Page images
PDF
EPUB

cer

pupil. It certainly would not be fair to rate a pupil that has been improving steadily through the year on his average. He ought to have credit for his improvement. On the other hand, a lazy pupil that studied well the first term has been degenerating during the year until he ought not to be promoted, still his average might not debar bim from promotion.

Dr. Alston Ellis:-Do not forget, in making the promotion of pupils, that the object you ought to keep in view is the ultimate good of the pupil. The main thing to decide is just this simple question: Is it to the best interest of that individual boy to go on to higher work? The ultimate good of the pupil should be placed above all other considerations. Let us do our duty to the individual child, without considering whether he will add to the average of the class or whether he will pull down that average. All of these methods can be used for the benefit of the scholars if the board of education will just keep their cast iron rules away.

L. W. SHEPPARD:-We will say that the standing of the pupil at the examination in September is 50, and in June it is 90. The average is 70. He has been gaining month by month, until at the end of the year his standing is 90. Is his standing the same as the one that has been 70 all through the year? One has a higher scholarship than the other, though both have the same average. One is more entitled to promotion than the other. Another point is that of making the final test come at the close of the school year when the weather is so hot. It is unjust. It is unreasonable to make it the test that determines the pupil's standing. I believe that each term or month should mark a tain amount of progress, and that this ought to be averaged up at the close of the year. We ought to have a very good idea at the beginning of the month of June who will be promoted and who will not. The promotion ought to be based on examinations through the whole of the year.

ABRAM BROWN :-I think the committee did well in putting this subject on the program, for we bave found that we are making considerable progress, and progress in the right direction. I want to ask Mr. Day to tell us exactly his method of promoting pupils from the A grammar grade to the high school, and from the B grammar grade to the A.

L. W. DAY:-Before the close of the term, before any examinations whatever are submitted, the proper blanks are given to each teacher, and upon these blanks the teachers enter the name of each pupil and their estimates of the pupils' ability in the subjects they have been studying during the year. The pupil is held up by the teacher, and considered as to his work, his ability to comprehend and to do, and she says in her mind 75, 80, 95, will indicate what the child can do in Arithmetic, or Geography, or Grammar. This is entered opposite the name and the examination is submitted. The result is carefully taken and an average is made of this and the teacher's estimate. The teacher bands in this report and a certain grade is fixed as the standard of promotion. The same is done all through the different grades.

Dr. Ellis :- If you can have any control over the appointment of your teachers, try to get those who can mark their own examination papers.

We are just advertising ourselves broadcast as a body of teachers that are not honest. I do not believe in employing any teacher who cannot be trusted to mark her own examination papers.

J. F. LUKENS :-In the good old days, in Ohio, when the examination of teachers first began, I used to go to every examination held in our county. It was the only means of educational training that I had outside of the country schools. I am in favor of examinations as a means of growth. I find that pupils who have been accustomed to examinations are able to express themselves much more clearly and definitely than those who have not. I limit my examinations to one bour, and then mark the papers. I am in favor of examinations as an educational force, without any relerence to the basing of promotions on them.

THE BUCKEYE CENTENNIAL.

BY DR. J. J. BURNS.

It is within the bounds of the strictest veracity that I speak, when I here declare that never in connection with my experience as an occasional writer of addresses, have I had a task which so put me out of heart by its utter and sublime impossibility as the one now staring me in the face.

It is the 22nd day of June; the thermometer, in this piping time of commencements and examinations, is imitating the general example and trying to “get 100 ;'' perspiring thoughts of the probable atmospheric conditions in the Association gathering place at Sandusky next Tuesday evening occur to my mind, and the sterner fact will not down that not a line, except the very few which precede this, has been written by me in response to the cordial invitation of the Executive Committee extended months ago, that I should write a paper upon the Buckeye Centennial and read it to that body of men and women, a fellowship with whom has been my joy and pride for, lo! these many years, the Ohio Teachers' Association.

The causes of this want of preparation at this startlingly late day I will not recite here, even to make my peace with those whose good opinion I value most highly, further than to admit that I am human, and that my writing humor is human likewise.

But even if I had done this business months ago, when the dearest spot on earth to me was close by the anthracite stove, instead of beginning it now between two open windows, sitting, as Sir Boyle Roche might say, with a palmleaf fan in each hand and a pen in the other one, it is my deliberate judgment that I should not have attempted to perpetrate a history of Ohio for this occasion. I am no historian, as my friend who is immediately to follow me is, and that they knew full well who gave me public leave to speak to you. I can not stir men's blood, and the committee mercifully declared that they didn't want it stirred ; and I may draw from the same poet another phrase and confess that I shall tell you that "-whenever it happens to be a fact—" which you yourselves do know."

No nicely laid scheme opens out before me as to what this paper shall be, but my hope is that things will take some definable shape as I proceed. At least I may be able to break the ice, and others will step in and do the excellent things which wait to be done.

Viewing this subject from the stand-point of a schoolmaster, s reflect upon the propriety of using this Centennial year for the benefit of the schools. It is a surpassingly favorable time for the study of American history. Facts which at other times might be passed by as void of interest, principles which seemed to have their bearing altogether in the past, or in states of society which now do not exist, take on a new life and color when we find they have a connection with the year we celebrate.

The present is a surpassingly favorable time, here in the Northwest Territory, for a revival of patriotism, a stimulation of Americanism; and the development of this sentiment is the supreme demand of the hour. Shall I define my meaning? I call him an American, who knows the story of the building of this Republic; who feels in his inmost soul that the principles upon which our government rests are righteous, and is possessed by an earnest desire for their perpetuation ; who sympathizes with the founders of the American Union, whether their work was on the field or in the halls of legislation, and whose every drop of blood proclaims that these are his political ancestors; who attests the sincerity of his love for his country, not necessarily by fervid proclamations thereof, but by a faithful performance of the duties of citizenship, obedience to law, whose voice is the harmony of the world ; an honest payment of his share of governmental expenses in the way of those very certain (or uncertain) and unemotional things called taxes; an example before his fellow men which will contribute to sound morality, to right thinking upon political questions, to the allaying of passion and prejudice, to truthful speaking of political opponents, to the meting out of impartial justice.

The man whose life does not foster these sentiments, the man who does not do these things, is a bad citizen. He is not an American, though his ancestors *tramped the snow to coral” at Valley Forge.

The matchless Portia stated in exquisite language the truth that it is easier to know our duty than to do it.

It is easier to learn the characteristics of good citizenship, than to be a good citizen. It is easier to inform the mind of a youth, than to determine him to virtuous conduct. It is easier to prepare a boy for an examination upon the career of Washington, than it is to plant within his soul any real appreciation of that great man's character, or, harder still, to bring it about that the youth on his humbler plane of life will follow his sublime example.

But rational emotion is based upon facts, and intelligent patriotism should grow from the fertile soil of a knowledge of history, and the present year is a most happy time for Ohio boys and girls to make large and valuable acquirements in a knowledge of the history of their own State. It should not be a parrowing exercise simply because it immediately concerns but one Commonwealth out of thirty-eight. Read properly, the story of Ohio is the story of the Nation. The little boat which floated down the Ohio and landed at the mouth of the blue Muskingum one round century ago, was well named the Mayflower, for Ohio was the Masaachusetts of the second period of our national life. If I only knew the name of John Smith's bark, a period could be turned here about the likeness of Ohio to "old Virginia,” especially in the modest unselfishness with which each has offered her sons upon the presidential altar, the number of persons each has furnished who would rather be right and be president.

If you will pardon me, although I promised to write no history, I will enlist a number of topics, or headlines of chapters in a not-to-be written book, the following out and filling in to be done by each teacher according to his tastes and opportunities. And that class is not to be pitied for its lack of a suitable text-book upon Ohio history if its teacher is alive with interest in the subject, and uses the sources of information at his command. True he will occasionally fall into error, but therein he but follows the example of the historian proper, who, although he constantly aims at the truth is sometimes a

poor shot.

But the list against which you make no forcible protest I give, with, I hope, but little comment; “I hope," I say, because my humor, though it needed urging when first bridled an hour or so ago, has now the bit between his teeth and I am holding to the mane.

1. Early explorations in the Ohio Valley made by the French-the first lifting of the veil which shut this promised land of the Buckeyes and Buckeyesses from the eyes of civilized man.

2. The manner of the settling of the long dispute for possession between France and England and its effect upop the future United States, and notably its effect upon this cluster of Northwest States. I call but one witness, and he furnishes an admirable line for our history teacher and class to trace in its full meaning. It is this statement of the historian Green's :-"With the triumph of Wolfe on the heights of Abraham began the history of the United States of America.” This, then, is one of those “great moments of history" like the first discovery of America, the Declaration of Independence, the signing of the Constitution, the passage of the Ordinance, which “it is better to enter with intense sympathy, than to stretch a thin attention through its weary centuries."

3. The campaigns of that bold soldier, Geo. Rodgers Clark, and their connection with the title to this Buckeye land.

4. The cessions by the older states to the United States of their claims to lands lying west of the Ohio, and the dignified and patriotic action of all parties in relation thereto.

5. The celebrated Ordinance—the body that passed it, the men who prepared it, the occasion that hastened it, the settlements that followed it, and notably the settlement which we look upon as our Plymouth, which narrowly escaped the name of Adelphia but is known and loved by all genuine Buckeyes as Marietta.

6. The Indians—their wars and battle-fields; the forts along our western border; the treaties with the Iudians and the following out upon the map of the Greenville treaty line; and, finally, the shaking of the last original Buckeyes from their aboriginal tree and their removal toward the setting sun.

7. The State--her organization ; her constitution ; the modest way in which she admitted herself into the Union, fore-tokening thus early what was to be the characterizing truit of her citizens ; her boundaries upon the east, and west and north, connected with which is some interesting history ; her capitals; the progress of settlement; her eminent men, “guide-posts," said Burke, " and land-marks of the State ;” American history as reflected in her county names, first the Federalists, Washington and Hamilton, were so honored, soon politics took a turn and Jefferson is added to the list, Mad Anthony” crushed the Indians, and Wayne came into being; and later, like so many memorial tablets in the temple of Fame, were placed upon the map of the State, Knox and Butler, and Montgomery and Carroll, and Mercer and Trumbull, and Stark and Madison and Monroe, and others of equal claims to honor ; Put-in-Bay and its martial glories, for the “drum and trumpet" side of history has rare attractions for the young; the presence within our borders for twenty years of that mathematical and solitary guest, the “center of population," with a look eastward to its starting point and a conjecture as to its future travels.

This was the list of topics which in my own work I tried to follow. No doubt a better selection could be made. Each one's own would be better for him, but the carrying out is the thing with which to catch the conscience and the attention of the growing Buckeyes.

We might properly devote a few minutes to the statement of the way in which Ohio is celebrating her humble birth and Centennial glories. I doubt wheiher there is a school in the State where, this year, teacher and pupils have not added something to the ordinary course” of work upon Ohio, geographically and historically ; and in the minds of thousands of persons who could not, il year ago, have told you when or where Ohio was founded, the seventh of April now ranks as our second Fourth of July.

The grand gathering at Marietta of citizens of Ohio and eminent visitors from other states was a great event; great in numbers, great in eloquent addresses, great in enthusiasm over the natal day of the Commonwealth.

This is the way the reporter ushered it in : “Centennial Day dawned for Marietta as brightly as a bride could pray for her nuptial morn. Brill. iant decorations of all kinds helped the joyous ensemble.” Evidently it was a happy time, for even the “ ensemble” was joyous.

Senator Hoar's and the Hon. J. Randolph Tucker's orations were worthy of the time and the place. The Senator's opening sentence was exceedingly graceful : “There are doubtless many persons in this audience who have gathered here as to their father's house ; they salute their mother on her birthday with the prayer and the confident hope that the life which now completes its first century may be immortal as liberty.”

Again, he said: “The states which compose what was once the Northwest Territory may properly look upon this as their birthday rather than that on which they were admitted into the Union. The company who came to Marietta with Rufus Putna!, April 7, 1788, came to found, not one state, but five, whose institutions they demanded should be settled before they started, by an irrevocable compact.”

“If there be in the Universe a power which ordains the course of history we can not fail to see in the settlement of Ohio an occasion when the human will was working in harmony with its own. The events move forward to a dramatic completeness."

*

*

*

*

“God uncovered the land

That he hid of old time in the West,
As the sculptor uncovers the statue

When he has wrought his best."

« PreviousContinue »