North Carolina. Dept. of Public Instruction.

Biennial report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of North Carolina, for the scholastic years ... [serial] (Volume 1900/01-1901/02) online

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Average amount for each child enrolled in public schools in

United States 20.29

Amount expended for each child in daily attendance in public

schools in North Carolina 5 . 52

Superintendent of Public Instruction. xiii

Amount expended for public schools for each man, woman

and child of population in North Carolina 78

Average amount expended in public education in United

States for each man, woman and child of population 2.83

Average monthly salary of teachers in North Carolina, col-
ored, $22 . 19, white 26 - 7 *

Average monthly salary of teachers in United States 48 . 00

Length of public school term in North Carolina in days —



Length of public school term in North Carolina in days-
colored 76 - 15

Average length of public school term of United States in

days 145

From these figures it will be seen that in expenditure for
public education, in average length .of school term, in average
salary of teachers, etc., North Carolina is still far below the
average of the United States.


Comparative per It is not surprising, then, that in general in-
cest of illiteracy telligence our State is also far below the aver-
and the United age. The U. S. Census Report for 1900 shows
states. t l iat 2g ^ p er cent Q £ fa Q tota i population of the

State, 19.5 per cent of the white population, and 47.6 per
cent of the negro population, are illiterate, i. e., can neither
read nor write. North Carolina stands in illiteracy of white
population second, of total population, tenth, of negro popu-
lation, sixth. The census report also shows, however, that
since 1890, the illiteracy of total population in this State
has been decreased from 35.7 per cent, white illiteracy from
23.1 per cent, and negro illiteracy from 60.1 per cent.

Of the total population of the United States, 10.7 is illit-
erate, of the total white population, 6.2 per cent, and of the
total negro population, 44.5 per cent.

In total illiteracy, in white illiteracy, and in negro illiter-
acy, North Carolina is considerably above the average of the
United States. The per cent of white illiteracy in North

xiv Biennial, Report of the

Carolina is more than three times as great as the average
per cent of white illiteracy for the United States.


Number and value At the very foundation of every successful
of school houses. i -, , t,i n ii P

school system lies the practical problem of nec-
essary physical equipment in houses, furniture and grounds.
I desire to call your attention, therefore, to the tabulated re-
ports' upon school property from the various counties. These
reports reveal that there are 5,028 white school houses, valued,
including grounds and furniture, at $1,163,661, and 2,236
colored school houses, valued at $303,109. The average
value of school houses for the State, including grounds,
furniture, etc., is, white $231.43, colored $136.00. This is
less than the value of many a negro tenant house on many a
farm, and less than the value of almost the poorest house in
any city or town.

Number of dis- Eight hundred and thirty districts, 625

houses and num- white and 205 colored, are without houses, in
ber of log houses, other words, without fixed places of business,
without school homes for the children. Eight hundred and
twenty-nine districts, 484 white, 345 colored, still have rude
log houses.
Condition of ^ n one coim ty of the State twenty schools

school houses in had to be closed last winter because the chil-
many counties. 1 .

dren could not be kept warm m the houses ;

in other words, because these houses were not habitable in

winter in a temperate climate. In one of the richest counties

of the State fifteen houses were reported valued, house,

equipment and land, at less than fifty dollars each. In many

of the rural districts the houses are still rude, deskless and

comfortless, but in many other districts, I am glad to say,

the improvement of school houses and grounds
Improvement of f °

school houses and is receiving much attention. More new houses
women's associa- are being erected, and there is a rapidly in-

Superintendent of Public Instruction.' xv

tions for this pur- creasing demand for better houses, grounds
pose. . . 11.

and equipment. Ine women have become in-
terested in this question of improving and beautifying school
houses and grounds. With the aid of the Southern Educa-
tion Board and its Director for North Carolina, Dr. Charles
D. Mclver, the the Woman's Association for the Betterment
of Public School Houses has been organized, under whose
auspices many branch county associations have already been
formed, and more will be formed to aid in carrying on this
work of making school houses for the children.
Architects' plans To prevent waste of money on barn-like and

for better houses improperly constructed houses, and to suggest
sent out. . . .

more convenient, sanitary and beautiful school

houses at reasonable cost, I have had prepared by skillful
architects, plans, cuts, specifications, bills of material, etc.,
for houses varying in size from one to eight rooms'. These
will be issued in pamphlet form and sent to all school officers,
Together with a bulletin of the State Board of Health on
School Hygiene.

The saccess of the This question of the character of our public
school and the school houses is a far more serious one than

respect of the . .

community de- many people think it. JNobody has any re-

bySelaraSr s V ect for anything that is not respectable. A
oMhe school respectable school house, then, is not only nec-

essary for conducting successfully the business
of public education, but is absolutely essential for com-
manding the respect of the community for that business. The
character of the business must to some extent determine the
character of the place of business.

What then should What, then, should be the character of these
be the character public school houses where the business of ed-

of these pablic . .

school houses and ucatmg nine out of ten of the State s children
groun s . £ or ^izenship and social service is carried on ?

What is the character of this strange business that men call
education ? It has to do with mind and soul and body. It
has to do with the formation of habit, with the shaping of

xvi Biennial Report of the

character, with the creation of ideals. It is sensible and it
is insensible. Sometimes I think that there is something that
strikes deeper and lasts longer in the silent, potent influence
of association and environment, in the insensible education
that inevitably comes therefrom, than there is in all that
comes from all your sensible education, from all your study
of books, from all your formal lesson teaching. What should
be the character of the place where such a sacred work is to
be successfully carried on ? Within, shall it be a hovel or a
home, a place of beauty or a place of ugliness, a place of com-
fort or a place of discomfort, a place of cleanness or a place of
uncleanness ? Without, shall the grass grow green and the
sun shine bright and the flowers bloom and the birds sing and
the trees wave their long arms, or shall it be bleak and bare
and barren, where Nature, God's great teacher, never whis-
pers to the children her sweet messages of peace and love and
beauty from the Master ?

The movement for The movement for better school houses is
better school rapidly spreading. During the year ending

houses rapidly t ./ l e & J &

spreading as June 30, 1901, 108 new school houses, 63

IfhllslJenSSl white > 45 colored, were erected. During the

in two years and year ending June 30, 1902, 332 new school

amount of private

subscription for houses were erected, more than three times the

new ouses. number built the preceding year — more than

cne new house a day, omitting Sundays. During the last

year covered by this report, in fifty-seven counties reporting,

$17,496 was raised by private subscription for new school


Some of the stronger and wealthier counties
The problem of . . ' 1 -, , -, , ,-. .

getting better and communities have already settled tins

houses and equip- ]iro ] Hpm G f „ 00( \ scn0 ol houses and grounds,

ment in smaller i °

and weaker others of these will settle it satisfactorily in a

few years. The perplexing problem is, how

to get the money for better houses and equipment in the

smaller and weaker counties and rural communities, with

their sparse population and small school fund. In some


counties ot the State the entire annual school fund does not
exceed $2,500. In such counties, if the public schools were
closed and the entire school fund appropriated to improving
and building school houses, it would require about ten school-
less years to provide comfortable houses and grounds in all
the school districts of the county. With the schools running
in such counties, it is almost a hopeless task to provide such
houses in reasonable time with the small part of the school
fund available for building. The schools must not be closed.
The children must be educated. It would be little less than
a crime to close any public school even for a year. The
State is solemnly pledged to give every child a chance to
learn to read and write before 1908. The pledge must be
kept. How shall the money be provided for houses in these
smaller and weaker counties and rural communities, that
even now must be aided by special appropriations to have a
four months school ?

I suggest that the funds arising from the sale of lands
belonging to the State Board of Education, amounting now
Funds from sale to $194,159.18, be used for this purpose;
of state lands $143 250 of this' amount is in State bonds, on

should be used

under direction of which the State is paying 6 per cent interest.

Education for this The $2,000 annual interest has been distrib-
purpose. ute( j p er capita for school purposes from time

to time, and has scarcely been permanently felt in increasing
the school fund. I believe that this entire fund should be
used for some permanent improvement of the public schools
that would benefit several generations. It is a sacred fund,
but nothing is sacred save in its use. It seems to me that
the most permanent and sacred use to which this fund could
be devoted is its investment in the building and improvement
of public school hous'es where they are most badly needed, and
where the people are least able to build them for themselves.
Such a use of this fund would benefit several generations of
children, and give comfortable school houses to hundreds of


xv in Biennial Report of the

children that will never see the inside of a comfortable house
and enjoy the benefits of such better equipment without some
aid of this sort. The fund should be placed under the control
of the State Board of Education, to be used by them for the
purposes indicated above, under such rules and regulations as
they may adopt. It might be used by the Board to stimulate
self-help, requiring districts applying for aid from the fund
to raise by private subscription or otherwise a certain per
cent of the entire amount. If the objection is raised
that this fund should be used for all counties and districts
alike, or distributed per capita to the counties, the answer is
that under such a plan the strong would be helped most, and
the weak would be helped least. If the objection is raised
that the fund should be distributed under a general proposi-
tion to give so much to any county or district that would raise
so much by private subscription, the answer is that, in most
cases, those most able to build houses without aid would be
most able to raise the necessary amount by private subscrip-
tion to comply with the condition, and most or all of the fund
would be taken by these, while the weakest and most needy
w< »uld receive little or no benefit. After all, every part of the
State is interested in every other part. It is one State, and,
in a sense, it is no stronger than the weakest part of it. It
seems to me that a statesman-like policy that considers the
gi , ,d of the whole would dictate the use of this fund, if used
at all for the purpose indicated, to strengthen the weak places
first, leaving the strong to take care of themselves. In this
way the weak can be more quickly brought to the point of self-


The difficulty of Our territory is large, and our population

SStt2Sd idlng is comparatively sparse, Tor these reasons

townships into ^ j ]e i:)r0D l em ,f properly dividing the counties

school districts l / ,,,.,. 7 . ,•«.

on account and townships into school districts is very dim-

En t a y n d f im- Pa " cult In North Carolina there are 39 inhabi-

Superintendent of Public Instruction, xix

mensity of ter- tants for every square mile. The school pop-
ritoi-y. ulation constitutes ahout 36 per cent of the

entire population, making an average of about 13 school pop-
ulation to the square mile. The average of population to the
square mile of territory for the North Atlantic Division of
States is 129.8. The average for Massachusetts is 348.9. A
small population scattered over a large area necessitates a
large number of school districts and schools. The number of
districts and schools is largely increased, in some sections
doubled, by the necessity of maintaining separate schools for
the two races. It is difficult for States that have a much
larger population, a much smaller territory, a much greater
school fund, and a single system of schools, to realize the
startling magnitude and difficulty of our task of maintaining
on a much smaller fund a much larger number of schools for
a much smaller population composed of two races, in a much
larger territory. Yet this is the task that confronts us in
North Carolina.

It is natural that every man should desire

Natural for a pa- , . , -i • 1 m i„

rent to desire a to have a school as near his house as possible
school <ja nearby £ tlie conve nience of his children. But no

as possible, but m ,

efficiency of school w i se parent can afford to sacrifice the efficiency
to the r g« e ateft° of the school for convenience of location, and
number mast be no nnse ifi sn patriotic citizen will seek to sacri-

considered. L

fice the greatest good to the greatest number
for a small advantage to his own little family circle. If any
should seek so unwise and selfish an end, the just laws of a
great State should thwart his purpose.

Under present conditions in North Carolina,
gooVto'thVgreat- with a small school fund, a sparse, largely
est nnmber re- | population, and an immense territory, it

qmres in rurnl r J

districts smallest is absolutely necessary for the efficiency of the
of d^ricteMr schools and the greatest good to the greatest
schools. number of children that there should be the

smallest possible number of districts and schools. This will

xx Biennial Report of the

of course necessitate larger districts and longer walks, but a

child can better afford to walk several miles to a good school

than to attend a poor one at his gate.

An unnecessary While recognizing the necessity growing out

multiplication of * ->. i . . . » , ,,

small districts in °" t: onr peculiar conditions tor more, and there-

the State. f ore smaller, school districts and schools than

would be required under different conditions, an examination
of the facts revealed in the reports of County Superintendents
forces me to the conclusion that there is an unnecessary mul-
tiplication of small districts in the State, and that the number
could be greatly decreased with great benefit to the educational
interest of the State without interfering with the right of
any child to be within reasonable reach of some school.

Average number TlierC are 5 > 653 wMte and 2 ^ 21 colored

of children to the school districts in the State, making an aver-
district too small. - H .,

age 01 * 3 children 01 school age to each white

district, and 82 children of school age to each colored district.
Multiply these numbers by $1.95, the average per capita in
North Carolina from State and county taxes, and see how
small is the average amount for the average white and the
average colored school. The per cent of total school popula-
tion in daily attendance on the public schools for 1902 was,
white, 40.8 per cent; colored, 37.3 per cent; Croatan, 24.5
per cent. This would give an average daily attendance of
about 30 children in each white school district, and about 31
children in each colored district. In other words, there is an
average of one teacher and one school to every thirty children
attending school.

Sixty-five, the Sixty-five children is the minimum number

minimum number n -. ■,-. ~ -. j . , . , , £

fixed by law for nxed by law tor each new district, except tor

new districts. sparsity of population and peculiar geographi-
cal conditions, and this is also the minimum number recog-
nized by the special act of the Legislature appropriating
$100,000 to aid weak districts to have a four months school.
The average number of white children to the school district

Superintendent of Public Instruction. xxi

in North Carolina is then but eight more than the minimum

recognized by law.

Forty-seven per The reports of County Superintendents

cent of white and gj^^. fag^ forty-seven per cent, nearly one-half,
forty-four per .

cent of colored of the white school districts of the State, and

districts contain ,. ,. » , n i i j • , • ,

less than mimi- lorty-iour per cent of the colored districts,

mum fixed by law. con t a m less than sixty-five children of school

age, the minimum fixed by law. This minimum is either too

great, or the total number of small districts is mi reasonably

large and the average number of children to the district in

the State is unreasonably small.

The smaiiness of The applications for aid from the special ap-

the district t ne propria lion for a four-months school term in
chief cause of its ' r

weakness. weak districts reveal the fact that 59 per cent

of the white districts and 60 per cent of the colored districts

applying contain less than sixty-five children. Is it difficult

to see the chief cause of weakness in these districts ?

Is it not a simple business proposition that
Advantages of . .

consolidation of with a given fund to be divided among a num-
ber of districts and schools, the smaller the num-
ber of districts and schools' the larger the amount of money for
each district and school, the larger the number of districts
and schools, the smaller the amount of money for each dis-
trict and school ? Is not this proposition as plain as the sim-
ple principle of division, that, with a fixed dividend, the
larger the divisor, the smaller the quotient, the smaller the
divisor the larger the quotient? Is it not equally plain that
the larger the amount of money for each district or school, the
better the house, the longer the term it can have? In
larger districts, with more teachers in one school, better
graded, each teacher could teach more children in fewer
classes with more time for each class at smaller expense for
house and fuel. There would be the increased enthusiasm,
pride and ambition that naturally result from the assembling
of a larger number of children and teachers for a com-
mon purpose and the rubbing together of many minds.

xxii Biennial Report of the

Do not, then, economy and common sense dictate the re-
duction, by reasonable consolidation, of the number of dis-
tricts or schools in each county to the smallest possible num-
ber consistent with the right of every child to be within rea-
sonable reach of some school %

in spite of incon- I am not unmindful of the difficulties of this
venience sensible -, n T .* .. ..-. .-, ■,

parents will be problem, nor am 1 unsympathetic with the ob-

wiiiing for chil- -jections of parents to removing the school

dren to walk far- J l &

ther to get better house farther from the children, nor am T ig-
norant of the necessity for small districts in
some instances on account of peculiar geographical conditions.
I am satisfied, however, that with reasonable effort the num-
ber of districts can be largely decreased and the efficiency of
the schools largely increased by consolidation. It does not
seem a great hardship for children that would work on the
farm six or eight hours a day, if they remained, at home, to
have to walk two or even sometimes three miles to school.
Sensible parents would be willing for their children to walk
farther to get better advantages.

Progress in con- I am glad to be able to report progress in

growth"" senti- consolidation of districts and rapid growth in
ment for it. the sentiment for it. Since June 30, 1901,

318 districts have been consolidated, and there has been a
total decrease of 179 districts.

Success of consoli- In Durham County the number of districts
Sd ottM D oSr has been reduced from sixty-five to forty-nine,
t ies - and still more than nine-tenths of the children

are within less than two miles of a school, and less than one
hundred of them are as far as three miles. Consolidation
has been tried with great success in Buncombe, Guilford,
Lincoln, Cabarrus, Alamance, Mecklenburg, Robeson, Ran-
dolph, Iredell, and other counties.

The best argument for consolidation, how-
Concrete exam- »

pies more valua- ever, is to be found in the practical successful
ble than theoret- „ . . . - . , • j n

ical deciara- workings of it where it has been tried. Con-

tl0n8 crete examples are always more valuable than

Superintendent of Public Instruction. xxin

theoretical declarations. Without going into details, I have
no hesitation in saying that the sentiment for consolidation
is growing all over the State, and almost without exception
wherever it has been tried it has resulted in better school
houses, better teachers, longer terms, increased attendance,
increased pride in the school on the part of patrons, and a
finer school spirit on the part of the children.

A practical iiius- Le ; me $ ive one Practical illustration of the
tration from per- workings of it in Mangum Township, in Dur-

sonal knowledge " x

of the workin s ham bounty, i was present at the celebration

of consolidation. of -$ oHh Carolina Day at this school, Wednes-
day, November 26. The information that I give about the
school, therefore, is of my personal knowledge and observa-
tion. Last summer, after a hard and almost bitter fight, three
small districts' in this township were consolidated into one
large district. Both factions employed lawyers to represent
them before the Board of Education. Every honorable means
was used to defeat consolidation of the small districts. The
community was nearly evenly divided on the question. The
friends of consolidation won in the fight. A neat, comfort-
able, beautiful three-room school house was built in a grove
on a beautiful slope in the centre of the large district. The
picture of this house will be found in another part of this
report. By the way, the house is located within one-half
mile of the old home of Senator Wilie P. Mangum. This
new school house in the larger district is still within less than
three miles of the fartherest child. A number of children
from other districts have already asked to be transferred to
this district, and some of them are passing by little schools
almost at their door and coming more than three miles to get
to this school. A graduate of the University of North Care
lina, a young and enthusiastic teacher, was employed to
teach the school. A student of the State Normal and In-
dustrial College was employed as assistant. The school
opened with seventy-five pupils the first day. At the
end of the first month the enrollment had increased to 108,

XXIV Biennial Report of the

and a third teacher had to be employed. The average daily
attendance for the first month was 76. The records of the
County Superintendent show that the enrollment during the
first month is much larger than was ever made in the three
schools of the three small districts during any previous year,
and that the average daily attendance is about twice as' great.
The largest average daily attendance of all three of these small
schools during any year of their existence was' forty. Dur-
ing my visit to this school, I rode by one of the old school
houses in one of the small districts that had been consolidated.
It was a small one-room log house. A picture of it appears

Online LibraryNorth Carolina. Dept. of Public InstructionBiennial report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of North Carolina, for the scholastic years ... [serial] (Volume 1900/01-1901/02) → online text (page 2 of 46)