Public School System
( Originally Published 1883 )
Educational System.—The educational system of the State of Michigan is an organic whole, which begins with the primary school and is crowned by the State University. As collateral branches of this system, there is the Normal School for the training of teachers, and the Agricultural College for the special training of farmers.
Support of Public Schools.—The public schools of the State are supported in three ways :-
1. By the interest of the primary school fund
2. By a one-mill tax ;
3. By school district taxes.
Origin of the Primary School Fund.—At the close of the Revolutionary War, the government was deeply in debt, and it was of the greatest concern to public men how this debt should be paid. As the United States had control of a vast territory in the northwest, it was thought that by holding out great inducements to purchasers, a considerable revenue could be realized by the sale of the public lands. Among other inducements which were held out, the government promised to all who would settle there that one section of land in each township should be set apart for the advancement of education. It secured to the early settlers and their posterity a permanent means of educating their children. The fund derived from the sale of these lands is called the primary school fund.
Disposition of the Fund.—When Michigan was admitted as a State into the Union, the sections of lad set apart for educational purposes, were conveyed to the State for the use of the public schools. All money derived from the sale of these lands remains a perpetual fund, the interest of which is apportioned annually among those school districts that during the year maintain a school the length of time required by law. This apportionment is based on the number of school children in each district. One-half of what, the State receives from the sales of swamp lands also goes to this fund.
1. The law provides that district schools must be taught as follows:— Districts with from I to 3o children, not less than three months.
" 30 to 500 " five "
" 800 or over " nine "
2. The primary school fund is apportioned by the Superintendent of Public Instruction among the townships, and by the Township Clerks among the districts. It can only be used to pay teachers' wages. In 1882, the income from this fund amounted to $639,068.47. The rate per capita was $ 1.24.
3. The swamp lands were given to the State by Congress. A great. proportion of the lands are swamp only in name, and comprise some of the most valuable lands in the State.
Sections.—When the public lands of the United States are surveyed, they are laid out in townships and numbered. Each township is six miles square, and consequently contains thirty-six square miles, or 23,040 acres. Every township is subdivided into thirty-six equal divisions, or square miles, called sections. A section, then, is a square mile, or 640 acres. The sixteenth section of every township is set apart for the support of the public schools.
Townships are first numbered and afterwards named, as, Adrian Township, Ann Arbor Township. Section one is always in the north-east corner of a township, and the numbers run as indicated in diagram.
The One-Mill Tax.—On all the taxable property of the State, there is levied an annual tax of one-mill on the dollar for school purposes. This is called the one-mill tax.
This tax is assessed by each Supervisor upon the taxable property of his township. It amounts, on an average, to about one dollar per child.
School District Taxes.—At the annual meeting of each school district, money is voted for school purposes, as the building of school-houses, keeping them in repair, purchasing the necessary appendages and school apparatus. Money thus voted, together with the amount estimated by the District Board as necessary for hiring teachers, and for meeting all expenses arising from the proper maintenance of the school during the year, is levied by the Supervisor on the taxable property of the school district.
School Libraries.—Every township is required to maintain a township library. Instead, however, of a township library, a school library in each district may be substituted. All money received from penal fines, is applied to the purchase of books, and a part of the one-mill tax may also be appropriated for the same purpose. The value and impor tance of school libraries can not he overestimated. Useful information contained in well selected books, affects almost as much good as the schools themselves. As public opinion becomes more enlightened and better informed, the government will become more permanent and equitable.
Superintendent of Public Instruction.—Our system of public instruction, in some of its features, is derived from Prussia. In accordance with the Prussian system, an officer is elected, called the Superintendent of Public Instruction, whose duty it is to devote his entire labor and thought to the perfection of our educational system, and to the oversight, not only of primary schools, but also of the University, high schools, colleges, and all other institutions of a like character established in the State. Although the management of these institutions is intrusted to certain boards, yet over all is placed the State Superintendent, who represents the watchful care of the State over its educational interests.
Duties of the Stale Superintendent.—The Superintendent of Public instruction has the general supervision of the educational interests of the State, and is, by virtue of his office, a member and secretary of the State Board of Education. It is his duty to promote, as far as possible, the efficiency of the public school system. Institutions of learning are at any time subject to his visitation and examination, and are annually required to report to him their condition and progress. His more important duties are,—
1. To apportion the income of the primary school fund among the several townships and cities of the State.
2. To hold teachers' institutes.
3. To appoint a board of visitors to the University, and to all incorporated institutions of learning,
4. To cause to be printed the school laws of the State.
5. To prepare annually a report to the Governor of the apportionment of the primary school money, the condition of the various educational institutions of the State, and such plans for their improvement and better organization as he may deem expedient. This report is transmitted by the Governor to the Legisislature.1
1. The report of the State Superintendent is printed each year for distribution.
2. A board of visitors consists of three persons. Each board is appointed annually, with the exception of the board of visitors to the University, which is appointed every two years. The members of each board examine the condition of the institution which they are appointed to visit, in all of its departments, and report the result to the Superintendent of Public Instruction, with such suggestions as they may deem proper.
State Board of Education.—The State Board of Education consists of three persons, elected by the people of the State at the general election in November, and the Superintendent of Public Instruction, who, by virtue of his office, is a member and secretary of the Board. All the members, with the exception of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, are elected for six years, one being elected at each general election. The duties of the Board are,—
1. To examine teachers for State certificates.
2. To prepare questions to be used by the County Board of School Examiners in the examination of teachers.
3. To prepare lists of books suitable for township and district libraries, and make arrangements with responsible parties to furnish these books to school libraries at the lowest rates.
4. To have general supervision of the State Normal School.
Township Board of School Inspectors.—The Township Board of School Inspectors consists of,—
The School Inspectors,
The Township Clerk.
The Inspector whose term of office soonest expires is chairman of the Board and treasurer, and the Township Clerk is the clerk.
Women are eligible to the office of School Inspector,
Duties of the Board.—The most important duties of the Board are,—
1. To divide the township into school districts.
2. To have general supervision of the township library.
The principal duty of the Board is to divide the township into school districts, and to regulate and alter the boundaries as circumstances render necessary. The Board also receives from the Township Treasurer all money belonging to the township library, purchases books, and has the general management of the library.
In townships in which there are district libraries, instead of a township library, the management of the libraries is intrusted to the District Boards. Each Board appoints its own librarian.
Chairman of the Board of School Inspectors.—It is the duty of the chairman of the Board of School Inspectors to visit the schools in his township at least once in each term, and examine carefully the discipline, mode of instruction, and the progress and proficiency of the pupils. It is also his duty to counsel with teachers and District Boards as to courses of study to be pursued, and with reference to any improvement in discipline and instruction in the schools ; to note the condition of the school-houses, and, if necessary, suggest plans for their improvement ; and to promote, as far as possible, the efficiency of the schools of his township.
1. The chairman is subject to the advice of the County Board of School Examiners.
2. When visiting schools he is entitled to two dollars per day.
3. If a school is not conducted in a successful and profitable manner, it is the duty of the chairman to report the fact to the secretary of the Board of School Examiners.
County Board of School Examiners.—The Board of School Examiners consists of three members, elected for three years, one being elected each year. This Board examines persons desiring to teach, and grants teachers' certif. icates.
Each School Inspector receives four dollars a day when performing the duties of his office. The secretary of the Board also receives two doll us for each school district in the county, for services and expenses as secretary.
Election of School Examiners.—The School Examiners are elected by the chairmen of the Township Boards of School Inspectors. On a day designated by law, the chairmen of the Boards of School Inspectors of the several townships in each county, meet at the office of the County Clerk, and elect a School Examiner. The term of office of one Examiner expires each year.
1. The County Clerk is clerk of the election. In case of a tie, he gives the casting vote.
2. The election of School Examiners occurs on the first Tuesday of August.
joint Meeting.—After the election of a School Examiner, there is a joint meeting of the chairmen of the Township Boards of School Inspectors and the County Board of School Examiners. The object of this meeting is to consult with reference to the general interests of the schools, and to devise plans for greater efficiency in the work of supervision. As the School Examiners are intrusted with the work of ascertaining the character and qualifications of teachers, and the chairmen of the Boards of School Inspectors are required to examine the work actually being done in the schools and exercise a local supervision, it will be seen that, to insure the best results, there must be some unity of action between the County Examiners and the chairmen of Township Boards of School Inspectors.
1. The chairman of the Board of School Examiners presides at the joint meeting, and the secretary of the same Board acts as secretary.
2, The chairmen of the Boards of School Inspectors receive three dollars a day when in attendance at the joint meeting.
Organization of the Board of School Examiners.—The School Examiners meet at the office of the County Clerk and organize as a Board by first electing one of their number as secretary. The secretary is the principal officer of the Board. After the election of secretary, the law requires that the School Examiner, other than the secretary, whose term of office soonest expires, shall be chairman.
1. The School Examiners meet to organize on the fourth Tuesday of August of each year.
2. If a vacancy occurs in the Board, the Judge of Probate has the power to fill it for the unexpired portion of the term: He also has the power to remove any member of the Board for immorality, incompetency, or neglect of duty.
Examination of Teachers.—The Board of Examiners are required to examine all persons who may offer themselves as teachers, and to grant certificates to all persons who are found qualified in respect to good moral character, learning, and ability to instruct and govern a school. No certificate can be granted to any one who has not passed a satisfactory examination in orthography, reading, writing, grammar, geography, arithmetic, the 'theory and art of teaching, United States history, and civil government. The Board can suspend or revoke a teacher's certificate for neglect of duty, incompetency to instruct or govern a school, or immorality. No school officer has a right to employ any one to teach who does not have a proper certificate from the County Board of School Examiners, or other lawful authority.1
1. School officers may have an understanding with teachers awaiting an examination, but to employ a person to teach who does not hold a proper certificate, is a violation of the law.
2. The law provides for at least two regular public examinations in each year at the county seat, on the last Friday of March and October. Special public examinations are also held at such times and places as the Examiners appoint.
3. By lawful authority is meant the State Board of Education, Board of Instruction of the Normal School, districts having special charters authorizing the School Board to grant certificates, officers of school districts organized in whole or in part in incorporated cities, and the County Board of School Examiners.
Teachers' Certificates.—There are three grades of certificates. Certificates of the first grade are granted only to those who have taught at least one year with ability and success, and are valid throughout the county for three years ; certificates of the second grade are granted to those who have taught at least six months, and are valid for two years -certificates of the third grade license a person to teach fo,- one year. No certificate is valid beyond the county in which it is given.
1. If a teacher's certificate expires during a term of school, care should be taken to renew it in season. Public money can not lawfully be paid to a teacher for services rendered after the time of the certificate has expired.
2. Every male teacher receiving a certificate is required to pay a fee of one dollar ; and eyery female teacher, a fee of fifty cents. No teacher, however, is required to pay this tee more than once in any school year. All money thus paid is used for the support of teachers' institutes.
3. The Secretary of the Board of School Examiners may, on examination, grant special certificates licensing the holder to teach in a specified district till the next public examination by the Board. In addition to the regular institute fee, the teacher so licensed is required to pay the secretary a fee of one dollar, as a compensation for his services in holding such special examination.
Stale Certcates.—State certificates entitling the holder to teach in any of the schools of the State without further examination, are granted by the State Board of Education after a thorough and critical examination. Only teachers of considerable scholarship and ability can secure these certificates. State certificates are valid for ten years, unless revoked by the Board.
1. The examination fee is five dollars.
2. The members of the State Board of Education receive three dollars a day and traveling expenses while engaged in examining teachers or preparing examination questions for the use of County Boards of School Examiners,
Something Prohibited—Superintendents and teachers of public schools are prohibited by law from acting as agents for any author, bookseller, or publisher, or from receiving a reward for their influence in securing the purchase of books, school apparatus, or furniture.
School District.—The school district is the smallest division of our educational system, just as the township is the smallest division of our political system. Every school district organized according to law is a corporate body and is numbered. It is capable of suing and being sued, and of holding and selling real and personal property. In each district a school-house is built.
1. The great evil of our educational system is the division of town ships into small school districts. Undoubtedly a township system of graded schools would be much more efficient.
2. Sometimes a school district is formed that lies partly in one town. ship and partly in another, or partly in three or four townships. This is called a fractional district.
School Meetings.—The annual meeting of a school district is held on the first Monday in September of each year, and the school year commences on that day. Special meetings may be called by the District Board at any time.
1. It is the duty of the District Board to call a special meeting at the written request of not less than five legal voters of the district.
2. Only such business can be legally transacted at a special meeting as is indicated in the notice of the meeting.
Powers of School Meetings.—School meetings have the power to direct the building or purchasing of school-houses, impose taxes for school purposes, authorize and direct the sale of school property, determine the length of time the schools are to be taught, elect members of the District Board, and adopt such measures as may be necessary for the protection and development of school interests.
1. The amount of taxation and indebtedness for school purposes is limited by law.
2. A school month consists of four weeks of five days in each week.
3. If a school is not taught the length of time required by law, it forfeits its share of the income of the primary school fund and of the one-mill tax.
Qualifications of Voters.—Every person of the age of twenty-one years who has taxable property, and has resided in the school district three months preceding the district meeting, is qualified to vote upon all questions. When the raising of money by taxation is not in question, all persons who are entitled by the laws of the State to vote, and who have resided in the district three months, can vote.
1. No person is eligible to office unless he is a tax payer.
2. Women who are tax payers can vote at a school meeting, and are eligible to office.
District .Board.—The District Board consists of the,—i. Moderator,
The Moderator is chairman, the Director is clerk, and the Assessor is treasurer. The District Board has the general care and supervision of the school, and it has the power to establish such rules and regulations for its discipline and management as it may deem proper. The success of the school mainly depends on its careful oversight and ability. It is the medium through which the district acts as a corporation. The Board hires teachers, prescribes text-books, purchases books for the use of children whose parents are not able to furnish them, applies money as directed by the district meeting, and performs such duties as the interests of the school demand. It is required to present to the annual meeting a report, in writing, of all receipts and disbursements.
1. District officers are elected for a term of three years, one being elected each year. A majority vote is necessary to elect.
2. It is the duty of the Board to fill by appointment any vacancy that occurs in its number, or call a special meeting to fill the vacancy by an election.
3. District Boards are required to make reports to the Township Board of School Inspectors, the Township Board to the County Clerk, and the County Clerk to the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Moderator.—It is the duty of the Moderator to preside at all meetings of the district, preserve order, and perform the usual duties of a presiding officer. He is also •chairman and a member of the District Board.
If the Moderator is absent from a school meeting, some other person may be selected to preside.
Assessor.—The Assessor is treasurer and a member of the District Board. No money can legally be paid out by the district except through him. He is required to pay all orders of the Director, countersigned by the Moderator.
1. The Assessor appears for the district in all suits, when no other directions are given at the school meeting, except in suits in which he is interested adversely to the district.
2. He is obliged to give bonds to double the amount of money that is likely to come into his hands.
Director.—The Director is clerk and a member of the District Board, and he is also clerk of all district meetings. He keeps a record of all proceedings, and preserves all books and papers belonging to his office. It is also his duty,
1. To give notice of all school meetings, and draw all warrants and orders.
2. To draw books from the township library, and distribute them in his district.
This, however, is not in force in townships having district libraries.
3. To keep the school-house in repair during the time school is taught.
Although the District Board has the general care of the school-house and school property, the Director is intrusted more especially with this duty,
4. To make a report, at the end of each school year, to the School Inspectors, of such facts as are prescribed by law, or required by the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
The Director is required to take a census of the school children of his district, unless some other person is appointed to do so by the District Board.
Graded Schools.—When the voters of any school district, containing more than one hundred school children, desire to establish a graded school, they may elect a Board of six Trustees with power to choose their own officers and to establish such a school. Two or more contiguous districts, having together more than two hundred school children, may unite for the same purpose.
1. The term union school-house is used to designate the school established by the union of two or more districts.
2. The annual meeting of graded schools may be held on the second Monday in July.
A Graded School Defined—A graded school is one in which the pupils are divided into classes according to their attainments. In the ordinary district school, there is very little opportunity for a uniform gradation of classes, but. pupils enter promiscuously when the term commences, and leave in about the same way when it ends. In a graded school, pupils may enter the lowest class in the primary department, and by a series of promotions from one grade to another, may finally reach the high school. The advantages of graded schools are very evident, and the Legislature has made provision for their establishment and maintenance.
Pawers of Trustees.—The Board of Trustees, like the District Board, has the general care and supervision of the schools, and they have power to establish such rules and regulations for their discipline and management as they may deem proper. They hire teachers, prescribe textbooks, purchase books for the use of children whose parents are not able to furnish them, apply money as directed by the annual school meeting, and perform such duties as the interests of the schools demand. They are also obliged to present to the annual school meeting a report, in writing, of all receipts and disbursements. In addition to these the usual duties of a District Board, they adopt means for the proper grading of the schools, and they have the power to establish a high school, and to collect tuition for instruction in any branches, not only from non-resident pupils, but also from resident pupils.
1. The Trustees are elected for three years, two being elected each year.
2. Additional powers are sometimes conferred on Boards of Trustees or school districts by special act of the Legislature.
City Superintendent of Schools.—In the large cities of the State, the Board of Trustees delegates the more immediate management of the schools to an officer called the Superintendent. The powers of a City Superintendent are varied, and his duties and responsibilities are great. He is the executive officer of the Board, and is required to devote most of his time to the general oversight of teachers and schools. He is responsible for the internal management of the schools.
In graded schools where the principal teacher devotes most of his time to teaching, and but little to supervising the work of others, his proper title is Principal and not Superintendent.
The Normal School—One of the first measures essential to the success and good government of the public schools was to provide for the training of teachers for their special work. Without competent teachers the most perfect system must fail of securing permanent results. In order, therefore, to properly qualify persons to teach in the public schools of the State, a Normal School has been established in the city of Ypsilanti. The aim of this school is. to give instruction,
1. In the theory and practice of teaching ;
2. In all the various branches that are taught in the public schools of the State.
Applicants for admission are required to sign a declaration of their intention to follow the business of teaching.
1. In connection with the Normal School is a practice school, which comprises two departments,—primary and grammar. In this school, the pupils are afforded the means of teaching, and observing the practical working of, a graded school.
2. Form of Declaration.—" I hereby declare that my object in entering the Normal School is to prepare myself for the work of teaching."
Revenues of the Normal School.—The Normal School has a permanent endowment derived from the sale of lands dedicated to that purpose. In addition to the income derived from this fund, the State makes an annual appropriation for its support. The pupils are also required to pay a small tuition fee. Each member of the State Legislature may designate two pupils from his district to receive instruction free of tuition.
Twenty-five sections of land, 16,000 acres, were appropriated by the etate for the Normal School. From the sale of these lands, a permanent endowment fund of more than $69,000 has been realized. The annual expenses of the school are about $24,000.
Board of Education.—The general management of the Normal School is intrusted to the State Board of Education. This Board has power to appoint and remove teachers, and prescribe their duties, fix salaries, prescribe text-books, and make such regulations and by-laws as are necessary for the good government and management of the school.
1. Persons are appointed each year by the Board of education to ex amine into the management and mode of instruction of the school, and to report to the Superintendent of Public Instruction their views with regard to its condition, together with such suggestions as they may deem proper.
2. The members of the Board, and persons appointed as visitors, are entitled to two dollars a day for actual services, and to their necessary traveling expenses.
3. The Superintendent of Public Instruction is required by law to visit the school at least once in each term, and to annually make a full report to the Legislature of the doings of the Board of Education.
Normal School Certificates.—In addition to the diplomas conferred by the State Board of Education upon all those who have completed full courses of study, the faculty of the Normal School are required to grant certificates to all receiving¬ diplomas, which legally qualify them to teach in the public schools of the State, without any examination.
The University—To complete and give unity to the educational system of the State, a University has been established at Ann Arbor. It stands at the head of the public schools in the-State, and is the culmination of our public school system. Any course commenced in a well organized high school finds its completion in the University. Thus the State has not only bountifully provided all with the means of securing the benefits of an elementary education in the public schools, but it has also generously placed, within the reach of all, the means of securing a liberal culture in all departments of human knowledge.
1. Graduates from schools approved by the faculty are admitted without an examination.
2. In 1882, there were eighty-seven professors and assistants, and fifteen hundred and thirty-four students.
Revenues of the University.—The University, like the Normal School, has a permanent endowment fund derived. from the sale of lands dedicated to that purpose. In addition to the interest derived from the endowment fund, it receives,—
1. A twentieth of a mill tax on all the taxable property of the State ;
2. An annual State appropriation ;
3. Students' fees.
1. It is a curious fact that it was the design of the founders of the University that part of its support should be derived from lotteries, and provision was made for their establishment. This, however, was no unusual thing in early days, and even now in some States there are literary and benevolent institutions supported by this means.
2. Two townships were given by Congress to Michigan for the support of a University. From the sale of public lands thus given, the University has secured a permanent fund of about $543,000,
3. In 1882, the interest of the University fund was $38,398.47; the twentieth of a mill tax amounted to $38,250; the annual State appropriation to $76,000; students' fees to $69,295.
Board of Regents.—The general management of the University is intrusted to a Board of Regents, eight in number, elected by the people of the State for a term of eight years. The election of Regents occurs at the same time as that of Judges of the Supreme Court, on the first Monday in April. They have power to appoint and remove professors, tutors, and officers, and prescribe their duties, fix salaries, regulate the courses of instruction, prescribe, under the advice of professors, the books and authorities to be used in the several departments, confer degrees, and make all such regulations and by-laws as are necessary for the good government and management of the University. The more immediate management of the several departments is intrusted to the president of the University and the respective faculties.
1. The presiding officer of the Board is the president of the University. He does not, however, have the right to vote,
2. The Regents, and persons appointed as visitors, receive pay for actual and necessary expenses incurred by them in the performance of their duties.
Agricultural Colleges.—It is only within a few years that agricultural colleges have been generally established. In 5862, Congress gave to the several States public lands to the amount of 30,000 acres for each Senator and Representative in Congress, provided that each State, within five years, should establish an agricultural college. The colleges have given a wonderful impulse to agricultural pursuits, and have created a demand for agricultural literature. Newspapers recognizing this fact, devote considerable space to general information on agricultural topics.
State Agricultural College.—The State of Michigan was the first to put into successful operation a State Agricultural College. The leading object of this institution is to teach such branches as are related to agriculture. Connected with the college is a farm and garden, in which students are required' to work three hours each week-day, except Saturdays, and they are paid for most of their labor according to their ability and fidelity, the maximum rate being eight cents per hour. This college is located at Lansing.
1. Candidates for admission into the freshman class are examined in arithmetic, geography, grammar, reading, spelling, and penmanship. Tuition is free.
2. The farm consists of six hundred and seventy-six acres. The tong vacation occurs during the winter months.
Revenues of the Agricultural College.—The Agricultural College has a permanent endowment derived from the partial sale of the public lands given by Congress, and the Legislature also makes appropriations for its support. When all the public lands belonging to the college are disposed -of, the endowment will in all probability be sufficient for its support.
The Agricultural College has received 235,673.37 acres of land. Up to 1882, 104,612.24 acres have been sold, from which has been realized $339,058.32.
State Board of Agriculture.—This Board consists of six members, besides the Governor and the president of the Agricultural College, who are members by virtue of their office. Members of the Board are appointed by the Governor for six years, with the consent of the Senate, two being appointed every two years. They have general control and supervision of the college and farm.
1. Any vacancy in the Board may be filled by a majority of the members.
2. The members are paid their traveling and other expenses, while employed on the business of the Board.
Secretary of the State Board of Agriculture.-A secretary is appointed by the Board, whose duty it is to keep a record of the transactions of the Board and of the Agricultural College and farm. He receives reports from the various agricultural societies in the State. It is also his duty to correspond with societies and farmers with a view to obtain information upon the newest and best methods in agriculture, stock-raising, and the dairy ; to purchase and distribute rare and valuable seeds, plants, shrubbery, and trees; to encourage the importation of live stock, and the invention and improvement of labor saving machines ; and to promote, as far as possible, such domestic industries as are calculated to promote the general thrift, wealth, and resources of the State. He is also required to make an annual report to the Legislature at every regular session, and to the Governor when the Legislature is rot in session. The report is printed, and distributed among .the agricultural societies and farmers of the State.
1. This report embraces statements, accounts, statistics, essays, and other information relative to agriculture, the proceedings of the State Board of Agriculture, of the State Agricultural College and farm, of the State Agricultural Society, and of county agricultural societies.
2. An appropriation is made by the Legislature to meet the annual expenses which are incurred in the purchase and transportation of seeds, and other contingent expenses of the office.
Institutes for the Promotion of Agriculture.—Under the auspices of the State Board of Agriculture, institutes are held in various parts of the State during the winter months. The exercises at these institutes consist of essays, lectures, and discussions on agricultural topics, by members of the faculty of the Agricultural College, and others interested in agricultural pursuits.
Slate Agricultural Society.—To promote the interests of agriculture, and to encourage the manufacturing interests of the State, a State Agricultural Society has been established. This society holds meetings for the discussion of agricultural topics, and to devise plans for the better development and encouragement of agricultural and domestic industries. It also holds an annual fair, to which exhibitors are invited from all parts of the State. Premiums are offered to exhibitors in order to encourage competition.
There is a State Horticultural Society, and in many counties there are county agricultural and horticultural societies.
Teachers' Institutes.—Whenever any number of teachers assemble for the purpose of receiving instruction in methods of teaching, school discipline, and school management, such an assemblage is called a teachers' institute. Teachers of established reputation in the State are selected to take charge of them. The value of well conducted institutes can not be overestimated, and their importance and influence through the teachers on the schools is so great that the Legislature has made provision for their encouragement and support. They are of two kinds,-
1. County institutes,
2. State institutes.
County Institutes. In counties having not less than one thousand children between the ages of five and twenty years, the Superintendent of Public Instruction is required annually to appoint a time and place, and make all suitable arrangements for a county institute. He is either obliged to conduct the institute himself or to appoint some suitable person to do so. The fees received for teachers' certificates are used to defray all necessary expenses, as the hiring of rooms, procuring teachers and lecturers, etc. If the fees thus received are not sufficient to defray all expenses, the deficiency is met by the State.
1. In counties having less than one thousand children, the holding of an institute is optional with the State Superintendent, unless he is requested to hold one by fifteen teachers. If there is not a sufficient number of teachers in a county to make such request, the teachers of two or more adjoining counties may unite for this purpose.
2. All fees received by the County Board of School Examiners for teachers' certificates are paid over to the County Treasurer of the county in which they are collected, and set apart for the support of teachers' institutes.
3. In case the county fund is insufficient, a sum not to exceed sixty dollars can be drawn from the State treasury for the expenses of each institute of five days' duration.
State Institute.—In addition to county institutes, a State institute is usually held each year, under the direction of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. This is designed to furnish thought and give direction to county institutes. With this end in view, distinguished educators are secured to present the best methods of instruction and discipline, and the ripest thoughts on educational subjects. The expenses of this institute are defrayed by the State.
A sum not to exceed four hundred dollars can be drawn from the State treasury for the expenses of a State institute.
State Teachers' Association.—To promote the interests of education, and to secure co-operation among the teachers of the State, a State Teachers' Association has been estab lished. It numbers among its members teachers in the public schools, professors in the. Normal School, in the University, and in denominational schools and colleges, together with others interested in educational work. At these annual meetings, there are lectures, essays, and discussions on educational topics, methods of instruction and discipline are compared, and means are adopted to secure such legislation as may be needed for the successful working of the public school system.
In some counties there is also a county association of teachers.
Remark.—There is a marked distinction between a teachers' institute and a teachers' association. A teachers' institute is really a training school for teachers, and performs the work of a normal school. A teachers' association consists of a number of teachers united for mutual benefit and improvement in educational matters.
Other Educational Institutions.—Besides the institutions so generously maintained by the State, there are other schools and colleges supported by religious denominations and by private enterprise.
Civil Government In Michigan:
Cities And Villages
Public School System
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