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Commissioner of Education that the salary of the general agent of education be increased to $2,400 annually. * As nothing was done, I respectfully ask the board to renew the request. In closing this report I can not permit to pass unchallenged the statement made by the president of the Territorial board of education, which appears on page 181 of the Annual Report of the Commissioner of Education, 1887–88, that my annual report for 1887–88 was recalled by the board of education in Alaska because of “a number of material inaccuracies in the report.” My report for that year was regularly indorsed and approved by the board, ex-Governór Swineford not being present, on September 15, 1888, and forwarded to the Commissioner of Education. At a meeting of the board on October 31, 1888, four members being present, Mr. Swineford delivered a tirade against the general agent of education, claiming that some of the statements of the annual report were false and demanding that the vote of approval be reconsidered. This demand was refused by the board. The report had been officially sent to the Commissioner, and could not be recalled, or changed, if recalled, except by my consent. However, to give Mr. Swineford an opportunity of pointing out alleged falsehoods I consented to a resolution (and without my consent the resolution could not have been passed) asking the Commissioner of Education to send the board a certified copy of the report, which was done. The report itself was not recalled, but remained in Washington, and was printed as usual in the appendix of the annual report of the U.S. Commissioner of Education as the regular official report of schools in Alaska. At a subsequent meeting of the board, January 23, 1889 (the general agent being absent), although a certified copy of my report had been received from Washington, it was neither read nor considered, but Judge Keatley was directed to make out a “new report and transmit the same to the Commissioner of Education.” This was not a substitute for the report of the general agent, as no one could legally make that report but himself. It was not even a report on education in Alaska, because Judge Keatley had recently come into the Territory and had no personal knowledge of its school affairs at that time. . With his usual good judgment he did not attempt a report, but confined himself mainly to some general statements with regard to a few of the schools in southeastern Alaska, and particularly the training school at Sitka, of which he had some personal knowledge. His report was never submitted to the consideration of or approved by a vote of the Territorial board of education. In making his reflections upon the report of the general agent he was evidently misled by the assertions of Mr. Swineford, which were never proven, and I take this first opportunity since the publishing of the report of 1887–88 to deny that the report of the general agent for that year contains “a number of material inaccuracies.” Very truly yours, SHELDON JACKSON, General Agent of Education for Alaska.
CITY SCHOOL SYSTEMS.
A.—Remarks Relating to the Summary of City School Statistics and Supplementary Information—Differences in Local Organization—Reliability of School Statistics—Quantity of School Work Done in the City and in the Country Schools: The Proper Measure of School Work; Difference in the Quality of Work; Regularity of Attendance Greater in Cities; Number of Teachers and Their Salaries; Number and Value of Schoolhouses; Proportion of School Work Done by Cities (Table 1). B.—Remarks Relating to the Comparative Statistics, with Supplementary Information—Comparison of Statistics—Ratio of Total Enrollment to Population 6–14–Ratio of Aggregate Attendance to Population 6–14-Private and Parochial Schools; Reasons for Large Private School Attendance—Proportion of Pupils in High Schools—What froportion of the Pupils Receive High School Instruction—Comparison of Ratios for the Last Three Years (Table 2). C.-Remarks and Supplementary Information Suggested by the Tables of Detailed Statistics–Number of Supervising Officers—Whole Number of Persons Employed in Instruction—Average Salary of Teachers— Text-books; Location of Cities Employing the Free Text-book System (Table 3)— The Wealth of Cities— High Schools: Number of LIigh Schoo's Compared with Population; Distribution by Geographical Divisions of City Public High Schools (Table 4); Distribution by States of City Public High Schools (Table 5); Character of Instruction in High Schools; Sea of High School Graduates; Decreasing Proportion of Male Graduates; Number of Males and of Females Graduated from the High Schools of the Ten Largest Cities during 1860–64 Inclusive (Table 6): The Same during 1865-69 Inclusive (Table 7); The Same during 1885–89 Inclusive (Table 8)—Evening Schools: Falling off of Attendance; Unsatisfactory Comdition of Evening Schools; A More Definite Plan Needed; The Length of the Evening School TermPublic Kindergartens: Large Cities which have avowedly Established the Kindergarten System (Table 9); Cities which have Established one or more Kindergartens, Mainly Experimental (Table 10). D.—Remarks Relating to the Tables of Comparative Statistics of Individual Cities. E.—Statistical Tables: Summary by States, of Population 6-14, Enrollment, Attendance, Teachers, High Schools, Accommodations, School Property, and Cost of Tuition (Table 11)—Summary by States of ComParative Statistics of Enrollment, Attendance, Teachers, and Accommodations (Table 12)—Summary by States of Comparative Statistics of Property and Expenditures (Table 13)—Statistics of Population and School Attendance and Enrollment in Individual Cities (Table 14)—Statistics of Supervising Officers, Teachers, Salaries, and Accommodations (Table 15)—Statistics of Public High Schools (Table 16)Statistics of Erening Schools (Table 17)—Statistics of Property and Receipts (Table 18)—Statistics of Expenditures (Table 19)—Comparative Statistics of Enrollment, Attendance, Teachers, and Accommodations (Table 20)—Comparative Statistics of Pi operty and Expenditures (Table 21)-List of Cities and Villages Concerning which no Information is at Hand,
A.—REMARKS RELATING To THE SUMMARY or STATISTICs of CITY SCHOOLS (TABLE 11), AND INFORMATION SUPPLEMENTARY THERET0.
In the previous Reports of this Office it has been customary to include in the tables of summaries only those cities from which definite information was at hand. The table immediately following marks a departure from that method, in that it not only includes all the accurate data available, but also such estimates to supply deficiencies as may be regarded as reasonably reliable. The result desired is to secure a set of totals which will be totals in reality, and not the sum of results attained in a varying number of cities, leaving the rest unmentioned and unknown. The table is not without fault, but, inasmuch as all the cities are taken into account, it more nearly represents the sum of achievement of city schools than any similar table which has previously appeared.
The forthcoming federal census will probably show the number of cities and villages containing over 4,000 inhabitants to be somewhat greater or less than 768, the number included in the table, and if so, each item of the totals would be subject to correction. Numerous difficulties are experienced in perfecting the list of cities, and it may even now contain a few that do not possess the characteristics of cities to the extent necessary to their proper classification here, and it is equally true that some may have been omitted which have recently so grown and developed as to entitle them to be classified among urban communities.
DIFFERENCES IN LOCAL ORGANIZATION.
Such are the differences in local organization and government in the several States that the question of population is far from being the only perplexing element with which it is necessary to contend in this connection. Among the peculiarities which appear and which often involve problems of considerable difficulty may be mentioned
1. The village of Edgewater, N. Y., which has a population of about 10,000 in two independent “towns,” is in three separate postal districts, not one of which bears the name of the village, and contains four school districts which have no direct connection with each other.
2. The cities of Florida, incorporated as cities, but whose schools are managed by county officers in the same way and upon the same basis as the adjacent rural schools.
3. Some Western cities, including Denver, Colo., which embrace three entirely independent school organizations among which the territory is divided.
4. A few Southern cities, notably Washington, D.C., which contain two full sets of school officers, working side by side, in the same field, but in behalf of different races.
5. Certain New England villages, which, though containing several thousand inhabitants and important business interests, have no legal status, save as parts of the “towns” in which they are situated. Many of these villages, unincorporated and amenable to the government of “town’’ or township officers, contain twice the population that would be expected in the South or the West to constitute a “city,” with mayor and council, board of education, and all the other embellishments of a full grown municipality.
RELIABILITY OF SCIIOOL STATISTICS.
Such anomalies as these, and they are many, necessarily involve such varying methods of recording and reporting school data that it is not reasonable to hope for a strictly accurate summary of the conditions of education in all places that may be properly considered in a general way as cities, even if all forwarded reports as nearly correct as the circumstances in each case would permit. But of the 768 cities reliable statistics of 713 or 92.8 per cent. of the entire number were secured and are incorporated in Tables 14 to 19. As will be seen from the Tables referred to, many of the cities failed to report some of the items—on an average each item was omitted by probably 10 per cent. of the cities. These omissions and failures to report amount, therefore, to over onesixth of the whole. This deficiency has been supplied by estimates based in each case upon the ratios developed by the surrounding cities or States.
In those cases in which no report was made of population excepting the estimated total, as in the cities of Pennsylvania and Minnesota, the population between six and fourteen was estimated by applying to the total population reported the ratio existing between the two at the last general census.
This explanation is given in order that the limitations to be placed upon the accuracy of the table may be fully known.
RELATIVE QUANTITY OF SCIIOOL WORK DONE IN THE CITY AND IN THE COUNTRY SCHOOLS.
A comparison of the facts developed by this table with the figures shown in the tables of school statistics of States in Chapter XXII of this Report shows the importance of the city school systems in the educational field in a very strong light.
THE PROPER MEASURE OF SCHIOOL WORK.
The truest measure of the quantity of work done is not the number of pupils enrolled, for that number may include those whose stay in school was too short to produce any tangible result; nor the average attendance, for that gives no idea of the time attended; nor the length of the school term, for that furnishes no clue to the number of children. The only quantity that takes all these things into consideration is what is technically called the “aggregate, or total attendance,” which is determined by simply adding together the number of days every pupil was present in school. The result is the total number of days attended by all pupils, and may be said to be a measure of the total amount of instruction given.
Taking this item as the basis of comparison, it appears that 35.3 per cent., considerably over one-third, of all the instruction reported in public schools in the United States is given in cities, since the aggregate number of days’ attendance on the part of all public school pupils in the entire country was 1,076,613,716, and the corresponding quantity for the cities alone was 379,800,612.
This, taken in connection with the fact that only 26.2 per cent of the population 6 to 14, and only 22.6 per cent. of the whole enrollment are reported in the cities, shows the result of the more regular attendance and the longer school terms in the cities.
DIFFERENCE IN THE QUALITY OF WORK.
Let it be remembered that this estimate takes into consideration only the quantity of work done. A day in a “backwoods” country school is placed upon the same footing with a day in the finest school in the country. It does not, nor can it, introduce the question of quality of instruction in any way whatever. There can be little doubt that the portion of the nation’s school work which the city systems do would be proved to be not far from one-half of the whole if it were possible to show on one hand the loss of time in so many rural schools by reason of frequent changes of teachers and methods of instruction, misdirected efforts and fruitless work resulting from inexperience or incompetence, lack of proper equipment and helps to teaching; and on the other hand, the advantages which accrue to the schools of the cities from close organization, skillful supervision, consultation of teachers, more or less permanent tenure of office, good houses and a fairly abundant quantity of supplies and apparatus that go far toward Smoothing the rough road of instruction.
REGULARITY OF ATTENDANCE GREATER IN CITIES.
As stated above, the attendance of children enrolled is far more regular in cities than in country schools, the ratio being 71.4 per cent. in cities and 65.1 per cent. in the United States as a whole. This difference will probably never be overcome, for it is impossible in the country to reach the city standard of accessibility of schoolhouses, even if the teaching were as attractive and the buildings themselves were as favorable to regular attendance. In the matter of length of term there is more reason to hope for improvement, for in some States there is now very little difference between the city and the country schools in this respect. At present the average length of the school year is 191.6 days in the cities alone and 134.5 days in the entire country at large.
NUMBER OF TEACIIERS ANI) THEIR SALARIES.
Only about one-seventh of the whole number of teachers in the United States are employed in city schools, but of the amount expended for teaching and supervision, 36.1 per cent. is paid by the cities. Except the showing of the approximately exact figures, nothing new is developed by this, for it is self-evident that large graded schools require a relatively small number of teachers; and it has been a matter of general regret since the inception of the public-school system that the wages paid country school-teachers are pitifully small. The greater length of the school term is also a factor which materially increases the proportion paid to city teachers.
There is very little difference in the average cost of tuition for each day’s attendance of a pupil in the city and in the country, being 8.3 cents in one case and about 8.1 cents in the other. This near approach to equality is due solely to the low salaries paid in the country. If country teachers were paid at the same rate per diem as city teachers, owing to the proportionally greater number required, the average cost of one day's instruction for one pupil in the country would be about 15.9 cents, or almost twice as much as in the cities.
NUMBER AND VALUE OF SCHIOOLIIOUSES.
There are 216,330 schoolhouses in the United States, and only 7,670, or 3.5 per cent of them, are in the cities—another instance of the economy possible in a dense population. In the United States, exclusive of cities, there is an average of one building to every 43 persons between 6 and 14 years of age, or one to every 29 pupils in average daily attendance in school, while in the cities the average is only one building to every 415 persons between 6 and 14, or to every 258 persons in average attendance.
The value of school property in the cities amounts to 52.8 per cent. of the whole. In other words, 7,670 buildings with their sites and furnishings are more valuable than all the remaining 208,660 houses with their grounds and equipments. Of course this is due principally to the great superiority of the city buildings in size, quality, and furnishing, but the great difference between land values in urban and rural localities affects the ratio, although it would be impossible to definitely determine to what extent. . The average value of each building, including site, furniture, etc., in the entire
United States is $1,495; in the cities it is $25,583.
TABLE FOR COMPARISON,
For the sake of convenience in comparison, the quantities referred to in the foregoing paragraphs are reproduced in tabular form below.
TABLE 1.—Proportion of school work done by cities.
In the entire In the P£ #.
Population 6-14............................... - - 12, 138,199 3, 184, 326 26.2
B.—REMARKS RELATING TO THE COMPARATIVE STATISTICS (TABLEs 12 AND 13), WITH SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.
COMPARISON OF STATISTICS.
The meaning of the quantities shown in the table is brought out more clearly by the ratios and percentages in Tables 12 and 13. It is only by comparison that the full value of statistics can be realized. The comparison may be with the results attained in the same direction at a different period, or with the effects of similar efforts in other localities, or with other circumstances in the same locality which increase or limit the possibility of effective action. Then, most important of all in national statistics, comparisons may be instituted between different localities to determine the points of excellence of one over the other, taking into consideration the governing circumstances in each case, in order that the deficiencies of all may be remedied. To present opportunities for such comparisons, Tables 12 and 13 are presented. In each State the relation is shown between the principal controlling circumstances and the aggregate of results produced in all the cities reported.
RATIO OF ToTAL ENROLLMENT To PoPULATION 6–14, IN CITIES.
First, the number of children who received instruction, either in public or private schools, is compared with the whole number of children between six and fourteen years of age. South Carolina, Texas, and Kentucky make the poorest showing in this respect, each of them having less than three-fourths as many pupils enrolled in city schools as there are children of elementary school age. California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wisconsin exhibit highly creditable ratios, while Colorado and Maine are so far in advance of all the other States as to create a suspicion that the school census upon which the population 6–14 was estimated contained an undue proportion of errors. Without an exhaustive examination into all the causes that produce the low and the high ratios, it may be stated that without a single exception all the States in which the percentages are noticeably low are Southern States in which there is a large negro population, whose failure or inability to take advantage of even the educational opportunities offered them is well known; and all the States mentioned as showing creditably high percentages, excepting Indiana, Iowa, and Oregon," have upon their statute books laws compelling the attendance of all children in school. The compulsory laws are not, it is true, sufficiently effective to compel the attendance of those determined to remain at home, but they do exert an influence that is no less powerful for being outside the court room. Law-abiding and well-meaning people do not obey a law merely because a penalty is attached. To many of them the payment of the penalty would mean no hardship. But they respect the law simply as an expression of the public will intended for the public good, and obey it accordingly. There is no doubt that the compulsory-attendance laws often operate in this way to keep children in school when circumstances might otherwise make longer attendance a matter of doubt.
* Oregon has recently passed a compulsory-attendance law.