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superficial; much doing over of her un- nature is stern in her exchanges. We tidy work will help her to mend her slip- have seen that nothing for nothing is her shod ways. This lassie is dreamy and Draconian mandate. It is, in the arena poetical; she needs more mathematics
more mathematics of the schoolroom, “A life for a life,” in than her prosaic, independent sister. another sense than the rigorous Hebrew Another child is lazy and needs the spur; decree; here it is a life gained for the life the eager brain of her friend should have that is freely given, for in no lesser, easier restraint; and so on through a hundred way can this mighty question of educavarying types. With each one the plastic tion, this drawing out-this leading onminds should never be stretched to one this building up of our future citizensprocrustean bed of studies, but each sub- this training of the hands that are in time ject should trend towards the develop- to rule the world, be accomplished. The ment of the highest self.
teacher's privilege it is to inspire these It is said that certain native artists, eager minds with enthusiastic love for when they would drill a hole in pearls, truth and high ideals. To bring before first fit them loosely in apertures bored them the lofty examples of the world's in pieces of soft wood; then a little water heroes. To set true values before their is sprinkled around them which gradually eyes. To imbue them with deep scorn penetrates the fibres, and causes the wood of all that is ignoble and base. To instil to swell until each little pearl is held appreciation of the transcendent quality firmly in its place as in a vice. Indeed, of the spiritual as opposed to the material no vice could hold such delicate little side of life. To cultivate the too often treasures so firmly, yet without marring neglected sense of honor and imprint them and thus diminishing their value. upon these mobile, sensitive natures utter But by this device the choicest ones are loathing and contempt of all falsehood kept securely in their places without in- and hypocrisy. She teaches them to live jury until the artist's work is done; then, up to their birthright in life, and imbues as the water dries out, the fibres relax and them with the deepest sense of the rethe pearl is free. Thus must the teacher sponsibilities which that position entails— hold the soul-pearls by faith and sym- that responsibility that is in exact proporpathy until her work is done. She must tion to the blessings that have been given. know her ground thoroughly. She must She teaches them that they are infinitely feel intuitively when to trust and when more culpable for the smaller lapses from irrepressible girlhood would take advan- the path of right than are the children of tage of leniency. She must understand the streets, because of the very difference when to encourage and when to lash un- in these opportunities. sparingly mere laziness. Moral develop- Thus sympathetically, faithfully, does ment along every line is her province, no she strive to lead her charges to a noble less than mental. Children are at school womanhood, joining with the mother in not merely to cram Latin and mathe- training them to “self-reverence, selfmatics down ostrich-like throats, but to knowledge, self-control, by which alone learn to become loyal and true and high- man can approach the gods." minded, and to strengthen characters that The world needs our daughters and we should grow more womanly day by day. must send them out clad in the completBut all this can only be accomplished by est armor that can be forged by earnest a lavish outpouring of one's very self- care, by wise instruction, by tender one's own heart's blood. We know that watching, and by human love.
Evolution of the School Board
WARREN L. KAUFFMAN, LL.B., A.M., MEMBER BOARD OF EDUCATION, YONERKS, N. Y.
THE Public School System, in the proper
this calamity, a law was framed about the sense of the term, is a product of middle of the seventeenth century, making the nineteenth century. In colonial days, it compulsory for children to be educated each little hamlet established its school to some extent, as a safeguard to the weland managed it in its own way; and the fare of the State. The child must at least school district became the unit of the crude know how to read and must be made educational system in vogue.
As these familiar with religious principles and the hamlets grew in population and area, chief laws of the colony. This first crude other schools were necessarily established, law was followed by others, defining and and each one became the nucleus of a new organizing a more or less definite system school district. This school district was of instruction. made legal in 1789, and long continued to The ministers were almost the only be an important factor in educational university-educated men in the colony: government, retaining some importance they had the controlling influence in the even to the present time in some states. government and it was therefore natural
Since New England was the earliest to that the supervision of early education establish in the United States a regular should be entrusted to them. These system of schools, and since, with immi- ministers visited the schools regularly, gration westward, the early school system examined the children on some sermon of New England was copied by nearly all recently preached, or in the Catechism or of the western states, it may naturally be Bible, and incidentally improved the opconcluded that to New England we must portunity, on some occasions, to display look for the inception of school organiza- their own erudition, to the wondering adtion and supervision.
miration of the pupils. The School Board, in its present form In 1710, five men were chosen as inand status, is of comparatively recent spectors to visit the Boston Latin School origin. Like all important institutions, it with the ministers. This was an innovadid not originate at a certain definite time tion which shocked some of the good and place in history, but it was generally people of the colony, who indignantly the result of gradual evolution and growth. maintained that the ministers were the The germ of the Board of Education, if we best people that could be found to oversee may so call its earliest prototype, was the the education of the children. schvol conimittee of New England. Whence Through the troubled times in England came this school committee?
during the seventeenth century, New The Puritans educated their children England education suffered much. The from the very first, but their early efforts convulsions attending the culmination of were purely voluntary and local. As the Stuart tyranny, together with the national new settlements grew in numbers and agitation caused by the Puritan Revoluprosperity, there was doubtless some dan- tion and the intolerant policy of the later ger that material interests would crowd Stuarts, were not conducive to the adout intellectual and moral; to forestall vancement of educational interests; but with the beginning of the eighteenth cen- later became detached from the board and tury, when the “Glorious Revolution" assumed a separate place in the governhad relieved England and her colonies of ment of the town. Sometimes the members Stuart tyranny for all time, there came were appointed by the Selectmen and somechanges for the better. New towns were times elected by the Town Meeting. This founded, the people became more pros- early school committee was gradually perous and new schools were demanded. superseded by the modern school board, An era of progress began, which was in- with essentially modified form, character terrupted by the American Revolution. and functions. With this war ended, however, and the While this process of evolution took Union established, the school system again place in many instances, there are some claims attention.
plans of school supervision which seem to In 1789, that law was passed which for have arisen without much precedent. For the first time made legal the school dis- example, Buffalo has no Board of Educatrict. This act also provided for the regu- tion; there, “the Superintendent is the lar supervision of the schools, either by State." He is the head of the city departthe ministers and “selectmen,” or by com- ment of education; and all local school legmittees chosen for that purpose. All the islation is in the hands of the City Council. schools must be visited at least once in six In Cleveland, Ohio, the school system is months and the pupils examined as to also unique. The Board of Education general proficiency. The supervision, how- consists of seven members, five of whom ever, still continued to be more religious are elected at large and two by district than pedagogical. The administrative vote; with the exception of appointment of duties of this early committee were very teachers, this board is practically unlimited light, being generally confined to the selec- in authority, being responsible only to the tion of a teacher. As a teacher's qualifica- people; it levies its own taxes, subject to tion too often depended upon the amount the approval of the tax commissioners, and of work he could do, without much regard has sole power of expending all moneys to quality, this duty of the committee did raised for maintenance of the schools. In not require a very keen discrimination. Yonkers, N. Y., there were originally as
This act of 1789 was a step in the right many boards as there were school districts, direction and was soon followed by other each one being entirely independent of all legislation sanctioning the raising of moneys others.
others. As the city increased in size, for school purposes by taxation. When the there came a need of uniformity, not only matter of education touched the purse, for purposes of school administration but there came a demand for better schools; also for the adjustment of taxation. Acand this demand, together with the efforts cordingly, by an act of 1881, the various of Horace Mann and other pioneers in edu- school districts were consolidated and procation, led to important changes, both in vision was made for one Board of Education the character of the schools and in their to consist of 15 members, appointed by the administration.
mayor and holding office for five years. This board of selectmen came to have As boards of education came to be a recenlarged powers; they built the school- ognized feature of educational systems, houses, examined and employed the teach- various problems arose, many of which ers, and together with the ministers of the have not yet been satisfactorily solved, nor parish supervised the schools. In the will be for a long time to come. Among course of time there appeared in this board these problems is that of the proper size of a committee on schools; this committee a school board.
Many widely varying opinions have been a success, as local interests are often given expressed on this subject. It is contended undue attention and there is opportunity that a large board is too unwieldy; that in for political influence to be exerted. Three it there must of necessity be a lack of unity chief methods are now in vogue: appointand a possibility of politics or chicanery ment by the mayor or other designated which would be well-nigh impossible in the authority; election by wards; and election average board of small numbers. On the from the city at large. Election by the other hand, objection is made to a small people is the method used in nine of the board, on the ground that it gives too little 16 cities quoted above; appointment in local representation to the community. seven. No one of the methods has inSome say that the size of the board ought variably proved satisfactory; but in general to be in proportion to the population of the there seems to be a growing tendency city, perhaps ranging from nine members towards election from the city at large and in a city of the second class to 25 in a city without reference to politics. To "keep of the first class, or, perhaps, six members the schools out of politics," as the expresto every 200,000 inhabitants, with one sion goes, is rightly coming to be regarded member for each additional 50,000. In as essential to a clean and honest administhe Report of the Committee of Fifteen, tration of the schools; President Eliot bethe opinion was expressed that the number lieves that the best way to attain this end should be small; say, in cities of less than is by the election of school boards from the 500,000, not more than nine, and prefer- city at large, one or two members at a time, ably not more than five, with 15 members each member being eligible for re-election in the very largest cities. Experience in
but once. Cleveland, Indianapolis, New Haven and Who should be eligible for membership several other cities, has shown the advant- on a school board? Manifestly, two of the age of small school boards; while, on the chief qualifications should be public spirit other hand, efficient service in school ad. and moral integrity. The Board of Educaministration is secured by a board of 21 tion has a reputation which, in justice to members in Philadelphia, 21 in Chicago, the important work intrusted to it, should and 33 in Providence, R. I. In the West, be sustained—namely, that of being, as a school boards are, as a rule, considerably rule, more able, more responsible and more smaller than in the East; and the general disinterested, than boards of aldermen and tendency in all parts is towards reduction other departments of city government. in numbers. In sixteen of the principal Do women make successful members of cities of the United States, representing all school boards? Though women are, as a sections of the country, one school board rule, eligible to positions on school boards has three members, one has four, three have in Northern and Western cities, their apfive, six have seven, two have nine, and pointment has not yet ceased to be more but three have more than nine members. or less of an experiment. In some cities And so opinions differ, and there can never where women have been board members, be a uniform rule, as conditions and neces- testimony is borne to their unquestioned sities in different cities must regulate the efficiency; in others, the experiment has not matter.
been a success. Another problem still unsolved is that of Some one has admirably summed up the the best mode of selection of board mem- proper qualifications for a school board bers. The first boards were chosen at pop- member as follows: “The members need ular elections, and the members were ward not all have the highest scholastic training, representatives; this method is not always but a part of them should be required to
have had such training; not all of them twenty years ago, in an editorial on Science need be prominent for their business capac- in School Management, made this stateity, but a part of them should be thus ment:“It seemed at first a very simple affair prominent.” Our leading cities and towns to organize a common school system, and are coming to recognize these qualifica- nobody anticipated that any very serious tions. In the sixteen cities mentioned, about difficulties would arise in carrying it out. 51 per cent of the board members are busi- * * There was little trouble in ness men; 43 per cent professional men; finding teachers
and no trouble 42 per cent college-bred men.
at all in finding any number of men held Too much stress can hardly be placed abundantly qualified to be directors, trusupon qualifications for membership of tees, managers and superintendents." That school boards in view of the important this condition has not wholly ceased to functions they perform and the intimate exist, is attested by the criticism of one relation they sustain to the entire social writing on this subject as recently as 1904, structure. In a few cities the school board who says: “Education is the only business has no authority save whatever the City
that takes in men to conduct its affairs Council chooses to delegate to it; but this who are ignorant of the business and who is an exceptional state of affairs, as the learn at the expense of the business." duties of school boards in general are many
After quoting Superintendent A. B. and very important. They are entrusted Blodgett, of Syracuse, N. Y., as saying that with public funds, for the erection and it takes practically about two years to maintenance of buildings, payment of educate an average board member, a writer teachers, and purchase of books and ap- in the Dial of August 16, 1903, adds: “It paratus; the public has a right to demand has taken over a hundred years to bring an honest and economical use of funds American school boards to their present thus appropriated. They superintend the
state of culture, and few have graduated adoption of courses of study and have
summa cum laude." general supervision over the instruction in
However, much progress has already the schools. In view of these important
been made along these lines, it must be ad
mitted that there is still room for improvepowers and duties, boards of education
ment in many quarters. Much more niust should be composed of public-spirited
be accomplished before there shall be everymen of good judgment, business ability and
where a wise, honest and capable adminisintegrity, and appreciation of the purpose tration of educational affairs; and the and importance of public education, and character and efficiency of school boards they should be kept free from political, re- will improve in proportion to the growth ligious, sectarian or other partisanship. of a healthy public sentiment demanding
The Popular Science Monthly, about such administration.