Page images
PDF
EPUB

The Organization of City School Systems. – Andrew S. Draper (chairman), Edwin P. Seaver, Albert G. Lane, Addison B. Poland, and W. B. Powell.

The committee next adopted the following lists of questions, which the members were directed to submit to all persons throughout the country whose opinions might be considered as of value:

TRAINING OF TEACHERS.

1. What should be the lowest age at which a person should be permitted to undertake a course of professional work?

2. What should be the requirements for scholarship to enter on such a course:
(a) English--Grammar, historical grammar, rhetoric, literature.
(1) Mathematics-Arithmetic, algebra, geometry.
(c) Botany and zoology.
(d) Drawing.
(e) Music.
(f) History.
(g) Geography.
(h) Physics.
(1) Chemistry.
() Foreign languages-French, German, Latin, Greek.
(k) Physiology and hygiene.
(1) Mineralogy.

3. Should scholarships be determined by an examination, or should a high school diploma be accepted as evidence? If the latter, should a four years' course be required?

4. What should be the duration of the training-school course?

5. What proportion of this time should be devoted to studying principles and methods of education? What proportion to the practice of teaching?

6. To what extent should psychology be studied, and in what way? 7. Along what lines should the observation of children be pursued ?

8. What measurements of children should be made, and what apparatus should be required for the purpose?

9. In what way should principles of education be derived from psychology and allied sciences?

10. How far and in what way should the history of education be studied? In what way may the history of education be made of practical use to teachers?

11. In what way should the training in teaching the various subjects of the coin. mon school curriculum be pursued?

(a) By writing outlines of lessons?
(b) By giving lessons to fellow pupil teachers?
(c) By the study of books or periodicals devoted to methods of teaching?
(d) By lectures?

12. In a model school, should there be a model-teacher placed over each class? Or, should there be a model-teacher placed over every two classes? Or, should the pupil. teachers be held responsible for the teaching of all classes, under the direction of a critic-teacher?

13. What is the most fruitful plan of observing the work of model-teachers? 14. What is the most fruitful plan of criticising the practice-work of pupil-teachers?

15. Should the criticism be made by the teachers of methodology, or by critic-teachers appointed specially for the purpose, or by the model-teachers?

16. Should the imparting of knowledge, other than psychology, principles, methods, and history of education, form any part of the work of a normal or training school?

17. How should a pupil-teacher's efficiency be tested in training school? 18. On what grounds should the diploma of a training school be issued?

CORRELATION OF STUDIES. 1. Should the elementary course be eight years and the secondary course four years, as at present? Or, should the elementary course be six years and the secondary course six years?

2. Has each of the grammar school studies-language (including reading, spelling, grammar, composition), mathematics (arithmetic, algebra, plane geometry), geography, history, natural science (botany, zoology, mineralogy), penmanship, drawing, etc., a distinct pedagogical value? If so, what is it?

3. Should other subjects than those enumerated in the second question, such as manual training (including sloyd, sewing, and cooking), physical culture, physics, music, physiology (including the effects of stimulants and narcotics), Latin, or a modern language, be taught in the elementary school course? If so, why?

4. Should the sequence of topics be determined by the logical development of the subject, or by the child's power to apperceive new ideas? Or, to any extent by the evolutionary steps manifested by the race? If so, by the evolution of the race to which the child belongs, or that of the human race?

5. What should be the purpose of attempting a close correlation of studies?
(a) To prevent duplication, eliminate non-essentials, and save time and effort?
(b) To develop the apperceiving power of the mind?
(c) To develop character-a purely ethical purpose?

6. Is it possible on any basis to correlate or unify all the studies of the elementary school?

7. If not, may they be divided into two or more groups, those of each group being correlated?

8. Is there any way of correlating the results of work in all the groups?

9. What should be the length of recitation periods in each year of the elementary school course? What considerations should determine the length?

10. In what year of the course should each of the subjects mentioned in questions 2 and 3 be introduced, if introduced at all?

11. In making a program, should time be assigned for each subject, or only for the groups of subjects suggested in question 7?

12. How many hours a week for how many years should be devoted to each subject, or each group of subjects?

13. What topics may be covered in each subject, or each group of subjects? 14.

Should any subject, or group of subjects, be treated differently for pupils who leave school at twelve, thirteen, or fourteen years of age, and for those who are going to a high school?

15. Can any description be given of the best method of teaching each subject, or group of subjects, throughout the school course? 16.

What considerations should determine the point at which the specialization of the work of teachers should begin?

17. On what principle should the promotion of pupils from grade to grade be determined? Who should make the determination?

CITY SCHOOL SYSTEMS.

1. Should there be a board of education, or a commissioner with an advisory council?

2. If a commissioner, should be be elected by the people, or appointed by the mayor, or selected in some other way?

3. What should be his powers and duties?
4. If a board of education, of how many members should it consist?

5. Should the members be elected or appointed? From the city at large or to represent districts?

6. Should the members be elected in equal numbers from the two great political parties, or can any other device be suggested to eliminate politics from school administration ?

7. By what authority should the superintendent of schools be elected or appointed? and for what term?

8. What should be the qualifications of a city superintendent of schools?

9. Should the city superintendent owe his appointment directly or indirectly to the state educational authorities, and be responsible to them rather than to the local authorities?

10. In whom should be vested the authority to license teachers? To cancel licenses for cause?

11. In whom should be vested the power to appoint teachers? In whom the power to discharge teachers?

12. Supposing teachers appointed to a school, who should have the power to assign them to grades or classes?

13. Should the principle of competitive examination be introduced in determining promotions to positions of greater responsibility or emolument?

14. How should the duties of superintendents on the one hand and of principals on the other, in the supervision of methods and of teaching, be defined?

15. By whom should the course of study be made? 16. By whom should text-books be selected? 17. By whom should promotions be made? 18. By whom should disputes between parents and the teaching force be settled? 19. By whom should a compulsory education law be enforced?

It was further decided that all papers written in answer to these lists of questions were to be placed in the hands of the chairmen of the sub-committees not later than Nov. 1, 1894, and that the chairmen should prepare reports to be submitted to the full committee at a meeting to be held in December of that year.

The next meeting of the committee was held on July 9, 1894, at Asbury Park, N. J., during the session of the National Educational Association at that place. It was there determined that each of the sub-committee chairmen should present the report of his sub-committee to the Department of Superintendence at the meeting to be held in Cleveland, Ohio, in February, 1895. Other details were arranged, and progress was reported in the matter of obtaining opinions from the experts invited to answer the questions formulated by the committee.

On the 10th of December, 1894, the committee met in Washington, D. C. It continued in session four days, holding three sessions each day. During a small fraction of this time the sub-committees met separately; but for the most part the subject matter of each report was discussed by the full committee. All the members were present except Superintendent Powell, who was unfortunately absent through severe illness.

President Draper presented a preliminary report on the organization of city school systems, and Superintendent Tarbell one on the training of teachers. Superintendent Tarbell's report was adopted by the full committee without a dissenting voice. President Draper's report also received the unanimous approval of the committee, except in so far as it recommended the establishment of the office of school director. Seven votes were recorded in favor of that recommendation. No votes were recorded against it, though several members refrained from voting. Subsequently, when the report was submitted in its final shape, eleven members signified their approval of the entire report, and signed it.

With regard to the correlation of studies, important differences of opinion were developed in the consideration of the various propositions subunitted by Dr. Harris and by other members of the committee. About two-thirds of the time the committee was in session was devoted to the discussion of these propositions. While an adequate conception of the intensity of this discussion cannot now be conveyed to anyone who was not present, a brief resume of the leading proposition presented will give some idea of its scope.

The following propositions were unanimously adopted by the full committee:

The civilization of the age-the environment into which the child is bornshould determine the selection of the objects of study, to the end that the child may gain an insight into the world in which he lives and a command over its resources such as is obtained by a helpful co-operation with his fellows.

Psychology should determine the selection and arrangment of the topics within each branch, so as to afford the best exercise of the faculties of the mind, and to secure the unfolding of those faculties in their natural order.

Language, as a subject of study, has a distinct and definite relation to the introduction of the child into the civilization of his time, and has, therefore, a distinct pedagogical value, forming the true basis of correlating the elementary studies.

In correlating geography and history, the former should be subordinate to the latter.

Instruction in the elements of physics and chemistry, in so far as they are to be taught at all in the elementary school, should not be limited to the higher grades, but should be given in all grades in connection with topics in physiology and physicai geography.

Elementary geography should not be taught as a special study, but the topics usually included under this caption in the course of study should be incorporated into the course of form and nature study.

The use of good English, including the correct use of technical terms, should be required in all studies; all use of bad English, caused by, or significant of, confusion of thought, should be corrected by securing the elucidation of the thought: the child's best efforts in speech should be required in all recitations, oral or written; but solecisms should for the most part be corrected in the regular language lessons.

The study of English grammar should be made subordinate and auxiliary to the study of English literature.

Writing, as a special branch, should be taught only through the sixth year of the course.

Manual training in wood and metals should be made a part of the course for boys during the seventh and eighth years; and sewing and cooking should be taught to girls--the former in the fourth, fifth, and sixth years, the latter in the seventh and eighth years.

Music should be taught throughout the elementary course, and the sight-read)ing of music should have a prominent place in the study.

With regard to the following propositions, serious differences of opinion arose:

Algebra should take the place of arithmetic in the eighth year of the elementary course. Rejected.

Algebra (not to the exclusion of arithmetic) should be taught during one-half of the last year of the course. Adopted by a majority.

Latin should be studied during the eighth year instead of English grammar; and English grammar should be studied during the sixth and seventh years. Adopted by a majority.

In the eighth year, an option should be given between Latin and a modern language. Rejected.

United States history should be taken up during the eighth year, and should be studied only up to the date of the adoption of the Constitution. Rejected.

United States history should be studied for one and a half years. Adopted by a majority.

The Constitution of the United States should be studied for ten weeks during the last year of the course. Adopted by a majority.

If the community is at one on the course of study, all pupils should take the same branches of study, without any omission. Adopted by a majority.

The course of study for elementary schools should admit optional studies on educational grounds for the good of the pupil. Rejected.

Reading should be both silent and oral. There should be at least four lines of connected reading, embracing literature, history, geography, and nature studies. Furthermore, prose and poetry, of an appropriate character, should be read to the classes throughout the grades in which pupils are too young to read such literature themselves. Adopted by a majority.

Concrete geometry should be taught under the head of drawing, and also under the head of mensuration in arithmetic. Rejected.

During an eight-year course (beginning with the sixth year of age) the following subjects should be required from all pupils: English, mathematics, United

States history and Constitution, drawing, and music. Not more than one of the following subjects should be pursued in addition to those enumerated above: Latin, a modern language, natural science, manual training, or concrete geometry. Rejected.

Not more than sixty minutes of outside study should be required of any elementary school pupil. Adopted by a majority.

The propositions stated above were discussed at great length; and Dr. Harris was requested, in drawing up his report, to give expression to the views of the majority of the committee as gathered from these discussions, to discuss educational values, to elucidate various phases of correlation, and to arrange a tabular view of the elementary course of study showing the location of each subject and the time to be devoted to it.

The final meeting of the committee was held in Cleveland, Ohio, on Feb. 18, 1895, when the reports of the sub-committees were adopted by the Committee of Fifteen.

With regard to the presentation of the reports to the Department of Superintendence, and with regard to its publication, the committee-having no publication fund at its disposal, and wishing to spread the report before the public at once -at its Washington meeting adopted the following:

Resolved, that the reports of the three sub-committees be read by their respective chairmen before the Department of Superintendence at Cleveland, in February, 1895, and published in the “Educational Review” for March, 1895; provided, that the publishers of the “Review” agree to furnish to each member of the Committee of Fifteen, and also to each person appointed to discuss the report before the Cleveland meeting, a printed copy of the report; and immediately after the meeting to send to each educational journal desiring it such printed copy, with the request that it be published in as nearly complete a form as possible.

The terms of this resolution were conveyed to the editor and publishers of the “Educational Review," and were accepted by them. The reports were read by the three chairmen of sub-committees before the Department of Superintendence at Cleveland on Feb. 19, 20, and 21, 1895. The reports were printed in the March issue of the “Educational Review.” Printed copies were furnished to the members of the Committee of Fifteen and to the gentlemen appointed to discuss the report. A copy was sent to every educational journal desiring it, and also to every member of the department who responded to the public invitation to furnish his name and address for the purpose.

As soon as the reports were presented to the department, they became the property of the National Educational Association.

The following resolution was adopted by the Department of Superintendence on February 21st:

Resolved. That we recognize the great value of the report of the Committee of Fifteen in setting forth standards, defining educational values, and furnishing broad grounds for intelligent deliberation and discussion in the future; and that the committee be, and hereby are, authorized to put the report and such dissenting opinions as they may see fit to use into form satisfactory to themselves, and to print the same; and that the committee having performed this duty be discharged.

Upon the same subject the Committee of Fifteen, at its meeting in Washington, on Dec. 11, 1894, adopted the following resolution:

Resolved, that the chairmen of the sub-committees, acting in conjunction with the chairman of the Committee of Fifteen, are hereby authorized to publish such papers as are deemed necessary, as appendices to the general report of the Committee of Fifteen.

WILLIAM H. MAXWELL, BROOKLYN, N. Y., March 23, 1895.

Chairman.

« PreviousContinue »