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Expenditures for Schools.- In the expending of the school appro- . priation, the policy was based on the fol owing principles :
1. That all the schools in town should have equal school privileges; every man's child has an equal right to the Common Schools with every other man's child; all schools taught throughout the town should be kept, as heretofore, an equal length of term time, and be under the management of equally good teachers.
2. It is desirable to get and retain good teachers, and pay them well. Good teachers cannot be got and retained without liberal compensation for services, and indifferent teachers are a wretched waste, even if they should work for nothing.
School Committee.-TULLY CROSBY, D. C. Easton.
Irregular attendance continues to be a source of annoyance and regret, and a great detriment to the progress and usefulness of our schools. We know of but one remedy which can be applied with salutary effect for this evil; it is a cheap and simple one, and within the reach of every household. Its name is earnest coöperation of parents with teachers. Were the parents to unite cordially and heartily with the teachers to remedy this abuse of our schools, its effects would soon disappear, because the root of the tree would be torn from the ground, and its branches withered, so that they could not longer bear fruit. In urging upon parents the necessity of such coöperation, we find nothing more applicable than the following extract, from the pen of M. H. Buckman, President of the University of Vermont. He says, “ Every parent has a duty to the whole school as well as to his own
children, and both for its sake and their sake he is bound to do what he can to make his own children diligent, teachable and dutiful.” Again he says: “If you decide to send the child to the Public School, rather than educate him yourself, you must conform to the prescribed regulations. That is implied in the contract between you and the teacher, and between you and the whole school. You have no more right to break into the order of the school by irregularity, than you have to stop a train of cars between two stations for your own convenience and to the inconvenience of the rest of the passengers." .
For the Committee.—David H. CROWELL, SAMUEL HIGGINS.
Truant Officers. The efficiency of these officers, and the faithfulness with which they have attended to their ofttimes unpleasant duty, is worthy of praise. They have all been willing and interested workers, carrying out the instructions of the committee, and coöperating with them to such an extent as to cause fear and trembling on the part of the truant. We have a list of the names of truants brought to the school, up to the first of January. As is generally the case, much the larger part were of the foreign element.
Registry of Names, etc.—Ascertaining the number of school children has been recently taken from the hands of assessors, and placed in the hands of school committees, where it was formerly, and of right ought to be.
As was suggested by Superintendent Hutchinson last year, the names and ages of all children should be registered every year, and placed on file for future reference and use. We would add their place of residence also.
The committee should have easy access to the name, age and residence of every child, because then they can tell what children are absent from school all the time, and thus apply the law. The town should be districted. The committee will doubtless give this matter thoughtful consideration in the future.
School Furniture.— The furniture of a school-room has much to do with the health of pupils. Obliging them to sit on seats that are low, narrow, straight backed, and not at all fitting the body, is deleterious in several ways. If they were to occupy these seats but a few minutes in the day, instead of several hours, the case would be different. The seat should fit the body, and give the child an easy and natural position. Many of the present seats compel the body to be cramped and bent; and the result is, round shoulders, narrow chests, weak backs and bended forms.
Single Desks and Chairs.-School-rooms should be furnished with single desks and chairs. By them the scholar is made to depend more upon himself, is not interrupted by a school-mate, does not waste so much time, can work better and accomplish more, is not cramped for room, is not troubled with an unpleasant seat-mate, and is not so liable to catch disease. The discipline of the school is much easier ; the scholars being further apart, have not so much an opportunity for mischief. In fact, every argument is in favor of single desks.
School Apparatus. For the sad deficiency in apparatus for illustrating, etc., our school committees have been most to blame. Without such things, the child's education will be narrow and vague. Arithmetic cannot be taught clearly and comprehensibly without the use of blackboards, nor history and geography without maps and globes. Nor can any study be well understood and taught without proper illustrative apparatus.
Music.—We desire to call your attention to music in the schoolroom. We are in favor of having it taught there. Our school-room work is too much that of drudgery, both on the part of teachers and pupils. It is too much study, study, study. They need more genuine recreation. The idea that children are developed into true manhood and womanhood by obliging them to go to school, shoving their heads into a dry, technical and abstract book, and keeping it there till four o'clock P. M., without suitable relaxation, is perfect folly. There are not opportunities enough, nor of sufficient variety and kind, to cheer, encourage, stimulate and inspire the discouraged and exhausted mind, and to quell the angry passions that rise in their natures. There should be greater facilities for recreation. In fact, we are in favor of a gymnasium being attached to every school. Now music is one of the greatest of relaxations to the scholar. It has a most beneficial effect upon the tired or passionate mind. It is amazing, sometimes, to see the effect produced on a school by simply singing a song. It makes a new school of it; gives more vim, more cheerfulness, a new life-inspiration almost; and the pupils bend themselves down to new and greater effort. Music has a favorable bearing upon the subject of reading. Vocal music cultivates the voice, develops the organs of speech, and hence affords the child greater power of enunciation. Teachers find it difficult to make pupils speak up loud, clear and distinct. Singing helps this. It is difficult for teachers to cause scholars to present the piece in tones natural to the characters represented. Vocal music is one of the greatest auxiliaries in this respect.
School Committee.-HORACE A. FREEMAN, JOSEPH S. ATWOOD, LUTHER NICKERSON, Mrs. A. J. HUTCHINSON, Mrs. MERCY M. LEWIS, MRS. HARRIET F. MITCHELL.