Page images

in an organized form. The Indian Office can do nothing except as the Members of Congress furnish the money. The Members of Congress ordinarily will not furnish the money requested for this great work except in response to public opinion. If they feel the people desire it, that the people believe in it, they respond to that because they are a part of the people. Every man and woman here can have something to do with creating that public sentiment, and in response to it Congress will appropriate the money needed."

[blocks in formation]

I saw the mist upon the river wide

Settle, enfolding and obscuring all;

The river's banks seemed, through their cloud-born pall,
Shadowed and undefined, on either side

No single beam to guide my little bark

Although so far from home, so weak and lone.

What could I do? I could not but go on

In dread and trembling, — thro' the unknown dark.
Had I but heard my loving Father's call,
Or seen the lighted windows of my home,
How gladly had I hastened thro' the gloom
That, safe at last, I at His feet might fall.

But still bewildering darkness loomed o'er all —
The boundless waste so great-my boat so small!


"What could I do? I could not but go on

In dread and trembling, through the unknown dark "—
But see there was a glimmering light! — and hark!
Whose voice was that? Had it my Father's tone?
Ah yes! the mist is lifting from my heart,
The light is shining on the river clear,
Unclouded, filling all the heavens so near;—
And, with new strength, I, bending, do my part.
Since I have heard my Father speak to me,
And seen the radiance of His house afar,
No clouds can evermore that vision mar,

Nor earthly glory dim Eternity.

And nothing now too hard, too vast can be,
For thou art with me, and I trust in Thee!


HE spirit, plans, and work of the new Commissioner of Education, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, and the Superintendent of Indian Schools, appear to have been well received in all parts of the country. These departments of the government are evidently giving great satisfaction to the friends of education everywhere. Special attention is called to the discussion of Indian schools in this number.


HE regulation Teachers' Association, every year, reveals more forcibly the most notable disability under which the teacher labors and which, greatly to his disadvantage, is the peculiarity of his profession. Every other sort of man is obliged to confront and make his way through a community of "all sorts and conditions of people,” his equals or superiors, and stand or fall according to his capacity for impressing himself on his public. With rare exceptions, even our best teachers live, professionally, in a world of inferiors, over whom they rule with a control never accorded to any other class and only assumed by the most extreme sect of the priesthood. As a consequence, there is a chronic misunderstanding between the five hundred thousand teachers and the people who support the schools in which their children are educated. Few of our most eminent educators are aware what crude, insufficient, and grotesque notions vast numbers of their constituents get, even of their most valuable work. Here is the most widely-read journal in New England, laboring through double columns to account for the growth of private and parochial schools in Boston; the reason being, according to its arithmetic, that each pupil in a Boston school gets but one minute of attention a day; hence a rebellion, developing to a revolution. Probably one-fifth of the clergymen of the United States are exciting their parishioners by the assertion that the common school completely ignores character-training, is unmoral and unreligious, at the best. Multitudes of "business men" are just as sure that the schools are nurseries of shiftlessness and practical incapacity.

Now this is largely the result of the practical isolation from vital and constant contact with the people in which the teachers abide. It is not that they are failing in their proper work with the children; the schools were never so good and outgrowing their bad and weak features so certainly as now. But the teacher is, too often, thought of, as the millionaire who established a new church and of whom his neighbors


used to say: Nobody knows the creed of that church but old H—, and he won't tell." Somehow, the teachers, educators, even University professors, with all their Institutes, Associations, Conventions, Clubs, and Journals of every sort, do not manage to tell their neighbors what they are doing with the children. But the signs of the times indicate that education must take the open field and convince a working majority of the American people that it is worth what it costs and achieve what it promises, or the common school will be more and more a turbulent ocean, swept by political gales, heaved by ecclesiastical storms, befogged by popular misapprehension, with a periodical tidal wave that desolates a whole educational realm. The teacher of either sex must more and more be competent to place his own work fairly, without technical obstruction, vigorously and persistently, before the public, or it will go hard with the profession in the generation on which we are entering.


OW this shall be done must be found out by experiments. But is there any reason why the teachers of every city, county and state, through their present organization, should not have a standing committee on Public Information, whose business it is to claim a fair hearing through the press, to call public meetings and be constantly on hand to meet and expose the numerous educational heresies and humbugs on which the people are fed? Grant that the average teacher has not the ability, the courage of her convictions or security of position to justify this. But, certainly, every community has men and women to whom the people look for educational leadership, who can safely and profitably assume this mission. And many a worthy teacher or superintendent, by courage and energy in testifying to the faith, would have prevented an overthrow, when some absurd crotchet he has despised captures the school board and turns him into the street. Another method is to revise the Teachers' Convention and the Educational Journalism, by turning their face instead of the back to the public. These conventions run more and more to the "reading of papers," and elaboration of details uninteresting to an intelligent outside audience, and, with rare exceptions, are little more than the assembling of professional clubs. The popular journals are filled with patent lessons, which threaten a new reign of imitation and mechanism in the mass of their readers. Still another method, open to all, is the abolition of our absurd practice of making the school commencement or exhibition a display of crude literary, oratorical or dramatic power; placing before the people the things which the schools do not even profess to teach, the author's, orator's, and player's art. No entertainment would be so profitable and popular, in city and country, as an

evening, now and then, when the genuine school-work could be taken out of the schoolroom and put in a public place where everybody could see just how the children are taught and handled. There is no lack of ability and invention in the upper stratum of the teaching force to do all these things and step out and up into the vital connection with the intelligent public which that public so evidently needs and demands.


LARGE number of the woman teachers of New York City have petitioned the Mayor against the reappointment of the present lady members of the School Board, for various reasons. But one suggestion touches a point of great importance as concerns the efficiency of women on Boards of Education. These teachers complain that their lady supervisors seem to be under the impression that the public schools are charity schools for the humbler classes and are chiefly concerned with matters appropriate to that class of public institutions. Without reference to this case, there is no doubt that serious mistakes are often made in the selection of the right woman for such public position. One would say that a woman of mature years, once a distinguished teacher, after added years of experience with children of her own and her neighbors, at home, in the church and society, would be the fit person to supply the much-needed woman element in the School Board and School Supervision. But, too often, this type of candidate is overlooked in favor of some brilliant lady, with a literary or speaking gift, who, with no experience of school-work, has attracted attention by identifying herself with some popular educational movement; like Kindergarten, Industrial Training, Sanitation, Moral Instruction, etc., etc. If, in addition, she comes to the work with the prestige of wealth, superior social or other distinction, she is in great danger of posing in just the attitude so intolerable to the sensible teacher, -agentlewoman," descending upon the children of the people; an enthusiastic advocate of a reform driven like a wedge into the schoolroom; perchance a crank who brings the influence of powerful classes and distinguished families to push impracticable schemes. The right woman in the right place is now a growing need in public school administration outside the schoolroom.


RESIDENT CANFIELD is putting forth vigorous efforts for a large and eminently successful meeting of the National Educational Association next July at Minneapolis. His experience as Secretary has given him decided advantages for handling a mammoth teachers' meeting. The place is especially attractive, the people of that city and St. Paul are doing everything that can be done to ensure a larger and stronger meeting than this great association has ever had. Doubtless this combination will result in entire success.



I am so glad to see your recommendation of Edward Everett Hale's marvelous little story for reading in grammar schools. I believe it to be one of the sacred duties of a teacher to instill patriotism into the hearts and minds of her pupils.

I once had charge of a very wild and ungovernable class of pupils in a western town. That they had eyes, mouths, hands and feet, I could both see and hear. That they had such articles as hearts and sympathies, for a long time I could not discover.

We had a story hour on Friday afternoons, which grew more and more popular as the time passed by. One happy day, I read to them the story of Philip Nolan. You should have seen the faces of my young catamounts! How the muscles began to twitch, how grimy little fists went up to eyes quite unused to tears, and one poor fellow, a regular bully, too, laid his head upon his desk and sobbed. There was such a hush in that schoolroom after I had finished, as never had fallen upon it before. And from that hour I had a different school. The morn of reform had set in. A new sentiment was born in our midst that grew and blossomed, and brought forth fruit.

Of all the stories of all our American writers, none is more suited for the reading matter of boys and girls, than is "The Man Without a Country."

Yours truly,





S the annual granting of University degrees has just taken place in the main centre of our colony, your readers may like to know what our university is, and what are the chief results arrived at up to the present time.

Broadly we may say that the New Zealand University is shaped after the London University, and is purely an examining body. After a tentative act passed in 1870, a fuller act was passed in 1874, and it is under this act that the examinations for degrees are now conducted.

The first senate had necessarily to be appointed by the governor in

« PreviousContinue »