Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

STATE OF MICHIGAN.

No. 7.

LEGISLATURE, 1861.

ANNUAL REPORT of the Superintendent of

Public Instruction.

To the Legislature af the State of Michigan :

The annual reports received at the Office of Public Instruction, for the year 1860, from the Primary Schools and incorporated Institutions of Learning, exhibit a very gratifying growth of the educational interests of the State. The enlightened zeal and liberal spirit which have wrought such changes in our Schools within the past few years, are becoming the settled habit and permanent sentiment of the people. Our State is gaining a wide and enviable reputation for its educational advantages, and the Schools, fostered with such a wise liberality, are reacting with an evident and beneficial power upon the material interests as well as public character of our citizenship. A full exhibit of all the facts would prove, it is believed, that our University, and Union and Primary Schools and other institutions of learning are contributing as much to the merely material progress and development of the State, as are the Rail Roads and Banks and mining interests which have heretofore claimed so large a share of the attention of our Law-makers. No questions more immediately concern and interest the entire

people of the State than those which relate to the perfection and support of the public Schools. It is to be hoped, therefore, that these questions will gain from the Legislature that wise and deliberate attention which their importance demands and which is so essential to any safe and sufficient legislation. It should be reflected that any change in the School Laws, reaches every district and affects every home in the State.

The great magnitude and importance of this department of the public interest, and its claims upon the regards of the wise and patriotic statesman, will be evident from the following comprehensive exhibit of the personal and pecuniary resources of the Schools.

The territory of the State is distributed into more than four thousand School Districts, each having its group of homes and home interests, and its separate Schoolhouse and School, where the great work of educating the young goes yearly on. In these thousands of School Districts, are living, as shown by the School census of 1860, two hundred and forty-six thousand six hundred and eighty-four children, of the ages to which the law adjudges instruction to be due. In this great mass of childhood, embracing nearly one-third of our entire population, lie the germs of the future character and power of the State.

There were employed the past year in the care of these Schools and the education of these children, seven thousand nine hundred and forty-one Teachers. Nearly two thousand citizens bore the office and discharged the duties of School Inspectors in the supervision of this work, and more than twelve thousand district School officers were engaged in the management of the affairs of the separate districts.

There is invested in School-houses and other School property, in the primary School districts of the State, as shown even in the partial returns, the magnificent sum of $1,505,616 34.

The wages of the teachers of the Schools, last ed to $467,286 50; and, if we add to this the amount paid to School offlcers, the cost of School library and books, and the expenses attendant upon maintaining children at School, the whole

year, amount

annual cost of our educational interest will fall but little short of one million of dollars, a sum greater than the entire aggregate of expenditures by the State government for all other purposes. An interest so costly and grand may well claim the attention of the law-makers of the State, even though we leave out of sight the mighty and transforming influences whic', this vast enginery of education is exerting upon all the spiritual and mental forces of the State, shaping the character, animating the industry, and inspiring, with higher aims and more fruitful plans, the enterprize of the people.

THE UNIVERSITY.

The annual report of the Regents, published in the appendix, exhibits the State University as in a very flourishing condition. Its eminent success and growing reputation are matters of State pride, while its influence upon our general educational interests is wide reaching and beneficial. It has proved a rich boon to our State and well merits the fostering care of the Legislature. I would refer to the several reports from the officers and visitors for a statement of its condition and wants.

INCORPORATED COLLEGES AND ACADEMIES.

I have visited, the past year, as far as other duties would permit, the higher institutions of learning, and am happy, from personal observation, to report them in a healthful and prosperous condition. Though some of them are embarrassed for want of sufficient funds, they are prosecuting the work for which they were established, with a gratifying efficiency and success. It has been the settled policy of the State to furnish no direct pecuniary aid to private and denominational institutions of learning, and it is difficult to see how that policy can be departed from without opening the door to a wide and indiscriminate demand

upon the State for material aid, not only for the institutions now existing, but for a multitude of others which would spring into being under the prospect of such aid. The wisest friends of these institutions have been unable to devise any, general plan on which the State can safely grant them any direct appropriation. But while thus prohibited from aiding in their support, the State cannot but look with approbation on the valuable work they are accomplishing for society at large and for the particular sections in which they are located. They constitute no small part of our facilities for higher education, and afford no small share of the higher grade of instruction given in the State. They have also performed a most important service in training large numbers of teachers for the Primary Schools in their respective vicinities, and the State could illy afford to spare them from the system of Schools, of which they. are really, though not nominally, a part. No intelligent citizen can refuse his admiration and sympathy for labors prosecuted with such a self-sacrificing and christian zeal, and which are so fruitful in public good. It is to be hoped that the liberality of private benefactors, and the generosity of large hearted lovers of learning may more than make up the lack of State bounty and give to these institutions, the support they deserve. Should it be deemed politic to establish Normal Classes in some of the high Schools of the State, under the direction of the State Board of Education, the services of these institutions might perhaps be made available for this important public use, and some slight aid be thus rendered them in return.

The number of Colleges, of this denominational class, now in the State, is five, viz: Kalamazoo, Albion, Hillsdale, Olivet and Adrian Colleges. The number of incorporated Academies and Seminaries is eleven, two of which, the Detroit Female Seminary, and the Michigan Collegiate Institute, Jackson, were incorporated this year.

Much difficulty has been experienced in procuring from these Institutions the reports required by law. Those which have been received will be found in the appendix.

NORMAL SCHOOL AND ACRICULTURAL COLLEGE.

The Report of the State Board of Education, of which the Superintendent is ex officio, a member, will accompany this Re port, and reference is made to that for all needful information

« AnteriorContinuar »