« AnteriorContinuar »
and twenty-eight dollars and twenty-two cents. The revised law relating to the University does not provide, as the first law did, for the establishment of a branch for the purpose of Female Education; but in this department, to which the public mind has not yet been sufficiently directed, the wants of the State will doubtless be met by the various institutions which have been established without the aid of the State. The revised constitution provides that the Legislature may appropriate the twenty-two sections of salt spring lands now unapproprinted, or the money arising from the sale of the same, where such lands have already been sold, and my land which may hereafter he granted or appropriated for such purpose, for the support and maintenance of an agricultural school; and such school may be made a branch of the Coiversity, for instruction in agriculture and the natural sciences connected therewith, and placed under the direction of the Regents.
Those institutions which are denominated INCORPORATED LITERARY INSTITUTIONS, a list of which wil be found under that title, in the index, are institutions which receive no pecuniary aid from the State. They are the result of the entorprize and zeal of various denominations and communities, and are of a higher grade than institutions of a similar character, in most of the States.
The origin and progress of the PRIMARY Schools may be traced from year to year throughont this volume. The first primary school law of the State of Michigan was approved on the Pokh day of March, 1837, and provided for supporting the schools by a tax upon the taxable property of the district, in proportion to its valuntion, which was to be ascertained by a transcript of the township assessment roll; thus virtually making the basis of a system of Free Schools. The early legislation of the State upon the subject of primary schools was subjected to repeated change, from the difficulty of adapting a law to the circumstances of a people in a new country. Of late years there has been a gradual appronch to stability and permanency. The law is working well in the main, and any radical change in the system is peculiarly to be deprecated. The debates in the Convention to revise the constitution were conadered an important portion of our educational history, and will be found under the proper head. The main feature of the revised constitution, in relation to primary schools, is the clause which requires that the Legislature shall, within five years froin its adoption, provide for md establish a system of primary schools, whereby a school shall be kept without charge for tuition, at least three months in each year, in every school district in the State, and all instruction is to be conducted in the English language. A school must be maintained in each School year at least three months, or it is deprived the ensuing year of its proportion of the income of the primary school fund, and of all funds arising from taxes for the support of
Under the law, it is made the duty of the supervisor of each township to assess the taxes Foted by every school district in his township, and all other taxes provided for in the law chargeable against such district or township, upon the taxable property of the district or ! township respectively, and to place the same in the township assessment roll. It was made the duty of the supervisor also, to assess upon the taxable property of his township, one min on each dollar of valuation thereof in each year, and after deducting from the amount thus raised, twenty-five dollars for the purchase of books for the library, the remainder is to be upportioned to the several districts in the township for the support of schools therein. The Legislature of 1850, in order to carry out the provisions of the constitution for free schools,
pursuance of the recommendation of the Superintendent, increased the amonnt required to be assessed by the supervisor, to two mills. In consequence of imperfect and partial refurns heretofore, it has been impossible to determine the amount which has been actually as1489ed. The duty in some instances has been neglected by supervisors, and while with one til on the dollar's valuation, it should raise some thirty thousand dollars, the returns for several years show that only some seventeen thousand have been assessed. Provision has been made for more accurate and full returns. The supervisors, for the first time, during the
past year assessed upon the taxable property the sum of two mils on each dollar of the nation, and statements of the amounts thus assessed will be returned to the office of P Instruction in the month of November next, when a reliable estimate may be made as to further legislation may be required to carry out the provisions of the constitution. trouble in older States has been to regulate the detail of a Free School Law. In Mich the change in the system is unfelt. The transition from the old law to the requirement the constitution, is accompanied with no confusion, and the system of taxation to accom, the purpose of Free Schools is as equal and just as it is possible to make it.
The sources of revenue for the support of primary schools are, Ist: the income of primary school fund, which for the past year has amounted to over fifty-seven thousand lars. The total sale of school lands for the last year has amounted to $83,449 89, being su crease over last year of nearly sixty-seven per cent. The school fund itself now amount over 8811,000 00. 20. A tax of two mills upon each dollar's valuation of the taxable propert the township. Jd. A tax not exceeding one dollar a scholar, voted by the district and collec and returned in the same manner as other township taxes. The existing law provides for a : bill to make up any deficiency. This law will require change or modification when present constitutional provisions are fully carried out.
Tabular statements will be found in the appendix, showing the amount raised for vari school purposes in Michigan, during the year last past. The whole number of school distr in the State is three thousand three hundred and seven. The whole number of children r ding in school districts where a school has been taught for three months, is one hundredi forty-three thousand, two hundred and twenty-two. The apportionment of the income the primary school fund is based upon this number, instead of the number which are actu in attendance on the schools, the latter being one hundred and fifteen thousand, one hunda and sixty-five. Whether a change in the system of apportionment, based upon actual att dance, would not be the means of greatly increasing the usefulness of our system, and be o erwise beneficial, is a question which should deserve the consideration of the people. I whole amount that has been paid to teachers in the State, during the past year, is one hu dred and fifty-four thousand, four hundred and sixty-nine dollars and thirty cents. The wb amount of money raised by the districts was one hundred and thirty thousand, one hundr and ninety-six dollars and thirty-eight cents. There has been raised for the following purp ses, viz: Building School Houses.
.857,348 52 Repairing“
11,265 00 For past indebtedness.
9,108 34 For other purposes.
4,112 90 On rate bill,...
69,085 37 The whole number of volumes in the township libraries, as roported, is ninety-seven tho sand, one hundred and fifty-eight. The amount of mill tax reported is seventeen thoussa one hundred and forty dollars and fifty-nine cents. The returns of this item are erroneou or if not, a large number of the Supervisors have neglected to assess the tax. The probabili is that the deficiency mainly arises from the neglect of the inspectors to report the amounts 1 the Superintendent.
An important and laborious part of the work has been the preparation of the notes an forms to the Primary School Law. The notes have been based upon the queries submitted t this office by school officers from time to time, and embrace most of the questions that aris in the districts, so far as it is competent and proper for this department to give its decisions As there is no law requiring such decisions, they are to be considered advisory, but they ar believed to be legally correct, and it is earnestly hoped will be found of use, and be the mean of avoiding much trouble and difficulty. Access has been had to the volume of decisions pub Bished by the Superintendent of Common Schools of the State of New York, and also to th Massachusetts and Rhode Island and Connecticut decisions. The opinions and views of thi school officers of these States have been adopted and published, so far as they were applicable to the laws of Michigan; and full liberty has been taken to incorporate into the work, the opinions and views of the Superintendents of our own State, upon subjects connected with the interests of the schools.
The communications in relation to the Union Schools in the appendix, do not embrace an account of all that have been established, and more full information in relation to this important branch of our system will have to be left for the future. This class of schools deserve the particular attention of the people. They are desting to fill up the space now left between the University and the Primary Schools, and while they preserve the character of Primary School, they are calculated to afford all the advantages of higher Seminaries of Learning.
In coneluding this general summary of the work now accomplished, it affords a satisfactory reflection that the subject of Education has received so large a share of attention from the successive Chief Magistrates of the State, and from successive Legislative bodies; and the rewards for the time and labor expended in gathering up the history of our educational achievments, will be ample and sufficient, if the object for which it was designed shall be successfully accomplished, in the promotion of the cause of Education and the development of our system of Public Instruction. It is a source of high gratification that your Excellency has fully appreciated the importance of the subject, and that in the accomplishment of the parpose designed, the undersigned has received your Excellency's strong encouragement and support. I have the honor to be, very respectfully,
Your ob't friend and servant,
FRANCIS W. SHEARMAN,
Superintendent of Public Instrudion. Lansing, May 1, 1852.
ORIGIN, PROGRESS, AND PRESENT CONDITION
PUBLIC INSTRUCTION IN MICHIGAN.
CONGRESSIONAL AND TERRITORIAL LEGISLATION FROM 1785 To 1836.
The foundation upon which the educational superstructure of Michigan, and the other States comprised in that section of our conntry, known as the north-west territory, has been raised, was laid in an ordinance of the Congress of the Confederation, in the year 1785, entitled an ordinance for ascertaining the mode of disposing of the lands in the western territory. By its provisions, lot numbered sixteen, of every township, was reserved for the maintenance of the public schools within such township.
The greatest division of land, according to the uniform method of survey of the public lands, contains the quantity of 23,040 acres. This is called a township, and is six English or American miles square, and is subdivided into thirty-six equal divisions, or square miles by lines crossing each other, called sections. The section contains 640 aeres, and is subdivided into four parts, called quarter sections, each of which contains 160 acres. The quarter sections are subdivided into two equal parts, containing 80 acres, each called balf quarter sections, or eighths of sections, which is the smallest subdivision. Every sixteenth section of land as here described, was served by the ordinance, for the support of schools, amounting to the one thirty-sixth part of the public lands.