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esty to expose any serious infringement of the annually appropriated to the colleges and acade rights and interests of the great body of the mies, is or is not unnecessarily large, is undoubt. people, resulting from the legitimate operations edly a question worthy of the most careful conof the system confided to his care, and the credit sideration, on the part as well of the legisla. of having originated and carried out numerous ture as the people : whether, should it ultimately and important reforms in the details of that sys. be found expedient to diminish that amount, & tem by which hundreds of useless officers have corresponding increase of the fund now approbeen dispensed with, and a vast amount of bur. priated to the support of the common schools densome and unprofitable expense annually saved would be desirable, admits, to say the least, of to the people of the several counties and towns. very serious doubt. So long ago as 1834, when Those who consider him capable of conniving, the amount annually distributed among the sevedirectly or indirectly, with "tyranny and desporal school districts, was considerably less than tism" in any of its forms, either in the adminis- one-half of the present sum, Gen. Dix, then tration of the common school system, or other. Superintendent, observed in his annual report to wise, wholly misapprehend his character, and the legislature, that "experience in other states evince an entire ignorance of the whole tenor of has proved what has been abundanuy confirmed his long and eminently useful public career. Un by our own, that too large a sum of public mo. der his auspices, and during his administration ney distributed among the common schools has of the department, the number of officers con. no salutary effect. Beyond a certain point, the nected with the local administration of the com. voluntary contributions of the inhabitants. demon schools has been reduced from upwards of cline in amount, with almost uniform regularity, 4,000 to 842; the aggregate annual expense of as the contributions from a public fund increase." the system has been diminished by about “Should the general fund at any future day," he $50,000; the public money has been secured continues,“ be recruited so as to admit of an against extensive losses growing out of the neg. augmentation of the capital or revenue of the lect, the irresponsibility, and in many instances common school fund, or both, the policy of in. the fraud of those to whose custody it has here. creasing the sum annually distributed to the tofore been consigned ; and the most energetic common schools beyond an amount which shall, and efficient measures have been adopted to se. when taken in connection with the number of cure a faithful and judicious administration of children annually taught in them, ez ceed the the entire system, through the agency of the va present rate of apportionment, would be in the rious county and town superintendents, and trus- highest degree questionable." The number of tees and other officers of the several districts. children then taught in the several district schools So far, therefore, as he is concerned, economy of the state was 512,475, and the annual apporin expenditure, strict responsibility, and an essen- tionment from the common school fund was tial simplification of the system have eertainly $100,000. The former has increased to 657,782: been attained.
while the latter, instead of a proportional amount, It is alleged, however, by the opponents of which would be $128,354, has been augmented the system in your county, that it is uneqnai, to $220,000, applicable solely to the payment of unjust, unnecessarily expensive, unreasonably teachers. In his annual report for the year complicated, arbitrary, and withal tending to 1836, the same judicious and discriminating offi. sectarianism." Will you permit me so far to cer makes use of the following language : "It trespass upon your patience and kind indulgence is, from the nature of the subject, impossible to as to examine, somewhat in detail, these various fix the exact limit below which a reduction of objections, with the view of attempting to show the sum distributed (including the amount what I deem their fallacy? And although I may raised by taxation in the several towns,): would not succeed in inducing those of your fellow-citi. cease to operate as an inducement to the inhabi. zens who have assumed an attitude of hostility tants to assume the residue of the expenses of to the system, to abandon their position, I may maintaining the schools, or beyond which its inpossibly contribute to place the subject in a difcrease would render their burdens so light as to ferent point of view from that in which they create inattention to the concerns of the dishave been accustomed to survey it.
tricts. It may, however, be safely assumed that 1. The systern is charged with inequality and at any point between forty and fifty cents per injustice, " because it gives to colleges and acad. scholar, it is not probable that either of these emies in proportion to their pupils, dollars, evils would be felt; and that its augmentation while it gives to common schools, for whose above the marimum, on the one hand, or its re. benefit the school fund was created, only cents." | duciion on the other below the minimum above:
This objection is presumed to be based upon named, ought to be avoided, if practicable." The a misapprehension of the facts of the case. The amount now apportioned to each scholar (inclu. common school fund and the literature fund are ding the sum raised by taxation, as above) is separate and distinct funds. The former is, by a eighty-four cents; and it is believed that the augspecific provision of the Constitution, inviolably mentation beyond the maximum indicated by appropriated to the support of common schools. Gen. Dix, has been unattended either by any and can, under no pretence, be diverted from corresponding improvement in the schools them. that object; while the latter is derived from a selves, or any proportional increase of the inte. different source, is placed at the disposal of the rest felt in their prosperity and advancement. Regents of the University and of the legislature, But be this as it may, the legislature only is and forms no part of the common school system competent to adjust the ratio of apportionment That system, therefore, is clearly not chargeable between the common school and the literature with the inequality and injustice of the corapara. i funds: and neither the common school system, nor tive appropriations to the different institutions its administrators, can be held responsible for any of learning. Whether the amount of the fund supposed inequality or injustice in this respect.
2. The system is alleged to be unnecessari. and it was finally incorporated as a portion of ly expensive." “ By far too many officers are the system by a nearly unanimous vote in both believed to be engaged in its adıninistration." branehes of the legislature of 1841. During the " The office of county superintendent is consid. session of 1842, numerous petitions and remon. ered by nineteen-twentieths, if not pinety-nine strances for and against the abolition of the of. hundredths of the people, as worse than useless fice were presented to the legislature ; but the -imposing a tax of from $500 to $1,000 on the assembly committee on colleges, academies and county, without any adequate or corresponding common schools, of which Mr. Hulburd was advantage."
chairman, in an able and masterly report, came With regard to the expensiveness of the sys. to the unanimous conclusion, after a full and tem of common schools, it may be well to ob deliberate investigation, that the system in this serve in passing, that an increase of the amount respect should remain unchanged believing to be distributed by the state, would in all pro. it to be not only the most economical and effibability require a corresponding increase in the cient, but the most important provision in our amount to be raised by taxation upon the several complex and extensive organization of public towns: and if. as the objection now taken assumes, instruction, and anticipating from its continuance the system is already " unnecessarily expensive," the rapid and thorough reformation of the it is not perceived how the positions assumed schools.” In this conclusion the committee were under the first head, can be reconciled with sustained by a nearly unanimous vote of the those now to be considered--unless indeed the house. A similar result attended a similar abolition of a single office-that of county su. movement at the last session ; and so far as the perintendent-should be regarded as restoring popularity of the system, its importance and the pecuniary balance to its equilibrium. Neither utility as a means of advancement of popular the trustees nor any of the subordinate officers education, may legitimately be inferred from of school districts, with the single exception of repeated and strong expressions in both branches the collector, receive any compensation for their of the legislature, from the result of popular laborious and responsible services. No one will conventions in nearly every section of the state, pretend that teachers are overpaid. A single from the general tone of the press of all parties, town officer, charged with the performance of, and from the individual opinions of the most dis. the duties heretofore divided among six, and re- tinguished and eminent friends of education, quired in addition, to give ample security for the with scarcely a solitary exception, the assersafe keeping and legal disbursement of the pub. tion, that "nineteen-twentieths or ninety-nine lic money confided to his charge, certainly holds hundredths of the people, are adverse to its conno sinecure, at $1.25 for each day's actual ser- tinuance” can only be applicable to a very limited vice. The “ unnecessary expense of the sys. portion of the state. tem must therefore be attributable exclusively to It will, I apprehend, be found to be invaria. the salary of the county superintendent, which bly true, that in every county of the state where is fixed by law at $2 per day, for each day ne- the duties of this office have been confided to cessarily spent in the discharge of his duty, not competent hands, and have been faithfully and exceeding in the aggregate $500 per annum, one judiciously performed, with a due regard to the half of which only is payable by the county, interests of education, and in substantial con: and the residue, not as seems to be assumed by forinity to the spirit of the law and the instructhe objectors, from funds which would otherwise tions of the Department, a vast majority of the go to augment the annual apportionment for the people regard this portion of the system as its benefit of the common schools-but" out of the most distinguishing excellence, and that they annual surplus arising from the income of the could on no account be induced to consent to its moneys deposited by the United States," after abandonment. defraying all the charges on the fund, of every There may be, undoubtedly, instances where name and nature. The objection then hinges from the manifest incompetence of the county entirely on the utility and necessity of the otfice superintendent; from his assumption of powers of county superintendent. Is that office, as al. not conferred by law, and of authority not apleged by the objectors, “ useless, or worse than pertaining to the office; from his arrogance of useless?" Does its continuance as a portion of demeanor, combined with culpable and inexcuour common school system, impose a tax upon sable ignorance of his appropriate duties and the people “ without any adequate or corres- functions; and from his neglect to carry out the ponding advantage ?" And are either " nine express requirements of law and the just expec. teen-twentieths" or "ninety-nine hundredths of tations of the public, the office itself and the the people" of this opinion ?
system of which it forms a prominent part, may As early as the year 1826, the plan of a more have been rendered widely obnoxious. But efficient and thorough supervision of the com- these instances, if they exist, are melancholy ex. mon schools, through the agency of county off. amples of an abuse and perversion of functions cers, was recommended to the legislature, by beneficial in their nature and for which no re. the Hon. John C. Spencer, then chairman of the flecting man would desire to hold the system it. literature committee of the senate. Ten years self responsible; they are isolated instances, subsequently, the proposition was renewed by standing cut in bold relief, and presenting á the Hon. Jabez D. Hammond of Otsego, in a marked contrast to the general operation of that series of well written papers, which were ex. system ; they admit of a prompt and effectual tensively published and circulated throughout remedy, by ihe application of the power of rethe state. The visitors of common schools apmoval vested in the local and state tribunals ; pointed by Mr. Spencer, in 1838 and 1839, while and they are necessarily temporary in duration, he held the office of Superintendent, very gene. although doubtless productive of influences rally adopted and strongly urged the proposition, which may long survive and impede the best exertions of those who seek to restore the sys. can impart to their most saccessful originators. tem to its proper orbit. In the judgment of many If not for themseives, for their children and for of the soundest, wisest and best men which our posterity, they will ultimately regard these now community affords, the continuance of the office neglected treasuries of knowledge and virtue, as of county superintendent is intimately connect the most precious boon which the legislature ed with the vital interests of elementary educa- could confer upon them; and while they will tion and public instruction. Shall these great take care that the public bounty is not wasted interests be sacrificed or endangered, because upon frivolous or demoralizing productions, they here and there incompetent and weak men have will not refuse to appropriate one-fifth of the intruded into positions which they were incapa. ample fund set apart for the instruction of their ble of filling with either honor to themselves or children, to the procurement of the means by utility to the public? In by far the largest pro- which that instruction may be rendered most portion of our fifty-nine counties, the office of available and productive. county superintendent, has during the past three You say that “it is a constant expression that years, been ably, efficiently and creditably filled not half a dozen books have been taken from the by individuals of commanding talents, extensive library during the year." Perrnit me, in conand varied acquirements, and the highest moral cluding what I have to say under this head, re. worth-and under thçir supervision the schools spectfully to ask, whether under such circumhave advanced to an extent far surpassing the stances, the means for forming an accurate most sanguine anticipations of the friends of edu. opinion of the value and utility of these libracation-fully rcalizing and more than realizing ries, may reasonably be supposed to exist ? and the highest expectations of the public mind in whether upon such testimony it can be expected this respect. Shall we forego all these advan. that the verdict of an enlightened public opinion, tages-overlook or depreciate these brilliant re. long since rendered with unexampled unanimity sults-and retrograde in our efforts to extend the in favor of these noble institutions, should be invaluable blessings of universal education, be reversed or impeached ? cause similar encouraging and gratifying results 4. With regard to the District School Journal, have failed to ensue where the abilities, the dis. I have only to observe, that the fund from which position and the means necessary to secure the state subscription to that periodical is de. their accomplishment, have been wanting, and frayed, is not one which but for that subscripwhere the agents to whom we have incautious- tion would augment the annual appropriation to ly confided these high interests have proved un. the several school districts, but from the same sur. faithful and unworthy of the trust? But I will plus income of the United States deposite fund, afnot press this argument farther. Its application ter answering all the appropria tions authorized to the point under consideration, will not fail to by law-from which a moiety of the salary of suggest itself, to every candid and discriminat- the county superintendent is paid. Neither of ing mind,
these objects interferes in any manner whatever 3. I proceed to the remaining topics of com. with the common school fund. Undoubtedly it plaint referred to in your letter : and shall en is in the power of the legislature to appropriate deavor to condense what I have to say upon both, or indeed, any other sund of the state to them within the briefest practicable limits. I can. that object : but as yet they have not seen fit to not deem it necessary to defend the institution do so. The Journal is published monthly-is of district libraries, or to point out the myriad exclusively devoted to education-contains all sources of knowledge, of useful information, the laws from time to time enacted in relation and of moral culture which the beneficent poli- to common schools, together with the instruccy of the state has thus rendered accessible to tions, expositions and decisions of the Depart. every inhabitant of our extended territory, and ment under those laws-together with from to every child of sufficient age to partake of twenty to thirty closely printed pages of two their benefits. It cannot be that an individual columns each, of original and selected matter, exists in this day and age, who would roll back bearing upon the great interests of education in this noble-this fertilizing—this ample and re- all its branches-and is forwarded gratuitously freshing stream of knowledge and wisdom, and to the clerk of every school district, and to each virtue and power—who would cut off at its town and county superintendent in the state, source this perennial supply of the life giving chargeable only with common newspaper postage, waters of mental and moral enlightenment, des which can in no case exceed one cent per month, tined, as I trust, to gladden, invigorate and and even this trilling charge may at any time be strengthen the rich soil of humanity in all its apportioned among the taxable inhabitants of variegated aspects and conditions. I know, and the district. What there should be in all this I am happy to know, that there are thousands upon which to found the charge of " arbitrary" who would purify and cleanse these waters from oppression, or to excite "exasperated feelings," every taint-who would sedulously guard their I confess surpasses my comprehension. channels against the infusion of any ingredient! 5. The experiment of a Normal School for that might possibly contaminate the pure minds the instruction and preparation of common school of youth-poison their principles, or pervert teachers, remains yet to be tested by its practi. their energies. But I cannot bring myself to cal results. The able investigation which the believe, that any portion of our fellow.citizens chairman of the committee on colleges, &c., Mr. are prepared to abandon the farther prosecution Hulburd, gave to the whole subject in his late of an undertaking, which reflects more lasting report, together with the fact that the law honor upon the heads which conceived and the authorizing the establishment of such an insti. energies which executed it, than the grandest tution, received the ununimous sanction of both physical improvements by which the age in branches of the legislature, renders it entirely which we live has been or may be distinguished, superfluous for me to enter upon a defence of
this measure. The funds set apart for the sup- and advancing civilization, by the successful la. port of the school, are taken from the revenue bors of the wisest statesmen and most enlight. of the literature fund : and in no respect trenchened philanthropists of the present day. Upon upon the rights of the common schools.
the deliberations of this meeting may depend, 6. Not being aware of the ground upon which (for who can trace the labyrinthian web of the charge of sectarianism has been preferred human impulse ?) the perpetuation, or the final against our common school system, and wholly | abandonment of that system of education under ignorant of any clause or section of the law, or whose auspices an entire generation has already of any exposition, instruction or decision of either been reared, and which is now dispensing to the present superintendent or his predecessors upwards of half a million of children the bless. in office, which can give the siightest coiorings of knowledge, the power of self culture, to sach à charge. I do not feel called upon to the germs of future character, and the rudiments discuss it. If there has been one evil against
sheen one evil gainst of wisdom and virtue and truth. The narrow which more than any other, it has been the con
circle within which hostility to the system is now stant and unremitting effort both of the legisla. confined, may, imperceptibly at first, and then ture and of the Department to guard our institu.
to guard our institu. with fearful rapidity, widen and expand, until it tions of elementary instruction, it has most as.
embraces the millions upon whose fiat our com. suredly been the inroads, whether open or covert, mon desuny depends; and the noble vessel no of sectarianism. And if, in any respect, the reignted with the priceless treasures of a na. object so sedulously and uniformly kept in view tion's hope may swing from its moorings and be has not been attained, it has not been, in any driven forth to contend hopelessly and long with degree. I am confident. the fault either of the the tempestuous billows of popular frenzy, mad system or its administrators.
excitement and chaotic anarchy and contusion. I have thus, my dear sir, at greater length than Is there not, then, a fearful responsibility resting I could have desired, and at the imminent hazard upon all those who participate in such a moveof unreasonably taxing your patience, endea. ment-upon those more especially to whose vored to meet the several obiections enumerated Igreater experience, superior means of informas in your letter to the theory and practical operation and controlling weight of character, their tions of our common school system. That I fellow-citizens are accustomed to look with well have succeeded in obviating those objections to deserved conndence for direction, lor counsel and your entire satisfaction. I do not venture to for advice. Let, then, my dear sir, no irrevocable promise myself; but if I shall have succeeded | step be taken--no decisive measures be resolved in any degree in pointing out the source of any upon or adopted-unless upon the most full, calm of those errors, or in indicating any of those fal. and mature deliberation, and with a perfect ap. lacies, which I fear have contributed to ward the preciation of all the interests involved. minds of many well disposed and intelligent in. Very respectfully, your ob't servant, dividuals in reference to this subject, I shall not
S. S. RANDÁLL, have labored altogether in vain. Since commenc.
Deputy Superintendent Common Schools. ing this communication, I have been favored by a friend with the perusal of the Clarion of the
PROGRESS OF EDUCATION. 13th inst., containing your letter to Elder Beebe, of the 9th May last, and while I am COUNTY AND TOWN SUPERINTENDENTS; THEIR com pelled to dissent from some of its views anl) PLANS, THEIR LABORS, AND THE RESULTS. positions, the liberal and enlightened views of intellectual and moral culture, and common We renew our request to the several school school education, which constitute the staple, if officers, to forward such reports of educational I may be permitted so to term it, of that com munication, find an accordant response in the
movements, as will present a faithful picture of strongest convictions of my understanding. the trials and encouragements which attend their
I feel an entire and undoubted conviction that efforts. No part of the Journal is read with in laying before you the considerations to which I have adverted in the body of this letter, I may
more interest, or is of more utility, than that appeal to your head and your heart for a dispas- which records these evidences of the progress of sionate examination and deliberate consideration the reformation of the schools ; and we trust no of this great subject in all its aspects, and in view fact will be withheld which will shed any light of all the responsibilities connected with its far reaching interests.
upon the path of those who would guide the In the course of a long and varied public and youth of our state to virtue, knowledge and private career, you have doubtless often found happiness. occasion to remark the important consequences
CHAUTAUQUE. which not unfrequently ensue, from events even To Teachers and Town Superintendents. -An apparently of the most trivial importance. Your important and responsible part of my duty is the fellow-citizens of the county of Orange, are granting of town or county licenses to teachers. about to assemble under circumstances of extra. I owe a duty to the public, higher than personal ordinary excitement and agitation, to discuss in or private considerations, and therefore, certifi. their primary capacity, a subject of serious and cates will be granted sparingly, and only after grave import; namely, the policy and expediency the fullest conviction that the candidates are of the longer continuance of a system, which for well qualified, in respect to moral character, nearly half a century has constituted the pride learning and ability to teach a school. I shall and boast of the state.-a system originally examine candidates, not only on the sciences devised and matured by the patriots and sages to be taught, but also upon the way to teach of our purest and best days, and expanded, to them; also upon the manner of governing & meet the wants of an increasing population 'school; how to use moral influences, &c. In order that persons may be prepared for such an derstandingly by a well qualified teacher, they examination, and above all, to be successful need not wonder nor be astonished that the teachers, they must study the science and art of school.honse, with its appendages, is the most teaching. These principles can be learned from hateful place to which children can go; and that a book to be found in every district library; it instead of loving their books, their school, or is entitled “ The School and the Schoolmaster." their teacher, they not only abhor the whole, " Hall's Lectures on School Keeping" ought also but through all their after life perseveringly to be studied. No candidates need apply to me avoid each and every thing connected therewith for certificates, unless they understand thorough. as much as possible. It is also quite percepti. ly, the principles contained in the former of ble that the small, filthy, dismal, and pestilen. these works, at least. The old teacher who is tial school-houses to be found in some parts of behind the improvement of the times, and does the country, in public highways, or in dreary, not practice the improved methods of teaching, disagreeable situations, are not contemplated in and is not familiar with the text-books now in the same light that they were some years ago; use, will not be licensed. Very young persons, and their influence in producing a disagreeable, unless their minds are in advance of their years, dismal, wretched state of mind in those who are will not receive a certificate from me, and they compelled to resort thither, is also acknowledg. should not be employed to teach school. Teached ; while neat, comfortable, convenient houses, ers with whom I am not personally acquainted, in pleasant, agreeable situations, with pleasant, applying for certificates, must bring written tes: agreeable, competent teachers, in part a pleasure timonials of their pure and undoubted good able, cheerful state of mind, calculated to make moral character ; and if the application be individuals pleased with themselves, with each for a county license, testimonials showing also other, and with every thing about them. Betheir reputation and success as teachers, must sides all this, it is pretty evident that teachers be presented. These principles I shall rigidly who are worth having, and who think anything adhere to, as they are intended for the benefit of of themselves, and the business of teaching, are the teachers as well as the public.
very rarely to be found in those misshaped, misTown Superintendents should carry out the placed, and miscalled school-houses, except in spirit of these rules. They must make them the most temporary manner imaginable. selves familiar with our present school system, The District Libraries, too, are admitted to modes of teaching, text-books, &c. A good be eminently useful, by almost every one, ex.
knowledge of the principles contained in "The cept now and then an individual who has been . School and the Schoolmaster," should be ob. unfairly dealt by, or subjected to unkind, improtained by them, and their practice rigidly in- per treatment and instruction in his youthfal sisted on, as far as may be, among teachers and days, and cheated out of nearly or quite all the schools of their respective towns.
beneficial influences which a correct and wholeWORTHY PUTNAM,
some education is intended to produce. The
Co. Supt. books in our district libraries have hitherto, so Sinclairville, March 27, 1844.
far as I can judge, been selected with good taste The following notice of Mr. Putnam, from
and judgment. If the same care is exercised in the Maysville Sentinel, shows that he is appre-tricts will be likely to be deprived of the library
future, throughout the town, none of the disciated by those he serves so faithfully.
money on account of having any improper books, Superintendent of Common Schools.-It gives although they may lose it hereafter by misapus sincere pleasure to announce the appointment plying any part of it, as in the purchase of a case, of Worthy Putnam. Esg., to the office of County or from not expending it in the time required Superintendent of Common Schools. better by law. (See Journal for Jan. 1844, p. 151.) selection could hardly have been made. Mr. In making the foregoing observations, I have Putnam is a scholar of good attainments—an ad
adverted to such parts of the common school experienced and successful teacher-endowed law as require especial attention on the part of with enlarged and enlightened views and sound the district officers, in the hope that with the aid judgment and withal is a very companionable. aftorded by that valuable periodical the District clever fellow. If the office can be of service to School Journal, they will not hereafter permit the people, he will make it so. If energy, effi. any thing to occur in the way of forgetfulness, ciency, and a sincere desire to mete out 'strict omissions, or neglect, by which any districts justice to every person with whom he may have will be likely to incur the loss of the public
siness. gre änglifications necessary for a good money. To secure the equitable rights of the superintendent, the public may expect something districts in this respect, the administration of the from him. From a long acquaintance with him,
common school affairs must be in strict confor we give it as our opinion, that he will most fully mity to law, and the regulations and decisions of answer public expectation, and make a capital
the Superintendent, as may be seen by referring superintendent of schools.
to the Journal for December, 1843, page 132,
and for January, 1844, page 160. QUEENS.
ELIJAH A. SMITH, Extract from the report of the Town Superin.
Town Supt. tendent of Hempstead, published in the In.
Hempstead, March 18th, 1844. quirer. We wish we were able to give more of
STEUBEN. this excellent communication.
Town celebrations have excited more interest Parents are opening their eyes to perceive that
in the schools, removed more prejudice from the if their children are not sent to a convenient, public mind, and aroused more zeal in the teach. pleasantly situated school house, and taught uners of our youth, than any other means adopted