California. Legislature.

Appendix to the Journals of the Senate and Assembly of the ... session of the Legislature of the State of California (Volume 1885v.1) online

. (page 56 of 83)
Online LibraryCalifornia. LegislatureAppendix to the Journals of the Senate and Assembly of the ... session of the Legislature of the State of California (Volume 1885v.1) → online text (page 56 of 83)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

all along the line. There can be no abuse, because it is a reimburse-
ment of outlays, and the details are scrutinized by the State Board
of Examiners. This matter is respectfully submitted to the wisdom
of the Legislature.

The salary of the Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction is
only $1,800 a year, while that of the deputy of every other depart-
ment of the State Government is $2,400 a year. No other deputy
does more work for the State, and it will not be claimed that the
functions of any are superior to his in importance. Why this injus-
tice ? This matter was referred to in strong language by my prede-
cessor in his last report.

The Porter in the Department of Public Instruction receives but
$200 a year, while the least paid to the Porter of any other depart-
ment is $300 a year, and yet it is certain that none do more work
than he. Why this unfair discrimination ?



P. M. Fisher, County Superintendent.

' After speaking commendingly of the schools in the Cities of Oak-
land and Alameda: "Throughout the county the spirit of improve-
ment has seized Trustees and communities; special taxes are voted,
and repairing and building are quite general." In one township two
thirds of the school buildings have been renovated or have had addi-
tions built.

A spirit of generous rivahy among the teachers is productive of
good results.

In mountain districts a few buildings are still rented for school
purposes, but in a number of these school houses will be built in the
near future.

Amendment to the school law: Permanent improvements should
be paid for from special funds provided for the purpose, not from the
count}' fund ; permanent improvements should be clearly defined.
Provision should be made to pay the reasonable traveling expenses
of County Superintendents in every county.

Mrs. Anna M. Arxot, County Superintendent.

The schools have made fair progress, and will commence the new
year with their usual prospects, although most of them are smaller
than last vear.

J. F. Chandler, County Superintendent.

During the school year ending June 30, 1884, I have visited all the
schools of the county and find, with a few exceptions, that vast im-
provements have been made in the methods of teaching since my
visits a year previous. A course of study has been prepared by the
Board of Education which has aided greatly in grading the graded
and in classifying the ungraded schools. Many of the schools were
not kept in session as long as usual this last year owing to a falling
off in the last State apportionment, yet with that embarrassment the
average length of time is nearly eight months.

A few of our schools have not done well owing to the local factions
in the districts, and it is to be hoped that the patrons will in time
realize the fact that local contentions tend only to rob the children
of the funds given them by the State and county.

Too many Trustees are elected who have not the welfare of the
schools at heart, but have "an ax to grind." In too many places
teachers are changed at the beginning of each term, which necessitates


manj'^ alterations to sliape the surroundings to the ideas of the new
teacher, thereby robbing the child of much valuable time.

David W. Braddock, County Superintendent.

Our schools are in a most prosperous condition as a rule. Trustees
are endeavoring to secure the best teachers, and teachers alive to
their own interests, as well as that of the people, are becoming more
proficient in their profession.

Three new districts were formed during the year, thus putting
almost every family within easy reach of school advantages. The
people are almost universally willing to be taxed for school purposes
and liberally too.

The districts are generally in a good healthy condition financially.

C. R. Bral, County Superintendent.

I would respectfully recommend that Sections 1612 and 1613 of the
•School Law be so amended that the term of office of School Trustees
should commence on the first day of July instead of the first Saturday
of July. Subdivision 7 of Section 1617 prohibits Trustees from mak-
ing a contract to extend beyond the thirtieth day of June, and as the
newly elected officers do not take office till the first Saturday in July,
the retiring Board, during the few days intervening, can make the
contracts for the entire ensuing j^ear.

I also think that the Legislature should prescribe a rule (or give
the County Board of Education the power) to govern the County
Superintendent in grading schools. As the law now stands, or as I
understand it, the Superintendent can grade schools absolutely as he

J. L. Wii-sox, County Superintendent.

The schools of Colusa County are in prosperous condition. The
past year has been particularly successful. 87t per cent of the census
children of the county were enrolled in schools; 55^ per cent were in
daily attendance; last year only 80i per cent of the children were
enrolled and 50 per cent were in daily attendance. facts speak
for themselves. [From the Reports, 1882-83.]

Please give the following thoughtful attention : Section 1858 .should
be so amended as to give the Superintendent some discretionary
power. One district has eighty-two census children. It had eighty-
three on the school register the past year. The coming year they will
have ninety or one hundred. One teacher cannot do so many much
good. There are two other districts in but little better condition.

Section 1621 should provide that districts having less than eight
months school, should have their surplus money reapportioned, if said


surplus was sufficient to have continued the school one or more
months. The present law is a hardship on weak districts. These dis-
tricts, as well as people, should be encouraged to keep a little money
on hand. The law should allow a district to pay its debts contracted
in good faith.

A. A. Bailky, County Superintendent.

Our schools have, in the main, done excellent work, and the interest
of the people seems to have suffered no relaxation. Notwithstanding
the unpropitious Spring weather, the average attendance shows a
marked increase. Under the Caminetti Act the Board of Education
has prepared and sent to each school, sets of examination questions
for the highest four grades, in all the studies required by the law.
These questions were used simultaneously in October and in May, the
papers of the pupils marked by the teachers and returned to this
office for final review. Promotions were made at the close of the May
examinations, and a catalogue published, showing the grade of every
pupil in the county. While this has entailed a vast amount of extra
work, it has done more to properly classify the schools than anything
heretofore attempted.

Diplomas of graduation were granted to twenty-three applicants
who passed the examination held for that purpose. The admission
without examination of the holders of such diplomas to the State
Normal School has created an additional stimulus to secure a diploma.
AVe have no doubt that this course will increase the number of appli-
cants, and be of permanent value to the schools.

A new school has been erected in Lone Tree district, and bonds of
the district issued to the amount of eight hundred dollars.

We have made such changes in text-books as the probable adoption
of the Perry amendment renders imperative, and feel well prepared
to wait until the experiment shall fail, or the State compilers shall
refute the arguments of those opposed to it.

I reiterate my opinion that we should have a law authorizing the
consolidation of districts for high school purposes.

W. H. Jeter, County Superintendent.

The schools of this county are in a fair condition; the number
enrolled is larger than last year, also the average attendance has
been better.

With one or two exceptions, the schools are supplied with com-
fortable desks, and most of the teachers have been good zealous

I am pleased to note that the Trustees are getting more in favor of
the teachers from the Normal School.

With regard to our School Law, I think it better than others I have
examined, but I am an advocate for only one Trustee in a district,
and I would have the Trustee employ the teachers with the consent
of the County Superintendent.


Charles E. Markham, County Superintendent.

The signs of progress are not bold and striking; nevertheless, we
have better school houses than hitherto, better pupils, better teachers.

B. A. Hawkins, County Superintendent.

The majority of our schools are in good condition, having good
houses, good libraries, good apparatus, and good teachers; and the
people are interested, which is shown bj^ a desire to employ good
teachers, and when public funds are not ample, private funds are
supplied to continue the schools. I generally spend one half a day
in a school, and, when convenient, lecture to the people in the even-
ing, thereby bringing the people. Trustees, the school, and mj^self

Several new school houses are now being built in the county.

The law should provide for the care of the propert}^ of lapsed dis-
tricts. The law should state what should be done Avith the territory
of lapsed districts, and make some provision to have the census taken
in said districts.

Charles H. Groves, County Superintendent.

Several of the school houses in this county are small, dingy, miser-
ably furnished affairs, whose appearance, both exterior and interior,
would naturally indicate a purpose entirely foreign to mental culture.
* * * A prevalent opinion exists among teachers, that when they
attain a degree of proficiency that will enable them to get a certifi-
cate for teaching, they are content, and care not to make further
advancement — forgetting, that in teaching school, as in all other
things, thoroughness is to be obtained by persistent effort.

There is a lack of system and uniformity — every teacher following
his own method ; which, perhaps, would do very well if the same
teacher was retained long enough to reap the benefit of an}^ method;
but as long as we have a change of teachers almost every term, it
amounts to no method at all. * * * .The Board of Education are
endeavoring to remove the evil by raising the standard of teachers.
Let Trustees employ teachers who are competent to teach good
schools, and pay them good wages for their services, and the stand-
ard of schools will be elevated.

Neil S. Phelps, County Superintendent.

The public schools of Humboldt County are in a prosperous con-
dition. Taking into consideration our isolation from the great educa-
tional centers of the State, I think our schools compare very favorably
with those nearer the metropolis. Poor teachers are being crowded
out of the profession, and competent ones employed. Our young


teachers are beginning to realize the fact, that trained teachers secure
the best positions, and, as a consequence, a much larger delegation of
Humboldt teachers have been in attendance at the State Normal
School this year than ever before. This is a healthy sign, and speaks
well for the future.

A lively interest is being manifested in educational matters in
sparselj'' populated sections, and districts are being divided so as to
accommodate communities and afford them school privileges. Dur-
ing the past year, nine new districts have been organized, and in
every instance they have either built snug school houses and fur-
nished them with patent desks, or have taken the initiatory steps in
that direction. I think a uniformity of text-books throughout the
State, as of old, is preferable to the present system ; and I sincerely
hope the School Law may be changed, so as to take the selection of
text-books out of the hands of County Boards of Education.

There is one serious drawback to the efficiency of the County Su-
perintendent's work in this county, and that is, the necessity he is
under of teaching a part of the year, owing to the beggarly salary he
receives for his services as Superintendent. With ninety-six schools,
scattered over so rough a country as this county is, to visit and grade,
the Superintendent should receive a salary commensurate with the
work to be done.

The salary of the Superintendent is seven hundred dbllars a year.

A. B. McPherson, County Superiutendeut.

The School Law ought to be so changed as to have the clause giving
to the teacher read $600. No district can sustain an eight months
school with

Mack Matthews, County Superintendent.

The schools of this county are in fair condition. I think we ought
to have uniformity of text-books, but I suggest no changes in the law
for the present. I think we had better live by what we now have
until we get acquainted with it. Our people are but little acquainted
with the School Law.

E. A. Williams, County Superintendent.

Our schools were not in session as long as I had anticipated last
year on account of a mistake by the Auditor in reporting to the Su-
perintendent funds for apportionment which had already been appor-
tioned by my predecessor.

For some reason not apparent our census roll is falling off steadily
instead of increasing. This fact, coupled with the formation of three
new districts, calls for a more liberal allowance by our Supervisors,
and unless our school levy is much greater than ever before we can-
not expect much more than six months' school the present year.


J. W. HixTON, County Superintendent.

We believe that the schools of the county are steadily rising to a
higher standard of efficiency and usefulness. The teachers employed
are, with a few exceptions, experienced, energetic, and well qualified
for their respective duties. The recognition of State Normal School
diplomas by our Boards of Education has brought to the county
quite a number of professionally educated teachers, and encouraged
many young teachers to attend our Normal School for special train-
ing. This and the high standard of qualification required of appli-
cants for certificates by the city and county Boards are doing much
to secure a thoroughlj^ competent corps of teachers.

We think, too, that our teachers are becoming more practical and
less hookisJi. During our visits we have heard less said in disparage-
ment, and more in praise, of teachers and their work. * * *

The great immigration to our county has required of our people a
heavy expenditure to provide suitable accommodations to meet the
increased demand for admission to our schools. As an example of
this rapid growth, we may cite the schools of Los Angeles City in
which, ten years ago, there were but fourteen teachers employed.
During the past year there wefe fifty teachers in the department,
and for the ensuing one the City Board has employed about seventy.
Even with this comparatively large force the schools will still be

While speaking of the city schools in particular, we deem it proper
to add that they are in a very prosperous condition. One twelve-
room brick building has just been completed and furnished at a cost
of 840,000, and some five or six smaller ones are to be erected in time
for the opening of the schools in September.

The city may justly feel proud of her corps of teachers, many of
whom have been in her employ from five to ten years.

Our people in the county continue to show their appreciatipn of
good substantial school buildings, and the necessity of connecting
with them the little conveniences, attractions, and comforts which
every school house should have. As the condition of the mind is so
much affected by the character of the surroundings of the pupils, it
is gratifying to note the efforts of some of our Trustees to make the
school room a pleasant and a lovely place.

Several new school houses have been built during the year. Bonds
and taxes have been voted, and more are being voted, to erect and
furnish others. The improvement of the school grounds progresses
slowl3\ The lack of water for irrigation in many districts renders
much improvement impossible. * * * Qy^- educational inter-
ests are not wholly without their drawbacks. Incompetent teachers
will now and then edge their way into our schools, and incompetent
Trustees will retain them, because they are "poor," or "live in the

In a very few districts, which in justice should be designated by
name, there is still a lack of interest upon the part of the people.
The attendance is small, and we have not been able even to shame
them into enough pride to elect their Trustees. While we have a
number of excellent and efficient clerks, who keep their accounts,
and whose reports are made "on time," and made correctly, I regret
to say that some of them are, to draw it mildly, very careless, and I


doubt if tliej' ever read a word of the School Law in relation to their

Taking all things into consideration, however, while there is much
room for improvement, we should say that we have reason to be proud
of the schools of our county.

As to amendments to the School Law, I respectfully refer to my sug-
gestions under this head in my report of last year. Second — As the
])ro rata money is now apportioned on the attendance at school, and
not upon the census as formerly, lines four and five of subdivision
"fifteenth," of Section 1617, should be stricken out, without fail.

A. E. Kellogg, County Superintendent.

The following comparative table indicates a substantial advance
in our schools during the past year :



Number maintainine: schools eight months or over



$69 76




Average montlily salary of teachers

$70 28

Number of teachers subscribing for some educational journal


The system of semi-annual examinations and the graduation from
the public schools has had an excellent effect in enforcing the course
of study and in giving unity and definiteness to the work of instruc-

W. H. Larew, County Superintendent.

Most of our schools are in a prosperous and progressive condition.
Owing to the large extent of territory in this county, and the widely
scattered population, a number of our census children are unable to
attend school. As a body, the teachers of this county are earnest,
active, and intelligent. Four districts have voted a bond tax and
will soon erect new school houses.

The amount of assessable property in this county is constantly
increasing; the agricultural interests are just beginning to be devel-
oped; a spirit of progress and enterprise seems to be springing up,
and the outlook for the schools is altogether encouraging.

I would suggest that the School Law should be so changed as to have
requisitions made in paying for the official organ of the Department
of Public Instruction drawn upon the unapportioned school funds ;
also that schools should be graded in the month of June.

E. T. Dixon, County Superintendent.

The schools of my county have never made more satisfactory prog-
ress in the same length of time than during the past year.


The increased population and wealth have given new life to educa-
tion, which is shared by the teachers, and encourages them to increase
their exertions in tiie cause. The interest of the patrons is shown by
their liberality in voting special taxes to build and improve school
property where necessary, thus giving advantage to both teachers and
pupils necessary to success.

I would suggest that a new section be added to the School Law
authorizing the County Superintendent, when a " high school " build-
ing has been provided in the county by subscription or donation, to
include in his estimate made to the Board of Supervisors for school
money under Section 1817, an amount not to exceed §3,000 for any
one school year, for the support of a county High School to be located
at the county seat, which shall be free to all pupils in the county who
have received diplomas of graduation upon examination in the
"Grammar Course," as prescribed by the County Board of Educa-

The course of the High School to be prepared by the County
Board, so as to connect with the State University course.

In my opinion such a law will place a High School education in
reach of all who desire it, at less cost than any other plan yet sug-
gested, and at the same time remove from the grammar schools high
school branches that only give a smattering to a, few at the expense of
the man5^

It was intended the "Caminetti" bill should meet the demands
for High School education in the several counties, but it will never
be a success, for the reason that it will involve too much expense to
the large number of small districts in the country, even if the
electors would vote for it — and experience shows they will .not.
Hoping our next Legislature will give this subject due considera-
tion, etc.

Alice Welch, County Superintendent.

The schools of the county are, as a whole, I am happy to say, in a
prosperous condition, the majority of them being conducted by first
grade teachers. I think patrons generally are beginning to appre-
ciate the present advantages afforded in obtaining an education;
hence the average dailj^ attendance is increasing. During the inclem-
ent weather I failed to visit four schools, but 1 believe these four are
making fair progress.

Naomi Asgell. County Superintendent.

The schools of the county have made fair progress during the last
year. With one or two exceptions the districts have been fortunate in
securing the services of efficient teachers.

Only three districts have been visited this school year. The late
and extremely severe Winter prevented me from visiting the other


M. J. Smeltzer, County Superintendent.

During the year just closed the schools of the county have kept
''the even tenor of their way," nothing having arisen to impede their
steady onward progress. More than the usual earnestness has been
apparent during the year among the corps of teachers, this under the
stimulus of slightly increased wages and a lengthened term of school.

Under the influence of a greater percentage of first grade teachers
and Normal School graduates, now employed in the county, the
schools enjoy the advantage of better methods of learning, and are
spared the infliction of much purposeless routine work.

Five new school houses of a substantial character and of good
architectural appearance have been erected during the year. Four
new districts have been formed, and one has " lapsed." Five districts
have voted a special tax.

From a review of my visits to the schools, and the observation of
the teachers' work therein, I conclude that the schools are in a reason-
ably prosperous condition, and, with but few exceptions, are doing
all that ought to be expected or demanded of them.


J. L. Shearer, County Superintendent.

The schools of Napa County are in fair average condition, and are
in the hands of good average teachers. A few of our teachers are
doing poor work, but many of them are doing excellent service in
the cause of education. Most of our teachers are conscientious, and
are doing the best they can. * * * Our examinations are search-
ing without being severe; about forty per cent of our applicants pass.
* * * Two of our districts, Napa and Calistoga, have taken advan-
tage of the new grammar school course and adopted it. The number
of pupils who took advantage of this added course is not large, yet it
is a beginning and a promise of future growth. It will prove an
incentive to those in the lower grades to work for a higher education.

A great obstacle in the progress of our schools is the constant
changing of teachers. In the past school year two of our schools
have had f/ir^e different teachers; twenty have had ^i<;o. * * * The
fault does not rest alone with the patrons or Trustees, but teachers
are in many cases too anxious to change.

In most of country schools there is more money appropriated for
libraries than is really needed. I think a slight change in the School
Law on this point would be good. I would recommend that the same
money be appropriated for library purposes as before, but if, at the
end of the school year, remains unexpended, let it be placed to the
credit of the State fund of that district and used to pay teachers.


Online LibraryCalifornia. LegislatureAppendix to the Journals of the Senate and Assembly of the ... session of the Legislature of the State of California (Volume 1885v.1) → online text (page 56 of 83)