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Supt. Shaw, said that one of the great hinderances to the effective improvement of our county schools, was that the same county superintendents were not kept in office long enough to give them a chance to accomplish the work planned by them. He thought that the law should be amended so as to give these officers a longer term of service. Reading, spelling, grammar, geography, writing, and arithmetic were all that could be taught to advantage in the common country school, with the United States History and the Constitutions in a few of the more advanced schools. The course of study for the ungraded schools should be in detail, that all teachers might understand just what to do and when to do it, having the terms so arranged that more of the pupils might do more of the same work in the same length of time.
Supt. Bast, of Sheboygan, gave his personal experience as a teacher, which was highly interesting. He advocated strongly that the teaching of primary scholars should be without books. His remarks abounded with wit and humor.
Supt. Williams said he was in favor of a course of study in detail, and thought a committee should be appointed to report on the subject at some future time.
Supt. Walker moved that a committee of three be appointed, with State Superintendent Whitford as chairman, to take the matter into consideration.
The motion was carried, and President Parker, of River Falls, and Supt. Shaw, of Madison, were appointed the committee to act with the chairman. They were instructed to report through the JOURNAL OF EDUCATION, at as early a day as possible.
Supt. Walker offered the following resolution:
Resolved, That we, the Superintendents of the State of Wisconsin, believe that the subject of Constitution, both State and National, should be taught in the common schools, and that the teachers should be examined therein.
Supt. M. S. Frawley was in favor of this resolution, as he did not wish to see this branch thrown out of the list of the common school studies.
Supt. Scott favored the resolution. He thought that there was no other branch that did as much to enlarge the thinking powers of advanced scholars in the the common schools. He was astonished to find opposition to this study, because some taught it poorly. With equal propriety, we could make the same objection to any other branch.
Hon. David Taylor, of the Supreme Court, being present, was called upon to give an opinion on the subject. He replied that he came tv learn, and as he had not been present through all the discussion, he would decline presenting any views on the subject.
J. H. Carpenter, Esq., Dean of the Law faculty of the University, was invited to make remarks. He responded on the subject by saying that he was decidedly in favor of the study of the Constitution, State and National, in our schools. It was an excellent thing for boys and girls, especially the former, to learn some of the provisions of law, to know the language of the Constitution, and the machinery of our government. He would go farther, and perhaps behind the Constitution, and teach the town and county systems of government. All of us, more or less, take part constantly in the working of these systems. If children learc something of this matter at school, they will desire to know more of it in
President Parker was decidedly opposed to such a study, as pursued in its present form. He asked why, if it is such a good study, did the revisers of the statutes strike out the provision, requiring teachers to be examined in it. Judge Taylor answered that the revisers, to his knowledge, had not stricken out the provision, but if it had been stricken out, it must have been the work of the Leg. islature. He was earnest in the belief that the Constitution should be taught in our schools. After some further discussion, the resolution introduced by Supt. Walker was adopted almost unanimously.
On motion of Supt. Scott, an executive committee, consisting of Superintend. ents M. S. Frawley, J. B. Tracy, and Fred. W. Isham, was appointed to act with State Superintendent Whitford the coming year. On motion, adjourned.
W. C. WHITFORD, President. KENNEDY SCOTT, Secretary.
THE DEPARTMENT of Superintendence of the National Teachers' Association, will hold a special meeting in the city of Washington, D. C., during the first week in February. The meetings of this body in Washington during the sessions of Congress, have always been productive of the very best results. The forthcoming meeting is expected to be larger and more influential than any of its predecessors. The leading educators of the country will attend it from the North, South, East, and West. Papers are expected from General Eaton, United States Commissioner of Education; Dr. Sears, of the Peabody Fund; Judge Strong, of the Supreme Court; Dr. Eliot, Superintendent of the Boston Schools; Dr. Philbrick, United States Educational Commissioner at the Paris Exposition; Mr. Apgar, Superintendent of Schools in New Jersey; Mr. Doty, Su. perintendent of Schools in Chicago; Mr. Orr, Superintendent of Schools in Georgia; Dr. Ruffner, Superintendent of Schools in Virginia; Prof. Walter Smith, of Massachusetts, and others. The discussions will cover the live educational issues now before the country. The proceedings will be so arranged as to bear directly upon the questions of strengthening the National Bureau of Education; the distribution of proceeds of the public lands for educational purposes, and others now pending in Congress. Programmes, giving in detail the arrangements for the meeting, and stating specifically the order of the exercises, will be published in circular form at an early day.
PROF. Robt. GRAHAM writes as follows in relation to the Institutes held by him last fall. The remarks were excluded last month:
The term of work just closed, has, in some directions, been quite satisfactory. 1. The young people attending, have evinced a strong desire to do work. 2. The order and regularity have been good, probably a result from (1.)
3. The county superintendents have evinced a hearty desire to co-operate with the Institute Committee in putting the “course of study for elementary schools"
into practical operation. This alone, with the proper records accompanying, will increase the efficiency of the common schools exceedingly.
4. The lectures given by the State Superintendent have been practical, and and have largely stimulated thought. The outlook is encouraging.
CHANGES IN THE LAW RELATING TO THE UNIVERSITY. The obsolete provisions in the law relating to the State University, have been omitted in the Revised Statutes, such as those which authorized Dane county to issue bonds for the purchase of the experimental farm; and those which defined the several funds accruing from the grants of the general government for the support of the institution. The State tax levied and collected annually to provide for the deficiencies in the University fund income, is made, like the other portions of the income, a perpetual appropriation. Power is given the University Regents to prescribe penalties and forfeitures to secure the care and preser. vation of the libraries, cabinets, museums, laboratories, and other property of the University. The increasing value of these essential auxiliaries, requires more stringent regulations in the supervision of them. The President has been deprived of the authority to remove, in the recess of the University Board, any employee or subordinate officer, not a member of the faculty, and to supply, for the time, any vacancy thus created; and he is made the executive head of only the instructional force in all its departments; instead, as heretofore, the executive head of the institution in all its departments. The unquestioned privilege is granted the Regents to confer upon the faculty the power to suspend or expel students for misconduct, or any other cause prescribed in their by-laws. This measure was secured last winter by the passage of an act in the Legislature, before the Revised Statutes were adopted. The State Superintendent is empowered to countersign the diploma of any graduate of the University, who has, after his graduation, taught successfully a public school in the State for sixteen months, and who furnishes the State Superintendent with proper testimonials as to his moral character, learning, and ability to teach. Any person holding such a diploma so countersigned, is deemed qualified teach in any public school of the State, and his diploma is a certificate of such qualification until annulled by the State Superintendent.
Changes in the Law Relating to Normal Schools and Teachers’ Institutes.
In the Statutes on these schools, there have been eliminated all specific directions for giving instruction in agriculture, the arts of husbandry, and the mechanic arts, as inapplicable to the Normal School work. The entire income of the Normal School fund has been placed at the disposal of the Board of Regents, by transfer to the Treasurer of the Board, and it is held as distinct and in. dependent from the accounts as kept by the Secretary of State and the State Treasurer. This is similar to the law which governs the University income. The Normal Regents have the authority to confer upon the presidents of their
schools, the power to suspend or expel pupils for misconduct or other cause de. fined in their by-laws.
While two thousand dollars are still raised annually in the general fund of the State to aid the Teachers' Institutes, the specific purpose for which this sum has been applied, viz.: the support of Normal Institutes, has been abandoned. The money thus raised is now united with the five thousand dollars appropri. ated yearly by the Normal Regents for institute work, and the whole can be ex. pended for general institute instruction. So the former distinction between the Normal and the common institutes no longer remains in the law.
The old provisions for a portion of the institutes to be held each two weeks or four weeks in length, have disappeared. The precise time in which any instittute can now be held, is fixed by the State Superintendent, with the advice and consent of the Normal Regents. The Normal Institutes were each formerly cond cted under the direction of a County Superintendent, assisied by such agent or agents as the State Superintendent appointed. Now, the State Superintendent, with the co-operation of the Normal Regents, employs all the agents to give instruction in all the institutes, and these agents have the direction of the institutes, under such rules and regulations for organizing and conducting them, as may be prescribed by the State Superintendent and the Normal School Board; and the county superintendents may assist these agents in the management and instruction of the institutes. The law in respect to the course of study pursued in these institutes, is now definite; and it requires this course to be uni. form as far as practicable, and to be prescribed by the State Superintendent, with the assistance of such agents, but subject to revision by the board of Normal Regents.
The subject of Educational Exhibits at County Fairs, was fully presented at the recent session of State Teachers' Association. Supt. Isham read a paper on the exhibit at the Walworth County Fair last fall, and Prof. Emery described the one at the Jefferson County Fair at the same time. Both of these fairs at. tracted great attention, and were highly satisfactory to the children represented and the people examining their work. Defects in the enterprise, comparatively new and untried in the tate, were pointed out. Both counties have entered with greater zeal upon the labor to secure a full exhibit next fall. Their ex. ample could be followed with profit to our public schools by the other counties in the State.
The State Teachers' Association appointed, at its Executive Ssssion, a com. mittee to prepare the educational exhibit for the the annual meeting next July. Prof. Burton, of Janesville, made a valuable report on the subject, defining the character of the exhibit, and explaining the regulations for preparing it. Prof. Westcott, of Racine, who is responsible in a great measure for originating the movement, discussed earnestly and at length, the advantages of the exhibit. It cannot fail this year to be much superior to the one presented at Geneva Lake last summer. Let teachers, in different parts of the State, begin at once to make preparations for articles to be sent from their schools to the next annual meeting of the Association.
The Holiday Session of the State Teachers' Association, is never as fully attended as the Annual Session in the summer. The former originated some years since, with the meeting of the Executive Committee of that body for the transaction of business. The desire to give more careful consideration to many questions connected with our educational policy, than could usually be granted at the summer meeting, furnished another reason for the origin of the winter session. While this arrangement subtracts, without doubt, from the interest gen. erally taken in the Annual Meeting, we do not question the propriety or wisdom of it. Often the subjects which the educators wish to bring before the members of the Legislature, which convenes shortly afterwards, are discussed and referred to appropriate committees for action. The need for recreation is not so imperative as during the hot days of summer, and the teachers engage in the public exercises and in the private consultations with more vigor.
More than the usual number of our educational workers were present at the last Holiday Session of the Association. The spirit and purpose of it were excellent. It has always been a marked feature in the gatherings of the teachers of the State, that no sectional jealousy and no partizan strife should find a promnent place in their proceedings. It was the same on this occasion. The lo heres and the lo theres, and some for this one and some for that one, have never appeared except in the most friendly attitude with each other. This fact has given the Association great strength. Its decisions are generally quite unani. mous, and command the fullest respect of its members and of the public. Perhaps, some of the papers presented and the discussions following them, were not as striking as we have heard at other times. But the suggestions made were of an unusually practical character. Scarcely ever have the teachers carried away more points for reflection and for guidance in their work.
The president of the Association is to be congratulated that his programme, with a single exception, was strictly carried out. The time was all filled by the exercises presented, and nothing was hurried or slip-shod. The number who attended the evening lectures outside of the members of the Association, was quite small. This suggests the inquiry whether the winter meetings could not be made more profitable to the people of the State, if they should be held, like the summer ones, in different localities, where their exercises would be regarded as new and attractive. The daily papers of Madison published quite full reports of the exercises, and the hotels and the railroads made their usual reductions. These favors could be secured, without doubt, if the teachers should meet in the other large cities or in the prominent villages of the State.
There are certain leading questions which, in the present developement of our educational policy, need to come to the front on all such occasions. We do not complain that all these did not receive their due share of attention. Their importance may not rest with equal weight on all minds. Still it is well to keep them before those who create our public sentiment; and we, therefore, suggest a few