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organization and standing of the school, which was accepted by the Board in October, 1825:
Yonr committee would propose that the candidates for admission to this school shall be eleven, and not more than fifteen years of age; allowance, ir particular cases, to be made according to the discretion of the School Committee; that they shall be admitted on examination in those studies, which are pursued in the public Grammar schools of the city; and that the examination may be strict or otherwise, as the number of candidates shall hold relation to the accommodations provided for them:
That the course of studies in this, as in the English High School, shall be calcu. lated to occupy three years :
That, in pursuance of the suggestion of the original report on this subject, some studies shall be required of all the scholars, and others allowed as evidences of honorable proficiency, and as motives to higher efforts; and that the following be the studies of the school, according to the order in which they shall bo pursued, until otherwise ordered by the School Committee.
FIRST YEAR, Required: No. 1. Reading-2. Spelling-3. Writing words and sentences from dictation-4. English grammar, with exercises in the same-5. Composition-6. Modern and ancient geography—7. Intellectual and written arithmetic-8. Rhetoric—9. History of the United States. Allowed : Logic, or botany.
SECOND YEAR. Required: Nos. 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, continued-10. Book-keeping by single entry11. Elements of geometry--12. Natural philosophy-13. General history—14. His. tory of England - 15. Paley's Natural Theology. Allowed : Logic, botany, demonstrative geometry, algebra, Latin or French.
THIRD YEAR. Required: Nos. 1, 5, 12, 15, continued-16. Astronomy_17. Treatise on the globes -18. Chemistry-19. History of Greece-20. History of Rome--21. Paley's Moral Philysophy-22. Paley's Evidences of Christianity.
Allowed: Logic, algebra, principles of perspective, projection of maps, botany, Latin, or French.
The High School for Girls was opened on the 27th of February, 1826, with one hundred and thirty pupils out of 286 candidates examined, one. half from private, and the other half from public schools; of these 37 were between eleven and twelve years of age, 69 between twelve and thirteen, 72 between thirteen and fourteen, 94 between fourteen and fifteen, and 14 had attained the age of fifteen. In the account of the school, prefixed to the first catalogue, published soon after its opening, the follow. ing remarks occur:
In many respects, this institution is an experiment; and it cannot be fairly tested without patient and laborious exertions. A free school for the instruction of fomales, founded on principles so liberal, is in itself a novelty; but such a novelty argues well for the spirit and improvement of the age, and of the community wherein it is fostered. Although the correct literary education of females is no longer regarded as a subject of comparatively little, or even of secondary importance; this is, perhaps, the first school, established by the public care and supported at the public expense, in which they may receive a systematical course of instruction in the higher departments of literature and science. Much depends, therefore, on the success of this experiment; and it is confidently hoped that the public may not be disappointed in their expectations. It will not be supposed that a school of moro than a hundred and thirty scholars, who have been accustomed to almost every variety of instruction and discipline to be found in the public and private schools of the city, can be organized on principles with which they are wholly unacquainted, and put into complete and successful operation, at its very commencement, by a single instructor. Much time will be required to ascertain, with any considerable
degree of accuracy, the respective powers and attainments of such a number of pupils, whose studies have been widely different, not only in the books used, but also in their order of succession. If the indulgence be granted, which these cir. cumstances seem to demand, there can be no doubt that the success of the school will fully meet all the reasonable hopes and wishes of its friends.
An account of the peculiarities in the plan of government and instruction to be adopted, will not now be expected. The arrangements of the school, in these respects, are not yet fully matured. Indeed, as the spirit of improvement is at work in the business of education, with unprecedented earnestness and success, it is hoped that many valuable alterations may be introduced, from time to time, and incorporated into the method of teaching to be pursued; for it is the part of wisdom to neglect no suggestion, really useful and valuable, under whatever name or as a component part of whatever system, it may come before the world.
The following paragraphs, from the “Regulations and Catalogue" of the school in January, 1827, contain statements of historical interest :
The attainments of several of the candidates, who were rejected, were very creditable in all the required branches, excepting mental arithmetic; in this, all were deficient, in a greater or less degree. A large proportion of them had never paid any attention to the study; and some of those who professed to be acquainted with it, merely ciphered without a slate, exhibiting no acquaintance with that close and perspicuous method of reasoning, which constitutes the chief beauty and excellence of the system. It is understood that very many, desirous of entering the school, were deterred from offering themselves from examination, by a conscious deficiency in this branch; it having been embraced, but a short time, in the course of instruction pursued in the Writing Schools of the city.
No scholar shall be admitted into the school, until she shall have attained the age of fourteen years, nor after she shall have attained the age of sixteen, or shall remain in the school longer than one year. An exception is made in favor of the present scholars, who, having been originally admitted for three years, are per mitted to remain until the next annual exhibition.
Candidates for admission shall be examined in Reading, Writing, Modern Geography, and Colburn's First Lessons in Arithmetic, and they shall be able to parse fluently any English composition in prose or verse.
Before the end of the second year, the school had become so popular, the applicants for admission so numerous, so many parents were disappointed that children were not received, the demand for larger and better accommodations, and for increased scholars, involved such additional expenditures, that the School Committee were perplexed, and under the lead of the Mayor, Josiah Quincy, (Senior,) on the 21st of February, 1828, adopted a report and series of resolutions, by which the Girls' High School was discontinued, the branches taught in that school were introduced into the Grammar Schools, and the girls were allowed to continue through the year in the same until they were sixteen years of age, although the boys were dismissed at fourteen. The Report by which these changes were advocated was drawn up by Mayor Quincy, and was subjected, so far as the High School for Girls was concerned, to a searching "Review" by Mr. Bailey, under whom as Principal the school had attained such remarkable success. From these documents we give the following extracts as part of the history of the education of girls, not only in Boston, but in other cities—for there can be no doubt as to the influence of the example of Boston in delaying the establishment of this class of schools elsewhere.
The sub-committee, after reciting the history of the school substantially as given in the preceding pages, observe that the effect of con. sequences of establishing a school of such extent and splendid promise for the education of females, to be paid for from the general funds of the city had not been exactly estimated. “The anticipations of the school committee had completely failed" not in respect to the prosperity or efficiency of the school, but in as much as the school-room deemed sufficient, would not accommodate all entitled to admission under the too liberal requisitions of candidates as to age and qualifications originally established, and because the committee in the development of the ex. periment find it necessary to limit the minimum age to fourteen, and the preliminary studies to every thing required in the public grammer and writing schools, thus making the Girls High School occupy for girls the same place in the system, of public instruction, as the Latin and English High Schools did for boys. On this state of facts the sub-com. mittee observe:
The great argument for a High School for girls, of the extent of time and objects of education as first proposed, was, that the same had been done for the boys, and that it was reasonable that one sex should have the same advantages as the other.
It was not however, sufficiently considered, if it was at all foreseen, that the difference of the circumstances of girls and boys, at the period of life between cleven and sixteen would make a material difference, in respect to the practicability of a school on such a basis, considered as a part of a public system of education to be provided for out of the general funds of the city.
Between the ages of eleven and sixteen, girls are not like boys, for the most part abstracted from general objects, by the necessity of attending to objects having reference to some particulrr trade or profession. A school, therefore, requiring for admission, qualifications, of no very high character, and such as parents by a little forcing of the education of their daughters, in private schools or by domestic instruction, might generally command, and which was in fact of the nature of a college for all girls between eleven and sixteen, was of a nature very attractive, and as it was to be confined of course to the best scholars from our public schools, it partook of the character of selection and exclusion, thereby obviating the objection which prevents some parents from availing themselves of our common schools.
The effect of this state of things was evident in the number of the candidates, at the first examination; being as above stated two hundred and eighty-six, and also in the reasonable anticipation made of the number of candidates, which were prepared to offer had the same state of qualification coutinued in the second examination, from three to four hundred, - and in the fact that of all the scholars, who entered the High School, it is understood that not one, during the eighteen months of its operation voluntarily quitted it; that is, who from circumstances could have enjoyed its advantages.
The difference between the practicability of such a school as applied to females, and considered as a part of a system of public education to be paid for out of the general funds of the city, and as applied to boys, cannot be more strikingly illustrated than by a comparison of that result, with the following facts.
The High School for boys has been in operation ever since 1821, and in every respect has been successful and popular, yet tho greatest number of applicants for admission, which ever offered was ninety. The greatest number ever admitted was eighty-four. And although it has been so many years in successful operation, its present number is only one hundred and forty-six.
In relation to the continuance of those admitted into the High School for boys the contrast is still more striking. The number of those annually admitted into it is con. stantly and rapidly diminishing, every successive year, as the parents of scholars are able to find places to put them out as apprentices, or in counting houses. So that the fact is that "the greatest number of these who have continued through their whole course is seventeen; - and they belonged to a class consisting originally of about seventy members."
Now from the facts which have occurred and from the known circumstances of females, between the ages of eleven and sixteen, there is no reason for believing that any one, once admitted to the school, would voluntarily quit it for the whole three years; unless, indeed in case of marriage.
Another fact, not to be omitted in the estimate of the effect of this High School for girls, considered as a practicable public system is, that the greater number of those admitted to that school was from private schools; that is out of one hundred and twenty-one, sixty-two were from private, and fifty-nine from the public schools. It was understood that the proportion of the num ber about to offer for the second examination, had the original principles of admission continued, would have been far greater from the private schools.
In this connection it may be proper to state, in order to indicate the degree of preparation and expense to which the establishment of such a collegiate course of studies, under the name of a High School, would necessarily lead, that the whole number of girls, in our present Grammar and High Schools between eleven and fifteen years of age, is about seven hundred, that the number of girls, between the same ages, receiving their education within the city, in private schools and families, must be unquestionably far greater. Supposing only that the number of this class be equal, then it is apparent that there will be a great total of nearly fourteen hun. dred girls in every year to whom the benefits of this collegiate course, at the expense of the city, would be proffered, upon the single condition of becoming fit to enter this school within that period of age. It cannot be questioned that the proffer of so unexampled a privilege would awaken the strong desire of every parent, and female of the admitted age, in the city, to become partakers of it. And this desire would be proportionably strong and active in parents, who had been in the previous habit of educating their children in private schools, because they would feel most strongly relief from the expense to which they had hitherto subjected themselves; and would percieve that having the pecuniary ability to force the education of their children in private schools, or by domestic tuition, they would most certantly be able to avail themselves of this advantage. Accordingly it was found that the excitement and stimulus were much greater among children of this class than among any other. There was reason to expect far greater numbers from private schools than from the public. The estimate above stated made by the Sub-Committee for the High Schools for girls of four hundred was probably not extravagant, and if it had fallen short the then currert year, it would without question have been equalled the next. It being next to a certanty that when so desirable and uncommon a privilege was proffered, at least one third of all within the admitted age would qualify themselves to take advantage of it As for the reasons before stated, it is believed that not one girl once admitted would voluntarily quit the school, during the whole three years. - except in case of marriage, - it followed that provision must be made for, from eight to twelve hundred scholars, in the first three years; at an expense of two High School-houses with suitable preparations, which would cost not less than fifty thousand dollars; and upon the supposition of the same ratio of masters and ushers to scholars (one to one hundred) and only the same rate of salaries as in our present Grammar schools, causing an additional expense of ten thousand eight hundred dollars annually; with a certainty that the numbers and expense must annually increase. These facts and considerations were irresistible and conclusive to show that a High Shool education was a very different thing in its results, as it respects our general school system, when applied to girls, than when applied to boys; and; that aside from all considerations of its particular effects upon our Grammar and Writing schools, some of which were unquestionably injurious, and without taking notice of the objection that it might not be within the general policy of the laws of the Commonwealth relative to public education, it could not be maintained and ought not to be continued as a part of our public sys. tem, on the basis of time and qualification, on which it was first projected. The opinion became general, if not universal, that some change in its principles must be adopted, if it were continued. Two schemes only were suggested by those, who would continue the course of three years. 1. That the High School should be confined to those educated in the common schools. This of course would not be sus. tained for one moment. For in addition to the common right, which would be inherent in all parents, the tendency would be to bring back to our common schools a class of children, from the education of whom they were now relieved by the predilections, or pecuniary ability, of parents.
2. That the qualification should be raised while the course of three years should be continued. This last was the favorite remedy with those most desirous for the continuance of the institution on this principle of time,
A single objection seems, however, conclusive on this point. In proportion to the qualifications for admission are raised, the school becomes exclusive. Though nominally open to all, it will be in fact open only to the few, and shut to the many. Now if the objects to be acquired in a school of this kind are important to the whole community, nothing can he more obvious than that the advantages of a school, provided for out of the funds of the whole community, should be received by the whole community
If it be asked does not the same objection apply to the Latin School and the High School for boys, the answer is obvious. The destination of boys, in future life, has reference to professions and pursuits, including services to the community in public stations,) infinitely various compared with the destination of girls. The essential reasons for supporting, at the public sxpense, these last mentioned Schools, is that they enable every individual in the community, however poor, to have his son educated for the particular profession, or pursuit in life, for which his talent destines him.
If however, these schools, instead of educating each about one hundred and fifty boys annually, should show themselves to be of a nature to attract within their sphere all those, at present educated at private schools, if it should appear that the number must rise, in the course of three or four years, to at least eight or twelve hundred annually, or if, of all that entered, none during the whole course would be likely to quit, - and the effect upon the common schools was positively injurious,- it would become a serious question, whether schools of that character could be supported out of the general funds of the city; and would lead either to their modification or abandonment.
Under these general views, your Sub-Committee cannot hesitate to come to the same conclusion, which the School Committee, by adopting the vote of the 17th November, 1826, effectually did, and declare it as their opinion, that the High School for girls ought not to be reestablished upon the basis of embracing the er. tent of time and the multiplied objects of education, which the original plan of that · School contemplated.
With respect to the second question, shall the High School for girls be continued on the restricted basis, as to time and objects, to which it was reduced by the vote of the 17th November, 1826, your Sub-Committee apprehend that it will receive a decission equally easy and satisfactory. A basis, adopted for the purpose of escaping from an unanticipated exigency, containing no proportion between time allotted, and objects of education proposed, can be justified by no sound principle of wisdom. The effect of such a system, would be to make a new High School every year to be organized, disciplined and instructed, so far as respects the children, by a new master. It is scarcely possible that such a school would produce any important effects, or would justify the expenditure it would require. To say nothing of its being necessarily of an exclusive character, and its benefits contined, in effect, to a very few.
It is obviously far preferable to arrange all our Grammar and Writing Schools so as that the standard of education in them may be elevated and enlarged; thereby making them all, as it respects females, in fact High Schools, in which each child may advance according to its attainments to the same branches recently taught in that school.
Your Sub-Committee have therefore come to the conclusion, that the circumstan. ces, in which the city is placed, by the result of "the experiment" of the High School for girls, render it their duty to enter upon the consideration of extending the advantages, now enjoyed in our public schools, upon a general and systematic plan, having reference to the exigencies of the whole community, predicated upon no principals of favoritism or exclusion, but adapted to elevate the condition, both moral and intellectual of the children of the whole community ; particularly of those classes who, from their pecuniary condition are at least able to provide for the education of their own children