« ПредишнаНапред »
allow him. Or if one of them sell an article of every day necessity to an over-worked and under-paid school teacher, the idea of retrenchment never seems to enter his economical soul. In consequence, a large number of our best teachers have gone into other occupations, a thing not to be wondered at, since a person who is fitted by nature and training to be a successful teacher, can easily find other and more remunerative employments.
I am glad to note that, during the past year, some of our boards of directors have so far become cognizant of the situation, that in two or three townships the wages of teachers have been considerably raised.
Several new school-houses have been built in the county during the past summer, and others have been repaired, notably the old south ward building in Winterset.
After taking into consideration the indications that our people are about to pursue a more liberal course towards our schools, and the laudable zeal manifested by so many teachers to qualify themselves more thoroughly for their momentous work, I am led to hope that the future of our common school system will be one of grand and farreaching results. We have just closed one of the most successful normal institutes ever held in this county, a session which gave proof of the zeal and determination of our teachers.
P. L. KINDIG.
Many evils arise from electors' and school officers' interpretation of the law. Codification and annotation of the school laws will remedy many of these evils. On the margin of the page, opposite each section, it is my opinion, should be given the page or pages of school law decisions, rendered by the Supreme Court, and State superintendent affecting said sections. Then all school officers about to make an order or decision under such sections could readily turn to such decisions rendered; thus preventing their falling into the same errors.
It being the intent of the law that all should have equal school facilities afforded them, allow me to suggest that section 1793 should be so amended, that when adjoining districts have graded schools, and the higher branches are taught in one school building in each district, that those residing over a mile and a half from the high school in their own district, and nearer the high school in an adjoining district,
should have the privilege of attending the high school in said adjoining district.
The law as it now reads: "When they reside nearer the school in said district, and one and a half miles or more, by the nearest traveled highway, from ANY school in their own," does not provide equal school facilities when the high school is not centrally located, or is located in a village in one corner of the district; and a rural school, under the jurisdiction of the same board, is provided for those over a mile and a half from their high school, though nearer a high school in an adjoining district.
There should also be provisions made for those who attend school in an adjoining district, at the expense of their own, under the provisions of section 1793, if there is no probability of equal school facilities being afforded them in their own district, that they could be attached to said adjoining district for all school privileges and purposes.
It cannot be denied, that where a man's children attend school, there are his interests; and he should have all the privileges of an elector of that district in the election of school officers and providing for the proper support of the school.
It is my opinion that there would be fewer appeal cases, should section 1835, relating to appeals to State superintendent, be so amended that any party or parties aggrieved by a decision rendered by the county superintendent, whereby the action of the board appealed from is affirmed, said party not appealing from the action of the board to the county superintendent within the thirty days required, should be estopped from appealing to the State superintendent. It should plainly state that no party or parties, except those who appeal to the county superintendent, should have the power to appeal, when the county superintendent affirms the action of the board.
I have known cases in which the county superintendent affirmed the action of the board on appeal, the appellant and board entering into a written agreement, that "the county superintendent's decision should be final"; yet parties not known in the case had power to carry the case up.
There are too many cases in which parties are aggrieved, only in imagination, and appeal for the simple reason that they can do so with little or no expense to themselves. Compelling county superintendents to make transcript of all proceedings had, plat district township and locate roads and residences, send copy of his decision, etc., at
all times conforming to the instructions of the State superintendent under the provisions of section 1774, when he should be visiting schools or attending to other matters of vastly more importance to the county, is quite an unnecessary proceeding.
The county superintendent, in his official visits to the school-room, under the provisions of section 1774, should have mandatory power, when he is satisfied that better work can be done by a change in methods of instruction and discipline. But now with his limited supervisory powers, he can "suggest" changes, take charge of the school, for a short time, and show the teacher "how." What surety has the county superintendent now after visiting a school which he found almost demoralized, that better work will be done; that the money expended for training and instructing the children and youth will be properly expended?
Observation has taught me that he has equally as good surety that the teacher will, at the first opportunity, drop into his old worn rut, and his school is "taught" to the end of the term as if the county superintendent's advice and assistance were worthless. The only remedy he has is to refuse him a certificate when he applies again. But such teachers generally apply for schools in another county; obtaining certificates of "qualifications to teach, and as far as known by the examiner are of good moral character." Thus they are licensed "to keep" school again at a price very dear to the patrons. The loss to the children and youth when we consider their valuable time, and the amount of improper training received, calls for a halt.
How can we remedy this evil? The county superintendent visits the schools of the county. He observes the principal defects in teaching. To remedy these defects he brings them prominently before his teachers in institute assembled. Many teachers are not in attendance. The law does not make attendance imperative. Much good could be accomplished should normal training, at county institutes, or at normal schools, be considered as one of the essentials to obtain a license to teach in the public schools. And all school boards should consider a teacher's normal training as essential as a knowledge of the branches required to be taught.
Sections 1782 and 1785, should make it the duty of school treasurers to present the warrants for payment after a reasonable time. Some carry warrants for a year or more; and should the money be lost, or the county treasury be robbed, the district would likely lose the amount not called for.
Under section 1776 county superintendents should receive stated salaries, in proportion to the population of the counties. It is true, it is left to the discretion of the board of supervisors to allow additional compensation. It is also true that when one faction cries reform and retrenchment, there is but little if any additional compensation given to those laboring in behalf of the public schools.
As the population of the various counties of the State has greatly increased since the act regulating the per diem of county superintendents was passed, and with this increase in population comes a proportionate increase in official duties to all county officers, it is no more than just that county superintendents should have their salaries increased and regulated as their duties have increased, as well as to regulate those of county auditor or county treasurer.
It is not an equitable compensation for services rendered, when one official is required to pay traveling and other incidental expenses almost equal to his per diem, and then travel in all kinds of weather, while other county officials receive double the salary and the assistance of a deputy, and are at no expense whatever outside of the office. In many counties, the superintendent's work is more taxing, on mind and body, for over one-half of the year than in any other county office. The efficiency of our public schools depends largely upon proper inspection and faithful performance of all duties required of the county superintendent, and for this he should receive just compensation.
Z. T. HONNOLD.
School officers of this county have reported more promptly this year than last, but there is room for still greater improvement in this respect. We believe there should be a law which will insure early and correct reports from school officers.
True, there is a law imposing a penalty for failure to report as directed, but no one considers it his duty to enforce it.
My entire attention the past two years has been given to the work of education in our county, and we stand to-day, in my judgment, as never before, thoroughly aroused to our best interests, the education of our children.
There is a demand on every hand for good teachers at good salaries, and many school-houses have been repaired and reseated, and several new ones erected.
Our institutes have almost doubled the enrollment of former years, and they add a growing interest in educational work.
ED. M. RANDS.
The work in the county is believed to be in an improving condition. Mitchell county has suffered for several years on account of poor crops, but the present outlook indicates good times, and we hope to come before the people with facts, and secure their hearty co-operation in advancing the educational work. We believe that it is the work of the people for the people, and that they will be better satisfied with results if they do the work.
A number of educational meetings have been held in various parts of the county, which have been quite generally attended by patrons and teachers. The field is divided into districts for the purpose of holding teachers' association meetings within the reach of all. Many of these have been well sustained, and the intention now is to adopt a course of study for the coming season, and pursue it upon the plan of an institute; thus making the work and influence of the annual institute permanent.
The county teachers' association has not proven a decided success, the trouble being that the teachers have not given it the hearty support of which it was deserving. If the profession of teaching were more permanent in this county, we might hope for better results, but the present low wages will not attract to the profession.
A course of study has been prepared for the country schools, and is being used to good advantage in many of them. The teachers have been called together in small companies, and instructed how to use the course, and most of them have at least tried to follow its teachings. This course embodies a system of reports both to the superintendent and to the teacher's successor, which is in most particulars proving a success. The reports to this office were first made at the close of each term, but this was found insufficient, and teachers are now supplied with a monthly report card.