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difficulties the teacher has to overcome, and by balancing them with his pecuniary prospects and possible earthly reward, they will usually come to the conclusion that the public teachers of the State of Wisconsin do more for common school education, than could reasonably be expected of them.
I have spent several years in this State as a public teacher, and have visited schools and teachers' associations. Thus I have had an opportunity to learn how far teachers and citizens were, and are interested, in public education, and their views upon this important subject. My observations have led me to the gratifying conclusion, that our people have outgrown our present school law, and that teachers and citizens expect to see a new order of things. The defeat of the Bill for a Town School Organization met the disapprobation of every thinking citizen. Our school law is more deficient than our schools. Our teachers and citizens seem to be superior to our legislators, in school matters. The reason is obvious: Many of the latter were possibly teachers in their boyhood, desecrating this venerable and noble profession as a round to climb the ladder of earthly fame. Their hearts and minds possibly were engaged with political questions or with air-castle plans, while their bodies taught village or country schools, and now they measure the present teacher with the same measure. How far many of them were from being true teachers themselves, might have been judged by listening to their murderous attacks upon some of those bills before our last Legislature, which were proposed by some of the best members of that Honorable body, in order to give harmony and vitality to our school system, and to make the schools more effective in our State.
Hereafter I shall attempt to give the main points in which our school laws are deficient, believing that the first act to render our schools more effective should emanate from our Legislature. I am far from the expectation of presenting anything new to our teachers and to the friends of public instruction. I merely intend to represent those points again, which have been sought for and discussed for many years in this State, and which have been partially adopted in other States. I hope to do so something towards rallying our friends to a united action against ignorance and prejudice. If a corps of 6000 teachers unite and battle the enemies of education, they may have some hopes of conquering even Jeff. Davis himself.
ENGLAND has 11.230 daily schools, with 1.092,741 pupils, under 9,481 certified teachers and 13,849 apprentices, or young persons learning how to teach. In 40 training or normal schools, are 3,109 students. The grants in 1863 were £721.391. The provision for public education is very inadequate to the national wants.
DEPARTMENT OF THE STATE SUPERINTENDENT.
OPINIONS, DECISIONS, &c. Query.-Can a County Treasurer legally retain his two per cent. fees out of the School Fund Income passing through his hands, or must the County pay such fees out of its general fund ?
Answer:- This question was one of so much importance that it was submitted to the Attorney General of the State, whose reply is conclusive upon this point and is as follows:
OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL,
Madison, July 9, 1864. Hon. J. L. PICKARD, Supt. Pub. Instruction,
DEAR SIR: In reply to your letter of the 8th inst., enquiring whether a County Treasurer can retain the two per cent. allowed him by law, (R. S., Chap. 13, Sec. 134) for receiving and disbursing money, out of the School Fund income in his hands apportioned and to be paid to the towns and cities in his county (R. S., Chap. 24), I have to state that in my opinion the Treasurer has no right to retain his commission from that fund, but he is bound by law to pay over the whole, and if he fails to do so he violates the condition of his official bond. His compensation for receiving and paying this and other funds constitutes a charge against the county, but gives him no claim against this particular fund.
The law as to his compensation having been changed (Laws of 1863 chapter, 220) this question is not likely to arise again.
Yours Very Truly,
WINFIELD SMITH, Att'y General.
TO ALL OFFICERS INTRUSTED WITH THE MAKING OF OFFICIAL
REPORTS UPON SCHOOL MATTERS.
As the time for making official Reports for the year 1864 draws nigh, I have thought it my duty to make a few practical suggestions.
The Blanks sent you contain full and clear explanations of all points about which there may be any misapprehension. Careful attention to these directions will secure accurate Reports.
All District Clerks' Reports must be verified by affidavit (See sec. 43, School Code, 1863). Town Clerks should receive none except such as are so verified, with a proper Revenue Stamp affixed. Each Town Clerk should see that all the Blanks in the District Clerk's Report are properly filed before he transcribes the items upon his Report to the County Superintendent. The County Superintendent should see that all the Blanks in the Town Clerk's Report are filled, and should revise the footings of the Report so that no error may pass to this office where the means of correction are not at hand. If under any particular head there is nothing to report let ciphers be placed in the column, that it may be known that the item was not overlooked.
Punctuality is the great secret of success in making accurate reports.
Some districts during the past year have lost their Public Money through the carelessness or neglect of their officers or of the Town Clerks. This should' not be left to one officer to look after. Any person interested in this matter should examine the reports on file in the Town Clerk's office, and also in the County Superintendent's office, that he may be sure that his district is reported. No reports by Districts are received at this office, hence no corrections can be made here when Town Clerks have failed to report, or have incorrectly reported particular districts. An entire omission of a Town Report would be noticed here. We may also know how many Districts are unreported, but have no means of ascertaining what particular districts they are. Attention is ealled to Sections 126, 127 and 129, School Code for 1863.
J. L. PICKARD, Supt. Public Instruction.
TO TEACHERS MAKING THE EXCURSION TO OGDENSBURG,
PORTLAND AND BOSTON: In order to reach Ogdensburg in season for the National Teachers' Association you must leave Milwaukee as early as Saturday morning, August 6th. The boat which leaves Chicago Friday evening, leaves Milwaukee Saturday morning at 8 o'clock. The exercises close at Ogdensburg, Friday, August 12. By leaving Ogdensburg Friday evening, for Montreal, Saturday may be spent at Montreal in visiting the Normal School of Lower Canada, McGill College and in a ride around the Mountain. The church of Notre Dame will well repay a visit. Leaving Montreal Monday evening, you will reach Portland in season for the opening of the American Institute of Instruction. While at Portland do not fail to make the pleasant excursion among the Islands and have a clam-bake at the Ocean House. A steamer will convey you to Boston Thursday night, and Friday and Saturday may be profitably spent in visiting Prof. Agassiz’ Cabinet at Cambridge, the Rooms of the Society of Natural History, and the Public Library of Boston. Lovers of music can hear the great organ at Music Hall, Saturday afternoon. Returning, by all means stop at the Alpine House, at Gorham, N. H.; go to the Glen House, ascend Mt. Washington, return to Gorham, or if times and means permit, go from the Glen House to Mt. Conway, ascend Kearsarge, go thence through Willey Notch by way of Lan. canster to Northumberland, where you strike again the Grand Trunk Road. Stop also at Toronto and visit the Normal School and the University of Toronto.
J. L. PICKARD.
CIRCULAR TO TEACHERS. The State Board of Regents of Normal Schools, through their Agent, and with the approval of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, propose bolding Teachers' Institutes, during the coming Fall and Spring.
During the Fall, Institutes will be held as follows:
At Oconto, commencing Tuesday, August 23d, at 10 A. M., to continue one week.
At Platteville, commencing Monday, August 29th, at 2 P. M., to continue one week.
At Plover, commencing Tuesday, August 30th, at 10 A. M., to continue two weeks.
At Appleton, commencing Tuesday, September 13th, at 10 A. M., to continue two weeks.
At Portage City, commencing Tuesday, September 27th, at 10 A. M., to continue two weeks.
At Hartford, commencing Monday, October 10th, at 2 P. M., to continue two weeks.
At Burlington, commencing Monday, October 24th, at 2 P. M., to continue two weeks.
At Milton, commencing Monday, Nov. 14th, at 2 P. M., to continue one week.
During the Spring, Institutes, will be held at Fond du Lac, Lone Rock, Viroqua, Sparta, Durand, River Falls, and Manitowoc, and the times will be stated hereafter.
By request of the State Superintendent, County Superintendents will make such local arrapgements as may be necessary to accommodate those in attendance. It is believed that board may be obtained at reasonable rates, and that those who attend will find the Institutes pleasant as well as profitable. The Agent of the Board will attend each Institute and give instruction in the branches usually taught in our Public Schools, as well as discuss subjects relating to school discipline and teaching. The State Superintendent will address the people and teachers while the Institutes are in session,
Those who intend to teach, or who are engaged in teaching are cordially and earnestly invited to attend these Institutes. Most of the Institutes will be two weeks in length; this will afford time for a review of common school studies and the Theory of Teaching. By punctuality, order, and the exercise of pa. tience and attention, it is believed all may be better fitted for their work.
No instrumentality has yet been found more potent in preparing teachers than the Institute. Here, by interchange of views, by mutual effort and by earnest work they can make progress. The present educational condition of our State imposes an additional obligation upon us to fit ourselves for our important calling
Each person in attendance will need a small blank book, pen, ink, paper and such text books as he can conveniently bring.
A certificate of attendance will be given to each teacher who may be à member of the Institute.
JOHN G. 'McMYNN, Agent of Board of Normal School Regents.
IN SEASON. A President of our State Association said long ago that it would perhaps require many years to secure the improvements deemed desirable in our school system. We were more sanguine then than now, and find he was right. Much depends however upon the action of the friends of these improvements. Last winter a Bill was before the Legislature to give us the Town System. It was said by some members friendly to it, that it came before them too late in the session, and that there did not appear to be a sufficient popular demand for the change.
This suggests the importance of being in season next time in the introduction of measures sought to be carried, and of the presentation of a sufficient pressure of popular opinion to secure their enactment. An intelligent school. officer writes to us asking to be informed, through the JOURNAL, of the provisions of the Bill introduced last winter. Next month we will endeavor to comply with his request. We regret that the Bill was not printed and circulated through the State, that it might have been examined and discussed; but there is now ample time to bring the matter before the educational public, if it be at once taken in hand at all educational gatherings. Indeed meetings may be specially called for the purpose.
But the Town System is not all that is needed. At the close of the Historical Sketch of the State Association in this number, are reprinted the resolutions adopted at the last meeting of that body; and the fact of their adoption may be taken as an indication that in the judgment of the Association many improvements are needed. Resolutions however are easily passed, and amount to very little except as they are followed by action. Let all interested thenand who is not ?—but especially let prominent school officers, friends of schools and teachers, by timely discussion and petition, evoke, form and bring to bear a public sentiment that shall give us the needed legislation.
Hereafter we will endeavor to do our part in discussing the several points that seem to demand the earliest attention, and would earnestly ask others to do the same.
A communication from “J” in this number leads off in the general discussion, and as it is from the pen of one of our earnest and active County Superintendents, we place it in that “Department."
TO SUBSCRIBERS AND NON-SUBSCRIBERS. Our Subscription List increases every day, though not so rapidly as would be pleasant. We wait until next month before presenting the County Table again. Several more counties, as Iowa, Vernon, Grant and Dane (West Dist.) are wheeling into line, while numerous single volunteers ng in.