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During the time of my superintendency the schools of the county have increased from sixty-one to eighty-two. The standard of qualification for teachers' certificates has been raised, and our schools have made fair progress in efficiency. The first and second class teachers of this county will compare favorably with those of the same grade in any of the surrounding counties, but I regret that I have been compelled to issue third grades in order to supply the schools with teachers, for the majority of those holding them are unfit to be teachers at all. Teachers have been removed in this county simply because some one thought they had occupied their positions long enough, and the directors thought they could secure other teachers who would do nearly as good work in the schools. Many people in the country have not yet learned whether the schools were created for the benefit of the children, or for that of the teachers whose friends happen to be subdirectors.
G. W. WATTLES.
There has been a general awakening in school matters in this county during the past year. School boards found it impossible to secure teachers at the wages they were paying a year ago, and last winter several schools in the county were vacant. Believing that the law of supply and demand regulates the price of teachers' labor, I refused to grant certificates to any but those who were qualified, and the result has been very satisfactory. Boards have uniformly raised teachers" wages, and in nearly all cases have graded them according to the class of certificate held. This fall we have had no trouble in securing teachers of a better class than ever before: they have come in from adjoining counties, and some who had left the profession in disgust have returned to the ranks.
Several new school-houses have been erected in the county upon
improved plans, especial attention having been given to ventilation. In Carroll City, a fine brick building has been completed at a cost of $14,000, and in Arcadia, a neat and commodious wood structure is in progress.
A very successful normal institute was held in Carroll, at which Prof. S. N. Fellows gave the teachers some valuable instruction in didactics, which can but result in better work. Prof. F. B. Gault rendered valuable assistance and left many friends among the teachers. At the close of the institute a teachers' library association of fifty members was organized, and arrangements were made for educational meetings during the winter. The graded course of study was adhered to, and gave universal satisfaction.
There is a general feeling in this county that teachers should have more normal drill. Mechanics serve an apprenticeship before entering their trade, lawyers, doctors, and preachers must pass through a preparatory course before beginning their respective professions, but the teacher alone is taken from the student's desk and set at work with ' the most intricate of material, the human mind, without special drill. I think our legislature could not act more wisely than to establish several more normal schools in this great and growing State.
H. B. STREVER.
Some progress has been made in the educational interests of this county during the past year. A commodious school building, containing four rooms, has been erected at Aurelia, to meet the wants of that growing village. A similar building is in course of construction at Marcus. Cherokee, also, has erected an additional school building of two rooms, to meet the demands for more school room. commodious school-houses have been built in the county.
There has been an increase of about twenty per cent in the number
of persons of school age during the past year.
It will be noticed, that in many districts the usual number of months of school has not been taught. This is owing almost wholly to the severe weather, and snow blockades of last winter, which made it impossible so keep the schools in session.
Owing to a scarcity of teachers, third grade certificates have been issued for more than a year past.
Teachers' wages are higher at present than for several years past, and as a result a large number of faithful and efficient teachers are applying for schools. Our last normal institute was a decided success. The attendance was good and the practical instruction given will do much to aid the teacher in his work. While we have many excellent teachers in our county, I deplore the fact that too many enter the school-room with little or no previous preparation, and after experimenting a term or two leave the ranks, and others no better qualified take their places. This feature of our school system is radically wrong. The introduction of professional books and educational journals among our teachers has done something towards remedying this evil. The educational outlook in this county is encouraging.
H. A. SIMONS.
It is with pleasure that I report very marked progress in the educational work of this county, and a decided educational revival.
I note as of special interest the advancement and enthusiasm of many of our teachers; the very general interest manifested by our school officers, as shown by their work and by two enthusiastic conventions held during the year; the preparation and adoption of a course of study and record of advancement for all of our ungraded schools; and the adoption of a uniform series of text-books for the county.
It has been a year of very hard work for the superintendent, and much yet remains to be done. The principal difficulties we now have to contend with, are, a lack of good teachers; irregular attendance in many districts; improperly ventilated school-houses; lack of proper apparatus; and a lack of interest on the part of many of the parents. The interest now manifested is such that we hope to make decided progress during the year now before us.
My experience as superintendent has convinced me that we have much useless school legislation, while some additional legislation is imperatively demanded.
Especially do we need a uniform district system. I would, therefore, earnestly recommend the appointment, by the legislature, of a commission to revise and codify the school laws of the State.
I would recommend the passage of a law authorizing the payment of all school officers for the time necessarily employed in the discharge of their duties. It is my opinion, after more than ten years in the office of county superintendent, that we will never secure efficient service until it is done. I can see no reason for asking a subdirector to serve without pay, that would not apply with equal force to any other office in the county or State. I would also recommend legisla tion making it possible for a teacher to reach a final examination and thereby be relieved from the burden of an annual visit to the county seat for that purpose. Let the standard for final examination be high, and the examination itself be thorough and exhaustive. For this purpose provision should be made for the appointment of a board of examiners, of which the county superintendent should be chairman, with authority to hold examinations twice each year and to grant certificates of two grades, one grade for five years and the other for life, if not sooner revoked for cause. Each applicant should be required to pay a fee of one dollar for the examination and an additional fee of five dollars for a five years' certificate, and ten dollars for a final certificate. These special examinations should not interfere with those already established.
R. W. ANDERSON.
I am glad to be able to report that the schools of Davis county are improving, and that there is a growing demand for teachers who are qualified. At first I met with considerable opposition in attempting to raise the standard, but only among those who found it difficult to pass the required examination. I am sorry that I cannot report more favorably concerning their compensation. According to your biennial report, the teachers of Davis county receive the lowest wages paid in the State, on account of which many of our best teachers
have gone into other counties or other States. However, the people are beginning to realize this fact, as this year quite a number of boards of directors increased the wages, some as much as twenty per cent.
The institutes of 1880-81 were well attended and much good has been accomplished. In the last institute we followed as nearly as possible the course of study for normal institutes and succeeded in classifying the teachers into three grades. Besides the institute, I have held sixteen teachers' meetings in different parts of the county, and the county teachers' association has held six.
It would be much better if teachers who are well qualified could be exempt from yearly examination and could by law receive a certificate granting the privilege to teach two years instead of one, it would be more encouraging to first grade teachers, and do much to stimulate teachers to improve.
LAURA V. DYE.
I have reason to believe that the cause of education in our county has advanced in the past year, yet there are many things that may well be deplored. We have yet in our ranks some school keepers— tares among the wheat-but the more energetic are pushing such obstacles out of the way. We have many competent, earnest teachers who are sparing no pains to succeed and to advance. The wages are increasing and there is a constant call from officers for first class teachers, and they seem willing to put a financial premium upon worth.
Our teachers' conventions have been quite well attended, and teachers seem to realize that they cannot afford to do without these helps. The papers prepared have almost invariably been meritorious and show that they cost time and labor. The attendance at the normal institute this year was better than ever before, and the work done was very satisfactory to teachers, conductor, instructors, and county superintendent.
We are making an effort to have new, fresh, text-books take the place of the old ones, and a committee of enthusiastic, competent teachers labored faithfully this summer examining many different