Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

upon the sparsely settled districts, which are least able to bear it. The villages would no doubt like to charge tuition equal to the whole cost of instruction. But since the larger part of the tuition would be paid by the districts in which students live, such an amendment would partially defeat the purpose of the law—to give free high school opportunities to rural boys and girls. Indeed, the result would probably be the formation of many small and inferior schools. The present law seems a priori to encourage sending pupils away to school rather than the establishment of local high schools; but the fact that the largest single portion is to villages of less than 2,000—rather than to those of 2,000-5,000, 5,000 and over, or cities-indicates that high schools are pretty well distributed even in thinly settled localities. Dr. Goodwin recently exprest the belief that the state should pay about $40 instead of $20. Possibly the state should even assume the whole cost of instruction of students from districts that are below a certain size, and do not maintain an academic department. This might be justified on the ground that the cities and larger towns, which would bear the brunt of the tuition payment, would ultimately derive its benefits thru the urban movement of population. A greater quota than the present one of $100 would help to offset the injustice of the tuition law.

Both New York and Massachusetts are doing considerable in aid of secondary education. For the year 1906-1907 the State of New York paid $552,189.77 for all secondary education, public and private, out of a total cost for these schools of $8,549,614.03, or 6.4 per cent. If it were possible for us to detach the figures for private academies, the resulting percentage would be a trifle larger, because the per capita cost is over twice as great in the academies as in the public high schools. In the same year Massachusetts aided public high schools—private academies are not assisted—to the extent of $56,613.94, out of a total cost of $2,761,426.97, or 2 per cent. The statistics for Massachusetts include only the direct state subsidy to high schools and the state payment of high school tuition; for the income of the Massachusetts School Fund and state aid to superintendency unions apply to both elementary

a

and high schools. But a further analysis of the figures at hand does not confirm the impression that New York as a state excels Massachusetts, relatively as well as absolutely, in the support of non-urban high schools. In the latter state the direct subsidy of $500 and the reimbursement of tuition manifestly affect only non-urban high schools and students. In New York, on the other hand, three out of the four items of state aid-payment of the $100 quota, for library books, apparatus, and pictures, and for attendance of academic students -go to public and private secondary schools in and outside of cities. As closely as the present writer is able to estimate, in New York the state aid to non-urban high schools is about 4.5 per cent. of the total cost of public secondary education, as compared with 2 per cent. in Massachusetts. On the assumption—not quite true, at least for New York—that the per capita cost is the same in and outside of cities of 8,000, about 9.5 per cent. of the total expenditures for non-urban high schools is paid by Massachusetts and about 15 per cent. by New York. But these figures have disregarded the income of the Massachusetts School Fund and the state aid to superintendency unions. Assuming roughly that secondary and elementary schools are benefited thereby in the proportion of their relative cost, we find that Massachusetts really aids her non-urban high schools about 19 per cent., as compared with 15 per cent. for New York. Leaving out tuition—a loss to any non-urban high school receiving it—it would appear that an academic school with an enrollment of forty is given about $320.50. In a Massachusetts town of less than five hundred families, a high school with forty pupils would receive $500 besides considerable indirect aid from the school fund and from the $1,250 paid to each superintendency union. In the last analysis, then, our statistics indicate that there is not very much difference in the relative amount of state aid to nonurban high schools in Massachusetts and New York.

Both states might weil extend more support, for many other states relatively exceed them in this respect. Certain communities are unable, even with a high rate of taxation, to give

8

* Snyder, 77.

>

their children nearly as good educational advantages as those enjoyed in more favored sections. Cities are usually best able to support secondary schools, which moreover cost less per pupil than in villages. It seems clear, therefore, that New York should devise some means whereby most if not all of its state aid would go to high schools outside of cities. Whether New York should assist private academies, which receive all forms of state aid except the tuition payment, is another question. Massachusetts does not do so.

State control over non-urban high schools is exercised chiefly thru conditions of state aid, thru supervision, and thru encouragement and suggestion. In addition New York greatly influences secondary schools by means of an institution that has no counterpart in Massachusetts. The following requirements must be met before an academic department can be admitted to the University of the State of New York: it must be a union school; it must not only give approved academic instruction for at least 175 days each year, but also approved preacademic education; it must provide adequate equipment and teaching force, schools of high school grade being required to have at least two teachers who devote some time to academic work; it must have a regular attendance of not less than five students holding a preliminary certificate or its accepted equivalent; it must have suitable apparatus and reference books.

The conditions under which state aid is granted have been discust in a preceding section. We have seen that in this way both states, and especially New York, have a large amount of control: Massachusetts chiefly thru the prescription of certain minimum, tho not detailed, requirements and thru approval by the state educational authorities; New York in these ways and also thru a state system of examinations.

From 1864 to 1900 the distribution of the New York academic funds was dependent on state examinations. The policy was changed in 1900, but returned to in 1906, the Regents asserting as the reason that inspection showed the work of students and teachers in schools taking examinations to be better than in those not taking them. The examinations are

a

mandatory only in the last two years of the course; and schools can, moreover, determine their requirements for promotion and graduation irrespective of the results in the state examinations; but for admission to city training schools or state normal schools it is necessary to have a certificate based upon the preliminary and academic examinations. These Regents examinations include the usual high school subjects; the particular field covered in each is outlined in the Academic syllabus, which is revised every five years with the help of a committee of high school and college educators. The papers are set by the inspectors and by members of the Examinations Division, and are also corrected by the State Education Department. Thus the state largely controls secondary admission requirements and courses of study.

The Massachusetts State Board of Education requires high schools to be approved for receiving the $500 grant; for receiving students for whom the state pays one-half or the entire tuition; and for certification so that their graduates may be admitted to the Massachusetts normal schools without examination. This approval necessitates some kind of state supervision or inspection, which is performed by one of the state agents. Unfortunately he is unable to give all of his time to that phase of his work. He visits a high school as early in the year as possible, and makes a record of its organization, accommodations, equipment, course of study, and quality of work. When possible or desirable, these visits are followed by conferences with teachers and school officials, “ at which commendations, criticisms, and suggestions " are plainly stated and generally well received.

New York has much more authority than any other state in the supervision of instruction. The State Education Department has fourteen inspectors who visit, inspect, and report upon high schools and academies. The inspector gets information about the school grounds and buildings, including their care, sanitation, and adequacy. He also inspects the library and laboratory equipment, the course of study, the daily program, the teachers, and in fact all matters of school organization, discipline, and instruction. Afterwards the inspector confers with the principal and teachers, and with the superintendent and board of education. On the basis of the inspector's written report the Chief of the Inspections Division corresponds with the local school authorities. As a result school buildings are often repaired and enlarged, and new ones constructed. Courses of study are revised, boards of education are incited to greater activity, principals and teachers stimulated to greater efficiency, and incompetent and unfaithful teachers removed. As Dr. Goodwin remarks, the usefulness of this inspection is greater in small schools that have no systematic supervision, and that are under the charge of comparatively inexperienced teachers.

It is evident that New York, with its fourteen inspectors of secondary schools, can supervise them much more thoroly than is possible in Massachusetts, where, in a recent year, one agent visited 112 high schools with a total of 450 teachers. Supervision in Massachusetts is chiefly inspection to see whether high schools have come up to the standard required for approval. New York at least undertakes to do constructive supervision. It must be remembered, however, that Massachusetts has a highly organized and effective system of local professional supervision, while in practically all of the smaller places in New York there is no local supervision worthy of the name.

Encouragement and suggestion are necessarily included in state supervision. They are, indeed, the chief functions of the Massachusetts Board of Education. This body requires all public schools to furnish statistics and other data to the secretary of the board. On its part the board disseminates information and offers suggestions. The secretary and agents make many educational addresses, especially at state-conducted teachers' institutes. The high school section at these meetings is evidently in charge of Mr. Macdonald, who has tried to make the “instruction definite and practical,” and to get experienced educators as instructors. Letters of commendation from school superintendents and committees show that the institutes have been in a measure successful.

State encouragement and advice seem to play a much less im

« AnteriorContinuar »