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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BUREAU OF EDUCATION,
November 15, 1871. SIR: I have the honor to submit my second annual report. The law regulating my duties requires the collecting of “such statistics and facts as shall show the condition and progress of education in the several States and Territories, and the diffusing of such information respecting the organization and management of school systems and methods of teaching as shall aid the people of the United States in the establishment and maintenance of efficient school systems, and otherwise promote the cause of education throughout the country.” The report, if made in strict accordance with these requirements, would contain a full, accurate, and complete account of the yearly progress of the American peo. ple in all matters directly and remotely pertaining to education--would be, in effect, a record of the nation's growth in intelligence and virtue.
METHOD OF COLLECTING MATERIAL FOR TIIE REPORT.
To make even an approximate statement of the progress resulting from so many and various instrumentalities, necessitates a system of inquiry which can only be prosecuted by the action of the General Goreru ment.
Our public school systems and incorporated institutions of learning, under most diverse control, serve alike to illustrate and to perpetuate that larger liberty regulated by law, that self-poised individuality of persons and civil units which are highly prized as a distinguishing characteristic of the American people.
The furnishing of information by these State and city officials and by the officers of incorporated institutions of instruction is wholly voluntary, and, notwithstanding the perfect willingness which has been shown on their part, some time must elapse before they can become so familiar with the forms as to render the supplying of these educational statis. tics a matter of routine, while the field and scope of inquiries are steadily enlarging.
Thus, the report of last year, the first publication of its kind, could hardly be more than preparatory, and while the present report will be found fuller and more accurate in many of its statistical details, it must still be regarded as only tentative, and but partially illustrative of the purposes of the Bureau.
Last year, in making up the abstract of information in regard to the different States, the official reports of school-oficers were used as the only source of information save in a few instances. This year a large amount of valuable information is added from other sources considered authentic. The preparation of this material required, as moderately estimated, tbe reduction of about 15,000 octavo pages to the first 350 pages of the Appendix of this report. As indicating the want of uniformity of plan on which the various State and local reports are made, a schedule has been prepared and will be found in the accompanying papers, and is in itself a curiosity to the student of educational literature. It has been the purpose in this abstract to seize the most valuable features of all these reports, and gather them for the benefit of the whole country. The information sought from this office in regard to school legislation in the different States, it has been impossible to give fully in this report without occupying too much space. To meet these special demands a careful synopsis of all the respective school-statutes is in the course of preparation. As far, however, as this information appears in the respective reports from which the abstracts are taken, it is included.
USE OF SUCII A REPORT.
The grouping of these facts, collected as well as may be for the entire country, gives the patriotic student and statesman an opportunity to place aright in the scale of progress each section or locality. It makes possible those most valuable suggestions which come from the diverse conditions of various communities under one Government, and trusting to the same aspirations and efforts for future success.
UNIVERSAL EDUCATION ESSENTIAL TO THE REPUBLIC.
As a nation, from the first, the American people have appealed to the judgment of mankind. We believe our institutions founded in the interest of human nature, and susceptible of clear and satisfactory vindication to right human reason. We propose to offer to the world the best illustration of human goverument, promoting with equal care the welfare of every citizen. But, plainly, we can neither know nor be assured that we bave the best without a knowledge of the condition of other peoples. Our civilization, following its own mode of Americanizing everything that becomes a part of itself-population, ideas, institu. tions— welcomes all comers.
Education, the great process of assimilation, evidently should receive more attention than any other function of our civil life. It should be conducted more intelligently. Our dangers, present or remote, should be kept fully and accurately in view.
Moreover, our society is of such a nature, the establishment of permanent caste is so impossible, the interchange, the flow and reflow of individuals through all stations, from the highest to the lowest, so con. stant and easy, that the conduct and character of any one man, woman, or child can in no sense become safely a matter of indifference to the other members of society. The moment of neglect is the opportunity of vice and crime. And the extent of neglect is the measure of the peril from these sources, and the index of the reduced prodnctiveness of industry and of the losses of capital. Moreover, it should be remembered that this power of the individual, as a part of the whole, to affect the general welfare, arises not merely from his relation as a member of society; he has here an additional function of direct action as a part of the governing power. He is a voter, a witness, a juryman; he may be a judge, a legislator, or executive. His character is, therefore, of con. sequence, not merely from its silent and general influence, but especially as actually constituting a part of the government, with a possibility of being called to the duties of office in town, city, county, or state, in every civil unit in which he is embraced. If the individuals who are idle, ignorant, vicious, criminal, increase so as to constitute the majority,