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schools, to say nothing of the elementary schools, are inadequately supplied with library facilities. It is true that standards for accrediting have required certain library equipment but the development in supplying magazines, newspapers, reference books and fiction for secondary education is just in its beginning.
Also, as was suggested in the last chapter, the State has just started on the course of disregarding district lines for a more reasonable basis for the establishment of high school centers. A brighter period is commencing for the sanctity of tradition and custom are being called in question. The limitation of secondary education to four years, the length of the school year, part of the subject matter in the curricula, the sharp break between the high and the elementary schools and much of the school legislation are to be regarded as historical accidents, rather than inviolable and sacred principles.
The history of the secondary institutions, the laws and practices that surrounded the academy and the early high school, give an intelligent conception of secondary education in Illinois at the present time. Experience thus becomes an intelligent guide for future action.
Summary and Conclusion.
Illinois is an excellent example of a midwestern state that was settled by people from the older states of the East and the South for the purpose usually, of raising their economic status by taking advantage of the relatively free western land. When the State was admitted as a member of the Union, the congressional land grants, the basis of which was created by the Northwest Ordinances, were accepted by the people for educational purposes. The earliest schools were individualistic and sporadic attempts that were attended with meager success in a hostile, wilderness country. More concentrated action occurred when the legislature, beginning in 1818, adopted the policy of granting special charters to groups of individuals for the creation of semi-public academies. Some of the requirements were to make it possible for the poor of the community to be educated at public expense; other provisions looked forward to the time when all classes in the locality, including the girls, should receive free tuition if the funds of the institution permitted it. All charters required religious free dom, but allowed the administrative board to perform any other function that was not contrary to law. The purposes for which the academy was established, the form of administrative organization, and the financial support varied.
The aims of the academy were to disseminate useful knowledge; to give women high intellectual and moral culture; to fit youth for the various duties of life; to prepare teachers for the common schools; to promote science and literature; to develop a sound physical body; to act as libraries; to establish a system of manual labor, and to educate the children of the common man. The manner of election, the number, and the term of the trustees followed no general rule, although the powers conferred on them were usually those
that were granted to bodies politic and corporate. The support came from the rent or the sale of school lands; a share in the common school fund; gifts; endowments; the sale of shares of stock; and, tuition.
Much of the machinery that existed for the administrative organization and supervision of education was found in the church. Missionary preachers opened academies in the centers of population to educate the youth, as well as to prepare ministers of the gospel. McKendreean, Alton, and Illinois Colleges, respectively representing Methodist, Baptist, and Presbyterian-Congregational efforts, united their strength before the legislature granted them charters. Following the period of the legislature-church struggle, charters were freely given to academies, but many of them were modeled upon college charters which had shown the unmistakable influence of New England and the Yale movement in Illinois.
The State went little farther than to grant charters to groups of individuals for academic purposes, or to recognize permissively any unchartered institution that kept within the bounds of law. The results were that the standards for admission, tuition fees, the length of the school year, and the length of the school day were in no sense uniform throughout the State. However, the academy did retain the core of subjects of the Latin grammar school, around which other subjects were added to prepare students for useful and professional positions in life. Besides the ancient languages and arithmetic, modern languages, more mathematical subjects, some social sciences, natural and physical sciences, philosophy, religion, cultural and artistic subjects, and manual labor, were added. Formal examinations were conducted, at the close of each term, by a local committee of prominent men, usually ministers, to pass judgment on the efficiency of instruction. Occasionally, a farsighted, liberal minded academic principal indicated some of the social values of an education.
A utilitarian educational philosophy was introduced in the West by the manual labor movement which maintained: that only the useful in schools was valuable; that mental and physical work were practicable only when they were united; that conjoint mental and physical work were economical because time was saved in gaining knowledge and learning a
trade; that manual labor connected with the schools was far superior to harmful play; that new and better opportunities were opened up through which a living could be made; that manual labor connected with scholastic pursuits, above all, was democratic, and that the cost of theoretical and practical education was within the reach of a larger number. The editors, churches, missionary societies, and the early educational leaders were convinced of the value of the system that was advocated by Neef and Maclure. Consequently, manual labor schools were created, and that feature was incorporated in several of the literary institutions. Turner followed up the idea, enlarged it and made it more specific in his plan for and the advocacy of a system of education in which the common man would have equal advantages with the professional classes. Partly due to his efforts, the Morrill Land Grant Act was passed by congress, and the Illinois Industrial University was chartered. A decade later, the high schools began to introduce some features of the manual labor idea in the system of manual training.
The academy was a well established institution in Illinois by 1850. Before that date, scarcely any other means existed in the State by which a useful, cultural, or professional secondary education could be obtained. In spite of the pronouncements that the academy was a frontier institution in which all classes could mingle, it served only a limited number of the population who lived near its doors and were able to pay the price for instruction. Therefore, the next step in the discussion is the role that the common school played in the education of the children of the State.
At the end of the first quarter of the nineteenth century, the apprenticeship system of education was dying out in the older states of the East and the South. However, the emigrants from the latter had carried that custom to Illinois, apprenticeship laws had been passed, and indenture agreements were made with some white youth and negroes, but the system was not as extensive as it had been in the colonial days because of the increasing opportunities for education, and the growing sentiments of the humanitarian philosophy in the rights of all individuals for freedom and equality.
To provide that liberty, and to insure the permanence of free institutions in Illinois, the education of the youth of the
State by means of a system of free common schools, was necessary. The law of 1825 provided that a school system should be established, that the schools should be free to all children, and that the schools thus created should be supported by two per cent of all the yearly state revenues, and by a local general property tax. Governor Coles was probably the author of the bill, rather than Senator Duncan, and drew his ideas for a complete system of education consisting of primary, secondary and university instruction from Jefferson's plan, with which he was familiar. The first concern was with primary instruction, which the law of 1825 made possible. Five free school districts were ordered established in Madison county by the county commissioners within a few months after the enactment of the law. No complaint was made in the Edwardsville paper or in the county court, although objection must have been marked in some of the other counties because the legislature annuled the local tax clause, in 1827, and the state two per cent section in 1829. From that time, to 1855, common schools in general, were supported by the parents of the children who attended the schools.
The efforts of the educational and political leaders of the State were redoubled, after the annulment of the law of 1825, in order to create a free common school system. An educational survey of Illinois, and the assembling of information about educational progress of the eastern states, were the bases on which a teacher association addressed the people of the State and sent a memorial to the legislature on the subject of common schools. The sections of the bill which provided for free schools and the establishment of an academy in each county for the training of teachers, were defeated. Some of the academies did supply a scholastic education for the common school teacher, but there was no state supported normal school until 1857. Little had been expected of the common teacher in qualifications, little of value was returned in the way of service, but the wages were equally as good as those paid by the older eastern and New England States.
Four agencies through which the common school was aided in its development and in its establishment as a free public institution, were notable. 1. Prominent educational leaders were: many of the governors; the Illinois College