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necticut; Gen. Eaton, United States Commissioner at Washington, our honored chief; Wickersham, of Pennsylvania ; Newell, of Maryland ; Rickoff and Hancock, of Ohio ; Bateman and Pickard, of Illinois ; Harris, of St. Louis ; John Swett, of California ; and hundreds of younger men, who are achieving the best success in their several fields of action and useful work. The line of direction is now moving straight forward, and we only need more momentum to secure a thorough system of supervision under educational experts.
Two features should be carefully guarded to establish this department on a permanent basis. One is in the electing body, and the other in the tenure of office. As a general principle, while the educational and municipal function should never be divorced, the officers in the system of schools should be elected by a select board of educational men, such as boards of education, school committees, etc.; the smaller the number, consistent with the full and faithful discharge of the duties of the office, the better. The real strength of a system is found in its weakest part, as is the strength of a chain. The very weakest place in our educational machine is the point where the people and the schools meet in the official head, the superintendent, and if the attention of educators could be turned to the adjustment of the machinery at this point, all would move on more harmoniously. - The insolence of office” is proverbial in England, but in this country school offices are held by so slight a tenure that the officer hardly becomes invested with its proper dignity and security before he must make his welcome bow to his successor. Rapid rotation in supervision is the curse of our land. A man does good work, and is ambitious
to do more : straightway some jealous or designing persons set to work for his overthrow and removal. A long life of devotion to pedagogic studies, a distinguished record, the general good opinions of educators, stand for little, when the interests of some private individual or clique must be served. Our best men are sacrificed annually to political cabals or social caprices, “ And let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” We need to see a revolution in this matter. Elect our State, county, and city superintendents for a term of three or five years. Their work is of such a character that it cannot be put in successful operation and tried by thorough tests in shorter periods. Let the best experts of the community be set to the task of judging the work done, and if well done, let the seal of approval be set thereon by a re-election, to be determined, not by the packing of a ward caucus, but by the intelligent progress of educational method and results in the schools. Even within the last thirty days. one of our most efficient city superintendents has been set aside, for the sole reason that he was a competent person for the work, and knew too much for those who knew too little.
Mr. Francis Adams, of Birmingham, England, in his admirable review of our public school system, remarks as follows:
6. Those who have studied the annual reports of school superintendents, however much they may differ as to the value of American methods, will admit that in the superintendents the United States possess a class of school officers whose value it is impossible to estimate too highly. While their reports are marked throughout by the strongest feeling of patriotisin and of attachment to the American school idea, they never attempt to slur over the blemishes or defects of the system. Every detail of organization is subjected to a microscopic examination, and every rotten place is discovered and exposed. The evidences of partial weakness and failure, which are seized upon with such avidity by the enemies of the free common school in England, are precisely those which the superintendents have been the first to indicate, not as proofs of general inefficiency and unsoundness, but as imperfections of detail which demand a remedy."
Our profession as teachers has made great advances within the life of this Institute. Horace Mann in his first report says of the public school teachers of Massachusetts, “ Wherever the discharge of my duties has led me through the State, with whatever intelligent men I have conversed, the conviction has been expressed with entire unanimity that there is an extensive want of competent teachers for the common schools. This opinion casts no reproach upon that most worthy class of persons employed in the sacred cause of education. The teachers are as good as public opinion has demanded. Their attainments have corresponded with their opportunities ; and the supply has answered the demand as well in quality as in number. Without a change in prices, is it reasonable to expect a change in competency, while talent is invited through so many avenues to emolument and distinction ?” In the same report, Mr. Mann says that the average weges per month paid to male teachers throughout the State, inclusive of board, was $25.44, and to female teachers, $11.38. Allowing $2.50 per week for the board of men, and $1.50 for the board of women, the compensation per year for male teachers on an average in Massachusetts (the best-paid State in the country) was $185.28, and of female teachers was $64.56.
In 1840, ten years after this Institute was formed, Secretary Mann says, in speaking of our influence as an association in improving the system of education, ". The qualifications of teachers hold a place second in importance to none. I believe there is scarcely a single instance in the reports where the school committee speak with universal commendation of the success of teachers they have approved.” But the most marked improvements in the teaching force of New England and the country have been made within the memory end experience of most of those in this audience.
The standard of preparation for the work has been also raised through our common and professional schools. Methods of teaching have thereby changed from the forced and unmethodic towards natural and normal. More than one fourth of our teachers have taken full or partial courses of normal-school instruction, and all have felt the impulse of a new professional spirit. The higher appreciation of the school in the community, as judged by its better results, has led to the increased pay of the instructor, so that teaching is now the most lucrative employment which society holds out to women, as shown by the fact that more than seven eighths of the teachers in this country are women, more by far than in any other employment, and possibly many others combined. While our cities and larger towns have paid largely increased salaries over former times, we have still reason to be ashamed of the small compensations paid. One of the surest remedies for the removal of poor teachers in a community is the advancement of salaries. That community will then seek better talent and the better talent will seek the better pay. The great problem of the adjustment of the three factors — ability, labor, and compensation is just now before us for solution. My impression is that its arrangement will follow something this line of movement.
1. The best talent and largest experience will be found in our primary grades of school.
2. Our best primary teachers and our best highschool teachers will receive equal salaries, and these the maximum.
3. A sliding scale of salaries will be adopted, based upon qualifications and experience, ranging from a minimum for beginners to the maximum for the wellestablished and successful instructor.
4. These salaries will never be subject to a decrease during the term of office of any incumbent.
The present recedence of the tidal wave of the teacher's pay in salary-reductions is an almost necessary result of the business depression of the community and will be of but short duration. When it again moves upward, it will undoubtedly reach a higher point than ever before, and remain at its proper level more securely; and this is one of the great objects to be attained for securing permanency of instructors and the most valuable instruction. Give to our teachers a scale of salaries which shall recognize grades of qualification and experience, make the ultimate salary one to which the best talent will be ambitious to aspire, and if you