthan equal care and equal justice. the young, is entertained; and it is believed that|| Charged with the supervision of the educa. the appropriation of a sum sufficient to establish tional concerns of more than half a million of and maintain four such schools properly located children on whose instruction and well-being all by the Legislature, or some other tribunal, could the prospects and hopes of the future repose, in no other way be so usefully expended. If may not the undersigned regard himself as their there are prejudices in the public mind against humble advocate, and earnestly supplicate the such schools, on the ground that they are inno- | Legislature to do more for their advancement in vations upon existing customs, it would result | knowledge than has heretofore been accomplishin great good if even one could be established at led ?
S. YOUNG the seat of government, where it could be annu.
[For Abstract of Reports of County Superintendente, ally inspected by members of the Legislature,
see pages 174 and 175.--Ep.) who would thus be enabled to diffuse among their constituents, a knowledge of its utility.
STATE OF NEW-YORK-SECRETARY'S OFFICE. That a teacher of proper capacity and acquire. DEPARTMENT OF COMMON SCHOOLS. ments, thoroughly educated in a normal school, can communicate more learning to his pupils in
TEACHERS OF COMMON SCHOOLS. six months, than is usually communicated under the old system of teaching in double that period, ||
State Certificates of qualification as Teachers is fully believed. If it were affirmed that a me
of Common Schools have been granted, under chanic who had been carefully instructed in the
// the 10th section of the Act of April 17, 1843, to
the following named persons, on the special retheoreticaland practical departments of his trade,
commendations of the County Superintendents could do twice as much work, and do it twice as
of the respective counties in which such persons well, as one who should assume that without
reside, or on such other testimonials of charac. previous discipline he was possessed of the trade
ter and capacity as was deemed satisfactory to by instinct, the affirmation could hardly fail to be credited. And is it not equally apparent that
the Department. Such of the certificates as the educator, whose functions embrace in an em.
have not already been received, will remain in inent degree both art and science; whois required
this office until called or sent for by those to to study and to understand the different disposi.
whom they belong. tions and propensities of the children committed
Gentlemen. to his care; to whose culture is confided the em- || George W. Fitch,..... Troy, Rensselaer Co. bryo blossoms of the mind; who is carefully to|| Linus H. Reynolds,....
to || Linus H. Reynolds,.... - Washington. watch their daily growth, and to aid and accele- John M. Sherman,..... Rochester, Monroe. rate their expansion, so that they may yield rich || William W. Foster,... Cortland, Cortland. fruit in beauty and abundance; in short, who in Archibald Nichols,.... Salisbury, Herkimer. the incipient stage of its existence is to attune| Nathan F. Winslow,... Bergen, Genesee. the delicate and complicated chords of the hu- | Kingsley L. Durbon,... Darien, do. man soul into the moral and intellectual harmo- Jonas G. French,...... Barton, Tioga. nies of social life; is it not equally apparent that William S. Carr,...... Schenect'y, Sch'y. such a mission cannot be worthily performed|| Isaac Swist,......... Geneva, Ontario without careful preparation ?
Loring Danforth,...... Buffalo, Erie. In 1838, the sum of $15,000 from the avails of Lorenzo J. Ellsworth,. - Niagara. the U. S. Deposit Fund, was granted to three|| Amos S. Gregory,....,
do. colleges, annually for five years, "and until oth-|| Thomas E. Burdick,...
Fulton. erwise directed by law." This sum, divided || Peleg A. Spencer,..... Middleburgh, Scho. among the students of these institutions, gives | Parker Jenkins,....... Cobleskill, do. to each, annually, the sum of about $47. A!|John C. Sellick,....... Schoharie, do. strong contrast is here presented to the forty-two | Samuel Steele,......... Albany, Albany. cents bestowed annually from the funds of thel J. W. Bulkley,........ do. State upon the children of the poor. To add to Ebenezer W. Carney,.. - Fulton. the wealth of the rich and the poverty of the James Parker,........ Frewsburgh, Chaut. poor, seems to have formed a prominent featurel Henry Dean,..........
Brooklyn, Kings. in the policy of past legislation. Has not the Matthias Bance,...... Claverack, Columbia. time come to abandon this policy? The five Anson Boright,........ Stuyvesant, do. years for which this large sum was granted has James Carver,........ Kinderhook, do. fully expired; and will not these three institu- // Frederick Smith,.... Hudson, do. tions now willingly relinquish this sum, in order Samuel Cole,.......... Palmyra, Wayne. that it may be applied to the establishment of Edwin S. Adams,...... Schodack, Rens. normal schools, and thus accelerate the moral|| Isaac N. Mason,......, Norwich, Chenango.