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Congress passed the enabling act, April 30, 1802, the Convention met at Chillicothe, Nov. 1, 1802, and ratified and signed the Constitution, Nov. 29, 1802, and on Feb. 19, 1803, “an act was approved for the due execution of the laws of the United States in the new State.” It will be seen that it is somewhat doubtful what should be given as the correct date of the admission of Ohio to the Union. The quiet town of New Lisbon, commercially speaking, is described as “a good business point and a pleasant town,” while Salem, with three times the population, and noted for its manufactures, is not even mentioned, although within ten miles of New Lisbon. Ray's New PRACTICAL ARITHMETIC, A Revised Edition of the Practical
Arithmetic, by Joseph Ray, M. 'D., Late Professor in Woodward College.
Van Antwerp, Bragg & Co.. Cincinnati and New York. Pages 336.
Probably no work on arithmetic published in this country has had so large and continued a sale as Ray's. The earliest edition which we remember of having seen was published in 1837. The beauty and elegance of the typography in the present edition is remarkable. We are glad to see that all obsolete Tables of Weights and Measure, such as Beer Measure and Cloth Measure, and all obsolete denominations such as drams, roods, etc., are discarded from the retained tables. The Metric System is well presented, but unfortunately for simplicity, examples involving equivalence are given. The good features of former editions are retained and many new ones added to bring the book into harmony with the best present methods of teaching arithmetic. While we rejoice to see that the incorrect statement heretofore given in the arithmetic, namely, “In find. ing the ratio between two numbers, the French take the first as the dirisor, the English the last,” is discarded, we do not rejoice to see the so-called French method retained, because it is contrary to reason and the almost universal practice of the great mathematicians from the time of Euclid to the present. The definition of number will not stand the test of criticism. A discussion of this subject will appear soon in Educational Notes and Queries. Notwithstanding these imperfections in the work we predict for it another forty years of popularity. CÆSAR'S COMMENTARIES ON THE GALLIC WAR; with Notes, Vocabulary, and
Maps. By G. K. Bartholomew, author of Latin Grammar and Gradual. Van Antwerp, Bragg & Co., Cincinnati and New York. Pages 392.
This book, just issued, forms part of the Eclectic Classical Series. It contains the seven commentaries, or as they are usually called, Books of Cæsar. It is beautifully printed, the vocabulary is excellent, and the notes, filling 102 pages, are scholarly. An excellent feature, which will certainly please the teacher, is the references occasionally made to the elaborate Latin Grammars by Roby, Madvig, and Zumpt. The references to the author's own Latin Grammar are frequent and judicious. The text is prefaced by Dinter's Life of Cæsar in Latin. We call especial attention to the author's preface, in which are found some interesting suggestions as to the manner in which the Commentaries should be taught. We have no hesitation in commending this book to all teachers of Cæsar, believing that it will meet with general approval.
THE PARENT AND TEACHER. The following is an address delivered by Robert Steele, Esq., before the Dayton-City Institute, the
latter part of last August. We divide it into two parts, the first “The Parent," and the second “The Teacher.” The first only is published in this number. The second part will be published next month. Mr. Steele's utterances on matters pertaining to education are worthy of especial note because of his long and eminent service as a member of the Dayton School Board.
I have been asked to give "a talk” before the Institute. I feel that I can say what I wish in shorter time, and more to my satisfaction and yours, by reducing my remarks to writing. What I shall present does not pretend to the finish or dignity of essay or lecture, but is simply a talk with the pen.
I have in my library a book entitled, “Physician and Patient, which treats in a very entertaining way of the relations and duties of the two classes to each other. The title of this book has suggested “Teacher and Parent” as a subject upon which to string some thoughts relating to our schools.
When we consider how important the office of the teacher is, and what precious interests it involves, it is strange how little thought parents bestow on the subject. Keen business men, who give the closest supervision to their affairs, and who are most careful as to the agents they employ, commit their children with a blind confidence to strangers about whom they know and care to know nothing. If a machine is to be built the best material is procured, and every detail of its construction is watched, but when the mind of the child is to be disciplined and the character moulded no thought nor supervision is given. The acquaintance of the teacher is not sought, the school-room is not visited, and no inquiry made for months of teacher or child as to progress made in study. It is no exaggeration to say that many parents do not know the teacher of their children by sight.
Teachers are sought for cheapness rather than quality, who, on their part, like all ill-paid workmen, begrudge every extra hour of thought or labor given to their scholars. Such parents are ever ready to lend a willing ear to the complaints of their children; without investigation condemn the teacher; weaken the discipline of the school, and inflict a lasting injury on the child.
The relations of parent and teacher should be of the most friendly and confidential character. So far from joining the child in criticism and sometimes ridicule of the teacher, he should be taught to respect and honor him by the respect and honor shown by the parent. Many parents think their children prodigies, and not to be governed by rules applicable to ordinary children. They expect them to become accomplished scholars without any enforced study. Permitted to absent themselves from school whenever they desire, and study or not as they choose, when the inexorable examination per cents retain them in their present grade or consign them to a lower, the whole system of percentage is denounced as a fraud and the teacher as partial and unjust. No one who has been a member of the Board of Education for any length of time need be told how utterly blind and unjust some parents are in matters which concern their children. One of the first lessons a new member of the Board has to learn is to hear both sides before deciding questions submitted to him. Reputable people come to him with stories of injustice and cruelty perpetrated upon their children, which make his blood boil with indignation. In almost every instance investigation shows that the story has no foundation in fact, or has been greatly exaggerated.
Out of the neglect of parents to visit the schools and investigate for themselves, grows the sweeping and unreasoning criticism of our school system which so often tries the patience of those who have the management of the schools. Persons who have given no thought to the subject of education and have never visited a room in our public schools, presume to
pronounce with authority upon methods of instruction and the whole routine of school work. Others equally ignorant imagine that what is asserted with such positiveness must be true, and swell the chorus of misrepresentation. Three months in the winter in a country school, say some of them, have produced better scholars and better men than years of instruction in our improved methods. Absurd as this is, it has obtained considerable currency, and I have heard men of otherwise good sense and character make the statement. Exceptional instances of men of ability and industry, who, in spite of the disadvantages of defective early education, have risen to eminence, are triumphantly given in proof. Our own gifted Corwin, who always lamented his lack of early opportunities, and who, by the force of genius, and the widest reading and study for a lifetime, made himself an excellent scholar, is a favorite illustration. With a few illustrious exceptions like Lincoln, who rose superior to adverse circumstances, the men who always have, and who to-day hold the positions of influence are men of thorough education. A few of these country schools, like the dodo among extinct birds, still remain. From the laudations pronounced upon them one would expect their graduates to tower like giants above the pigmies our public schools are sending out into life. I have known many of them, and I have never found them remarkable for scholarship.
Criticism of our methods of instruction and their results is the order of the day. Sound criticism, even if severe, is wholesome, and, as perfection does not pertain to anything human, is to be courted. What is to be resented as an impertinence is unreasoning-wholesale fault-finding. It is good cause for complaint, that those who are most dogmatic and sweeping in their censures know least by observation about the practical workings of our schools.
Occasionally some one friendly to the system, and with a real desire for improvement, makes such extravagant statements of defects as to do great injury. It has been going the rounds of the newspapers and has been caught up and echoed by every carping fault-finder that Charles Francis Adams, Jr., had asserted (I hope he never said it) that the graduates of the public schools of Massachusetts cannot write a decent hand, compose a respectable letter, or spell ordinary English words correctly. As the Massachusetts schools are confessedly equal to the best, if this be true it would be well to close the doors of our public
schools and write failure on them. No doubt some dunces go through the schools and come out just such ignoramuses as he describes. It is also true that sometimes otherwise bright pupils, by a singular idiosyncrasy, cannot learn some particular branch of study, spelling for instance, and the system is in no wise responsible for the failure. I need not stop to say that the statement as a whole is a gross exaggeration. Some writers so love antithesis and sentences with a twang to them that exact truth is of no importance in comparison. We have much of the same wild, unreasoning criticism in our city. Nothing is easier than ridicule of new methods of instruction, and almost every advance step has been met with a laugh. To one accustomed to the old method of spelling words by letters there is something ludicrous in phonic spelling and we can all recollect what mirth it created when first introduced. One, if a member of the Board of Education, was often greeted at the street corners with exaggerated imitations. The laugh has died out, leaving not even an echo, and the phonic method is universally accepted as a most valuable feature in our system of instruction.
The contradictory character of the criticism is very perplexing if any weight is to be given to it. More than once the Board of Education has been favored with lengthy communications from physicians, denouncing the forcing process pursued in our public schools, and predicting the most direful results to the health of the pupils, even to the imperiling of their lives. Members began to feel that they were very Herods, and morally responsible for the slaughter of the innocents.
A little cool reflection relieves their fears somewhat when a broadside is fired from just the opposite quarter. Time is shockingly wasted. Twelve years are fritted away in completing the full course when better results could be attained in six! No wonder that the Board has concluded to act upon the best lights within its reach, and let the critics “ bay the moon !"
Equally contradictory are the opinions as to the relative importance of the different branches of study taught. Each has his hobby, and the study he fancies is to be taught almost to the exclusion of all the rest. When we reflect that the course of study is substantially the same in graded schools everywhere, and is the matured result of the best thought of experienced educators in this and other countries, it is hardly to be expected that opinions which are the offspring of whim or the