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cate and wonderful of all God's creation,—to fit them for usefulness in life, to becomo upright and intelligent witnesses, jurors, electors, legislators, and rulers, safe in their power to resist the manifold temptations to vice and crime which will beset their future path,—who are destitute of all adequate preparation, of all right qualification, for a task of such amazing responsibility for their high vocation."
But it is impossible that Teachers' Institutes-efficient and useful as they are in the training and instruction of youth-should fully meet the demand for higher acquirements, and a more adequate preparation for the duties of the school room. They may and do accomplish very much, and are important, and indeed, necessary instrumentalities, in the work of qualifying teachers; but ought rather to be regarded as auxiliary to a superior instrumentality-a permanent institution--supplying more abundant aid and exerting a larger influence in the prosecution of its one great object -- the raising up and equipment of professional teachers for the common schools. This instrumentality-this institution, is the
NORMAL SCHOOL. In view of the importance of the teachers' office—the arduousness of his labor, the sacredness of his duties, and his responsibilities,--a thorough preparatory training must be regarded as indispensable. Hence the necessity of an institution erected and consecrated for and to the one sole and only purpose of affording instruction, by wise and powerful helps, in the theory and practice of the teacher's profession.
Below will be found an able article, from the pen of Hon. Horace Mann, on the Rise and Progress of Normal Schools, together with remarks, testimonials, etc., with regard to their utility and importance. I ask for it a' careful and attentive perusal, and trust that its facts, arguments and appeals may secure that action from our Legislature which will result in giving to Wisconsin an institution so imperiously demanded by the best interests of our public schools.
NORMAL SCHOOLS. “The word “normal is derived from a Latin word, which originally and literally signifies a square', -the instrument used by carpenters or builders. In its figurative sense, as applied to schools, it means a rule, a pattern, a model ; or, more generally and modestly, an aid or agency to teach teachers how to teach. A Normal School, then, signifies a school where the principles of teaching are taught, and where the art of teaching is exemplified in practice.
“The first regular seminary for teachers,' says Dr. Bache in his report on education in Europe, p. 122, 'was established at Stettin in Pomerania, 1753.' It is doubtless true that the preparation of teachers was one of the objects of Franke, in establishing the celebrated Orphan House, at Halle, in 1701; and probably the same purpose was incidentally entertained in founding literary institutions in Koningsberg, Wesel, Gotha, and in other places at a still earlier date.
* After the school at Stettin, came one at Berlin, in 1748; at Hanover, in 1707; a Catholic one and a Protestant ore at Breslau, in 1705 and 1707; and soon afterwards, many others in different parts of Germany. As late, however, as the year 1770, teaching in the People's Schools, (Volk Schulen,) was a mere mechanic art, like cobbling; and in those days it was a current saying in Germany, that he who cannot learn to plough will make a schoolinaster.
"Since the year 1800, seminaries for teachers have been constantly increasing in number and improving in character. In several of the German States, a sufficient number of teachers is prepared to furnish one for each school.
" In Holland, the celebrated Normal School of Mr. Prinsen was established in
1910. Since that time, Normal Schools have been introduced into all the countries of Europe, where intelligence is honored, or the education of the people numbered amongst the duties of government.
* The French law of Primary Instruction, passed in 1833, provided that there should be a Normal School in each of the eighty-six departments into which France was divided.
“There are three Normal Schools in Scotland, which have been in successful operation for several years.
" At Battersea, in England, one was opened, a few years since, by the private enterprize of Mr. Kay Shuttleworth. This has now been adopted by the government. The Church of England party has established another at Chelsea, near London.
" In 1838, the National Board of Education for Ireland founded a Normal School at Dublin.
"After the revolution of 1830, which separated Belgium from Holland, it was found that education, in the former country, was retrograding. But in 1842, the government of Belgium organized a new school system for itself. This system provided for two Normal Schools.
“By intelligence receivel by a late steamer, (1816) we are informed that the Sultan of Turkey is taking elficient measures to extend education among his people; and that, for this purpose, he has appointed a Minister of Public Instruction, and is about to establish a Normal School, the teachers of which are to be brought from Western Europe.
"In relation to all the countries of Europe, where Normal Schools have been established for a sufficient length of time to exhibit the fair results of the experiment, we have the concurrent testimony of every distinguished European, and of every intelligent American who has visited those schools, that Popular Education has advanced just in proportion to their numbers and to the elliciency and skill with which they have been conducted. In 1835, Lord Brougham declared, in the British Parliament, that 'seminaries for training masters are an invaluable gift to mankind; and lead to the indefinite improvement of education. It is this,' he further adds, which above everything else, we ought to labor to introduce into our system. Cousin, in his report on education in Holland, says, 'I attach the greatest importance to Normal Primary Schools, and consider that all future suecess in the education of the people depends upon them.'
"Thus we see that the Protestant King of Prussia and the Catholic King of Saxony; the Protestant government of Holland and the Catholic government of France and Belgium; the Episcopal party in England, and the Presbyterians in Scotland; and both Protestants and Catholies in Ireland, --have adopted this powerful instrumentality for promoting education. So the despotism of Prussia, and the almost republican governments of Saxony and Holland, and the enlightened monarchies of France and Great Britain, have united on the same course of policy for the improvement of their people. Even the Sultan of Turkey is so far liberalizing his policy, as to adopt the Normal School. Admitting that we ought not to be greatly suppriseil
, if some of our own State governments, and some of the leading men of our own State and National Councils, should fail to see the utility and the necessity of Normal Schools so carly or so clearly as they have been seen by most of the governments and statesmen of Europe, still it would be cause for profound mortification and sorrow, to find them a great way behind Turkey.
“ In this country, as early as 1825, that distinguished statesman, De Witt Clinton, then Governor of New York, distinctly recommended to the consideration of the Legislature the education of competent teachers.' In his message of 1826, he said, “I therefore recommend a seminary for the education of teachers.'
“ Unfortunately, a different scheme was projected, and a different policy prevailed in that great State. In 1826, when Gov. Clinton recommended 'a seminary for the education of teachers,' Mr. John C. Spencer was Chairman of the Literature Committee in the Senate. In his report for that year, he says: 'Our great reliance for
nurseries of teachers must be placed on colleges and academies.' To carry out this idea, Hr. Spencer, from the same Committee, in the following year, reported a bill appropriating $150,000, to constitute a fund whose income should be divided among the academies.
No greater practical fallacy was ever conceived, as has been most disastrously prored by the event.
"In 18:30, the sum distributed to the academies, to enable them to prepare teachers, was $10,000, and the sum of $169,716 had already been expended upon them. Four years more passed away; the academies received their annual dividends; but, alas: the supply of teachers was, as yet, theoretic only. The scheme was therefore modified. Instead of dividing the bounty of the State between all the academies, then amounting to fifty-five or sixty, the sum of $12,000 was divided amongst eight academies; -one in each senatorial district,--and these academies were required to open a special teachers' department, for qualifying teachers for Common Schools. This plan went into operation in 1835. Three years afterwards, namely, in 1837, Gov. Marcy, after referring to the fact that colleges and academies had been relied on to supply the deficiency of well-qualified teachers, said, “But it has been quite evident, for sometime, that farther provision ought to be made by Legislative authority to satisfy the public wants in this respect. Accordingly, the sum of $29,000 a year was granted to the academies, and sixteen, instead of eight, required to engage in the preparation of Common School teachers. In 1840, after two years' further trial of the experiment, Mr. Spencer, then State Superintendent of Common Schools, appointed commissioners to visit the beneficiary academies, and to inquire into the working of the plan. Dr. A. Potter, then a Professor in Union College, now Bishop Potter. of Pennsylvania, was one of the Commissioners. In January, 1811, a long report, prepared by him, was published. Acknowledging that the academies had rendered some service, he pointed out the intrinsic defects of the system, and closed by recommending a Normal School. But Mr. Spencer, in his report for the same year, pertinaciously adhered to the plan, which, fifteen before, he had proposed; and he submitted an argument to prove, in spite of all the light of experience, that Normal Schools were no better for the preparation of teachers, than teachers' departments in academies. His remedy was to enlist more academies in the work. Accordingly, in 1841, cight more academies were designated and called into the service. But nothing could overcome the inherent defects of the system itself; and after two years' further trial, that enlightened advocate of schools, the lion. Samuel Young, reported that the whole scheme, -the special qualification of teachers for Common Schools,'—by means of teachers' departments in the academies, had 'practically failed.'
"Taught, by sad experience, the insufficiency of her former course, New York, in the year 1844, took vigorous measures to redeem her time. The Legislature of that year, by a unanimous vote, made an outright grant of $50,000, or $10,000 a year, for five yeirs, for the support of a Normal School. The school was opened at Albany, in December of the same year, under the care of David P. Page Esq., and is now (1856) prosecuting its labors with triumphant success. Already it has commended itself to the judgment, and won the approval, of the great body of teachers of that State. Here and there it meets opponents among them, but in regard to some of these opponents, we know that their minds and hearts are as lean and destitute of all intellectual and moral gratifications for school-keeping, as Calvin Edson's bones are of flesh.
Let it not be inferred from any thing we have said respecting the inability of the academies in New York to furnish a supply of competent teachers, that we would disparage their merits, or derogate at all from the value of their appropriate labors.
They failed because they undertook to accomplish more than it is given to any one institution to do—to prepare one set of students for college, another for the different departments of educated labor, and a third as teachers of our Common Schools. The last, or the first two, are as much as any institution can effect; and if more is attempted, some part of the work will be imperfectly done.
[“Massachusetts has her three Normal Schools, Connecticut one, Michigan one, and if our memory is not at fault, a few other States have each one, and every where they meet with the cordial and united approval of our most distinguished educational men. Without them no system of public instruction can be deemed complete."]
It cannot be doubted that we are as favorably situated now as we ever shall be for entering upon this noble enterprize. Perhaps never, at any time, shall we more need an institution for the education of teachers than at present. Why, then, should we not immediately go about the work of furnishing it? Many of our villages and cities, I doubt not, would cheerfully donate the necessary grounds and a large amount of the means requisite for a suitable edifice, could they thereby secure to themselves the location of such a school. This done, a few thousand dollars annually from the income of the School Fund, would suffice to keep the institution in successful operation, and to furnish the State with a class of well trained and competent teachers.
I take pleasure in again alluding to a thoughtful and wise provision of the Board of Regents of the State University, by which a Normal Department has been established therein, and given in charge of an able and accomplished Professor, Daniel Read, L. L. D. If the University Fund is not adequate to this end, I should be in favor of aiding from the income of the School Fund in the endowment of the Department of “Theory and Practice of Elementary instruction.” This done, the University will in part occupy its true position — of which I have elsewhere spoken--and assist greatly in the work of furnishing well trained and accomplished teachers for the common schools. “It is greatly to be desired,” to use the language of Chancellor Lathrop, " that the educational organism of the State should present a skillfully arranged and well compacted system, from the District School to the University." But how shall this desire be fulfilled, save by placing the University, not nominally and in part, but in fact and entire at the head of our common schools, as one of and among them? This will be the perfection of the educational systern of Wisconsin. This alone will save to us the University, unshorn of its strength and its endowments, and made ten-fold more efficient and powerful as the highest educational instrumentality of our State.
Pardon the digression-I was speaking of the Normal Department of the University. I make no objection to the most liberal endowment of it, but after this has beeu secured, there is still to be made, in my opinion, a separate, special institution for the preparation of teachers. Such has been the experience of ther States, and in proof of it I refer to the able article of Horace Mann, before mentioned.
The University can do much-our Colleges, Academies and Iligh Schools can do much, by way of educating professional teachers for our Public Schools ; but they cannot do all, nor nigh meet the great and increasing demand. Do all they can, then will there be abundant room and opportunity for the State Normal School.
I feel to urge this subject upon the attention of the Legislature, and shall hope for favorable action with reference thereto. Your aid is not invoked on the behalf of a new and untried experiment, nor of an old and unsuccessful one. Silas Wright, when Governor of New York, in his message of 1846, thus called attention to the Normal School then recently established in that State:
By an act passed on the 7th of May, 1844, the Legislature appropriated money
for the establishment of a Normal School, for the instruction and practice o teachers of Common Schools in the Science of Education, and in the art of teach ing. The law places the School under the direction of the Superintendent of Com mon Schools and the Regents of the University, who are to appoint an executive committee of five men bers, of whom the Superintendent shall be one, to take the immediate charge of, and superintend the management and government of the school, under the regulations, and to report annually to the Superintendent and Regents.
"The city of Albany very generously tendered the use of a suitable building free of rent, and the school was organized, and commenced the business of instruction, on the 18th day of December, 1844. Twenty-nine pupils presented themselves on the first day, and the number increased to ninety-eight during a term of twelve weeks. Pupils attended from forty of the counties of the State. The second term commenced on the second Wednesday in April, and continued twenty weeks and on the first day of the term 170 pupils were present. The whole number attending during the term was 18), and every county in the State, except Putnam. sent one or more students. About nine-tenths of the whole had taught school fos a longer or shorter period. At the close of the second term, thirty-four of the scholars received diplomas, being certificates of their qualifications to teach commor schools. The third term commenced on the third Wednesday in October last, (1845,) and is to continue twenty-one weeks. At the opening of the school for this term, 180 pupils were present, and the number has increased to 197, of whom 94 are males and 103 females.
** These results have been experienced during the first year of the existence of this institution, and they have more than realized the most sanguine expectations of the friends of the school. This is an experiment in our State, but certainly connected with a subject,—the proper education of common school teachers,—which authorizes every reasonable effort giving a promise of improvement, and even any experiment which shall hold out that promise. In this particular, our common school system has proved to be the most deficient, as every friend of education has seen and felt. The institution of pattern schools for the education of teachers is not new. The system has been in operation in several European countries for a length of time, and in the State of Massachusetts for several years last passed; and wherever the experiment has been made, it has been successful.”
RECOMMENDATION OF TEXT BOOKS-UNIFORMITY, ETC. In obedience to the requirements of law, this Department, through its last Annual Report, recommended a series of Text Books for introduction and use in the common schools of the State. For the purpose of placing the recommended list in the hands of every district school officer, and of inviting co-operation in the work of establishing the principle of uniformity throughout the length and breadth of our State, the following circular was issued in March last :
STATE OF WISCONSIN,
Madison, March 1st, 1856. Below will be found a list of Text Books recommended by this Department, for use in the Public Schools of the State. The list, we believe, embraces rone but books of standarii merit; and we are assured that it meets with general favor among our best educators. We are glad io be able to say that the recommendation will be followed up by an efficient Cnion Agency, and that no effort or expense will be spared to give it force and effect. It is expected that Town Superintendents, Teachers, District Boards, and all interested in the welfare and prosperity of our schools, will cheerfully and faithfully co-operate in the work of introducing a uniformity of Text Books throughout the State. The attention of District Boards is cited to the fact that they are authorized by law to adopt Text Books for schools