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sition. No one in private affairs, where such a large amount of money is involved, would think of managing the business in the haphazard way and with as little understanding of the work involved as does the average board of education. A great many of the problems presented to our boards of education for solution, instead of meeting with a careful examination, are treated as though they were a wonderful mystery. To illustrate: A new proposition is presented to the board for adoption. It is read in full, perhaps a brief explanation is given, and the subject is laid over to a subsequent meeting, and now the time has come when the vote is taken. Hardly any one has given it a thought from the time of the first reading until it is moved for adoption. What do the members say when they are asked to vote? "Really, I do not know anything about this, but I will not oppose its adoption." "If you say it is all right, I will support it." "So and So says it is a good thing; push it along." "You support this and I will support something you want." "I guess it will not do any harm," etc. In that way the administrative department of the schools are imposed upon, and after much time is wasted the members find after all it was only somebody's hobby that they were foisting upon their schools. That has been the custom for years with many of the school boards. The "Twentieth Century Call" says "School board management is a business proposition, and not a mystery." It is a. problem, the proper solution of which is within the reach of every member. Remember, it is not a patting on the back by some one with a favorite fixed purpose. The member of the board of education should not allow public humor or public sympathy for some incompetent teacher to destroy his individuality. Answer the call of the coming century by bringing the department of school administration up to the highest possible attainments.
What has been accomplished in other boards of education is possible in every board of education. A few boards have aroused themselves and shaken off the long continued lethargy, but the larger share of them are still down under the rule of factorism, bossism, and bureaucracy. The spirit of this age is against this form and method of doing public school work. We need to look these facts in the face and then seek to find a proper remedy for them. We plead earnestly with our readers for a practical consideration of these most important things, believ
ing that transformation, revolution, and the general uplift will come, and thus make the opening years of the twentieth century the time when history will record the greatest advance in the school administration.
School Board Records
CHE keeping of the records of the board of education in a complete and satisfactory manner is a puzzling problem. The frequent changes in the secretaryship, the carelessness of the members as to what constitutes a complete record, and the taking of too much for granted, are causes that lead up to the deplorable condition in which many a school board's records are found to-day. What should go into well be omitted, are questions that confront the records, and what should or could just as every secretary. Many little items that at the time seem unimportant, or only needing a passing notice, are just noted in the record; the exact wording of the resolution or the complete action of the board is not recorded. There is simply a note that the board took action upon the matter. Six, twelve, or eighteen months afterwards the subject matter is again brought before the board; the personnel of the board has completely changed; some one recalls that the board took action on this same question; they turn to the records, only to find that the exact action is not recorded.
Many secretaries keep their records in splendid shape, with this exception: they do not enter in their records the reports of the committees in full. The record will read: "The report of the committee on supplies was read and adopted as read (see file D)." I recall a record of a board in Nebraska kept in that manner. Sixteen months after that record was made three suits, in three different courts, were started against the board. At the trials the record was produced, but the report was not copied in full. The original report was produced. Two members of the committee who signed the report testified that one word evidently had been interlined after the report was signed and adopted. Everything hinged on that one word. With it in the report the plaintiffs had a good case; without it, they had no case whatever. All admitted that the interlined word was in another handwriting, and with a different kind of ink. Had the report been copied in full in the record, it would have helped materially in establishing the record. Up to
twelve months after that report was adopted that one word was a useless adjunct to the report. The board was defeated; three judgments were entered against them. One was appealed and the report referred to was at tached to the papers in the appeal, and the board has nothing on its records or in its files to show for their action.
Let me cite another case: In the settlement between a contractor for a new building and the material-men, the bondsmen were sued for about $2,000. While the board were not involved in the suit, the matter seemed to hang upon the board's record as to material used in this building. The record simply stated the action and said (see file B). The case was carried through the highest court, reversed and remanded, and on second trial it was found that a certain attorney had, in examining the board's record and files, abstracted two sheets of the committee's report from the files. Had this report been copied in full, much trouble and annoyance would have been saved. I could mention many similar cases.
chines take a sheet of paper over thirteen inches wide. This gives plenty of room for record and a wide margin for indexing. The sheets can be kept in the self-binding covers until you have about 300 pages, when they can be bound in permanent form. The wide-carriage machine will do the other typewriter work of the office also. A trial of this method of keeping the records will prove so eminently satisfactory that no board will ever return to the old method of pen work.
ONE of the best ways to do strong and effective work in the schools is for the board to stand very close to the superintendent and teachers.
THIS is a good time to make a careful exami nation of the course of study. Eliminate fads, but do not be afraid to properly test new ideas in education.
It will be a happy day for the school children of this nation when, in every part of our land, the administration of our schools is absolutely severed from party politics.
THE board of education represents all of the people in the administration of the public school system. Great care should be taken to keep the people properly informed along the lines of school work.
Boards of education pay their secretaries for keeping the records, and ought to insist that every action, no matter if it is minor, be recorded in full, and that every report be entered in full. In fact, the record of itself, without any cross-references, ought to be so complete. VERY few people realize the many difficult that it will contain everything without any fur- problems presented to boards of education for ther documents.
The writer recently made a careful research through some old school records, covering the past twenty-five years of the work of a board of education. You would be surprised to see the meager amount of information that the records contained. He found several years in succes sion where all the record the board has is made up from clippings from the daily press, carefully cut out and pasted in the record book, and here and there a correction made with pencil or pen, and then the signature of the secretary. The information that was so greatly desired was only hinted at in the record. Not a single member of the board of that year is now living in that city.
A complete record is the only one that any board ought to allow, so perfect that twenty five or fifty years from now any one would find the history all complete.
One of the best methods of keeping the board's records to-day is with a wide-carriage typewriter, using a record ribbon. These ma
solution. Everything that pertains to the education of the young must be passed upon. What may be considered a "fad" or special hobby in this city is carried forward in another city with great success. What constitutes a fad is a difficult problem for our boards of education. How are you meeting it, with careful study or with an "I don't care?" ·
THE board of education occupies a very pecul iar place in any community-a sort of a go-between. On the one side, arrayed against the board, will be found that class of citizens who think too much money is spent for education. On the other hand will be found those who think we are not spending enough for the education of the youth of the nation. Between these two fires the boards of education are doing their work, and as a result the pupils are generally receiving a training that fits them for the battles of life.
ONE of the puzzling questions to every board of education is, how shall we get the non-attend
ing children to attend school. The census for 1890 shows 22,447,392 children in the United States of school age, or between the age of five and twenty. The census shows that the actual enrollment in the year 1890 was 14,373,670. The average daily attendance, together with those who are over twenty years old, bring the number in schools from five to twenty down to about ten millions, leaving over one-half of the school children out of school. How shall we reach them, how shall we bring them in, are puzzling questions.
THE time ought not to be very far distant when the school system will look upon the
school board as the great central factor in the complete school faculty, and the intricate problems touching every part of school administration will not be discussed by teachers, principals, and superintendents, but into this parliament as an important factor there will come the members of the board of education. Out of that combination unity of action must come that cannot help but result in great good to the school system of any city. It will do away with one of the great burdens in our school work, the shifting of responsibility from one to another, in order to come out from under something that is not moving as some one wished and planned.
OUTSIDE EDUCATIONAL FORCES DEPARTMENT MRS. FRANCES M. FORD, Editor
NEW department for a new magazine, which is itself devoted to a new idea, is in a mood to be modest in its salutations. It may not have the introduction of a successful past, nor can it claim the right to acquaintance through any promise of a brilliant future, and it is certain of but two things, namely, its position and its purpose.
It makes no apology for its presence, for it feels itself to have been invited by the conditions of time and place. It usurps no position filled, either well or ill, by another, for, as has been intimated, it is an attempt to do a new thing in a new way. It seeks no special recognition, official or otherwise, except to be known among those who stand for the principle of an all-around education for all the people, all the time.
It exists that it may help in some small way to create such conditions that the leavening power of this principle may be increased in individual and community life. How it is to do this may not yet appear. A pioneer must know his soil and climate before he can make plans for the culture of the one or know what will thrive in the other. Yet he is sensitive meanwhile to the pressure of a need or the call of an opportunity. It is to be hoped that this department may have a chance to prove its theory that inward experience and outward criticism ought to live together in unity and beget symmetrical off spring. Meanwhile, as we await the test of
time, a few points are clear, and the negative ones come first.
These pages are not to be used to report programs or to give details of the work of the various organizations. Their official organs and the newspapers do that. Nor will this department concern itself with the adjustments of differences, or with replies to criticism, public or private. These also are referred to the newspapers aforesaid. We have no use for destructive weapons, and, indeed, anything which has to do with educational forces, either "outside" or "inside," ought to be constructive in method.
So it is urged that if anybody has material to contribute toward the building of the educational community, he will make it known to us. Any society, lodge, or club which has formulated some new plan, or is trying any experiment, any body of men or women which seeks in some special way to stimulate the mental or moral growth of a community, is invited to send its inspiration onward to other communities by way of these columns. The power of the outside educational forces is infinite. Their number is legion. May it be the privilege of this department of THE NORTH WESTERN MONTHLY to catch and transmit the spirit of a few of them. When it has done this, it will have served its purpose.
THE NORTH WESTERN MONTHLY illustrates in this issue its idea of a magazine which serves the interest of general as well as specific edu
tion, and which treats those who labor and learn in outside educational institutes with the same consideration it gives to those who labor and learn in the schools. Teachers have had their educational weeklies and monthlies by hundreds. Women's clubs have had theirs in smaller number, but THE NORTH WESTERN MONTHLY is the first to give itself to both. It has done this, moreover, in a way which shows its discernment no less than its generosity, for in making a choice of subjects for which it is to provide outlines for study it has hit upon those which appeal to the interest of the women's clubs everywhere. Take, for instance, the leading department of the magazine, that of Child Study. There is no object in the universe which a real woman so desires to know as the soul of the little child, and the natural and sacred reason why this is true need not be dwelt upon. It is not strange, then, that when teachers, for professional reasons, began to investigate the mental and moral status of the child, the mass of intelligent women in our clubs fell into line at once by their side, and the topic of Child Study not only became a favorite one in many clubs already organized, but it served as the starting point of many new organizations. These classes all need material for their work, and it is an appreciable advantage, not only to have it furnished by experts to whom all students of child life do homage, but to have it appear within the same covers which enclose outlines for other courses of study.
Economics is another subject which appears more and more in the woman's club curriculum, and because it is new, it is difficult to get expert leaders for the departments which choose it. The work has been usually a co-operative affair, where the teacher was scarcely better informed than the class, and where all that could be gained was an interchange of opinions, most of which were without scientific foundation. Any one who has led a department for economic study has been appealed to again and again for direction by those who wished to undertake a similar course, and there has been great confusion of mind as to what could be made practical. For this reason, the depart ment of municipal government is especially op portune, and the clubs will undoubtedly seize upon the material Mrs. Taylor offers, since it is sure to be fresh, and reliable.
In literature and history, which are the very stage horses of the club, the syllabi will be in valuable. We learn of clubs that have adopted
the MONTHLY as a text-book for work planned, and of some who have modified their plans to meet its provisions. The Nebraska Federation, in seeking to bring the clubs of the state into something like united work, has recommended the courses in Child Study, American History, and Applied Economics, and it is safe to say, when one considers the editors of these departments, that the clubs which follow the advice of the Federation will find themselves doing logical, substantial, and comprehensive work.
If we were to formulate a creed in these days when creeds are unpopular, we should state it in three articles:
First-We believe that a man's education begins with his first breath, and ends-perhapswith his last, certainly not before. It should be a continuous and logical process, not only from the kindergarten to the university, but from the cradle to the grave.
Education is no longer an epoch in a man's life. It is his life. Thirty years ago thoughtful parents said, as, indeed, they say to-day, "I must give my child an education; it is the best thing I can do for him:" but they said it then with a sense of haste, which the parent acquainted with the educational maxims of this day never feels. To them the end of school life was like the closing of the lid upon a well-filled trunk. The ordinary garments, in "the three R's," were at the bottom. The clothing for extra occasions had been supplied in "the higher branches," and if there had been a little room (it didn't take much), a few “accomplishments,” like so many ribbons, had been thrown in. But it had been done once for all. There was never a thought of replenishing. The young graduate was now to begin his little journey in the world, drawing upon the resources of his wellpacked mind as he needed them. We of this generation well remember the feeling of that time. We remember our dreadful discovery that knowledge packed away in layers and hidden from light and air was quick to mildew. We remember how, in the face of that disappointing fact, we seized upon new definitions of education, such as these: Education is the culture of the senses; it is the training of the faculties; it is the development of those qualities which heredity and the touch of the Holy Spirit have bequeathed; it is the generating of power; "to be educated”—this is the definition which dropped from the lips of a woman in a club the other day-"To be educated is to be
conscious of the truth." If education is these things, can we expect to confine it between five and twenty-five? The change in the conception, to the dynamic from the packing-box theory, has brought about a new understanding of the function of education.
Second-We believe that outside educational forces are just as important as those that work within the schools. They are just as worthy of close examination, and just as capable of radical improvement. Dr. Vincent tells us that while there are sixteen millions of persons in schools in the United States, there are fifty-four millions out of school. This great multitude of mature men and women have already had the training of the schools. Their minds, if that training has been wise, are alert and all aglow with power. It is the very time of development for them. Of course they will get it in social and business life, from the newspaper, and the thousand and one agencies that quicken and discipline and impart information; but there should be definite and specific educational opportunities, and they are coming. They come faster than we can judge them, faster than we can assimilate or even use them. Now, while we scrutinize our schools, while we pull up and throw away and revolutionize methods there, might it not be well to have an eye to our study classes, our clubs, our chautauquas, our lodges, our libraries? May not they, too, become perfunctory, mechanical, superficial, the vendors of signs rather than realities?
Third-We believe that there is no matter of public interest which exceeds in importance the present movement to correlate the various educational forces of a community. They must be brought into such relations that they can reach and react upon each other. They are but factors. Multiply them together and you have a result valuable in proportion to the force of both elements. The professional teacher, if he be broad in his sympathies and ambitions, will wish to identify himself with the forces which make for education outside the schoolroom, and his presence is very necessary to the educational prosperity of the club, the reading circle, and the study class. In the woman's club, for instance, it is the teacher who is able to choose the impression to be made in each study hour, and to see that it is made. She is more direct, more logical, more skilled in the use of tact than the woman of culture merely, who lacks the teacher's instinct and training, though the influence of the latter is none the less valuable
in its way. The same thought is illustrated upon the platform. The ordinary lecturer entertains. The university extension lecturer not only instructs, but stimulates. He sends his hearer to the library and the laboratory. He, like all teachers, leads on and out to a definite end.
But if outside educational problems demand skilled workmen from the schools, how much more do the schools claim the attention and interest of the public. Schools do not come without help, nor do they run without help. We cannot have good ones unless the people not only rise and demand them, but organize and demand them. Community indifference to such a vital matter is a wicked thing; but there are signs that the reaction against it has set in. Cities all over the land are coming to their senses. They are finding out that, if they do not look to it, political corruption will eat out the foundations of the public schools, and they have made the further painful discovery that lost time, lost by the public, is about as hard to find as when it is lost by the individual. A reliable New York paper says editorially: "It will take twenty years to right the wrongs of the children in some sections of this city. Some of the citizens of this great commonwealth must always suffer because of evils that existed during their school life, to which an intelligent public were indifferent." It may be surprising that New York has become conscious of a disgrace which the rest of the world has known about for years, but the agency which has awakened her is not new in idea, though its name may be unfamiliar. "The Public Education Association of New York" is simply one of the "outside educational forces." Its work has been to make investigations and to give publicity to them, to compel attention, to rouse civic pride, and to find patriotic and high-minded men who would give their time and service without thanks or honor as members of the school board. Is there any reason why men and women, mothers and teachers, officials and on-lookers, should not unite in an effort to emphasize the value of education, to bring its various phases into co-ordinate relation, in short, to pull together to a common end? "The development," as some one has said, "of the highest powers of every person." Why not?
FROM the recent annual report of the superintendent of public instruction of the state of New York we take the following: