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Acts to consolidate and amend Normal School act,.
* amend the same,....
STATE OF MICHIGAN.
Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
To Hrs EXCELLENCY, Robert McCLELLAND,
818-When the illustrious Chief and Exile from Europe, whose eloquence and philosophy and patriotism have so recently astonished the world, planted his footsteps for the first time upon the shores of the United States, impressed with a sense of its commercial greatness, as exhibited in the great metropolis of our country, his lofty genius, looking beyond the triumphs of the physical world, ascribed the glory of America to its educational institutions, and the provisjons made in the early days of the Republic, for the support and spread of Primary School education. Looking back, not yet a century, American institutions existed not even in name. The struggles of the Revolution established them as a fact; and it is a circumstance well worthy of remembrance, that our educational system is closely allied to the trials of the revolutionary war, and its means of education, for the support of schools, derived from the consequences of that war-the immense public debt which it created. It is an interesting fact in the history of our country, illustrating the sagacity and foresight of our fathers, that as a means of extinguishing that debt, and as one, the most reliable and sure of all others that could be devised, the one thirty-sixth part of the public domain was set apart forever, as a fund for the advancement of education-thus presenting an inducement to the purchase of the lands, and to the settlement of the country, which has effected its purpose, and scattered over the length and breadth of our land, a race of hardy men who have subdued our forests, cultivated our fields, and laid the basis of physical, social, intellectual and moral prosperity and wealth. It is most gratifying, but not wonderful that such a race should be deeply impressed with the idea, that to perpetuate the blessings of liberty and good government, schools, and the means of education should forever be encouraged. New England has long boasted of her system of schools, and means of education; and it has not been vain boasting. From the land of the Rock of Plymouth, from its statesmen, its orators, its poets, and its people, a powerful influence has been sent out in behalf of education. There the principle of schools, free and open to all-the doctrine of universal education-received its first impulse. The glory of New England in her schools is the achievement of more than a century. Her system had its origin among the causes of the revolution--ours is one of its consequences. The success of both the triumph of education everywhere in our land—the means afforded for its support-educational institutions provided throughout the several States of the Union--constitute the common glory of the Republic, as they afford the only safeguard for its progress and perpetuity. "Each State," says a distinguished living statesman, " is deeply interested in the welfare of every other, for
the representatives of the whole regulate, by their votes, the measures of the Union, which must be happy and prosperous in proportion as its councils are gnided by more enlightened views, resulting from the more universal diffusion of Light and Knowledge and Education."
The educational history of our country, has not yet been developed in the manner it should be. One of the principal causes which has prevented it from being done, has been the fact that in most of the States of the Union there has been no separate officer charged with the special supervision of Public Instruction. Information could not be concentrated, nor reduced to system. So long as the interests of education are mado socondary in importance, in the scale of public offices, so long will its legitimate benefits be greatly retarded. Every State needs a separate officer of Public Instruction, charged with its general supervision, whose special duty it should be to accumulate all the material which is legitimately embraced in a system of Public Instruction, to present it in embodied form before the representatives of the people, and thus socure from time to time, that just share of attention to which the subject is entitled at the hands of those who are placed in authority to frame our laws and to mould and form our local governments.
The State of Michigan was the first in the Union that established a constitutional officer by the name and designation of “Superintendent of Public Instruction.” The system contemplated by the framers of the first constitution and laws, embraced the widest field. It con. sisted of a head of the department, designated as above with general supervision; a University, in which education was free, governed by a Board of Regents, now elected by the people, with a local Faculty; branches of the University, and a system of Primary Schools, under the management of Township officers, designated Inspectors of Primary Schools, and district officers, known as Moderator, Director and Assessor of the school district. It did not contemplate the creation of other incorporated literary institutions; but as their establishment is based upon influences which must always continue to exist, and be more or less powerful, charters were subsequently granted to these institutions. Having received such charters, they are legitimately embraced in the system of Public Instruction, and in most instances, as they should be in all, made subject to the visitation of the Superintendent, and required to make to him an annual report. The institutions and officers as above enumerated, have constituted the educational working force of Michigan for the first fifteen years of its existence. To these has been added by the Legislature of 1850, a State Normal School, the exclusive purposes of which are defined in the organic law, to be “the instruction of all persons, both male and female, in the art of teaching, and in all the various branches that pertain to a good common school education; also to give instruction in the arts of husbandry and agricultural chemistry-in the fundamental laws of the United States, and in what regards the rights and duties of citizens." This school is under the government of a Board of Education, consisting of three members, and the Superintendent of Public Instruction, who are elected by the people. The requisite inain building has been erected, at an expense of over twenty thousand dollars, thirteen thousand of which was subscribed and paid by the citizens of Ypsilanti, where the school is located. This institution will be put into operation in the course of the coming fall or spring, when the principal and requisite teachers will be employed, and its course of studies announced.
By an act of the Legislature approved June 231, 1851, all State officers from whom reports are required to be made to the Legislature, are to report for the year 1851 to the Governor of the State. Under an act prescribing the duties of Superintendent of Public Instruction, it is provided that he shal annually prepare and transmit to the Governor a report containing:
1. A statement of the condition of the University and its branches; of all incorporated lite rary institutions and of the primary schools.
2. Estimates and amounts of expenditures of the school money.
3. Plans for the improvement and management of all educational funds, and for the better organization of the educational system, if in his opinion the same be required.
4. The condition of the Normal Sehool.