« 上一頁繼續 »
New England States. A State with rate bills may have a system of public schools, but they cannot justly be called free schools. When legislation came to perfect the form and systematize the working of a plan which had been adopted voluntarily by the communities, a grand home-grown system of public schools was the result. Local control has ever been the fundamental principle of public education in Pennsylvania.
The Free School Act of 1834.-In adopting a system of absolutely free schools, Pennsylvania is one of the foremost States in the Union. The passage of the Common School Act of 1834 is historically the most important event connected with education in the State—the first great victory for free schools in Pennsylvania. The “New Code” of 1911 is but its blossom and fruition. The vote in the Legislature of 1834 was nearly unanimous, but the real contest took place in the next Legislature (1836), when in the fight against the repeal of the bill the victory was at last gained under the masterly leadership of Thaddeus Stevens. The passionate devotion of such men has done unmeasurable things for America. The spirit of their ancestors, the old Scotch Covenanters, finds its highest example in that picture of this great Pennsylvanian, as he stood in the glory of his young manhood, with raven hair and finely chiseled face, braving popular disapproval and a hostile Legislature. Yet he won the greatest triumph of his eventful career, and by sheer force of eloquence saved the free school system of the Keystone State, that the blessing of education might be carried to the poorest child of the poorest inhabitant of the meanest hut on the mountains. Near the close of his life the great statesman, who had done so much for the very life of the Nation, said that he had done
nothing upon which he looked back with such pride as upon his defense of the free school system of Pennsylvania.
Organization and Revival.—Teachers and people reap to-day the fruits of the wisdom and labors of Thomas H. Burrowes, secretary of the Commonwealth and superintendent of common schools (1836), who put into successful operation our common school system. After the period of organization came the educational revival movements of 1854 and 1857. The establishing of the office of county superintendent was the great feature of the Act of 1854. This vitalized and made effective the work of the whole system.
The Establishment of Normal Schools.-As a result of the work of the county superintendency came the demand for State normal schools. Normal institutes were established in various counties. In the little town of Millersville, Lancaster county, was established, under the guidance of county superintendent James P. Wickersham, an institution which by its success largely decided public opinion in favor of normal schools for the training of teachers. It had great influence in shaping the normal school policy of the State, and became the first of our State normal schools, and the mother of all of them.
Names Worthy of Remembrance.-Many Governors and State superintendents and deputy superintendents are to be remembered by their work for education. Governors Shulze, Wolf, and Ritner rendered valuable services toward the adoption of the public school system. Governor Wolf, teacher, had the honor of signing the Act of 1834. Superintendent Thomas H. Burrowes drafted the normal school law; and Henry L. Dieffenbach prepared the final draft of the revised school law of 1854. Henry C. Hickok, by his
vigilance and zeal protected the Act of 1854, the county superintendency, and the normal schools. Governors William Bigler and James Pollock were influential in the passage, revision, and protection of the school laws. Andrew G. Curtin, who as Governor of the State during the Civil War made a great record in support of the Nation, as State superintendent of common schools in 1856 did much to steady the work of school reform by his conservative policy. State superintendents James P. Wickersham and Elnathan E. Higbee, in the era of growth which followed the close of the Civil War, rendered distinguished services to the perfecting of the system of common schools. The labors of State superintendents D. J. Waller, Jr., and Nathan C. Schaeffer, and their able deputies Henry Houck, John Q. Stewart, A. D. Glenn, and Reed B. Teitrick, are too well known to need commendation to the teachers of the State which has been honored by their supervision. These educators have exercised great influence upon legislation, and under their efficient direction many improvements have been made in the school system of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The New Code passed by the Legislature of 1911, adds to the roll of honor Gov. John K. Tener and the eminent educators who composed the Educational Commission.
What were the “neighborhood schools”? What is said concerning the rate bill policy of the New England States?
What was the estimate placed by Thaddeus Stevens upon his work in defense of the Free School Act of 1834?
Name seven men who have served as Governors of Pennsylvania, and have influenced the schools particularly.
Discuss the establishment of State normal schools in Pennsylvania.
EDUCATION: THE SCHOOLS TO-DAY
The District the Unit.—Under the provisions of the new School Code, the State has what is known as the district system of public schools. These school districts conform substantially with the political divisions of the State. Each township, borc ugh, or city is a distinct corporation for school purposes. The law makes provision for the organization of independent districts under certain circumstances; but it is not the intention to cut up townships into single districts for each school, nor to separate the wealthier portion of a township from the poorer portion to the prejudice of the rights and interests of the latter. A school district contains on an average about ten schools, all under the control of the same school officers. There are, in round numbers, twentysix hundred school districts in the State. The several school districts so established are classified into four classes as follows:
Every school district having a population of five hundred thousand inhabitants or more constitutes a school district of the first class. Every school district having a population of thirty thousand inhabitants or more, but less than five hundred thousand constitutes a school district of the second class. Those districts having a population of five thousand or more, but less than thirty thousand constitute school districts of the third class. Each school dis
trict having a population of less than five thousand constitutes a school district of the fourth class.
The basis upon which the classification is computed is the United States census, and no change can be made from one class of school districts to another except after the Federal census has shown that the district is entitled to be changed from one class to another. The State superintendent is charged with the duty of canvassing the census, and issuing certificates to the several districts which are entitled to be included in a different class than that in which they were at first classified. All independent districts, as they formerly existed, were abolished, the law taking effect on the first Monday in July, 1911. The court of common pleas is given power to re-establish such districts upon proper petition.
The School Directors. The school affairs of each district are administered by a board of school directors elected or appointed according to the school law. In school districts of the first class, these officials are appointed by the courts of common pleas of the county in which the school district is located. The board consists of fifteen school directors, who hold office for a term of six years and serve without pay. Under the working of the New Code, five school directors as members of such board are appointed in October, every second year (1913, 1915), for a term of six years. Their term of office begins on the second Monday of November next following their appointment. In school districts of the second class, nine school directors constitute the municipal school board. Three directors are chosen every two years at the municipal election, hold office for a term of six years, and serve without pay. Their term of office begins on the first Monday of December following