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Rapids & Indiana Railroad company to build a station-house at Fisher's Station ;
Also : Certain deeds and contracts relative to the same subject;
Referred to the committee on railroads.
By Mr. Caplis : Petition of A. Eaton and 38 others, for the repeal of the prohibitory liquor law;
Also: Petition of J. Hicks and 50 others, for the same purpose;
Also: Petition of John Ball and 30 others, for the same purpose;
Also: Pe ion of E. Watson and 35 others, for the same purpose;
Also : Petition of J. Hulinger and 60 other, for the same purpose;
Also: Petition of J. Ryan and 50 others, for the same purpose;
Also: Petition of N. Snirmyher and 65 others, for the same purpose;
Also: Petition of G. H. Endries and 80 others, for the same purpose;
Also: Petition of W. Kuhn and 55 others, for the same purpose;
Also: Petition of L. Gursinger and 16 others, for the same purpose;
Also: Petition of C. Herrick and 48 others, for the same purpose ;
Referred to the committee on State affairs.
REPORTS OF STANDING COMMITTEES.
By the committee on fisheries:
A bill to regulate the catching of fish in certain waters.in this State,
Would state: It has been the practice of tishermen on the waters of Lake Erie, at the mouth of the Detroit River and in Lake St. Clair and in the vicinity of this river, to extend the kind of net known as the pound net, in some instances, from three to six miles, both on the American and Canada shore, thus operating as almost a bar to the passage of the most valuable species of food fishes to their favorite spawning grounds, and thus causing great damage to the fishing interests of that part of the State.
The bill is designed, by restricting the catch of fish at unseasonable times, to protect the fish at the spawning season, and also requires the return of the small fish taken before they have reached maturity, to the water; and would therefore
Respectfully report that they have had the same under consideration, and have directed me to report the same back to the House, without amendment, and recommend that it do pass, and ask to be discharged from the further consideration of the subject.
E. R. MILLER, Chairman. Report accepted and committee discharged.
The bill was ordered not printed, referred to the committee of the whole, and placed on the general order.
By the committee on education:
The committee on education, to whom was referred sundry petitions praying for the repeal of the law creating the office of county snperintendent of schools;
Also: Numerous remonstrances against the repeal of the said act;
A bill to repeal the law creating the office of county superintendert of schools;
Respectfully report that they have given the subject very careful consideration, and have directed me to make the following report:
It wonld be very strange if this county superintendent system, extending as widely as it does, involving the expenditure of considerable sums of money, employing so many persons, elected too often on account of political affinities or availibility,-it would be strange indeed if the system were wholly devoid of objection, or free from abuses; if evils did not occasionally manifest themselves, which would, in certain localities, greatly impair its usefulness.
The change contemplated by the gentleman who introduced this bill, is to re-enact the several sections of the primary school law which define the duties of township inspectors of schoolş.
The advantages of a system of county supervision over the township system will be briefly considered.
In a large number of the townships of the State there cannot be found men of sufficient education and intelligence to judge of the qualifications of teachers. In still other townships there are educated men, and well qualified for their particular business or profession, who would yet make very poor school inspectors, for the reason that they have not kept pace with the progress in the art of teaching, and are unacquainted with the later and more improved text books now in general use in our schools. The teacher loses one of the strongest incentives to improve if the inspectors are incompetent, and if the teacher lack thoroughness and discipline, the scholar will almost surely be like him.
The sum paid to the township inspector, even could suitable men be found for the office, is so insignificant that they will altogether decline the office, or if they assume its duties, will shirk as many of them as possible.
One dollar and a half per day is not a sufficiently glittering bait to allure men of ability to undertake the trying responsibilities of the office of inspector of schools.
In so large a territory as one county it is much more probable that one man can be found who is qualified by nature and training for supervising schools; and as so large a part of his time is required, it necessarily becomes his chief business, and he will take a just pride in perfecting himself for his position, in elevating the standard of acquirements requisite for teachers, and in the general prosperity of schools in his county.
It is much easier for such an officer to raise the standard of thoroughness.and efficiency on the part of the teacher. The instances are numberless where utter incompetency has been sanctioned by township officers on account of relationships, near or remote, of friendship, of reciprocity, fear of unpopularity, etc. A county superintendent would be much less often accused of partiality or prejudice, or fear of giving offense. For the like reason an incompetent teacher can more surely be removed from his place, and the district saved from a useless if not worse than useless expenditure.
The county system has also a direct effect upon teachers, to make them more thorough and careful in their preparation. Under the old system, if a certificate could not be obtained in one township it was customary to try in another,—too often with success, and with no little gratification on the part of the teacher and his friends, It requires but little perception to see that the feat is less easily performed in a large territory.
The county superintendent law makes provision for the holding of teachers' institutes, supplies instructors and lecturers in the same; and the numerous benefits derived therefrom are, or ought to be, familiar to every one. They tend to supply a want long felt. Ordinary school agencies cannot be depended upon to raise up the supply of qualified teachers. A high standard of scholarship does not of itself make the best educator. The really successful teacher is one who knows not only what to teach, but also how to teach. The what to teach can be ascertained by careful study in our common schools and academies. How to teach is another step, which can best be taken in a training school or institute.
By raising the standard of teachers' qualifications, it has kept in the field as teachers men and women of aknowledged ability and acquirements, with increased salaries it is true, who can thus afford to make teaching a profession; and there is no man rash enough to suppose that a teacher does not learn by experience as well as a farmer, a lawyer, or even a doctor. School boards are beginning to learn that a high priced teacher is often the cheapest, and conversely.
The county system has done much towards introducing into our schools, not only a uniformity of text books, but also the later and more improved works.
If there be any advantage arising from visiting schools in the way of making suggestions to teachers as to their management and methods of instruction, or in correcting errors, or in encouraging a discouraged teacher, in arousing the enthusiasm of the pupils and creating a spirit of emulation among them, or in awakening an interest in education in the minds of the patrons, the county system should be entitled to the credit of it. Township inspectors rarely visit schools or exert any such influence.
The superintendent system is especially adapted to the wants of the more recently settled counties in our State, and to the more undeveloped parts of the old counties, for a reason before mentioned, and that they are pleased with the law as it now stands is proved by a reference to the places from which the several petitions and remonstrances have emanated, as well as by other facts in the possession of your committee.
Your committee have taken not a little pains to ascertain the views upon this subject of our best educators, who are more thoroughly acquainted with the wants of the State and the comparative workings of the two systems of supervision than this Legislature can hope to be, and they are happy to state that every one has expressed in the strongest terms his approbation of the county system. The Hon. J. M. Gregory, former Superintendent of Public Instruction for six years, and before the adoption of this system, says, “A thorough and efficient system of supervision of the school interests by a body of county superintendents is much needed. It is needless