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CIROULAR TO TOWN SUPERINTENDENTS.
Distribution of Webster's Unabridged Dictionaries.
OFFICE OF SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIO INSTRUCTION.
Madison, March 15th, 1858. A new law has just taken effect to provide for completing the distribution, by the State Superintendent, of Webster's UNABRIDGED DICTIONARY. So much of the law as relates to the proper steps to be taken to obtain the Dictionaries is herewith annexed; to which the attention of Township and District School officers is respectfully called.
It would be particularly advisable that the Town Saperintendents, as far as possible, and not the District Clerks, should be the medium of applying for Dictionaries; otherwise double applications might be made for the same district, thus creating confusion, and necessarily delaying their procurement.
The Town Superintendents, Commissioners of Schools, and City Superintendents, would much facilitate the object desired, by furnishing also, as the accompanying form implies, a list of Districts heretofore supplied.
With the affidavit, transmit also an order for the delivery of the Dictionaries, or designate how they are to be sent. Very respectfully,
LYMAN O. DRAPER, Supt. of Public Instruction,
Chapter XXII. AN ACT to enable the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to complete the Distrib*
tion of Webster's Unabridged Dictionaries. Published March 18th, 1858. Seo. 2.- The State Superintendent of Public Instruction *
upon the receipt of the affidavit in due form, which shall be kept on file in his Office, of any Town Saperintendent or Commissioner of Schools, or Superintendent of Schools for any City, or the District Clerk of any School District in this State, that such City, Town, or District has not yet been supplied with the said Dictionaries or Dictionary, as provided by an Act approved March 21, 1855, then, the sald State Superintendent of Public Instruction shall distribute, as per order, to said City, Town, or Distriot, sending one Dictionary for each Public School and Department thereof taught therein.
SEO. 4.--Any Town Superintendent of Schools, the Commissioners of Schools, or Superintendent of Schools for any City, or the District Clerk for any School District in this state, who shall be guilty of making any false affidavit to the State fuperintendent of Public Instruction, concerning any of the said Dictionaries, or who sball, upon the receipt of the same, refuse or fall to deliver it or:hem for the use of the School or Schools in their several Towns, Cities of Districts, shall, on conviction thereof, be punished by ine of not more than fifty dollars nor less than ten dollars.
Seo. 5.—All expenses incurred in the further distribution of any of the said Dictionaries, to any Town, City, or School District in this state, shall be incurred by the Town, City, OF School District receiving the same.
FORM OF AFFIDAVIT TO BE MADE BY THE SUPT. APPLYING FOR DICTIONARIES
State of Wisconsin, _COUNTY,
being duly sworn, deposeth and saith, that the following Districts in the Toron of Cuonty of
and State aforesaid, have never been supplied with WEBSTER'S UNABRIDGED DICTIONARY, by the State as provided for by law.
Districts unsupplied, Nos.
And the following Districts, in the Town and County aforesaid, have been supplied: Districts Nos.
Sworn and subscribed before me, this day of
JOHN G, SAXE.
ENOUGH of censure; let my humble lays
he could hoard no more.
Town Superintendents and District Officers will do well to pay particular attention to the State Superintendent's Department in this Number, Embodying as it does, decisions in reference to the meaning of the school law, and the working of the system, it is worthy of careful study, and, if heeded, will save trouble and expense which are often caused by premature and ill-advised action on the part of districts and officers.
We shall continue from time to time the publication of the decisions and regulations of the department, and thus make the Journal a valuable assistant to the local officers in the discharge of their duties, and a medium of communication botween them and the State Superintendent.
We are happy to state that Mr. Draper has always manifested the most friend. ly feelings toward the Journal, and evinced a desire to assist, to the extent of his power, in making it useful and successful.
We also feel compelled to State, in answer to complaints which have been made that the Journal did not contain the information which the people were led to ex. pect it would, that it was not the fault of its managers, and that hereafter it will be what it professes to be, the “ Organ of the Department of Public Instruction," as well as of the “State Teacher's Association,”
Believing that it will interest our readers to learn the condition of the schools in various parts of the State we give the following extracts from our correspondence during the last month.
SOHOOLS IN EAU CLAIRE. MESSRS:- I am glad to be able to state that a decided improvement is manifest in our common schools within the year past, and that a deeper interest is taken by parents and others, than formerly, in the cause of popular education, the bulwark of our liberties, and the hope of the future destiny of our country. In common with most new towns and counties, an undue attention has been given to the more material matter of advance in price of lands and lots, and the universal fever of speculation has raged wildly heretofore in our community. Now, how. ever, those matters have been toned down to their proper position and influence, and we may justly hope for an increased interest and success in the cause of common school education. A large and commodious school house has been erected in this village the past winter, and a good school taught therein. We have but one other district school in this town, which, though small, is entitled to the appellation of the “Banner School.”
Four or five new districts will be organized in April, and school-houses be built at once, and schools started immediately. This augurs well for the present and future enlightenment of our community.
C. H. HOWARD, Town Supt.
Mr. Lyman Perry writes from Mauston, Junean County as follows:
Myself and wife are engaged to teach the school in this village for three terms of fourteen weeks each, in a year. One term is now closcd. We have had over a hundred and fifty scholars, whom we have taught in two rooms of the same school-house, thirty by fifty feet in dimensions. The school has done well, thongh we see great opportunities yet for improvement. We are anxious to do all we can, not only to make ours a good school, but to send out good teachers to supply other schools in this new country.
Mr. Daniel Story, Superintendent of Schools Utica, Winnebago County, writes that their schools are in a prosperous condition, that they are determined to have good houses and competent teachers, and adds:
I am safe in saying that we have schools in the Town of Utica to feel proud of.
We commend the suggestion of Mr. Brown in regard to the purchase of text-books by the district to the attention of our readers. We have advocated the plan for several years, and believe it to be practical and more economical than the present one.
We will consider the matter further hereafter.
Having had long experience in matters relating to common schools in the State of New York, and in this State, I have found the want of books, and a uniformity of books, to be a greater evil than a want of thoroughly qualified teachers. I will not dwell here upon the evil, but merely suggest what I believe to be the only remedy now.
Let the District Board be authorized to purchase books for the school, and have charge of them as district property.
In relation to the school fund, I think the present mode of collecting fines too expensive, not only so, but sufficiently intricate to befog any grand jury in the attempt to trace out the errors of honest politicians and office holders.
Perhaps we should get more of the incomes from fines if parties paid to the town treasurer, town board examine docket, settle with town treasurer and parties, the town treasurer pay to county treasurer, ho pay to the State ; county board, settle with county treasurer, thus every dollar could be traced to the State treasury,
Superintendent Eastman, of Lyndon, Sheboygan County, writes:
Our schools are doing as well as could be expected uuder the present very unfavorable circumstances. Our school-houses are not what they should be, being but poorly finished and almost unfurnished. There is, however, an increase of interest displayed in the cause of education, which, I think, is due to our teachers' institutes, but we can not hope for perfection with our present system of Town Superintendency.
Rev. Wm. Drummond sends the following good report of the condition of the schools in Dover, Racine County.
Our schools are in pretty good condition, and show sigus of improvement. Our scholars, generally, manifest a commendable emulation; and several of them are determined to qualify themselves to be teachers. Three pupils of one school, this winter, have received certificates of qualification; and I venture to say, that the school of an adjoining district could furnish twice that pumber. We are by no means disposed to view the aspect of things with a desponding or complaining spirit. I believe that the teachers of this town, during the term now ending, have worked hard and succeeded.
Below we have an answer to the question whether communications between pupils in the school-room can be stopped. We hope Mr. Edwards will favor us with the name of the teacher of whose school be gives such a good account.
District No. 2 of this town has had a model school this past winter, every thing went like clockwork, and so still, the mice would sometimes venture forth; they have certainly had a model set of scholars. Those skeptics who think communications can not be stopped in a school-room, would remain skeptics no longer had they but spent two days in that school-room as I did, Yours respectfully.
A. H. EDWARDS,
Town Supt. of Beaverdam.
Institutions to teach teachers the great want.
In regard to the schools in our town, I would say we have been tolerably successful in getting teachers the past winter (i.e. competent teachers.) The great lack is competency. We need schools for the purpose of teaching teachers, and must have them sooner or later. Many of our teachers seem to have a practical knowledge of arithmetic, without being capable of demonstrating the “whys and wherefores” of many of the principles.
Good news from Clinton, Rock County.
Every school in town is in a prospering condition, and every teacher will finish his term to the satisfaction of his employers, which has not usually been done; and some schools that have been branded with rather hard names, have redeemed themselves from the stigma that they had brought upon themselves, and are jealous in the cause that should occupy their time, and have made rapid advance. ment. Yours, etc.,
GEO. COVERT, M.D., Supt.
FRIEND CRAIG :- A few weeks since, while on a visit to Palmyra, I took occasion to pass through the new school building at that place, and to spend a pleasant hour in the High School department. The good cause of education-never neglected here—has taken a decided step forward of late, a fact which I am pleased to note, and to communicate to others. The new building is of fair proportions, two stories high, and the beauty and convenience of its plan makes it highly worthy of a place in the Journal as a model for other equally favored districts, and I hope soon to see engravings which will give a more correct idea of it than can be done with the pen. It certainly reflects great credit on the inhabitants of Palmyra for the spirit manifested these hard times to contribute the means requisite for its erection, and all praige is due the building committee, to whose indefatigable exertions, in a great measure, is due the early completion of the commodious, elegant and substantial structure.