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DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION.
To His Excellency, Gov. M. R. Patierson:
The chief function of an annual report is to furnish as nearly as possible a correct standard of measurement for ascertaining our educational progress.
The present biennial report in many respects furnishes unmistakable evidence of rapid and substantial educational advancement during the past two years.
THE GENERAL EDUCATION BILL.
The General Education Bill passed by the last legislature unifies the school system, and provides for the growth and expansion of all its different parts. The State is interested alike in the full and harmonious development of all its schools.
THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL.
The function of the elementary school is to banish illiteracy from the State, and to prepare all the children of the State for good citizenship by giving them at least a rudimentary education. A large majority of our children never go beyond the elementary school, and for that reason the efforts of the State Department have been very largely directed toward the improvement of the elementary rural schools. This can be more clearly shown by
In 1900 there were only 23 counties in the State levying as much as 40 cents on the $100.00 worth of property for elementary schools; in 1905 there were 40 counties levying as much a 40 cents school tax on the $100.00 worth property; in 1910 there are 89 counties levying as much as 40 cents school tax on the $100.00 worth of property. This shows a consistent and substantial growth in school interest for the past ten years. A similar growth is shown in the increase of the value of school property, teachers' salaries, length of term.
The above tables, taken from the records, indicate more explicitly what is being done for the elementary schools of the State than many written descriptive pages.
The elementary schools are at present undergoing an evolution; they are yet to be thoroughly and closely organized. A State graded course of study has been prepared, (a copy of which appears elsewhere in this report), but no course of study is of much avail till it is understood, appreciated, and felt in every fiber of the public school teacher.
COUNTY HIGH SCHOOLS.
Chapter 279 of the Acts of 1899 empowers the County Court "to provide for establishing and maintaining one or more County High Schools for the instruction of the children of the County", with a further proviso that a special high school tax may be levied in addition to other taxes for schools, not to exceed fifteen cents on the $100.00 worth of property. This Act made the high school strictly a County institution, operated and maintained wholly by the county, with practically no regulation or restriction as to what the course of study should be. It could have been made only a secondary school, or if the Board of Education so willed, it might have a course of study co-extensive with the college.
In order to define and limit its field, and to standardize and systematize the work, and to encourage counties to establish and maintain a system of high schools, Chapter 264 of the Acts of 1909 provides that:
"It shall be the duty of the State Board of Education to grade all high schools now established and maintained, or that in the future may be established and maintained under the provisions of the County High School Law; to prescribe their minimum courses of study, requiring the elements of agriculture and home