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cution of their work. It is the conviction of the best educators, that nothing will tend to increase the efficiency of these schools so much, as a system of thorough supervision. It would be the duty of the County Superintendent to examine all the teachers. He should have the exclusive power of issu. ing certificates of qualification, and of annulling them. It should be his duty to hold a Teachers' Institute, a least once every year, in some central part of the county, and all the teachers should be required to attend this Institute. It should also be the duty of the Superintendent to visit all the schools of the county, that he may learn their condition, and counsel with the teachers, as to methods of teaching, to aid in properly grading the schools, in short-to be the adviser of the teachers of the county, and not only to advise with the teachers, but with the School Boards, in reference to the erection of school buildings, the choosing of sites for school-houses, and in reference to all those things necessary to secure the highest efficiency of the schools in the county
The results of such a system of supervision are by no means problematical: the results are known. Most of the Northern States have either County or District Superintendents, and many of these States have had this system in operation for several years. The testimony which comes to us from all these States is that the system is entirely successful. The following statements are taken from the published Report of the State Superintendent of Wisconsin.
The Superintendent says in his first report after the first election of County Superintendents: “ The Superintendents have not yet entered upon the discharge of their duties, and of course nothing is known of the practical workings of the system. I may say that I believe its prospective operation has had a healthful effect upon the teachers of the State. An increased activity in the work of self-culture is manifest, and warm friends of our educational interests are zealously laborprepare
for its successfulintroduction. In some localities we must look for ill success. It is not to be attrib
uted to the provisions of the law itself, so much as to carelessness in the selection of the men who are to administer it."" In the Report for the following year the Superintendent says: “The claims set up by the friends and advocates of the County Superintendency in its behalf were: 1, That it would secure better qualified teachers through the agency of more thorough examinations; and while it would spur the live teachers to greater activity, it would also weed out the incompetent and lazy. 2, That through institutes, lectures and associations, organized and conducted by the County Superintendir ents, greater interest would be awakened among the people. 3, That the schools would be made better by the supervision of men whose whole time would be devoted to the work. 4, That the missing link between the State Superintendent and the schools would thus be supplied.
“Such, in general were the claims. Have all these claims been fully met ?
“A reply to this question, must be general, covering general results. Of course there are exceptional cases. It would be strange if it were not so. Of the fifty-nine men elected by the people, some have disappointed the expectations of their friends. That there are so few cases to mourn over, is a matter of rejoicing. The system should not be judged by these exceptions. With the large majority, a sincere desire to do their duty faithfully, has prevailed, and that, too, in spite of small pecuniary compensation for their labors.
1. “In respect to the first claim, there is but one opinion. The anticipations of friends have been more than realized. Months before the County Superintendency went into operation, there was great activity among teachers. At the first ezt. aminations held, quite a large percentage were found deficient. The better part of the rejected, animated by a noble spirit, set themselves zealously to the work of preparation for another trial. The second trial has not, in many cases, found them wanting
2. “The people have been awakened more than ever before. In nearly every County short Institutes have been held; public examinations have attracted attention, and in very many cases have been largely attended by school officers.
«The two points, above treated, are of the greatest importance. Schools depend, for their efficiency, upon the teachers and patrons, alike. The best teachers fail, when unsupported by their patrons.
3. “Úpon the third point, the system has partially failed, not through any intrinsic defect, but on account of the large number of schools to be visited, within a limited time." " Al- though the County system has failed to meet all that was expected of it, by the people, in the matter of school visitation, it is, by far, superior, even in that particular, to the old township system. More schools have been visited; more correct knowledge of the condition of the schools has been obtained; more useful suggestions have been made, and carried into practice. The schools have felt the visits made, more sensibly, and have been profited more than ever before. A short visit from a competent officer, who has his mind full of his work, and who is well provided with practical suggestions, is worth more to the school, and the people at large, than fifty visits from a man who looks upon the exercises of the school room, because the law makes it his duty, and leaves, without a single suggestion, to either teacher or pupil.”
In the report for the following year, the Superintendent says: “The experiment of county superintendency has now been tried for two years. So far, it has been successful, beyond my most sanguine expectations. It has, of course, met with some disfavor. Nearly all that has been urged against it, is not really chargeable to the system, but to the improper administration of it, upon the part of the Superintendents generally. There has been no lack of zeal, and of patient laboring, under discouragements. Many have made noble sacrifices for the cause to which they have so truly devoted themselves. Their salaries have been small, but their purpose to raise the standard of education in their respective fields of labor, basbeen faithfally adhered to.
“Among the many evidences of the interest the Saperintendents take in their work, which I have witnessed and remembered, one seems specially worthy of note here. While traveling two or three days, with one of the Superintendents, over his field of labor, I noticed that his faithful steed espied school-houses more readily than I could, and when left entirely to himself, he would slacken his pace as he approached, until he came to a halt before the door. Verily, that horse knoweth his master's business.”
I could continue to make quotations from other reports from this State, and from the reports of the Superintendents of other States, but their testimony is a unit. I kave made these selections, as they hint at some of the difficulties which must be met whenever a change in the system of supervision shall be made by any State. But the fact that there may be some obstacles to overcome, and difficulties to encounter, should not deter a State in making the change. And where these difficulties are met, they should not be charged upon the system, but should be looked upon as the inevitable attendants of the change itself.
At a meeting of State Superintendents of Public Instruciton, held in Washington, in February last, considerable time was spent in discussing the question of county superintendency.
In many of the States represented, this system of school supervision has been in operation for many years, and the unanimous testimony was that the system was most successful in its working, and all had come to feel that this was a fixed and absolutely necessary part of their school systems.
Believing, as I do, that the best interest of our schools are suffering for the want of vigorous supervision, and knowing that the present system fails to meet this want, I most earnestly recommend to the consideration of the present Legislature the propriety of adopting the system of county superintendenay.
The marked prosperity which the University has enjoyed for years past still attends it. The number of students in its various departments, has been largely increased during the past year, and that number is still more increased the present year. Every department is now working up to its full capacity of men, and means, and room. The large increase of students of necessity requires a corresponding increase of teaching force, which largely augments current expenses, and requires additional rooms for recitations, lectures, &c. The income of the University, from all sources, fails to meet the necessarily large expenses. We see no reason why the number of students should not continue to increase in the future as they have in the past. It is very evident that the maximum is not yet reached. Every lover of sound learning must rejoice in this unprecedented prosperity; although so wonderful, yet full of health and vigor. No one will be willing to have it said that this prosperity is checked, or the power of the University is crippled from lack of means. Efforts have been made, to some extent, to secure the endowment of the Observatory. It is to be hoped that this effort may prove speedily successful.
The Law Library has been enriched the last year by a dongtion from Hon. Richard Fletcher, of Boston, Mass., of his large and valuable private Law Library. The number of students in the Law Department, has become so great it has been found necessary to establish a fourth professorship, which has been named the Fletcher Professorship, in honor of the donor of the Law Library just mentioned. Large additions have been made to the museum, especially in the Departments of Geology, Zoology, and Botany.
The President in his Annual Report says: “The University has been so uniformly prosperous and successful during the past year, that there is but little of incident in its history needing mention in my Annual Report. No change was made in