Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

have these institutions become in the old Bay State that no one presumes to oppose the most generous State appropriations for their support. In addition to this the city of Boston, with most commendable wisdom and liberality, supports an independent Normal School for the purpose of training young ladies to become teachers in the schools of the city. New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Rhode Lland, and Connecticut, have each a Normal School in successful operation; Pennsylvania has three; while California has recently made a liberal appropriation for the establishment of a similar institution on our Pacific borders, and the State in which we now meet has most wisely provided for the establishment of two of these important schools. May we not hope that, before another score of years shall have passed, Normal Schools and Teachers' Institutes will be accomplishing a noble mission in every State from the Gulf of Mexico to the farthest North. This accomplished, and a system of popular education once fairly inaugurated, and the spirits of rebellion, fanaticism, and anarchy, will be bound as with triple cords and forever consigned to “ their own place.” May God speed the day! Then will the teacher's mission be expanded, and the school-master will be “at home” and at work in every State from Maine to Georgia, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Then, too, will the “school-ma'am” with gentle voice and devoted heart extend her mission and exert her angelic influence in States from which education and liberty have been driven bleeding away.

Another modern auxiliary in the cause of popular education may be found in the establishment and circulation of educational periodicals.

Forty years ago there was not an educational periodical in the United States.* In 1826, Prof. William Russell estab

* The Academician had been published in New York in 1818 and 1819 by the Messrs. Pichett.

lished the Journal of Education, devoted exclusively to educational matters. Prof. Russell conducted this journal with marked ability until 1830, when it passed into the hands of the late William C. Woodbridge, and its name changed to Annals of Education. Its previous reputation was fully sustained, and the work received a limited circulation both in this country and Europe. But it was in advance of the times. Its able articles were not generally appreciated, and it soon died of starvation. If its volumes could be obtained at the present day, our leading educators would gladly pay a liberal premium for them. But it accomplished a useful mission, and did something towards leading the friends of education to more efficient action.

In July, 1838, the Hon. Henry Barnard, then School Commissioner of Connecticut, commenced the publication of the Connecticut Common School Journal. In speaking of this, Mr. Philbrick says, “ It was a pioneer in the work. Instead of coming into existence in obedience to the demand of an awakened public sentiment, in favor of the cause which it espoused, it was launched forth on a dark and stagnant ocean of popular ignorance and indifference rcspecting the subject.” This journal continued to be published by Mr. Barnard until the close of the year 1853, since which time it has been published under the auspices of the State Association. It hardly need be said that the journal was published by Mr. Barnard at a constant pecuniary sacrifice, a sacrifice that no man would make whose soul was not wholly alive to the magnitude and importance of the work in which he was engaged. Teachers of New England cannot too gratefully remember the name of Henry Barnard for his earnest efforts to arouse the public mind to the importance of popular education, and for his longcontinued labors as a pioneer in the work to which he so assiduously devoted himself; often, too, under the most disheartening circumstances. Let his name and memory be cherished by teachers, and handed down to posterity as one whose best energies and talents were given to the cause of education, with a zeal which no coldness, apathy, or even opposition, could quench. Let us not, my friends, who are in some measure reaping the fruits of his labors, cease to be grateful to him for breaking up the fallow ground and casting in the seed, but may we strive so to till the soil prepared for us that year by year it may become more productive.

In January, 1839, Horace Mann commenced the publication of The (Mass.) Common School Journal, and continued its publication with great ability for the period of ten years. It then passed into the editorial hands of William B. Fowle, Esq., and in one short year it died, died of economy, a false economy, which so affected the pocket nerves of teachers that no vital extracts could be made; a disease quite too common even now.

The year 1848 marks a new era in educational periodicals. Previous to that time several had started into life, but almost immediately died of " chill penury” and neglect, Mr. Mann's journal having been able longest to endure the blighting blasts of apathy. In closing his well-rendered editorial labors Mr. Mann said of the journal, “ It came to the public rather as their fate, than as a consequence of their free will. It was born, not because it was wanted, but because it was needed.

In 1848, at the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Teachers' Association, the subject of starting a new educational periodical was freely discussed, and while all admitted that much good had been accomplished by those already named, it was still felt that the time had arrived for starting a journal of a more professional character; one which should enlist the sympathies of the teachers, and call from them articles of a more practical bearing. The discussion resulted in the appointment of a committee of twelve teachers who were to constitute a Board of Editors, four of the number to act as general managers and Resident Editors. These were Thomas Sherwin, of the Boston High School, John D. Philbrick, and Samuel Bates, then both teachers in Boston, and one other from a neighboring town. This sub-committee took charge of the new journal, arranged for its publication, made appeals to teachers for subscriptions; and to make the expense as little as possible, they attended to the mailing of the several numbers; and yet with the most rigid economy the expenses of the work exceeded the income to the amount of about one hundred and fifty dollars the first year. It entered upon its second year with more encouraging prospects, and has continued to exist and to breathe a life-giving influence until the present day. It has now got fairly over the “ diseases and dangers” incident to youth, and has nearly closed its seventeenth year; and we see no reason why it may not survive to a good old age, blessing and being blessed.*

The plan inaugurated by Massachusetts was imitated by other States in the following order :

New York Teacher, January, 1851. Pennsylvania School Journal, July, 1852. Ohio Journal of Education, now Educational Monthly, January, 1852. Connecticut Common School Journal, January, 1853. Michigan Journal of Education, January, 1854. Illinois Teacher, January, 1855. Rhode Island Schoolmaster, March, 1855. Indiana School Journal, January, 1856. Wisconsin Journal of Education, July, 1856. New Hampshire Journal of Education, January, 1857. Maine Teacher, June, 1858. Missouri Educator, May, 1858. North

* The New York Teacher, in its present form, was established in 1851, first published as Teacher's Advocate in 1845. The Common School Assistant, edited and published by J. Orville Taylor, did a good service several years earlier.

Carolina Journal of Education, January, 1858. Vermont School Journal, January, 1859. Iowa Instructor, October, 1859. Educational Monthly, Louisville, Kentucky, November, 1859. Southern Teacher, Alabama, August, 1859. Iowa School Journal, January, 1860. The California Teacher, July, 1863.

Of these eighteen journals fifteen were started and supported in States that were thoroughly loyal, and eleven of these still survive, while not a single educational periodical now exists within the so-called Confederate States of America.

Of the journals still surviving it may be said there is not one that is not worth far more than the subscription price to any live teacher, and not one of them that will be worth a farthing to him who never reads nor aims at self-improvement, and, we may add, not one that might not be greatly improved if all nominal teachers would lend a helping hand and a sympathizing heart in their behalf. As it is and has been, we are convinced that these journals, with all their defects, have accomplished a most useful mission and done much for the promotion of the interests of popular education.

Another step in the progress of education is the production of books of a professional bearing. Previous to the year 1830 there was not in our country a work specially designed for school teachers. The first work of the class was prepared by S. R. Hall, soon after the opening of his “ Teachers' Seminary at Andover, Mass., in 1830.” Many a teacher was quickened and edified for his work by perusing “ Hall's Lectures on School Teaching." This was followed by a small but very sensible work, entitled “ The Teacher Taught,” by Rev. Dr. Davis, of Westfield, Mass. Since that time educational works have multiplied, and now every teacher who will may own a professional library. The works of Abbott

« AnteriorContinuar »