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As to prolonging schools, in the respective townships, the length of time the law requires and the fitness of officers to execute the duties,
he says :
It is to be regretted that, in so many cases, there are not the necessary provisions for continuing the schools in operation in the respective townships, for the length of time which the law requires, and which the inhabitants of the subdistricts desired. But this neglect is not so much the fault of the law, as that of the people, in failing to elect those, who, with intelligence and zeal, would carry the law into full and effective operation. The best school law that human wisdom could devise, would require enlightened and earnest school officers to work it, otherwise it would not secure its full measure of benefit to the people. No law can work or execute itself, or raise up, as by magic, wise and discreet officers, where the electors fail to exercise reasonable discretion, or manifest an intelligent interest in the selection of those who are to administer the law.
The duty of the state in continuing its fostering care to the schools is adverted to:
It is rare to find a city, village, township or even school district in the state in in which the doctrine is not earnestly and intelligently advocated “that education is a concern of government; that government may of right and is in duty bound to support it, and that the property of the state may be justly taxed for that support, on account of the protection which that property itself derives from the dissemination of intelligence through all classes of society.” The former theory, “that education should be regarded as mainly a personal burden which every man should bear for the education of his offspring, or else they should be doomed to go out into the world ignorant and degraded,"now finds few advocates in any section of the state. The great mass of the people now believe, that free Common Schools, occupying commodious, well furnished, warmed and ventilated houses, supervised by discreet, efficient boards of school officers, and instructed by teachers of sound education, mature judgment and large experience, should be considered as the peculiar objects of legislative care.
From their universality, reaching as they do every neighborhood, shedding their benign influence upon every family and into every mind, expelling the primary causes of crime and erecting altars to patriotism and virtue, free schools ought to be cherished, supported and defended by every man who has property to be protected, or who would live in a peaceable neighborhood, or enjoy a quiet home.
The Republican character of our school system is worthy of constant remembrance, and Ohio is thus counseled to stand firm :
The plan of educating the youth of our state at public schools, open and free to all, without distinction between the rich and the poor, the high and the low, the native and the foreigner, is most in keeping with our republican principles and best adapted to promote the perpetuity of the happy form of government under which it is our good fortune to live. It also furnishes one of the best securities to the fortunate wealthy, for the peaceable enjoyment of their possessions, while it extends the blessings of education to thousands who otherwise would be doomed to lives of ignorance, perhaps of vice and crime.
New states are adopting our plan, and old ones, as one one they are re-constructing their fundamental laws and constitutions, are engrafting the same prino ciples upon their institutions. Surely, then, in this noble enterprise of universal, free education, Ohio should not retrace her steps, nor disappoint the high hopes which she has excited, by receding from the advanced position which she now occupies, in the very van of the great educational movement of the age.
One can hardly visit a school or converse with a school officer in any of the middle or eastern states, without having his ears greeted and his heart cheered with such declarations as the following, viz : "Ohio is doing a noble work in the matter of free schools." "She is outstripping all her sister states in this beneficent enterprise.” “Her statesmen, her teachers, and her friends of education generally have performed a work which will forever illustrate the pride and the glory of her history.” “The career of Ohio, in all those elements which go to make up the essential wealth, prosperity and greatness of a people, has been one of wonderful progress, manifesting the enterprise and public spirit of her people and the wisdom of her far-seeing statesmen." “The people of Ohio, acting upon the principle that 'knowledge is power,' and that knowledge and wisdom are ultimately to be the stability of our times, are taking away from us our preëminence in this respect, and unless we redouble our diligence, zeal and efforts in the great work of educational improvement, we shall soon be obliged to say, 'farewell, self-respect; farewell, the rich rewards of large intelligence and well cultivated mind. The age will pass us by, and we who have led the way, who have still the first advantages for success, will be distanced in the race, stripped of our crown and deprived of our true glory.”
Several modifications of the present law are suggested. As to the “ library and apparatus,” he states that the opposition in this state has mainly arisen from the following circumstances :
The annual tax for library and apparatus purposes, producing not quite one dime for each youth of school age, has annually supplied to each sub-district so small a number of volumes, that the people have often regarded them as of little consequence, and Boards of Education have not, in some instances, deemed it worth their while to organize the libraries, hence the books have not been read. The important fact has been too often overlooked, that even so small an annual supply of books would, in the course of a few years, with the voluntary contri butions which the beginning of a library naturally stimulates and encourages, produce a very respectable collection of entertaining and instructive books. This objection can be removed by substituting, as they have done in Indiana, the township for the school district library.
The advantage of making each township a single school district is discoursed upon. Inequalities and evils are referred to as demanding remedies, as follows:
Mr. Barney contends that so long as the property of each inhabitant of the township bears the same rate of tax for school purposes, each will utter loud and repeated complaints, if his children do not enjoy equal, or nearly equal, educational facilities with those of his fellow townsmen.
It is easy to perceive what an unhappy state of feeling will be the result, if some remedy be not speedily applied to the removal of the great inequalities which are often found in the length and character of schools in the same town. shfp-inequalities which are seldom, if ever, found in cities and large towns, and rarely in those townships which have been made single school districts.
Of families residing in the same township and not far apart, one will be suffering in its dearest interests from a short school session, or from the unfortunate choice of local directors, or from the employment of an incompetent teacher, while another will be in the full enjoyment of the very best facilities for education-a long school term, a teacher of high qualifications, and a zealous and efficient board of local directors.
As to local directors : The law having allowed township clerks, in case of refusal to serve or vacancy in the office of local director elected by the people, to make an appointment, inasmuch as this gives the clerk oftentimes power to appoint for well nigh the full term of three years, who may cause to be made an unsatisfactory appointment to fill such vacancy, Mr. Barney suggests that an opportunity might be given to the people to fill the same by election; the clerk having authority to make appointment until the next annual election.
As to regular sessions of the township Boards of Education : In consequence of the change in the time of making annual reports, the second regular session of township Boards of Education is recommended to be changed from the third Monday of October to the second Monday of September in each year.
Assessment of taxes in sub-districts, to build school houses : As the provisions of the twenty-third section were designed to be only tempo. rary, it is proposed that it be repealed. All the youth of a township, like all the youth of a city, should be regarded as having a just claim to equal educational advantages, and nothing short of an earnest and well directed effort on the part of Boards of Education to bring these advantages within the reach of all, ought to satisfy the public conscience.
The important subject of distribution of school moneys raised by township tax for the purpose of prolonging schools, is thus treated :
It is almost the unanimous opinion of township Boards of Education that the twenty-fourth section ought to be so amended as to allow them some discretion. ary power in distributing the school funds derived from any township tax levied for the continuation of schools after the state fund has been exhausted.
By the last clause of said section, each township board is required to make the necessary provisions for continuing the schools in operation in their respective townships for at least seven months in each year.
The experiment of distributing this fund, in a majority of cases, has demon. strated that the requisition to distribute the funds raised for prolonging the terms of the schools in proportion to the enumeration of the scholars, has defeated the very object for which they are raised.
It has proven impracticable so to district the township, that each sub-district shall contain not less than sixty resident scholars, or that the number shall even approximate an equality.
It is recommended that the thirty-third section be so amended as to authorize examiners to be appointed by Boards of Education in such places as have Union or High Schools.
A compensation of two dollars per day and mileage, is suggested as reasonable to be allowed examiners when on duty, they often having much travel to and from their places of meeting.
In conversation with Prof. Monroe, ebairman of the school committee of the House, we find that a bill much in consonance with these suggestions will be offered and probably passed. A bill of a somewhat radical character has been discussed in the Senate, but it is to be hoped it will not prevail.
We give the following summing up of school statistics for the school year ending Aug. 31, 1856: No. of counties reported,. townships,...
1357 sub districts,
8983 whole sub districts,.
8311 fractional do.,
672 special districts, consisting cities, towns and incorpo. rated villages of 300 or niore inhabitants,..
Number of white and colored youth between the ages of five and twenty one years, residing within the organized townships of the state, in October, 1855 : White,
10,510 Total, ..........
820,624 Total number of white and colored youth, as enumerated in October, 1856,....
No. of Common Schools,
97 58 88
Number of youth enroll-d in schools during the year, as reported :
Males. Females. Total. Common Schools,
290,784 254,078 514.862 High Schools,
4,225 4,329 8.554 German or German-English Schools,......... 1.977 1,625 3,602 Schools for colored youth,
2,240 2,057 4,297 Total, .
299,226 262,089 561,315
Amount of expenditure for teachers' wages during the year :
Males. Females. Total. Common Schools,
$947,860.15 $503.190.36 $1,451,050.51 High Schools.....
56.464.26 22.843.48 79,307.74 German or German-English do.,... 7,958 93 1.794 80 9,753.73 Schools for colored youth,
10.028 95 3,366.31 14,295.26 Total,.......
$1,023,212.29 $531,194.95 $1,554,407.24
Amount of taxes levied in townships and special school districts for the following purposes : Purchasing school house sites,
$ 15,015.46 Building and furnishing school houses,
441.527.23 Hiring school houses,
8,954.77 Repairing do.,
53,655.77 Providing fuel, etc., .........
44,235.69 Providing book and apparatus cases, .......................
2.706.78 Other contingent school expenses,..........
93,983.19 Prolonging schools,
............... 394,453.48 Sustaining High Schools,..
Total receipts by the various school districts of the state from the following sources : State school tax,
$1,113,918.85 Rents or sales, sec. 16,..
124,208.42 Vir. mil. school fund,
6,507.88 Western Reserve school fund, .
12,113.60 Taxes assessed for prolonging schools, building, repair
ing and furnishing school houses, and for other con-
441.334.52 Pedlars and auctioneers' licenses and auction rates,
609.24 Fines and penalties,
4,303.63 Exhibition licenses and miscellaneous sources,
70.298 41 Unappropriated funds of previous year,
No. of school houses in the state,