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respect, and will be, no doubt, as soon as the public shall be apprised of the need of this reform.
My annual report for the year ending September, 1886, shows that the average number of months taught in the whole county, was 7.9, and that the average compensation per month, for males, was $40.82, and for females, $27.10.
In the country schools, reading, writing, arithmetic and spelling are universally taught, while language, geography and history are pursued by many pupils.
Language, it is a pleasure to say, is receiving more attention than formerly, teachers being encouraged to give much work in this branch to pupils not supplied with text-books, in connection with other studies.
Temperance physiology is being generally taught in the schools of Delaware county, yet, in a few instances, through ignorance of the law, neglect, or opposition to the study, there has been only a partial compliance with the provisions of the statute.
Drawing is also pursued successfully in many country schools.
In the graded schools of the county, drawing, botany, geology, German, natural philosophy, and other high school studies, according to the grade of the schools, are pursued, in addition to the common branches. Vocal music is taught in a few schools of the county.
There still exist many hindrances to the successful prosecution of the educational work, which time and an intelligent public alone will remove.
The people demand relief, and it will soon come, from the evils of the present mode of supply of text-books, from the retarding power of the lack of system in the prosecution of the rural school work, from the low percentage of average daily attendance as compared with the total number of school age. These and other hindrances of lesser note will all receive attention from our legislators in the near future, and the sooner proper remedies are applied the sooner will our school system be purged of its weaknesses, and be made to measure up to its full requirements.
I think that I can truthfully report reasonable progress all along the line in the school work of this county. We are not accomplishing miracles, nor are we making any very remarkable strides forward; but still I can see that
we are advancing slowly and surely from year to year. As our old guard of teachers, who began their labors years ago, when less was required of them, and when normal institutes were yet unknown, drop out of the ranks after a long and honorable service, their places are generally taken by those who have had greater advantages in preparing for the work, and who are enabled to begin at a point which their predecessors reached only after much experimenting and years of study after school hours. Then, too, some of our teachers of earlier days have kept fully up with the times, are still in the ranks and are to-day among our most efficient workers.
Probably the one thing more than any other that has enhanced the usefulness of our schools, is an upwritten rule of action among our boards of directors regarding the teachers' tenure of office. It is generally understood among them that when a teacher is once employed in a district his claim for reappointment shall take precedence of all others, in case he gives reasonable satisfaction. This is pre-eminently true in the city of Dubuque, in which a goodly numder have been annually reappointed for from ten to thirty times; and among the teachers of our ungraded or rural schools, I could mention many cases where the same teacher has been employed continuously for five or more years.
Another element of no mean value is the entire divorcing of our schools from political influences. In the city of Dubuque, for example, where the democrats are in the majority, and where they might control the schools if 80 disposed, they have always acted on the obviously just principle that the management of the schools ought not to be a partisan matter, and they have therefore conceded to the republicans the right of naming one half of the members of the board of education. The two committees meet in joint caucus a few days before each school election, and each party names one of the two directors to be elected. The only contest in the case is to see which party can nominate the best man; and the two candidates thus nominated are always unanimously endorsed by the electors at the polls. I make this statement in no boastful or partisan spirit, but simply mention it as a method which has been conducive to harmony and efficiency in the administration of our schools, and as one which I believe should be adopted everywhere.
The interest in our normal institutes has not abated. The attendance at the last one was larger than ever before, and the general interest was fully up to the high standard of former years. We have continuously used a four years graded course of study, which includes the branches required for a State certificate, since 1880. Professional certificates are granted to those who complete the course and show corresponding ability in other points by successful experience. During the eight years 110 such certificates have been issued. Of those receiving them, two are dead, soven are married, twenty-two have chosen other occupations, twenty-one are teaching in other counties, fifty-eight remain here and are all, except two, employed. We also have about seventy five teachers holding first-class certificates, and em. ployed in the county; these with some good "seconds” give us a very able corps of instructors.
Within the last few years several new and commodious school houses have been built, and many of the old ones thoroughly renovated and refurnished, affording better light and ventilation.
The necessity for useful apparatus, such as maps, globes, charts, clocks, etc., is better understood by the directors, and more liberally supplied. The grounds are more generally fenced and shade trees protected or planted; the condition of outhouses considered, buildings painted, etc. Teachers' salaries have not changed very much, but in some cases they have been increased. The teachers of our city and village schools are engaged in August for the ensuing school year of nine or ten months. The practice of hiring the teacher for the whole school year is becoming quite general throughout the county. Every school in the county outside the city of Dubuque (and it has a special one) has been supplied with “Welch's Classitication Register," and reports are made regularly to the county superintendent twice each term.
Every district in the county has complied with Chapter 1, School Laws of 1886, by having the effects of stimulants and narcotics upon the human system taught in each school. The boards of directors furnished two grades of text-books for each school, and also instructed the teachers to give oral instruction to all primary pupils. We have succeeded beyond our most sanguine expectation in making the work general and thorough.
We have no workshops in connection with any of our district schools, but what in my judgment is infinitely more practical, most of our teachers are, I believe, honestly endeavoring to inculcate, in connection with the rudiments of a good English education, habits of industry, honesty and sobriety, and the principles of strict integrity among the ten thousand boys and girls entrusted to their care, and we hopefully trust that we can stand the test of favorable comparison with other sections of the country.
BY E, H. BAT.LARD.
In answer to your published statement of April 30, 1887, in regard to the progress of education in Emmet county, would say:
The condition or standing of education in this county is probably all that could be expected in a county as new as Emmet. It has been, until recently, somewhat neglected. Teachers not thoroughly competent. This latter is being obviated by requiring teachers to attend the county institute and raising the grade in examinations. The progress, we are glad to report, has been very rapid. The qualification required for a first-grade certificate,
a few years since, is barely sufficient for one of the second grade to-day. And as the proficiency of the teacher, so is the progress of the pupil.
Chaos is rapidly giving way to system. Every effort is being made to have an established course of study in every school in the county. The one great fault is lack of uniformity of text-books. Parents are being actuated to a higher interest in the schools and the educated welfare of their children. Progress at present is perceptible, and in the future Emmet county will not be lacking.
The normal institute of Emmet county has been thoroughly organized and placed on as good footing as circumstances, financially, would allow. We hope to do better in the future.
We are seeking to accomplish the primal object, viz: How to impart knowledge, while not a little attention is given to academic work, yet most to the subject of didactics.
Teachers may be, as a rule, well enough qualified to teach a common school, yet fail in their effort to impart the truth. We strive to instil the idea that self culture is a duty and will be remunerated.
The methods employed are various. We aim to instruct the teachers how to impart knowledge to the pupils, and insist on same. We call on the teacher to present the subject according to his method, and then judge as to its utility. In didactics the subject matter is not only discussed thoroughly but the teachers are required to take notes of same, and any special points of the subject matter properly explained by diagram illustrations, or otherwise, by instructor or teacher.
The institute is always looked forward to as a time of general improvement, mentally, socially and physically. Special attention is given to morals and manners, believing that self government is the sine quo non. This government establishes itself, and, furthermore, advances most rapidly toward the primal object-that of a good citizen. We make a special feature of vocal music, elocution and reading, confident of the fact that teachers are less competent to teach these branches.
We are not competent to offer any criticisms upon normal work, but would suggest that the work is not practical enough. The teachers are told to follow natural methods, but they are not told, or it is not explained sufficiently, what those methods are.
In regard to the schools of this county, can say that they were never in better condition than at the present time. The school houses are in good condition, well taken care of. Five new school houses have been built within the last year. The out-houses are in good shape, and the people seem to take pride in repairing same. · Welch's Classification Register has been introduced, and every teacher reports monthly.
Our aim has been to elevate the standard of the teachers, and I am pleased to state that the object is partially accomplished.
BY T. H. HACKER. .
In reply to your letter of the 30th of April I beg leave to make the following report:
We have adopted the State course in our institute work, and follow it as closely as we can, We have conducted our institute of late with just as strong and systematic an organization as is found in an ordinary high school or academy, and held the teachers to as strict account for the good use of their time, and also for punctual attendance.
The majority of institutes seems to me weaker in the matter of organization than in any other part of their work.
The instruction may be ever so good, and the attendance ever so large, yet, without proper organization the institute will fall far short of what might be accomplished.
For one, I believe the teachers need the discipline that can be secured by attending a thoroughly organized institute. Last year we kept a complete record of attendance in every recitation room, and no teacher was excused for absence without giving good reasons for such absence. The result was that the teachers were more regular in attendance, better attention was secured, teachers better satisfied with the conduct of the institute, and consequently better results were secured than under a more loose or weaker organization.
So far we have undertaken to combine methods with academic work, with a view of giving the younger teachers the requisite amount of information in the several branches taught in the common schools, and then build them up as teachers by giving them the best of instructors in methods of presenting these subjects,
We have made primary methods in reading, language and number work special features of our institute work, and pride ourselves with the thought that much has been accomplished in these lines.
We cannot say that any perceptible improvement has been made in the construction of school houses during the past few years.
In former years, when this county was now, and the townships divided into sub-districts, the tendency was toward building good, roomy school houses, more so, we think, than when independent districts are organized, yet in the majority of districts we find accommodations for more pupils than attend the schools. The tendency, however, is toward better plans, and where the county superintendent has good plans matured for a school