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phy or grammar. He was assigned to the C class; at the end of two months he was promoted to the B, but continued for a time to recite with each class in grammar. At the end of six months he had through the encouragement of one of those true teachers who do not work by the hour, made such progress that he was again promoted, and at the end of the year he was ready for the High School. Yet that young man had come to school with the expectation of remaining but a few months. It was the incentive of a promotion from grade to grade which first encouraged him to persevere until he became so interested in the studies themselves that he would not leave them. Next year he will enter college. It can hardly be supposed that he would have continued for three years in an ungraded school; the testimony of those having charge of such schools is that the attendance is irregular and the average term of membership brief. Another young man of about the same age and attainments was assigned to the same school. He had not the industry or ambition of the first, yet he maintained a creditable standing, and at the end of the year received a promotion to the A class.
In another place a young man, who could attend school during the fall and winter only, in four years almost completed the Grammar-School course. Every year he was compelled to withdraw in April to work, and of course he lost his annual promotion. In the fall he would return and apply himself with such energy that he never failed to secure a special promotion before Christmas. A few weeks ago while visiting schools in a neighboring city, I noticed a large boy in an A Primary grade. He had entered the school three months before, showing a creditable knowledge of arithmetic but unable to write. At first he was in despair at the thought of attempting to write, protesting that it was impossible for him to succeed, yet through the encouragement of his teacher and the example of younger children around him, he was persuaded to try, and, as we might expect, his efforts have been successful.
In this case it is evident that one of those schools whose special boast is that they develop the individuality of the pupil had been so successful as to leave this boy in utter ignorance of one of the most important parts of an elementary education, merely because it did not please his fancy; while it was left for a school so often denounced as procrustean to reveal to him his real power.
But it is said that a rigid system of grades demands the exclusion of all who are not symmetrically prepared for a class. If this be true, may not the system itself or the management of that system be at fault? The organ whose pipes are tuned with mathematical precision, not one varying by a single vibration from the ideal standard, will make discord instead of harmony. It is barely possible that we may bring up a system of grades to such a state of imaginary perfection as to render the several parts unfit for harmonious work. If our system be so perfect that it cannot reach imperfect humanity, let us temper the organ.
But the name Unclassified or Ungraded is applied to another kind of school-to what is in fact a Reform School or penal colony under a more euphemistic name. Such a school has been maintained in New Haven
since 1871, and one for a similar purpose was established last year in Cleveland. Of the latter the Superintendent says:
“It bears a title as little obnoxious as possible, but it is designed for those whose influence is found to be pernicious to their associates, and who are incorrigible by those means of discipline which seem to be fit to be used in the schools at large.'
I recently enjoyed the pleasure of a visit to this school. That it is doing a good work for the large body of orderly pupils in freeing them from a corrupting element, and for the offenders in giving them an opportunity to reform instead of turning them into the street, I am fully convinced. My only objection to the plan is that it can reach but a small number of those who should be placed under restraint; it can not compel the attendance of those who leave school under censure, nor does it provide for those street Arabs who never enter a school-room. Probably the majority of Superintendents have found that cases of formal suspension are rare, entire terms passing even in a large school without a single
Old offenders, seeing beforehand the shadow of coining events choose to withdraw rather than undergo a trial before a committee; they remain on the streets until the close of the term and when the school is opened again they are ready to make another experiment upon the forbearance of teachers and principals. Such pupils would probably take the same
course if the penalty were assignment to the Unclassified School instead of suspension. Superintendent Parish makes this report of the experiment in New Haven:
“For a time the effect * * seemed salutary, but during the three years from 1873 to 1875 inclusive, there has been a retrograde movement, the number of truancies nearly doubling; partly from the fact that pupils whose parents object to their being sent to the truant school cannot be forced to go there, and partly from the fact that among the lawless elements there congregated, the effort to escape from the restraints of school is more frequent and more successful than elsewhere."
A more favorable report comes from the Truant School of Springfield, Massachusetts :
“The boys have made good progress in their studies, and seem generally happy and contented. While the authorities were considering the feasibility of inclosing an area for a playground, the teacher, Miss Bascom, put the boys upon their honor and allowed them the privilege of seeking recreation on the open grounds in the vicinity of the building. This confidence has been but slightly abused.”
We congratulate our Cleveland friends on the success of their experiment. Perhaps all that is needed to make it successful in the extent as well as in the kind of work done, is a law providing for the arrest of youthful vagrants. The criminal classes among our youth do not receive sufficient attention. Offences which if committed by persons a few years older would send the guilty ones to the penitentiary, are scarcely noticed if done by the boys. If some flagrant violation of private rights compels the officers of the law to interfere, perhaps the offender is sent to the county jail for a few days, there to learn new lessons from old and hardened criminals, and receive one more promotion in the school of crime. Something more than an Unclassified School with optional attendance is necessary for such cases as this. The youthful criminal must be placed under restraint, and for this purpose we need MORE REFORM SCHOOLS.
Mr. WELSH, of Lancaster, stated that the views set forth in the paper agreed with his experience. He had tried an ungraded school. It was. composed mostly of those boys who did not love school. There were some pupils in it that were willing to work. They had more irregularity and more truancy in that school than in the other nine schools. It was tried for two years and regarded as a failure. They now placed all in the regular grades and expected the teachers to work them up in the studies. in which they were behind. In closing he said:—“The experience we have had within the first two years has satisfied us of one of two things: -Either we have failed to organize ungraded schools properly or ungraded schools are a failure.
Prof. TAPPAN, of Kenyon, asked whether the plan had been tried of allowing pupils that were behind in some study to recite that study with a lower grade.
Mr. ANDREWS had known it to be tried in many cases with great suc
Mr. MURRAY, of Lebanon, had tried it sereral times and had always found it a failure.
Mr. Cook, of Columbus, said they had tried it for four years and found it a success in almost every case.
Mr. MOULTON, of Warren, had found the plan successful particularly in reference to the pupils coming in from the country. His experience had convinced him that we could get along without ungraded schools.
Mr. CARNAHAN, of Cincinnati :- I have tried an experiment in my school for the benefit of those pupils who were irregular and had fallen behind in their classes. I have organized two rooms, in which I have placed these pupils. In one I have been very successful, in the other not so much so as I would like. I permit the teacher to handle these pupils as she likes. In the past four years I have been able to pass. pupils to the high school who would not have been admitted if they had been held to the regular course. I take care that this shall not be called the “ drag class.” The teacher must be imbued with a missionary spirit, receive them with good will and work to advance them. I think this. plan will meet the case of most of these irregular pupils.
Mr. Jones, of Massillon :-If ungraded schools are permitted at all, it should only be for four or five months of the year, say from November to March. This will meet the case of those who are obliged to stay out to work not only for one year, but all through their school life. Unlesssomething of this kind is done they become discouraged and stay away altogether. We tried such a plan last year with good success, and shall try it again next winter. We also allow pupils to recite when necessary in. two different grades.
Mr. LUKENS had tried the plan of working up pupils that were behind in a given study with good success. His experience had taught him that we needed not more flexibility in courses of study, but more flexibility in the schoolmasters.
Mr. SPALDING, of Gallipolis, said he represented a community where a great many children did not attend school. He had been thinking
whether an ungraded school would not bring them in. His plan had been to have such a school during the winter months. He had tried the plan of having pupils recite in two grades, and it had worked well with those pupils who were willing to work.
Mr. HANCOCK, of Dayton :— There is one thought connected with this question (indirectly) that I should like to hear discussed—the question of flexibility. There are certain general principles that come “a priori.”
What has been termed flexibility very often would amount to disintegration, if the theories advanced were carried into the common schools. There are procrustean beds, but they are always somewhere else than where we labor. We have some one in mind that uses a procrustean system.
We attempted ungraded schools in Dayton-beds in which the children could lie around, but we found it difficult to get them into these beds. They did not like them. The children were about right. The beds did not fit them. They were large enough, but were not adapted to their systems.
I once saw an ungraded school in Worcester, Mass., that was a success; it was full of vitality. A year or two afterwards I learned that it had been abandoned because the principal of it had left, and it was impossible to get another like him. It was the man that had made the school a
It is my opinion that it is very difficult to find a teacher who can take such a school and make it a success. In regard to “working up pupils” I have found that the system of schools with which I am connected (I found it so when I went there) is flexible enough to admit the advancement of most who are able to go on. I object to any system which sacrifices the interests of the many to the few. The more I teach the more I am convinced of the value of methods and systems. In the High School I think we can allow a greater deviation from the regular course than in the lower grades.
Mr. STEVENSON, of Columbus : - We find no trouble in keeping the irregular pupil up to his capacity for work, provided we can get him to attend school-I have failed ever to find a boy leaving our schools in Columbus because he was dissatisfied by having to recite with pupils below his own age.
Mr. HANCOCK:—That is our experience.
Mr. STEVENSON:—We always find a way to manage these pupils who are irregular on account of indifference of parents, on account of poverty or of work. The principal takes special charge of such pupils, and thus they have the best teaching power of the school, and we seldom fail, in a short time, to get these pupils interested in school work. You can organize ungraded schools but you will not have the pupils. It is easier to secure their attendance in the regular grades than in the ungraded school. Some speak of our schools as being iron clad and not flexible. is not so, so far as I am acquainted with the graded schools of Ohio. I find the superintendents and teachers willing always, if they find a pupil can go forward to aid him in every way. We have had three or four hundred pupils this year, who have passed some two and some three grades.
ABSTRACT OF AN ADDRESS ON THE METRIC SYSTEM,
Columbus, Ohio. At the request of the Executive Committee, Prof. Mendenhall explained very clearly, by means of apparatus, the Metric System and its advantages over other systems for general use in mechanical and commercial purposes.
Its simplicity would do away with the multiplicity of ratios which we now have in our system of weights and measures.
The unit of length being assumed first, the unit of capacity and the unit of weight are deduced from this. This system is but a slight tax upon the memory owing to its decimal scale.
Prof. Mendenhall said :-"In teaching this system mistakes are made. Teachers are led into mistakes by the text-books, which teach the metric system by translation, that is teaching the metre, decimetre, etc., and then giving their value in our present units of measure.
With young pupils I would never do this. There is no use in it. Older persons will naturally use translation in thought, if not in reality, for a time.
Some of you may be ready to ask, What is the importance of the introduction of the Metric System ?
A careful superintendent of schools, who has studied this system, declares he can prove that its introduction into our work will save at least one year in our school course. What little investigation I have given the subject has led me to the same belief. The younger Adams, who wrote the most famous report on weights and measures that has ever been written, declared that the introduction of the metric system, and its use throughout the civilized world, would be a greater labor-saving device than the use of the steam engine. And if you stop and think of the number of men engaged in manipulating pounds, shillings, and pence, and computing pounds and ounces, gallons, quarts, and bushels, and imagine the whole system with one
swept away, and the decimal system put in its place, and all these operations performed by merely removing the decimal point, you will see that Mr. Adams was correct.
I expect Ohio to take the lead in this matter. We already have a metric bureau established in the Capital City, in charge of George H. Twiss. The people of the State have hardly begun to know of its existence, yet that bureau has received more calls and disposed of more metric apparatus than any other State of the Union. I believe the entering wedge is just being driven. I hope to have a full expression on the part of the members of this Association on this subject, and move the appointment of a committee of five, to report the last day of the session, on this subject.”
Mr. Spalding asked if it had been introduced into any town or village ?
Mr. MENDENHALL replied that it had, and that it was coming into use for commercial purposes in some places. It had been done to some extent in Westerville, Ohio.