Imagens da página

its adoption. The Township system has been adopted and works admirably in Indiana, Pennsylvania and Ohio; and has been warmly urged in Massachusetts, by those three able successive Secretaries of the Massachusetts Board of Education, HORACE MANN, BARNAS SEARS, and GEORGE S. BOUTWELL, and some progress has been made in securing this better system in Massachnsetts and Connecticut.

I do not now propose to go again into a lengthy argument upon the subject; but wishing that the matter may be kept prominently before the people, even if the Legislature should not deem it advisable to act upon it at present, I will venture to repeat the deductions of my former argument:

Such a system of Township school government, with the abrogation of the district system, would produce, among others, the following buneficial results, viz:

1. The provision of the Constitution of our State, which requires "the establishment of district schools as nearly uniform as practicable," would, by constituting the Township as the district, be more fairly carried out; and hence the State School Fund income would be much more equally distributed than it now is.

2. Taxation for school purposes would be better equalized, for, under the present district system, the people of some districts, owing to the smallness of both their numbers and taxa · ble property, pay two or three times as much as their neighboring wealthier districts, and get no more—often much less in quantity and value, for it; and in joint districts, the several parts composing them, are, from the necessity of the case, very unequally taxed.

3. All the primary schools of the town would be held the same length of time, thus producing an equality of school privileges which does not, and cannot, exist under the old district plan; for instances are not wanting in our State, where a poor and weak district, with great difficulty, and heavy taxation, manages to maintain a three months' school, and that kept by a cheap and perhaps almost worthless teacher; while the adjoining wealthy district, with comparatively light taxation, easily sustains a ten months' school, with an able and successful teacher. This is exceedingly unequal, and bears heavily and unjustly upon the poor, and fails to carry out the heavenly injunction, "Bear yo one another's burdens.”

4. By the Township plan, there would be a juster distribution and equalization of teachers, suitable to the several localities; and less of the favoritism practised, as under the present district system, in employing relatives to teach the schoolsfor in a Town Board of only three members, there would be less opportunity of practising it than by the present half a dozen to a dozen District Boards in the town.

5. There would be more uniformity and adaptation in schoolhouses; for they would be built economically, by the lowest and best bidder, and not, as is now too often the case, by one or more members of the District Board, on pretty much his or their own terms; and such localities as now neglect to provide good, comfortable school-houses, would have them provided for them, and the children of such stingy, miserly souls would no longer suffer for a suitable place in which to acquire an education, which would be worth vastly more to them than all the wealth, without it, which their ignorant and niggardly parents could ever heap together.

6. It would not only be a far better, but a far cheaper system to maintain, lopping off the weak, inefficient and worthless schools, and dividing the larger and unwieldy ones; lessening the number of officers, as the Town Board of three officers would perform all the necessary school duties of the town, and do it cheaper and better than the half a dozen or more local Boards of at least six times as many officers; and instead of selecting eighteen or more persons in a township, as is now the case, for these local boards, the people would select three of the very best and most efficient for the Town Board. Here would be a great saving of expense, and the objects sought more equally obtained, better in quality, and far more useful to the people.

7. By abrogating the district and joint district system, we should be doing away at once with one of the most fruitful sources of troubles, wranglings, contentions, and petty jealousies, incident to the district system; and would, at the same time, put an end to that greatest bane of the system, the constant ensmalling of districts, to gratify whims and caprices, and oftentimes to adjust an angry controversy, thus steadily lessening the ability of such dismembered districts to either employ a good teacher, or maintain a school even the legal requirement of three months.

8. It would give to the people all over the State the perfect freedom, while taxed in their own town, to send their children to any public school, without regard to district, township, or county lines—thus, in she enlightened spirit of progressive legislation, doing away with an oppressive restriction already too long and too patiently borne by the people, and which has only been productive of inconvenience, injustice and inequality, and deprived many a worthy tax-paying family of invaluable school privileges.

9. While the primary schools generally cannot well be graded, and but little effected in the way of properly classifying the pupils, yet under the Township system, each town containing a specific number of inhabitants, or a certain amount of taxable property, or both, could have its Central Graded High School, free to all of a certain age, say between ten or twelve and twenty years of age—this Central School to be kept in session ten months in each year. With such a Graded School in each town, for the more advanced youth, the accruing benefits would be of so decided and general a character, that the plan could not but meet with the most universal favor.

10. And lastly, but not least in importance, by this Township system, females—who, by their proverbial love and affection for children, by their patience and long-suffering, and by their thousand winning ways, are so peculiarly adapted by their Creator as the natural teachers of the young-could be employed in nearly all the primary schools, leaving only the Central High School to be provided in part with male teachers; and thus would the same amount of money now expended in a majority of towns in the State, employing for the same district a male teacher a portion of the year, and a female another, furnish to the people fully one-third more, and vastly better adapted instruction for the young.

Some such system as this, must, from the very necessities of the case, sooner or later commend itself to the practical good sense of our people. When they demand it, as they will, then it will be readily and gracefully adopted. And then, I doubt not, that the people of Wisconsin, like those of Indiana, will only wonder that its very simplicity, economy and admirable adaptation to their very wants, had not long ago made a favorable impression upon their better judgment. .


In my former Report, I favored the adoption of the system of County Superintendents, the formation of a State Board of Education, the procurement of accredited works on School Architecture for each town in the State, the authorization of the State Superintendent to issue Educational Tracts, and a change of time for electing the Superintendent, with an increase of his term of service. I still favor these several mea

sures, though I do not say it would be advisable to adopt them all at present. The County Superintendency, though great good would, as I firmly believe, grow out of it, yet as it would be attended with considerable expense, I should hardly think it wise to press such a measure in these times of pecuniary stringency. As to the great and pressing need of works on School Architecture-relating to a matter concerning which so much of the people's money is not only wasted, but absolutely devoted to the erection of charnel-houses for their children—I trust the new School Library Law, if wisely administered, will make the necessary provision for this great public want.


Last year I pointed out the fact, that Town Superintendents, and Town Clerks, sometimes assumed the prerogative of disobeying the decisions and orders of the State Superintendent; and to meet such cases, section 7th of chapter 203 of the General Laws of 1859 was enacted. There has since occurred a case wherein a majority of a District Board have utterly refused to obey a decision of the State Superintendent in an appeal case — thus virtually nullifying his decision, though the laws declare that all such decisions " shall be final and conclusive.” A still further amendment to section 89 of chapter twenty-third of the Revised Statutes is necessary, making it the duty of the Town Superintendent to remove from office any member of a District Board who may be guilty of refusing to carry into effect any decision or order of the State Superintendent, and that such person or persons so removed shall not be eligible for re-appointment.

went vi tip of the Town ct Board who may of thes


During the past year, the following counties have been visited by the State Superintendent or his Assistant, and addresses generally delivered, in one county at two different points, and in another at three-namely, Dane, Columbia, Green Lake, Milwaukee, Portage, Richland, Rock, Sauk, and Waushara.


Such was the demand for School Laws, that soon after the adjournment of the last Legislature, a new edition was prepared, including all the amendments and additions enacted at the last session, and a large number of them have been sent to the several school officers in need of them. Some of the frontier counties had never before had a single copy, and their school officers were greatly at loss to know how properly to discharge their duties, and secure for their districts the benefits and privileges of our system of Free Schools. I found what appeared to me sufficient authority to prepare such revision and order its printing, in Section 64, Chap. 10, and Section 99, Chap. 23, of the Revised Statutes; and in the law relating to Public Printing, which clearly implies that the head of each State Department is expected to judge of the special printing necessary for his particular Department. And added to all this, the pressing necessities of the case seemed to justify the printing of a new edition, even had the provisions of law been less specific in authorizing its publication.


The 600 copies of Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, authorized, by the last Legislature, to be purchased by the State Superintendent, with the consent and approval of the Governor, were obtained of the publishers, who consented to furnish the new illustrated, Pictorial edition, on the same terms as the less valuable edition formerly supplied to the State. They came in good order, and, I believe, have given the highest satisfaction to all the districts receiving them.

The distribution of the Dictionaries on hand has been made to the towns and counties in the subjoined list, in the order of their application :

Bad Ar.-Harmony 4; Union 3; Bergen 3; Greenwood 4; Clinton 3;

Whitestown 2 ; Hamburg 2; Forest 4,.... ............. ......... 25 Brown.-Holland 2 ; Glenmore 3 ; New Denmark 4 ; Rockland 4; Howard 4, 17 Buffalo.-Belvideré 1 ; Maxville 3; Cross 3; Alma 3 ; Naples 4,........ Calumet.-Harrison 5 ; Rantoul 2 ; Brillion 2, ....... Clark.-Pine Valley 3; Lewis 2,....... Columbia.-Columbus 3; Lowville 2 ; Scott 2, ........ Crawford.-Freeman 7; 'Scott 12 ; Wauzeka 6,...... Dane.--Berry 1; Dunn 1; Perry 3; Burke 1 ; Black Earth 2 ; Madison 2, 10 Dodge.-Beaver Dam 1; Chester 1; Le Roy 1; Portland 1; Ashippun 1;

Westford 1,...
Door.-Gibraltar 4; Liberty Grove 1,.......
Douglas.-Superior 2,........
Dunn.-Dunn 5; Spring Brook 5,.............
Eau Claire.--Bridge Creek 2; Halfmoon 4,..........
Fond du Lac.-Rosendale 1; Spring Vale 1; Forest 1; Eldorado 1; Fond

du Lac 6; Osceola 5; Metomen 2; Alto 2; Byron 2,........
Grant.--Potosi 3; Blue River 3; Clarno 2, ........
Green.-Jefferson 5; Monroe 5,.......
Green Lake.-Seneca 4; Green Lake 1; Berlin 3; Markesan 1, ....

[ocr errors]




[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »