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Take another passage :
« Blount and Fitz Eustis rested still
With Lady Clare upon the hill.” There is a picture. A hill rises before the imagination, or should so rise that the pupil can see it, and the two personages upon it. Then he is prepared to analyze or parse the sentence, and not till then ; nor can he possibly follow the idea of the poet, or be benefited by the reading until he has done this.
Prof. GREENE closed by urging all teachers to try to carry out, as they could, the suggestions of the lecture in the school-room. Let a passage in poetry or prose be taken and studied till it is as fully understood as any prin. ciple in arithmetic, and then it will be time to turn attention to forms of expression.
Mr. Perry, of New London, Ct., followed, indorsing the lecture, and urging the importance of a better acquaintance with the sources of our language. Adjourned.
THURSDAY, Aug. 20. The Institute was called to order by the President at 9 o'clock.
Prayer was offered by Rev. William L. Gage, of Manchester.
On motion of Mr. Perry, Messrs. Perry, Richards, and Hedges, were appointed a Committee to arrange an order of exercises for the evening session.
The report of the Board of Directors was read by the Secretary. A discussion then followed
66 The Relative Merits of Public High Schools and Endowed Academies.”
Mr. WILKINS, of Pembroke, N. H., took the floor to advocate the merits of Endowed Academies, the chief advantages of which, as presented by him were, that the student would associate with others from different parts of the country in such institutions, and thus have his mind more liberalized ; and that greater facilities for illustration and better teachers were likely to be possessed by endowed schools.
Mr. HAGAR, of Jamaica Plain, understood the question to be, whether a system of free, public High Schools for instruction should receive our favor, or whether, as a system, Endowed Academies were to be preferred. In Massachusetts, said he, we have our free Common Schools, and also, in a large number of towns, we have free High Schools, - the latter just as free as the former. Some friends of education think endowed schools would be better than High Schools for Massachusetts. I stand here as the advocate of the Public School, whether it be the Common or the High School. The same arguments that apply in favor of the free Common School can be applied, in all their length and breadth, in favor of the public High School. Why not? We have our committees and supervisors of Common Schools. Are they not as competent to supervise schools of a higher character? Are they not as likely to be so as the corporators or trustees of endowed academies? There can be no doubt on that point.
In determining the relative merits of the two systems, one of the first questions to be settled is, Is the proposed system practicable ? Can that system be generally adopted throughout the State ? Now I put it to the common sense of any man ; is it practicable to establish an endowed school in every town ? Every man will answer, no. I maintain there should be a High School, a school of a high character, in every town.
But it is out of the question to expect an endowed school in every town. Our schools should be near the doors of our families. We do not wish and cannot afford to send our children away from home to attend school. The rich only can do that. We wish to have free High Schools as near our doors as we have our Common Schools, and we have a right to demand, where the population will justify it, that they shall be there. The poor man needs to have his child educated, and it is for the interest of the public that his child should be educated to the highest possible point. To do that there must be a large number of schools of a high order, and they must be near; which cannot be, unless they are supported at the public charge.
Suppose a few rich men in one town establish an endowed school and make it free to all, - in that town. The people of the next town desire the same advantages, but they have no rich and liberal men ; and to support a school of high character they must tax themselves. They say that a few rods across the line the children are edu. cated free, while, we have to tax ourselves; and the result is, that the very fact of the establishment of the en. dowed school in one town, instead of favoring education in an adjoining town, has rather a tendency to depress it.
Further than that : the success of any school depends very much on the interest of the people in it; and a man's interest depends on what a thing costs him, either directly or indirectly. The man who pays a tax for the support of a school feels more interest in it than he whose child is educated where no tax is paid. Much of the interest felt and expressed has arisen from the fact that our schools are supported by taxation.
It is more democratic, too, that our schools should all be supported at the public charge ; because it is a democratic principle that all men shall support the public interests in proportion to their ability. It is an important principle that all men should have a voice in some way in the education of the public. Every man who has a child to be educated, ought to have an opportunity of saying how he shall be educated. It is not for half a dozen to form a close corporation and say how my child shall be educated. I have a right equal, in that respect, to my rich neighbor. It is of as much importance to me to have my child educated as I think he ought to be, as it is for the rich man to have his child educated according to his wishes. How is it with endowed schools ? A few
elect the teacher, and say to the public, We give you what we have ; if you do not like it you may stay away. I believe that in this age and in this democratic country, the public, as a whole, have a right to say what the education of the children shall be, and therefore, as a matter of great public interest, with the exception of some specific schools, they should be within the control of the people.
It may be said that the people are fickle, and will not support schools of a higher grade. I maintain that that is a libel upon the people ; that as a general fact, they have been in advance of committees. Committees are always very careful to feel the public pulse before they prescribe any remedies.
In more than one town I have known the people to absolutely compel the establishment of a High School, in spite of the complaints of the rich, and in spite of the cautious course of the committees.
I am not speaking against endowed schools, but in favor of the other system as a whole. Academies are necessary, scientific schools are necessary, endowed schools are necessary ; but as a public school teacher, I maintain that the highest interests of the public demand that they should establish public High Schools, — that they should support them. I trust the day is coming when the system of public High Schools will prevail not only in old Massachusetts, but in all our States.
Hon. Geo. S. BOUTWELL, Secretary of the Board of Education of Massachusetts, being called on for his views upon the question, rose, and before proceeding to its consideration, took occasion to make a suggestion as to the importance of having some persons previously designated, on whom the Institute could rely, for an original, thorough, preliminary presentation of the subjects for discussion at these, meetings. None of the questions presented here had been introduced by persons so designated and prepared to speak; and it was no disparagement to the gentlemen who had spoken, to say that the views which they have offered were not the thorough, matured views which they would themselves have given, had the subjects been assigned to them.
I am in just that position myself, said Mr. Boutwell, as to the question before the Institute. Indebted to my friend on the other side, and to you, Sir, and this audience, for inviting me to take a position on this floor, I am still without any special preparation to discuss the subject. I have thought upon it, because any one, however humbly connected with free schools in this country, must have had his thoughts turned to it. And especially just now, when in the leading educational journal of Massachusetts a discussion has been conducted between one of its editors and Mr. Gulliver, the able originator of a school in Norwich, Ct., and the advocate of the system of school government established there. And therefore every one who has had his eyes open must have seen that here is a great contest, and that underlying it is a principle which is vital in all society.
The distinguishing difference between the advocates of endowed schools and of free schools is this : those who advocate the system of endowed academies all go back in their arguments to one foundation, which is, that in educa.