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but the principal part of the money is expended by the first of April, and during the best half of the year the children are obliged to stay at home, many of them forgetting almost all they had learned. Moreover, men who are qualified to teach, and who are willing to make it their business, cannot get a support here, and are under the necessity of going to some other State, whose funds are more ample. This leaves us, (with some worthy exceptions,) men destitute of the quali: fications, many of whom cannot even write their own names in a legi. ble hand.”
The commissioners of Orange county say: “ Teachers of good morals and qualifications are preferred," leaving of course, the inference, that when such cannot be had, the immoral and disqualified are employed. Some of the county committees speak of the teachers as “SOBER.” Such is the gloomy picture of public education in Virginia. That happier results will follow the same sys. tem elsewhere, we cannot expect, because the very idea of being a pauper, and treated as such, is revolting to every man, woman and child of sensibility. However kindly and humanely the views of those who advocate the poor system may be, their labors must be in vain as long as humanity remains what nature has made it. As long as there is a manly feeling, an ennobling thought, the individual will shrink from personal degrepation..
The second mode of education, is where the State furnishes a part of the means, and where the deficit is made up by rating the scholars in attendance, whose parents are able to pay, demands our consideration next. .
For the practical operation of this system, we refer to the State of New York. We do so not for the purpose of finding fault, or disparaging the liberal and enlightened policy pursued by that great State in relation to public schools. Her efforts to educate her children, merit the commendation and imitation of all her sister States. Originally a borrower from Massachusetts, she has since repaid the latter, and with interest. The system of distriet school libraries and teachers, institutes which Massachusetts has recently adopted, are the offspring of New York. In the organization of her common school system, embracing as it does, State, county and district organizations, so admi. rably combined as to diffuse energy and vitality to her remotest bor. ders, she stands without a parallel. With a system of organization
so perfect as to command the admiration of all who have examined it, whatever system for the support of schools she may have adopted, that system must there present its most favorable results. It is for this pur. pose that we have selected her for the illustration of the practical ope. ration of the rating system. . We wish our limits permitted us to give an extended view of the New York system. But as we are cramped for space, the leading fea. tures must suffice—which are necessary to be known, in order to understand the practical operation. The capital of the State School Fund, according to the last annual report of the superintendent of common schools, is $5,337,181 14; the annual income, $296,554 21; which is annually apportioned by the superintendent among the several towns, cities and villages of the State, according to the ratio of population, respectively, at the last preceding census. [See Acts of 1830, chap. 320, $ 3.] Except $55,000 appropriated to the purchase of district libraries, (vide Acts of 1846, chap. 186, § 136,] $10,000 for support of a normal school. The Board of supervisors of each county shall annu. ally cause to be assessed and collected in each county, an amount equal to the apportionment received from the State. [Vide Acts of 1830, chap. 320, 82.] Whatever deficit there may be to pay the sal. ary of the district teacher, is to be made up by the trustees of that district, by rating the scholars in attendance in said school. From which rate the trustees have power to exempt, either wholly or in part, indi. gent persons. To make up a deficit in collection of rate bills, trus. tees are authorized to levy a tax, as also for building school houses, fuel, school apparatus, &c. [See Acts of 1846, chap. 186, $ 82.]
It will be seen from this that the New York system is not purely the rating system, but a combination of the rating and free systems ; and, as a matter of course, the result is more favorable than it would be under the pure rating system. But we must hasten to give the ope. ration of the system. The sums received and applied in the year 1846, were as follows: Annual appropriation of State Fund, . . . $220,000 00 Amount raised by tax levied by Board of Supervisors,
220,000 00 Raised by special statutes, in cities, &c., having free schools, . 155,974 20 Amount received on rate bills,
462,840 44 State appropriation to increase district libraries,
55,000 00 Amount raised by supervisors for same object,
38,791 29 Total, . . . . $1,152,605 93
• The whole number of children in the State, returned as being of educable age, j.e. between the ages of five and sixteen, is 703,399. The whole number of children of all ages, taught some portion of the year is, 748,387. Of those so taught, the returns show the following as the time of their attendance at school: Those who have attended less than two months, ... . . 202,999 Those who have attended two months and less than four months,.. 196,198 Those who have attended four months and less than six months, ... 153,513 Those who have attended six months and less than eight months, · 102,493 Those who have attended eight months and less than ten months, . 50.454 Those who have attended ten months and less than twelve months, - 23,548 Those who have attended the whule year, - . ' ... 23,211,
The superintendent, in his annual report, dated January 5th, 1848, in view of these facts, makes the following remarks: “It certainly appears somewhat remarkable that, with all the advantages our system presents, not one-seventh of the children reported between five and sixteen years of age, attend the schools even six months.”
“The city of New York, with her admirable system of free schools does not present to us this, unfavorable and humiliating picture.” There are other cities in the State, .where the schools are free, presenting the same favorable results.” These other towns are Brooklyn, Buffalo, and Rochester, the town of Williamsburgh, and the village of Poughkeepsie. ... The contrast of the free system in the city of New York with the rating system in the State, gives the following result:
The rating system in the State does not secure the attendence of one-seventh of the children of educable age at school for even six months; while the free, system in the city of New York secures the attendance of one-third of the children of educable age during the whole year....... . . . .. The returns for the city of New York, show the ., number of children of educable age to be ..
- 78,000 The whole number taught during the year, .
76,985 The number attending school during the whole year, • • . 23,075
The superintendent, in his report, page 56, remarks: “The extension of free schools, in the state, ls, progressing moderately, and laws are passed nearly every session of the Legislature, for their establish: ment-in certain villages and districts." On page 61 of Report, he recommends the levying of an annual tax to establish and support free schools in every district, for six or eight months.
"The evils of the rating system, as pointed out by the superintendent on page 58 of report, are, litigation and contention about com. pensation of teachers-breaking up of schools by withdrawal of chik dren—and non-attendence of children, under apprehension, on the part of parents, that the rate bills will be unreasonably high.
We must now, as briefly as possible, state the practical operation of the free school system of Massachusetts, and then close for the present. In the State of Massachusetts, the children of educable age, i. e.,
from 4 to 16, was, in 1846, . . . . . . . 203,877 The number attending summer schools, . . . . 153,459 The number attending winter schools, . . . . . . . ... 174,270 The average attendance for summer and winter, . .. :.: 119,270
The population of the State was 737,700. The taxes levied and collected by the different towns, to be expended within their limits, was .. $611,652 13 Income of local funds, - . . . . . . . . 15,516 95 Amount of voluntary contributions, - . :. .:- 38,957 97 Amount of surplus revenue of State Fund, .. .. 28392 99
Total, .i. . . $694,020 04 The amount expended by the State for every child of educable age is $3 39. The amount paid per head on average attendance, $5 83. In the State of New York the average expended for each child in the State, is $1 63. The average attendance in New York being about 260,000, would make, per head, about $4 40. In Massachusetts the average attendance at school, to the number of children in the State, is as 3 are to 5, or 60 per cent. In New York the average attendance is as 13 are to 35, or 36 per cent.-showmg 24 per cent. in favor of the free school system.
If the educable age in the several States be taken into consideration, that of Massachusetts commencing at 4, and that of New York at 5 years, the difference would be still greater in favor of the free scheol system...
Having, therefore, established the superiority of the free over every other system of education, we close ihis article by the following reflections: !!!!
The education of the coming generation is the great work and concern of the present age. Upon the extent, fidelity, and thoroughness it is accomplished, depend not merely the improvement of the future, and the realization of the glorious hopes we have cherished, but the preservation of every valuable institution that we have, ourselves. either established or inherited. Here, then, is work for all heals and hands, and commends itself alike to the patriot, philanthropist, and Christian. The politician and patriot; who labors to produce social equality, order and harmony--the philanthropist to eradicate evil, and the Christian to introduce the millenium-will find here the only field they can cultivate, from which they can reap the fruits, to whose production they have devoted their lives. Let them see to it, that it remain not a waste, producing only useless and noxious weeds. Casting our eyes over our Union, and seeing the magnitude of the work to be done, and the paucity of the numbers engaged in it, we are almost ready to despair—" surely the harvest is great, but the laborers are few.” But we will not despair. There is too much of nobility and disinterestedness visible throughout humanity, for that. That charity which embraces the globe, and devotes wealth and life to the enlightenment of the heathen, will yet redeem itself, by preventing our children from sinking into worse than heathenish darkness Aye, at home is its proper place to begin—its point from which to spread, in concentric circles, until it embraces entire humanity. Our own and our neighbor's children must first be redeemed from vice, ignorance, and degradation, and then we can extend our sympathies, until they embrace the antipodes.
We may not be able to accomplish all that we desire; and the object we aim at may be unattainable. But the work of humanity is, to struggle after the unaitained, and perhaps unattainable. Let no partial or even total failure then discourage us, but rather stimulate us to greater exertions. Consoled with the reflection that, though in morals, as in medicine, no universal prophylactic has yet been discovered, and that there may be none, yet that something can be done—that for some evils, as well as diseases, there is a preventive, and that ihose which we cannot prevent, we can, at least, partially check and modify.
ART. IV.—CALIFORNIA. We have been favored by a friend, with the “ California Stat," published at San Francisco, dated April 1st, 1848. The matter in the number before us, seems to have been selected for the especial purpose of being forwarded to the States east of the Rocky Mountains, by the express that was then about to depart. The editor says:
At the suggestion of citizens of this and neighboring towns, we have, within a week of “ active duty,” imposed upon us by the fitting out of our express for the United States, hurriedly gathered leading facts, representative of California, and voluntarily aided by Dr. V. J. FOURGEAUD, (author of “Prospects of California," appearing to-day complete,) we present these, in the form of the Weekly Star, with a supplement. It was, we believe, the general wish, that the amount of matter made up by our combined efforts should be both instructive and interesting to our eastern friends, or residents of any part of the globe. Within the limited time granted us, we have endeavored to accomplish this; if we have succeeded, and it proves acceptable, our diligent endeavors are repaid, and we rest abundantly satisfied.