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THURSDAY EVENING. The Association was called to order at 7: 30.
The President announced the following committee to prepare resolutions on the death of Prof. S. H. CARPENTER:
W. C. Whitford, J. Q. Emery, and A. J. Hutton.
Pres. Stearns, of Whitewater, delivered an address on “ A Teacher's Observations in South America." Adjourned.
FRIDAY MORNING, Dec. 27. The Association was called to order at 9:30.
Supt. Whitford presented a paper on “ School Work in Wisconsin, as Affected by Recent Legislation.” He discussed at length the changes in the law in reference to the State University, the Normal Schools and Institutes, the Free High Schools, and the District School System.
Prof. Salisbury wished to learn from the State Superintendent or the Assistant Superintendent, more about the reasons for the modifications of the free high school law.
Mr. Pradt thought that as the original intention of the law was “ to encourage the formation of town high schools,” the revisers might have considered it unsatisfactory, especially as amended in 1877. He did not know, but conjectured that they introduced the provision as to a building, with a view to restrict the aid to such schools, and choke off the others. He said the notes of the revisers assign as a reason for limiting the aid to three years, that the "original policy of the law was to assist the beginning and thus stimulate the growth of such schools ” [i e the organization of new ones), and that he supposed they thought the schools could sustain themselves after that period, and thus allow new schools to receive the aid; otherwise, as they add in their notes, " it would shortly require $100,000 a year.”
Prof. Salisbury thought the schools might just as well not be established, if they were to be aided only three years.
Prof. Johnson said the school at New Libson, where he had taught, and which furnished teachers for a part of the county, would go down, if the aid was withdrawn.
A. A. Miller, of Waukesha, said they compared the rates of taxation, and found they were higher in the other districts of that town than in the village district, and concluded they could run their own school without aid.
Supt. Bast, of Sheboygan, and W.J. Chamberlain, of Black River Falls, complained of the injury which the revision of the law would do their schools.
Supt. Shaw then offered the following resolutions, which were adopted:
Resolved, That in the opinion of this body the changes made in the Free High School law of this state, by the recent revision of the Statutes, are, on the whole, most injurious to the educational interests of the state, and really destructive of the uses for which the law was instituted.
Resolved, That a committee be appointed, whose chairman shall be the Super. intendent of Public Instruction, to secure such legislation concerning the free high school system as shall afford relief, for 1878, to those schools which have suffered from the revision of the high school law.
A discussion followed on the incongruity of the elimination of the “ Constitutions” from the branches in which teachers are to be examined, while the subject is to be taught in the schools (as pointed out in the paper of the State Superin. tendent); and on the question whether instruction on the subject should be left optional with the school boards, or required by law. This discussion was par. ticipated in by Miss Hosford, Superintendent of Eau Claire county, by Professors Salisbury and Thayer, by Messrs. Rood, Sprague, Funk, T. F. Frawley, Beach, and Williams, and by Supt. Bast.
Supt. Roby, of La Crosse, then offered the following resolution, which was adopted :
Resolred, That it is the sense of this body, that instruction in the Constitutions of the United States and Wisconsin, should be placed upon the same basis in the common schools of the state as instruction in the History of the U. 8.; and that the requirements for teachers' certificates should be the same in this, as in other branches.
Prof. Beck, of Platteville, read a paper on “ The Relation of Schools to Public Health.”
A discussion of the subject followed.
Mr. Sprague thought the study of physiology should not be technical but practical.
Pres. Bascom said that hard problems are necessary in school work, and can. not always be solved; that the teaching of physiology should not be discontinued, but the methods improved. Teachers should be able and willing to use their personal power and influence in teaching.
Dr. J. W. Hobbins, of Madison, said that much more care should be taken in regard to the health of pupils; that epidemics generally radiate from the schools.
Mr. Pradt thought that teachers should be prepared and required to give ele. mentary, practical instruction in hygiene.
Prof. Rockwood said a manual was needed, to be placed in the hands of all teachers.
It was voted that a copy of Prof. Beck's paper be asked to be published in the JOURNAL OF EDUCATION. Adjourned.
FRIDAY EVENING. The Association was called to order at 7:45.
In the absence of Mr. Mac Alister, Mr. 0. S. Westcott, of Racine, gave a lecture on“ Scientific and Economic Entomology."
The chair announced the following committee on the legislation needed in regard to free high schools: W. C. Whitford, Sam'l Shaw, and C. A. Hutchins.
I. N. Stewart was appointed on the Exhibitory Committee, in place of M. T. Park.
Supt. Whitford reported the following resolutions on the death of Prof. 8. H. CARPENTER, which were adopted :
Resolved, That we embrace this occasion to express our profound sorrow at the recent and unexpected death of our former associate, Prof. S. H. Carpenter, of the State University; and that we find anew, in this event, an impressive lesson
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of our close dependance upon the Divine Power, and of our need of ready submission to all his dispensations as affecting our lives.
Resolved, That we bear full testimony to the thorougli scholarship, the remark. able aptness in teaching, the superior mental powers, the catholic spirit, the eminent services in the cause of education, and the exalted christian integrity, of our departed friend as manifested in his career among us the past twenty-six years.
Resolved, That we tender our heartfelt sympathy to his bereaved wife, to the large circle of his afflicted relatives, and to the faculty and the students of the University, for the irreparable loss which they have sustained.
Resolved, That as an evidence of our appreciation of the character and labors of Prof. Carpenter, we invite Pres. W. D. Parker, to present in relation to him, a memorial address at our next Annual Session.
W. C. WHITFORD,
Committee. The president, after a few remarks, announced the Association adjourned sine die.
W. H. CHANDLER, President. A. A. MILLER, Secretary.
CONVENTION OF SUPERINTENDENTS.
The Annual Session of County and City Superintendents, Convened in the Assembly Chamber of the Capitol, in Madison, at 2 o'clock P. M., December 26, 1878.
State Superintendent Whitford was elected chairman, and Supt. Kennedy Scott, of Columbia county, secretary.
Roll call showed the following county superintendents to be present: John S. Dore, Clark; Kennedy Scott, Columbia; M. E. Norris, Crawford ; A. R. Ames, Dane (1st district); M. S. Frawley, Dane (2d district); Miss Agnes Hosford, Eau Claire; Thos. C. Richmond, Green; Wm. A. Jones, Iowa; W. A. Walker, Mani. towoc; S. A. Hooper, Ozaukee; H. S. Baker, Pierce; C. S. Sutherland, Portage; David D. Parsons, Richland; J. B. Tracy, Rock (2d district); J. T. Lunn, Sauk; Miss Betsey M. Clapp, St. Croix; Miss M. Brandenburg, Trem pealeau ; 0. B. Wyman, Vernon; Fred. W. Isham, Walworth; John Howitt, Waukesha; L. L. Wright, Waupaca; and G. L. Williams, Wood.
The following city superintendents were also present: C. A. Hutchins, Fond du Lac; R. W. Burton, Janesville; C. W. Rvby, La Crosse; Sam'l Shaw, Madi. son; and 0. S. Westcott, Racine.
State Superintendent Whitford delivered an address, of which the following is a synopsis:
He alluded to the satisfaction which he felt in meeting so many superinten. dents at the convention. The officers of the State Teachers' Association, had very kindly arranged their exercises, so that the afternoons of two days could be occupied by this body. The Superintendent invited the freest expression of views in the reading of the papers, and in the discussion of the topics presented in them; and cautioned, at the same time, against any random or irrelevant debates. He spoke of his interest in a portion of the subjects given in the programme, and desired to present, at the proper time, his views upon them. He testified to the uniform courtesy which the superintendents had shown him during the year, both in their correspondence and in their interviews with him. He had come to know more fully than ever, the real interest, the self-sacrificing zeal, and the intelligent work of very many of the superintendents.
The efficiency of the operations of the school systems in this state, is more dependent upon those who supervise the schools, than upon all other agencies. They have the power to impress immediately upon the public mind, the best views and methods of managing schools; and the Department of Public Instruction must rely mainly upon them in the introduction of needed improvements into our school system. They were earnestly urged to employ all the energies which they possess in harmonizing discordant elements, in informing the citi. zens of the provisions of the school law, and in familiarizing the teachers and pupils with any new ideas and modes of education. Many bright and ambi. tious young people can be encouraged to prepare themselves in our higher schools, to become our best teachers in the future.
A weak point in our system is the non-attendance of many boys and girls upon our schools. Of the children between the ages of four and fifteen years, 26 per cent. in the country, and 37.2 per cent. in the cities, were not enrolled in the public schools this year. Of the youths between fifteen and twenty years of age, 40 per cent. in the counties and 86 per cent in the cities, did not attend school during that time. Compulsory education laws cannot well be enforced in this country. We must depend upon the personal efforts of our teachers and school officers in oevrcoming this great defect. It is gratifying to see that the superintendents are exercising more care in granting certificates to teachers. Nearly a thousand less teachers were qualified this year than last. In some counties, from one half to two-thirds of the applicants were refused. The teachers should be induced, as far as possible, not to be satisfied with a third grade certificate. We have still a great surplus of teachers — over three thousand. This number represents a host of incompetent instructors, who reduce the wages to the lowest rates. The State Superintendent has advised many to raise the standard of examinations, and thus prevent so many poorly qualified teachers from finding work in our school
In this direction lies the line of our greatest improvement. The Superintendendent spoke of his great interest in the movement recently started to introduce a course of study into our ungraded schools. He rejoiced in the measure of success it already promises. He desired the county superin. tendents to explain carefully the points in the course to their teachers, and to press the value of such a course upon their attention.
Supt. J. T. Lunn read a paper on “ The County Superintendent as a Lecturer," in which he advocated that county superintendents should arrange their work so that they could meet the patrons of the schools in the different towns of their counties, lecturing to them od educational topics, and thus come into closer relations with the people.
A discussion ensued, opened by Assistant Supt. Pradt, followed by Supts. Walker and Miss Agnes Hosford. These speakers brought out a number of very interesting points.
The next paper was upon “How to Secure the Co-operation of School District Boards and Patrons with County Superintendents.” This was presented by Supt. J. B. Tracy, in a very satisfactory manner.
A discussion followed, participated in by Superintendents Baker, Hosford, Isham, Wyman, and Scott.
Supt. Walker believed that semi-annual reports distributed throughout the county, supply a real need. This practice was instituted in Manitowoc county some time ago; it was still followed, and he knew it was productive of good, as the reports were very generally read by the patrons.
Miss Clapp said she had been trying to interest school district officers in hav. ing them attend the institutes, and had generally failed. As to the superinten. dents talking to the schools, when making visits, she believed a few well timed remarks might be a lasting profit to the pupils.
A88istant Supt. Pradt, said that he was once a superintendent; that each of the instrumentalities mentioned, could probably be made useful in its place, but that each man had his individuality, and could work best in his own way; that the main thing was energy and faithfulness.
Supt. Whitford said he believed in sending out circulars, and in conducting educational columns in county papers. The courty superintendents can exert a great influence upon the school officers, the teachers, and the world, by ad. dressing them in well prepared lectures on matters of mutual interest.
FRIDAY, P. M., Dec 27. Convention called to order by the President.
The following additional superintendents were present: John T. Flavin, Dodge (1st district); Ed. McLoughlin, Fond du Lac; and Chas. H. Sproat, Racine; also the following city superintendents: A. C. Wallin, Prairie du Chien; and Joseph Bast, Sheboygan.
Supt. W. A. Walker, spoke at length on the subject, “ Is a Uniform Course of Study for Country Schools Practicable, and if so, Should it not be in Detail to be Efficient?” He said some of the advantages of such a course are: 1st. Teachers would know where to commence work, thereby saving much time. 2d. Sets of records would be kept, assisting in classifying the pupils. 3d. It would be a guide to teachers in arranging the work for the classses and terms. 4th. It would serve as a balance wheel, tending to make the pupils equally proficient in all branches, instead of making a specialty of one branch to the neglect of others. 5th. It would assist in the introduction of a system of examinations a great help to county superintendents. One of the objections to the course as presented, was that the uniformity it would produce, tended to restrain individ. ual independency; but it was claimed that the common school is intended for the benefit of the mass, and not to accommodate a few pupils; and what is best for the majority, is best for the school.
The discussion was postponed to allow Supt. Thos. C. Richmond to present his paper on “A More Uniform Supervision, and a Closer Relation Between County Superintendents and the Educational Department of the State Needed."
The paper was listened to with interest.