By Professor John Swett and the Author
HOW THE PIONEERS MADE EARLY PROVISION FOR A FUND THAT WOULD PROVIDE EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES ON A GENEROUS SCALE--GOVERNMENT LANDS FORMED THE BASIS FOR AN EXTENSIVE SYSTEM OF INSRUCTION, WITH LIBRARIES IN EVERY SCHOOLHOUSE--SAN FRANCISCO'S FIRST SCHOOLHOUSE AND FIRST SCHOOL TEACHER--AN OUTLINE OF THE EVOLUTION OF THE STATE'S PLAN OF INSTRUCTION--NORMAL SCHOOLS
Throughout the civilized world, wherever those that teach are interested in the great problem of education, California is known as one of the most liberal states in the Union in educational matters, and her generous system of public instruction has been the model and the wonder of many countries.
The fathers builded well, and they laid deep the foundations of the present public school system soon after the Argonauts of '49 had made the rich country of the Pacific their home. The foundation of the public school system of the country was laid in the constitutional convention at Monterey, in September, 1849.
The select committee from the state convention reported in committee of the whole, in favor of appropriating the 500,000 acres of land granted by Congress to new states for the purpose of internal improvements to constitute a perpetual school fund. At the outset there was a provision in the report that the legislature might divert the fund to other purposes, if exigencies should arise. Semple, of Sonoma, was chief debater in the defeat of that provision by a vote of 18 to strike it out to 17 against the proposition. It was by this close vote that a perpetual and inviolable fund for schools was secured. Semple, whose ideas on the subject were matured and far-reaching, argued in elaboration for a uniform system and for grade schools.
A section providing that a school must be in session at least three months every year to secure the fund, was adopted. When Article IX of the Constitution was under discussion (this relates to education) it was found on the ground that it created a large school fund, and that this fund would be a source of corruption. The article recites that "a general diffusion of knowledge is essential to the preservation of the rights and liberties of the people." Under this article free schools are created in every district, public school taxes are provided, and the sale of lands is arranged for the creation of a perpetual fund.
When the provisions of this article were assailed Semple again became the champion of the liberal provisions, and his views won. He had clear ideas on educational matters and is really the founder of the public school system.
About the close of the first session of the legislature, at San Jose, 1849-50, Mr. Corey, of the committee on education, got a postponement of school taxation, on the ground that the other taxes of the state formed a burden already.
Though the foundation for the schools of the state was thus laid early and well, San Francisco, independently of the general law, established the first school by an ordinance of her common council. On April 8, 1850, H. C. Murray drew and got passed an ordinance that authorized John C. Pelton to open a public school in the Baptist chapel of the new town of San Francisco. This was the first public school in California. The hours of teaching were from 8:30 a.m. until noon and from 2 to 5 p.m. The school age was established at from 4 to 16 years, and the membership was limited to 100 pupils.
It should be stated that before this public school was organized, Thomas Douglass opened a tuition school. This was in April, 1848. He had but six pupils and he taught in a small schoolhouse that had been built in October, 1847, by order of the town council. The school was in one sense under direction of the council. On April 1, 1848, the population of San Francisco was about one thousand and there were in the vicinity some sixty school children, or children of school age. In May the Douglass classes embraced thirty-seven pupils, but it was not long until the gold excitement cut the number to eight pupils.
During a part of the 1847 a Mr. Marston, a Mormon of considerable enterprise, opened a private school and he was so popular that he secured twenty pupils, a considerable number for those times.
In April, 1849, Reverend Albert Williams opened a private school and succeeded in getting twenty-five pupils. His school was in session until September of the same year.
On October 11, 1849, John C. Pelton and his wife arrived from Boston with books and furniture to open a school on the New England plan. They began in December, 1849, with but three pupils, but their enterprise was soon made a free public school, as before stated.
The first state school law, under the provisions of the constitution, was passed in 1851. It was cumbersome and in many ways defective, but it was a start in the right direction. David C. Broderick, afterward famous in national politics, was a member of the legislature when the school bill was under discussion. He supported the educational plan of the administration warmly and did much for the cause of the schools. The law of 1851 provided in a crude way for a survey and sale fo school lands, but in a menner so impracticable that no londs were ever sold under its provisions. There were many other defects that were remedied thereafter.
The first school ordinance passed under the measure known as the state law of 1851 was that of San Francisco, which was adopted in September, 1851. It provided for a board of education of seven members, a city superintendent of schools, and other officers, and appropriated $35,000 to carry out the educational plan. Thomas J. Nevins, father of the ordinance, was the city's first superintendent of schools. The first schools organized under this law were the Happy Valley School, of which James Denman was the first teacher, and the Powell Street School, of which Joel Tracy was the first teacher. These schools opened on December 17, 1851. Washington Grammar School was opened on December 22, 1851, with F. E. James as principal. During the year 1852 the following schools were organized: Rincon, January 28, Silas Weston, principal; Spring Valley Grammar, February 9, Asa W. Cole, principal; Union Grammar, June, Ahira Holmes, principal; Mission Grammar, May, Alfred Rix, principal.
The average daily attendance of all these schools during the year 1852 was 445, and the average attendance during 1853 was 703. It is noted that among the teachers employed during 1853 were: Ellis H. Holmes, principal of the Washington School; John Swett, principal of Rincon School; Joseph C. Morrill, principal of Spring Valley School. The salaries of principals in San Francisco during 1853 was but $1,500 a year.
The first superintendent of public instruction of the state was John G. Marvin, and his first report to the legislature was on January 5, 1852. He recommended the repeal of the defective law of 1851, asked for the sum of $50,000 for the schools and for a tax rate of five cents on the $100 for the purpose of raising a school fund. He also requested that the office of county superintendent of schools be created for each county in the state. Another highly imortant recommendation--one that has become an important part of the law--was that school libraries be established. He also desired that the proceeds of the sale of all tule lands--chiefly overflowed and once tide-water lands--be applied to school purposes. From these sources he estimated that there would be a school fund of $9,975,400.
In an appendix to his report, Mr. Marvin gave extracts from letters of inquiry addressed to him by various county officers and to postmasters. A few extracts from these will show the educational condition of the state at that time: Butte county had 50 children, but no school; Calaveras county, 100 children, and no school; Colusa, 75 children, with some prospect of a school next year; El Dorado county, 100 children, but no school; Contra Costa county had some 400 children. Postmaster Coffin, of Martinez, wrote: "There are nearly 150 here. There is but just the breath of life existing in the apology for a school in town. I presume it will be defunct ere one month passes away." Marin county had 60 children, and a mission school at San Rafael; Mariposa county, 100 children, "no school organized;" Mendocino county, 70 children, and a school of 20 pupils on Russian river; Monterey county, 500 children--two schools of 40 pupils each in the city--179 at San Juan, and no school; "morality and society in a desperate condition;" Napa county had 100 children, and three schools in the county, one of which was at Napa City, and numbered 25 scholars; Nevada county had 250, and four schools, two of which were at Nevada City, one at Grass Valley, and one at Rough and Ready; Placer county had 100 children, and one small school at Auburn; San Joaquin county had 250 children, and two schools, both at Stockton. Mr. Rogers, the teacher of a private school at Sacramento, reported that there were 400 children in that county, and no schools except two primary and one academy, a high school in the city of Sacramento, all private.
He says: "This city has never spent a cent for elementary instruction. My sympathies are with the public free schools, but in their absence I started a private school."
Santa Cruz county had 300 children. The Young Ladies' Seminary, at San Jose, in charge of the Sisters of Charity, had 90 pupils; and the San Jose Academy, Reverend E. Bannister, principal, had 60 pupils. Through the exertions of Hon. George B. Tingley, a subscription of five thousand dollars was raised for the benefit of this academy. There were two primary schools at Santa Clara, with 64 scholars, and two other schools in the township, numbering 35 scholars.
Santa Barbara county had 400 children, and one public school in the town, under supervision of the common council, who paid the two teachers together seventy dollars per month. There was also a small school at Santa Inez.
Concerning San Francisco it is reported: "In May last, the common council, under authority of the charter, authorized the raising of $35,000 as a school fund for the present year. In September, 1851, the same body passed the present excellent school ordinance, and appointed Aldermen Ross, Atwell, John Wilson, and Henry E. Lincoln, to form the board of education. These gentlemen chose T. J. Nevins sueprintendent."
Three public schools were organized at that time--Happy Valley School, No. 1, 163 scholars, James Denman, principal; District no. 2, Dupont Street School, 150 pupils, Mr. Jones, principal; Powell Street School No. 3, 60 pupils, Joel Tracy, principal.
Among the private schools the principal were as follows: San Francisco Academy, Rev. F. E. Prevaux, 31 pupils; Episcopal Parish School of Grace Church, 40 scholars, Dr. Ver Mehr; Wesleyan Chapel Select School, 33 scholars, Mr. Osborn, instructor; St. Patrick's School, 150 children, Father McGinnis, principal; Church of St. Francis School, 150 pupils, Father Langlois, principal.
Sonoma county had 5 small schools, and 250 children, Solano county, 200 children and one school, at Benicia, half public and half private; Trinity county, 125 children, and one school of 50 pupils, at Uniontown; Tuolumne county, 150 children and no school; Yolo county, 75 children and no school; Yuba county had 150 children, and one school in Marysville, of 30 scholars, taught by Tyler Thatcher and his wife.
From these rough materials Mr. Marvin estimated the number of children in the state between 4 and 18 years of age to be about 6,000. There was then no organized state school system, and most of the schools mentioned in the preceding items were private schools supported by tuition.
At the third session of the legislature, held in Vallejo and Sacramento, 1852, Hon. Frank Soule, chairman of the Senate Committee on Education, made an able report in favor of common schools, and introduced a revised school law much more complete than the law of 1851.
Hon. Paul K. Hubbs, of the senate, afterward superintendent of public instruction, State Superintendent Marvin and Mr. Pelton, assisted Mr. Soule in framing the bill.
A select committee of the assembly on the Senate bill (Mr. Boggs, chairman) reported strongly against many features of the bill; thought that parents could take care of their own children; that the senate and the counties were in debt; that taxation ought not to be increased--the standing argument of Mr. Corey--and therefore recommended that the bill be postponed one year, and yet had the unblushing impudence to wind up their report by declaring themselves faithful friends of common schools and loyal lovers of children!" Finally a committee of conference was appointed, on which appear the names of J. M. Estell, Henry A. Crabb and A. C. Peachy, who reported in favor of the bill with the sections relating to the sale of school lands stricken out, to be amended and passed as a separate bill. It was proposed by Mr. Soule and others who assisted in framing the bill, that the 500,000 acres of school lands should be located by the State Board of Education, and held until the land should sell for a reasonable price.
But there was a big land speculation in the eyes of some members of the legislature; and so the policy prevailed of disposing of these lands at $2.25 per acre, payable in depreciated state script. The total amount finally realized from the magnificent land grant was only about $600,000. It might have been made two or three millions.
The bill was passed, and a provision was inserted in the revenue law levying a state school tax of five cents on each one hundred dollars of taxable property of the state. This school law made a provision for a State Board of Education, consisting of the governor, surveyor general and superintendent of public instruction; made county assessors ex-officio county superintendents; three school commissioners in each district, elected for one year; constables to be school census marshals; the school year to end October 31st; state school fund to be apportioned to districts according to the number of census children between five and eighteen years of age; state school fund to be used exclusively for teachers' salaries, and fifty per cent of county fund for the same purpose; that no books of a denominational or sectarian character should be used in any common schools; defined the duties of county superintendents, and of the state superintendent and school commissioners; authorized the common council in incorporated towns to raise a school tax not to exceed three cents on a hundred dollars; to provide for examination of teachers; to make rules and regulations for government of schools; authorized counties to levy a school tax not exceeding three cents on a hundred dollars; provided that no school should receive any apportionment of public money, unless free from all denominational and sectarian bias, control or infuence whatever; and closed by giving permission to teachers to assemble at Sacramento, once a year, on teh call of the superintendent of public instruction, to discuss and recommend improvements in teaching. Approved May 3, 1852.
In his second annual report, Mr. Marvin stated that the number of children between four and eighteen years of age was 17,821; that by a blunder of the enrolling clerk, the section creating the office of county superintendent was omitted, and the duties were specified without creating the office, and in consequence thereof the State Board of Education had not been able to apportion the state fund, which at time amounted to $18,289, of which $14,874 was received from the five cent revenue tax; that the sales of school lands had amounted to 150,000 acres, yielding $300,000 on interest at the rate of seven per cent per annum. He recommended that the county assessors be made ex-officio county superintendents; that trustees be required to report to the state superintendent as well as to county superintendents; that the Catholic schools be allowed their pro rata of the public fund; that no necessity existed for a normal school, as the supply of teachers was greater than the demand; that the number of organized public schools was 20, the number of children attending public schools 3,314, and the total expenditure as reported, $28,000.
The report embraced twelve mission and church schools in various parts of the state, including 579 children in attendance.
The law regulating the sale of 500,000 acres of school lands, passed May 3, 1852, authorized the governor to issue land warrants of not less than 160 acres, nor more than 320 acres; the state treasurer was authorized to sell said lands at two dollars per acre, and to receive in payment controller's warrants drawn upon the general fund, or the bonds of the civil debt of the state; and to convert all moneys and all state three per cent bonds or controller's warrants so received by him into bonds of the civil funded debt of the state, bearing interest at seven per cent per annum, and to keep such bonds as a special deposit, marked "School Fund," to the credit of said school fund.
Under this provision the sales of land in 1852 amounted to 150,000 acres, yielding $300,000.
At the fourth session of the legislature, 1853, the school law was amended by the following provisions: That controller's warrants received for school lands, should draw interest at seven per cent, the same rate as civil bonds; that the state treasurer should keep a separate and distinct account of the common school fund, and of the interest and income thereof, and that no portion should be devoted to any other purpose; that county assessors should be made ex-officio county superintendents; that all county school officers should be paid compensation as allowed by county supervisors; that cities should have power to raise by tax whatever amount of money was necessary for school purposes; that counties should have power to levy a school tax not exceeding five cents on a hundred dollars; that religious and sectarian schools should receive a pro rate share of the school fund.
The provision allowing the Catholic schools a share of the school fund was as follows:
"Sec. 7. Article five of said act (1852) is hereby amended by adding after section two the following additional sections:
"Section Three. The county superintendent may and is hereby empowered in incorported cities, to appoint three school commissioners for any common school or district upon petition of the inhabitants thereof requesting the same.
"Section Four. Such schools shall be and are hereby entitled to all the rights and privileges of any other city or common school, in the pro rate division of school money raised by taxation, and shall receive its proportion of money from the state school fund in the annual distribution; provided, they are conducted in accordance with the requirements of this act."
This provision gave rise to the formation of the so-called "ward schools" of San Francisco.
Paul K. Hubbs, who had been a member of the last previous legilature, was elected as successor to John G. Marvin, and took office on the first of Janury, 1854. In his very brief annual report, January 24, 1854, he stated that the school fund, from the sale of school lands, amounted to $463,000, on which the annual interest was $32,000; that the sale of school lands had entirely ceased, and that there remained unsold 268,000 acres of the 500,000 acre grant. He dwelt on the necessity of reserving all sales of the sixteenth and thirty-sixth sections for township funds exclusively. Mr. Hubbs further recommended that the school fund be apportioned according to the average attendance on school, instead of the number of census children, and urged the establishment of a state university.
No tabular statistics whatever were published with this report.
In the fifth session of the legislature, 1854, it was provided in the Revenue Act that fifteen per cent of the state poll taxes should be paid into the school fund. A well prepared school law was introduced by Hon. D. R. Ashley, which, among other things, repealed the sections allowing sectarian schools a pro rata share of the school fund. It met with strong opposition, finally passed to engrossment, but was buried in the rubbish of unfinished business at the end of the session.
Superintendent Hubbs opened his second report with the statement, "that though the average attendance on school had incresed from 2,000 in 1853 to 5,751 in 1854, the report nevertheless exhibited the lamentable fact that the children of our state are growing up devoid oflearning to read and write." He recommended the establishment of a state industrial school; that school comissioners be elected for three years, one annually; that the office of county superintendent be abolished, as tending to unnecessary expense; that township treasurers be elected, to report to the state superintendent; argued in favor of township school funds; stated that no income had ever been derived from 'escheated estates,' though it had been estimated that millions belonged of right to that fund; and urged a state university. A crude and confused tabular statement was attached to this report.
During the sixth session of the legislature, 1855, Hon. D. R. Ashley introduced a school bill which was in substance the same as that defeated at the last previous session. After some opposition, with a few amendments it became a law, approved May 3, 1855.
This revised law enlarged the powers of school trustees; provided for the election of county superintendents, and defined their duties; and empowered the common councils of incorporated cities to raise a school tax not exceeding twenty-five cents on a hundred dollars; to collect and disburse school moneys; to establish school districts; to provide by election or by appointment for city boards of education, and city superintendents; to establish schools on petition of fifty heads of families, provided that no sectarian doctrines should be taught therein, and that such schools be under the same supervision as other schools.
It provided that no school be entitled to any share of the public fund that had not been taught by teachers duly examined and approved by legal authority, and that no sectarian books should be used, and no sectarian doctrines should be taught in any public school under penalty of forfeiting the public funds. The stringent provision settled then, and probably forever, the question of an American system of public schools in this state, free from the bitterness of sectarian strife and the intolerance of religious bigotry. The public schools are free to the children of the people, and free from the influence of church or sect.
This law of 1855 also provided that controller's warrants paid into the treasury for school lands should draw the same rate of interest as civil bonds, and that the state treasurer should indorse on such warrants, "Common School Fund," and that no portion of such securities should be sold or exchanged, except by special act of the legislature; it authorized counties to raise a school tax not exceeding ten cents on a hundred dollars, to apportion the same on the same basis as the state fund, and to appropriate the moneys so derived for building houses, purchasing libraries, or for salaries. This law contined many excellent provisions, and was a very great advance on all previous school bills. Its main features are retained in the school law of the present day.
Superintendent Hubbs renewed his recommendations for the sale of school lands, and put in a special plea for township funds; recommended that all school lands and school funds be placed under the control of the State Board of Education; asked a direct appropriation of $100,000; considered the new school law behind the age; recommended that the office of county superintendent be abolished, and that the district township system be adopted; that the school fund be apportioned according to the average daily attendance.
This report was accompanied by inaccurate statistical tables.
The last report of Superintendent Hubbs was a brief one, without any statistical table whatever--not even the number of census children in the state.
He urged all his previous recommendations concerning school lands, and township lands in particular, the establishment of a grand university, with an agricultural department, and a military school; a legislative requirement that a uniform series of elementary books be used in all the public schools; entered his protest against certain "partisan and sectional" textbooks sent him from the east; and closed by a eulogy on the English language and the Anglo-Saxon race.
Paul K. Hubbs was succeeded in office, in 1857, by Andrew J. Moulder.
Mr. Moulder's first report opened as follows:
"The number of schools has increased in four years from 53 to 367--nearly sevenfold; the number of teachers from 50 to 486, nearly tenfold; the number of children reported by census, from 11,242 to 35,722--more than threefold, whilst the semi-annual contribution by the state has dwindled from $53,511.11 to $28,342.16, or nearly one-half; and the average paid each teacher, from $955 to $58.32--that is to say, to less than one-sixteenth of the average under the first apportionment.
"I will not waste words on such an exhibit. If it be not convincing that the support derived from the state is altogether insufficient, and ought to be augmented, no appeal of mine could enforce it.
"But this I may be permitted to say, that we have no such thing as public schools, in the full acceptance of the term--that is to say, schools at which all the children of the state may be educated, free of expense. That $9.72 per month to each teacher, contributed by the state, never can maintain a public school; that the contributions by parents and guardians to keep up the schools are onerous, oftentimes unequal, and must, in time, damp their ardor in the cause of education; that our 267 schools are comparatively in their infancy, and now, above all other times, should be cherished and encouraged by the state. Lacking such fostering care and encouragement, it is to be feared they will languish and gradually lose their hold upon the popular favor. Is it not worth more than an ordinary effort to avert such a calamity?"
He recommended that the maximum rate of county school tax be increased from ten cents to twenty cents on a hundred dollars; that no warrants should be issued by trustees on the district funds, unless there was cash in the treasury to pay for them; and that all funds coming into the treasury during one school year should be used exclusively for the payment of expenses of that year; asked an appropriation of $3,000 for teachers' institutes; favored the establishment of a state industrial school; recommended that all school lands be placed under the immediate charge of the State Board of Education, with power to locate and sell at one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre; that the proceeds of the sales of the 16th and 36th sections of township lands be consolidated into one general school fund, and that a state military institute be established.
The following extract will illustrate his views on a state university:
"Ours is eminently a practical age. We want no pale and sickly scholars, profound in their knowledge of the dead or other languages and customs. We need energetic citizens, skilled in the arts of the living, and capable of instructing their less favored fellows in the pursuits that contribute to the material prosperity of our state. For what useful occupation are the graduates of most of our old colleges fit? and not of ours alone, but of the time-honored universities of England. Many of them are bright scholars, ornaments to their alma mater--they are perhaps all that the system under which they have been instructed could make them; they are learned in the antiquities of nations long since gone; they are eloquent in Latin; they may write a dissertation on the Greek particle; be masters of the rules of logic and the dogmas of ethics--all valuable acquirements, it is true; but when, after years of toil, they have received their diploma, their education for practical life has just commenced. They have still to study for a profession--are still dependent upon their parents.
"This may do for old settled communities, but it willnever answer for California. A young man of seventeen, eighteen or twenty years of age, in this state, must expect to start in life for himself. He must have some occupation that will maintain him. Longer dependence is not to be tolerated or expected.
"To fit our youth for such occupations, to end this dependence, must be the object of our university.
"I would therefore urge that such professorships only shall be established at first as will turn out practical and scientific civil engineers, mining engineers, surveyors, metallurgists, smelters, assayers, geologists or scientific prospectors, chemists, both manufacturing and agricultural; architects; builders, and last, but not least, school teachers.
"Let me call your attention, however, to the necessity of educating a class of our young men in mining engineering.
"The character of mining has undergone great changes since eighteen hundred and forty-nine and eighteen hundred and fifty. Enterprises are now conducted on an extensive scale. Tunnels of great magnitude, with labyrinthine galleries, are run into the mountains, deep shafts with far-stretching drifts are sunk, quartz works and mills are multiplying. In all these enterprises a skilful engineer would be a valuable acquisition; and as they progress in magnitude, his services would become indispensable. It is from the want of such directing intelligence that we so often hear of accidents in the mines. Our state has scarcely started in the work of internal improvements. None offers more inducements--in none will more be needed. For these we shall require civil engineers and surveyors, and all such will, in a few years, find employment."
The statistical tables accompanying the report were very brief, embracing only the number of census children and the average daily attendance.
The legislatures of 1856 and 1857 did not trouble themselves about the school law, and no amendments worth mentioning were made.
The legislature of 1858 made an advance in school legislation by providing that school districts, by a vote of the people, could levy a district tax for the support of schools or for building schoolhouses under the restrictions that the district must have maintained a school four months; that the public money must be insufficient to defray one-half the expense of another term; that a tax for supporting a school and for building a schoolhouse could not both be levied the same year, and that the trustees considered the tax advisable. This law was not well drawn, and great difficulty was experienced in collecting the taxes voted under it, the heavy taxpayers who chose to resist it generally escaping without payment. As a necessary result, comparatively few taxes were voted under it, and not till 1863 was a liberal and effective law passed whose provisions were as binding as those regulating the collection of state or county taxes.
The legislature of 1856 passed a concurrent resolution instructing their representatives in Congress to use their influence to secure the surveys of the 16th and 36th sections of township school lands, and also to secure a law authorizing townships in the mineral districts to locate two sections in lieu thereof on the agricultural lands of the state.
The legislature of 1858 passed a similar concurrent resolution.
A law was passed providing for the sale of the remainder of the 500,000 acre grant, and the 72 sections for a state university, which provided that the governor should appoint a land locating agent in each land district of the state, who should locate in tracts not exceeding 320 acres; that purchasers should pay $1.25 per acre or, if they preferred, twenty per cent down, and interest on the remainder at ten per cent per annum, in advance; that said agents should also locate lands in lieu of occupied 16th and 36th sections, at the request of the county supervisors; that the State Board of Examiners, whenever it should appear that more than $10,000 had been received by the state treasurer as purchase money for such lands, should purchase bonds of the civil funded debt of the state after advertising, at their lowest values; that such bonds should be marked "School Fund," and held in custody of the state treasurer; that at the expiration of one year the State Board of Examiners should take and use $57,600 of any money belonging to the school fund and purchase bonds, which should be marked "Seminary Fund," and that all interest on said fund should also be invested in bonds.
An act was also passed repealing that of 1855, and providing for the sale of the 16th and 36th sections of township lands by the boards of superviros.
This was one of the longest and ablest of Mr. Moulder's reports. He opened with the state that the schools of California were not creditable to the state, and showed the necessity of an immediate appropriation by the state of $100,000. Concerning this, he goes on to say:
"A classification and analysis of the reports of full 2,000 school officers of this department show that there are 40,530 children in the state between 4 and 18 years of age; that the whole number attending school during the 1858 was 19,822, and that the daily average attendance was but 11,183. It follows that 20,708 children have not been inside of a public schoolhouse, and that 29,347 have, in effect, received no instruction during that year.
"If this state of things is 'very good for California,' and we do not take instant and effective means to remedy it, these 29,347 neglected children will grow p into 29,347 benighted men and women; a number nearly sufficient at ordinary times, to control the vote of the state, in consequence, to shape its legislation and its destiny!
"Damning as the record is, it is yet lamentably true that during the last five years the state of California has paid $754,193.80 for the support of criminals, and but $284,183.69 for the education of the young!
"In other words, she has paid nearly three times as much for the support of an average of four hundred criminals as for the training and culture of thirty thousand children.
"To make the point more forcible, the figures show that she has expended $1,885 on every criminal and $9 on every child!"
He recommended that districts should be required to maintain a school six months instead of three, to entitle them to apportionment; that the authority of examining teachers should be transferred from trustees to a county board; that the maximum county tax should be raised to twenty cents on a hundred dollars; that county treasurers should not be allowed a percentage for disbursing state school moneys; that county superintendents, marshals, and trustees should be paid out of the county general fund; and that negroes, Mongolians, and Indians should not be allowed to attend the schools for white children, under penalty of the forfeiture of the public school money by districts admitting such children into school.
He reported that he had prepared a volume of "Commentaries on the School Law," containing suggestions on school architecture and extracts from the best authors on education. He argued at length the policy of consolidating the proceeds of the sales of the 16th and 36th sections into a state fund.
This report closed by urging a military institute, and attached to the tabular statements, which were better arranged than those of any preceding report, were the reports of county superintendents.
In this report Mr. Moulder renewed several of the recommendations of his previous report; recommended the establishment of a state normal school; the organization of state and county boards for examining teachers; the increase of the maximum county school tax to twenty-five cents on a hundred dollars, an appropriation for paying the expenses of state institutes, an appropriation for traveling expenses to enable the state superintendent to deliver lectures and visit schools throughout the state; that the township school funds should be consolidated into one common fund, which question he argued conclusively, supporting hs position by letters from land commissioners at Washington, and from various state superintendents, and concluded by an elaborate argument in favor of a military institute to be established at Monterey.
Several important amendments were made to the school law by the legislature of 1860. Themaximum rate of county school tax was raised from ten cents to twenty-five cents on a hundred dollars; the state superintendent was authorized to hold a State Teachers' Institute annually, and an appropriation of $3,000 was made for payment of expenses; the state superintendent was authorized to appoint a State Board of Examination, with power to grant state teacher's certificates, valid for two years, and the school funds of any one year were required to be used exclusively for that year; county superintendents were authorized to appoint County Boards of Examination, consisting exclusively of teachers, with power to grant teacher's certificates, valid for one year; the State Board of Education was authorized to adopt a state series of text-books, and to compel their adoption, under penalty of forfeiting the public school moneys, to go into effect in November, 1861; and an appropriation of $30,000 made for building a state reform school at Marysville. This report opened as follows:
"It is apparent from an inspection of these statistics, that the amount contributed by the state to the cause of education is wretchedly insufficient. It is a pittance almost beneath contempt. It amounts to about one dollar and forty cents per annum for the education of each schoolable child in the state.
"With all the aid derived from local taxes, rate bills, and private subscription, it pays only an average of sixty-six dollars and seventy-two cents per month to each teacher in the state. A first-class bootblack obtains almost as much.
"I am almost disposed to believe that no teacher at all is better than an ignorant or unlettered one; but how can we expect to secure the services of highly educated and accomplished teachers for the pittance of sixty-six dollars and seventy-two cents per month?"
He further urged a state normal school, and a direct state appropriation for common schools; again urged in favor of consolidating township funds, and closed by stating that he had already exhausted argument in favor of a military institute.
Early in the session of 1861, Hon. John Connes introduced a bill in the house, which was passed, providing for the sale of the sixteenth and thirty-sixth sections of school lands, and that the proceeds should be paid into the state school fund. Thus, after many years of impracticable legislation, in which each successive legislature tinkered on a township land bill, a plain and practicable law was passed, under the provisions of whcih, in less than a year, nearly 200,000 acres were sold, and the proceeds applied to the state school fund.
In his eleventh annual report State Superintendent Moulder asked for five thousand dollars for a state normal school; reported that the state institute had been successful; asked the legislature to make provision for school libraries, and prophesied hopefully regarding the development of the school system.
The legislature of 1862 passed an act establishing a state normal school in San Francisco and appropriated three thousand dollars therefor.
In his twelfth annual report Mr. Moulder dealt with questions pertaining to school funds. During the legislation of that year the senate committee on education referred the subject of revising and codifying the school laws to Superintendent of Public Instruction John Swett. Many useful provisions were incorporated in the act, particularly with refeence to the assessment and collection of taxes for building purposes and for the support of free schools.
During 1864, still further supplementary and amendatory bills for strengthening the public school system were passed. In the report of the state superintendent following this legislation the position was taken that liberality in educating the people is the true economy of states.
During the work of 1866 and 1867 a large fund was raised and substantial progress was made in developing the schools. The superintendent said in his second biennial report: "I am glad that in this, my last official report, I can say that a system of free schools, supported by taxation, is an accomplished fact." During the two years named the school law was again revised and improved. The school library system provided by the law of 1866 was soon in successful operation and has been a leading feature of the educational system of California ever since.
During the period from 1868 to 1872 considerable progress was made in unifying the system and the first provision for uniform text books was so amended as to compel San Francisco and other cities, as well as the country districts, to use the state series of text books that had been arranged under the earlier laws.
From 1872 to 1876 the chief efforts of the department were toward enforcing the laws already in existence and securing a better class of teachers than the state had been able to secure.
After 1876 the progress of the school system was toward uniformity, thoroughness and a high grade of teaching. Views of the state's liberality had by that time spread throughout the world and there was a large influx of competent teachers. From that time forward until today it has been the effort of all state superintendents of instruction and leading educators to produce results worthy of the state's liberal expenditure and far-reaching provisions. In addition to the regular schools much encouragement has been given to the subject of caring for the feeble-minded, deaf, dumb and blind. Few states in the Union have been more generous and thorough in these directions. As will be shown hereafter, the educational leaders have consistently bent their energies toward embracing all classes of citizenship and enforcing compulsory attendance of children of school age.
As will appear hereafter, one of rhe chief concerns of the state's educational authorities has been to develop a high class of teachers. To this end, as will be shown in detail later, a number of normal schools have been established and are flourishing throughout California. Every effort has been made to train native teachers to the highest possible point of efficiency.
A study of educational matters in the state shows that progress has been marked during the last few years. Superintendent Kirk says there has been marked progress in material equipment and fuller conception of the aims and possibilities of the public school system. All over the state many scores of new buildings have been erected and thoroughly equipped for school work. The friends of the public school system have never been more numerous than they are to-day.
With the advanced and advancing ideas and demands of the times for more skill and better training there is a greater desire for high schools of strong character, for they are needed as a link between the grammar schools and the university. There is no doubt that the state will soon recognize high schools as part of its educational system and that they will be better and more numerous than ever before.
California has done great things in many special lines of education. The school for the deaf and blind, at Berkeley, has pursued its beneficient work successfully for many years.
The state has done much in the way of establishing and maintaining normal schools for the training of teachers. Though there are schools of this character at Los Angeles and San Diego, as well as in the northern part of the state, this work deals only with the north. The following brief history of the State Normal School at Chico is by President C. C. Van Liew, president of the school.
"The California State Normal School at Chico was established by an act of the legislature in 1887. Before the location was decided upon, a committee was sent north to visit the various places competing for the school. Marysville, Red Bluff, and Chico were regarded as the three most desirable spots for its location. Chico seemed to be most centrally located and to possess the most attractive and healthful surroundings. These advantages, combined with the gifts of its citizens, secured the location of the school at Chico.
"General John Bidwell gave the state eight acres of his best land, immediately adjoining the city of Chico, for the site, and the citizens gave $10,000 to be applied toward the building fund.
"The first board of trustees was composed of Governor R. W. Waterman, Superintendent of Public Instruction Ira G. Hoitt, John Bidwell, F. C. Lusk (president), T. P. Hendricks, A. H. Crew, and L. H. McIntosh. As soon as possible after the organization of the board, work was begun on the building. Though not completed, work was sufficiently advanced by September, 1889, to permit the opening of the school. The board had selected as president of the school E. T. Pierce, at that time superintendent of schools at Pasadena, California. Other members of the first faculty were M. L. Seymour, professor of natural sciences; Carlton M. Ritter, professor of mathematics; Emily Rice, preceptress and instructor in English; and E. A. Garlichs, instructor in music.
"At the opening of the school there were eighty students. The course at that time required but three years. Only two classes were formed, one beginning the work at the junior year and the other beginning the work of the second or middle year. At the end of the first year one hundred and ten students had been enrolled.
"The second year the faculty was increased to nine members, and courses in drawing, physical geography, and history were added. A training school was also established, for a time under the supervision of Washington Wilson. The legislature of 1889 appropriated $25,000 to finish the building (making a total, both by subscription and appropriation, of $130,000 for the original construction and equipment), and a liberal sum was allowed to equip the library, science department, and museum.
"During the thirteen years of its activity the faculty of this Normal School has increased from five to twenty-one. At present (June, 1902), the work is organized in eight different departments, as follows: (1) Psychology, Pedogogy, and Education, including Kindergarten; (2) English; (3) Mathematics; (4) Physical Science; (5) Biological Science; (6) History and Political Science; (7) Art and Handicraft; (8) Music.
"The total enrollment for each year since the opening is:
|1889-90. . . .110||1893-04. . . .218||1896-97. . . .160||1899-00. . . .377|
|1890-91. . . .137||1894-95. . . .232||1897-98. . . .255||1900-01. . . .344|
|1891-92. . . .175||1895-96. . . .216||1898-99. . . .327||1901-02. . . .369|
|1892-93. . . .196|
"The number of graduates to July, 1902, is 457.
"During the past three years (1899-1902) the Training School has had an attendance of from 250 to 275. Four years ago a kindergarten was established in connection with the institution. Eight students have elected this course in addition to the regular normal course, and two have received kindergarten diplomas. The work of this department has steadily increased in popularity, and it is regarded not only as a department by itself, but also as an organic factor in the life of the whole school.
"The institution has had four presidents: Edward T. Pierce, four years; Robert F. Pennell, four years; Carlton M. Ritter, two years; and Charles C. Van Liew, who has just completed his third year.
"The museum of this school is of unusual interest and merit. Most of its specimens have been prepared by students; many others have been donated. Under the supervision of Professor M. L. Seymour, who was for twelve years connected with the school, it reached a development and excellency rarely found in an institution of this size.
"The grounds belonging to the institution are among the most attractive properties of the state. They contain a large athletic campus, and tennis and basket-ball courts.
"While the work at present requires considerable attention to the geneal academic equipment of its students, they are yet from the first brought to feel that all work is in the direction of the profession of a teacher. As will be seen from the catalogue of 1902, the instruction in general culture lines is shaped with a view to the needs of the teacher, who stands in the position not only of the trainer of childhood and youth, but also of an interpreter of life's best. It makes more and more in the direction of professional training, which culminates finally in the practice work of the Training School. From the beginning and throughout the course the effort is made to eliminate all candidates for future graduation who give no promise of a fair natural fitness for the function of the teacher."
In 1857, just eighteen years after the first normal school in the United States was founded (at Lexington, Massachusetts, in 1839), the city of San Francisco established a normal school. It was called the Minns Evening School and its sessions were held weekly. All teachers in San Francisco were required to attend. George W. Minns was principal and John Swett, Ellis H. Holmes and Thomas S. Myrick were assistants. The school continued until 1862 and turned out fifty-four alumni, all of whom were women.
From 1853 until 1857 the only approach to a normal school was in the form of a monthly meeting of principals for the discussion of school problems. After 1862 there were monthly teachers' meetings, under the direction of the San Francisco Board of Education, but these died out in 1869, but in 1872 the board of education established another evening normal school. This lived for two years.
State Superintendent Moulder recommended a state normal in his report of 1859 and again in 1860, but the truth is legislators did not know much about the subject, so they paid little attention to the recommendation. President Morris E. Dailey, of the San Jose Normal School, thus gives the history of that institution, and incidentally of the growth of normal schools in general:
"In May, 1861, at the first State Teachers' Institute, at the suggestion of State Superintendent Moulder, a committee of three reported in favor of a state normal school and asked the legislature to appropriate $5,000 for such a school. the legislature in May, 1862, established the school and appropriated $3,000 for five months' support. The State Board of Education and the city superintendents of schools in San Francisco, Sacramento, and Marysville were made, by the enacting measure of the legislature, an ex-officio board of trustees. The members of this board were Governor Leland Stanford, Surveyor-General J. F. Houghton, State Superintendent A. J. Moulder, City Superintendent George Tait of San Francisco, City Superintendent G. Taylor of Sacramento, and City Superintendent Fowler of Marysville.
"The school was opened Monday, July 21, 1862, in a room on the ground floor of the high school building on Powell street. Six pupils were present. Ahira Holmes, of San Francisco, was principal. From the first, a great amount of care was taken to keep the school in close touch with the entire state. The school was limited in attendance to sixty, though it was provided that each county could have at least one student. The opening of the school was advertised in San Francisco, Sacramento, and Marysville papers. Those who would not certify to an intention to engage to teach permanently in the common schools of the state were charged a tuition of $5 per month.
"At the end of the first term thirty-one students were registered. Of these a number were deficient in the common branches and had been admitted on probation. Another source of difficulty was irregular attendance. A model class, the germ of our present training department, was organized October 31, 1862. At the end of the first year, in May, 1863, a class of four, all young ladies, graduated. These were Bertha Comstock, P. Augusta Fink, Nellie Hart, and Louisa A. Mails. Three of the class engaged in teaching. The fourth, Miss Mails, died soon after graduation.
"Of the Faculty of the school, the principal, Ahira Holmes, taught 'all the solid branches'; G. W. Minns taught natural philosophy. Besides these there were special teachers: Professor Elliott, teacher of music; Professor Burgess, of drawing; and M. Parot, of calisthenics. Dr. Henry Gibbons gave, without charge, lectures on botany. There was an examining committee, consisting of S. I. C. Swezey, John Swett, and Superintendent George Tait. This committee conducted a final oral examination previous to graduation. The students belonging to the first, or highest, division were required to conduct exercises before the committee in the model school.
"Such were the beginnings of the State Normal School at San Jose. The early period of the normal school, running up to the time when the school was removed to San Jose, was a formative period. There were many changes in the principalship. Ahira Holmes was succeeded by George W. Minns. The latter held the place but a short time, as he took a leave of absence at the end of his first year of service. While absent, Mr. H. P. Carlton acted as principal. Principal Minns having resigned in 1867, Mr. George Tait succeeded him. Mr. Tait, however, did not serve the year out, but resigned in February, 1868, Mr. Carlton being elected principal of the school. He served until he was succeeded by Professor Charles H. Allen, in August, 1873.
"The second period, the period of growth and expansion, commences with the principalship of Charles H. Allen. He straightway began to gather about him a strong corps of teachers, men and women of strong personality and in thorough sympathy with normal school work. Among those who, during this second period, devoted the best part of their lives to the training of teachers for the California schools were: Mary J. Titus, Cornelia Walker, Lucy M. Washburn, J. H. Braly, Helen S. Wright, Ira More, Mary Wilson (now Mrs. Mary W. George), Mary E. B. Norton, Lizzie P. Sargent, C. W. Childs, George R. Lkeeberger, A. H. Randall, and, standing next to the principal himself, who worked as a veritable steam engine, the magnetic Henry B. Norton.
"The Normal School opened at San Jose with as many students as it had in San Francisco, and with a two years' course.
"In 1873-74, with Charles H. Allen as principal, the faculty consisted of J. H. Braly, vice-principal; Miss E. W. Houghton, preceptress; Miss Lucy Washburn; Miss M. J. Titus, principal of the Training School. Miss Carnelia Walker was elected in November, 1873.
"Changes took place rapidly. Regular practice work for students was begun in the Training School. Rooms were fitted up for the museum. Students from other states and territories were the following year received without tuition. The new building, beging ample in size, competitive examinations for entrance given by county boards were abolished.
"In 1874-75 there were at one time three hundred students in the normal classes. The Training School was made a tuition school, and soon became self-sustaining.
"In 1876-77 the course was extended to three years. Students who successfully completed the second or middle year were granted an elementary diploma (second grade certificate). This diploma was abolished in 1880.
"In 1876-77 the legislature increased the appropriation to meet the running expenses of the school to $24,000 annually.
"On the morning of February 10, 1880, the beautiful building took fire from a defective ash chute, and burned to the ground. A large part of the library and a portion of the furniture were saved. Books of reference, the museum and herbarium, and furniture, valued together at $18,000 were lost. The total loss to the state was estimated at $304,000. Through the courtesy of San Jose citizens, the school at once took up temporary quarters in the San Jose high school building (now the Horace Mann Grammar School) on Santa Clara street. In a short time the present substantial brick building was erected by the state on the site of the burned building, at a cost of $149,000. In 1891-92 a well-equipped building, at a cost of $47,500, was erected for the accommodation of the Training School.
"In 1888 important modifications were made in the course of study. The school year was divided into three terms instead of two. The courses were made uniform in the normal schools throughout California. A graduate course of one year was also introduced, but as the student received no substantial credential on its completion it did not develop.
"In 1887 a room was fitted up for manual training, and the instruction given by the regular teachers. In 1888 a regular teacher was employed. The work was at first elective, but later it was required, and has so continued down to 1901.
"C. W. Childs, who succeeded Charles H. Allen as principal in 1889, was succeeded by A. H. Randall in 1896. Professor Randall remained at the head of the school for three years, and in 1899 was succeeded by James McNaughton, who, after an administration of one year, was succeeded by Morris Elmer Dailey, the present head of the school.
"The demand for a higher standard of scholarship among teachers was met in the year 1901 by placing admission to the San Jose State Normal School upon a university basis. In September, 1901, none but high school graduates and teachers were admitted. At that time the course of study was made largely professional, and two years' practice training and observation work were required.
"Since the organization of this Normal School 3,219 students have been graduated. More than 1,200 of these are now teaching in the public schools of California."
The State Normal School at San Francisco was established by act of the legislature on March 22, 1899. Its work has gone on without interruption ever since, and there are those who say that its efficiency is as great as that of any school in the United States. It has been the aim of the founders and instructors to do good work, and much attention is given to the personability of those it selects as teachers who are to go forth with its credentials. President Frederick Burk thus outlines the purposes and methods of this institution.
"The faculty determined, in the first place, that the school should give no courses in general scholarship, to do which is already the function of the public school system, but should direct its energy exclusively into the channels of technical preparation for teaching. A normal school is a technical school, ranking in character with schools of medicine, engineering, law, and trade-learning. The public school system is expected to provide pupils with that kind of general knowledge, culture and training which concerns life common to all people, whatever their occupation may be. The technical school obtains students after this general education and training are accomplished, and its only concern should be to determine the stage of academic instruction at which students may be recruited into its special service; or, in short, to set a standard of academic knowledge requisite for admission.
"The San Francisco Normal School is located in the midst of a large number of the best high schools in the United States, and therefore the requirements for admission were made identical with those for admission to the State University. These requirements demand graduation from an accredited school with a special recommendation from the high school principal. Thus the San Francisco Normal School stands for a sharp distinction between general or academic scholarship and the technical or professional training special to teachers. No course whatever are given in purely academic studies, and the school centers its energies exclusively upon professional training, in which term are included studies in the grouping and adaptation of the mateiral of the various subjects to the special uses of the class-room."