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All schools requiring high qualifications as the condition of admission, are essentially schools for the benefit, comparatively, of a very few. The higher the qualification, the greater the exclusion. Those whose fortunes permit them to avail themselves of private instruction for their children, during their early years, --men highly educated themselves, who have leisure and ability to attend to the education of their own children, and thas raise them at the prescribed age to the required qualification,-will chiefly enjoy the privilege. To the rest of the community, consisting of parents not possessing these advantages, admission to them is a lottery, in which there is a hundred blanks to a prize. The scheme to reduce the school to an attendance of one year, seems to be a needless multiplication of schools and of expense; as it is plainly far better that a year should be added to the continuance in the common schools, and their course of instruction proportionably elevated
The great interest of society is identified with her common schools. These belong to the mass of the people. Let the people take care, lest the funds which ought to be devoted exclusively to the improvement and elevation of these common schools, thus essentially theirs, be diverted to schools of high qualification. Under whatever pretense established, their necessary tendency is to draw away, not only funds, but also interest and attention from the common schools. The sound principle upon this subject seems to be, that the standard of public education should be raised to the greatest desirable and practicable height; but that it should be effected by raising the standard of the common schools.
For a period of twenty-three years, as was stated by Mr. Quincy, in the above extract from his History, no effectual attempt was made in the School Committee, or in either branch of the City Council, to revive the High School for Girls. But in the report of the committee to make the annual examination in May, 1847, (drawn up by Joseph M. Wightman,) it is suggested that “precisely the same studies are taught to both boys and girls, without regard to the difference in their constitution and physical strength, or the adaptation of the studies to their peculiar positions in life;" and then lays down the principle that “a school for boys should comprehend the studies which will be most useful to them as men.” Among the deviations in practice from this principle, the report complains that the studies of the girls in the public school are “too extensive and too difficult.” “Many portions of arithmetic and the whole of algebra, are as unnecessary to female education in our Grammar Schools, as would be the science of engineering, or a course of law studies.” If a higher class of studies is required for a portion of the girls, to qualify them for teachers, or other peculiar duties, the committee are of opinion that a High School, similar in rank to that for boys, but adapted to female education, should be established, to which might be transferred some of the studies now pursued in the Grammar Schools." The report suggests as an aid to check the growing evils “of extravagant family expenses, and entire disregard of the dictates of prudence," that girls “must be taught habits of industry and economy, às wanted to the faithful performance of the higher duties of life. As one of the means to accomplish this, let plain sewing be taught and practiced in all of the classes in the school-let prizes be awarded for it-let an important and high rank
be given to it in our estimation, and in a short time, the ambition of the pupils will be, to excel in this most legitimate of female avocations. Its practice will relieve the tediousness of mental exercise in school, and its effects will be to render home the abode of comfort and happiness, from the industry, order and neatness which will pervade it."
On the 2nd of February, 1848, S. H. Jenks, G. B. Emerson and R. Soule, Jr., were appointed a Special Committee "to consider the expediency of establishing a High School for Girls, with details and estimates in relation thereto.” This committee reported, on the 3d of May, in favor of establishing two such schools, and of providing for the accommodation of the same one in the large upper hall of the Quincy Grammar School, and the other in a similar hall of the Hancock School-each school to receive 250 pupils, and the annual expense for both not to exceed $5,000. The committee maintain that the law of the state requiring every town containing five hundred families to maintain, in addition to its ordinary district schools, a town school of a higher grade "for the benefit of all the inhabitants,” was not complied with in Boston, inasmuch as the Latin and English High Schools were not open for girls, and that this exclusion, without other public opportunities for similar instruction, was unequal and impolitic. Without such opportunities women could not become the teachers of the coming generation, and “the fit civilizers of mankind." They can see no reason why the faculties of females should be deprived of the intellectual food provided for those of males; and on the other hand, they assert that the cultivation of these faculties will elevate the female character, and through that elevation society will unspeakably be benefited. On the 24th of May, the same committee reported in favor of appropriating $2,491 for seating and equipping generally the halls above specified for two schools, and $6,500 for two principal preceptors of the same qualification prescribed for the Latin and English High Schools, and six female assistants. The course of study recommended, besides a review of the branches pursued in the Grammar Schools, embraced "algebra, natural history, natural and intellectual philosophy, astronomy, botany, chemistry, moral science, and the Latin, Greek, and French languages." The preceptor of each school was required “to give such pupils as may desire to enter a class for the purpose, suitable lectures on the art of imparting instruction to children, with such practical directions and exemplifications, as may tend to prepare and qualify said pupils to become teachers of youth.” These recommendations of the sub-committee were adopted by the whole board, but the City Government failed to make the necessary appropriations.
On the 12th of January, 1849, a committee consisting of Messrs. Jenks, Spence and Neale, were appointed to investigate the subject still further; this committee reported in favor of the immediate establishment of two seminaries for the higher instruction of girls, “as demanded by the judgment of the community, the dictates of justice and the positive injunctions of law." They accordingly ask the appropriation of $3,000 to fit up the halls before recommended, and of $7,000 for the current expenses of the institutions. No action was had on these recommendations by the City Authorities.
In his first annual report to the School Committee, submitted Dec. 30th, 1851, the Superintendent of Public Schools, (Nathan Bishop,) recommended * the establishment of a Normal School, as a part of the Boston system of Public Instruction.” “It is due to the inhabitants of this city to establish an institution in which such of their daughters as have completed with distinguished success the course of studies in the Grammar Schools, may, if they are desirous of teaching, qualify themselves in the best manner for this important employment." This recommendation was referred to a Special Committee, (composed of Messrs. Eaton, Tracy, Simonds, Simpson and Hahn,) which reported in June, 1852, in favor of establishing “a school for the single object of preparing teachers for our public schools," and " that it should be resorted to by those only who may desire to qualify themselves for teaching." “ It should provide for its pupils such a course of study as would demand for its completion the earnest and devoted application of at least two years; one which would insure not only a thorough acquaintance with all the elementary, therefore, for the most essential, branches in which they may be called upon to give instruction, but which should give such a knowledge of the physical laws of health, of which there is now among many teachers such lamentable ignorance, as would enable them to take proper care of the pupils under their charge; such information in regard to the true method of calling into healthful exercise the various faculties of the mind, as would not allow one to be comparatively dormant, and urge another into over activity, and thus give a one-sided development to the mind; such a preparation for unfolding and invigorating the moral character of their pupils, as should best fit them for successfully performing the duties growing out of the various relations of life; and such views of the true character of their future vocation-of its dignity, of its power to influence deeply, and it may be ineffaceably for good or for evil, and hence of its high responsibility, as while exciting a modest distrust of their own qualifications, should at the same time arouse in them an earnest and generous determination to perform their duties with strict fidelity, and to devote to their work the whole strength of their minds and hearts."
The report was accepted by the School Committee, and on the 8th of July, 1852, the City Government authorized the establishment of a Normal School for female teachers, as a part of the system of Public Instruction.
In September, a sub-committee on the Normal School, composed of Russell, Derby and Simpson, were directed to organize the school for two hundred pupils, who were to be admitted at the age of sixteen years, after being found qualified in the studies of the Grammar Schools. The course of study and instruction prescribed, embraced a thorough review of the studies of the Grammar School, and collateral branches important to explain and illustrate the same, with special reference to instruction in the art of teaching those studies. After having satisfactorily mastered the required studies, pupils were permitted to proceed to the study of English literature, intellectual and moral philosophy, the French language, the natural sciences, and of some departments of mathematics. Music, and drawing, and lectures on physiology and hygiene, were to form a part of the regular course. The school thus organized went into operation in the fall of 1852, under the principalship of Loring Lathrop, and three assistants, and a model school under the charge of Miss Lucy D. Osborn.
But the establishment of the Normal School for female teachers did not satisfy the friends of the High Schools for Girls, who in 1853 presented a petition numerously signed, asking for such a school. This petition was referred to a committee to which J. Thomas Stevenson was chairman, who prepared a report, in which it was claimed that the city already provided in the Grammar Schools for Girls, a course of instruction as advanced as that given in schools denominated “high" in other cities of the State, and in the Normal School," a thorough review of the studies of the Grammar School, with the addition of such collateral branches as are important for the explanation and illustration of those studies.” The report concludes by discouraging any present extension of the means of instruction for girls. But in 1854, the School Committee converted the Normal School into a High School for Girls, by opening it to all who possessed the required qualifications for admission without restriction as to any intention or wish to engage in teaching. It was provided at the same time, that a Normal Class should be formed for the latter. The report of the School Committee for 1861, contains the following notice of the Girls' High and Normal School, after speaking of the Latin and English High School for boys.
While our city was thus liberally providing for the education of her sons, carrying them on from the Primary, through the Grammar Schools, to the Latin or the English High School, her daughters, after learning all that was taught in the Grammar Schools, were compelled to resort to private schools for instruction in the
higher branches of knowledge. In order to give them the same advantages as tho boys, and at the same time to train up and qualify teachers, the GIRLS' HIGH AND NORMAL School was instituted in 1852. The course, at first limited to two years, was afterwards extended to three-the scholars passing through a Junior, Middle, and Senior year. The instructors are now fourteen in number, a master, nine female assistants, and four male teachers who have charge of the departments of Drawing, French, German, and Vocal Music. An examination of candidates for admission is held on the two days following the Annual Exhibitions and Festival in July; when the candidates, the greater part of whom are graduates from the Grammar Schools, are required to prepare written answers to printed questions in Geography, Arithmetic, Grammar, and History. They are also examined in Reading, Writing, Spelling, and Oral Arithmetic. More than one thousand pupils have been admitted to this school. At the examination in July, there were one hundred and fifty-six applicants; ninety-nine were admitted unconditionally; thirty-seven on the condition of passing a second examination in one or more studies, and twenty were rejected. At the second examination in September, several new candidates presented themselves, with those conditionally received; and the whole number admitted this year is one hundred and fifty-two. The number of scholars has increased from one hundred and ninety in 1858, to three hundred and forty, twenty of whom have completed the prescribed course, and are permitted to continue their connection with the school, as an advanced
The pupils, after carefully reviewing their previous studies, are carried through an extended course of Natural, Intellectual, and Moral Philosophy, Astronomy, Chemistry, History, English Literature, Drawing, and Music, and the Latin, French, and German languages. They are encouraged to pursue the investigation of subjects beyond the limit of text-books, to form their own views, to express them freely and clearly, and to maintain them firmly. One of the most instructive and interesting exercises of this school is the analysis and criticism of the thoughts and sentiments of standard English authors, by the classes, under the supervision of their teachers. Questions of philosophy, points of history, and matters of taste are freely canvassed. There is no better method than this for bringing out the hidden powers of the mind, giving quickness and activity to the thoughts, and communicating the ability of expressing the ideas readily, and without coufusion or hesitation. Not only is there a most thorough and complete education given in this institution; but, by the peculiar methods of teaching in use here, the pupils are eminently fitted to impart knowledgo to others. The training of all the mental faculties is found to be the best preparation for instructing children. It requires a large amount of learning, remarkable clearness of thought, a firm grasp of ideas, a well-disciplined mind, a thorough knowledge of the English language, and accuracy in the use of words, to teach properly even the youngest pupils in our schools. Believing that a good Normal School, in which assistants for the Grammar Departments, and instructors of the Primary Schools are prepared for their several duties, must be a High School, the projectors of this institution appropriated the greater part of the course to the higher branches. A portion of the time, however, is given to the Normal Department. Special instruction in the theory and practice of teaching is imparted to all the young ladies ; and they are allowed to be absent in some cases for a few days, in others for several weeks, in order to act as substitutes for the instructors in the city schools. Three hundred and twenty-two have, at different times, availed themselves of this privilege. At the examinations of candidates for the office of teachers, graduates from this school invariably stand among the first; and their success in the various positions which they have held, and the promotion of sixteen of them already to the post of head-assistant, prove that the school is admirably fulfilling both the objects for which it was instituted. The assistant teachers of this school are all graduates of the school. In October, 1859, when it became necessary to appoint new instructors on account of the increase in the number of scholars, an examination was held after public notice given in the newspapers. The eight young ladies who stood highest at that examination, had been educated at this school; and from their number the four assistants, since appointed, bave been selected.
By the Report of the City Auditor for 1861, it appears that the salaries of the teachers for the Girls' High and Normal School for that year, amounted to $8,287.50.