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unfavorable, to having the library feature incorporated into our
educational code." A remarkable deduction from the cheering
fact, that the number of volumes taken out is more than equivalent
to the entire library being taken out eight times in one year. A
township in Vermillion county, with 325 volumes, reports 1130
taken out and adds, " It is a good feature in our system, and
should be continued." A township in Vanderburgh county, with
325 volumes, reports seven thousand six hundred volumes taken
out.

More facts of a similar character might be given from other
counties, were it necessary. They will be found embodied in the
tabular portion of this Report, under their appropriate head. —
Look at the report from St. Josephs county. Why may not
similar exhibits be received from all our counties in subsequent
years ? From a careful comparison of the number of volumes in
the several township libraries, with the number taken out during
twelve months, it will be seen in what localities they have done
the most, and also where they have failed to accomplish their
appropriate mission. It is proper to remark in this connection,
that the number of volumes taken out of the libraries, is but an
imperfect exhibit of the true number read by the families, into
which these volumes find their way, from the simple fact, that
almost every volume that goes into many a family, will be read
by several members of that circle. With these results of its oper-
ation for one year, and these suggestions of township officers,
relative to the estimation in which the library feature is held by
the people, it will not be difficult to perceive its value as an educa-
tional instrumentality, and the importance of it becoming a per-
manent feature of our school system. If adopted, it will do more
to lessen, at the next census, the number of adults unable to read,
than three fold the amount thus expended could possibly effect in
any other way.

The intermittent policy of the past, in relation to the library, is
anything but favorable to literary growth and vigor, and it is to



475

be hoped that it will now be abandoned for something wiser, better,
and more in accordance with experience. Were the library tax
reduced from twenty -live cents on the $ 1000 worth of property, to
ten cents, and a similar reduction on the poll, the proceeds from
year to year would be amply sufficient to keep the library in a
process of vigorous growth. Such an assessment could hardly be
perceived by any, in the amount of his annual tax bill, from the
fact that this levy, on three-fourths of the tax payers of Indiana,
would vary from ten to twenty cents, but could not exceed the
latter sum. Where is the man that would deny the youth and
adults of the commonwealth so rich a boon as the library, to save
the aforesaid pittance? Nothing more need be said. The bless-
ing and its cost are fairly presented.

Provision should be made to remedy an infelicity now existing
in some townships. The statute contemplates only townships,
and requires the libraries to be distributed to them. Cities, and
incorporated towns, within the limits of said townships, are con-
structively included, but by the letter of the law, the Township
Trustees have the control of the library. Evils and infelicities
that have occurred, and may still result from that source, could all
be corrected by giving the control of the library, in all such town-
ships, to the corporate authorities within their limits, when the
population of said corporations exceeds the population of the
township proper. This arrangement would give general satisfac-
tion, for the said corporations are generally the civil, social and
business centers, calling the people to them for various purposes,
and therefore would be the most convenient points for the location
of the libraries. Nothing could be more appropriate in this con-
nection, than the suggestion that provision should be made to
place either an hundred volumes of the township library, annually
for five years, in the Blind, Deaf and Dumb, and Insane Asylums,
and also in the Penitentiary and the House of Refuge, or seventy-
five dollars of the library fund at the disposal of the Superintend-
ents of the first three Institutions, to be expended under their
direction as they may prefer.

It was found, on examination, to be utterly impracticable to
supplement the first selection, to those townships receiving only a
part of a library, from the fact, that when the libraries of the first
purchase reached the counties, they underwent all manner of sub-
divisions in their apportionment to the townships. Unable to
ascertain what the size and character of these sections were, the
Superintendent was compelled to prepare, for the examination and
acceptance of the Board, an entirely new and independent list of
books. To do this, and classify them on the principle suggested
in the Third Report, to the extent of the claims of the large town-
ships, was a task of no ordinary difficulty, delicacy and responsi-
bility. The discharge of that duty has occasioned more anxious
thought and sleepless hours, than all other duties beside. The
whole matter of classification and distribution has been reduced



476

to a system, that will render the labor hereafter, in this department,
comparatively easy. New works, as they appear, can be intro-
duced at any point on the list, without interference with those
preceding or succeeding them in said catalogue. The plan com-
bines a compass and flexibility adequate to any necessities of the
system. There will be uniformity in the libraries as far as equal-
ity of numbers exists, beyond that, diversity to the extent of the
said inequality. Some works occupy a position on the catalogue
that will place them in but few townships this year, because they
did not appear till after the catalogue had been partially com-
pleted, or the edition of them, in the market, was too limited to
meet the demands of a higher position on the list. In a subse-
quent purchase, they can be advanced to a more favorable position.
The expense of the distribution of the recent purchase, will be
materially lessened by the shipment directly, from the House fur-
nishing them, to the counties, thus avoiding re-shipment at Indian-
apolis. The method adopted for the settlement of the transporta-
tion charges will also diminish the trouble as well as increase the
dispatch of the adjustment. Many past perplexities, inequalities
and vexations need not be experienced hereafter.

Since the last Report, the Board of Education have purchased,
and distributed to all the townships, a copy of the Pennsylvania
School Architecture, a work that may be regarded as one of ster-
ling character in that department, from the fact that the Keystone
State has placed a copy of it in each of her school districts. The
Board entered into a contract with Messrs H. W. Derby & Co.,
Cincinnati, to furnish $110,000 worth of books to be distributed
to the townships, on the basis specified by the Revised School
Law, involving an apportionment of books to each of the nine
hundred and forty corporations, varying in value from $5,00 to
$2,010.



GRADED SCHOOLS.

Among the encouraging indications of educational progress in
our State, the gradual increase of the number of graded schools
may be specified. Insuperable obstacles in the way of their estab-
lishment existed in almost all our large towns and cities, four years
since. These impediments, however, are beginning to yield to the
pressure of public sentiment in favor of such organizations. At
the period above named, there were but two of our corporations
that could make any show of buildings, suitable for the accommo-
dation of such schools. Since that time, structures, far superior to
anything that existed at that period in the State, have been erected
in a number of our cities and large towns. The graded system has



477

been inaugurated in some half dozen of our corporations, and is
now passing through the experience of infancy, struggling with
the difficulties incident to new enterprises, contending with preju-
dice, battling with selfishness, and those time honored usages,
which often induce a skepticism in educational matters, that is
exceedingly hard to overcome.

However essential these schools may be to a complete and
efficient system, however imperious the necessity of their estab-
lishment, it would be extremely unwise to engage in the enterprise
without a clear, definite, and adequate conception of their true
character, and the indispensible prerequisites to their establishment
and successful operation. Serious embarrassments, sad disap-
pointments, and utter failures have frequently resulted from the
want of such knowledge, and the lack of such prudence. Without
able and experienced teachers, competent to inspire confidence in
the faint hearted, command the respect of shrewd and intelligent
men, and carry such enterprises through to a successful issue, the
attempt may be pronounced a failure, in advance. The enter-
prize has been greatly crippled in some localities, in consequence
of the insufficiency of the funds provided; and in others the inca-
pacity of those charged with the supervision, and the want of ad-
equate accommodations, have seriously damaged its reputation
and retarded its progress. False and erroneous conceptions of the
nature of the difficulties to be encountered and overcome, a want
of a proper appreciation of the requisite time and labor to secure
the symmetrical development and thorough discipline of the youth-
ful mind, a restless impatience of restraint on the part of youth,
and a lack of cordial and reliable co-operation of parents, may also
be enumerated among the adverse influences these schools have
encountered in the infancy of their being, in some corporations.

Notwithstanding these discouragements, and in spite of all these
difficulties, the patience and perseverance of a few noble spirits
have carried the graded schools, in some localities, to a point that
betokens ultimate success. Although much has yet to be done,
even where they have reached an auspicious result, to develope
fully their worth and capacity, and establish them on a permanent
basis, yet we are not without encouragement of final triumph
in the conflict with selfishness, indifference, and doubt of the utility
of the enterprize. Obstinate and protracted as may be the contest
with these wily foes, we must not falter nor fear. Victory, com-
plete and perfect, has crowned wise, patient and unremitted efforts
elsewhere, and warrants the expectation that similar results will
follow like exertions in this commonwealth.

The Graded system rests on sound philosophy and may fearlessly
challenge the severest scrutiny. From the searching test of its
discipline, charlatanry and pretence shrink abashed. Nothing but
real merit and substantial intellect can sustain its thorough train-
ing and rigid discipline. Mind, thus developed, possesses a ster-
ling worth and permanent value. Every grade in the series of ad-



478

vancement, exerts a moulding influence on its inferior, and also
feels the corresponding power of its superior. Here is the secret
of its might, the hiding of its power. Intellect, thus impelling
and impelled, must unfold and develop rapidly, successfully, and
the result will ultimately vindicate the claims of the system to the
respect and confidence of the world. Such schools will also fur-
nish no inconsiderable number of well trained teachers to meet
the wants of adjacent regions, as well as their own corporations.



STATE TEACHER'S ASSOCIATION.

The hopes inspired by the organization of a State Teachers
Association have been realized to the full extent of rational ex-
pectation. The annual and semi-annual meetings of the teachers
of a commonwealth cannot fail to exert a happy influence on its
educational interests and progress. The results already reached in
the experience of this Association harmonize with the above
remark, and confirm the wisdom and practical value of such peri-
odical union of the teachers of the State. It enlarges the circle
of professional acquaintance, brings them into more intimate social
relations, cultivates their sympathies and makes their combined
experience to a certain extent, available to individual improvement
and professional culture. Such an organization is an exponent of
the educational zeal of the fraternity. Its claims to the favorable
regard and consideration of the community have been most cheer-
fully recognized in the liberal hospitality extended to its members
at these semi-annual gatherings, by the citizens of the places where
the meetings have been held. There is therefore an obvious pro-
priety, not only of noticing, in the annual report of this department,
the existence and operation of said Association as a significant
sign of educational progress, but also of suggesting that the Leg-
islature might receive valuable information and derive important
assistance from the experience and observation of such a body,
when expressed in formal resolutions or deliberate petition. The
School Journal, published under the auspices of this Association,
has proved an efficient and popular coadjutor in the work, in which
its projectors are embarked, and promises to become an important
auxiliary to the cause of popular education, and might be made
the organ of communication between this department and the
township school boards and county auditors.



479



TEXT BOOKS.

The preparation and publication of school books is a department
of literary and manufacturing enterprise, that involves no small
amount of capital and calls for no slight degree of mental activity
and toil. Its issues not only indicate that capital is astir, stimu-
lating art to perfect her skill in abbreviating the processes of labor,
but that mind is emphatically awake and at work, in embodying
the results of experience and in the reduction of theory to effective
practice. The almost simultaneous appearance of valuable text
books on the same subject, shows how vigilant to secure the
patronage and smiles of the public, are the patient author, the
indefatigable compiler and the enterprising publisher. The
frequent cotemporaneous preparation and issue of valuable works
in this department make it necessary for those, charged with the
duty of selection and recommendation of these school manuals,
occasionally to revise and enlarge their selection, in order to keep
up with the progress of the age, and meet the demands of the
times.

The list of text books, selected by the first Board, has under-
gone but one change. Several works have recently been issued
from the press, supplying wants that have long been felt in the
school room. The second Board have deemed it to be their duty
to add some of these, as an appropriate supplement, called for
by the moral and literary necessities of our youth. The list thus
supplemented furnishes an array of educational helps to both
teachers and pupils, which appropriately and faithfully used, will
render important service to the cause of education. The follow-
ing works compose the revised list of text books, recommended to
be used in our schools:

The Bible. Cowdry's Moral Lessons.

McGuffey's Eclectic Speller. Smith's Juvenile Definer.

Indiana I, II, III, IV, Readers. Martin's Orthoepist.

Monteith's Manual of Geography. McNally's Geography.

Warren's Physical Geography. Ray's Arithmetic, Parts I, II, III.

Butler's English Grammar. Wilson's Elements of Punctuation.

Brookfield's First Book in Composition.

Payson, Dunton and Scribners Penmanship.

Berard's School History of the United States.

Cutter's Physiology and Hygiene. (School Edition.)

Ray's Algebra. Parker's Philosophy. Webster's Dictionaries.

American School Hymn Book.

West's School Register and Class Book.



480



SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION.

The duties devolving on this officer and involving an amount
of care, anxiety and responsibility of no ordinary character, justly
entitle him to the generous sympathy of the friends of education,
and the cordial co-operation of both teachers and parents. The
position assigned him, while it is both prominent and responsible,
is also one, to a great extent, isolated and peculiar. With none of
kindred sympathies and experience, as immediate co-adjutors, to
aid him in the work of supervision, it would not be strange, if his
spirits did sometimes flag, his zeal lose something of its ardor,
and his faith something of its firmness, as he contemplates the
field calling for supervision and culture.

One, who has addressed the assembled wisdom of Indiana for
six consecutive years, on the subject of her Educational interests,
in the unofficial capacity of "One of the People," may be par-
doned, if, in closing his Third Report, as Superintendent of Pub-
lic Instruction, he should take the liberty to express his views
fully, frankly and fearlessly in relation to a matter of vital interest
to the successful mission of those, who may, from time to time,
be called to fill that office and discharge its appropriate functions.
Retiring from a post, which was originally neither sought nor
desired, and consequently is now left with no feelings of regret,
except such as must be experienced by every ingenuous mind,
from a consciousness of its own imperfection, and the magnitude
and importance of the cause in charge, it is but natural to suppose
that he should feel anxious to remove every impediment from the
path of his successors. He must be permitted to say with all
plainness, that there is nothing more disastrous to personal com-
fort and official success, than for that Functionary to go forth to
his work under the auspices of party triumph. If a strong and
bitter partisan himself, he will awaken prejudice by his very pres-
ence, provoke opposition by the mere recollection of the recent con-
flict, and soon discover his plans for progress more or less thwarted
by influences originating in partisan intolerance. Even if his
political antecedents have not created animosities, yet his party
affinities will be sufficient, in the estimation of not a few, to entitle
him to a cool reception and to a heartless co-operation. While
there may be noble exceptions to the above remark, yet the
general tendency is all in that direction. Such are the procliv-
ities of human nature, that we can scarcely expect any other result.

Politics should have nothing to do with the selection of the can-
didate for Superintendent of Public Instruction. It should not
intrude into the sacred precincts of Education, nor lay its un-
sanctified hands on her ark. As well and wisely might it arrogate
the power and province of dictating who should be the religious
teacher of a community, as to claim the right of applying politi-
cal shibboleths to educational servants. If it would be the con-



481

summation of folly to make the school master's political faith the
basis of his employment; how much more unwise and absurd to
act on that principle, in the selection of the individual, who shall
have the supervision of both the work and the workman? Why
subject that officer to such adverse influences, why compel him to
encounter and struggle with such relentless foes, why embarrass
the work and unnecessarily impede the progress of an enterprise,
which, by no inquisitorial torture, can be made to assume a parti-
san character, or accomplish a partisan mission?

Let the political parties say, and carry out the declaration in
good faith, the teachers and friends of education may control that
nomination, and we will accept and endorse their action in the
premises. Thus the superintendency of our educational interests
would be withdrawn from party conflict, and its incumbent cease
to be regarded as the embodiment of partisan zeal and success.
As he must be elected by the popular vote, this seems the only
feasible method of extricating that office from the whirlpool of pol-
itics, and placing the Superintendent in a position where he will
be regarded with equal interest by all his fellow citizens, without
reference to party preferences. This arrangement would also par-
tially remedy the evil growing out of the constitutional brevity of
the official term of service. It is a serious loss to the educational
interests of the State, to be subject to such changes, as practically
deprive the commonwealth of all the benefits of the experience of
the Superintendent's two year's labor. Though the aforesaid term
may be as long as the ceaseless toil and the unremitting pressure
of responsibility will make the office an object of desire to any one,
who faithfully discharges its arduous duties, yet the State loses not
a little by the withdrawal from her service of the practical experi-
ence, facility of labor, and minute acquaintance with the details of
the system, necessarily involved in the changes incident to the
aforesaid constitutional infelicity.

The time at which the Superintendent should enter on the
duties of his office, should be the second Monday of March, instead
of the second Monday of February, as it now is. The reasons for
this change are obvious and wise. It would give him time to
complete his report and carry it through the press, be associated
with the Educational Committees of the Legislature, in perfecting
the system, and relieve his successor of the embarrassment, neces-
sarily connected with being called on to aid in educational legisla-
tion, before he had became familliar with the principles, workings,
and defects of the code. As it now is, through the delays occa-
sioned by the failure to receive Auditors reports, it is impossible to
have the Superintendent's report placed on the Legislators desks
before his official life expires.

The experience of the past two years and a quarter, suggests
the propriety of curtailing the term of employing a clerk from six
to three months annually. Such is the nature of the official cor-
respondence, that almost no part of it can properly be conducted



432

by a clerk. The preparation of the statistical portion of the
annual report is the principal labor that such an assissant can
advantageously perform.



BOARD OF EDUCATION.

Should the Normal feature, suggested in a previous part of this
report, be incorporated into the school code, it will be necessary to
make a corresponding change in the composition of the board.
Ex-officio members, charged with prior and paramount responsi-
bilities, cannot discharge the duties the statute will demand. The
State officers cannot leave their posts to attend the protracted ex-
aminations of Normal schools, and many other educational inte-
rests, nor do their peculiar labors and duties indicate any special
affinity or fitness for the supervision of the educational progress of
the commonwealth, or suggest any valid reason, why they should
be preferred to others more immediately and permanently identi-
fied with the school enterprise.

In case the proposed modification of our code be adopted, it will
be desirable that said board should not consist of more than six
members, and that one-third of them should go out of office bien-
nially. This arrangement would retain a fair portion of experience
in the board for working purposes, that could hardly fail to accom-
plish its legitimate mission. The term of office would secure to
the State the benefit of the large experience and extensive obser-
vation of the members, and guard against fickleness and fluctua-
tion in our educational policy. Their semi-annual meetings and
consultations would be of great service to the cause, and their
counsels of corresponding interest and value to the Superintend-
ent.

The compensation for their services would not be an item of
any considarable amount, and therefore could not be urged as a
valid objection to the change. There are men of large experience
and still larger hearts, who would serve the commonwealth in that
capacity, for a per diem consideration, that would not tempt them
from their homes to aid in any other enterprise. Shall the cause
be deprived of the benefit of their counsels, care and supervision,
to save the mere pittance of the expense of their semi-annual
sessions? These suggestions are made, not from any want of
respect to the past or present State Board, but from the convic-
tion that the interests of Education should have the benefit of
counsels and deliberations more profound and protracted, than
they can receive from men burdened with a multiplicity of cares
and responsibilities of a very dissimilar character. A State Board



Online LibraryIndiana. General AssemblyDocumentary journal of Indiana 1856, part 1 (Volume 1856, pt.1) → online text (page 37 of 53)