Page images
PDF
EPUB

well. In their daily labors and in their preparation for them, they meet with experimental difficulties to be overcome, and practical problems to be solved. Let them note these things down, ponder them, examine them, write upon them, and practical articles will grow beneath their pens.

"Send these to the Editor ; do not let him beg for articles or solicit items; keep him crammed and well supplied; from many good things he can then select the best. It will no longer be minima de malis, but utrum horum mavis accipe.

“While we are extending the circulation of the Journal, let it be a cause for wonder among the new subscribers and the old, of wonder “why we never took this valuable paper before," and of pleasure in the possession and perusal of so able a periodical.

“ Teachers, take notice! Do this and your Journal will be an honor to you. Neglect it and it will be a failure, and a disgrace to yourselves.”

– To parents and school officers we commend especially this paragraph of Gov. Chase's letter:

“ To make the school house efficient, Teachers must be, not only qualified, but honored. The responsibility of their trust, the magnitude of their work, and the dignity of their calling, must be acknowledged, and not coldly acknowledged only, but thoroughly appreciated. The community hardly yet begins to realize its debt of gratitude, honor and reward to the Teachers of its schools."

TO COUNTY AUDITORS AND TOWNSHIP BOARDS OF EDUCATION.

The following circular, issued by Mr. H. H. Barney, first State Commissioner under the present School Law, has been approved by Commissioner Smy:h, and the attention of active Teachers is called to this instrumentality in aid of the Journal, and for distribution of information on the School Law to each county of the State

“The great number of questions arising under the present School Law, and the importance of having a thorough understanding, by its officers, of the provisions of the law, and a uniform policy pursued all the counties, in its administration, have imposed the necessity of having some medium of communication with those officers, and the Commissioner has gladly availed himself of the Ohio Journal of Education for this purpose.

“All my official decisions and opinions have been, and will continue to be published in the Journal; and it is my opinion that County Auditors will be justified in subscribing for a copy for their own use, and one (or more) for the Board of School Examiners; and that township Boards may order it for the township clerk, and the clerk of each sub-district, and include the cost of the same in their annual estimate of money to be raised in accordance with the first clause of the 22d section of the School Law.

“The copies so taken should, of course, be kept on file in their respective offices, and be transmitted to their successors in office.

“ Editors throughout the State, by publishing the above, will confer a favor on school officers, and greatly abridge the official correspondence of the Com. missioner.”

A number of township Boards are now receiving the Journal on the plan named in the above circular, and we trust that the number may soon be greatly increased.

The cost of the Journal is $1.00 per annum. Address Journal of Education, Columbus, Ohio.

ported upon the condition of our common schools, has expressed the same opinion, urging immediate legislative provision.

There has never been a difference of opinion, among men well informed upon the educational needs and instrumentalities, respecting the utility of good Libraries, free to all the people. Yielding to the pressure of public sentiment, the Legislature gave a few counties authority to establish Libraries in 1848; but not until after the formation of the New Constitution, when a thorough revision of our school laws was required, did a General Assembly grant the petitions, which, for fifteen years, had been forwarded from all parts of the State.

In 1853, a tax of one-tenth of a mill for District Libraries was authorized. That tax was levied and disbursed during three years, producing not quite one dime for each youth of school age.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

In 1854, there was stern opposition to the Library tax, but the Legislature refused to repeal the clause granting it, in the belief that, when the system was understood and fairly in execution, the people would approve it. Opposition grew stronger, however, and in 1856 the tax was suspended for one year. In 1857, that suspension was renewed for another year.

Now, the educationists of Ohio having the same faith which the educationists of 1837 declared, appeal to the people for an emphatic expression of their will. They believe that the opposition which secured the suspension of the Library tax, is because of defects in the law, and because of its unwise and incomplete local administration, not from conviction of any want of utility in Libraries.

Opposition, arising out of narrow prejudice and short-sighted illiberality, is now and always has been exercised toward common schools which afford instruction higher than reading, writing, and arithmetic. If strong enough, it would promptly accomplish not only the repeal of the Library feature of our school system, but would abolish union and graded schools. Such opposition we do not fear. The first Constitution for Ohio declared that “religion and knowledge, being essential to good government, schools and the means of instruction shall forever be encouraged by legislative provision.” Our present Constitution indorses that sentiment, and it is legitimate to claim that Libraries are chief

among the means of instruction authorized by organic law. Development of mind, culture of morals and diffusion of knowledge— these are the primary objects of Common Schools. Common Libraries are not merely auxiliary—they form an essential part of an adequate, free school system. The friends of liberal, popular education, know that every argument good for a High School is good for a Library; and they have confidence in the generosity and intelligence of a people which cheerfully supports Deaf and Dumb, Blind, Lunatic and Idiot Asylums, and Reform Schools for juveniles.

The Library system of Obio has not met popular expectation, in smaller towns and districts, because too much was undertaken when Sub-district Libraries were ordered. The cities and larger towns cherish their School Libraries devotedly; and, with a law adapted to the workings of our School machinery, they may be as highly regarded in every township as they are in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Dayton.

[blocks in formation]

We

propose the establishment of Township instead of District Libraries--because our school system is based on township organization, and because, for each township, books enough may be distributed to make each Library attractive.

The Library should be convenient to the most central post-officethe Township Clerk to be librarian and superintendent of schools in the township, being paid a salary sufficient to enable bim to give due attention to schools and the Library, and being required to report school statistics.

Let there be a State Board of Library Commissioners, that Board to decide upon a catalogue of books and apparatus. Let the School Commissioner forward that catalogue, with prices attached and the amount of library money due each township, to every Board of Education in the State. Let each Board of Education select, from the authorized catalogue, the books and apparatus required for its locality.

This plan would secure local attention to school interests—would afford a Library accessible and attractive to all—will allow townships to select their own books and apparatus, and will, at the same time, secure to the State the advantage of purchase by wholesale. There will be no trouble for county auditors, in the apportionment of books. The Commissioner will communicate directly with Boards of Education. ions of some of our best and most conservative educators, be embodied and presented.

In order that this end might the better be encompassed, recourse was had to the following expedient, to wit: A series of questions in manuscript form, embracing as briefly as possible, the principal items contemplated in the report, was prepared and sent to all the principal Normal Schools in the United States and Canada, with a request that the inquiries be answered, and the manuscript returned.

Before entering upon this part of the report, however, it might be well to call a brief attention to the history of Normal Schools in other countries. For this your committee is indebted to that able and popular document, the first Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the New Jersey State Normal School. The article is from the

pen

of Prof. Wm. Phelps, the able Principal of the School. The whole report is worthy of a careful perusal — especially that part of it which relates to Normal Schools. We only make a few extracts.

“ The original signification of the word Normal, as applied to schools, was that of Pattern or Model School. It was an elementary institution in which the best methods of instruction and discipline were practiced, and to which the candidate for the office of Teacher resorted for the purpose of learning, by observation, the most approved modes of conducting the education of youth. Of this class, were the schools of Neander, established at Ilefield, Germany, as far back as the year 1570, as also those of Abbe de La Salle, at Rheims, France, in 1681." **

“ According to the present acceptation of the term Normal School, as used in many of the European countries, it denotes an establishment composed of young men and women, who have passed through an elementary or even superior school, and who are preparing to be Teachers by making additional attainments, and acquiring a knowledge of the human mind, and the principles of education as a science, and its meth ods as an art. The Normal School of the present day, includes also the Model or Pattern School of earlier times. It thus combines theory with practice, there being • Model Schools,' .Experimental Schools, or, Schools for Practice,' as they are variously called, established in connection with them, to afford an opportunity for testing practically the mode of instruction which they inculcate.”

“The first regularly organized Teachers' Seminary, or Normal School, as at present understood, was established at Halle, in a part of Hanover, about 150 years ago. A similar institution was opened at Rheims, in France, in 1794, by ordinance of the National Assembly, to furnish

*

Professors for Colleges and Higher Seminaries. But the first Normal School for the training of Elementary Teachers in France was organized at Strasbourg, in 1810. Now, each department of the Empire is obliged, either alone or in conjunction with other departments, to support one Normal School for the education of its School Masters. In 1849, there were ninety-three of these in France, and ten thousand five hundred and forty-five of their graduates were actually employed in the Primary Schools of the Empire.”

Says M. Guizot, in a report to the King, in 1833, on the state of primary education in the departments constituting the Academy of Strasbourg: "In all respects, the superiority of the popular schools is striking, and the conviction of the people is as general, that this superiority is mainly due to the existence of the Normal School.” He says

further : “ All of you are aware, that the primary instruc. tion depends altogether on the corresponding Normal School. The prosperity of these establishments is the measure of its progress.

The Imperial Government, which first pronounced with effect the words • Normal Schools,' left us a legacy of one.

The restoration added five or six.

Those, of which some were in their infancy, we have greatly improved within the last two years, and have at the same time established thirty new ones, twenty of which are in full operation, forming in each department a vast focus of light, scattering its rays in all directions among the people. ” Normal Schools were first organized in England about the year 1805.

. Lord Broughman, ever an able and eloquent advocate of popular education, in a speech in the House of Lords, on the education of the people, in 1835, thus remarks: Place Normal Schools Seminaries for training Teachers in a few such places as London, York, Liverpool, Durham and Exeter, and you will yearly qualify five hundred persons fitted for diffusing a perfect system of instruction all over the country. These training Seminaries will not only teach the masters the branches of learning and science in which they are now deficient, but will teach them what they know far less—the Didactic Art—the mode of imparting the knowledge they have or may acquire, the best methods of training and dealing with children in all that regards temper, capacity and habits, and the means of stirring them to exertion and controlling their aberrations."

This able champion of popular education has lived long enough to see thirty-six Normal Schools, or Training Colleges, in England and Wales, four in Scotland, and one in Ireland, in successful operation.

*

*

*

66

« PreviousContinue »