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PROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES
CONVENTION HELD AT HARRISBURG.
THURSDAY, JUNE 22, 1837.
Mr. Smyth, of Centre, presented a memorial from citizens of Centre county, on the subject of banks and banking, which was laid on the table.
Mr. Cope, of Philadelphia, presented a memorial from citizens of Pennsylvania, praying the abolition of lotteries, and,
The PRESIDENT presented a memorial from citizens of Pennsylvania, of similar import.
These memorials were laid on the table. On motion of Mr. JENKS, of Bucks, it was
Resolved, 'That the use of the Hall of the Convention, for this evening, be granted to Mr. Josiaa HOLBROOK, for the purpose of delivering a lecture on the subject of Education.
Mr. FLEMING, of Lycoming, moved that the Convention proceed to the consideration of the following resolution :
Resolved, That the thirty-second rule be so amended, that it be in order to call the ayes and noes on questions of daily adjournment, and that, for that purpose, the words except on questions of daily adjournment”, be stricken out.
The resolution being under consideration, and the question being on the second reading, it was decided in the negative.
The President laid before the Convention the following communication from the Secretary of the Comonwealth, accompanied by a report on the expenses of general education, and by two statements, one of the common school fund, and the other of the valuation and taxation of real and personal estate for 1835, by the Auditor General, furnished in compliance with a resolution adopted by the Convention on the subject, which was laid on the table, and ordered to be printed :
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HARRISBURG, JUNE 20, 1837. S SIR-In compliance with a resolution adopted by the Convention on the subject, the undersigned have the honor to submit a report on the expenses of general education prepared by the Secretary of the Commonwealth : and two statements, one of the common school fund, and the other of the valuation and taxation of real and personal estate, for 1835, by the Auditor General.
We have the honor to be,
THO. H. BURROWES,
NATH. P. HOBART.
REPORT ON THE PUBLIC COST OF GENERAL EDUCATION IN PENNSYLVANIA. “ Resolved, that the Secretary of the Commonwealth, Auditor General, and the Treasurer of the State, be requested to furnish this Convention with statements showing the public cost, by taxation or otherwise, of schools, academies, colleges and education in this State, together with an estimate of a sum sufficient, and a plan of the best method of raising it, for educating all the children of the State".
The Secretary of the Commonwealth, as Superintendent of Common Schools, has had the foregoing resolution for some time under consideration, and is now compelled, in reporting, to state, that after obtaining all the information within his reach, his estimates, so far as sums and numbers are concerned, are, in many instances, based on loose data. For the conclusions and opinions submited, he can speak with greater certainty, They are given, it is true, on his own individual responsibility, yet they are the offspring of much thought and a very close, though brief connexion, with the system of education. They are also presented somewhat at length, and may seem to embrace subjects not strictly connected with that of public instruction. But when the general terms of the resolution are refered to, and the paramount importance and pervading influence of general education are remembered, the latitude of remark indulged in will perhaps not appear wholly uncalled for.
1. PUBLIC COST OF EDUCATION.
The public cost of education in primary schools, as near as can be estimated, during the present school year, will be: From annual State appropriation, to the accepting common
school districts, (being four fifths of the whole number,) $160,000 From taxation in the same districts, including the city and county
of Philadelphia, for the support of the Lancasterian system therein,
400,000 Annual expense of teaching poor children in the non-accepting
districts, (being one fifth of all the districts in the State,) under the old law for educating the poor gratis,
25,000 Total amount of one year's public instruction, in primary
In addition to this, there will be paid out of the State Treasury, during the year, four fifths of the school-house fund of five hundred thousand dol. lars, appropriated by the Legislature at its last session. This sum of four hundred thousand dollars, not being an annual expenditure, but a present outlay for the benefit of the future, should not be charged among the expenses of one year. Including, however, this sum, the whole amount to be expended during the present year, for the purposes of public education in primary schools, will be not less than a million of dollars, of which something more than one half will be paid by the State, and the remainder by taxation.
IN ACADEMIES. of the public cost of academies the department possesses little information. It is believed that no portion of their expenses are defrayed by annual taxation. Academies, in forty-five counties have, from time to time, received aid from the State, sometimes in money, generally in the proportion of two thousand dollars to each county, amounting to one hundred and six thousand nine hundred dollars; and sometimes in land, whose value it is difficult to estimate, but supposed to be worth at least one hundred and thirty-five thousand dollars, making a gross amount of aid to academies, of two hundred and forty-one thousand dollars.
It is believed that no grants have ever been made by the State, with less general good effect than those to academies. It seems to have been intended to endow one strong institution of this kind in each county, as a kind of radiating point in the county system of education ; but the project has proved nearly a total failure. In obedience to a resolution of the Legislature, efforts were made, last summer, to ascertain the condition of the county academies; and the result was, that only seventeen were reported to be in operation, the total number of whose students was one thousand one hundred and eleven. Many of those that yet survive, are considerably in debt.
IN COLLEGES. The public cost of colleges has also been in the forın of occasional donations, either in money or land. The total aid in money amounts to two hundred and twenty-four thousand six hundred and sixty-six dollars, and in land to about nineteen thousand dollars, making a gross amount of grants to colleges, heretofore, of two hundred and sixty
thousand dollars. The whole number of institntions of this kind, incorporated in Pennsylvania, is believed to be fourteen, of which eleven are in operation.
All the information on the subject of colleges and academies, possessed by this department, will be found in the annual report of the Superintendent, submited to the last Legislature, particularly in tables E, F, and G, appended to that document. 2. ESTIMATE OF THE SUM SUFFICIENT FOR EDUCATING ALL THE CHILDREN IN THE STATE.
IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS. The whole number of children in the State, between the ages of five and fifteen, is about three hundred and twenty thousand ; of whom, together with those of a more advanced age, probably not more than two hundred and twenty thousand will attend school at one time in the year. The
to our academical and collegiate system, it is believed, lishment of a liberal literary fund, for their aid. If the considerable sum of money specially set apart for the pe particular branch of public revenue-say the tax on wr duties—were annually distributed among them, by a com tial agency, and in proportion to their real merits, the instantaneously beneficial. Academies which now dwind disused, would revive under snch an arrangement: for the spur to action, than the danger and disgrace of
cost of instructing each pupil in the commo be fully established and understood, will no Experience will show that the schools car rage, more than three fourths of each year, ence of the agricultural and laboring classes, pupils. The annual cost, therefore, of prim years, will be about six hundred and sixty t State, including the city and county of Philac based on the supposition that the common sci in all the districts of the Commonwealth, thou yet received it.
After the lapse of four or five years, the cos tion, it is believed, will materially diminish. S liminary arrangements will then be completed, item in the annual expenditure. This desirabl tened by the school house fund, appropriated at lature. Cheaper, as well as better modes of in ed and systematically pursued; and the influx now crowd the school houses, with little benefit ty, and much expense to the system, will whe accomplishes its object. Hence, it may be safe attention and exertion during the next four years, of the common school system to five hundred th being a decrease equal to one fourth of the whole a the system is supposed to be accepted by all the
ACADEMIES COLLEGE Though it is not presumed to be the intention divert a large portion of the means now applicable cation, from the common school system, for the pu the support of academies and colleges, yet justice a promotion of literature and science demand that thei not be wholly overlooked. The true way to promo it at the begining, and to give it such an impulse th to a successful termination. In accordance with this judiciously applied to primary school learning, is wo to society, than three given to colleges or academies, prudent appropriation of small sums in aid of the lat tions, is calculated to produce much good, which can other means. The best mode of affording useful
, permanent and in