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Let the work of our public schools be done according to the true principles of teaching and study, and the children will go out from them prepared to enter upon the duties of life, public or private, with every prospect of success; or they can enter with well trained minds into professional and technical schools as they may desire. In either case the schools will accomplish their true function by sending forth honest and intelligent citizens for our beloved State.
AMENDMENTS TO THE SCHOOL LAW.
During the last session of the Legislature several minor and one very important amendment to the general school laws were made. Chapter III, section 15, relating to instruction in physiology and hygiene, etc., was amended by adding more specific requirements regarding the text-books to be used. This matter will be referred to elsewhere. Chapter IV, section 14, relating to the disposition of the one-mill tax, was altered so as to require all moneys so raised to be apportioned to the district in which it was raised. Under the old law, the qualified electors at the annual township meeting were authorized to apply so much of the one-mill tax as they deemed advisable, to the purchase of books for the township library. Chapter IV, section 16, was amended by adding a provision by which, in case the supervisors of the several townships in which a fractional district is situated are unable to agree as to the proportion of district taxes that shall be placed on the rolls of their i respective townships, a supervisor from an adjoining township may be called in to assist in equalizing the valuation. A provision was also added for paying the supervisor for his services. Chapter VI, section 1, was changed by adding the following words: “ Districts having one hundred and twenty-five children of like age, and with an assessed valuation of not less than one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, may have an indebtedness not to exceed five thousand dollars."
By far the most important legislation, however, in its effect upon the public schools was the passage of Act No. 266, amending certain sections of Chapter XII, relative to the examination of teachers and the supervision of schools. The text of the act is given below. Its essential features include the transferring of the duty of visiting and supervising the district schools from the chairmen of the boards of township school inspectors to the secretaries of the boards of county examiners; changing the method of appointing the secretary; fixing the salary of the secretary, and extending the force of a first grade certificate to the entire State.
The arguments in favor of county supervision have been reiterated so often in the annual reports of this Department that it is not necessary to repeat them here. The township system of supervision had for several years been regarded as a virtual failure, and the desirability of entrusting the supervision of schools to the individual or board whose duty it was to pass upon the qualification of the teachers of these schools, had become so apparent that an earnest and united effort on the part of the teachers of the S ate resulted in convincing the Legislature of the necessity of amending the statutes in this regard. The bill as passed was given immediate effect in the House, but in the confusion attending the closing days of the session the Senate failed to give it immediate effect. As a result the act did not go into operation until September 26, or about four weeks after the date fixed for the election of a secretary under the old law. This resulted in no little confusion and conflict of opinion regarding the status of the new law, some contending that the sec. retary elected under the old law would hold his office for one year, while others maintained that when the amended law took effect the office of secretary would be vacated, and that it would be the duty of the two examiners, together with the Judge of Probate, to meet and fill the vacancy as provided in section 12 of the act. I was clearly of the opinion that the latter construction was correct, and advised the boards in the several counties to meet as soon as practicable after the twenty-sixth day of September and appoint secretaries as provided in the amended law. In most of the counties these suggestions were promptly complied with and secretaries were appointed. In a few counties the boards delayed making any appointments for some weeks, but finally every county in the State elected a secretary under the revised law, so that before the close of the year the law was in force throughout the State.
The law has been in force so short a time that it is of course impossible to form any conclusions as to its effect upon the schools. If a competent person is chosen for secretary, one who is earnest and conscientious in the discharge of his duties, the success of the law is assured. In counties where incompetent secretaries are appointed, who take the office simply for the salary that attaches to it, the law will probably prove unsatisfactory. I have no fears whatever that, where a judicious selection of a secretary is made, much benefit will result to the rural schools. The success of the law in any county depends almost entirely upon the action of the board in selecting a secretary.
CHAPTER XII, SECTIONS 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12 AND 13 OF THE GENERAL SCHOOL LAWS
AS AMENDED BY ACT NO. 266, PUBLIC ACTS OF 1887.
SECTION 1. The chairmen of the boards of school inspectors of the several townships in each county shall meet at the office of the county clerk of their county on the first Tuesday in August, in each year, and elect by ballot one school examiner, who shall hold his office for two years, or until his successor shall have been duly elected and qualified : Provided, That in the year eighteen hundred and eighty-seven there shall be no election of examiner, but the two examiners previously elected whose terms of office shall not have expired shall hold for the unexpired portions of the terms for which they were elected. The county clerk shall be the clerk of such elections in all cases, and in case of a tie shall give the casting vote, and he shall preserve a record of such election in a book to be kept for that purpose, and shall immediately after such election notify the person so elected of his election. The school examiners shall, within ten days after receiving notice of their election, take and subscribe the constitutional oath of office, the same to be filed with the county clerk, and sball enter upon the duties of their offices on the fourth Tuesday of August following their election.
SEC. 2. The two school examiners elected by the township chairmen shall meet at the office of the judge of probate of the county on the fourth Tuesday of August of each year, and with the judge of probate, who shall act as a member and clerk of the board for the purpose herein named, shall elect, appoint, and employ a secretary of said board of examiners. The judge of probate shall, immediately after the board has appointed a secretary, file a certified statement of such fact with the county clerk, and said county clerk shall immediately notify the person appointed as secretary of his appointment, and said secretary shall within ten days after receiving notice of his appointment, take and subscribe the constitutional oath of office, the same to be filed with the county clerk. He shall also execute a bond with two sufficient sureties, to be approved by and filed with the county clerk, in the penal sum of five hundred dollars, conditioned that he will faithfully discharge his duties according to law, and faithfully account for and pay over to the proper persons all moneys which may come into his hands by reason of his holding such office; and thereupon the county clerk shall report the name and postoffice address of such secretary to the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and said secretary shall immediately thereafter enter upon the duties of his office. The secretary of the board shall be ex-ojficio a member and the executive officer of the board of examiners in the transaction of all business of said board, except in the appointing or removing from office of the secretary of said board. The school examiner elected by the township chairman, whose term of office shall soonest expire, shall be the chairman of the board of examiners.
SEC. 3. The secretary of the board of school examiners, for the purpose of examining all persons who may offer themselves as teachers for the public schools, shall hold two regular public examinations in each year at the county seat, which examinations shall be on the first Thursday of March and August; for a like purpose, said secretary shall also hold not to exceed six special public examinations at such times and places as in the judgment of said board of examiners, the interest of the schools and teachers of the county shall require: Provided, That first and second grade certificates shall be granted only at the regular public examinations provided for in this section : Provided, further, That it shall be the duty of the secretary of the board of school examiners to make out a schedule of the times and places of holding special examinations, and to cause it to be published in one or more newspapers of the county at least ten days before each special examination, and he shall send a copy thereof to the chairman of each township board of school inspectors of the county, at least ten days previous to the time of holding any special examination.
SEC. 4. The board of school examiners shall meet on the Saturday following each public examination held by the secretary, and shall grant certificates to teachers in such form as the Superintendent of Public Instruction shall prescribe, licensing as teachers all persons who shall have attained the age of sixteen years, who have attended said public examination and who shall be found qualified in respect to good moral character, learning and ability to instruct and govern a school ; but no certificate shall be granted to any person who shall not pass a satisfactory examination in orthography, reading, writing, grammar, geography, arithmetic, theory and art of teaching, United States history, civil government and physiology and hygiene, with particular reference to the effects of alcoholic drinks, stimulants, and narcotics upon the human system. All certificates shall be signed by the secretary and chairman of said board. No person shall be considered a qualified teacher within the meaning of the school law, nor shall any school officer employ or contract with any person to teach in any of the public schools who has not a certificate in force granted by the board of school exam
iners of the county or other lawful authority: Provided, That all examination questions shall be prepared and furnished by the Superintendent of Public Instruction to said secretary under seal, to be opened before the applicants for certificates on the day of examination.
SEC. 5. There shall be three grades of certificates granted by the board of school examiners in its discretion, and subject to such rules and regulations as the Superintendent of Public Instruction may prescribe, which grades of certificates shall be as follows: The certificate of the first grade shall be granted only to those who shall have taught at least one year with ability and success, and it shall be valid throughout the State for three years : Provided, That no first grade certificate shall be valid in any county other than that in which it was issued, unless a copy of said certificate is filed with the secretary of the county board of examiners of the county in which the holder of said certificate desires to teach. The certificate of the second grade shall be granted only to those who shall have taught at least six months with ability and success, and it shall be valid throughout the county for which it shall be granted for two years The certificate of the third grade shall lice ise the holder thereof to teach in the county for which it shall be granted for one year: Provided, That the secretary of the board of school examiners or any other member of the board authorized by said secretary shall have power, upon personal examination satisfactory to himself, and subject to such rules and regulations as the board of school examiners may establish, to grant special certificates, which shall license the holder thereof to teach in a specified district for which it shall be granted; but such certificate shall not continue in force beyond the time of the next public examination, and it shall not in any way exempt the teacher from a full examination : Provided, further, That in case the holder of a special certificate does not appear for examination before the board at the next public examination succeeding the date of such special certificate, a second special certificate shall not be granted to such person except by order of the board of examiners, nor shall any member of the board of examiners, unless authorized by the board, grant a special certificate to any person who at a previous examination failed to secure a certificate. Sec. 9. It shall be the duty of the secretary of the board of school exami rs:
First, Immediately upon his qualification as secretary, to send notice thereof, to the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and to the chairman of each township board of school inspectors of the county ;
Second, To be present at all meetings of the board, and to keep a record of all proceedings of the board;
Third, To keep a record of all examinations held by the board, and to sign all certificates and other papers and reports issued by said board;
Fourth, To act as treasurer of the board for the purpose of receiving the institute fees provided by law, and paying the same to the county treasurer once in each month;
Fifth, To keep a record of all certificates granted, suspended, or revoked by the board, showing to whom issued, together with the date, grade, and duration of each certificate, and if suspended or revoked, the date and reason therefor;
Sixth, To furnish, previous to the first Monday in September in each year, to the township clerk of each township in the county, a list of all persons legally authorized to teach in the county at large, and in such township, with the date and term of each certificate, and if any have been suspended or revoked, the date of such suspension or revocation;
Seventh, To visit each of the schools in his county at least once each year and to examine carefully the discipline, the mode of instruction, and the progress and proficiency of the pupils: Provided, That in case the secretary is unable to visit all the schools of the county, as herein required, he may, with the approval of the other members of the board of examiners, appoint such assistant visitors as may be necessary, who shall perform such duties pertaining to the visitation and supervision of schools as said secretary shall direct;
Eighth, To counsel with the teachers and school boards as to the courses of study to be pursued, and as to any improvement in discipline and instruction in the schools;
Ninth, To note the condition of the school-houses and the appurtenances thereto, and to al suggest plans for new houses to be erected, and for warming and ventilating the same, and for the general improvement of school-houses and grounds;
Tenth, To promote by such means as he may devise, subject to the advice of the board of school examiners, the improvement of the schools in his county and the elevation of the character and qualifications of the teachers and officers thereof;
Eleventh, To receive the duplicate annual reports of the several boards of school inspectors, examine into the correctness of the same, requiring them to be amended when necessary, endorse his approval upon them, and immediately thereafter, and before the first day of November in each year, transmit to the Superintendent of Public Instruc
tion one copy of each of said reports and file the other copy in the office of the county clerk;
Twelfth, To be subject to such instructions and rules as the Superintendent of Public Instruction may prescribe; to receive all blanks and communications that may be sent to him by the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and to dispose of the same as directed by the said Superintendent; and to make annual reports at the close of the school year to the Superintendent of Public Instruction, of the official labor performed by the board of school examiners, and by himself, and of the general condition and management of the schools of the county, together with such other information as may be required of him;
Thirteenth, To perform such other duties as may be required of him by law, or the board of school examiners, and at the close of his term of office, to deliver all records, books and papers belonging to his office to the board of examiners.
SEC. 10. " It shall be the duty of the chairman of the board of school inspectors of each township:
First, To have general supervisory charge of the schools of his township, subject to such advice and direction as the secretary of the county board of examiners may give;
Second, To notify the secretary of the board of school examiners of any school within his township that is not being conducted in a successful and profitable manner;
Third, To make such reports of his official labors, and the condition of the schools as the Superintendent of Public Instruction may direct, or the board of school examiners request;
Fourth, To perform such other duties as may be required of him by law, or that the Superintendent of Public Instruction may direct.
Sec. 11. Each member of the board of school examiners, other than the secretary, shall receive four dollars for each day actually employed in the duties of his office. The compensation of the secretary of the board of examiners shall be determined by the board appointing him, as provided for in section two of this act: Provided, In counties having thirty districts or less such compensation shall not exceed three hundred dollars per annum; in counties having more than thirty districts such compensation shall be not to exceed at the rate of ten dollars for each district coming under the provisions of this act; but in no case shall the salary of the secretary of the board of examiners be more than fifteen hundred dollars per annum. The compensation of any assistant visitor, when appointed as provided in this act, shall be determined by the board of school examiners, but in no case shall it exceed three dollars for each day: Provided, That the number of days so employed shall not exceed thirty, in any one year, necessarily devoted to the duties required of him. The compensation of each member of the board of school examiners, including the secretary and any assistant visitor, shall be paid quarterly from the county treasury, upon such member filing with the county clerk a sworn statement of his account, signed by the chairman and secretary of the board of school examiners, and obtaining an order from the county clerk upon the county treasurer for the amount of such account: Provided, That in no case shall the secretary of the board of examiners receive any order for his compensation from the county clerk until he has filed a certified statement from the Superintendent of Public Instruction that all required reports have been properly made and filed with said Superintendent. The necessary contingent expenses of the board of examiners for printing, postage, stationery, record books and rent of room for public examinations, shall be audited and allowed by the board of supervisors of the county, but shall in no county exceed the sum of two hundred dollars per annum, but no traveling fees shall be allowed to the secretary Oi any member of the board of examiners or to any assistant visitor. The compensation of the several chairinen of the township boards of school inspectors, when in attendance at the annual meeting for the election of school examiners and the annual joint meeting with the board of school examiners, shall be the same as is allowed to members of the board of supervisors of the county, and when performing other duties required of him, as provided in this act, the same as is allowed to school inspectors by law: Provided, Said chairman shall not receive to exceed two dollars for each school district in the township, the same to be audited by the township boards of their respective townships and paid as other expenses of the township.
SEC. 12. Any member of a board of school examiners,other than the secretary, may be removed from office by the judge of probate of the county for immorality, incompetency, or neglect of duty. The secretary of the board of examiners may be removed for like causes by the members of the board of examiners selected by the township chairmen, acting jointly with the judge of probate; but no member of such board of school examiners, nor the secretary, shall be removed from office without an opportunity