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WISCONSIN JOURNAL OF EDUCATION.
therefore long remembered. The student learns one thing at a time, and learns it well. Even the dullest comprehension with such a guide will become well grounded in the science. The advantage of a systematic presentation of facts and principles, each in its proper place, cannot be exaggerated ; and hence, as well as on other accounts, I pronounce Cornell's Geographies incomparably in advance of all others that have been heretofore prepared and recommended them for use in our schools.
A thorough knowledge of his own language is essential to every scholar. This must be acquired, whatever else is left unlearned. The powers and relations of words must be understood more practically than they can be gathered from etymolo
and syntax. The true artificer must be able not only to take to pieces the work of others, but also to produce work of his own; and so the true scholar must know not only how to analyze or parse a given sentence, but how to put together or compose sentences for himself. To a perfect mastery of the language, therefore, a course of Composition is as essential as a course of Grammar. I do not mean the mere production of essays on given subjects, which are generally as unprofitable as they are vexatious, and which, without previous instruction, it is unreasonable to expect any but natural geniuses to produce. I mean a regular system which teaches the proper mode of producing such essays, points out the errors to be avoided, and makes an attractive as well as improving exercise of what is otherwise proverbially repulsive. Such a system is found in Quackenbos' “First Lessons in Composition," and "Advanced Course of Composition and Rhetoric.” The former faithfully drills the beginner in the uses of the parts of speech, teaches him to frame sentences of every kind, and shows him how to analyze his subject and compose simple essays. The advanced work is designed for higher classes; it contains much valuable information respecting the history of our language, besides treating of Rhetoric, the Pleasures of the Imagination, Style, Criticism, and every department of Prose and Poetry, with appropriate models and exercises.
It would be difficult to point out in these admirable books anything that we would desire to have altered; they meet our wants in every respect, making no unreasonable draft on the time or patience of the teacher, and leaving him no excuse for neglecting to make composition a regular study, even with his younger classes. It is unnecessary to compare these books with others on the subject, for there are none that approach them in clearness, comprehensiveness, excellence of arrangement, and above all indirect practical bearing. They stand alone in unfolding the principles of composition in connection with those of Grammar, and furnish the best system of punctuation with which we have met. Affording an insight into the mechanism of language, they will hardly fail to impart facility and grace of expression, and to inspire a love for the beauties of literature.
Among the many works on Grammar, Ricord's, for beginners, possesses decided advantages. It strips the subject of technical difficulties, and obliges t're student to commit to memory nothing that is not readily understood by induction from what has previously been acquired. The learner is not lost in a maze of words, but at each step of his progress secs where he is standing. Ricord exhibits the application of every principle by felicitous illustrations. He deals only with orthography and etymology, wisely abstaining from all that pertains to sentences till the relations and uses of words are mastered. Words are the basis of all language; and the student who goes faithfully through Ricord's little manual, will have no difficulty in passing intelligently to Syntax and becoming an accurate grammarian.
In addition to this introductory book on Grammar, as furnishing a superior accompaniment, I have recommended Clark's Practical Grammar—a work that is highly approved and commended by many of the best teachers in the land. In it, “the philosophic, the comprehensive, and the scientific, so happily harmonize as to enlist, concentrate, and highly discipline the faculties of the youthful mind, which, in the use of this author, is not encumbered by the parrot-like repetition characterizing the majority of text-books on Grammar, most of which are mere challenges to the memory, and collectively they hang as an incubus upon the science, impeding its onward march in about the same ratio as the use of patent notes have retarded the progress of music as a science.” The system of diagrams by which it is illustrated imparts to it special importance, and wisely adapts it for use in the common school. By the use of the two-Ricord and Clark--the pupil can hardly fail of gaining therefrom a practical and thorough knowledge of English Grammar in a comparatively brief space of time, and with far less labor and perplexity than by the study of most other books which treat of the science.
As an introduction to the science of Chemistry, Youman's “ Class Book," illustrated by his Chart and Atlas, is entitled to a decided preference over all competitors. It unfolds the subject more philosophically and illustrates it more happily than any other work. It shows the application of the principles of Chemistry in the useful arts and every-day life. For technical diction it substitutes plain words and an attractive style, and thus brings the science clearly within the comprehension of the young.
In Botany, I have found nothing equal to Green and Congdon's "Class-Book.” This work furnishes superior models of analysis, and unfolds the mysteries of nature, throughout all the processes of vegetable phisiology, with a minuteness of detail and liveliness of description, which invest with a charm what in other Botanies is a dry assemblage of facts. The distinguishing features of the “ClassBook” under review are its profuse illustrations, and the exercises for study and recitation based upon them, each being a recapitulation of instructions already given. The eye is thus brought to the aid of the memory; nor can any one, without the assistance of pictorial representations, hope to gain the same accurate knowledge of the minor points which have to be noted by the practical botanist, as he will acquire from the numerous and accurate plates here presented.
For a complete course of instruction in Drawing, I would recommend Coe's Cards as best adapted for beginners, to be followed by Otis's “Studies of Animals" and “ Lessons in Landscape.' The merit of the former consists in their progressive arrangement and their numerous exercises in linear drawing. As a perfect mastery of the notes is the foundation of all knowledge of music, so facility and accuracy in the execution of horizontal and vertical lines is essential to success in drawing. Coe combines these lines in various representations of simple objects, to prerent them from becoming irksome; and to these he confines the beginner till eye and hand are educated to the proper mark. This thorough drilling, apart from its other advantages, will hardly fail to communicate ease, beauty, and rapidity to the hand-writing. Otis's Course of Landscapes and Animals is recommended for its masterly treatment of Perspective, the spirit of its designs, and its superior tyle of execution. Full and definite instructions accompany his books, which will rove of service to both scholar and teacher,
A want long felt in our schools is well supplied by Taring's "Elements of Agriculcure," a lucid treatise embodying in a form suited to scholastic instruction the leading principles of agriculture, and setting forth facts with which every young farmer, and indeed every youth in the land, ought to be familiar. Thisis the only book of its kind, ind it cannot be too strongly commended to the attention of teachers. Millions of dolars would be saved to our country annually, were the important truths it contained generally known and acted on. Every page of the work is practical; and, if we can bring it into general use in our schools, we may look, in the next generation, for better and more successful cultivators of the soil than we have ever yet had.
A comparatively recent branch of study introduced into many of our schools is that of Physical Geography, which has been defined to be “the history of nature presented in its most attractive form, the exponent of the wonders which the Almighty Creator has scattered so profusely around us.” The science is most interesting and attractive, and the study of it cannot fail to be attended with most excellent results. As a text-book on the subject, I cheerfully and earnestly recommend Warren's new work entitled “A System of Physical Geography," as eminently adapted for use in our Public Schools,
Of the remaining books on my list I need not speak in detail. The series of Philosophies by Parker, Vrs. Willard's IIistories, and the higher mathematies of Prof. Davies are well and widely known, and nothing I could say would add in the least to their merits.
Thus, in as few words as possible, have I given my reasons for prefering the various learling books on my recommended list; and in view of the importance and advantage of uniformity, I would fain hope that they might also lead to the universal adoption of these books in the schools of the State. It is cheerfully conceded that there are other text-books of eminent merit, but to multiply new books at the expense of uniformity is to perpetuate a mighty hinderance to the prosperity of our schools.
GRADED SCHOOLS. The attention of the Legislature was respectfully and earnestly called to this subject in my last annual Report, but for some reason was passed by without any definite action being bad upon it. I may be allowed to introduce here the remarks there made :
There is needed such a modification of our general system of Public Instruction, by means of supplementary provision, as shall adapt it to existing wants in our large towns and villages, and the more thickly populated rural districts. Only with much difficulty can the provisions of the present law be made available in effecting the required change. The full benefits of a more thorough and efficient system of organization and discipline are now secured only by special act. Only the common district school is recognized by our present system and law. Something above and beyond this is imperiously demanded by the educational needs of hundreds of localities in our State. Union Schools, it is true, can be organized under the present law; but only, as I said, with great difficulty. We need, then, such special provisions, as that, while the general system shall remain operative as now where it best adapts itself to the existing condition of things, the localities referred to, may, if they shall so elect, enjoy the advantages of a well-devised system of Graded Schools. The following is presented as the outlines of such a system :
1st. The consolidation of the several districts within a city, village or part of a town, for the purposes of a better organization, managememt, and supervision of schools.
2d. The organization of so many Primary schools of a city, village or part of a town as may be required, and of a Central High School. [Where the number of pupils is no more than four or five hundred, a single school, with Primary, Intermediate and High School Department will be sufficient.]
3d. The organization, superintendence and management of such schools, or school, to devolve on a Board of Education consisting of three or more Commissioners and
Superintendent; which said Board shall be vested with all the powers of present District Boards.
4th. The Common Council of a City, or the Trustees of a village, to raise by tax such sums as may be determined and certified by said Board of Education to be necessary or proper for the purpose of purchasing School Houses, paying Teachers wages, etc., etc.
These in brief are the general outlines of the system, which, through its practical workings, under a wise and careful administration, has given to Racine, Kenosha and Waukesha their model schools. None in those places dream of going back to the old district system. We do not propose, therefore an untried experiment, when we submit this system of graded gehools for adoption in all cities and villages in our State. In all favorable localities, if properly administered, it will make the public schools the best schools—more than any mere private or select schools possibly can be—and thus do away with the necessity of the burdensome maintenance of the latter.
In Madison, Janesville, Watertown, and Sheboygan this system, substantially, has been adopted, and is taking a fast hold upon the hearts of the people. Its advantages are at once seen when it is considered that it concentrates, almost of necessity, "all the mental and material energies of the inhabitants upon the support of a good school, well furnished with all the necessary appliances for a systematic and scientific instruction.” It stands approved wherever trial has been made of it, eren under unfavorable circuinstances. It has the unqualified approbation and endorsement of eminent educational men. “It is evident,” says J. L. Pickard, “that the interests of popular education are advanced by anything that tends to elevate the Common School, and leads to a wise and economical expenditure of the school monies. That the system of classified schools, including all grades from the primary to the high schools, is the best adapted to secure this elevation and ecnomical expenditure, need no illustration, except with such as have no practical knowledge of its workings, or have bestowed no thought upon its reasonableness.”
“The prevailing system of separate school districts," says S. S. Randall, "however advantageous in the incipient movements and first organization of a school system, labors under the serious defects of a want of adequate supervision, and the absence of a hearty, vigorous, systematic and united co-operation of the whole community in one common effort for the advancement and improvement of its educational facilities. These defects are effectually remedied by the Union and central system.”
Believing that a legislative provision, for uniting townships and incorporated villages, and even our smaller cities, for the purpose of organizing Union and Cen
tral High Schools would be of great utility and subserve an excellent purpose, I have drawn, and herewith submit an Act embracing the system which I have before briefly presented in outline.
Before a well-devised and faithfully administered system of Graded or Classified Schools—Common Schools still—I look for the existing system of separate and isolated districts to recede and disappear. I hope yet to see in Wisconsin a system of public instruction, providing for the establishment and maintainance of primary schools and a high school in each town-a Free Acadamy at some central and healthsul point in each county—and, at the head of all, a free State University. The latter we have, only it does not occupy its proper position, and is not accomplishing its proper work—not because it will not, but because it lacks the opportunity. It is now an object of jealousy and attack from every quarter. Place it at the head of our Common Schools, the crowning excellence and glory of our Free School System; and it at once becomes an object of general interest and regard, and the weapons with which it is now assailed are forever turned aside.
In all essential respects, the system of graded schools is greatly superior to any other ever devised or known. It brings order out of confusion. It admits of the classification of pupils, according to age or attainments—provides separate departments for them, and places them in charge of competent instructors. There is more permanence in the teacher's office under this system. As a general thing none but thoroughly qualified teachers will be employed, and therefore changes will be less frequently made. Not only this, but the instruction imparted will be more thorough and experienced. The number of classes being greatly diminished, each class will receive a much greater share of attention. There is, too, a saving of expense in the graded system. “Not more than half as many teachers will be needed. A teacher can govern and instruct sixty graded scholars better than he can thirty not so disposed. Books will not be changed so frequently. The same or a greater number of children, may be better educated, by expending, under the new system, three-fifths of what it would cost under the old.” But the chief excellence of the system, and one which should give it a high place in the public estimation and esteem, is, that under it our children, even though we be poor and humble, can be advanced step by step from the primary to the central school, and from thence to the College or University. “And all this under the protecting shadow of home, blessed by its influence, and guarded by the care of watchful parents.”
Of Graded Schools, the State Superintendent of Maine in his last annual Report says:
A graded school is a classified school, consisting of two, three, or four departments, to each of which the pupils are distributed according to their ages and attainments, placed under teachers adapted to each grade. These departments are generally denominated the Primary, the Intermediate, the Grammar, and the High School. The larger cities have very generally adopted the four departments. In some of the smaller cities, and larger villages, the system embraces but three, the Intermediate being omitted; and in the smaller villages and rural districts, but two, the Primary and Grammar. In the cities, two or more classes of school-houses are provided, while in the villages and populous districts which have adopted the graded system, one commodious edifice is usually erected for the accommodation of all the departments. Inasmuch as very many villages and neighborhoods have not yet attended to a proper gradation of their schools, although the number of their scholars renders it not only practicable, but highly necessary to their success, I