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Full text of "[City documents, 1847-1867]"

BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 



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City Document — JVb. 10. 

THE 

ANNUAL KEPOET 

OF THE 

SCHOOL COMMITTEE 



PUBLIC SCHOOLS, 



CITY OF ROXBURY. 



1848. 




ROXBURY: 

JOSEPH G. TORREY, CITY PRINTER. 



1848. 



CITY OF ROXBURY. 



In School Committee, Nov. 3, 1847. 
Ordered, That Messrs. D. Greene, Caldicott, Bond, Russell, 
Dunn, Clapp, Slafter, Seaver and Morse, be appointed the 
Annual Examining Committee. Attest, 

JOSHUA SEAYER, Sec'y. 



In School Committee, February 1 6, 1848. 

Ordered, That the Reports of the Chairman, and of the 
Sub-committees appointed to examine the Grammar and 
Primary schools, which Reports have been accepted, be 
printed under the direction of the committees which present- 
ed them, and distributed for the use of the inhabitants. 

JOSHUA SEAVER, Sec'y- 



KEPORT OF THE SCHOOL COMMITTEE. 



We are required by the Statutes to make a detailed re- 
port of the condition of our public schools, designating par- 
ticular improvements and defects, and stating such facts and 
suggestions as may best promote the interests of education 
in our city. 

We have four grammar schools: the Washington on 
Washington street, and the Central near Jamaica Plain, for 
boys; the Dudley on Bartlett and Kenil worth streets, for 
girls ; and the Westerly at West Roxbury, for both sexes. 
In these are taught Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Intellec- 
tual and Natural Philosophy, Algebra, Geometry, Survey- 
ing, Philosophy of Natural History, Rhetoric, Chemistry, 
Botany and Geology. In addition to these branches French 
and Latin are taught in the Dudley school. 

There are twenty-five Primary schools in which children 
of both sexes, from four to eight years of age, are prepared 
for admission to the Grammar schools ; and an Intermediate 
school for boys over eight years of age, who from neglect of 
their parents, or other cause, have received little or no Pri- 
mary school instruction. 

There is a Latin school near Warren street, not under the 
direction of the School Committee, but deserving notice here, 
because it is a free school, and furnishes to all a thorough 
course of classical instruction preparatory for admission to 
our colleges. It is under the government of Trustees. 

There is a free school for girls near Jamaica Plain, in 
which branches are taught similar to those of the Dudley 
school. This is also under Trustees. 

Vocal music is now taught in our schools, and in most of 
the common schools throughout the State. Its introduction 



has been attended with the happiest results. It is so well 
calculated to soften the temper, to cheer the heart, to bring 
the faculties into a condition favorable to their best action, 
and affords an amusement so innocent and elevating that 
we would not, on any consideration dispense with it. 

The whole number of children attending our public 
schools is 2378. Their advantages for intellectual im- 
provement are inferior to none in any similar institutions 
within our acquaintance. The teachers are known to be 
faithful and intelligent ; the results of their instruction 
during the past year will be found in the reports of the ex- 
amining committees. 

It has become a question with many of us, and a grave 
one too, whether sufficient attention is paid in our schools to 
the development of the moral character, and to the religious 
training of the children. We are aware that difficulties 
surround any attempt to introduce religious instruction in 
any system of common school education, but do not believe 
them insurmountable. 

It is said that sects are so numerous in our city that we 
should be continually in danger of violating the rights of 
conscience. Let the instruction be judiciously given, and 
there will be no such danger ; let it be confined to the great 
principles which are the same in all forms of religion, and 
our different denominations who are so noted for the harmony 
subsisting among them will encourage rather than oppose it. 

We are told that it is difficult to draw the line between 
sectarian and general religious instruction. This difficulty, 
if it exists at all, is found only in narrow and bigoted minds. 
We do not believe there are any such among our teachers. 
If there are, the fact of their being so constituted would of 
itself disqualify them for the profession they have assumed. 
If any one needs a liberal and expansive mind, it is the 
teacher. The young are to take their earliest and therefore 
most permanent impressions from him. Whatever he is 
morally or intellectually they are likely to become ; and 
culpable indeed would he be who would so disregard public 
opinion and Ihe express language of the Statutes, as to intro- 
duce a sectarian spirit among them. We believe that with- 



out touching upon the points which divide the sects, the 
Bible may be read in our schools, its geography and an- 
tiquities be taught, its narrations in all their sublimity be 
illustrated, and its precepts inculcated as of importance far 
transcending all others. 

It is said that our Sunday schools are the proper places 
for religious instruction. Very good ones they are undoubt- 
edly. But is it probable that a child who is daily ex- 
posed to the temptations of a growing city can be fortified 
against those temptations by an hour's instruction on the 
Sabbath 1 Do the precepts of Christianity which are taught 
during that brief period really take such strong possession of 
a child, that with constant examples before him during the 
week of falsehood, deception, and turbulent passions, he will 
learn to be true, ingenuous, and forbearing 1 Depend upon 
it, the Sunday school can be only an auxiliary to the com- 
mon schools. In the latter will be formed the whole charac- 
ter moral and intellectual of our citizens. 

The tendency of the age is to free institutions. We would 
not have it otherwise — but as we are daily seeing in our 
own country that these institutions are liable to many perils 
from a want of religious principle among the people, we are 
bound by every principle of justice and humanity to lay as 
the foundation of the education of our children a clear under- 
standing of their moral and religious duties. No where can 
this be done more effectually than in our common schools. 
Those who have visited similar institutions in Europe tell 
us that in the best of them religious instruction is considered 
of primary importance, and that a portion of the time of 
each school session is devoted to it. Certainly it ought not 
to be held of less moment with us. 

On the subject of physical education in our schools we 
have a word to say. There have been great defects in our 
system. It is encouraging to see that we are becoming an- 
nually more sensible of these defects and more earnest in 
our endeavors to remove them. Much, however, remains 
to be done. The children in many of our schools still suffer 
from impure air and uncomfortable seats. Some of our 
houses must be remodelled or abandoned. The following 
belong to this class. 



No. 5, near Jamaica Plain. It is badly ventilated and 
badly located — has np play yard — it is doubtful whether the 
city owns so much of the ground as the house covers. To 
economize in land or for some equally valid reason, the out- 
house has been placed in close proximity to the school room : 
the ventilation of the latter is not improved by the arrange- 
ment. The attention of our city fathers has been before 
called to these peculiarities, but no change has been made. 

No. 4 on Washington street, and No. 12 on Yeoman street 
have been standing nuisances for many years. They have 
nothing to recommend them for school purposes. The 
committee of 1846 voted to abandon them as soon as new 
buildings could be erected. Why this vote has not been 
put in execution will presently appear. 

No. 11 on the Mill Dam is too small and has no ventila- 
tion. The inhabitants of that section require a new build- 
ing capable of accommodating two schools of 50 pupils each. 

The Central Grammar school near Jamaica Plain is not well 
accommodated. We have been obliged for want of room to 
send off a portion of its scholars. The building is not owned 
by the city, an annual rent being paid for it to the Trustees 
of the Eliot school. There is no good reason for this mode 
of occupancy. The city is able and ought to own its school 
houses. We are glad to hear that the City Council intend 
to erect a new building for a Grammar School in this sec- 
tion.* The increasing population requires also the erection 
of a building on the lot recently purchased for a Primary 
school on Green street. 

There are two prominent defects in our system of physical 
education. 1st. Imperfect ventilation. There is hardly a 

* In consequence of a petition from the inhabitants of Jamaica Plain, the 
City Council adopted the following order : 

" Oct. 18, 1847. In Board of Aldermen, Ordered, That the Committee on 
Public Property are hereby instructed to confer with the School Committee 
relative to the location, and report as soon as practicable the cost of a suitable 
piece of land for a new Grammar school house in Wards 6 and 7." 

It is now four months since the above order was adopted, yet no conferenec 
with the School Committee has been requested. 



school house in the city not liable more or less to this objec- 
tion. Suppose a school room to be 30 feet square and 9 
feet high it will contain 13,996,000 cubic inches of atmos- 
pheric air. According to Davy and Thompson, two accu- 
rate and scientific chemists, one individual respires and con- 
taminates 6500 cubic inches of air in a minute. Fifty 
scholars will respire and contaminate 325,000 cubic inches 
in the same time. In about 40 minutes all the air in such a 
room will have become contaminated, if fresh supplies are 
not provided. 

Let this calculation be applied to Primary schools No. 4 
on Washington street, or No. 12 on Yeoman street, and it 
will be found that the children there, in ten minutes after the 
doors are closed, will breathe an atmosphere so injurious that 
the effects upon their constitutions must sooner or later 
appear. 

2d. Insufficient yard room. Where land is not exces- 
sively dear, one fourth of an acre should be assigned for the 
school lot, so much being essential for the play grounds. 
If the children are compelled to resort to the highways for 
amusement, as is the case in Nos. 6 and 12 before men- 
tioned, we must not be surprised if they should be contami- 
nated by the brawlings and profanity which belong to the 
frequenters of highways. 

To save a few hundred dollars by purchasing a small, 
instead of a sufficient school lot, is the worst possible econ- 
omy. That our citizens are beginning to think so is evident 
from the fact that the lots purchased within a few years are 
in general double the size of the old ones. We would 
caution them against receiving as a donation, because it is 
such, any school lot which in size does not fully equal any 
they would purchase. 

There is something connected with physical education in 
our schools which we would willingly pass over in silence, 
but justice to ourselves, and to all who value the good name 
of our city, compels us to speak plainly. 

We regret to say that our applications to the City govern- 
ment for school accommodations during the past year have 
not been attended to with the readiness we had expected. 
There has been neglect on their part, and the schools have 



suffered by it. In the lower branch of the City Council a 
disposition has been manifested to interfere with certain 
duties which both by custom and legal enactments belong 
exclusively to the School Committee. As an instance of this 
may be mentioned the attempt made in the early part of the 
year to lower the salaries of our teachers, and even to alter 
the course of instruction prescribed by the committee ; an 
attempt happily frustrated by the provisions of the Statutes, 
but evincing an ignorance of the limits of official duty 
which we were not prepared to expect in its advocates. We 
forbear to comment upon this transaction ; those who de- 
fended it were but a small majority of the council : — we 
trust they have repented and grown wiser. 

On the 12th July, 1847, the following communication was 
sent to the city government : — 

HON. H. A. S. DEARBORN, MAYOR. 

Dear Sir: 
The School Committee 
in their last annual report recommended to the City Council 
the erection of a new Primary school house on Vernon 
street, another on Eustis, or Mall street, and another on 
Parker street. 

They did not recommend this without due consideration, 
as may be seen from the statistics accompanying their re- 
port. They did it under a conviction forced upon them by 
a patient and faithful examination of the subject, that the 
greatly increasing number of children in our public schools 
demanded increased accommodation. Their report also 
recommended that these new buildings should be erected as 
soon as possible. 

Five months have now elapsed and the foundation of no 
one of them has been laid. Indeed the only official notice 
we have had of any action of the City Council on the sub- 
ject, was from the committee recently appointed to confer 
with us in relation to the purchase of a piece of land on 
Vernon street for the erection of a school house there. We 
are happy to say that the report of that committee fully 
represented our wishes in regard to it. 



We have learned unofficially that a lot has been pur- 
chased somewhere on Eustis, or Union street, for a similar 
purpose. 

If this be true, we can only express our regret that the 
City Council should have taken so important a step as the 
purchase of any site for a school house, without first con- 
sulting the Board who are specially charged with the super- 
vision of the schools. It seems to us a dangerous innovation 
upon a good and time honored custom. 

The third school house on Parker street which the Com- 
mittee considered indispensable, we learn with surprise is 
not to be erected at all. 

The reasons which induced the City Council to refuse the 
accommodation required for the children in that section of 
the city have not been stated to us, nor have we been con- 
sulted in regard to the possibility of dispensing with a new 
building there. Had a committee of conference been ap- 
pointed, we could easily have convinced them that the 
School Committee recommended nothing without due regard 
to wise economy and the interests of our citizens. We will 
briefly state to you some of the reasons which influenced us. 

Primary school No. 4, which is the nearest to Parker 
street has 70 children belonging to it. The building is a 
miserable, low, crazy one, which in its best days could not 
accommodate comfortably more than 30. It is no longer fit 
for occupancy. The Committee unanimously resolved to 
abandon it as soon as the new one could be erected.* 

The next nearest schools are Nos. 19 and 20 on Orange 
street, both of which are overflowing. Nos. 3 and 16 on 
Centre street are also full. The above are the only schools 
within reach of the children of that neighborhood. • 

Under these circumstances is it the duty of the City Coun- 
cil to provide a new school house? Or must the School 
Committee hiref a building as authorized by the Revised 

* From the commencement of September to this time we have been obliged 
to refuse all applications for admission to this school; a course wholly at 
variance with our own sense of justice, as well as with the legal rights of our 
citizens. 

t We have since endeavored to hire a building in that neighborhood, but 
none to answer our purpose could be found. 
o 



J 



10 

Statutes in case the City Council reject their application ? 
Or, worst of all, shall we say to the citizens of that section, 
that we can accommodate only a portion of their children in 
the public schools ? 

We beg the City Council to give this subject their serious 
attention. We beg them to consider that the School Com- 
mittee are tax-payers themselves, and therefore no more 
• likely than either branch of the City Council to increase the 
expenses of the city by extravagant demands for the sup- 
port of our schools. 

We leave it to their good sense to decide, whether the 
unanimous vote of nineteen men who were elected for the 
supervision of the schools, and who have given to that duty 
more time probably than any similar Board in this Com- 
monwealth, should be set aside by the vote of another 
Board who were elected without reference to the schools, 
and who do not profess to have any charge over them ; and 
this, too, without any reason being assigned for the course 
pursued, and without even the appointment of a committee 
of conference between the two Boards. 

There is another subject to which it is my duty to call 
the attention of the City Council. 

Many of our school houses require and have for some 
time required important repairs. We have no power to 
make them, nor do we find it easy to induce the City Coun- 
cil to make them. 

We believe that all matters relating to the schools, in- 
cluding the building and repairing of school houses, had bet- 
ter be left exclusively with the School Committee; we 
have good reason for believing this, and shall not easily 
change our opinion. If, however, the City Council think 
differently, if they believe it their duty to take into their own 
hands the erection and repairs of school houses, we certainly 
shall not contend with them in such a matter. Let the re- 
pairs be made promptly, and the buildings erected when 
recommended by the School Committee, and we care not 
which is to be the Executive Board. 

We respectfully ask your attention to the condition of the 



11 

following buildings, and recommend that the alterations, 
&c. required on them be made during the approaching 
summer vacation. 

The Westerly Grammar school house has been left in an 
unfinished state. There is a running stream of water in the 
cellar which produces a dampness destructive to the fur- 
nace. If this were remedied and a plank floor built, the 
cellar would furnish a comfortable place for the exercise of 
the children in stormy weather. The ground should be en- 
closed by continuing the side wall to the main street, and 
erecting a fence in front. This seems to be necessary for 
the protection of the children, as herds of cattle are frequently 
passing and repassing during play hours. The teacher in- 
forms us that injury has been done more than once in this 
way. 

The Washington School requires new seats in one of 
its lowest rooms. 

Primary schools Nos. 3 and 16, on Centre street, require 
new fences, and repairs on the outbuildings. 

No. 5, near Perkins street, should be better ventilated. 

No. 8, in Ward 8, we are happy to hear is to be exchanged 
for a new building. The present one does little credit to 
our city.* 

No. 10, on Brush Hill turnpike requires new seats. Those 
now in use are different from all others in the public schools, 
and seem to have been made with special reference to the 
punishment of children. The committee voted unanimously 
to have them removed. 

No. 11, on the Mill Dam, must be enlarged — there are 
scholars enough for twice the room. Perhaps the most 
economical course will be to add another story to the present 
building. 

Nos. 14 and 17, on Yeoman street, require repairs on the 
fences and outhouses. 

* The happiness above expressed is now somewhat qualified by the fact that 
we are near the close of our official year, without being able to say that even a 
commencement of the promised building has been made. The Trustees of a 
fund for education in West Roxbury, agreed with the city authorities to con- 
tribute $1500 towards the erection of this building. They complain, with 
good reason, that their part only of the contract has been fulfilled. The erec- 
tion of the building was entrusted to the Committee on Public Property. 



12 

The above buildings demand the earliest attention. There 
are others on which a wise economy would suggest the ex- 
penditure of a sum of money in paint and whitewash. We 
commend these to the favorable notice of the committee 
having in charge the public buildings. 

The communication I have now the honor to make, is 
respectfully submitted in behalf of the School Committee. 

C. K. DILLAWAY, Chairman. 

The above communication was received in both branches 
and referred to the Committee on Public Instruction. That 
committee reported an ordinance, which was subsequently 
adopted, giving authority to the School Committee to expend 
a sum not exceeding $50 on any one building. Any thing 
required beyond that cost was assigned to the Committee on 
Public Property. 

So far as the repairs and alterations recommended in our 
communication were concerned, this ordinance was wholly 
inoperative, and therefore rejected by our Board. To the 
Committee on Public Property then we looked for the accom- 
plishment of the object. Having the promise of that com- 
mittee that everything should be done which we asked for 
during the summer vacation, we took no further action upon 
the subject till the termination of that period. On examina- 
tion at the commencement of the next term we ascertained 
with regret, not unmingled with indignation, that with the 
exception of putting new seats in No. 10, nothing of any 
importance had been done. We hold the Committee on 
Public Property responsible for this breach of good faith. 
They promised, and with reasonable exertion might have 
secured the fulfilment of their promise. To their delin- 
quency it is owing that hundreds of our children are now 
suffering from impure air and crowded rooms — that others, 
from the necessity of the case, have actually been refused 
admission to our schools, a fact, we believe, without prece- 
dent in Roxbury, and in violation of the legal rights of our 
citizens. 

On the 22d of August the following communication was 
made to the City Council : 



13 



HON. H. A. S. DEARBORN, MAYOR. 

Dear Sir : 

At a meeting of the 
School Committee on the 11th inst., the following resolution 
was unanimously adopted : 

" Resolved, That application be again made to the City 
Government to purchase a lot of land, and erect a school 
house on Parker street." 

As the reasons which induced the committee to recom- 
mend the erection of a school house in that section of the 
city have been twice stated in former communications to 
the City Council, it is deemed unnecessary to repeat them 
now. 

My official duty will be sufficiently discharged by com- 
municating the resolution, with the assurance that your 
prompt action on the subject is no longer a matter of expe- 
diency, but one of absolute necessity. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

C. K. DILLAWAY, Chairman. 

No official information of the fate of the above communi- 
cation has been received. We learn unofficially that it was 
read in both branches, and referred to the Committee on Pub- 
lic Instruction who subsequently reported in favor of our 
application. Their report was laid upon the table in the 
Board of Aldermen, where it has quietly slumbered till the 
present time. 

The reason assigned for thus disposing of so important a 
document, we understand to be that the season .was too far 
advanced to commence the erection of the proposed building. 

The whole matter is briefly this : the School Committee 
of 1846, for satisfactory reasons, recommended the erection 
of three school houses ; the committee of 1847 again and 
again urged upon the City Council the necessity of comply- 
ing with this recommendation: we are now fast ap- 
proaching the close of our official year, and not one of 



14 

the buildings is completed as recommended. The school 
house on Vernon street is slowly progressing; the upper 
story of that on Eustis street has been given to us, and is 
now occupied by Primary school No. 21 ; the lower story 
which was intended to accommodate No. 12, and therefore 
very important, we are told cannot be had, because it is 
wanted for a ward room. The house on Parker street so far 
as the City Council are concerned, appears to be among the 
forgotten things. 

The statutes recognize the right of school committees to 
make repairs, hire rooms, and even erect school houses 
when the government refuse to do so. Why then, it may 
be asked, did we not take advantage of this legal provision 1 

We answer that the City Council intimated to us in a manner 
not to be mistaken, that they considered all matters pertaining 
to the expenditure of money on school houses to belong exclu- 
sively to them. In the spirit of conciliation we yielded to their 
claim without admitting its validity. To have done other- 
wise would have involved us in an unprofitable contest, and 
perhaps a suit at law, the burden of which would probably 
have fallen on our successors, and the result of which whether 
favorable or unfavorable to ourselves, would have been 
discreditable to the city. We preferred to make in our an- 
nual report a plain statement of the facts in the case and to 
leave the decision in the hands of our constituents. We have 
now done so. It is for them to say whether those who come 
after us, in addition the necesssary and ever accompanying 
difficulties of their office, are to encounter the embarrass- 
ments and annoyances which have been thrown in onr 
path. We have such strong confidence in the disposition 
of our citizens to sustain the good character of their public 
schools, that we shall fearlessly await their decision. 

The appropriation required for salaries* during the next 

* We sometimes hear it said that we are in advance of other towns in our 
school expenses. Those who say this do so without examination. We are 
behind many towns in our neighborhood in this respect. Not to mention Bos- 
ton which is at an unapproachable distance, there are Brookline, Medford, N. 
Chelsea, Brighton, Chelsea, Nantucket, Lowell, Watertown and Somerville; 
all of which pay more than we do for the education of their children in the 
Public Schools. See the Report of the Secretary of the Board of Education for 
1848. 



15 

year will not vary materially from that of the preceding one. 
A small amount has been added to those of our female 
teachers; we consider the compensation hitherto received 
altogether insufficient for the services they perform. 

A Primary school teacher with from 35 to 40 scholars has 
been paid but $200, and with from 40 to 80 scholars but 
$225 per year. In the eastern section of the city, where 
most of these teachers reside, the price of board alone would 
consume nearly two-thirds of the highest of those sums. 
There would then be left for clothing, amusements, purchase 
of books, and the incidental expenses of sickness, not to men- 
tion the " reserved fund " for the decline of life, the sum of 
$75 to $100, an amount which any lady among us might 
expend in clothing alone without being liable to the charge 
of extravagance. 

We believe there is no class of people in this city, or even 
in Massachusetts,* so inadequately paid as the female teach- 
ers, and yet a more useful and meritorious class it would 
be difficult to find in any community. We look hopefully 
for the time when their services here and elsewhere will be 
better appreciated. 

The whole amount required for the support of the schools 
exclusive of the cost of buildings, will be as follows : 

For compensation of teachers, $16,825. 

Incidental expenses, including repairs, books, 

apparatus, &c. 3 3,200. 

The above report is respectfully submitted by the School 
Committee. 

C. K. DILLAWAY, Chairman. 

* Since writing the above, the admirable report for 1848 of the Secretary of the 
Board of Education has been put into our hands. We cannot forbear making 
the following extract : 

" I cannot leave this topic without adverting to the grossly inadequate com- 
pensation made to female teachers. It was more last year than ever before; 
and yet, exclusive of board, it was, on an average for the State, only $8.07 a 
month. For the very large proportion of females who are employed but four 
months in the year, this amounts to but $32.28. Many female operatives in 



16 

factories obtain six or seven times as much as this for their year's work. What 
inducement, then, has a young woman who has a prospect of obtaining only 
$33 a year, — or even twice that sum, if she keeps both a summer and a winter 
school, — to spend either much time or money in preparing herself for the em- 
ployment ? How can she purchase the books that belong to her profession, 
or command such other means as are indispensable for the general culture of 
her mind ? How can she afford to attend Teachers 5 Institutes, or those other 
meetings of the learned and the experienced, where the principles belonging to 
the science, and the processes pertaining to the art of education, are expounded 
and exemplified ? Take an example. The late meeting of the American In- 
stitute for Instruction was held at Concord, in the State of New Hampshire I 
was credibly informed that at least twenty female teachers from a single town 
in Massachusetts, were anxious to attend the session of the Institute; but, on 
iuquiry, they found that it would cost them, in money, besides their time, at 
least two thirds of a whole month's salary. The sum was a small one, it is 
true, but the proportion it bore to their whole income was large ; and, hence, 
they felt debarred from attending. Let any agent for the noblest charity, or 
the most useful society, that ever blessed mankind by its beneficence, go 
through State Street or Court Street, in Boston ; through Wall Street, in New 
York, or through corresponding streets in other cities, and solicit from mer- 
chants and professional men, two or three times each year, a sum equal to two 
thirds of a whole month's income; and, if I do not greatly mistake, his recollec- 
tions of these streets will very much resemble those which a British sailor has 
of the gauntlet. Many a lady, in what is called fashionable life, expends as 
much, oftentimes far more, on a single article of dress, or a single entertain- 
ment, on a piece of porcelain, of ivory or of alabaster, than a devoted female 
teacher receives for a whole year of laborious service. Why should not some- 
thing be drawn from those overflowing funds which incite to useless and often 
pernicious luxuries, or which minister to pride and vanity, that we may requite,, 
more adequately, a class of services as meritorious as are ever rendered to 
mankind ? The public does great injustice to female teachers by the inequita- 
ble recompense it makes them ; but, flagrant as is the injustice which it does to 
them, it would be easy to show that it commits, by the same act, a still greater 
injustice against the rising generation. 

" I regret exceedingly that I have not kept an account of the number of ap- 
plications which I bave received for the last ten years from the Southern and 
South-western States, for talented and highly-qualified females, to take charge 
of select schools, or to become governesses in the families of the wealthy. I 
hardly dare to give an estimate made from the data of recollection, lest it 
should seem extravagant; but at times, certainly, they have been as frequent 
as once a week, for a considerable period. Of course not all, perhaps not half, 
of the applications of this kind which come into the State are addressed to me. 
The compensation offered varies from $400 to $600 a year, — sometimes, also, 
including the expenses of the journey to the place of employment. The aver- 
age may be set down at $500. Many of the most highly educated young 
women of New England yield to these inducements; — the families of some of 
them needing the avails, and some of them leaving a home of competency, and 
the society of kindred and friends, through the impulses of a high missionary 
spirit. Now, why should Massachusetts send her most accomplished teachers 
to the South and South-west; or rather, in the broader spirit of wisdom and 
philanthropy, why should she not prepare a sufficient number to supply both 
the foreign and domestic demand ? The females whom we send abroad, and 
such as they, are the very ones whom we ought to employ in our own schools; 
and the State possesses an abundance of the dormant talent from which such 
teachers can be developed, and it has pecuniary means no less abundant for 
the cultivation of that talent. ' ' 



17 



REPORT OF THE 

EXAMINING COMMITTEE. 



The Committee appointed to visit and examine the 
Schools of the city, having performed the labor assigned 
them, offer the Board the following 

REPORT. 

Before entering on the examination they divided them- 
selves into two committees, to one of whom were assigned 
the Grammar Schools, and to the other the Primary Schools. 
Messrs. Bond, Caldicott and Morse, constituted the latter 
committee, and will make their own report respecting the 
schools assigned to them. To Messrs. Greene, Russell, Clapp, 
SI after, Seaver, and Dunn, were assigned the Grammar 
Schools. 

PRIMARY SCHOOLS. 

The Sub-committee to whom was assigned the duty of 
examining the Primary Schools, proceeded to perform that 
duty in the following manner : 

On the 16th of January they called together the 1st classes 
in schools Nos. 1,3, 4, 13, 14, 19, 21, 22, and 23, number- 
ing 86 pupils, of whom 77 were present, and examined them 
altogether in the various branches in which they have been 
instructed. On the 20th they assembled in like manner the 
2d classes of the same schools, numbering 80 pupils, of whom 
were present 74. On the 24th of the same month they ex- 
amined in the same manner the 1st and 2d classes in Nos. 
5, 6 and 18 — whole number 29 — all present. They then 
divided the duty of visiting the schools among themselves, to 
examine the remaining classes in those thus partially exam- 
ined, and the whole of those which had not participated in 
the general examinations before alluded to, in the following 
manner, viz. Nos. 1 and 2 were assigned to Dr. Morse ; 
Nos. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 18, to Mr. Caldicott and Dr. Morse ; 
3 



18 

Nos. 21, 22 and 23 were assigned to Mr. Caldicott; the re- 
maining 13 schools to Mr. Bond. 

The object of pursuing this course with regard to the 
1st and 2d classes was to carry out the idea expressed in 
the last Annual Report, of elevating the standard requisite 
for admission to the Grammar Schools, by ascertaining and 
showing to the teachers how high that may be, taking the 
highest rank attained by any class in each branch in either 
of the schools as the present point which all may be expected 
to reach. Thus they find, all things considered, the best 
reading in No. 6, while Nos. 13, 14, 18, 19 and 23 approach 
very nearly to the same degree of excellence. Some slight 
defect in the whole, or a part of the pupils in each of these 
classes causing them to fall short. The best spelling was found 
in Nos. 4 and J 9 ; Nos. 6, 18, and 23 approaching nearest to 
the perfect mark. The best arithmetic, by far, was found 
in No. 5. The 1st class in which school answered and ex- 
plained without hesitation all the questions put to them, 
selected at random from the first 70 pages in Colburn's 
arithmetic ; and the 2d class equally well, from the first 50 
pages to the same. Thus giving convincing proof that the 
children in our primary schools may be well instructed from 
that manual. The next best class in arithmetic was found 
in No. 23, where a course is pursued, which we recom- 
mend to all our primary school teachers. In addition to the 
use of Colburn's arithmetic as a simple text book, the 
teacher sometimes proposes questions to the pupils similar to 
those found there, but generally taxes their ingenuity to 
frame their own questions, they writing out upon their 
slates not only the question and answer, but also the pro- 
cess of reasoning and calculation by which they arrive at 
the result. Were this course pursued in all our primary 
schools, we cannot think that a simpler manual than 
Colburn's First Lessons would be sought for. After these, 
Nos. 4, 6, 13 and 18 came the nearest to the standard. The 
greatest proficiency in Geography was found in Nos. 6 and 
18. No. 13 recited as correctly as either of these, but had 
only gone over about half the ground. In the above schools 
we refer to recitations from text books, but the exercise in 
Geography which pleased us best was one upon the Black- 



19 

board, from No. 23, as evincing the most thorough practical 
understanding of the subject. We are inclined to the opinion 
confirmed by consultation with several of our Grammar 
Teachers, that the knowledge of Geography gained, by the 
study of the simple manuals used in our primary schools, 
gives but a poor return for the time bestowed upon it, as it 
is of but little advantage to the children in their future pur- 
suit of that study, and. that a greater amount of practical 
knowledge may be imparted, to the pupils by judicious oral 
instruction. As a general thing, we find, that the pupils in 
Nos. 5, 6, and 18, have gone over more ground, in their 
studies than those in the 10 schools in the lower part of the city. 

After examining in this way the 1st and 2d. classes, we 
gave permission to the teachers to send up those whom we 
considered qualified, to the Grammar Schools. This is the 
first step toward an improvement in the class sent forward 
from our Primary to our Grammar schools ; imperfect, of 
course, in this instance, but if this system of examination is 
pursued, the Primary schools will be gradually approaching 
a more equal standard, and the object sought, ere long, ac- 
complished. This has been in a great measure facilitated 
by the establishment of the Intermediate school recom- 
mended in the last annual report on the Primary schools,, 
which in its effect upon our Primary schools, from which 
it has taken the most troublesome part of their pupils, 
has fully realized the expectations expressed in that report, 
and in the work it is doing for the neglected class of boys 
attending it, surpasses the most sanguine hopes we have 
formed. Indeed we know of no institution in our midst, 
which we think is doing a better work than this, for the 
good morals of the community. 

In the remarks we have made upon the Primary schools 
we have thus far confined ourselves to those which were 
examined together. There are others which are doing ex- 
cellently well, as our report upon the schools individually 
shows ; particularly No. 9, in Lower Canterbury, No. 8 in 
West Roxbury, and No. 11 upon the Milldam. 

Of the sub-primary schools we esteem No. 15 the best, as 
well for the attainments, as for the good order and regularity 



20 

of attendance of the pupils. Jn No. 20 the exercises and 
order were good, but the average attendance is far too low, 
being only 63J per cent, of the whole number of pupils, 
while No. 15 in the same neighborhood averages 87 per cent. 
For further particulars respecting the Primary schools, we 
refer to the separate reports of the several schools, and to the 
Tabular View herewith presented. By the latter it will be 
seen that the number of children attending our Primary 
schools is 1346, of whom 1046 were present at the examina- 
tion, the average attendance being 1083, showing an increase 
from the last year of 136 in the whole number, and of 100 
in the attendance. The general appearance and condition 
of these schools is decidedly improved, and the standard by 
which the marks are graduated is better defined, and con- 
siderably higher than in the view presented last year. 

We find a great diversity in the regularity of attendance 
and punctuality, in the several schools. This, experience 
shows us, is in great measure owing to the degree of import- 
ance in which the teacher regards these characteristics in 
her school, and to the fidelity and assiduity with which she 
labors to establish and sustain them. She can hardly hope 
to succeed in forming habits of such vital importance to the 
present and future welfare of her pupils if she satisfies her- 
self with simply recording the cases of failure ; she must 
know her pupils, and if they are absent or tardy, she must 
know the reason why. The good teacher can never find 
her labors limited to the hours of school, she must engage in 
the duty with a full sense that it is the highest calling to 
which she can devote her life and energies, and must enter 
upon it, with such a devotion, that it shall at all times hold 
the highest place in her thoughts, and that nothing shall be 
left undone, which shall enable her best to accomplish the 
great work she has undertaken. To secure such teachers, 
the community should be willing to make its part of the sacri- 
fice, by giving them such compensation as will induce and 
enable those qualified for this work to devote the time requi- 
site to prepare themselves for it, as they look to others to 
prepare themselves for other professions, which are, to say 
the least, of no greater importance to the welfare and pros- 
perity of the community ; and not to require their labors for 



21 

the same pittance that we are obliged to pay to the domes- 
tics employed in our families. 

Any Tabular View, which we can present, gives but an 
imperfect idea of the true character of the schools. The 
marks which we give indicate but little more than the accu- 
racy with which certain lessons are recited, and in a table 
showing these, the school in which really the true spirit of 
education least prevails, may not unfrequently appear the 
highest. We do not mean, in speaking of this, to make any 
particular application to the one herewith presented. The 
number of corporal punishments reported is some indication, 
though not always a sure one, of the moral influence of the 
teacher. We generally find the least, in those schools where 
the physical nature of the child is most considered, and the 
exercises so varied as to meet its wants in this respect. We 
cannot so well express our ideas of the completeness which 
we should seek in the education of those committed to the 
charge of our teachers, in any language of our own, as by 
extracting the following remarks from the late admirable 
report of the devoted Secretary of the Board of Education 
of this State. In one place he says : 

" The naked capacity to read and write is no more edu- 
cation than a tool is a workman, or a telescope is a La Place 
or a Le Verrier. To possess the means of education is not 
the same as to possess the lofty powers and immunities of 
education, any more than to possess the pen of a poet is to 
possess a poet's skill and ' faculty divine,' or than the pos- 
session of the Gospel is the possession of that liberty where- 
with Christ maketh his disciples free ; and, that reading and 
writing are only instruments or means to be used in educa- 
tion, is a truism now so intuitively obvious as to disdain 
argument." — Eleventh Annual Report. 

In another he says : 

" I am aware that the remark I am about to make may 
seem to some to be extravagant ; but, trusting to time and 
to experience to ratify its correctness, I do not hesitate to 
express the opinion, that our children, while under ten 
years of age, might acquire ten times more of valuable 
knowledge than they now acquire, were they under the 
care of such teachers as the State is abundantly able to 



22 

furnish and pay for. This expression imputes no shadow 
of blame to our present female teachers. As a class, I do 
not believe that a body of persons more faithful and more 
devoted to duty, live amongst us. But they have not the 
knowledge which the young mind is capable of receiving ; 
— nay, for which it hungers and thirsts, and for want of 
which, it breaks out into a thousand waywardnesses ; for, 
not only into the idle hours of manhood, but into the un- 
occupied time of childhood also, temptation rushes like air 
into a vacuum. What a significant fact it is, that, under 
favoring circumstances, any child of common ability will 
learn two languages as easily as one, and will express him- 
self with equal facility in either, all the way up from four 
years old to ten, and, of course, for all the remainder of his 
life, and never remember that their acquisition has cost him 
an effort. Should the father uniformly speak to his child 
in one language, and the mother in another, and all the 
other members of the family, and his playmates, in a third, 
on arriving at years of reflection, such a child would be 
no more surprised, at finding himself in possession 6f three 
languages, than at finding himself in possession of hands 
or feet. Nor will the acquisition of different languages in- 
terfere with the acquisition of other kinds of knowledge. 
How much information might be acquired during child- 
hood, respecting all the grain, vegetables, and fruits, 
which in a simple or compound form, are spread upon our 
tables as articles of food, — their appearance while growing, 
— the countries where they are produced, and the arts 
by which they are manufactured or preserved, — res- 
pecting articles of dress, and the furniture of the house,. 
— the animal or vegetable substances from which they 
were prepared, and the handicrafts engaged in their 
formation, — respecting those distinctive properties of plants 
and trees, of minerals, insects, fishes, birds, quadrupeds, 
and so forth, on which the classifications of science are 
founded ; and in fine, respecting all the phenomena of na- 
ture, and the more prominent social relations, — how much 
information, I say, on all these subjects might children ac- 
quire, did some competent person always stand by to 
answer the questions prompted by their insatiable curios- 
ity. All children who are compos mentis, begin life by 
pertinacious questionings on all these subjects. It is only 
when rebuked into silence, or baulked by nonsensical, that 
is, by unintelligible replies, that they cease their importu- 
nate inquiries. Wherever we go, we thrust knowledge 



23 

aside to the right hand and to the left, we trample it under 
our feet, instead of accepting and imparting it. So much 
easier is it to put out the eyes of children, than to find 
suitable objects for their vision." — llth Ann. Report, Sec. 
Board Education, pp. 28, 29 & 30. 

Could we have such teachers as these, what a change 
would be wrought in our community ! It would no longer 
be with surprise that our citizens would remark, as one did 
to a member of this committee, who had induced him to 
take his children from a private school, and place them in 
one of our primary schools, where this system is partly 
carried out. " My children never learned so much in any 
school, public or private, before. Why, sir? they love to 
go to school now ! ! !" 

Too low an idea has obtained in our community of the 
importance of the Primary school ; the nursery of Educa- 
tion, where, as the germ of human intellect is developing 
itself through the medium of the perceptive faculties, aided 
by a wise and gradual direction of the reflective powers, 
the preparation is to be made for all future progress. 

It behoves the Committee to consider whether they have 
not done something to encourage and foster this idea, by 
holding before the Teachers, as a promotion, the removal 
of them to subordinate stations in our Grammar Schools, 
which may require a greater amount of knowledge in cer- 
tain branches, but which the experience of any faithful 
parent will convince him does not demand so severe taxing 
of patience and ingenuity, as is needed to impart the sim- 
plest rudiments of knowledge to the infant mind, and draw 
forth those latent powers, which the Almighty has planted 
there, giving it that direction which shall lead it on to 
higher and yet higher attainments in knowledge and vir- 
tue, till it shall accomplish that work for which the same 
Almighty Love has destined it. 

We regret to find that there is not an increasing manifes- 
tation of interest on the part of parents, in our schools and 
their teachers. To effect the highest results, the parents 



24 

and the teachers must co-operate, and an occasional visit to 
the school-room, by every parent, would encourage and 
stimulate the efforts of teachers and pupils. 

Experience shows us that in the Sabbath schools much 
is gained by frequent meetings of the teachers, to exchange 
thoughts and compare experiences in the great work in 
which they are engaged. Such meetings among the 
teachers of our Primary schools, we think, cannot fail of a 
like happy result, and we recommend, that our teachers 
and their committees should make the trial, by meeting 
together as often as once a month during the coming year. 

Another subject of great importance has occupied the 
thoughts of your committee, viz. the introduction of sewing 
as a branch of instruction in our Primary schools. The 
importance of it to the female portion of our pupils can- 
not be over-estimated. Many of them have no opportunity 
of learning it at home, and would be saved, were they pro- 
vided with the means of procuring their support as good 
seamstresses, from falling victims to the temptations, in- 
creased by poverty, which lure so many to their ruin. The 
faithful efforts of a few benevolent ladies in our sister city, 
have convinced many teachers and committee men, who, 
when its introduction was proposed, would hardly listen to 
it, believing that would require more time and attention 
than could be spared from the exercises of the school, that 
it was entirely practicable and proved a help rather than a 
hindrance, to the general order and progress of the school. 
In many of the schools in that city it has been for some 
time taught, and this number is rapidly increasing. We 
are glad to find that some of our teachers are making the 
experiment, and cordially recommend it to them all. 

The order passed last year, that a Map of Roxbury be 
provided for each of the Primary schools has not been at- 
tended to. Similar neglect has followed that authorizing 
the Local Committee of No. 13, to provide additional Black- 
boards for that school. The want of Black-boards is also 
experienced in several of our schools,, particularly Nos. 14, 



25 

15 and 16. Outline maps are also wanted in some of these 
schools. The teachers of Nos. 13 and 14 especially need them. 
The subject of ventilation has not been overlooked by 
the committee to whom it was submitted. They have waited 
for the report embodying the results of the unremitted 
labor of the able Committee of the Boston schools upon 
this subject, which has just made its appearance ; and 
will probably make a report based thereon to this meeting. 



GEO. WM. BOND, 
T. F. CALDICOTT, 
HORATIO G. MORSE. 



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28 



GRAMMAR SCHOOLS. 

In examining the Grammar Schools, the Sub-committee 
decided to pursue substantially the same course as was 
adopted at the annual examination last year, embracing 
both the written and the oral method, limiting the former to 
the more advanced classes of pupils in each school, or such 
as the principal of the school might think suitable for it. 
This Sub-committee also voted to use the same questions or 
examples in this examination, as were used in a late sim- 
ilar examination of the schools in Boston. The papers were 
accordingly prepared and given out to the several schools 
nearly simultaneously. The branches embraced in this ex- 
amination were Language, Definitions, &c, English Gram- 
mar, Geography, History, Arithmetic and Natural Philos- 
ophy. The questions or examples, in each were about 
twenty, on each of which the scholar, without the help of 
book or teacher, was required to write, about one hour being 
allowed for the work on each branch. On examining the 
papers subsequently, the several answers were marked, 
correct, imperfect, or wrong. If the answer was such that it 
was evident the pupil understood the subject and failed only 
in facility of stating and illustrating what he knew, it was 
marked correct. If there was some approach to correctness, 
but at the same time evidence that there was error or igno- 
rance in his mind on the subject, it was marked imperfect. 
When it was obvious that the mind of the pupil was quite 
astray on the subject, the answer was marked wrong. If 
no answer was given, it was so noted. In Arithmetic all 
the answers have been marked right or wrong. Relative 
to the other branches it is perhaps impossible to adopt any 
method of designating the different degrees of correctness by 
which, different persons, marking the same list of questions 
and answers, would mark them all alike; so that this 
method of examination cannot be relied on for testing the 
relative standing of different schools, except so far as the 
marking is done by the same person and on the same prin- 
ciples. 



29 

In the present instance, this written examination was 
rendered a more uncertain test from the fact that the teach- 
ers in the Dudley and Washington schools had seen the lists 
of printed questions and examples previously ; and in their 
wakeful zeal to benefit their pupils, had given out to them 
a portion of these very questions, not anticipating that their 
respective schools were to have them as a part of their ex- 
amination. In this way the entire series on Grammar had 
been given to the pupils of the Dudley school, and the 
answers had been written out, and had also been cor- 
rected by the teachers. The series on Arithmetic, Natural 
Philosophy and Geometry had also been written upon, in 
part, but no corrections had been made by the teachers. 

In the Washington school a few of the questions taken 
miscellaneously had been given out, but the pupils had 
received no aid from the teachers in them. Of these facts 
the committee were wholly unaware, till they presented the 
papers in the schools. They will learn from them, that in 
future they must prepare questions for themselves, instead 
of making use of those prepared for other schools. The 
questions had not been seen by the Westerly and Central 
schools. 

The result of this examination is given, as nearly as 
seemed practicable, in the Tabular Views appended to this 
report. 

The results of the examination in the Dudley school are 
included with the rest, as on those branches to which the 
pupils had given attention previously, the per centage of cor- 
rect answers was less than in those to which they had given 
no attention till the day of examination, the average of cor- 
rect answers, on Grammar, for instance, being SO per cent., 
and on the other two branches still less ; while the average 
of correct answers, taking all the branches, is 82 per cent. It 
should be stated also, that these papers on Geography were, 
in that school, given to the 2d class, the first not having 
attended to that branch during the year. 

In the Washington school the class in history had not 
studied that portion of history to which the questions related, 
and consequently they were not given out. Nearly half the 



30 

questions on Natural Philosophy related to portions of the 
study to which the class had not advanced ; which doubtless 
increased the per centage of no answers, and diminished 
also the relative per centage of correct answers. It should 
also be added that in this school about the same length of 
time was allowed the pupils to answer five series of ques- 
tions, which was allowed in the other schools for three. 
Hence the per centage of no answers and of hasty and im- 
perfect ones is increased, and relatively the number of cor- 
rect ones is doubtless diminished. 

In the oral examinations, the committee began with the 
Westerly school, taking the classes in their order, from the 
lowest to the highest. This is the only one of the city 
Grammar schools in which both sexes are associated under 
the same teachers. The school is divided into two divisions, 
the upper taught by the principal, and the lower by a female 
assistant. A few weeks before the examination, the teacher 
who had been employed for some years, accepted an appoint- 
ment to one of the Boston schools, and a new master took 
his place. The school has heretofore ranked deservedly 
high among our Grammar schools. In some respects the 
committee thought it hardly came up to its former standard. 
The reading in both divisions was generally correct, but it 
lacked spirit. It was not effective, especially in the lower 
division. The spelling in both was decidedly good ; as 
was also the defining of words in the upper. 

In Arithmetic and Geography, the lower division ap- 
peared decidedly well ; but in the upper there was an 
unexpected deficiency in both these branches, especially the 
former, — not so much in ability to answer the ordinary 
questions of the book, though in these, the pupils were less 
prompt than was desirable, as in answering other ques- 
tions, which they might be supposed to be acquainted with, 
and especially in stating and unfolding the principles in- 
volved in the processes in Arithmetic. In this respect, there 
must probably have been some want of clear, full, and oft- 
repeated explanation and drilling on the part of the teachers. 
This may have been owing mainly to the fact that the studies 
had been first gone over under one teacher and then re- 
viewed under another. No teacher can thus enter into the 



31 

labors of another, without great detriment to the pupils and 
the general appearance of the classes, at least for a time. 
But there is another cause for the deficiency, which the com- 
mittee believe to be of a more permanent character and influ- 
ence, and that is the number of classes arid branches of study 
which must be taught by the same teacher. In the Westerly 
school there is grouped into two divisions all the ranges of 
age, capacity and advancement in knowledge, which, in the 
Washington and Dudley schools, is portioned off into eight 
or nine ; and if the pupils are classed with much reference 
to their ability to get lessons, there must be about as many 
recitations heard in that school by two teachers, as are 
heard in the other schools just named, by eight or ten. As 
a matter of fact the Principal of that school has eighteen 
classes under his instruction, to hear all of which once, 
thoroughly inculcating their lessons, and waking up their 
own minds upon them, would nearly occupy an entire 
week. How can all these classes then be heard and tho- 
roughly drilled on each of their lessons three, four, and six 
times a week? In point of numbers the divisions are not 
so large as those in the two larger schools named, and on 
this account there does not seem to be a demand for ad- 
ditional teachers. But while the school remains as it is, 
the assiduity of the teachers and their tact for expediting 
their work, must be severely tasked. In the lower division 
the difficulty is nearly as great, and a similar embarrass- 
ment must be encountered by the teachers in the Central 
school. 

In their writing in both divisions, the Westerly school 
appeared decidedly well. The books were neat, and on 
almost every page there was evidence of attention on the 
part of the pupil, and fidelity and success in the teacher. 
Some well-executed specimens of pencil -sketching were 
shown by the first division. The cleanliness and order of 
the school-rooms, and the deportment of the pupils, were 
without fault. The committee are confident that the pa- 
rents of the pupils in that part of our city need not fear 
that their children, under the present teachers, will not 
be as well taught, as the circumstances of the school will 
admit of. 



32 

On January 2 1 st, the Committee proceeded to the exami- 
nation of the Central school, Jamaica Plain. This is a 
school embracing boys only, the girls' school there being 
supported by the avails of a fund, which, together with the 
school, is under the care of a Board of Trustees, and not 
subject to the supervision of this Committee. The Central 
school is divided into two divisions, in a manner similar to 
the Westerly, and embraces under two teachers, a principal 
and a female assistant, seventy-seven pupils. 

The report of this school was last year somewhat unfa- 
vorable, and the Committee supposed they should find it in 
nearly the same condition this year. But they were most 
agreeably disappointed. The improvement seemed to them 
to be great in all respects. It was manifest in the cleanliness 
and order of the school room, in the manner of the teachers 
in school and towards the pupils, in the kind and respectful 
feeling and behaviour of the pupils towards their teachers 
in their general demeanor, and in the promptness and cor- 
rectness with which the pupils went through with the exam- 
ination on nearly or quite all the branches. 

In Reading, Spelling, Defining, Arithmetic, Geography, 
Algebra, Geometry, and Natural Philosophy, the classes in 
the first division did themselves and their teacher great 
credit. If they were deficient in anything it was in Gram- 
mar, though in that branch there was no marked defect. In 
the second division the reading and spelling, though good, 
were more defective than anything else. In arithmetic, 
geography, and writing, the classes showed that they were 
capable of much excellence, and were well on the way 
towards it. As to deportment and propriety of conduct in 
school, the Committee do not know that any collection of 
pupils could have done better. And the Committee were 
very much gratified to learn from the teacher and other 
persons, that the deportment of the pupils out of school had 
essentially improved during the last year. It is stated that 
no profane language is known to be used by any of the 
pupils, and that no complaints have recently been made by 
the families in the neighborhood of the school, of annoyances 
from disorderly, disrespectful, or other improper conduct 
observed in the boys, out of school. 



33 

On the whole the Committee were very much gratified by 
their visit to this school. If it shall continue to be encour- 
aged by a judicious and vigilant local Committee, it is be- 
lieved that this will rank among our best grammar schools. 

The improvement is probably to be ascribed in part to 
more attention from the local Committee ; in part to greater 
effort and better manner of going through the labors of the 
school, on the part of the teachers, and in part, to a new 
arrangement by which a class of large boys who have here- 
tofore attended school only four or five months in the winter 
season, and who, when in school, necessarily embarrassed 
and retarded the classes which prosecuted their studies 
through the entire year, have been placed in a separate 
school. The habits also of this class of boys could not 
easily permit them to chime in with the discipline of a well 
regulated school ; and thus disorder was introduced and the 
character of the school was lowered in all respects. As this 
school was full, twenty or twenty-five boys of this class, 
as they came in, have been placed under a separate 
teacher, in another building, and with a course of study 
specially adapted to their circumstances and wants. So that 
the change is decidedly for their good, as well as for the 
good of the school which they have left. Twenty or more 
pupils from the village, with habits more in accordance with 
the regulations and objects of the school, have recently been 
received into the school, many of whom had before attended 
on the instruction of private teachers. 

The Committee looked in upon the branch school, and 
were pleased with its appearance, though they had no time, 
nor did they suppose themselves called upon to go into an 
examination of it. 

Two days, January 24th and 25th, the Committee spent 
in examining the Washington school. This school consists 
of about 425 boys, arranged in eight divisions, under a Prin- 
cipal, one male and seven female assistants, giving on an av- 
erage about 47 pupils to each teacher. It has suffered much 
during the last six months from sickness and changes 
among the teachers. Early in September the Principal 
was compelled by a severe bronchial affection to suspend 
5 



34 

his labors, which he has not yet been able to resume. He 
procured a substitute who has since had charge of his 
classes, and taught with a good measure of success. But 
a stranger to the pupils and the processes of the school 
could not enter efficiently into the responsibility of the 
Principal, and the whole school has doubtless suffered on 
this account. During this period the sub-master was 
laid aside some weeks by severe illness, and has not 
yet regained his usual health and vigor. Two other 
divisions have, during this period, owing to the sick- 
ness or resignation of their teachers, been placed each for 
two or three months under the care of teachers obtained 
for the emergency. The tabular view which is annexed will 
show how each division appeared to the Committee, in each 
branch of study. Taking all the branches together and all 
the classes, the 2d, 3d and 5th, were most deserving of com- 
mendation for their promptness and correctness. While 
the divisions which appeared to the most disadvantage 
were the 1st, 4th, and 6th, which are those that have suf- 
fered most from change of teachers as mentioned above. 

The 7th and 8th divisions, while they appeared well for 
pupils at their stage of advancement, presented an aspect 
somewhat less favorable, than they probably would have 
done, had not their numbers been augmented, and the order 
of the classes disturbed by introducing, out of season, 25 
boys from the intermediate school, to accommodate that to 
changes which were contemplated. In most of the divisions 
the Committee were sorry not to see in the deportment of 
the pupils that perfect regard to propriety, that respectful 
carriage towards the teachers, and that prompt and exact 
regard to rules which they desired, and which are so exem- 
plary and gratifying in the Dudley and Central schools. 

On the whole, while it must be admitted that this school 
has fallen somewhat below the high mark at which it stood 
at the last annual examination, owing, as the committee 
presume, to the unfavorable causes already noticed, they 
still have confidence in the plan and general working of the 
school, and in the competency and faithfulness of the 
teachers, and think it a decidedly good school. They doubt 
not that, with the returning health of the Principal, and the 



35 

new teachers becoming well familiarized with their work, 
the school will reach and surpass any measure of excel- 
lence it has heretofore attained. 

To the examination of the Dudley school the committee 
also devoted two days, the 27th and 28th of January, be- 
ginning with the lowest classes of the lowest division. This 
school, consisting of girls exclusively, is arranged in nine 
divisions, under the general superintendence of a Principal 
with whom are associated ten female teachers. The whole 
number of pupils is 412, giving to each teacher, including 
the Principal, about 37 pupils on an average. 

In this school, so far as the cleanliness and order of the 
rooms, the deportment of the pupils, their respect and affec- 
tion for their teachers, and the kind and parental feelings of 
the teachers towards them, and the great regularity and 
precision of all the movements of the school, are concerned, 
the Committee hardly see how there can be improve- 
ment. It is worthy of much commendation. It is doubt- 
ful whether there can any where be found the same 
number of misses and young ladies assembled, who are 
better pleased with their situation, or have more real en- 
joyment than have the pupils of this school. 

Among the different teachers and divisions the Commit- 
tee feel hardly able to discriminate, or say in which there 
was the most evidence of improvement, where all had done 
so well. On their memorandums the Committee find that 
the 3d, 6th and 7th divisions are marked somewhat higher 
on the average, than any others, though in arithmetic, no 
division, considering its stage of advancement, excelled the 
4th. Of the several branches of study, the reading, spell- 
ing, and arithmetic were, in this school, generally marked 
the highest, and geography and grammar the lowest, owing, 
perhaps, to its being more difficult, in these latter branches, 
to ascertain, by an examination, the progress of the pupil, 
than it is in the others. 

Connected with this school are two classes in the Latin 
language, consisting of 11 pupils; and also two in the 
French language, consisting of 12 pupils, — all under the in- 
struction of Miss Seaver. They gave evidence of having been 
well taught, although the time devoted to these branches 



36 

on the part of both teacher and the pupils, is too limited to 
admit of rapid or great advancement. Still the Committee 
think the efforts of introducing these studies has been good, 
and that the appropriation for the teacher should be continued. 

The introduction of vocal music as one of the regular 
exercises of the Grammar schools has now been tried for a 
year. To all the pupils of the Westerly and Central schools, 
and to the upper divisions in the Washington and Dudley 
schools, it has been taught theoretically and practically by 
Mr. Moses, an experienced and professed teacher ; and in 
the lower division of the Dudley school, it has been taught 
regularly for a portion of the year by Miss Learned, one of 
the regular teachers. The Committee were much gratified 
to witness the facility and correctness with which the pu- 
pils read easy music by note, and sang appropriate songs and 
hymns. Aside from the value of this, regarded as an accom- 
plishment, and tending to liberalize the mind, as anew branch 
of knowledge, the Committee regard it as of great value as 
a means of social enjoyment, and as tending to harmonize 
and soften the character, and cherish kind and generous 
feelings among the pupils of a schqol where it is practised. 
It also gives variety to the employments of a school room, 
and thus becomes a means of recreation and excitement. 
Its great importance is seen too in preparing the young to 
join with more propriety and satisfaction in a part of the 
regular public worship of God, in the Sanctuary. In 
this view of it, the Committee would suggest that more at- 
tention be given by the teacher and the pupils to sacred 
music, so that singing a hymn may at least constitute a 
part of the opening religious service of each school. Some 
of the teachers have introduced it into the religious services 
at the opening of their schools, and with good effect. 

With the solemnity and propriety of conduct among 
the pupils in some of the schools, where members of the 
committee were present at the morning religious services, 
they were much gratified, and cannot doubt that the effect 
on the order of the school, in calling to mind the authority 
and paternal character of God, is most salutary. Surely, 



37 

in a matter in regard to which we are so much distinguished 
as in that of our excellent free schools, our relations to that 
Being, to the arrangements of whose kind providence we 
owe them and all the blessings which accompany them, 
ought daily to be reverently and thankfully recognized. 

A few remarks, suggested by what has fallen under their 
observation, the Committee wish to make. They were 
informed by the teachers of the lower divisions generally, 
perhaps in every instance, that the pupils had not studied 
the Map questions in Geography, and, of course, were not 
prepared for examination on them. The Committee had 
supposed that, by means of maps, and similar pictorial 
representations made to the eye, Geography could be 
taught in the most interesting and impressive manner, 
so as to be most clearly understood and longest remembered, 
and that this was especially the way to teach it to young 
children. And as the school rooms are pretty well furnished 
with large outline and other maps well adapted to arrest 
attention and impress the minds of children, and place ob- 
jects distinctly before them, and as they have smaller 
maps in their geographies, or accompanying them, the Com- 
mittee do not see good reasons why, after a little introduc- 
tory and explanatory matter, the questions relating to the 
maps, and to be answered from them, should not be studied 
and taught with oral explanations and illustrations in the 
lowest divisions, as the first and simplest part of the study. 
It seems to them that a change in this respect should be 
introduced ; and that such a change would render the study 
more interesting and profitable to the pupil, and expedite 
his progress. 

Another suggestion is, that more effort should, the Com- 
mittee think, be made on the part of the teachers gen- 
erally, especially of the higher divisions, to cause their pu- 
pils clearly to understand, and be able to state fully 
the reasons for every rule and every process in arithmetic, 
or other kindred branches studied by them. The pupils 
generally go through the processes very correctly and 
promptly, and show that they understand what they are 
doing ; but when requested to give reasons for the separate 
steps, especially in what comes more particularly within 



the limits of written arithmetic, they are at a loss how to 
do it. They do not see clearly, or else they have not 
been sufficiently practised in giving the reasons and expla- 
nations. Not that they are more deficient in this respect 
than are pupils generally ; but they are not so ready in it 
as is desirable. The Committee would therefore recom- 
mend the teachers to give more attention to this point. 

On one other point the Committee would remark. Our 
school regulations require that the higher classes in the 
Grammar schools shall be statedly called upon for original 
compositions. The Committee know that this is attended 
to in some of these schools, and they presume it is in all of 
them. But in only one, the Central, were any of these 
compositions laid before the examining committee. As no 
branch of school education is more important than this, 
there seems to be no good reason why it should not be em- 
braced in the examination. Why should there not be at 
least one piece from all the writers fairly copied out, not 
corrected by the teachers, submitted to the Committee? It 
would be a test of the pupil's attainments as to spelling, de- 
fining, use of capitals, punctuation, grammar, penmanship, 
and ability generally to think, and to express his thoughts. 

As to the manner of conducting the examinations, the 
Committee would suggest, as the result of their experience, 
that, as the members of the Committee may not be very 
familiar with some of the branches to which the examina- 
tion relates, and may be wholly ignorant of the mannner 
and order in which they are treated in the particular class 
books used, it might be advisable to have one branch as- 
signed to one member of the Committee, and another to 
another, and so on ; and that the same person should 
examine all the schools in his branch. In this way he 
might prepare himself on that branch and be able to con- 
duct the examination more systematically and thoroughly, 
and better draw forth the knowledge of the pupil ; and he 
could also better compare the several classes and schools. 
The examining committee might be originally selected 
with reference to this. 

It has also occurred to the Committee partly in view of 
what they observed during the examination — partly from 



39 

their previous acquaintance with the schools, that our sys- 
tem of instruction, embracing both our text books and the 
manner of teaching, is not well adapted to wake »up the 
mind and give impulse and enterprise to it, nor to furnish 
it with the greatest amount of really useful knowledge, or 
such materials for thought, as are best adapted to expand 
and develope its powers. There is not progress enough — 
and where there is progress, the mental stores gathered by 
the way, are not of a kind most effectually to promote in- 
tellectual growth and vigor. The aim of the textbook, the 
teacher, the pupil, and of the whole system, seems to be 
mainly to enable the pupil to pass a good examination, and 
the Committee and the parents too, seem to be satisfied, if 
that is effected. But the inquiry does not often seem to 
suggest itself whether this reiteration of lessons, and this 
spending one third or more of each quarter, not in making 
advances, but in reviewing and re-reviewing, to prepare for 
examination on those portions of the text books which have 
been studied the first part of the quarter, is, for furnish- 
ing the pupil's mind, for his intellectual growth, for stim- 
ulating him to future attainments, for preparing him for 
the actual work of life, — the most profitable way of spend- 
ing his time. This plan may make the pupils prompt and 
minutely and verbally accurate over a limited extent of 
ground ; but it is an important question whether it does 
not repress enterprise and a desire for more extended and 
more varied knowledge, and really cramp the mind so as to 
more than counterbalance the value of this accuracy. 
The question is, would not a greater variety and extent 
of knowledge, enabling the mind to take a wider view, 
and giving it more stimulus and food for thought, really 
be a better basis for future growth of character, and for use- 
fulness in life, than this thoroughness within a very narrow 
compass 1 Ought not our pupils in the six or seven years 
which they spend in the Grammar schools, from 8 to 15 
years of age, to go over more ground than they do, and 
make greater attainments 1 

The fault or defect, if there be one, is probably partly in 
the class books used in the schools, partly in the teachers, 
and their manner of conducting the studies and giving 



40 

instruction, and partly in the Committee and their manner 
of examining the several schools and the standard by which 
they estimate excellence. As to the Committee and the 
teachers, it can be corrected in part, if they make the at- 
tempt ; but the cure to be entire, would require new text 
books, of a different character from any which your Com- 
mittee are acquainted with. 

It would seem to the Committee to be desirable, were it 
practicable to do it correctly, that the length of time the 
pupils have been in school, and the comparative progress 
which they have made, should be brought into the account 
more than they have been, in estimating the comparative 
standing of the several schools, the merits of the teachers, 
and the success of the pupils. The school registers seem 
to have been very correctly and satisfactorily kept, in all the 
Grammar schools, but there is no blank for noting the time 
the pupils have been in school. In the average age of pupils 
in different schools there is considerable diversity. For 
example, the average age of the first division in the 
Washington school is 12 years and 8 months ; in the 
Westerly 12 and a half ; and in the Central about 12 years 
and 3 months, while in the Dudley school, it is more 
than 14 years. As it is fairly to be presumed that the girls 
enter the Grammar schools at as early an age as the boys, 
and generally are kept in school more constantly, it is seen 
at once that the first division in the Dudley school have had 
the advantage of nearly two whole years' study over the 
corresponding division in either of the other schools. In 
fact the average age of the pupils in the 3d division of this 
school is greater than that of those of the first division in the 
Washington or either of the other schools, and probably, 
therefore, they have been in school longer and spent more 
time in reaching their present stage in the third division, 
than the pupils in the first divisions of the other schools 
have spent in reaching their present standing. To place, 
then, the first division in the several schools in circum- 
stances to be fairly compared with each other, those in the 
Westerly, Central, and Washington schools, should have 
nearly two years more for study and instruction. These 
statements are due also to the several teachers. 



41 

In going through the work assigned them, the Commit- 
tee have had before them about 1000 pupils, every one of 
whom has been examined on from four to eight branches 
of study. These 1000 pupils, or portions of them, were pur- 
suing not less than 14 different branches of study, and were 
arranged in about 250 classes. This work, though labo- 
rious, occupying the Committee, besides the examination 
on written questions or topics, six full days, has been a 
most interesting and pleasant one to them. It filled them 
with unspeakable satisfaction to see the children and youth 
of our city, of both sexes, enjoying such opportunities, such 
instruction, and such faithful parental care from their 
teachers, and apparently so happy in their situation and 
relations. Most deeply were the Committee impressed 
with the amount of labor and responsibility devolved on 
the teachers, and with the importance of the work which 
they are doing for the next generation. Parents are but 
poorly aware of the debt they owe them. If they would 
visit the schools more, and thus manifest an interest in both 
the teachers and the pupils, they would learn to sympathize 
more with the former in their laborious and monotonous 
daily task, and would be more ready to co-operate with 
and commend them, than to censure them for occasional 
mistakes, or to begrudge their hard-earned wages. No 
class of persons among us are probably better entitled to 
our respect, confidence, gratitude, and liberal support. 



(Signed) D. GREENE, 

GEO. R. RUSSELL, 
DEXTER CLAPP, ^ Examining 
E. F. SLAFTER, ( Committee. 
JOSHUA SEAVER, 
THEO. DUNN. 



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42 



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ERRATA. On page 7, 21st line from top, for " No. 6" read No. 5. 
On 17th page, 12th line from bottom, for " altogether" read all together. 
19th " 12th " " for " have" read had.