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To the State Board of Charities:
Your Committee on the Deaf has the honor to report as follows on the institutions subject to its special care:
There are at present in this State ten schools, counting as separate schools the three branches of the St. Joseph's Institute. Five of the schools are situated in the interior part of the State and five in Greater New York. The former are so located as to be about at equal distances from each other and so as to draw for pupils upon well-defined sections. It happens, however, that very often pupils from one school's logicalterritory attend some other. There are no school districts and the population is unevenly divided. A child has the choice of any one of the eight institutions as his or her parents or guardians may be moved by facilities offered or by other reasons.
A child is eligible for education as a “county" pupil at the age of five years, and may be received by any one of the schools on the certificate of a town overseer of the poor or of a supervisor of the county, whose duty it is to place such child in an appropriate institution if, as the law declares, it is likely that such child may “ become a charge for its maintenance on any of the towns or counties of this State."
At the age of 12 years the child becomes a “State” pupil, and his or her instruction is continued to graduation, or to the age of 25, on the yearly appointment of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
The county pupils are paid for by the several counties on the basis of $300 per pupil, this sum covering board, tuition and clothing. State pupils are paid for by the State on a per capita basis that has varied from year to year. It has been as high as $300, as low as $250 and is now $280. If a State pupil is in indigent circumstances the county where he or she resides must pay for his or her clothing not to exceed $30 per year. The above statistics show a decrease of 44 over the total number of pupils in school on September 30, 1900. The report of the same date in 1900 showed a decrease of 9 over the previous year, 1899, in which the attendance (1,571), seems to have reached the maximum. There had been a gradual increase each year from 1892, when the reports gave a total of 1,297 pupils.
All of the schools receive both State and county pupils.
The following table gives the name and location of each insti. tution in the State which is authorized by law to maintain and educate deaf pupils at public expense, and also gives the number and sex of the pupils in attendance September 30, 1901:
of the Deaf and Dumb, One Hundred
and Sixty-third street, New York.... Le Couteulx St. Mary's Institution for
the Improved Instruction of Deaf
of Deaf-Mutes, Lexington avenue, New
struction of the Deaf, Albany....
President Stewart, of this Board, in reporting on an inspection of the schools for the deaf in 1892 stated: “On the 1st of October, 1892, the number was 1,297, by a singular coincidence exactly the same as on the same date in 1882. Thus, while the population of the State has increased 20 per cent in the last ten years, the deaf-mute population, so far as shown by the attendance at the schools, has remained stationary, a gratifying fact. There is no reason to believe that there is a relatively larger number of deaf-mute children outside the schools now than there was in 1882."
During the past decade there has therefore been a total increase of but 274 over the number under instruction in 1882, which is also remarkable, in view of the growth of the popu. lation. This shows an almost stationary attendance for twenty years. The proportion of teachable deaf of school age now outside of the schools must be very small, by reason of the effective recruiting efforts on the part of some schools, and the fact that the grand special work of instruction of the deaf having become more widely known, has brought to the schools deaf children as soon as they have arrived at the age of five years, and often before, in which case they are considered as private pupils until the legal age is reached.
It is therefore evident that existing school accommodations in this State for the deaf are ample. Their past growth has not been so much from increase in the deaf population as from the recruiting agencies referred to. It is remarkable that at this late day there are still found teachable deaf children to whose parents the duty of providing for their neglected offspring has not been presented or to whom the existence of the schools is in fact unknown. In many of such cases a compulsory education law would apply with good results.
The number of deaf children without instruction also includes those feeble-minded or mentally dull children who, in justice to the great majority, cannot be received into the schools, yet who would greatly profit by careful instruction. This again suggests the wisdom of setting apart one school for their special and exclusive use, as recommended by this Board in 1898. There is no necessity for a new school. It would be better to utilize one of those now in existence.
The yearly graduation of deaf pupils into the various walks of life should be the commencement of a history of each child, showing his or her whereabouts and after life. The duty of each school towards its children does not end with the completion of the term of instruction, but they should lend encour. agement thereafter and know most fully the fruits of their efforts in producing individuals sufficiently equipped to cope with world problems. But one school has undertaken to secure this valuable information, and having only recently inaugurated the system, finds that many old pupils are now unknown and beyond tracing.
The several schools have been visited and inspected once in each quarter by the Board's inspector of state charitable institutions. The inspection has covered only the management and care of the property and general treatment of the pupils, as this Board discontinued its examination of educational work on the assumption of that duty by the Superintendent of Public Instruction in 1900.
Summarizing the findings of the year's work, it can be stated that no abuses have been found, that the pupils are well cared for in general respects, and that the equipment and care of the buildings, in almost every school, continue adequate to the demands upon them. In all of these things the various boards of trustees are aided by the increase in the per capita compensation for State pupils from $260 to $280.
This Board recommended in 1895 that each school be equipped with a good gymnasium for the systematic physical instruction of the pupils. After a lapse of five years it is noted, with regret,