« ZurückWeiter »
schools, and inducing those to send their children, who, without persuasion, would abandon them to all the evils of ignorance and vice. During the last year seven primary schools have been established, with an average of one hundred and twenty-eight pupils each, under the instruction of a female teacher, with a junior assistant. The object of these elementary establishments is to teach the first rudiments, and to prepare the pupils for the higher branches of instruction, which belong to the public schools. In five of the thirteen public schools, primary departments are also established, with an average of three hundred and five pupils each. It is believed that these establishments, by relieving the instructors of the public schools from the labor of teaching the first rudiments, will afford time for the introduction of additional branches of study into the latter, and thus increase their usefulness and respectability. In proportion to the multiplication of the former, also will be the probability of bringing into them children who would otherwise be wholly without instruction. The trustees of the society manifest in all their arrangements a laudable zeal to supply the deficiency in the means of education, which, notwithstanding the great number of private schools in the city, still continues to exist,
In the year 1829, it was ascertained that there were in the city (including Columbia College) four hundred and forty-two private schools, containing eighteen thousand nine hundred and forty-five scholars, and twenty-one public schools, with six thousand and seven scholars; and it was estimated that there were in the city twenty thousand children between five and fifteen years of age, attending no schools, making an aggregate of children between those ages, of forty-four thousand nine hundred and fifty-two. After deducting fifty per cent for errors, and every other imaginable cause, the conclusion was, that there were ten thousand children wholly destitute of instruction. If the same data are assumed and allowance made for the multiplication of private schools and the increase of the number of children, in a ratio corresponding with the increase of population from 1825 to 1830, it would give an aggregate of about five hundred private schools, and an aggregate of about fiftytwo thousand children between five and fifteen years of age. In the public schools, near eleven thousand children receive instruction annually, and in the private schools, assuming the data of 1829 as the basis of the estimate, about twenty-two thousand, leaving nineteen thousand who attend no school. If fifty per cent be deducted in this case, for the reasons assigned in the other, there will remain about nine thousand five hundred children between five and fifteen years of age wholly destitute of instruction. Thus it would appear, that notwithstanding the untiring efforts of the Public School Society, the extension of the benefits of education does little more than keep pace with the growth of the city in population.
It will be perceived that the whole annual expenditure upon the public schools amounts to ninety-four thousand three hundred and eleven dollars and sixty-nine cents, equal to seventeen dollars and seven cents for each scholar instructed during the whole year.
From the mode of enumeration adopted in the public schools under the provisions of the law, it appears, as will be seen by referring to abstract A, that only five thousand five hundred and twenty-three children are reported as having been taught in them.— This is, however, not the whole number of children who have received instruction. In the public schools and the primary departments connected with them, seven thousand and thirty-four were instructed during a portion of the year ending the 1st May, 1833, and in the primary schools, seven hundred and ninety-two, making an aggregate of seven thousand and twenty-six, a number exceeding that of any previous year. Since the report of the society was received another public school has been opened, and the actual number of scholars now registered and receiving instruction is ten thousand nine hundred. The system, though by no means adequate to the wants of the city, is nevertheless in successful operation, and it is earnestly to be desired that the zeal of those who administer it, may be crowned with more complete success.— It is due to the society to add, that the methods of instruction adopted in the public schools are highly judicious, and that the schools are in every respect of a high order.
The report of the society to the Superintendent is annexed and marked K, together with an extract from the twenty-eighth annual report made in May last.
At the commencement of the year 1832, it was estimated by the Superintendent of Common Schools that there were annually instructed in private schools, including colleges and academies, in various parts of the State, about forty-three thousand scholars. Since that time, the number of incorporated academies has increased, and the same result has undoubtedly attended the and adding nothing on account of the growth of the State or the progress of education, and we shall have an aggregate of more than five hundred and fifty-five thousand as the very least number of persons actually receiving instruction during a portion of the year. It is to be remembered also, that Sabbath schools are now very generally established in our cities and large villages, where the aid of those benevolent and useful institutions is most required. Although their utility is well understood, the whole amount of good which is accomplished by them is not easily calculated. The result of their exertions is not merely to extend the benefits of instruction to the children of those, who from necessity or less justifiable causes, allow them no respite from labor on any other day but Sunday, but to create in youth of all conditions the habit of mental application, and to withdraw them from idle and mischievous occupations. To many of these schools well selected libraries have been added, and the scholars are permitted to carry books home with them for the use of themselves and their friends during the week. In this manner children are often the instruments of extending the means of instruction to their families, who are not in a condition to acquire it in any other way; and parents are frequently made to appreciate the importance of education, and to encourage habits of study, which they have been accustomed to undervalue and neglect. These causes by reciprocally acting upon each other have produced the happiest effects.
Upon a careful examination of the system of common school instruction in this State, there will be found great reason to rejoice that results so satisfactory have been attained—that its benefits are so widely diffused, and that the standard of education is gradually, though slowly, rising. If much remains to be done, it is little in comparison with the difficulties which have already been surmounted. The organization of the system is complete, the public fund secures to it annually a sum entirely adequate to call forth the necessary exertions from those, on whose voluntary contributions its support mainly depends; and with proper zeal and attention, (to the creation of which it is the duty of all classes to contribute,) on the part of those most deeply interested in its prosperity, the field of instruction cannot fail to be speedily enlarged so as to be commensurate with the progress of the age in useful knowledge, and with the high responsibilities of those who are restricted to it in preparing themselves for the active business of life.
JOHN A. DIX.
ABSTRACT from the returns of Common Schools, of the several Towns and Counties in the