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mind of every citizen in the republic is the common property of society, and constitutes the basis of its strength and happiness; it is, therefore, considered the peculiar duty of a free government like ours, to encourage and extend the improvement and cultivation of the intellectual energies of the whole.'
The upward and onward movement of common schools in Illinois dates from the legislation of 1854, for which preparation had been made by long and persistent individual and associated labor. Among these should be mentioned the seven founders (particularly Baldwin, Turner, and Sturtevant,) of the Illinois College from 1829; the Ladies' Association for Educating Females, founded at Jacksonville in 1833 ; the Illinois Institute of Education, founded at Vandalia in the same year; the Illinois State Educational Society, founded at Springfield in 1841; the Northwestern Elucational Society, begun in 1845; the Industrial Education Conventions, from 1851; the Teachers' Association, countywise froin 1845, and culminating in the State Associations in 1853; the publications of the Common School Advocate in 1837, the Illinois School Advocate in 1841, the Prairie Former, and Ilinois Teacher in 1853; to which should be added the example of Chicago, which city led off in 1853–54 in the employment of a superintendent.
In 1854 provision was made for the election by the people of a Superintendent of Public Instruction, to hold his office for two years, and whose whole time should be devoted to the supervision of the common schools, to conferences with teachers and school officers, to public addresses in the different counties, and to the advancement of public education generally. He was specifically required to make a report every year, and in the year following his election, to report to the Legislature by bill 'a system of free school education throughout the State, to be supported by a uniform ad valorem tax upon property to be assessed and collected as the state and county revenue is assessed and collected.'
In 1855 a bill for the thorough organization of the common schools was drawn up by the superintendent, the basis of which was the principle of state and local taxation for educational purposes, and a series of school officers for local and general administration to secure uniformity and efficiency in the schools. The bill became a law, and under it were : (1,) A State Saperintendent of Public Instruction, elected by the people. (2.) A School Com
2, missioner for each county, elected by the township boards of education in that county. (3) A Board of Education for each
township. Provision was made for county school conventions and Teachers' Institutes, and an examining committee for each county. No school could receive any portion of the state or local school moneys unless it bad been kept for at least six months for the equal and free instruction of all persons. The law has been modified and revised from time to time, and the system of public instruction has been extended by the addition of new institutions until it has reached a high degree of efficiency in the School Law of 1872.
The State now requires and secures official returns from all institutions established, incorporated, or aided to any extent out of public funds, and of the school attendance of all its children and youth, and the causes of the neglect of any person growing up in illiteracy, either wbite or black. Provision is made to protect the public schools against the employment of incompetent persons as teachers, by providing a State Normal University and three other normal schools, 119 county teachers' institutes and associations, besides the advice and co-operation of school officers, and then the thorough examination by experts of all applicants in a range of specified studies as extensive as ever before inserted in the qualifications of common school teachers, viz., orthography, reading in English, penmanship, arithmetic, English grammar, modern geography, the elements of natural science, the history of the United States, physiology, and the laws of health, which the law declares must be thoroughly and efficiently taught; vocal music and drawing may be insisted on when deemed expedient by the directors. And these studies may be extended at the discretion of the Board of Education in all large cities.
The school authorities are:
(1.) State Superintendent, elected by the people for a term of four years, who is the legal adviser of all school officers and teachers, and who must address the county superintendents by circular on all points touching the system, and the organization, instruction, and discipline of schools, and report annually to the Governor on the condition and improvement of the common schools and all other educational institutions of the State.
(2) County Superintendent, elected by the voters of each county to hold office for four years, who must visit at least once in each year every school in his county, and note the method of instruction, the branches tanght, the text-books used, and the discipline, government, and general condition of the schools. He shall give such directions in the science, art, and method of teaching as he may deem expedient and necessary, and shall be the official adviser and constant assistant of the school officers and teachers of his county, and shall faithfully carry out the advice and ivstructions of the State Superintendent. He shall encourage the formation and assist in the management of county teachers' institutes, and labor in every practicable way to elevate the standard of teaching, and improve the condition of the common schools of his county. In all controversies arising under the school law, his advice shall first be sought, and all appeals to the State Superintendent must be taken up on the statıment of facts certified by him. In case of failure of any towuship officers to provide the authorized information and statistics, he can employ a competent person to examine all books and papers, and obtain and furnish the same.
(3.) Township Trustees for each township (one elected each year for a term of three year), who must secure an efficient school in each legally constituted district, for a period of six months in each year, and a High School when so ordered by the town.
(4,) District Directors, one for each district, into which a township may be divided, who must, among other items, report the naines of persons over 12 and under 21 residing in the district unable to read and write, and the causes of such neglect. To this office is comunitted the power of levying a tax on the property of the district to continue the school for not less than 5 or more than 9 months, and to excuse the attendance of children under 12 years for more than four hours each day.
(5.) City Boards of Education—for any district having two thousand inhabitants by the census of 1870, six members, and three additional members for every additional ten thousand inhabitants, with all the powers of taxation and management given to other city systems.
In 1872 there were 11,156 common schools (9 high, 651 graded, and 10,414 ungraded,) with 672,782 pupils under 20,285 teachers (11,459 females), in 10,979 school-honses (cost, with ground and apparatus, $18,373,880); 58 academies and colleges; 20 professional and special schools (4 teaching, 2 law, 2 medicine, 2 agriculture, 1 blind, 1 deaf mute, 2 commercial, 1 art), and 700 private schools. With all these institutions there is much left undone. According to the census of 1870, with a school population of 818,766 persons (between 5 and 18 years), there was a total attendance of only 542,225; and 86,368 persons who could not read, and 133,584 (90,505 natives) who could not write.
Indiana was organized as a Territory in 1800, and admittted as a State in 1816, with a population in 1820 of 145,750, which in 1870 bad increased to 1,680,637, with a valuation for taxable purposes of $663,455,044.
The histvry of education in Indiana commences with the Act of Congress of 1804 providing for the sale of the public lands, which directed that the Secretary of the Treasury should select a town. ship of land in several portions of the northwestern territory for the use of seminaries of learning, and that the section numbered sixteen in each and every township should be reserved for the use of schools. No application of these lands was, however, made until 1816, when Congress passed an ordinance to enable the people of the Indiana Territory to form a constitution and be admitted into the Union. That ordinance provided that one township of land, in addition to the one heretofore reserved, should be granted to the State of Indiana for the use of a seminary of learning, and that the sixteenth section in every township, and where that had been otherwise disposed of, other lands in lieu thereof should be granted for the use of schools. The proposition was accepted, and after the admission of the State of Indiana into the Union, a State University was established at Bloomington in Monroe county, and the proceeds of the sales of the two townships were directed to be funded, and the incoine thereof annually applied to the support of the institution.
The constitution of 1816 makes it the duty of the General Assembly 'to provide by law for a general system of education, ascending in regular gradation from township schools to a State University, where tuition shall be gratis and equally open to all.' This duty is reaffirmed in the constitution of 1851, with provision for the election of a superintendent, and a consolidation and enlargement of the Common School Fund, which is declared to consist of:
(1.) Congressional Township Fund and land; (2) United States Surplus Revenue Fund; (3.) Saline Fund and land belonging thereto; (4.) Bank Tax Fund; (5.) County Seminaries' Fund, and fines assessed for breaches of the penal laws; (6,) Swamp Land Funds ; (7) Common School Funds held by counties.
The aggregate of these funds in 1870 announted to 88,259,241, and the income from the same to about $400,000, which was increased by property and capitation tax to the sum of $1,810,866.
The first school law was enacted in 1821, which underwent many revisions and modifications, without producing efficient common schools, and leaving Indiana behind most of the other States, in 1840, when according to the national census (out of a population of 988,416), there were 70,540 persons over 20 years
who conid not read or write, of whom less than 1,000 were returned as native born. Under the energetic appeals of One of the People' (Prof. Caleb Mills of Wabash College,) addressed from year to year, from 1840 to 1848, to the people of Indiana, as a sort of supplement to the Governor's message, the Legislature was finally aroused to efficient action, and in 1848 an act to provide a system of free schools was passed. It having been left with the counties to repeal or adopt its provisions by popular vote for its respective town ships, many counties adhered to the old defective system, but the constitution of 1850, and the school law of 1855, brought up the legal requirements to a higher and a uniform state, and from that time the schools have been under agencies which have constantly improved the quality of the instruction given, although they have not prevented an alarming amount of illiteracy, viz., 76,634 persons over 10
years of age who could not read, and 187,124 who could not write, according to the census of 1870.
The system is now administered by: (1) State Superintendent; (2,) State Board of Education, composed of State Superintendent, president of State University and State Normal School, and the superintendents of the three largest cities; (3) County Commissioners, one for each of the 92 counties, who visit the schools of their respective townships, hold institutes, and appoint; (4,) District Superintendents, who hold office for three years, and examine all candidates for teaching; (5) Township Trustees, who may, among other powers, introduce the study of the German language
any school where the parents of 25 children demand it. In 1870, out of 619,627 children between the ages of 5 and 21, 462,527 attended in the 8,759 district and high schools (including 34 cities), taught by 11,846 teachers (4,722 females), and maintained at a cost of $1,810,866, in 8,827 school-houses, valued, with lots and equipments, at $7,262,639.
The State Normal School at Terre Haute was opened in 1870, with model and practice schools attached. In the same year 4,033 teachers, in 46 counties, attended teachers' institutes. The State Agricultural and Mechanical Art College at Lafayette, which takes the name of Purdue College in consideration of liberal donations of a citizen of that name.