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I have alluded, in another connection, to the practice, which has recently sprung up and is happily increasing, of maintaining these schools for short terms in the small towns, where there is not the ability, or it is not convenient to maintain them for the full school year.
I regard it as a hopeful sign of healthful progress, and respectfully, but earnestly commend the example to other towns similarly situated as one eminently worthy of imitation.
TEACHERS' INSTITUTES. Eight have been held during the autumn and early winter. I give the accounts of them as reported to me by Messrs.
Phipps and Walton, under whose charge they were held. Mr. Phipps was aided by Mr. Kneeland, agent of the Board for Norfolk County, and Mr. Walton by Mr. Hubbard, agent for Worcester County and eastern Franklin County.
Mr. Phipps writes as follows:
“ Institute at Orleans, Barnstable County, November 3-5.-Number of registered attendants, 100. Number of actual attendants was considerably more. Every town in the county, except Mashpee, was represented by some of its teachers and members of school committees, and, in some instances, by all. The day sessions were very well attended by the citizens, and the town-hall was filled at each of the evening lectures. Wednesday evening a lecture was given by Mr. Phipps ; Thursday evening, by Mr. Walter Smith, State Director of Art-Education ; Friday evening, by Mr. G. G. Hubbard, a member of the Board, and another by Mr. Secretary White. Readings were given at the close of each lecture by Miss Isabelle S. Horne, elocutionist. The exercises and lectures at the day sessions were: two by Mr. A. G. Boyden, two by Mr. John Kneeland, three by Mr. Phipps, two by Miss Horne, one by Mr. Smith, one by Mr. G. G. Hubbard, and one by Mr. White. It was, in all respects, a very satisfactory Institute.
“ Institute at Lexington, Middlesex County, January 12–14.-Number of regular attendants, 70. This number would have been much larger if the schools in many of the neighboring towns had not been closed a fortnight previously, to give the teachers an opportunity to attend the State Teachers' Association, held in Boston. In one or two of the large towns certain local reasons unavoidably prevented the attendance of the teachers. Wednesday evening, a lecture was given by Prof. E. S. Morse, of Salem ; Thursday evening, by Secretary White; Friday evening, by Prof. W. H. Niles, of Cambridge. The exercises and lectures at the day sessions were : three by Mr. Phipps, two by Prof. D. B. Hagar, two by Prof. A. G. Boyden, two by Mr. John Kneeland, two by Miss I. S. Horne, one by Mr. E. A. Hubbard, and one by Prof. Niles. In everything, except in the small number of teachers in attendance, compared with what might, at some other season of the year, have been expected, this Institute was a decided success, and has elicited numerous expressions of satisfaction from the school committee and citizens of Lexington. Their appreciation of it was shown by a constantly increasing attendance at the day sessions, and by the large audiences at the evening lectures, in the spacious and beautiful town-hall, in which all the exercises were held.”
The following is the statement of Mr. Walton :
“ Teachers’ Institutes have been held as follows :
“ At South Adams, October 13-15.—There were 120 teachers and committees present. Evening lectures were given by Mr. E. A. Hubbard, Prof. Sanborn Tenney and Secretary Joseph White. Day exercises were given as follows: By E. A. Hubbard, 3 ; by J. W. Dickinson, 3; by B. W. Putnam, 1; by Mrs. G. A. Walton, 4; by G. A. Walton, 4.
“ At Orange, October 20-22.—There were 175 teachers and committees present. Evening lectures were given by Geo. A. Walton, by Rev. A. D. Mayo and by Secretary Joseph White. Day exercises were given as follows: By Prof. Walter Smith, 2; by J. W. Dickinson, 3; by E. A. Hubbard, 3 ; by Mrs. G. A. Walton, 3 ; by Mr. G. A. Walton, 3.
“ At Haydenville, November 10-12.—There were 110 members. Evening lectures were given by E. A. Hubbard, by Prof. Walter Smith and by Secretary Joseph White. Day exercises were given as follows: By G. A. Walton, 4; by E. A. Hubbard, 3 ; by J. W. Dickinson, 2; by Mrs. G. A. Walton, 3 ; by Prof. Walter Smith, 1.
" At Belchertown, December 1-3.—There were 60 members present. Evening lectures were given by G. A. Walton, by Rev. J. L. Jenkins, by B. W. Putnam and by Secretary Joseph White. Day exercises were given as follows: By E. A. Hubbard, 3; by J. W. Dickinson, 2; by B. W. Putnam, 2; by Mrs. G. A. Walton, 3; by G. A. Walton, 4.
" At Fitchburg, December 8–10.-One hundred and thirty-five teachers and committees present. Evening lectures were given by G. A. Walton, B. W. Putnam and Prof. W. H. Niles. Day exercises were given as follows: By E. A. Hubbard, 1 ; by E. H. Russell, 2; by B. W. Putnam, 2; by J. G. Edgerly, 1 ; by Mrs. G. A. Walton, 3; by G. A. Walton, 3 ; by Secretary White, 1.
" At Brimfield, January 19-21.—The evening lectures were delivered by Mr. Hubbard, Mr. Smith, art-director, and Prof. Niles. Day exercises were given as follows: By Prof. Walter Smith, 1 ; by E. A. Hubbard, 2; by G. A. Walton, 3; by Mrs. G. A. Walton, 3; by Mr. Kneeland, 2 ; by Mr. Scott, of Westfield Normal School, 2.
“Each evening lecture was followed by interesting and instructive readings given by Mrs. Walton.”
DEAF-MUTES. As required by chapter 311, section 2, of the laws of 1867, the following statement is made of the number of deaf-mute pupils under instruction during the school years of 1874–5, in
the several schools patronized by the State, and the present number of such pupils; and the amount paid in their behalf from the treasury, from January 1, 1875, to January 1, 1876. In
The annual expense paid by the Commonwealth for the maintenance of a pupil in each school, is as follows:
At the American Asylum, for board and tuition, .
the Clarke Institution, for board and tuition, . the Boston School, for tuition, . . .
The following sums were paid to these institutions during the year 1875 :
These sums fall far short of the actual cost of a pupil in the several schools, especially in the matter of instruction, the nature of which is such as to necessitate a subdivision into much smaller classes than can be successfully taught in the ordinary schools. The reduction in price is due to the fact that the American Ayslum and Clarke Institution hold liberal endowments from public and private munificence, and that the Boston School draws its support from annual taxation, it being a city free school.
These institutions are doing a noble work. They are unstopping deaf ears; they are literally making the dumb to speak, and thus opening up to an unfortunate, deserving and numerous body of the young, equally with their more fortunate brothers and sisters, the avenues to knowledge and culture, to successful industry, to wider social relations, and so to enlarged usefulness and happiness for themselves and the community.
I doubt not that all intelligent citizens will cordially respond to the sentiment that institutions like these, which aim to restore to the intelligent service of the State the lives which would otherwise be lost to it, deserve, not only cordial commendation, but, also, and more especially, a vigorous and wise support; certainly to the extent of unsparing pains to bring the privileges, which they are capable and desirous of affording, within the reach of every child deprived of speech. And especially so since the Commonwealth makes ample provision for this purpose.
And yet the whole number of educated persons sent from the schools at the close of the last school year did not exceed 40, and the whole number of pupils now in them, as appears above, is but 168. According to a carefully prepared census, made in 1873–4, the number of deaf-mutes, of all ages, in the Commonwealth, was 1,197. Of this number, not less than 303 were between the ages of five and twenty years ; leaving 135 between these ages not at school. Why should not these, also, who are shut out from the Common Schools by no fault of their own, and many of them through the inability of parents or guardians to provide instruction for them, doomed to lives of ignorance and helplessness, be diligently sought out, and enrolled in the schools so liberally provided for them? Surely there can be no lack of motive for such a " watch and ward” as this implies, whether viewed as the prompting of a generous philanthropy, or of an enlightened patriotism.