ページの画像
PDF
ePub

Average tax per child of educational

age, assessed principally on property

$26

$ 475 Amount raised for wages, fuel, and

books, exclusive of repairs and new structures

$387,184 $915,389 Population of State per census of 1810 and 1850

737,699 992,499 Assessors' valuation of taxable pro

perty in the State for returns of 1840 and 1850

$299,878,329 8597,936,995 Whole amount expended in public

and private schools in Massachusetts -exclusive of buildings, in 1851

$ 1,353,70063 Amount of public school fund

8 1,000,000 It is easy to draw the inference from this table, that the standard of education has been raised, the quality of teachers and teaching improved, while the State has continued to increase to a remarkable extent in population, and still more rapidly in wealth.

During the period in question, this State, which is devoted in a great measure to manufactures, has absorbed between one and two hundred thousand illiterate emigrants from Ireland.

In the schools of Massachusetts, no instruction is given in the tenets of any religious denomination. The schools usually are opened with reading a chapter of the Bible, and a brief prayer, or address, from the master; but the duty of the master and the committee to inculcate morals is by no means forgotten. It is prescribed by the fundamental laws, and the attention paid to it may be inferred from the following passages, which we cite from the report of a school committee to their constituents, in the little town of Winchendown, in Worcester county.

• The object of education is not merely to teach the pupil to read, to learn the news of the day, to write, to cypher, to keep his accounts, but to receive that thorough mental discipline which may prepare him for any sphere in which he may be called to move; that development of the mind which will elevate, and ennoble his aspirations ; that cultivation of the faculties which will awaken a quenchless thirst for knowledge; that influence on the mental powers which will incline them to the truth, as delicately as the needle seeks the pole. Its object is to make strong minds, courageous hearts, prompt, active, and energetic men.'

In relation to obedience, diligence, stillness, decorum, manliness of manners, respect to superiors, the pupil should be disciplined most thoroughly.'

The committee conclude with this earnest appeal, as applicable to England as to America,

Shall not we, the moral guardians, the foster-fathers of the children of the ignorant and dependent, see that our wards, whom Heaven has put into our hands, are provided for.'

The report of the town of Cambridge in Massachusetts takes the ground that,

Our wealth is in the mines of the intellect that lie hidden in the popular body, and not in gold or silver coin.' •To make this wealth available, we must labour not only to extend some education to all, but to put the best education within the reach of those who can turn it to the best account.' 'No wastefulness is so mischievous as this, to leave the high faculties to run to waste.'

Our duty is “to awake a just conception of what is exalted in feeling and conduct, and an inextinguishable love of moral purity and intellectual culture.” The great objects of school education are to give children such habits, tastes, and ideas, as will strengthen them against the temptations to which they are exposed, and form their characters for further progress.'

When such sentiments and views guide the managers of the schools, may not the Catechism be safely left to the religious instructor?

One more extract must suffice. A Boston committee gives us some light on the effect of schools on the population of the city, one half of which now consists of emigrants from Ireland and their children. • By these schools much has been done to convert the stagnant pools of ignorance and vice into pure and healthful fountains of knowledge, whose life-giving power pervades and penetrates all portions of society.'

A noble library, just founded in Boston by Mr. Bates of London of the house of Baring Brothers, and a native of Massachusetts, will aid and extend the influence of the schools.

The great State of New York, the most populous in the Union, has since 1825, when the Erie canal was built, paid Iparked attention to education.

De Witt Clinton gave an impulse to both. New York has gradually been accumulativg large funds for the advancement of letters, and annually increasing its appropriations for that object. Under the auspices of the State, several colleges and universities have been founded, eleven of which report to the State in 1851, that 1801 students are in attendance. One hundred and sixty academies also report their pupils as 15,947, their permanent endowments at $ 1,694,660. They give the salaries of their teachers as $247,341, and their libraries as containing 72,568 volumes.

The superintendent of the common free schools reports the entire number of school districts as 11,297, and the entire expenditure for 1849, on the free schools of the State, as

O

$ 1,766,668. We have condensed from several reports the following summary Population of the State in 1850

3,097,394 ditto 1840

2,428,941 Number of children between the ages of five and sixteen years in the State, 1850

735,188 Number of children of all ages taught during the year 794,500 Whole amount of money expended in common schools,

including buildings, salaries, fuel, and books in 1849 $ 1,766,668 Amount paid for buildings, fuel, &c., included in sum above

8398,097 Amount contributed by State from general tax and income of lands

8906,822 Income of school funds, 1849

8302,524 Number of volumes in district school libraries

1,449,950 Average length of school term, 1849, eight months. Whole amount received and expended in common schools in 1825, but

$265,720 The State of New York, as will appear from the above, is fast increasing its outlay on schools, and has liberally provided a library for each district. The State has also established normal schools, which are tending to improve the teachers, and raise the standard of qualification for office throughout the State.

Teachers' institutes have been authorised, and will soon be commenced. A school journal has also been established, which serves as the official channel of communication between tho superintendent and the officers of the district, and contributes to the improvement of the system of public instruction. The library and journal, as appendages of the common school, are apparently peculiar to New York.

With respect to new sites and structures for school-houses, the superintendent reports that an increased regard to the comfort, convenience, and health both of pupils and teachers and to refined taste, have been manifested. He recommends enlarged sites for school-houses, the introduction of tasteful shrubbery, useful and ornamental plants, and, while providing for wholesome exercise, would make some provision for developing those higher faculties of our nature, which can appreciate the beautiful, tasteful, and ornamental.

The city of New York, the commercial centre of the New World, is making progress in her schools. A few years since they were inferior to those of New England; but of late years its most able and influential citizens have taken them in charge, and rapid improvement has been made. Normal schools have been established, evening schools have begun to instruct the adult emigrants, who land there from Ireland and Germany without the rudiments of knowledge, and a free academy has been opened to teach the higher branches and the ancient languages to the most distinguished graduates of the grammar schools. The following table gives the statistics of the schools. We would remark, however, that some deduction must be made from the aggregate number of scholars on the registers of the city and state of New York, as those who remove from district to district during the year are sometimes twice entered on the register. Whole number of children in the city between five and fifteen years of age, January, 1850

90,145 Whole number entered on register in schools during the year 1849 of all ages

102,974 Number in free academy

382 Number in evening schools

3,450 Number in private, church, and other schools

18,250 Amount paid for teachers' salaries, 1850

$274,794 New buildings

$32,000 Repairs

$18.660 Sites

$ 41,680 Cost of evening schools

$ 16,621 Cost of free academy

816,270 Entire cost of free schools

$ 400,029 Population of city proper, 1850

515,347 ditto 1840

312,710 In the schools of the city and state of New York, the exercises are usually begun by reading a passage from the Bible ; but no favour is shown to any religious denomination. The degree of moral culture afforded by these schools — their influence over the community, and the favour with which they are regarded, may be inferred from the extract we subjoin from the annual report of the superintendent of common schools to the legislature for 1850, page 19.

* The idea of universal education is the grand central idea of the age. Upon this broad and comprehensive basis all the experience of the past, all the crowding phenomena of the present, and all our hopes and aspirations for the future, must rest. Our forefathers have transmitted to us a noble inheritance of national, intellectual, moral, and religious freedom. They have confided our destiny as a people to our own hands. Upon our individual and combined intelligence, virtue, and patriotism rest the solution of the great problem of self-government. We should be untrue to ourselves, untrue to the memory of our statesmen and patriots, untrue to the cause of liberty, of civilisation and humanity, if we neglected the assiduous cultivation of those means by which alone we can secure the realisation of the hopes we have excited. Those means are the universal education of our future citizens without discrimination or distinction. Wherever in our midst a human being exists with capacities and

faculties to be developed, improved, cultivated, and directed, the avenues of knowledge should be freely opened, and every facility afforded to their unrestricted entrance. Ignorance should no more he countenanced than vice and crime. The one leads almost inevitably to the other. Banish ignorance, and in its stead introduce intelligence, science, knowledge, and increasing wisdom and enlightenment, and you remove in most cases all those incentives to idleness, vice, and crime, which produce such frightful barvests of retribution, misery, and wretchedness. Educate every child “to the top of his “ faculties," and you not only secure the community against the depredations of the ignorant and the criminal, but you bestow upon it instead, productive artisans, good citizens, upright jurors and magistrates, enlightened statesmen, scientific discoverers and inventors, and the dispensers of a pervading influence in favour of honesty, virtue, and true goodness. Educate every child physically, morally, and intellectually, from the age of four to twenty-one, and many of your prisons, penitentiaries, and almshouses will be converted into schools of industry and temples of science; and the amount now contributed for their maintenance and support will be diverted into far more profitable channels. Educate every child not superficially, not partially, but thoroughly; develope equally and healthfully every faculty of his nature, every capability of his being, and you infuse a new and invigorating element into the very life-blood of civilisation, an element which will diffuse itself throughout every vein and artery of the social and political system, purifying, strengthening, and regenerating all its impulses, elevating its aspirations, and clothing it with a power equal to every demand upon its vast energies and resources.

• These are some of the results which must follow in the train of a wisely matured and judiciously organised system of universal education. They are not imaginary but sober deductions from well authenticated facts, deliberate conclusions, and sanctioned by the concurrent testimony of experienced educators and eminent statesmen and philanthropists. If names are needed to enforce the lesson they teach, those of Washington, and Franklin, and Hamilton, and Jefferson, and Clinton, with a long array of patriots and statesmen, may be cited. If facts are required to illustrate the connexion between ignorance and crime, let officer's return of convictions in the several courts of the State for the last ten years be examined, and the instructive lessons be heeded. Out of nearly 28,000 persons convicted of crime, but 128 had enjoyed the benefits of a good common school education.'

The influence of education in New York is still further illustrated in a report of the Board of Education of the city of New York on the system of popular education, May 28. 1851. The report appears to have been in answer to a message of the mayor on the increase of expense in the police, almshouse, and school departments, which may be ascribed doubtless to the great influx of foreign emigrants. The report is a most able defence

« 前へ次へ »