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I do not think that educational work is an exception. It is no longer a question if the county superintendency shall be abolished; but rather, shall the superintendent's hands be strengthened, and his power for usefulness be enlarged.



For eleven years past Cedar county has honored ladies with the office of County Superintendent of Common Schools.” To refer to the progress of education it is necessary to refer to the chief agencies which we claim produced the progress. The first step taken to bring about an educational revolution was subjecting all the teachers of the county to a rigid examination. This reduced the number of teachers about one-third and raised them in value proportionately. This has been adhered to strictly, and it has not only raised the value of teachers, but has kept many boys and girls in school for more thorough preparation than they would otherwise have made. Five graded schools send out graduates, year after year, who are well prepared to take the places open to high school graduates, either in our colleges or University or in the different vocations of life.

Our rural district schools are nearly all using Welch's Classification Register and its accompanying Course of Study, Revised.” This is proving a great benefit in securing a degree of uniformity and system which was entirely absent previous to its adoption.

While we realize that much good has been accomplished by the introduction of this work, yet: we see the necessity of constant supervision and earnest effort to bring about the best results that can be attained. Five district schools have sent out graduates who are now teachers. This proves conclusively that the common school branches can be completed in our district schools and it has a tendency to increase the attendance of our older pupils.

The teachers' normal institute convenes once a year and is organized on the plan of a normal or training school. We have adopted the State course of study for institutes and find that it is working wonders—teachers as well as pupils work better with an end in view. We aim to make each recitation a model one, and then give a few minutes at the close for questions and discussion. In the course of study outlined for the institute, each year we suggest work to be prepared before the beginning of the session. We also catalogue the names of all who attend normal, giving the

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grade to which each student belongs. This furnishes school boards information regarding the qualifications of teachers.

To me it seems that the normal institute fills a place that cannot be filled in any other way until the law compels special preparation for teaching. That we attempt too much is probably the greatest mistake made by superintendents and instructors at these short terms of the normal institute, yet even a training school could not correct and remedy the defects found in many schools as easily as the normal institute can under the judicious management of a superintendent who is well acquainted with the condition of the schools and the teachers who teach them.

We are well provided with school-houses. On an area of five hundred and seventy-six (576) square miles we have one hundred and seventy-two schools. The older buildings are being supplanted by new ones of modern style and improvement. They vary in size according to the prospective needs of the district at the time of building. The interior of the best ones is reached through a door that opens into an ante-room at the end of the building next to the public highway. This apte-room is four feet wide and one-third as long as the end of the school-room. This leaves a recess on each side of the ante-room in the main room, and these recesses are provided with hooks for wraps, shelves for dinner pails and apparatus, and a table for water pail, basin, cup, etc. The rostrum occupies about four feet of width the entire length of the ante-room and adjoining it. The lighting is done by means of three windows on each side and is regulated by blinds or shades or both. The heating in our district schools is done by means of stoves heated with wood or coal. As to ventilation, the teacher is expected to devise means for ventilating the school-room. In the buildings used for graded schools ample provision is made for ventilation, but in the rural districts where the younger and inexperienced teachers are employed the matter is entirely overlooked by those who have had it in charge. Ample funds are provided for securing the ordinary comforts of the school-room, and in some districts conveniences such as sufficient black-board room, dictionary, charts, maps, globe, etc., are found.

The lack of these things is not for want of funds, but simply because it is neglected by those who have the power to purchase them, or through such frequent changes of officers the responsibility is shifted from year to year until we find it hard to convince our directors that such things are necessities.

Great improvement has been made in the general condition of the school grounds. Teachers and their pupils usually see to keeping them in order, and with a few exceptions the acre or more of land belonging to each district is neat, provided with two out-houses in good condition, well fenced, has shade trees to the number of twelve or more, and a good well of water.

The average length of time each district is provided with school is eight months yearly. This is divided into terms according to the needs of the district. Where a majority of the pupils are young the most time is given to the summer terms. We discourage the idea of having schools in session during the months of July and August, and favor beginning the fall term about the 1st of September, with a teacher who can teach the winter term, and, with two short vacati vas, teach six months without change of teachers.

Teachers' salaries for the summer and the winter terms differ from ten to fifteen dollars per month. - For summer the average salary paid is twentyseven dollars, and for winter thirty-seven dollars per month. This applies to the rural districts only, as our graded schools pay from three hundred and sixty to five hundred dollars for school year of nine months, to teachers under the position of principal, and principals received from six hundred to one thousand dollars per annum.

The common school branches are all taught, and in a number of schools elementary algebra, physical geography, and civil government are pursued during the winter terms. Drawing and penmanship are taught in every school in the county. All the vocal music we have is what our teachers and pupils can furnish without professional instruction, as very few of our teachers are prepared to teach this subject. Hygienic physiology, in compliance with State law of 1886, is taught in every school, but not to all pupils. There is still some opposition to obeying the law in spirit while we insist on its being carried out to the letter, but in my opinion we have no more opposition than is necessary to keep up a lively interest in this subject.

We have six teachers in this county, this summer, that are not provided : with schools, and at least twenty-five teachers from adjoining counties who were induced to come here by the salary offered. One township (Gower) has adopted a uniform series of text-books during the past year, and at least twenty-five new unabridged dictionaries have been purchased during that time for the district schools. We see a great many things that are not as they should be, but believe that we are bringing about a system of classification and gradation for the district schools that will lift them above the uncertain and unsatisfactory manner in which the work has been and is still conducted in many schools. It is a work not of a day or a year, but a growth that requires constant and earnest supervision. To this end, I shall employ my best efforts, and earnestly hope to see the day when a certain course of study can be completed in the district schools with as much benefit to students as the same work in our graded schools.

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Our normal institutes were organized in two divisions, one for beginners and the other for teachers of extended experience. In each we have aimed to include the essentials for teaching, for the majority of the members

would teach during the year following, and would need, therefore, help in all the various kinds of school work awaiting them. We gave more time to reading, language and arithmetic than to the other branches, because these branches are more extensively taught and needed in our schools. In the instruction given at our institute we have made methods the main object; for in that respect our teachers are generally most deficient, and we have applicants enough who have sufficient knowledge of the branches and have the academic training. The tendencies of normal institute instruction are away from the elementary work, and yet it is this that is needed almost exclusively in our rural schools, and that is often very poorly taught and understood. Our teachers need to be told more explicitly what to do, how to work for definite ends and results, and how to systematize their pupils' work.

Our school houses are mostly frame. Some are well built, some very poor; the average is of fair construction. The heating is very good, except that the heads are apt to be altogether too warm while the feet are uncomfortably cold, sometimes actually freezing. There is usually an abundance of light, but from both sides of the room. The ventilation of our school houses is deplorable. In the poorly-built ones the air circulates through the walls freely but not properly, especially on a windy day. In those which are well built there is apt to be an utter want of fresh air much of the time, the teacher not noticing the gradual vitiation of the air in the room. The windows and doors seem to be the only means for ventilation, and these are often unsuitable on account of drafts and sudden changes of temperature. The cheap appendages of windows, for ventilating purposes, are mostly a matter of theory only, promulgated at teachers' gatherings, and not generally put in practice. Most of our school houses are otherwise reasonably comfortable; some are really elegant; a few are quite uncomfortable and neglected.

The general condition of the grounds of most of our schools is very satisfactory-dry, grassy, clean, and well-kept. A good supply of shade trees is found on many of them. Fences are wanting in many instances. The out-houses are very often in so bad a condition as to be a matter of serious alarm. The teachers no doubt fail to look after this matter sufficiently, or fail to find a way to remedy the evil; perhaps because these are delicate and unpleasant duties.

Our school year consists usually of seven months, divided into two nearly equal terms, although the division into three terms-winter, spring and fall -is rapidly coming into favor. The salaries range from $22 to $35 per month. In most of the rural schools the common branches only are taught. In penmanship there has been a great lack of teaching, but we are moving forward. In regard to hygienic physiology, according to State law of 1886, I can report a general willingness and great effort on the part of our teachers and directors to comply with the law, but it took some time for them to understand fully how to do it.

It seems that the visiting of our schools by the county superintendent is insufficient, for want of time. But under the present arrangements and multiplicity of duties, no great change in this particular can be effected. The usual teachers' examinations, too, seem inadequate to distinguish between successful teachers and others. The directors are not always careful to employ the best teachers at their command. But above all, we need uniformity of text-books in each school, so that we shall have, at last, not more than one kind of readers of the same number or grade in the same school. We sometimes have four or more fourth readers or third readers in the same school. If our next legislature would only give permission to our school boards to purchase and own the readers, if not all the text-books, needed in their respective schools, it would help our schools more than anything else could. The present law of forcing district uniformity has been thoroughly tried here and has signally failed. I fear that a forced county or State uniformity would not be much better.




The educational work of this county is in a fairly prosperous condition. Parents generally manifest greater interest in school work than at any time in the past. Better teachers and better schools are demanded in many sections of the county. Our greatest drawback is the lack of thorough and experienced teachers. With a uniform series of text-books in general use, a course of study generally followed, and a growing interest in school work on the part of parents, pupils and teachers, the outlook for the future is not at all discouraging.


Organization.-In the organization of our institute we follow as closely as possible the graded course of study recommended for normal institutes.

Aims.-The objects ever kept in view in this county are (1) to give teachers a thorough review of all the common school branches, and (2) to enable them to become well grounded in principles and methods or teaching.

Methods.—Especially primary methods have received considerable attention in the past.


Construction.— With only two exceptions our school-houses are built of wood. The majority of them are of suitable size and substantially built.

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