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A. A surplus of money raised for a certain purpose, say for building, repairing, buying furniture, etc., that will not be needed for such purpose the ensuing year, may, by vote of the district, be applied to some other lawful and needful purpose.
Q. Can a district, by tax, make up a sum of money lost by the treasurer, or which he negligently fails to obtain from the town treasurer?
A. A district can raise no money, by tax, except for purposes authorized by law. They can release the treasurer from no obligations or liabilities; and they can make up to him no loss, or fine, except it be by private contributions or subscriptions.
Q. Can a district pay the expense of an appeal taken by one of the voters from an alteration of said district?
A. Not unless he was appointed and directed to take the appeal by the district, and in behalf of the same.
Q. Are foreign pupils to be included in the number reported as attending school?
A. All pupils who attend school should be reported as attending, but not reported twice. If it happens that they attend in two districts during the year, they should be reported only in their own district. The teacher and clerk can see to this.
TERMS OF OFFICE
INCOMPATIBILITY OF OFFICES.
Q. Can a district officer elected by mistake for two years, when the balance of the unexpired term is but one year, hold for the two years?
A. He cannot; the law regulates the terms of office, and no vote of the district can change them.
Q. Is such mistaken election void?
A. He can be elected. Even if the offices were declared incompatible, by law, he could qualify himself to hold the lower one by resigning the higher one. But there is an obvious impropriety in holding both offices at the same time, although not expressly forbidden by statute.
Q. Can a person be town treasurer and district treasurer at the same time?
A. This is even more objectionable than in the other case. It is against public policy, and it is not unlikely if an issue was taken in
such a case, the election or appointment of a town treasurer as district treasurer would be set aside.
Q. Is it proper or lawful for a school board to expel children from school for whispering?
A. Not under any ordinary circumstances. It is the business rather of the teacher to diminish it — to break it up, as far as he can by keeping a good school, by keeping the children busy, by creating a sentiment against it, etc. It is conceivable that a large pupil may be so wilfully and incorrigibly addicted to whispering, in spite of all that can be done, as to deserve expulsion. If so, it should be done.
Q. In case of an epidemic, like scarlet fever, can the board forbid the attendance of children from families in which there are cases of the disease?
A. A board would be justified in doing this, and even in closing the school altogether, if it should be deemed necessary. In such cases the advice of a physician is proper.
Q. Can a board exclude children from school whose parents direct that they shall not take any part in the "rhetorical exercises "?
A. Rhetorical exercises are included in teaching grammar and reading, or elocution, and may at proper times, be required of all pupils in these branches. So the supreme court of Vermont held, in regard to composition writing. A parent, in this state, may direct that a child shall not study a certain branch, but cannot interfere, as to the methods used in teaching the branch. Pupils must conform to the rules and requirements of the school in this matter, or be excluded, unless excused for good reasons.
Q. Can the board of a graded school adopt a by-law prohibiting children who do not know their letters from entering school except during the first three weeks of the fall and spring terms?
A. Under the constitution, the schools are free to all children between 4 and 20. As soon as a child is 4 years of age, he must be admitted to the district school, without regard to his knowledge of the alphabet. The rule named would not be lawful.
Q. Has the parent the right to determine in what class, in any study, his children be placed? The right is claimed here, under the decision of the supreme court.
A. The claim is unfounded. The teacher places the pupils in the
proper classes. If not competent to do so, he is not competent to teach. If anybody is to interfere in the matter, it is the board.
Q. May a teacher, by private contract, give instruction in higher branches, and thereby diminish the time necessary for the common branches?
A. He can lawfully do nothing of the kind. His time belongs to the whole school. He has no authority to introduce any “higher branches." If done at all, it is by the direction of the board, and the board should allow it, only when there is clearly good reason for it. For a board to connive at the teacher's misconduct, as you represent it, is highly reprehensible.
Q. May the teacher forbid the use of tobacco in the school, on the school premises, and on the way home?
A. He may forbid it in the school room, as contrary to decency and order; it would hardly be worth while to attempt more than dissuasion, as to its use out of doors, as his commands could be so easily evaded. A young man addicted to the habit might, with some reason, say he hurt no one but himself by its use on the street. Smoking, however, should not be allowed in or about the school house. In this matter, the board should strengthen the teacher's hands. The teacher can do much by influence, by persuasion, by kind and timely instruction, and by a good example, to improve the manners and morals of his pupils.
THE COUNTY SUPERINTENDENT.
Q. If a county superintendent certifies that $200 is necessary for stationery, printing and postage, has the county board power to diminish the allowance?
A. It has no such power.
Q. Is it not the duty of a county superintendent to send each candidate examined a statement of his standing?
A. The law prescribes nothing on the subject. He is to issue certificates to those found entitled, after the examination. It is customary, we suppose, with most superintendents, to send their standing to those who do not pass, which is at once an indication that they have failed, and to what degree. If this is not done, or if it is delayed, it is presumed that a request for his standing, courteously made, will always bring a response, in due time, to any unsuccessful candidate making the request.
Q. Can a county superintendent break up the school and ship" the teacher, where he finds one teaching without a certificate?
A. This power is not given to him, but it might be well if it were. (See question and answer in December number.)
Q. If a teacher is charged with immoral acts, done one or two years ago, and the charges can be proved, is that a sufficient reason for annulling his certificate, recently given ?
A. Not unless there is some evidence that the holder is now an immoral person -- that is, he should have the credit and benefit of reformation, and of present good character. If a person who has cominitted a serious crime conceals the fact, and it comes to light, that might be a good reason for taking away his certificate.
Q. I see that a county superintendent can now administer oaths to witnesses, when he tries charges against a teacher. Can he also compel the attendance of witnesses?
A. That does not follow. He is not a magistrate. He has no powers except such as are conferred by statute.
STATE TEACHERS' ASSOCIATION.
Proceedings of the Semi-Annual Session, at Madison, Dec. 25-28, 1878.
WEDNESDAY EVENING, Dec. 25. The Association was called to order by the President, W. H. Chandler, of Sun Prairie.
Prayer was offered by the Rev. C. H. Richards, of Madison.
Prof. W. L. Johnson, of Whitewater, read a paper descriptive of his experi. ence in Europe the past summer.
Prof. T. C. Chamberlain followed with an address, on the General Educational Condition of Europe, and especially on the effect of the Exposition at Paris on the public mind. Adjourned to 9 A. M., Thursday.
THURSDAY MORNING, Dec. 26.
The Association was called to order at 9:30, A. M.
Supt. F. W. Isham, of Walworth county, presented a paper on “Educational Exhibits at County Fairs."
The paper was followed by a discussion.
Supt. Wyman, of Vernon county, thought county exhibits might be useful, but require much pioneer work to prepare the people for them.
Prof. Rockwood, of Whitewater, said that the work of preparing an exhibit was immense. The limitations under which the work is to be prepared, must be carefully deteruined to avoid confusion, and to secure justice to all competitors. The number of papers must be settled which shall entitle a school to compete. All details must be carefully provided for.
J.Q. Emery, of Fort Atkinson, said he doubted the entire feasibility of making the plan a success. It is to be a competition of intellect rather than of muscle, More attention should be given to the papers of written work, and not the greater part claimed by such things as pressed flowers.
On request of the State Superintendent, he described at length the exhibit of the schools of Jefferson county last fall, at the county fair. The result of the exhibit was satisfactory.
W. R. Burton, of Janesville, read a paper on “ Educational Exhibits at the Annual Meetings of the Association.”
O.S Westcott, of Racine, then spoke of the collection of specimens of insects. etc. He exhibited some collections made and arranged by himself. He also gave some directions for making collections.
A discussion on Mr. Burton's paper then followed.
Prof. Johnson, of Whitewater, thought that the time for preparing the papers should not be confined to February, and could not see why drawing was omitted.
Mr. Burton defended his paper; he said that the schools were fuller in February than at other times; that the subjects of drawing and penmanship were given a place.
8. Shru, of Madison, wished to make the exhibit what the committee proposed. He believed this department would cause an increased attendance on the summer meetings of the Association. Premiums should be awarded, and an admission fee be required of the competing schools.
Prof. Salisbury, of Whitewater, opposed the offering of premiums.
Prof. Beck, of Platteville, concurred with Prof. Salisbury in the matter of premiums.
Prof. Kerr, of Madison, suggested that the report of the committee be printed, and that the chairman correspond with other teachers on the subject.
On motion, it was voted to establish an Exhibitory Department, and the present committee was continued in charge of the exhibition.
T. F. Frawley, of Eau Claire, read a paper on the “ Relation of Education to Politics."
Miss Rose C. Swart, of Oshkosh, read a paper on “The Functon of Geography in a Course of Study."
A. H. Sprague, of Evansville, considered the paper a revelation,"and suggested that geography be used as a book of reference in the school.
Supt. Whitford said that many of the points made in the paper, corresponded with his own experience in early life.
On motion, a copy of the paper was requested for publication in the next num. ber of the JOURNAL OF EDUCATION. Adjourned.