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STATE OF MICILIGAN.
ANNUAL REPORT of the Superintendent of
OFFICE OF SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION,
Lansing, Mich., December 27th, 1858. To the Legislature of the State of Michigan:
Pursuant to provisions of law the undersigned snbmits the Annual Report of this Department.
During the past year the Reports from this Olice, due in December last, have been published in a volume of over 600 pages,
which will be herewith communicated to you. The reasons for the delay in its publication are fully set forth in the document, and need not here be repeated.
There has likewise been published during the past year a volume of 464 pages on the School Funds and School Laws of Michigan, with explanatory Notes, and Forms for conducting all proceedings under the laws relating to Primary Schools. In this document are embraced articles on School Architecture, Warming and Ventilation, School Furniture, School Apparatus, and School Arrangements; and to the whole is appended, pursuant to provisions of law,
lists of Books suitable for use in Primary Schools, and for Towuship Libraries. This document will, with the volume of Reports referred to be herewith communicated to the Legislature.
Although both of these volumes have been published during the past year, a large part of the labor of preparing them had been performed during the three preceding years, though not till the present year fully prepared for publication.
The necessity for the preparation and publication of the volume entitled “School Laws of Michigan," is fully set forth in the introductory article therewith published, to which the reader is respectfully referred. In both of these documents the Superintendent has discussed a variety of topics that would otherwise claim attention in this report, to which reference need not now be made.
Kereto appended will be found the Report of the Board of Education, and the Report of the President and Treasurer of the Agricultural College. These reports contain full and specific information in relation to this institution, both as to the work it is now accomplishing, and the means requisite for the further increase of its usefulness. The Report of the Board of Education also embraces information in relation to the State Normal School,
The Report of the Regents of the University for the present year has not come to hand. But it will probably be received before the close of this report, in which case it will be hereto appended. The Report of the Board of Visitors for the present year, herewith published, is commended to the consideration of the Legislature and of the public.
No reports have been received from incorporated Institutions of Learning in the State, of later date than those embraced in my last report.
In the early part of the past season, pursuant to earnest solicitation, preliminary arrangements were made for hold. ing a series of State Teachers' Institutes. But it soon became apparent that, with the press of business which claimed the attention of the Superintendent, it would be impracticable for him to give his personal attention to them. The engagements, therefore, which had been en. tered into were taken up, and the undersigned has since devoted a large share of his time and energies to the publication of the two volumes already referred to.
Reports huve been received for the School year ending the Saturday previous to the last Monday of September, 1858, from six hundred and five townships, situated in fortyeight counties of the State. These reports represent that there are three thousand nine hundred and forty-five organized School districts in the State, in which there are two hundred and twenty-five thousa d five hundred and fifty resident children between the ages of four and eighteen years. This gives an increase during the past year of one hundred and ninety-seven districts, and of nine thousand six hundred and twenty-two children, within the legal ages, residing in districts reporting,
The reports for the last year showed an attendance at School, of 162,936 children out of 215,928-or seventy-six per cent. The reports for the present year indicate an attendance of 173,559 children out of 225,550—or seventy-seven per cent. of the whole. As more than one hundred districts, maintaining Schools from three to ten months, failed to report the number of children in attend. ance, the above must be considerably less than the real number attending School during the year, exclusive of such as have attended Seminaries, Academies, and other Schools.
The reports represent that the average length of time Schools have been maintained in districts reporting, is six months; and that seven thousand two hundred and twenty. eight teachers have been employed in them; of whom two thousand three hundred and twenty-four are males, and
four thousand nine hundred and four females. The wages paid these teachers amounts, in the aggregate, to $443,113 71, of which amount $118,084 14 has been raised by rate bill.
The amount raised by voluntary tax upon the property of the districts voting it, is $316,558 26. Of this sum $119,175 51 has been for building Schoolhouses.
The amount of mill tax reported is $116,362 04, exclusive of ninety-nine townships that made no reports under this head.
The whole amount of money raised by township and district taxes, for educational purposes, as indicated by the reports received, is $551,004 44. To this sum add $107,395 13, the same being the amount of Primary School Interest Money apportioned at this Office during the year, and we have $658,399 57, as the total amount expended for the support of Primary Schools in the State, during the past year, as indicated by the reports received at this Office.
The number of Township Librarios reported is four hundred and eighty-seven, containing in all, one hundred and sixty-eight thousand nine hundred and seventy-seven volumes. But as one hundred and eighteen townships have failed to report under this head, it is manifest the libraries have not all been reported. Moreover, of the reports received, many are defective, and they often indicate great neglect on the part of the officers having the libraries in charge.
In my Report for the year 1856, I recommended that provision be made by law for clerical aid in this Department; that the requirement of the Constitution providing for the establishment and maintenance of Free Schools, be complied with, and for this purpose I suggested that our present mill tax be changed to a two mill tax. I recommended that one of the three district officers be elected annually, and that each be elected for the period of three
years, instead of all three being elected for one year, as at present; that provision be made for a system of School district libraries, and for the purchase of standard library books from a responsible contractor at reduced rates; and that provision be made for a more thorough system of inspection of teachers, and for a more efficient supervision of Schools. As a means of accomplishing this desirable end, I suggested the appointment of District Commissioners, or County Superintendents of Schools.
These, with a few other recommendations, will be found in my report for 1856, herewith laid before you, pp. 20 to 27, to which I would respectfully refer. These recommendations I renew, and for the reasons then stated at length. In consequence of the recent reprint of our School laws for the use of School Oficers, these provisions may seem less desirable now than when they were originally recommended, still I deem them even now important.
A large number of districts, at their recent annual meetings, voted to supply themselves with Webster's Diction. ary. But many have been deterred from doing so now, as others were a year ago, on account of the hard times. I therefore recommend that the provisions of the law of 1857 be extended two years further, for the accommodation of districts that may desire yet to supply themselves with that valuable work.
Up to the 5th of June last, one thousand one hundred and thirty-eight Dictionaries had been furnished to districts under provisions of law, as stated in my last annual report; in payment for which, the State Treasurer's draft for $4,552 00 was that day forwarded to the publishers, Messrs. G. & C. Merriam, of Springfield, Mass. Since that time, up to the printing of this paragraph-Dec. 30th, 1858_orders have been received from Supervisors for one hundred and forty-one additional copies of the Dictionary, for which there is now due the Publishers $564 00. Money has been raised by districts pot embraced in the