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to answer to the charges made against him, and all such charges shall be made in writing. Whenever, by death, resignation, removal, or otherwise, a vacancy shall occur in the board of school examiners of any county, other than in the office of secretary, the judge of probate of such county shall have power to fill such vacancy until the first Tuesday in August after his appointment, at which time an examiner shall be elected to fill the unexpired term by the chairmen of the boards of school inspectors of the several townships in the county. Whenever a vacancy occurs in the office of secretary, it shall be filled in the same manner as is provided for the appointment of secretary, in section two of this chapter, and shall be for the unexpired portion of the term for which the vacating secretary was appointed.
Sec. 13. All schools which by special enactment may have a district board authorized to inspect and grant certificates to the teachers employed by the same, shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter as to the examination and licensing of teachers. The officers of every school district which is or shall hereafter, be organized in whole or in part in any incorporated city in this State, where no special enactments shall exist in regard to the licensing of teachers, shall have power to examine and license, or cause to be examined and licensed, or may require the county board of examiners to examine and license, teachers for such district, and such license shall be valid not to exceed three years. All city schools having a superintendent employed by their respective boards of education, shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter, as to the examination and licensing of teachers, and as to the supervision of schools. But all such schools shall, through their proper officers, make such reports as the Superintendent of Public Instruction shall direct.
MINIMUM LENGTH OF SCHOOL TERM.
The following table shows the number of districts that maintained no school, the number maintaining less than three months and from three to eleven months inclusive, with the school census of the several districts in each case:
From the above table it will be seen that 6,444 districts, including 605,281, or nearly 98 per cent. of the children of school age in the State, maintained school during six months or longer. The average length of school in all the districts was 7.7 months, and in the ungraded districts, 7.5 months. The minimum length of school required to entitle a district containing less than thirty children of school age to share in the apportionment of the primary school interest fund and the one mill tax, is three months. Ought not the term to be lengthened in justice to the children in the sparsely populated districts? Many districts that are abundantly able to support a six months' school provide for the minimum of three months only to secure their proportion of the public moneys. The interests of the children are sacrificed to a false
idea of economy. It would impose no excessive burden upon these districts if the participation in the distribution of the public moneys was made contingent upon the maintenance of school for the term of six months. By so doing the free school privileges would be more nearly equalized throughout the State and the children of Michigan would be afforded the same advantages as are accorded those of other states. In New York, Ohio, Iowa and California the minimum is fixed at six months, while in New Jersey nine months is the limit. The provisions of law relating to compulsory education require all children between the ages of eight and fourteen years to attend school during four months of each year, and it would seem that the minimum length of school ought at least to equal the period required by the compulsory attendance law. I can see no objections to extending the limit to six months.
While it is almost impossible to secure complete returns on this subject, it is certain that the provisions of the law requiring that instruction be given in Physiology and Hygiene with special reference to the effects of alcoholic stimulants and narcotics, has been more generally complied with than ever before.
In reply to the question “Is Physiology and Hygiene taught in your school in compliance with section 15, chapter 3, General School Laws of 1885?” 3,833 of the 7,034 districts in the State, answered “Yes," 1,438 answered "No," and 1,763 did not reply. Among the last named are many which give instruction as required, but no reliable estimate can be formed of their number.
These statistics show a most encouraging increase in the proportion of districts complying with the law. In 1883, the year before this law went into effect, only 653 districts, out of 6,336 in the State, included Physiol. ogy in their courses of study and these in most cases paid little or no attention to the effects of narcotics. In 1886 the number had increased from 10 per cent. of the schools to 33 per cent., while in 1887, 54 per cent. report compliance with the requirements of the law. As these statistics were col. lected before the opening of the current school year and before the present law went into practical effect, it is safe to say that at least 80 per cent. of the districts are at present giving the required instruction.
I understand the law, as it stands, to require the use of a text-book in the hands of pupils who are able to read readily and understandingly. In graded schools two books are required, one for lower and one for higher grades. These books must have a place in the curriculum of study the same as other required branches and the subject is to be taught as thoroughly as other studies in the same school. The year or portions of the year when it is to be taught must, of course, be determined by the local school authorities whose duty it is to arrange courses of study and the order in which they shall be pursued. The course must, to comply with the law, be so arranged that every pupil shall at some time pursue the study. And if any pupil should enter a school in advance of the grade in which physiology is taught, having come from some school in which it is taught at a more advanced stage, that papil should be required to pursue the study in the grade below.
So far as I am able to learn the elementary work is being generally well done. Much, of course, depends upon the earnestness and convictions of teachers, school boards, and county secretaries. In the institute work it is intended to derote one evening to the public presentation of the subject to the general public in addition to the regular instruction given to the teachers in attendance during the day.
It is certain that no measure can be made more effectual for the advancement of the cause of temperance and morality than thorough, faithful, and honest instruction given in our public schools to all pupils in regard to the effects of alcohol and narcotics on the body and soul.
CERTIFICATION OF TEACHERS.
No person is eligible to employment as teacher in the public schools of this State unless he holds a certificate of qualification required by the statutes of the State.
There are four different authorities empowered to grant certificates to teachers: The State Board of Education may give certificates good for ten years, the first grade upon invitation and the second grade upon examination. The faculty of the State Normal School grant life certificates to the graduates of that institution. Boards of education of schools under special charters, which provide that the boards may license their own teachers, and the boards of education of incorporated cities have power to license their own teachers. The Boards of Examiners of the several counties have authority to grant certificates, subject to such rules and regulations as the Superintendent of Public Instruction shall prescribe. More than nine-tenths of the qualified teachers in the State are licensed by the county examiners. The certificates granted by the examiners are of three grades. The certificate of the first grade is granted only to those who have taught at least one year with ability and success and is valid throughout the State for three years. The second grade is granted only to those who have taught at least six months, and is valid throughout the county for which it is granted for two years, The third grade entitles the holder to teach in the county for which it is granted for one year. The secretary is also empowered to grant special certificates, upon examination satisfactory to himself, which licenses the holder to teach in a specified district until the next public examination. During the past year there were in the 63 counties reporting, 13,609 applicants for certificates at the regular public examinations, and of these 9,360 received certificates; 8,774 were third grade certificates, 419 were second grade and 167 were first grade. There were 1,887 teachers licensed who were without previous experience in teaching. The applicants for secretary's specials were 1,427. This is 427 less than in 1886. Since the close of the last school year the number of teachers required to supply the schools has increased nearly five hundred, numbering in all 10,198, and the number of qualified teachers, as will be seen by the comparative table, has increased over 700. The number of qualified teachers now exceeds the number required to supply the schools by 1,627.
During the year just closed there were 461 public examinations held. This would make an average of nearly six examinations to each county. The law provides for two regular public examinations per year, to be held the first Thursdays of March and August, at the county seats of the several counties. It is expected that the great majority of persons desiring certificates will apply at these examinations. In addition to these two regular examinations the secretary is required to hold not to exceed six special public examinations at such times and places as the board may deem proper. First and second grade certificates are granted only at the regular examinations in March and August.
Uniformity in the dates for the special examinations is very desirable. The Superintendent is required to furnish the questions used at the examinations, and if each county should arrange its dates without regard to the others the number of questions required would be so large as to make it impracticable to secure that variety in the character of the questions so essential to their value. The Department selected six dates, which seemed most suitable for holding the special examinations, and recommended them to the several boards of examiners. The boards accepted these dates with few exceptions, and the work of supplying questions has gone on with little or no friction.
In preparing questions it has been my aim to grade them so as to lead the teachers to see the great need of broader knowledge, and by varying the kind of questions to present an incentive to more extended preparation. If by the careful arrangement of examination questions the teachers may be brought to do more reading outside of text-books and thereby acquire a larger fund of general information, a very important part of the purpose of the questions will be accomplished.
It is impossible to furnish a set of questions the severity of which will impress the teachers of all the counties alike. A set that would be comparatively elementary to the teachers of one county would be too difficult for those of another. And the questions will of necessity vary in the degree of severity from time to time. For this reason no fixed rate of percentage can be determined which will apply justly in all cases. It is the duty of the examiners to use a wise judgment in the whole matter of granting certificates. The success of a teacher at a certain examination should not be all that is taken into consideration in giving a certificate. The standing at previous examinations, the success in the school-room and other things favorable which the examiners may know, should help in forming a decision of the teacher's qualifications, as well as the percentage obtained at a particular examination.
Teachers should certainly be required to pass a thorough examination, but they should not be cut off on mere technical grounds. Other things as well should be taken into account in determining their qualifications.
Table I, which gives comparative school statistics for the years 1886 and 1887, shows, on the whole, fair advancement in educational interests.
The number of districts has increased 46 and the number that maintained school was greater by 37 than during 1886. There were 32 more graded school districts in 1887 than in the preceding year and 14 more ungraded. The school census shows an increase of 16,212 in the number of children in the State between the ages of 5 and 20 years. The graded school districts show an increase of 22,715, while there is a decrease in the country districts of 6,503.
The total number of children included in the school census was 619,979, of which number 308,368, or nearly 50 per cent., were in the graded school districts. The total enrollment in the public schools of the State was 421,308, or 69.6 per cent. of the school census, an increase of .6 per cent. for the year. The attendance upon the graded schools was 191,248, or 62 per cent., and upon the ungraded, 230,060, or 74.1 per cent. Including the number of children reported as attending private schools, the total attendance reached 453,915, or 73.2 per cent. of the school census.