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I have canvassed the objections that might be urged against the change, and find them all easily answered. And if the change would be productive of a part only of the benefits enumerated, it would unquestionably be a desirable one. This system is no new fangled experiment. It has been tried successfully, and is now the system in use in several of the States, and is attended with most satisfactory results.
Then let us catch an inspiration from the motto of our State, "forward" and take each improvement by the forelock, and lead the van of our sister States in our educational system, and not be so scared by the spectre innovation" as to neglect to profit by the progressive wisdom of the last half of the nineteenth century, and go dragging at the wheels of progress.
The change to the "township system " is very easy, if desired by a majority of the electors of the town, and if, on trial, it is unsatisfactory, it may be abolished and the old system reinstated.
On petition of ten electors for the change, the town clerk gives notice that a vote by ballot will be taken at the next town meeting or general election for and against the change,-but for the details of the law, I refer you to the school code or session laws of 1869. This change is not a reinstating of the old town superintendency system. However, it does purpose to establish a more thorough supervision of the schools which is rendered necessary, not from a failure of County Superintendents to perform efficient work, but from the impossibility of one individual properly supervising the entire schools of a county. For instance, in Monroe county, there are about 128 schools or departments, and the usual length of a term of school being 66 days, it would necessitate the visiting of two schools per day, without loss of time, in order to visit each school once only during each term, which is a physical impossibility in this county. And these visits would be too short to be of much practical benefit.
A glance at these facts will show at once, that one person cannot possibly give each school that time and attention necessary to its best success. This deficiency is remedied in the "Township System," by supplying in each town the much needed addition to the superintendency force.
EVERY MAN from the highest, has two businesses-the one his own particular profession or calling, be it what it may, whether that of soldier, seaman, merchant, farmer, mechanic, laborer; the other his general calling which he has in common with his neighbors, namely, the calling of a citizen and a man. The education which fits him for the first of these two businesses we call professional, that which fiits him for the second is called liberal.-Dr. Arnold.
INEQUALITY OF TAXATION UNDER "DISTRICT SYSTEM."
BY A. F. NORTH, SUPERINTENDENT OF WAUKESHA COUNTY.
The foundations of our free institutions were laid by the Puritans, when they made this compact in the May-flower, viz: That every settler should have equal rights, and that they would obey the laws they should make for the common good. This sentence contains the essence of all free government, But they saw clearly that the stability of such a government as well as the well-being of the individual could only be maintained by universal education, and they took measures at an early date (1636) to secure this end by the action of the state. Enlightened statesmen throughout the world are bearing testimony to the soundness of these vicws, and in spite of bigots reactionists are pressing forward to their attainment; and announce as the safety of the state depends upon the intelligence of the people, the state must secure this by popular education-in other words the property in the state must educate the children in the state, and this with at least some good degree of equality. It is upon this basis that the school fund is distributed. It is apportioned, not in the ratio of the property in a district, but upon the number of children to be educated therein. And this is the true principle, and should be of general application. But it is not so, and very few persons are aware how widely different from this is the fact with regard to the distribution of the burden in our towns under the present district system. The annexed table will show its operation in. Pewaukee, Waukesha county, which is believed to be a type of the condition of things, generally, throughout the state.
By reference to the above table, it will be seen that while in the whole town there is $1,378 for each scholar; in district No. 4, there is only $784, about one-half this amount and in district No. 8, there is $2,860; over double the average amount. I hope to be able soon to show how this matter stands in the other towns in this county. Such a state of things is a conclusive argument in favor of the township system.
Prepared by the Assistant Superintendent.
Q. Has a town a right to use a school-house in the town for election purposes, when the district has voted that the town should not use it for that puopose?
A. A town has no legal right to use or claim the use of a school-house for election purposes or any other purpose. It is the exclusive property of the district; moreover no legal right inheres in any party to use it or allow it to be used for any other than school purposes. This is settled by the decision in the case, School District No. 8, vs. Arnold et. al., (20 W. R., 657). Any vote taken by a district upon the matter does not alter the case. On the other hand, where no objection exists in the district to the use of the house for religious and other public meetings, custom and courtesy dictate that the school board allow it to be so used, if it will not interfere with the school, and if they feel satisfied that the house will not be injured. It should be remembered that the board has the custody of the house, and not the district.
Q. Is it sufficient reason to set aside the order of the town board for the division of a district, if it is made to take effect in March?
A. The board must go according to the law, which prohibits any order for the alteration of a school district from taking effect between the first day of December and the first day of April. An order passed in violation of this provision could not be sustained.
Q. Can a town board alter a district formed by special act of the legislature?
A. They have this power, unless the act provides otherwise.
Q. Can a person elected district clerk claim the office if he does not within ten day, "apply for the books and papers?"
A. Yes; for if he does not within ten days file a written refusal to serve, he is regarded by the law as having accepted, and there is no vacancy for the board to fill unless he resigns.
Q. Can a creditor garnishee a school board for wages due to a teacher?
A. Aside from the statutory provision in regard to wages for 60 days, it was held in the case Burnham vs. City of Fond du Lac (15 Wis., 193), that the indebtedness of municipal corporations is not subject to attachment. The reason given is, that it is against public policy. If school boards could be garnisheed for wages due a teacher, it would tend to prevent contracts being made on terms favorable to the dis
trict, and so, to injure the public good. It may be presumed, therefore, that the courts would not sustain the process.
Q. Is it lawful for a district treasurer to pay an order drawn by the clerk, and not countersigned by the director, provided it is countersigned by himself?
A. The law does not empower or direct a treasurer to countersign orders, but only to pay them; and to pay them only when legally drawn, and countersigned by the director.
Q. Can a clerk of a school district legally contract to teach a school of his own district?
A. Not unless he first resigns, as clerk, that another person may be appointed; for he cannot make a contract with himself.
Q. Is a county superintendent warranted in refusing to license a district clerk to teach his own school?
A. He is not. His business is to examine those who apply, and grant certificates to those who are found qualified. His granting a certificate of qualification to a person who holds the office of district clerk does not empower him to teach in his district without a contract; and to obtain a legal contract he must cease to be clerk.
Q. If a teacher loses Monday, can he be allowed to make it up on Saturday?
A. There is no serious objection to this, but to cut off cavil, it would be best that the permission be noted on the contract.
Q. If a school is taught on Saturdays, will the district be entitled to count them as part of the "five months" necessary to draw school money?
A. Yes, if the contract with the teacher provides that school may be taught on Saturday, but not otherwise.
Q. Is a teacher's certificate given last spring, for one year, good this winter, the teacher not having been examined on the constitutions? A. The certificate is good until it expires, unless revoked by the superintendent. The teacher can lawfully teach the "constitutions," although not yet examined on the subject.
Q. Under what law is a teacher authorized to inflict corporal punishment upon a pupil?
A. There is no statutory provision upon the subject. Under the common law, as the courts have decided, a teacher may inflict reasonable punishment, when necessary. (See November number of JOURNAL OF EDUCATION, page 405.)
Q. To what action or penalty is a teacher liable, who inflicts excessive punishment.
A. The action would be for assault and battery. The penalty would be fine or imprisonment, or both, in the discretion of the court. 3-[VOL. II.-No. 2.]
THE MISSING LINK SUPPLIED.
We reprint the following from the Milwaukee Sentinel :
"Gen. Fallows has submitted a plan to the Committees on Education and Claims which has received the hearty approval of the Regents and Faculty of the University and prominent educational gentlemen connected with the legislature, whereby unity and efficiency may be secured in our educational system. He proposes to have each graded school in the state furnished with a list of the studies required for admission into the college classes and the sub-freshman class of the university, with the per cent. to be attained in each branch. The graduates of such schools, upon the certificate of the principal, setting forth in detail their standing, are to be received in such classes of the university as they may be able to enter,without further examination and without any charge for tuition in the university. This plan is believed by Gen. Fallows to supply the missing link between the higher and lower schools, and to effect a proper gradation between them. He also believes it will give a stimulus to both the university and the public schools of the state, which they have not heretofore received. Dr. Twombly, President of the University, had a plan very similar in its general features, and gives his cordial support to this proposition of the Superintendent of Public Instruction."
We believe the effect of the above plan will be to lift up the entire public school system of the state. It will give a reward to scholarship, which is at once natural and just. It will awaken an interest in the university in all parts of the state. It will elevate the grades of the schools and give parents the opportunity of preparing their children for college, at home, in the most critical period of their lives. It will create a demand for good teachers and a disposition to pay them as they deserve. It will give a thorough gradation from the lowest primary school to the university; and as the faculty of the university are to prescribe the conditions of examination there need be no fear that a proper standard will not be required for admission into the highest high school of the state.
The press in general have advocated the measure, and we hope to record in our next issue that the legislature have authorized free tuition to be given as above recommended.
In addition to the matter alluded to above, bills have been introduced, or will be, in a short time, to provide for the compensation of school district clerks and the secretaries of town boards of directors; to simplify the reports from joint school districts; to make two grades of state teachers' certificates, one good for five years and the other for life; to regulate the hiring of teachers by district boards; and to require that towns which adopt the "township system," shall continue it not less than two years. Some minor amendments and special provisions may also be found necessary. It may be presumed the Legislature will take some measures for the relief of those school districts in which school-houses were destroyed in the great fires of last October. Some action ought also to be taken to provide for the schooling of pauper children. The committees on Education are made up of intelligent gentlemen, who will, we doubt not, act wisely in their recommendations. The chairmen of thɔ committees, Hon. R. DAVIS and Col. J. C. SPOONER, are both graduates of the State University, and warm friends of educational progress.