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gaged at salaries varying from $23 to $35 per month, a majority of whom were successful, but the indifference of two or three schools unfortunately reduced the average below a desirable standard of excellence. None of our larger schools—and perhaps the same is equally true in regard to the smaller ones—can afford to experiment much with inexperienced teachers. To employ those of established reputation will usually be found more desirable.
At the commencement of the winter term, it frequently occurs that a majority of the larger scholars are unprepared to enter the school-perhaps the first day of December may be considered the average time of their commencement. In districts where the winter term consists of four months only, we would suggest the propriety of opening the school about that time, which would carry the close to the middle of March, or past, which month is considered less favorable for out door operations than November, and older scholars can be more conveniently spared from their home pursuits, and thus avail themselves of the whole term.
The subject of Libraries has engrossed the attention of districts more during the past year than for several years previous. By a thorough examination of the subject, we became persuaded that the apathy which had existed in regard to it was the result of a want of proper
discrimination in the suitable selection of books. Those comprising the Libraries were most of them excellent works of their kind, but comparatively few were intended to interest the juvenile population, and create a taste for reading. There were also several districts without a single volume, therefore, in view of the whole, at the last annual disbursement of public funds, ten per cent. of the gross amount was set aside for library purposes, and in order to carry out the measure, our services were volunteered to assist in selections whenever they could be of any avail. Upwards of 300 volumes were purchased and added to the libraries, besides four globes, several large elocutionary charts, for the use of the several schools, and several dozens of singing books for the use of individual pupils, at an aggregate expense of upwards of $225. In making selections of books for libraries, it was our aim to secure such works as would interest and instruct the younger portion of community, and at the same time, not void of interest to adults. As libraries become larger, wo would advocate the selection of deeper and more philosophical works. By making small and frequent additions, a continued and more lively interest is maintained than by large additions at more remote intervals.
Facts and statistics prove that the libraries are read and appreciated. Let us instance a single case—the librarian of one district reported 476 volumes loaned during the year, from a library averaging less than 50 volumes for the twelve months, which would show that the volumes had been read, on an average, more than nine times through, and but a single case of injury was reported except the usual wear. There are numerous
instances of children ten or twelve years of age having read sixty or seventy volumes during the year. Our youth will seek reading of some sort, and unless the right kind be placed within their reach, we may not be surprised if they resort to the popular yellow-covered literature of the day, novels, tales of murders, robberies, and immoral subjects, tending to pervert the mind. We are emphatically a reading nation, and our reading propensities must in some way be gratified.
By a law of the State, recently enacted, an appropriation of ten per cent. of the school fund income is to be set apart for the purpose of creating township school libraries, while the law relating to district libraries by appropriation of public funds, has been repealed. Notwithstanding this, it is advisable to maintain an interest in our district libraries, and continue to increase them from time to time by a district tax.
Within the past year, one school house has been erected at an expense of $900-a neat and appropriate building, with convenient appendages, which does honor to the community. Several other districts have made valuable improvements to their houses and grounds. Desks have been remodeled and painted, walls whitewashed, yards enlarged and inclosed, and ornamental trees planted, adding beauty and value to the premises, all of which are highly creditable to the liberality, enterprise, and good taste of the citizens. Several school-rooms have also been handsomely papered—one through the exertions of the ladies—and present a neat and tidy appearance. Other improvements have been made, showing that the people are beginning to appreciate the difference between a neat and respectable school-room, and a cabin fit only for a stable. But there is ample room for improvement. Let the walls be ornamented with maps, pictures, and busts—let the rostrums and aisles be carpeted, or any additions made tending towards refinement. If we would make a clown, let us dress a boy like a clown, and associate him with all that is uncouth, and we shall succeed in our aim, beyond a doubt. On the other hand, if we would cultivate a spirit of refinement in our children, we must surround them with refined associations, as well as procure for them refined and cultivated instructors, and if we do not entirely succeed in our design, we shall approximate much nearer than by pursuing an opposite course.
Before closing this report, duty requires a few words upon a delicate subject. Frequent complaints have been made that orders properly drawn on district treasurers have not been promptly honored, when it has been known that there were sufficient funds in his hands. Such a state of financial affairs ought not to be suffered. No treasurer has the right to convert the public funds to his own use, to the detriment of the district, or of those holding claims against it. It is no less than a breach of trust. We know of no law requiring the treasurer to hold in hand the identical coin or currency which he receives, and perhaps no objection might be urged to a temporary use of the funds, provided he is always ready to cash all demands at sight, bnt a deposite in bank would probably be as safe
as any course, and at the expiration of his term of office, the treasurer would then be enabled to pay over to his successor the balance on hand, forthwith. It cannot be considered the duty of his successor to make frequent and urgent calls for the funds, waiting weeks, or even months, before receiving them; but the law makes it his imperative duty to prosecute, without delay, in case of neglect or refusal to pay over forthwith. Both law, and business principles require bonds to be executed with as much promptness, and drawn with as much stringency, as for any other purpose. I am aware that I am treading upon delicate ground, but country teachers are usually employed at low salaries, and justice requires their prompt payment.
WISCONSIN STATE TEACHERS' ASSOCIATION.
PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH ANNUAL MEETING.
The Association convened in the Assembly Chamber of the Capitol at Madison, at half past three o'clock on Tuesday, July 26, A. D. 1859.
Called to order by the President, Mr. A. Pickett, of Horicon, and the Secretary being absent, on motion of J. B. Pradt, of Sheboygan, A. J. Craig, of Palmyra, was elected Secretary pro tem.
The exercises were then opened with prayer by the Rev. Mr. Green, of Madison, when Chancellor Barnard, on behalf of the Faculty of the University, Hon. Lyman C. Draper, on behalf of the Department of Public Instruction, and D. Y. Kilgore, Esq., on behalf of the citizens of Madison, welcomed the Teachers to the Capital, and congratulated them on the favorable circumstances under which they had convened.
The President responded on behalf of the Association, and then proceeded to deliver the opening address, the subject of which was “The Nature of the Teacher's Work."
On motion of D. Y. Kilgore, a Committee on Enrollment of Members was appointed, consisting of E. P. Larkin, of Milwaukee, S. T. Lockwood, of Burlington, and Alexander Wilson, of Mineral Point.
Adjourned till 8 o'clock A. M, Wednesday.
WEDNESDAY MORNING, July 27. Session opened with prayer by Rev. M. P. Kinney, of Racine. Minutes of previous meeting read and approved.
C. H. Burbank was chosen Assistant Secretary.
D. Y. Kilgore was appointed a special Marshal to arrange the members of the Association in the procession to be formed at 10 o'clock to attend the inauguration of Chancellor Barnard of the State University.
The Treasurer, J. C. Pickard, presented his annual report as follows:
Cr. Aug. 6, 1859, By Cash received of J. G. McMyon, former treasurer,.. $55 40 one membership fee,.....
Sept. 7, “
Avg. 9, 1858, To collected on J. G. McMynn's check...
“ cash paid upon order of Sept. 2d, July 7, 1859,
of July 7th, Balance in Treasury,.....
Dr. .$ 0 15
3 00 7 00 46 25
$56 40 MADISON, July 27, 1859.
J. C. PICKARD, Treasurer. The report was referred to a committee for examination, consisting of A. Markham, A. N. Merriman, and (. S. Cook.
A committee on resolutions was appointed, consisting of T. fo Conatty, J, P. Fiske, and
- Brown. Adjourned till Thursday morning at 8 o'clock, to give the members of the Association an opportunity to attend the inauguration of Chancellor Barnard, the commencement exercises of the University, and to visit the University, an invi. tation having been given to the Association to meet the Faculty and friends of the institution in the evening.
THURSDAY, July 28. Session opened at 8 o'clock a. M. The President in the chair. J. L. Pickard appointed Secretary pro tem. Prayer by the Rev. Dr. Chapin, of Beloit. Minutes of yesterday were read and approved, The following committees were appointed :
On Nomination of Officers, Messrs. T. R. Williams, J. H. Magoffin, E. S. Green, W. O. Butler, and H. G. Winslow.
To select the Next Place of Meeting, Messrs. H. W. Spalding, E: B. Gray and George Gale.
Voted that teachers and friends of education from other states be invited to take part in the exercises.
J. B. Pradt read a report upon the revision of the School Law, reciting the action of the committee appointed by the Association at its last session, and giving a statement of what had been accomplished. After considerable discussion of the subject by Messrs. Kinney, Pickett, Winslow and Carpenter, the report was accepted, and a committee consisting of Messrs. A. Pickett, J. B. Pradt, and J. G. McMynn was elected to continue the work, and to co-operate with the committee appointed by the Legislature.
Prof. Butler of the State University then read an address upon the study of the classics, and urged their introduction into the higher departments of our common schools.
Mr. Winslow offered a resolution that the thanks of the Association be tendered to Prof. Butler for his able and eloquent defense of the study of the classics, and that a copy be requested for publication : which was unanimously adopted.
After a recess of ten minutes, Mr. J, Atwater, of Illinois, was introduced by the President, and called the attention of the Association to his system of schoo government;
D. Y. Kilgore read a communication from the Madison Horticultural Society, inviting the teachers to attend their Floral Exhibition at the City Hall. Voted that the invitation be accepted, and that the Association adjourn at 9'oclock this evening to attend the exhibition.
Miss E. L. Bissell, of Prairie du Chien, then read an essay on the deficiencies in the present mode of female education.
Adjourned till two o'clock P. M.
THURSDAY, 2 o'clock P. M. Meeting called to order by the president.
The committee appointed to examine tho report and accounts of the Treasurer for the past year reported through their chairman, Mr. A. Markham, that they found the same correct; which report was accepted, and on motion of Rev. M. P. Kinnay the Treasurer's report was adopted.
E. P. Larkin; of Milwaukee, then read an essay on Moral Culture. Rev. Mr. Pradt introduced the following resolutions : Resolved, That the moral influences of the school-room, of the teacher, and of every ap. pliance of education are of paramount importance, and demend the most careful scrutiny and attention of those concerned in educational work.
Resolved, that the future destiny of our country depends largely upon the moral culture which is bestowed upon our children in the public schools, and that this subject demands the earliest attention of the patriot and the statesman, as well as the educator.
Which, after much discussion, were adopted.
On motion of Mr. Kilgore a committee consisting of Messrs. Kilgore, Pradt and Sterling was appointed to consider the propriety of introducing institute exercises into the proceedings of the State Teachers Association.
The Editorial Committee, through their chairman, Mr. Pradt, made the following report:
The committee report that the continued and increased aid of the State, ren* dered in its subscription to the Journal, has enabled the Resident Enitor to continue its publication during the past year, but that he has a meagre balance in hand after the payment of present indebtedness, as a compensation for his services. They think that it will be necessary to rely upon the further aid of the State to sustain the publication, and are happy to learn that the Journal gives increased satisfaction to school officers, as the organ of the State Superintendent; thus