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The reported school population for the year 1875, of 35,696, is an increase of 2,399 over that of the previous year and of 7,973 over that of the year before. Of the 35,696 children, 19,278, or 54 per cent., are enrolled in the common schools, and this, intreased by 3,542, or 10 per cent., enrolled in the private, select, and mission schools, gives a total enrolment of 22,820 pupils, or 64 per cent. of the school population. This is the highest percentage of enrolment ever secured in the Territory. It is believed that the enrolment would have been greater if admittance into the schools could have been gained. There are 296 schools, and, if the entire school population was admitted, there would be an average of about 130 pupils in each, whereas they are not calculated to accommodate an average of more than 65 pupils, the 54 per cent. of pupils attending making them, in the majority of cases, entirely too crowded. The result of this overcrowding is that many drop out, and this, with lack of comfort in the seats and other causes, brings the average attendance down to 13,462, or 5,816 less than the the enrolment. This 13,462, or 38 per cent. average daily attendance in the common schools, increased by 2,437, or 7 per cent. average daily attendance in the private, select, and mission schools, gives a total average daily attendance of 15,899 pupils, or 45 per cent. of the school population.-(Report of superintendent, p. 4.)
The expenditure in the common schools of $183,818.85, increased by $50,345 salaries paid teachers in the private, select, and mission schools, gives a total expenditure for educational purposes of $234,163.85 in the Territory. The value of the common school property and that of the private, select, and mission schools givè a total of $511,515 for all school property in the Territory.-(Report of superintendent, pp. 4, 5.)
Several school-houses have been erected during the past two years that reflect much credit on the trustees, but others have been built at great expense, apparently without an object or design. More attention should be paid to school architecture and to the providing of furniture adapted to the children's comfort, also to the temperature, proper ventilation, and especially to the capacity of the buildings. In some districts heavy taxes have been raised and very substantial houses built that will not admit half the school population, whereas the same means would have erected houses capable of accommodating all. The adoption of the graded system in all the cities, towns, villages, and settlements of the Territory, wherever consistent with the school population, is earnestly recommended, as a matter of economy as well as of efficiency.-(Report of superintendent, pp. 5, 6.)
GOVERNMENT AID TO SCHOOLS.
In this Territory, as well as others, is felt the need for aid from the National Government in the support of the schools and also the injustice of being deprived of the benefit of those public school lands which the older and less needy States enjoy. The territorial superintendent expresses this feeling as follows:
"During the past year 1,698 acres of our Utah land have been given away to build agricultural colleges in the old and wealthy States, while not an acre or a dollar comes to benefit us in the days of our infancy and poverty, when we most need it. We want a system of public free schools, to continue for nine months in the year, but the people are too poor to tax themselves to that extent at present. It has always seemed to me that, if ever there was a time when the Territories needed help, it is in the days of their poverty and weakness, and, if ever there was a time when they deserved help; it is when engaged in reclaiming the wilderness for the residence of civilization and industry and laying the foundation of a future State.”—(Report of superintendent, pp. 13, 14.)
The act of 1874 appropriating to the public schools $15,000 yearly for the two years just past has accomplished much good. Though but a small amount, it proved to be a spark from which a flame of interest has been kindled that has never before been felt in the Territory. County superintendents have been enabled to get correct lists of the school population and to procure school reports from nearly all the districts in the Territory, which before was almost impossible.-(Report of superintendent, pp. 15,16.)
SALT LAKE CITY.
In Salt Lake City there are 19 common schools with an enrolment of 1,739 pupils916 boys and 823 girls-and an average daily attendance in them of 1,301 pupils,
instructed by 18 male and 16 female teachers. There are also 10 select schools, taught by 48 teachers-9 male and 39 female-with an enrolment of 2,172 pupils-boys, 1,032; girls, 1,140-and an average daily attendance of 1,277. This gives a total average daily attendance in all the schools of 2,578 pupils, while the number in the city of school age (4 to 16 years) is 5,167, making a per cent. of attendance upon all schools of only 49.7, 25 per cent. of whom attend the common and 24.7 the select schools.
The amount of taxes appropriated to the common schools was $1,600; the amount of territorial appropriation apportioned was $2,254; amount of building funds raised, $9,057. The salaries paid teachers in these schools amounted to $15,167.50; the amount paid teachers in the select schools reached $31,195. The estimated real value of school grounds, buildings, furniture, and other property belonging to the common schools in the city is $113,200; that owned by the select schools is $51,850.-(Report of territorial superintendent, 1875, pp. 25, 26.)
TRAINING OF TEACHERS.
A NEW NORMAL SCHOOL.
With but few exceptions the teachers of the Territory are illy qualified for their work. Nearly all the county superintendents complain that, although the standard has been raised very materially by the introduction of examinations, still the principal want is of qualified teachers. A normal department was established in connection with the University of Deseret in August, 1875, for the special training of students who design to teach in the common schools. Since that time it has been in successful operation, with an average daily attendance of about 30 students, who have entered for one year's course and are doing excellent work. The institution was established to continue one year, and is supported by appropriations made by the various county courts. In order to meet the demand for qualified teachers throughout the Territory, the superintendent advises that a permanent chair of education be established in the University of Deseret by legislative enactment.-(Report of superintendent, pp. 8, 9.)
In August, 1875, the teachers of the Territory met together in the capacity of a normal institute, the session lasting two weeks. There were present 137 members, nearly all of whom were active teachers, and represented 11 counties of the Territory. A lively interest was exhibited and a season of much benefit enjoyed. The course included the entire curriculum of common school studies. The instructors were the best in the Territory, and their services were gratuitous.—(Report of superintendent, pp. 11, 12.)
UNIVERSITY OF DESERET, SALT LAKE.
This institution is open to both sexes. Its courses of instruction are preliminary, scientific, and classical preparatory. The classical preparatory course includes an amount of instruction in the Latin and Greek languages sufficient to prepare the student for entering the freshman year of the best classical institutions. A full course is given in mathematics and history, which exceeds the requisites for admission to college. The scientific course is designed to be essentially practical, so that, whatever profession or trade may be selected by the student after completing his course, he will be prepared to pursue it intelligently. This course includes instruction in literature, history, politics, mathematics, natural history, and science. Up to the date of the last report there were no students beyond the preparatory school.-(Circular of the academical department of the university, 1874-75.)
BRIGHAM YOUNG ACADEMY.
This branch of the university, situated in Provo, held two terms during the past year, with a daily attendance of about 200 students. President Brigham Young, proprietor of the university buildings and grounds, has executed a deed of the property (valued at $15,000) to 7 trustees, who are to hold the same for the establishment and support of an academy to be known by the above title.-(Report of territorial superintendent, p. 18.)
Various schools are sustained throughout the Territory by different religious denominations, in all of which a part of the pupils are pursuing the higher branches. The schools under the charge of the Methodist Church, having a total enrolment of 480 pupils, number 30 in higher or secondary branches; those of the Episcopal, with 750 enrolment, number 75 in secondary studies; the Presbyterian schools, with 255 enrolled, number 31 in secondary studies; and the Catholic schools, enrolling 127, number 50 pursuing the higher branches; making in all 186 pupils of church schools in academic
classes. The private and select schools numbered 62 in secondary studies, the University of Deseret 294 at the date of the superintendent's report, and the Timpanogos branch, or Brigham Young Academy, 50; which, added to the number in sectarian schools, give a total of 592 pupils engaged in secondary studies.-(Report of territorial superintendent, p. 22.)
Hon. O. H. RIGGS, territorial superintendent of common schools, Salt Lake City.
Number of school districts in which schools have been kept.
Number of school-houses
Increase since 1872
INCOME AND EXPENDITURE.
Amount of school fund for distribution
8, 350 731 6,699
Amount paid teachers
Increase since 1872 ....
-(From report of Hon. John P. Judson, territorial superintendent of common schools, for 1874-75.)
These are a territorial superintendent of common schools, county superintendents, and directors of school districts.
DUTIES OF THESE OFFICERS.
The territorial superintendent, appointed by the governor, with consent of the council, for a term of two years, is to disseminate intelligence in relation to the value and methods of education, to examine and license teachers, to prepare and forward to county superintendents the needful school blanks, to recommend text books for the schools,. and to make report of the condition of the schools to the legislature at each regular session. His salary, $300, includes office rent and other expenses, leaving him only about $258 in currency.
County superintendents are elected by the legal voters of their counties for terms of two years, and are to district their counties, examine teachers, visit the schools, receive and file reports from districts, make apportionment of school funds to the districts on the basis of school population, and report regularly to the territorial superintendent. Salary, $25 to $500.
School directors for districts, 3 in number for each district, are elected by the voters of the district at the annual meetings for terms of three years, one member being changed each year. They are to call special meetings of the district; make out tax lists; warrant the clerk of the district to collect the taxes assessed; build, hire, or purchase school-houses; contract with and employ duly licensed teachers; and, through their clerk, make annual report to the county superintendent of all things relating to to the schools.
The schools are generally elementary in character. Graded ones are now proposed.
The permanent school fund of the Territory is locked up in the school lands, which cannot be sold till it becomes a State. They will then give ample means for aiding local efforts to establish schools. The annual fund is derived from a territorial tax of 4 mills, a county tax not exceeding 8 mills, and a district tax of 3 mills on the dollar. There is also power in districts to levy a tax of 10 mills for repairing and building school-houses.-(School law of 1871, with subsequent amendments.)
There is evidence here, says the superintendent, of marked progress and steady advancement, especially in the attendance. It would appear, at first glance, that not much more than one-half of the school population attend the public schools. But it should be remembered that the legal school age extends from 4 to 21 years, and the enumeration is based upon that age; were the age from 6 to 16, a much better proportion would appear to be in attendance. Also, it must be remembered that the Territory extends over a vast area of country; that settlers have penetrated to the utmost parts of it; that many of them live where the population is not sufficient to form a school district, who, nevertheless, are included in the school census and embraced in school districts, though the school-house may be 20 miles from their homes. In each of these districts there has been at least one term of school. Although the average length of term throughout the Territory is only about three months, in the towns and villages schools are kept open generally eight months. The schools are supported by taxation, fines under criminal statutes, and by private contribution. The school fund of the county is apportioned to each district, according to its population. It follows, therefore, that the rich and populous districts retain nearly all the money they contribute to the school fund and the poor ones, where population is scarce, are left to take care of themselves. The superintendent recommends that a law be passed fixing the length of the school term in each school district and apportioning the school fund among the districts, so that all can pay their teachers.-(Superintendent's report, p. 9.)
GOVERNMENT AID TO EDUCATION IN THE TERRITORIES.
The Territory is too poor to sustain schools such as the people wish during a term of sufficient length, and it is recommended that Washington, as well as other Territories, should appeal to the General Government for aid. People, it is urged, who are converting the wilderness into a garden and increasing the wealth of the Government are entitled to some assistance from that Government in the education of their children. It is true that by the organic act certain lands are reserved for school purposes, but these lands are of no benefit to the Territories now. They can only be made available when the Territory is admitted as a State, and when, perhaps, it may want no help. If ever the people of the Territories need help to found and foster schools, it is surely in the days of their weakness and poverty, when there are so many demands upon their scanty earnings, and when, under many disadvantages, they are compelled to labor for the benefit of those who will reap the harvests they have sown. Let the Government, it is suggested, through its own officers, dispose of a portion of their school lands. Let it invest the proceeds in its own bonds, paying over the annual interest to be devoted to the support of schools. Or let it appropriate a special fund, to be at once available, taking security for repayment when the school lands can be advantageously sold.-(Superintendent's report, pp. 18, 19.)
MULTIPLICITY OF TEXT BOOKS.
The law makes it the duty of the territorial superintendent to report what school books seem to be most popular in the Territory and to recommend some series of books to be introduced. The reports of county superintendents show that there are not four counties which use the same kind of books, and it is impossible to say which seems most popular. The worst feature attaching to this great multiplicity of books is that in the same county, district, and school the books of different authors are used on the same subjects, making the labor of the teacher double what it would otherwise be. While this promiscuous use of text books should not continue, the superintendent does not, for many reasons, recommend the adoption by law of one uniform series, but thinks the matter of choice ought to be left with the territorial superintendent.-(Report of superintendent, pp. 29–38.)
In 1871 the legislature passed a law compelling all parents and guardians to send children to school at least three months in the year, which provision was repealed in 1873. There is no occasion, it is thought, for such a law; in fact, its enactment would be premature until schools shall be established of such grade and character as to insure public confidence.-(Report of superintendent, pp. 46, 47.)
SECONDARY AND SUPERIOR INSTRUCTION.
Information as to both these classes of instruction is almost wholly wanting. The territorial university, unaided by the legislature, has been struggling to maintain itself as a preparatory school, but finds it difficult to do even this, reporting only 4 instructors, 21 students in its preparatory department and 3 in collegiate studies. The following is what is said of it in a circular sent with return for 1875: