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urges education upon the people of Massachusetis for the saine red-: son. "I am strongly convinced,” says be, “that it behooves our ancient commonwealth to look anxiously to this subject, if she wishes to maintain her honorable standing in the union of the States.”
Would Michigan attain a high rank and an honorable distinction in this matchless confederacy of States,---would she keep pace with the rapid march of improvement and of mind. --would she exert her just share of influence in the grand councils of the nation--let her stretch every nerve, and ply every means to move foward the glorious work. Let perseverance be written upon the walls of her capitol, and let this be the watchword of her people, till every child in the State shall become thoroughly educated, and filted to fulfil his duty faithfully, to bis country and his God. The object is high, the inducements great, and the rewards above all price.-(J. D. Pierce, Superintendent, 1839.
While the desirableness of education, in the best sense of the term, is admitted by every reflecting mind, its importance, under a free government like ours, no one can fully estimate. Our fathers held it in their highest regard, for they planted their school houses, with their churches, beside the war path of the Indian, while yet their first rude cabins but half sheltered them from the cold blasts of a New England winter. Since the May.flower landed the “Anglo Saxon exiles," that band of noble spirits which leid the foundation of a far spreading and powerful empire, no period is to be found in the history of our country, when education has not been more or less generally regarded as an object of the highest public concernment.
It is most assuredly an omen of lasting good to this infant community, and also a matter of congratulation, that so many aru disposed not only to listen to, but to enter upon, the discussion of a subjeot so transcendently important in all its bearings upon the great interests of man, as the education of a whole people. It is certainly desirable to extend a good education to every child in the State, of whatever name or complexion—such an education as is suited to his wants, to his condition and circumstances in life. To do thus much should be the settled purpose of every citizen of this rising commonwealth, and the high aim of its legislation and government.
As the desire of improvement is universal, why not extend the blessings of education to every individual of all classes? This desire is not only universal, but every member of the human family is capable of an endless progression in improvement. Progress is the great principle of human existence. Progress in knowledge, in morality, in expansion of intellect, in arts and the subjugation of all nature to his own uses--progress in civilization, in reînement, and in the more full enjoyment of his noble rational existence, is the all engrossing desire of man. Not of any one man—but of the entire
Why then confine the blessings of education to a privileged few? It can be desired by that few only for the purpose of converting the balance of our race into mere hewers of wood and drawers of water
Man has not only the capacity and the power of continual advancement, but he has advanced, often in the midst of the most adverse circumstances, from the beginning of time. Not every individual of every age and tribe, not every generation of man-but man in his social nature and condition, as a sensitive and percipient being--the human race as a great and mighty family, have always been moving forward more or less rapidly in civilization and improvement. Besides, all men admire new forms of beauty-all are pleased with elegant, graceful and sublime objects-all desire to better their condition, to improve themselves and families, to enjoy more of life in its best sense--and all may improve and better their condition by wisely directed efforts. Why then resist this generous and ennobling impulse of human nature-why continue to chain down both body and soul in all the misery, the degradation, the meanness, the despair, the blackness and darkness of perpetual iynorance? Why resist the onward march of improvement to universal empire?
Children, as well as men, love improvement. They love to learn, go forward, see, hear, examine, compare, combine. The God of nature bas formed them for it, and made them as susceptible of advancement in all that can adora and beautify, as the earth is of cul. tivation; and this desire of improvement can no more be eradicated from the constitution af man than he can cease to be. So long as men desire the comforts of life-pure air, wholesome food, suitable clothing and convenient dwellings—they must constantly desire to better their condition. Why then do such men as Peel and Weilington, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, regard with an evil eye, and resist to utter desperation, all efforts and plans to instruct and elevate the great body of the people? Why do they so strenously oppose the establishment of schools throughout the empire, of which they are so prominent and powerful members? Is it because in these institutions men would learn to understand and appreciate their rights, powers, obligations and duties, and hence be no longer capable of being used as mere instruments to administer to the ambition, the pride, the pleasure and self-exaltation of the noble few? Or is it because they apprehend, in case the schools succeed, that they and their families may be reduced to what is to them the most terrible of all evils, the necessity of laboring to provide for their own sub. sistence? But education, which is the cause of man, must and will triumph over all its enemies.
To educate, is to draw out, unfold, develop, enlarge and strengthen, all the powers, faculties and susceptibilities of human nature. Education is hence the great business of human existence. It is the all important end to be pursued through life; while instruction is the presentation of facts, the communication of light and knowledge, and is one principal means of accomplishing that end It is true much depends on the nature of the education, which is obtained through the manifold instrumentality that may be employed. “As the twiy is bent, the tree's inclined.” This declaration is full of meaning. How desirable then that such an education be given and received, as will fit for continued and increasing usefulness?--J. D. PIEROE, Superintendent, 1840.
That knowledge which a good education furnishes, is exceedingly valuable in all that pertains lo human life-in the direction of housebold affairs-in the supply, management and economy of the kitchen-in the laying out and proper cultivation of the garden-in all the arrangements and business of the farm-in the gathering and preservation of all the products both of the farm and garden--in the building of houses, barns, mills, factories and other editices, whether public or private--in digging a race or canal-in constructing a mil! dam or railroad-in the manufactory of every variety of articles, whether for domestic or foreign use-in navigation and the multifarious operations of commerce--in all the business of government–in legislation—in the administration of justice—in all the professions—in the practice of law and medicine-in the pulpit and teaching.
An ignorant man, in the midst of an educated community, must ever find it impossible to sustain himself. All with whom he has to do, seem to be above him. Others appear to enjoy the fruit of bis labor. And why is it so? Because he has not sufficient acquired knwoledge to direót wisely his own efforts. Being unable to compete with his neighbors, he becomes disheartened and gives himself crime. The inmates of State prisons are generally ignorant, uneducated men. Those, therefore, who suffer their children to grow up uninstructed, leave them without the means necessary to improve their condition, protect their rights, or even to preserve what they may have gained for them. The same is true of a State in the midst of nations generally uneducated. No people can prosper without intelligence and skill to direct State affairs. An ignorant community can never compete with a State guided by superior knowledge. What has enabled the government of Great Britain to lay under beavy contribution large portions of the globe? What has enabled the iew of that island to tax many millions of people in other parts of the world?" Superior knowledge. As education with them is confined to the privileged orders, they have contrived by various monopolies to appropriate to themselves a great share of the wealth and proceeds of the labor of their own country and people.
The history of the world in by-gone ages furnishes a most instruotive lesson. It teaches us what must ever be the fate of an ignorant, uneducated people.
Our own history strikingly illustrates the value of knowledge, among the great mass of the people. It lies at the foundation of all the improvements and enterprise of the country. It was the origin of that glorious revolution which gave birth to a great, widely extended, and growing republic, and liberty to all her citizens. Our fathers knew their rights. The people were all educated. No child was suffered to grow up ignorant of his rights, powers, obligations, duties. When of age, and called to act in the township assemblies, those pure democracies, to which a late distinguished writer has traced the origin of all our republican institutions—be was qualified to act his part with honor to himself and usefully to his country. When we can fully appreciate our present condition, prosperous and happy, in comparison with that of the great body of the people in
other portions of the globe, we shall better understand, and form an inconceivably higher estimate of the value of knowledge among the people.-J. D. PIERCE, Sup't, 1840.
IMPROVEMENT OF THE SCHOOLS. Vast sums are yearly squandered to no purpose. If the books -selected consist of extracts and compilations, wholly unsuited to the capacity of children-if the house is cold or crowded, inconvenient and uncomfortable-and especially if given over to the management of an incompetent teacher, the school becomes a scene of anarchy and confusion, and all is waste--the young mind becomes disgusted with books and schools and teachers, and hates learning forever af. ter. There is need also of improvement in the selection of school house sites; it is not, as many seem to imagine, a matter of indifference where the school house is located. It ought to be the most healthy and attractive spot within the circle of the district, just regard being had to convenience. The building should be spacious and warm, and well ventilated, with a yard suitably enclosed for playful exercise. The entire premises, with all thereunto belonging, the construction of the house and its internal arrangements, should be a picture of order, of neatness and comfort; and present to the youthful mind a pleasing and lovely aspect. It should be an enchanting spot, sheltered alike from the cold blasts of winter, and the summer's scorching sun; a place of love, of kindness and good will; and not a place of whips, consternation, despotism and terror. Let all be, in and out of school, as it should be, and the young mind is led daily to contemplate the usefulness and beauty of method, which cannot fail to produce a refined taste, with habits of order. But these topics in regard to the internal condition of schools, their government and order--the branches to be taught—the books to be used; the improvements which may be introduced in the methods of teaching-what defects are to be supplied—what evils to be remedied; the comparative advantages and disadvantages of different systems, especially of the monitorial-and various other matters pertaining to schools, will naturally and necessarily come up for consideration, :when some general system for their external organization shall be perfected. The foundations must be laid, and the frame work completed, before the edifice can receive its finish in the internal apartments.“[J. D. PIERCE, Sup't, 1837.
CHARACTER OF INSPECTORS. Upon the wisdom, fidelity and zeal of this board, the success of the whole system will in a great measure depend. They will be called to decide on the qualifications of teachers; and consequently to fix the standard of education in their respective townships. If this standard is low, the schools must suffer an irretrievable loss. For the maxim of the Germans is strictly true: “ As is the master so is the school.” If his capacity is small, and his acquirements small, he will lull to sleep rather than wake up the energies of the youthful mind. Should he prove to be a man of passion, he will inspire fear,
rather than a love of knowledge. It will therefore be within the power of the board of inspectors to aid greatly in raising the standard of education. And is this board must be supposed to represent the sentiment and feeling of the communities in which they respectively rside, it will be essentially important to impress upon the townships the necessity of maintaining an efficient board of school inspeotors. Let their powers be ample, and let them be adequately sustained in the discharge of their duties, and the work will be done. And then the fruit will be, a well educated and vigorous people--a people trained in the school of knowledge and virtue-a people understanding their rights and capable of sustaining them.
Whatever form of external organization it may be thought best to adopt, it will be remembered that the system cannot be executed without agents. And as already intimated, on the number, activity and energy of these agents, will the success of the system depend. Much must necessarily be committed to them, and left to their management and care. It is worthy of remark, that they will be intrusted with executive and not legislative powers. These agents will be trustres of the people, deputed to fulfill certain important trusts. They will not be makers, but officers of the law; it will be their duty to do its bidding. Toinsure success, we must have simplicity, combined with activity and energy. Hence the number of the agents should be just enough to secure these desirable ends. If there are too many to do the work, it will not be done. In such a state of things, there will sometimes be neglect, and sometimes confusion, rather than decision, efficiency and action. It is therefore submitted, as worthy of deliberate consideration, whether it will not be best to reduce, from what they now are, at least one-half, the officers of the district and township organization. Let the agents be few, let their duties be clearly defined, and let them, as in the Prussian system, be paid for their services. Whatever may be thought of the Prussian government, so strong is the sense of justice in that people, that they bave no idea of taking the time and labor of individuals, and applying them to the public benefil, without compensation. And it is conceived to be equally against the spirit and letter of our constitution, to require the services of any without paying them for what they do. The time of every man is his property, and cannot either justly or constitutionally be taken and given to the public without remuneration. Hence, when the good of the public calls any of its members to the discharge of important duties, let them he paid for their labor. In this view of the subject, it will not be advisable to employ more agents in the school system than will be sufficient to insure its suc
To employ more than enough, would be to impose an unnecessary burden, whether paid or unpaid.—[J. D. Pierce, Superinterdent, 1837.
What has here been said regarding a judicious choice of men to form the district board, applies, with increased force, to the selection of persons to constitute the township board of school inspectors. Their situation involves great responsibility. Their duties, if not the most arduous, are always important, and sometimes delicate. They have