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the direction and control of said committee shall have the care and supervision of the schools” This gives the voters of a town and the city council of a city the power to " require the school committee to appoint a superintendent”; but if the committee refuse, as is sometimes done, there is no redress. The statute provides also that “the school committee of any city may appoint and fix the compensation of a superintendent of public schools” by a majority vote of the whole board. It also provides that " any two or more towns may, by a vote of each, form a district for the purpose of employing a superintendent of public schools therein, who shall perform in each town the duties prescribed by law.” About forty municipalities of the Commonwealth have superintendents of schools, and the uni. versal testimony is that the schools have been greatly advanced by the appointment. This leaves three hundred towns, more or less, whose schools have no other supervision than such as the school committees can furnish. Can the school committees, as such, meet the demand of the schools for supervision ? I think not. By this I do not mean to say, or to intimate, that there may not be, or that there are not, members of the school committee, men of education, of esperience as teachers,-men naturally adapted to the work, who could do it, and do it well. There have been in the past, as there are now, instances in which such service has been rendered by some one of the committee, more commonly the chairman, and the condition of the schools has been good and the advantage great. But in these cases the supervision has not been by the committee as a whole,, but by some one of them, who, though not nominally a superintendent, has virtually been; and so it has been by one controlling mind and heart, rather than by the combined action of several. But I do mean to say that the school committees of the several towns, composed as they must be of three persons, or some multiple of three, numbering sometimes eighteen or twenty-four, each compelled to meet the demands of his own business or profession, with his thoughts necessarily, naturally, and properly engrossed by his own affairs, cannot give, nor be expected to give, the time for study and observation requisite for successful supervision. But if each of the eighteen or more members of the committee were possessed of the requisite endowments, natural and acquired, for the desired supervision; if each had the leisure for the work, and the disposition to do it, — with so large a number of persons, unity of action would be impossible, and the danger would be of too much and too discordant supervision.
Moreover, in many of the smaller towns the relation of the members of the committee to the town, or to the district, or to the prudential committee of the district, where the district system still prevails, is such that, granting the qualifications of the committee, they are unwilling to take the responsibility, and subject themselves to the consequences, of a faithful performance of the duties of school supervisor. They may be pastors of weak churches, and be unwilling to subject themselves to the jealousy that weakness naturally begets, and to the liability to loss of influence and it may be of place. Hence it is not uncommon for a clergyman, often the best educated, sometimes the only liberally educated man in the town, to decline a place on the school board ; and ministers at their ordinations
are “charged” not to serve on the school committee.
If, then, it be true that the school committees cannot give that careful, intelligent, and constant supervision to the schools which they demand, what can be done to supply the want?
We must select a body of men fitted by a special preparation for their work, who shall give their time and strength to educational affairs, and in whom the people can trust for those opinions which none but educators have the ability to originate.
We must put them to studying for progress and improvement; to exercising their skill in expending money, so that we may receive a return for what we pay, so that the children of the State may be subjected to a proper training during that period of their lives when character is formed and human destiny is determined.
We must place our schools under educated supervision if we would have them stand high enough in public estimation to insure a cordial support, and to secure an attendance upon them by the children of all classes of our citizens; so that our people will grow up to think alike and act alike, and caste-distinction, that insidious foe to all republican institutions, will find no place in our American society.
We must have educated superintendence if we ever succeed in preventing that waste we now suffer from too small or too large schools, from improper grading, from improper courses of studies, from unphilosophical methods of teaching, from poor teachers, from a lack of means of teaching, and from non-attendance.
We must have our schools organized and directed by educators, that we may save them from being condemned
and neglected; that the children of the State may not be allowed to pass unimproved the portion of their young lives allotted to them for obtaining that culture which lies at the foundation of a good private and public life.
There is a tendency in modern times to separate the æsthetical and moral from other forms of culture in the public schools, for it is said that the State has no right to furnish the children of the State with any training which does not have for its object the ability to live successfully their physical lives. They would limit the culture of the imagination and the taste to those fortunate ones who can secure it for themselves by private means; and the training of the conscience they would leave to home-influences and to the teachings of the church. Such sentiments have a tendency to degrade the public schools, and to divert them from pursuing the very ends they were established to attain.
The public schools were established that they might train the youth to be good citizens. To be a good citizen implies the possession of all the virtues that elevate the mind and adorn the character. All states and nations that omit from their systems of culture the training which addresses itself to the emotional nature are rude and uncivilized.
The omission of the moral element from the public instruction of the children of a State will soon produce a State not worth preserving. I have no hope of preserving and promoting the refinements and the Christianity of our education, except we put the superintendence of our schools into the hands of those who have made education in all its relations a careful and successful study.
Nothing but a thorough study and understanding of the philosophy of education will ever preserve our schools from that degradation which must come if the refinements and the Christianity of culture are banished from them. Our schools have no meaning except as they are considered to be institutions for the formation of character. The educators of the State and all the citizens should labor together to find a way by which the school authorities may all be provided with skilled agents to assist them in the management of our school affairs.
To accomplish this, provision should be made :
1. For dividing that portion of the State not now supplied with superintendents into sections of sufficient size to furnish a proper amount of work and an easy support to one superintendent each.
2. Provision should be made for electing these offcers, for fixing their salaries, for distributing the amount of service to be rendered to each town of a district, and the portion of the superintendent's salary each town shall pay.
3. The qualifications a candidate for the office of superintendent must possess must also be determined, as well as his tenure of office. Let these officers quite generally be selected from the number of those who have proved themselves to be conscientious and successful teachers ; let them be properly paid and retained quietly and permanently in their places, so that they will be encouraged to give their intellects and their souls to the work; and then, without much chance of failure, our school committees will be furnished with such agents as alone are able to superintend success