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THE DUTIES OF COUNTY BOARDS OF EDUCATION.*
G. W. BEATTIE, BERKELEY.
all teachers' certificates were based on examinations by local or
state boards. Since 1879, the county boards have been the examining bodies.
The first normal school law in California, passed in 1862, provided that the diplomas and certificates of qualification issued to graduates should entitle the holders thereof to teach in any school in the state of the grade specified therein, for the term of two years, without further examination. From this small beginning, the list of credentials that the state has recognized as evidence of fitness for teaching, without further examination, has grown till it to-day includes: (I) Diplomas from all California State Normal Schools, and from normal schools of other states, University of California diplomas, and diplomas from Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Johns Hopkins, and most of the other leading universities of the United States. (II) Certain grades of certificates issued by the various County Boards in California, and life diplomas from other states. The first class of credentials represents professional training for teaching. The second class, as a rule, is based on some formal examination without reference to special training.
For many years the methods of certificating on examination and on credentials have been working side by side, most of the time on an equal footing, so far as the law was concerned. During this time, simply by reason of its intrinsic superiority, the credential has been steadily supplanting the examination. Of the grammar grade certificates, exclusive of the life and educational diplomas of that grade, now existing in the state, 4, 175 have been issued on credentials, and only 1,970 on examination, while in the high school grade the examination is already obsolete. Answers to inquiries as to the number of high school certificates granted under each of the two methods within the past year in the different counties of the state, give the following results:
The fifty-seven counties report a total of thirty-one on examination and 234 on credentials. Forty-two counties issuing fifty-two per cent of all high school certificates granted last year have made no use whatever of the examination privilege.
Let us now consider the supply of certificated teachers, both present and prospective, and the demand for the same.
As the state has been rapidly moving toward the credential basis, a question naturally arises whether the less desirable method of certificating by examination can be wholly dispensed with without inconvenience to the schools. An interesting and extensive investigation, rendered possible by
A contribution to the discussion of the topic by the California Educational Commission, April 12, 1900.
the hearty co-operation of Superintendent of Public Instruction Thomas J.Kirk, Prof. Elmer E. Brown of the University of California, and the County Su perintendents of the fifty-seven counties in the state, is now completed, and throws needed light on the question of present supply and demand. The County Superintendents have furnished lists of the certificated teachers in their respective counties, and these have been combined, freed from duplicates, and indexed by Mr. James U. Smith, a graduate student in the Department of Pedagogy in the University of California.
In preparing these lists the County Superintendents were instructed to omit from the same all papers standing in the names of deceased persons, and of persons known to have retired permanently from the business of teaching
I am now able to present the results of this investigation. A partial report was made by me during the State Association meeting in Sacramento last December. Of valid certificates now outstanding in the state, there are: High School Life Diplomas....
201 Educational Diplomas..
38 Certificates on Credentials.
742 " Examination
Total High School Certificates.
1988 797 440 3735 1970
Total Grammar Grade Certificates..
8930 Primary Certificates...
1703 Special Certificates..
349 Kindergarten Certificates..
197 Total Number of Certificates......
12365 By the same investigation it is shown that the number of new teachers,
i. e., persons who have never taught in California public schools prior
7438 The total number of high school positions is ......
495 Thus it will be seen that for 495 high school positions, there are 1, 186 persons provided with high school certificates, and for the remaining 6,943 positions there is an army of 11,870 certificated teachers available, if we include teachers holding high school certificates who do not occupy high school positions.
I have also some facts bearing on the question of prospective supply. The records of the State Normal Schools in California show the following:
Total number of students in next to highest classes from 1891
2982 Total number of graduates from these classes (1892–1899)... 1895 Total number of students now in next to highest classes ....
Using the ratio of the number of students in the classes selected for eight years to the total number graduated from the same as a basis for calculation, there should be 360 graduates from the five state normal schools in 1901. If we employ the ratio for the years 1898-1899, which is probably fairer, since in the eight-year period there was a change from a three-year to a four-year course, which materially lessened the number of graduates for a time, the number should be 400.
Thru the assistance of Dr. Elliott, registrar of Stanford University, and of Mrs. Cheney, appointment secretary in the University of California, I am enabled to present a table showing the number of high school teachers recommended from the two universities since 1894, together with the number of new persons employed in the high schools of the state each year.
Recommendations for high school certificates at the University of California........
40 60 67 72 126 110 Recommendations for high school certificates at Stanford University.....
47 54 63 56 Total.........
49 94 114 126 189 166 Number of new teachers employed in the high schools in the state...
68 95 79 100 130 117 The recommendations in 1900 will probably exceed 200.
We may reasonably expect to have more than 600 professionally trained teachers per year certificated from the two universities and the five state normal schools by the time any changes in our certificating laws can become operative. The reports from the counties show that only 567 new teachers were employed in all the schools in the state during the past year. Thus, with nearly two teachers certificated for every position in our public schools, our professional training-schools are supplying more teachers each year than there are vacancies in the entire state.
The question next arises,—What is to be the future of the county boards?
The Constitution of 1879 assigned to them specifically two duties:
The Legislature has from time to time given to them various other duties, the most important of which is the adoption of courses of study for the schools of their county not controlled by city boards of education.
The Constitutional Amendment of 1884 relieved county boards of responsibility concerning text books.
The natural trend of events is fast taking from them the work that heretofore has constituted their chief occupation--the examination of applicants for teachers' certificates. The statistics just presented show that the $50,000 a year required for the maintenance of these examinations is not expended because the schools of the state need the untrained teachers who are certificated in this way. We are continuing a custom after having outgrown the conditions that called it into existence.
The State has three possible courses open to it:
1. The present arrangement may be continued with its wasteful expenditure of money for things not needed.
2. By constitutional amendment the county boards may be abolished.
3. New duties may be assigned to these boards so that the existing machinery may be utilized for the attainment of needed ends.
Personally, I believe the last course contains the proper solution of the problem. Expansion of supervisory duties seems to me most promising.
OUR HOMES. Do they breathe quietness and repose, or has the demon of unrest entered there ? Anna C. Brackett, in her little volume “The Technique of Rest,” says: “The mental unrest is passing into the physique.” We are also breathing deadly germs, but shall we not by sheer force drive them out again and again? It is not rest to talk to one whose eyes are constantly roving ; -- it is agony. Or, to one who is always interrupting or complaining, or even talking, unless she is talking evenly and not as if she were straining every nerve to make herself heard or important. The dear little women who will talk, and listen, who will sit so quietly, and speak so softly, are a blessing in this restless age. Who is responsible for this unrest? value of what one life might accomplish, if never a moment were allowed to pass unimproved,” has perhaps been given too much prominence. It is meet that some one, in every home, teaches the grace of leisure - the beauty of repose.
A curriculum for girls and one for boys has been suggested by the Oakland Enquirer. Mothers need not be alarmed with the thought that only the girls are breaking down under the present course of study for schools, and the master mind is for men only. The need of a simple curriculum for girls never has, and never will be borne out by facts. What girls need is more out-door exercise, with little thought of what shall we eat and what shall we wear. Boys are less hampered by hankering after fine clothes and confectionery, and are, therefore, less liable to break down in school. They have their weaknesses, however ; mother's have to keep eternal vigilance lest they break the record.
At a meeting of the Board of Education in Los Angeles, attention was called to the pressing need for careful revision of the courses of study in our schools. One member said: “It is altogether desirable that an opinion be obtained of the fathers and mothers who rear the children, as to the practical operation of the present system, and the way in which to better it.” The question as to whether the advice of commercial bodies and women's clubs should be sought, was discussed. The subject will be resumed at the next meeting.
The vacation school movement is becoming general, and so it should, when, as investigation shows, there is an increase of 60 per cent in juvenile crime, when vacation arrives. Vacation schools are by no means a continuation of the regular school-work. The children are taken upon excursions to visit manufacturing establishments, ship yards, and all centers of industry; they are also taught basket-making, cooking, gardening, etc. It is to be hoped that these schools may react upon and modify the curriculum in all public schools.
JULIET POWELL RICE.
and drill the children in two and three pulse measures.
We shall try to do all our technical work thru the medium of
the song, and for this purpose I have selected eight songs which have been the choice of many people, old and young. The fact that they are old favorites, and have been sung successfully so long, is a proof of their correct "register."
The natural compass of voice (both boys and girls), before the change, is higher than that of the average woman; therefore, children never find any difficulty in singing anything the teacher can sing.
The time or pulse, too, has been considered, in the songs which are to be used for the development of rhythm, and will be discussed in our next paper.
Our teacher, Miss Smith, having read much about the management of children's voices, has prepared an outline for the first lesson, with the hope of gaining something that will aid her in a future plan. She is willing to lay aside any preconceived ideas, however, and will let the actions of the pupils lead her.
Her directions are, “Sit erect. Chest up and chin in. Feet squarely on the floor. Hands on desk in front of you. Smile as you sing. Breathe only thru the nose and sing softly." (All most excellent things to observe.) She then proceeds to teach "Blue Bells of Scotland," phrase by phrase, according to the best instructions. But the attention by this time seems forced, and it is a physical impossibility for them to produce a fervent, pure tone.
From day to day this order is changed, and new songs used, but really nothing is gained for the voice.
At noon Miss Smith notices a girl who has given her any amount of anxiety, because of her harsh voice and seeming inability to understand directions. She is busily engaged watering the window plants and humming the while. She has a pure quality of tone now, but is not conscious of her song.
Miss Smith passes to the play ground, where the boy of the rag-time knowledge lies at full length on the ground relaxed after play, alternately whistling and humming a popular air. His tones are good, and she notices he breathes well. She makes a mental note, and returns to the room, to find a little girl resting her head on her arm on the desk. She is sitting on her foot, and singing. After fifteen minutes of steady effort, the child exclaims "That's it -- its jest like her -- the woman that sings in our church.” Another mental note, and school is called.
The following day, Miss Smith brings “her," the church singer, to school. She sings without instrument some of the songs the children have brought from home. “Blue Bells of Scotland” is sung in its entirety, and