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duties, as we have said, should never be dissevered. By our law they are effect ually so -the one devolves upon a county Board, the other upon Board of local Directors. The latter has the power to dismiss a Teacher within itself, but can only employ such as are licensed by the former. The Teacher should be amenable to but one umpire. Let it not be supposed that we have made statements in regard to these county Boards of Examiners, at random. We have taken not a little pains to obtain correct and reliable statistical information, sufficiently extensive to form a proper basis for judging of the entire State. These statistics verify all we have said and much more to the discredit of the system. There are counties with efficient Boards, constituting noble exceptions, but we are justified by facts in the statement that as a general rule, this system of examinations has sadly failed in its object. The publication of these statistics would dispel the illusion resting upon the minds of some, that our present method of examination is working a great reform. The further we look for statistics, the more deeply does the conviction fasten itself upon our mind, that this provision of our law is a failure, and that unless it be improved, the examination of Teachers will become generally, as it now is extensively, a humbug. The whole system is radically defective.
In other States a Board of Examiners exists in every township. The same objection usually lies against the material of such Boards, as in the other case, although not to the same extent. In some respects they bave superior advantages. They are nearer the schools, and most of them are generally interested as patrons; moreover they are made by law the examiners of the schools as well as Teachers. We regard this plan, though radically defective, yet as superior to ours, and so its results prove it to be. This is the plan of most of the New England States.
In other States again, a county Superintendent is appointed to examine both Teachers and schools. This plan has been twice tried and abandoned, and is now again being tested in the State of New York. An important objection to it is, even if competent men receive the appointment, (which is by no means always the case,) the impossibility that one can properly discharge the required duties.
It entails a heavy expense without corresponding advantages. The appointment too is quite likely to fall into the hands of some young and indolent “sprig of the law.”
No one can fail to observe that all these plans are similar in principle, and that principle we esteem radically wrong. All are liable in a greater or less degree to the same objections. A few of these we will
I. Liability to appoint incompetent Examiners.
III. The inconsistency of the examination of candidates for a profession, by those who are professors or tyros in other professions entirely separate and distinct from it.
IV. The impossibility of securing a uniformity in Examinations in the same State, or any considerable section of it, or even from year
to year in the same county.
V. A failure to stipulate what shall be the required qualifications of a Teacher, his time or course of study, and consequently a failure to recognize his office as one of the learned professions.
Other and minor objections we pass by. Either of the above seem to us fatal to the soudness and efficiency of the system.
We inquire for a remedy. In this we are warned that we must be brief. We are forcibly reminded also that it is easier to tear down than to build up. Nevertheless we believe there is a remedy, whether it shall be found in our panacea or not.
When the friends of our present excellent school law shall cease to regard it with veneration equal to that with which the Mahommedans regard the Koran, that remedy will be found and applied.
It is proposed by some to return to the old system, making Directors also Examiners, or creating a Board of Examiners in each township. So long as these petty local examinations must continue, we should much prefer that plan to the present, for reasons which we have already given. It is objected that competent persons can not be found in each township for this purpose. We are inclined to regard this objection as a libel upon the intelligence of the people, but whether so or not, it is absolutely certain that those of equal competence with a majority of those now employed, can be found in tolerable abundance, so that the standard would not deteriorate. As a general rule the nearer you can bring all these questions to the people immediately concerned, the better. The principle involved, however, would still be wrong.
Again, it is proposed by others to give to the School Commissioner power to appoint County Examiners. This would be a very great improvement, whether those Boards be township or county Boards. It would obviate one or two serious objections which we have made, and especially improve the material composing these Boards. If the general system is to continue, we hope to see such an amendment adopted. If
at the same time authority were given to the Commissioner to issue general instructions to his appointees, adopting a standard, etc., much would be done toward securing uniformity of examinations. In this or any other case, provision should be made, so that certificates once granted should be good until revoked. No Teacher should be subjected to a reëxamination except in such cases. Further the Board should be required to visit schools as well as Teachers. We repeat again that these two powers should exist in the same Board. This is certainly essential to the success of any system which requires the local examination of Teachers. Let it be understood that we favor these improvements, only upon the supposition that we are not to have a radical reform on this subject.
We think there is still a “better way,' one that will elevate the character of the profession, or rather make it what it is not, and will never be under the present system-a profession--taking its proper rank among the others. We will briefly indicate our plan :
Let the law prescribe a course of study for the Teacher, or sanction the course of study which any of our Colleges, and especially those more directly under its legislative control, may lay down for the education of Teachers. Let all Colleges which choose to create a Teachers' Department, be authorized to issue a Teachers' diploma or license, after a full compliance with the prescribed terms of study, and a satisfactory examination before a Board of Censors, appointed by the Governor and School Commissioner. Let this diploma be prima facie evidence of ability to teach, and legal authority to do so, whenever the person holding it has contracted with a Board of Education.
Then let the tyro go out into the world like the Minister, Doctor and Lawyer, to find business if he can, and relying, like them, upon his actual merits and success for a continuation of his employment. Throw him
his own resources and skill for success. Make the local Boards, as now, conservators of the schools, adding, if necessary, more stringent authority than they now possess, in regard to the dismissal of Teachers, etc.
The State might institute schools for this special purpose, yet we do not deem it necessary. With such encouragement placed before our Colleges, a department would forthwith spring up in all of them, allotted to this enterprise. The demand would be supplied. We have not space to give the many reasons which occur to us in favor of this plan, but submit it, asking for it the consideration which the subject merits.
If we shall succeed in calling the careful attention of Teachers and
friends of education to this important subject, we shall have done all that we intended, and shall cheerfully join them in any measure or measures which will promise an improvement, believing that reflection will convince them as it has ourself, that a reform is greatly needed.
W. C. C.
Mansfield, Sept. 5th, 1857.
PHONETICS AT ANTIOCH COLLEGE.
An invitation from the Ohio Phonetic Association, to say why I believed the Phonetic Reform needful and available, which invitation I accepted, enabled me to spend two days of last week at Yellow Springs.
The meetings of the Association were held in the Chapel of Antioch College, and were attended by many of the students, male and female, and by the President and Faculty. The President, Horace Mann, was courteous in a high degree to the delegates. He invited them to his house, and publicly expressed himself a convert to the cause they advocated. Aside from an interest in the Phonetic Convention, I was pleased to visit Yellow Springs. It has historic and romantic interest, and, through Antioch College and its President, peculiar educational interest.
The head waters of the Little Miami river, breaking through a romantic glen, affording cascades, and exhibiting curiosities in rocks and trees, furnish a delightful resort for students, and other lovers of the beautiful in nature; while the spot pointed out as the birth-place of Tecumseh, and the remains of a log cabin, said to have been built and occupied by Robert Owen, the Socialist, during his visit to America, afford food for reflection and speculation for all who love relics, who are moved by memories of the past, or who may be sad over such lessons as Owen's failures suggest.
Coming out of the glen, after one has been thinking whether Tecamseh's people were the mound-builders or not; speculating on what might have been the character of the people in that valley; how Owen established a colony; and then remembering the recent struggle against the “ free love" influences of Memnonia, the College buildings arrest peculiar attention. With Antioch there are novel associations. It has a way of its own, and that way, in one respect at least, is diametrically opposed to established college customs.
Antioch encourages the
assembling together of young men and young women for the purposes of study and of recitation. At prayers, in its chapel, male and female voices blend ; so they do in the college balls, in class-roonis, and at social gatherings, authorized by the President or some one of the Faculty
Thus far the experiment has succeeded well. The prospects of the College are now encouraging. The classes are fuller than they have been since the first term, when scholarships were good for tuition.
Whether Horace Mann's severe discipline against tobacco, profanity and wine, and his liberal policy respecting the joint instruction of young men and young women, will find friends enough to afford Antioch continued support, is a question which experience alone can settle; but that boys and girls, educated under such auspices, will be better men and women than those educated without it, no person can dispute who has faith in commands and counsels against vice. Boys who, at college, neither swear nor chew tobacco, nor drink spirituous liquors, may not become abler politicians or shrewder financiers than boys who, when students, learned to delight in “small vices,” but they will certainly be purer men, so long as they practice what their college rules enforce.
To all reflecting parents, Antioch presents interesting inquiries. If our Common Schools, with boys and girls in the same classes, are better schools than those in which the sexes are separated, why may not a College for young men and women be better than one for young men alone, or than a Seminary for young women alone? It is worth while, at least, to watch how experience at Antiocb will answer this question.
To return now to the Phonetic Association, I must announce that the proceedings are to be published in full, in a pamphlet. Benn Pittman remained at Yellow Springs, to give Phonetic instructioh for a few days in the Common Schools, and Phonographic instruction in the College. Mr. Royce, the State Phonetic Agent, went to Lebanon, for the purpose of teaching Phonetics for a few days in the South-west Normal School. Facts reported at the Convention, by Teachers from different parts of the State, show that the practice of teaching Phonetic reading, as an aid to the Romanic, is gradually becoming frequent.
The next meeting of the Association will probably be held at Columbus, during the last week of December.
W. T. C.