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are the only means of ventilation. Ninety per cent of the houses are well supplied with approved desks and benches. The school-house sites are usually well fenced. About 40 per cent of the out-houses have been found in bad condition.
In districts where I have found the surroundings uninviting and neglected, I have addressed personal letters to the boards reminding them of needed improvements. These reminders have in many instances operated to secure speedily the needed repairs. The average term of school for the county is a little over seven months. I have called for teachers' term reports during the last year in the hope to establish a basis of comparison from term to term. About 80 per cent of the teachers have reported. By continuing this plan we expect to be able to make supervision more effective.
I have introduced into the county a course of study for common schools, and the results of the first year under this course have been most gratifying. Grading the country schools cannot be exact, but it will bring system and order where before was confusion.
During the past year I have conducted a local educational journal, which has been very helpful to teachers and valuable to those preparing to teach.
We are endeavoring to raise the standard of the profession in this county by requiring some professional training as one of the conditions for a license to teach. The teachers' association meetings have, during the past year,
been attended with gratifying success.
BY J. C. KELLOW.
We feel justly proud of the advanced and growing condition of our schools and school work. From year to year such additions and modifications are made to the different departments thereof as seem best calculated to secure the results most desirable to greater usefulness and efficiency.
Our teachers' normal institute is now fully organized on the graded plan, and is accomplishing much good. We have given up the old hap-hazard way of dealing in technicalities, and are endeavoring to direct the work of our teachers in the way of leading the pupils of our common school up to a worthy manhood and womanhood. We believe that there are three distinct kinds of knowledge wbich every teacher should possess, that he may be able to do intelligently the work to which he is called, viz.: a knowledge of the being to be taught; a knowledge of the subjects to be taught, and a knowledge of some of the best methods of teaching.
The methods in use in this county are, to study and discuss every topicin the light of cause and effect, using as a basis this bellef : that every result has its cause; that each event is (or may be) a part of some greater event; and that any cause may also be part of some greater cause. Believing that the reasoning powers are of greater value in the struggle of life, we are endeavoring to develop them, rather than to cram the memory with bare facts, many of which will never be of practical use, while many others will be soon forgotten.
We feel gratified with the.growing interest in professional work as manifested by nearly every teacher employed.
Our school-houses are generally neat frame buildings, durable, well lighted, heated by wood or coal stoves, and usually comfortable and convenient, the greatest fault in construction being a lack of ventilation, except by means of windows,
School grounds are not as well kept as they should be ; some are not fenced, and very many bave not a tree or shrub by way of adornment, or protection from sun or wind ; and very rarely no out-houses are provided, though they are generally neat and commodious.
Schools are in session, usually, from six to nine months during the year. Teachers' salaries vary from twenty to thirty-five dollars per month, depending upon the qualifications of the teacher and the time of year; a good teacher having better wages than a poor one, and more being paid in winter than in summer.
The common branches, with penmanship, are usually taught, and in some cases, German, algebra, philosophy, physical geography and drawing.
Hygienic physiology, in compliance with school laws of 1886, is taught, invariably.
Our teachers are an earnest, intelligent class of people, fully determined to do well the duties devolving upon them, and to press onward to a higher professional rank. More than a hundred are doing some professional reading, and about sixty belong to organized classes for the purpose of united effort for mutual improvement.
Gradually, but surely, we are attaining a degree of proficiency never before equalled ; and while we are well aware that “there is still room at the top," we are rapidly nearing a state which it is difficult to surpass.
There is one difficulty which teachers invariably have to deal with, viz.: either non-attendance or irregular attendance. This condition works jpjus. tice in three ways : first, to the child, in that he is deprived of the provision made for him, and to the school, in breaking the regularity in decreasing the efficiency of its work ; second, to the teacher, in having to bear blame
for which he is not responsible; and third, to the taxpayer, in compelling him to pay for that which is never made use of. This injustice to the taxpayer is based on the theory that the State cannot take private property for public use, unless there is some just return; and this return can only be realized, in this case, by an improved condition of citizenship, growing out of the proper use of the facilities provided for in our common schools. Believing this, I would suggest that a law be enacted compelling pupils to attend school at least three consecutive months, from the ages of seven to fourteen years; and making it a penal offense for parents or guardians to fail in compliance therewith.
BY JOHN M'LEOD.
As to our educational condition and progress, we see no cause for boasting, as the manner of some is.” We are not looking for the immediate advent of an educational millenium. We have little faith in hot-house processes. We believe that real, lasting progress in educational work can come only like "growth in grace,” like growth of mind or body, like the growth of civ. ilization, like all healthy growth in the realms of matter or spirit. It cannot be forced. Like the kingdom of heaven, to which it belongs, and of which it is a part, it "cometh not by observation," that is by "pomp and circumstance,” by parade, fanfaronade or flourish of trumpets. It is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal. It is the "still, small voice,” in which Elijah recognized the presence of God, as he did not 1:, the strong wind, the earthquake or the fire. Our part of the work is to furnish favorable conditions for growth. We may plant, transplant, prune, stir the soil, destroy noxious weeds; then the dew and the rain, the air and the sunlight of God, operating through the hearts and minds and consciences of trained and faithful teachers, will do the rest. We believe and teach, with emphatic reiteration, that the "school of the prophets," by which I mean, speaking as a teacher, a body of well trained teachers, is the chief agency in God's hand for tha regeneration of the world, and the amelioration of life and its conditions. "These. truths we hold to be selfevident," fundamental, es sential to the well-being of society, and the security of our national life, and we do foster and promulgate them with what intensity and persistency we can command. In our endeavor to maintain this position and give it a practical realization, we are greatly handicapped, as were the Israelites in Egypt, when they were denied straw for their bricks. This confession, painful though it is, loyalty to truth claims from us. So long as we are satisfied with shows and shams and empty forms we cannot prosper. As we sow, so shall we reap. We are sowing a good deal of wind. I mean, in many of the waste places throughout the country districts of our State, and if we do not reap the whirlwind, we shall assuredly reap nothing better, until we awake from our false security and put ourselves in harmony with truth. When the conviction that has taken "fast hold” of the few, shall have crystalized into public sentiment, and become formulated into law, then we shall "strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die," rebuild the waste places, rehabitate and properly garrison the posts along our frontier, and so be able to repel the incursions of the Goths and Vandals of ignorance into the fair domain of our schools. This is now the one thing needful to the prosperity of our schools. The evil to be remedied is not confined to this county, or to any particular county, but is co-extensive with the State, and until we secure some guarantees of law against it, we would better stop crying “Peace, peace, when there is no peace.'
It must be admitted, however, that we are making progress, notwithstanding the many hindrances we meet." We are approaching that "consummation devoutly to be wished,” when law and an enlightened public opinion shall work together for good” to our educational Zion. Progress is in the air, and it is "catching.” Where there is a correct ideal, a higher standard is held aloft, public attention is drawn, thought is provoked, inquiry is made, discussion is aroused, the public mind is agitated, and the tone of public opinion regarding the] teacher's character and preparation, and the value of his work, is elevated. Teachers are improving in their work, and the improvement of their work in the schools consequent on the improvement in their own minds, is known and read of all men, and this reacts upon the public mind. These remarks apply only to some teachers, those that are teachers, who began with a reasonable amount of preparation and some general fitness, who have the spirit of progress in them, capacity for it, and a love for their work. We have many dead-beats that must be weeded out, and this cannot be done until we get stronger legal :sanctions, a different system of examination, and different other things not to be mentioned just now. May God speed the time when the ax of authority shall be "laid unto the root of the trees," and "every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit” shall be "hewn down.”
As to the outward signs of progress, something may be said for this county. Our area is small, but we are making some healthy growth in population, in wealth, in schools and churches, and in knowledge. Since 1882, when the present Superintendent began his public duties, not to go back farther, there have been built in this small county thirty-four school-houses, ten have been moved to better locations and improved; others enlarged and improved. As to construction, they are just the common country school buildings, small mostly, but respectable, convenient, well-lighted and wellfurnished with modern styles of furniture. The only provision for ventilation in these is through doors and windows; but such as it is, we watch it with jealous care, and see that it receives such attention as the health of
children and teacher demands. In the four town schools built within the period mentioned, attention was given to ventilation in the construction of the buildings. All are well lighted. The heating is done by the ordinary stoves, good of their kind, except the school building in Livermore, which has ventilating flues connected with the stoves.
The sites are now all pleasant and the surroundiugs healthful. The public interests are now carefully guarded by a stricter watch over the school property. Out-houses are kept in a tolerably decent condition, and, where new ones are built, more attention is given to their relative position as well as their condition.
Every year since the enactment of the law requiring the planting and protection of trees in every school yard, attention has been called to it by circulars and newspaper articles addressed to school officers. Some have uot yet regarded it, many have, and good, substantial fences have been built around the school yards.
As to length of term, in the town schools we have nine months'; in one township, this year, provision has been made for eight months school; in two they limit themselves to six months; in all the others they provide for seven months.
The lowest wages paid is $20 in summer and that only in a very few schools, as a bar to third grade certificates. The least paid in most of the country schools in the summer is $25. The highest paid in winter in the country is $35. In Dakota and Livermore $40 and $50 are paid in the two departments. In Humboldt $45 to one, $40 to each of four, and $80 to the principal.
Only the common English branches are taught in the country schools, which includes book keeping in a very few, and to which is added elementary algebra in one or two. In the towns additional branches have been taught; in Livermore, algebra and literature; in Dakota, book-keeping, physics and algebra ; in Humboldt, the work embraces all the above and in addition Latin, German, geometry, chemistry, civil government and physical geography are taught. The last named is also taught in Dakota.
Penmanship is taught in all the schools with more or less success. Drawing has been taught but very little in a few schools, and that mostly for “busy work," for the little folks.
Vocal music is not taught except to the extent of a few songs sur g by rote. This is done in nearly all the schools. No regular instruction is given in musical notation, however, in the country schools, though some work has been done in that direction, nearly every year, in the institute.
Hygienic physiology, in compliance with the School law of 1886, is taught to some extent in all the schools, and it shall be taught in them so long as the law requires it.
The teachers' normal institute is a source of inspiration and strength to the teachers and growing in favor with the people.
Our fund being small we have been unable to follow the State course for institutes, because as it requires four years for its completion, it would seem to require four divisions and as many teachers, and this we cannot af