« AnteriorContinuar »
Last year the Bureau published and distributed a number of blank forms of inquiries as to the sites, location, construction, and arrangement of school buildings and the health of the scholars attending them in the various cities of the country. The questions were much detailed, and, although many replies have already been received, it is supposed that some difficulty was found in making complete returns because one of the blanks required a chemical examination of the air of the rooms in order to determine the degree of vitiation it had suffered from the inmates of the rooms. Iu order to explain this feature of the hygienic inspection of school buildings, which is comparatively new to those concerned, the Bureau is preparing a paper for the benefit of superintendents and others, containing a résumé of information on the subject. This paper will recite briefly the early attempts made in this country in the direction of school hygiene, as far as ventilation is concerned. The importance of a chemical examination of room air as ancillary to ventilation will then be pointed out, the method at present employed to make such examination, together with the standard or limit of impurity for school room air, will be explained, and the inadequacy of the unaided senses for this purpose will be shown. A table of the results obtained in examining some school rooms in Washington, D.C., by the method previously explained, and the formulas employed for computing the amount of ventilation from the figures so obtained, will be given.
In this connection it is a pleasure to be able to say that positive steps are being taken in the direction of school hygiene in different parts of the country by persons interested in the subject, independently, in some cases, of the initiative taken by the Bureau. The dificulties experienced by the Bureau in inaugurating inquiries in this direction are also met by the other investigators."
Dr. Wright prepared a set of questions calculated to ascertain the general hygienic conditions of the schools of the State, but the replies received were vague, showing that sufficient attention has not yet been paid to keeping records of the hygienic condition of the public schools to warrant the collection of statistics on the subject. This was also the experience of the Bureau. It appears clear, from the deficiency of records of sickness among school children on the part of the school authorities, as shown by the returns thus far, that to make a proper record of this kind and determine those causes of sickness, debility, &c., which may fairly be attributed to school life and school surroundings, a systematic medical inspection of schools should be organized, as is the case in foreign countries.
INTERNATIONAL EXPOSITION AT NEW ORLEANS.
The World's Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition at New Orleans, La., is already foreshadowing interesting possibilities for education. Director General E. A. Burke, representing the management, urges that the exposition be made international, national, and educational. Hon. William 0. Rogers, long the faithful superintendent of schools in New Orleans, was sent to the late meeting of superintendents in this city to solicit their advice and coöperation in respect to plans for making the educational part of the exhibition most effective. A committee, consisting of Messrs. G. J. Ort, of Georgia ; W. O. Rogers, of Louisiana ; J. H. Smart, of Indiana ; H. Clay Armstrong, of Alabama ; Aaron Gove, of Colorado; T. W. Bicknell, of Massachusetts; and B. L. Butcher, of West Virginia, was appointed, and also a committee, with power to act, to take into consideration an international congress of educators. The following gentlemen composed the latter committee : Hon. M. A. Newell, of Mary. land; Hon. W. T. Harris, LL. D., of Massachusetts; William H. Payne, A. M., of Michigan; Hon. Le Roy D. Brown, of Ohio; and Hon. A. Coward, of South Carolina.
1 This is illustrated by the experience of Dr. D. F. Wright, chairman of the committee on school hygiene of the Tennessee State board of health, information in regard to which comes in as this report goes through the press.
The question of holding the next meeting of the department in New Orleans, in connection with the exhibition, was also considered, and the proposition to aid in the best possible exhibition of education was unanimously indorsed.
Of the $130,000 appropriated by Congress for the exhibition of the Department of the Interior, $15,000 were set apart for the exhibition of education by this Bureau, and I have designated Lyndon A. Smith to represent this Office in the exposition and to supervise the educational exhibit.
At the solicitation of Director-General Burke, enforced by the urgency of numerous educators, and with your approval, I have accepted from the management the responsibility of supervising the organization of the educational department of the exhibit. My hope is that the exhibit may be comprehensive, typical, and logical in its arrangement, but the result will depend entirely upon the coöperation of those interested. It is very clear, first, that the general character of the exhibition cannot fail to be favorable to education; second, that the representation of education itself as far as possible to the eye may be productive of much good in advancing the knowledge of improved methods and principles, by bringing together the best that may be seen in different parts of the world.
The opportunity which will be afforded for the meeting of educators from this and other countries and for their interchange of opinions is, in my judgment, one to bo greatly prized. The exchange of the articles exhibited, the material, appliances, and representations of the conditions, results, and apparatus of education at the close of the Exposition, I hope will be specially productive (1) in adding to the important illustrations of the pedagogical museum of this Office, (2) in starting and stimulating pedagogical museums in other parts of the country, and (3) in aiding those already established in other parts of the world.
The organization of the educational museum in connection with this Office, which I have had the honor to recommend, now constituting a collection of great value and more and more visited and studied by teachers and school officers, should have a sufficient appropriation to enable it, by exchange and otherwise, to supply similar collections in the offices of the several State superintendents and the leading cities when desired. A now and important additional demand has been made upon the collection for supplying exhibits where educational collections are presented in State and other expositions. There can be no question of the effective aid these collections would render to the progress of education. Through this Office the best illustrations of improved appliances should be collected and distributed to all parts of the country.
The reports of efforts to educate the youth of 30,000 Alaskans continually disclose the embarrassments arising from all absence of local administration of law. It is said the parents are disposed to have their children taught and the pupils learn readily, but it is clear there can be no satisfactory success, that the entire youth cannot be reached, until some form of law is provided for the organization of a school system. The pledges of the past and the honor of the nation would seem to permit no delay. An inexpensive form of civil organization has been devised and an appropriation of $25,000 for the education of the children, irrespective of race, has been made. This, ju my judgment, should be increased to $50,000.
I renew most earnestly the following recommendations:
(1) I recommend that the office of superintendent of public instruction for each Territory be created, to be filled by appointment by the President, the compensation to be fixed and paid as in the case of other Federal appointees for the Territories.
(2) In view of the large number of children growing up in ignorance on account of the impoverished condition of portions of the country,
and in view of the special difficulties in the way of establishing and maintaining therein schools for universal education, and in consideration of the imperative need of immediate action in this regard,
I recommend that the whole or a portion of the net proceeds arising from the sale of public lands be set aside as a special fund, the interest of said fund to be divided annually pro rata among the several States and Territories and the District of Columbia, under such provisions in regard to amount, allotment, expenditure, and supervision as Congress in its wisdom may deem fit and proper. The returns of the last census emphasize the importance of this recommendation. The per cent. of illiteracy of persons 10 years of age and upward bas decreased from 20.05 in 1870 to 17 in 1880, but the number of illiterates over 10 years of age has increased from 5,658,144 to 6,239,958 in the same period.
The delay in making some appropriate provision of national aid to education is constantly furnishing illustrations of the necessity and advantage of bestowing this aid, and is creating widely a sentiment in favor of a large temporary appropriation in aid of schools from the surplus in the Treasury to meet the present emergency. No appropriation could be made more effectually to assure the perpetuity of our institutions.
(3) I recommend the enactment of a law requiring that all facts in regard to national aid to education and all facts in regard to education in the Territories and the District of Columbia necessary for the information of Congress be presented through this Office.
(4) I recommend an increase of the permanent force of the Office. The experienco of the Office indicates clearly that the collection of educational information and publication of the same, as required by the law regulating it, cannot be properly done with the present limited clerical force.
I take pleasure in acknowledging my indebtedness to the faithful laborers in the Office and to all others elsewhere who have contributed to the success of its work. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Commissioner. Hon. HENRY M. TELLER,
Sooretary of the Interior.