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To the Teachers of Lawrence County. Micajah Allen.......
Questions Used in Lawrence County at Examination, Aug. 26...
We all agree that our present system | and city schools.
of education is not perfect. We trust, We are asked, "What, then, is to be however, that we are going on to per- done? What remedy do you propose ?" fection. Imperfection in our system of We answer in one word, system. It is education is no where more apparent notorious that the country schools are than in the district school. It seems without system. The only exception to that we have made less progress here this is the few counties of the State than in any other department of educa- where the schools are graded. In these tion. Why this is so we will not stop it is so late a thing that there has not to inquire. We recognize the fact that been time to develop but little of the the town and city schools, under the benefits of system. As a general thing same law that govern the country there is no plan or order in the district schools, are giving a better common schools. No trustee or director in the school education to the children. We State can tell anything about how a recognize the fact that the education ob- school ought to be taught. They leave tained in our country schools is exceed-it to the teacher. He knows, as a geningly defective in the very branches eral thing, about as much as the trustee that the law requires to be taught in and director and no more. The county these schools. The very first three superintendent is bound by law to seek branches named in the law-spelling, to elevate the schools of his county. He reading and writing-are notoriously feels like he wants to elevate them. He defective. We know whereof we speak. starts out to visit them intent on elevaIn the many hundred cases which have tion. But the poor fellow is soon overcome under our inspection as a teacher whelmed in the chaos he finds. He receiving pupils from country schools, goes into a school. He finds irregularior as examiner under the law to grant ties in it. He seeks to correct them. license to teach, we have scarcely found He goes to another. He finds it differa person who, coming from the district ent from the other. He seeks to do school and from that alone, can pass a some good here too. But begins to find creditable examination on orthography, that he has a huge work on his hands. reading and writing. This is simply a There are no two schools alike. It is fact. The same may be said of the confusion, and to add to it he himself other five branches. We have just had has no well defined standard in his own presented to us the papers of eighty-two mind; and the result is that instead of applicants to teach. We know some- elevation, depression of the mind of the thing of the education history of most of superintendent. these applicants. We know where they have been educated. These papers will bear out all we have said about defective education in our country schools. We may say, also, that they do not testify as well as we would like to see for those who have been educated in town
All this trouble comes from the want of a definite system of gradation and teaching in the county schools. Education means development. Development is systematic. Law, rule, order prevail in the works of God. Upon the most distinct star that twinkles in the
diadem of night to the humblest flower | a teacher. He is much of a gentleman. that blooms at our feet, we see the im- His wife, also, is an excellent teacher. press of law and order. All business in We met many others who are live life, in order to success, must be con- teachers. Old Washington is stepping ducted by rule. Can it be that the to the front in school matters. We schools of a county are an exception to aided Prof. Caress in teaching his teachthe general rule that prevails in heaven ers how to grade their schools. They and earth. They are no exception. seemed to take a lively interest in learnThe work of systemizing has begun. It ing how to grade. When we left we will go on. It becomes educators to felt that every teacher present would show how it can be done in the simple-strive to do his duty by bringing his or est and best way. We cannot in a her school into the system adopted by short article like this go into details. the County Board of Education. They We simply say that we go into details haye adopted the five grade system, in our county, and try, by actual work, which, in our opinion, is the best yet to demonstrate the great utility of sys- presented. tem in the schools of a county. We want other counties to do likewise, and even much better. We do not think we are perfect by any means. We are ready to learn. Our advice to every county superintendent in the State is to put your schools into system this fall. You are competent to do so under the law. If the County Board of Education has neglected to aid you, do it without. Grade your schools. Show the trustees Systematize.
and teachers ho to do it.
Our Trip to Salem and Sullivan.
At the invitation of the county superintendents of Washington and Sullivan counties, we attended their county institutes. They were held the same week, opening August 28th. We were present at the Washington county institute first. We were met by Mr. Jas. M. Caress at the depot, at Salem, on Saturday, and conducted to comfortable quarters. On Monday morning the institute met in the Graded School building with a good attendance, which continued to increase until we left, Wednesday. We found Prof. Jas. G. May and Prof. Russell present. Prof. May is one of the oldest and most successful teachers in the State. Many of the most prominet men of the State and nation were his school boys. He is still hale and hearty and fully able to teach the young idea how to shoot as in days of yore. Prof. Russell is comparatively a young man and is well spoken of as
Prof. Caress saw us safely to the depot. He seemed to be much encouraged at the prospect in his county. Prof. C. is a good superintendent, genial and popular with his teachers-just the man to inaugurate a new departure in the schools of the county. He saw us safely off in the train for Sullivan. We reached Sullivan about 10 o'clock at night, and was met by our friend Jas. A. Marlow, county superintendent of Sullivan. We were mutually glad to see each other, and not much sleep was given to our eyelids that night. Grading was the theme of conversation. In the morning we repaired to the spacious school building in the town, where were gathered some one hundred and fifty teachers of the county. We here met Profs. Crawford, Cain and others. We were introduced to the teachers by Bro. Marlow, when we proceeded to unfold the mysteries of grading. We had an attentive audience, some of which were rather inclined to be inquisitive. We encouraged inquisitiveness; and we hope we were able to satisfy the most, if not all, of the teachers there present of the utility and practicability of grading their schools. We took dinner with Prof. Crawford. He is a whole-souled gentleman and an enthusiastic teacher. Prof. Cain seems to be a man of depth and solidity, worthy of a place as a professor in a university.
We left at 5 o'clook on the train for Vincennes, arriying home next day at noon, well pleased and very tired. Let