« AnteriorContinuar »
to avail themselves of the privileges of the library, indicates too general a failure to supply these institutions with the requisite proportion of elementary books.
In the selection of books for the districi libraries, suitable provision should be made for every gradation of intellectual advancement; from that of a child, whose insatiable curiosity eagerly prompts to a more intimate acquaintance with the world of matter and of mind, to that of the most finished scholar, who is prepared to augment his stock of knowledge by every means which may be brought within his reach. The prevalence of an enlighteneri appreciation of the requirements of our people in this respect, has already secured the application of the highest grade of mental and moral excellence to the elementary departments of literature; and works adapted to the comprehension of the most immature intellect, and at the same time conveying the most valuable information to more advanced minds, have been provided--wholly free, on the one hand, from that puerility which is fit only for the nursery, and on the other, from those generalizations and assumptions which are adapted only to advanced stages of mental progress. A more liberal infusion of this class of publications sanctioned by the approbation of the most experienced friends of education into our district libraries, would, it is confidently believed, remove many of those obstacles to their general utility, which otherwise are liable to be perpetuated from gereration to generation.--Dıx, Sup't. N. Y.
Officers required by law to exercise their judgments, are not answerable for mistakes of law, or mere errors of judgment, without any fraud or malice.-- Jenkins vs. Waldron, 11th Johnson's Reports, 114.
A public officer who is required by law to act in certain cases, ao. cording to his judgment or opinion, and subject to penalties for his neglect, is not liable to a party for an omission arising from a mistake or want of skill, if acting in good fuith --Seaman vs. Paten, 2d Caine's Reports, 312.
But an officer entrusted by the common law or by statute, is liable to an action for negligence in the performance of his trust, or for fruud or neglect in the execution of his office.-- Jenner vs. Joliffe, John. Rep. 381.
The collector or other officer who executes process, has peculiar protection. He is protected, although the court or officer issuing such process have not, in fact, jurisdiction of the case; if, on the face of the process, it appears that such court or officer had jurisdiction of the subject matter, and nothing appears in such process to apprise the officer but that there was jurisdiction of the person of the party affected by the process—Savacool vs. Bouyhton, 5 Wendell's Reporta, 170.-(N. Y. Dec.
A teacher may employ necessary means of correction to maintain order; but he should not dismiss a scholar from school without consultation with the trustees.- 1b.
Teachers, though not, strictly speaking, inhabitants of the district where they are located, should be allowed to participate in all the privileges and benefits of the district libraries.- N. Y. Dec.
The authority of the teacher to punish his scholars, extends to acts done in the school room, or play ground, only; and he has no legal right to punish for improper or disorderly conduct elsewhere.-16.
Where a teacher is dismissed by the trustees for good cause, he ean collect his wages only up to the period of his dismissal.
The teacher of a school bas necessarily the government of it; and he may prescribe the rules and principles on which such government will be conducted. The trustees should not interfere with the discipline of the school, except on complaint of misconduct on the part of the teacher; and they should then invariably sustain such teacher, anless his conduct has been grossly wrong:-Ib.
The holydays on which a teacher may dismiss his school are such as it is customary to observe, either throughout the country or in praticular localities; among which may be enumerated the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New-Year's, &c.-16.
The teacher may also, unless restraineed by special contract to the contrary, dismiss his school on the afternoon of each Saturday, or the whole of each alternate Saturday, according to the particular custom of the district in that respect, or his own convenience and that of the inhabitants.---Ib.
The practice of inflicting corporal punishment upon scholars, in any case whatever, has no sanction but usage. The teacher is responsible for maintaining good order, and he must be the judge of the degree and nature of the punishment required, where his authority is set at defiance. At the same time he is liable to the party injured for any abuse of a prerogative which is wholly derived from custom.-16.
EXTRACTS FROM THE REPORTS OF THE SUCCESSIVE
SUPERINTENDENTS OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN.
The opinions of men who have successively held the position of Superintendent of Public Instruction, and whose labors and experience have been given to the cause of education and to the system of instruction, cannot but be deemed of importance. Their views upon the subjects embraced under the following heads should not be lost sight of, but are respectfully commended to the school officers and oitizens of Michigan, as embracing valuable suggestions. Taken together, they form the opinions upon various subjects of all the of. ficers who have been placed at the head of the school system of Michigan, so far as it has been deemed practicable to compile them for publication in this document.
IMPORTANCE OF THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS. The Superintendent cannot but urge anew the vast importance of making the public schools fully adequate to the wants of the entire community, and furnishing them with teachers competent to discharge the duties of their bigh calling. If. as they should be, deci. dedly superior to all other schools, they will be patronized as well by the rich as the poor. No schools are so expensive us privute schools. Thus in Cincinnati, where the greatest provision is made for common school education of any city in the west, fifteen hundred children are taught in private schools, at an annual expense of twenty-seven thousand dollars; wbile in the public schools about three thousand are taught at a yearly expense of twenty-five thousand dollars. And it is gratifying learn that the best teachers are to be found in the public schools; and so judiciously are these schools managed, that they are fast superseding all private ones, and gaining the ascen. dancy in the minds of all classes. If those two sums could be united in the support of the public schools, the entire youth of the city would be adequately supplied with schools of the first order. No influence can be more salutary upon the public mind, than that going out from such institutions. It soothes and harmonizes the great community of the public, and forms a connecting link among its different classes." Says Mr. Lewis, in the address before quoted, "It is to be borne in mind that ours is a government of public opinion, and when manhood arrives, the most ignorant and depraved" lad about your streets, will have as much positive influence as the most wealthy and incelligent; and their influence among their fellows is generally even greater, owing to the prejudice against the rich. Nor are all the wealthy wholly exempe from a prejudice on the other extreme; especially when educated in select schools and confined to select society.
Establish common schools, and sustain them well, and you will most assuredly fix a place where all classes will in childhood become familiar, before the influence of pride, wealth and family can bias the mind. An acquaintance thus formed, will last as long as life itself. Take fifty lads in a neighborhood, including rich and poor, send them in childhood to the same school, let them join in the same sports, read and spell in the same classes, until their different circumstances fix their business for lise; but let the most eloquent orator that ever mounted a western stump, attempt to prejudice the minds of one part against the other, and so far from succeeding, the poorest of the whole would consider himself insulted, and from his own knowledge stand up in defence of his more fortunate schoolmate. The ties of friendship formed at school, outlive every other where relationship does not exist. Can any man meet the schoolmate of by-gone days, without feelings that almost hallow the greeting?"
if such are the influences created by common schools, who would not wish to see them established in every corner of the State? Who would not wish to see such feelings cherished in every you:hful
breast? If the rich would but consult the future interests of their cbildren, and not their pride and vanity; if they would raise them up to be beloved and respected, and not to become a by.word and a reproach among all their neighbors, and to be despised and pointed at with the tinyer of scorn whenever they pass the streels; they would countenance and support the establishment of public schools adequate to the wants of the whole community. Nothing more is wanting to put our schools on high and prominent ground than the general co-operation of the public and a full supply of well qualified teachers. Time and the measures going into operation will ere long furoish these, and there can be little doubt that the good sense and reflection of the public will soon lead to that co-operation. But whatever may be the obstacles to universal education, and however great and many the difficulties to be encountered, they must be met and overcome. “The people must be educated or the government cannot stand. The right of suffrage is universal--the means of knowledge must be co-extensive. Where the necessities for education are the greatest, there the difficulties are the greatest, and the means the least. Education does not and cannot, by any means yet devised and in operation, reach the mass of the peeple, adequate to qualify them for the duties and responsibilities of freemen. Nay, there are immense numbers who never enter a school or receive an education at all. It bas been estimated, and the fact been published in Europe, that there are at least thirteen hundred thousand free white children and youth south and west of New York, totally destitute of the means of elementary instruction. These facts, with the practical commentary afforded by the riots, recklessness of law and order, by the deliberate organization of infuriated mobs on the slighest grounds, and for the most inadequate causes, are full of meaning, and cannot be misunderstood. These symptoms of disorganization and detiance of law have been manifested in every part of the country, and they demonstrate, with appalling certuinty, that popular ignorance and vice do gain ground upon all the means of popular education now in action. How long the institutions of the country, based upon the intelligence of the people, and intended for the enjoyment of intelligent freemen, can withstand and survive the undermininys of ignorance and corruption, and the shocks of reckless vice and crime, is a problem which it will not take many generations to solve."'* "You may dig canals, construct railroads and turnpikes, establish manufactories, cultivate fields, erect your splendid mansions, accuwulate wealth until you become the pride of the earth, if you do not keep a good moral education of the whole population in advance of all your other improvements, you are but making a ricber prize for some bold, crafty and successful tyrant, who must ultimately be hailed as a welcome deliverer from anarchy and confusion. Whatever was written aforetime was written for our instruction. Let me refer you to the history of olher nations and other times Did not France desire to be free? Did she not deserve to be free,
* Hon, Jam: 16. Carler, Specch. Hols: Rep 8.0. letiver, Massacl 0.:8, 13:.
it a sacrifice of blood and treasure could merit freedom. She was not without learned men.
But the great mass of the community were not learned. Hence they were imposed upon by the few, and the people, after enacting all that patriotism, bravery, wealth and numbers could do, and breasting the opposition of combined Europe, ultimately threw themselves into the arms of a Corsician soldier! to save ihemselves from the ravages of an outraged and ignorant mob. And it is only through fear of re-enacting the same scenes, that France has recently submitted to a tyranny as much worse than that of the dethroned monarch as we can well conceive."* It is devoutly to be hoped that the Michigan school system may be found tully adequate, in the means it is providing and accumulating to qualify each and every individual for the duties and responsibilittes of a freeman and a citizen.- J. D. PIERCE, Superindendent, 1838.
The object of education is to raise up, and not to pull down; to improve the condition of man, to advance the interests of the whole people, while increasing the individual happiness and prosperity of every member in the commonwealth. If education results in the perfection of government, it also leads to the like perfection in science, in the arts and in every species of improvement. It is education that unfolds the hidden mysteries of creation, and introduces man to the secret springs by which he is destined to arrive at the highest degree of physical
, intellectual and moral attainment. The improvements she is yet to make, and which she alone can make, in machinery, in mechanic arts, and in the implements of husbandry, will secure to every man, with four hour's labor, a competence for bimsell and his family. The great balance of time, expended as it should be, in moral and mental eulture, would introduce us at once to the golden age of man. A less amount of labor than this can never be desired. Such an amount is essential to the beauty and perfection of his physical nature—to the development, the healthy and vigorous action of his bodily constitution and power.
The people of the older States, sensible of the urgent necessity of education, are awaking to redoubled efforts in its behalf.
Wise men in those States, confident that this is the only way to preserve a preponderating influence in the general government of our common country, have been, and are promoting every means to advance the cause of general education, with the avowed purpose of raising up men of distinguished attainments and ability, to guide and direct in their councils. This was the purpose of Jefferson, when he founded the University of Virginia. He perceived that power was gradually passing the mountains, and that, at no distant period, it was destined to take up its abode in the valley of the Mississippi; and instead of bewailing its departure, set himself to devise ways and means to retain and exercise all the influence that high attainments in literature, science and the arts can give to any people. Governor Everett, in his late address at the commencement of Williams' college,
•Address of Hon. Samuel Lewin.