DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION
January 5, 1911.
Sir: I have the honor to submit herewith the report of this department for the biennium ending January 5, 1911. Permit me to ask your careful consideration of the questions discussed herein, making such recommendations to the Legislature as your judgment deems wise.
During the biennium just closing,
public school education in Nebraska has continued to develop along
the lines of activity already inaugurated and has moved on in the
particular phases which are in keeping with the progressive
tendencies of the time. I shall here speak briefly of these interests
and activities. They are discussed more at length in the body of the
In organization and efficiency the rural schools of Nebraska rank high In comparison with those of other sections of the country. Our people are awake to the importance of the rural school as a factor in the intellectual, moral, civic and industrial development of the state. These most favorable conditions offer at once inspiration and encouragement for better things. With us, it is not a question of, Shall we have the best there is? but a question of, How shall we get it? Through what organization of our school system; through what means of adaptation; through what activities, and through what means of support, shall the best there is in education be brought to the rural communities of Nebraska?
Organization. -- The organization of rural schools under the lows of Nebraska gives us what is known as the independent school district. The people of the district vote the tax levy and direct in a general way the affairs of the district; but the carrying out of the will of the people is left to a school district board of three members, who are given extraordinary authority and responsibility in conducting the affairs of the district. The selection of the teacher, the salary paid the teacher, courses of study, textbooks, the school library, the care of school grounds and buildings, and other Important matters are in the hands of the school district board. Where the board is made up of Individuals with business ability and right educational ideals, if the patrons of the district provide the necessary funds, the result is an excellent school, which often is not secured when a progressive community is held back by a larger unit of organization, which unit
may be dominated by a majority which does not have a full appreciation of the needs of a rural school and the importance of providing for its needs. This system of organization under the laws of Nebraska has given us a great number of rural schools over the state which are leaders in the establishment and maintenance of well equipped and well conducted rural schools.
On the other hand, this organization of independent school districts submits a minority of progressive people in the school district to the adverse conditions which may be voted upon them by a non-progressive majority. In such, a better school would be provided under the township system or a larger unit which would compel the smaller community which lacks a proper interest in the education of its own children to provide the proper facilities for their education. The consolidation of school districts is solving this problem. It is needed to bring relief to many communities.
Adaptation --The adaptation of the school to the community is one of the fundamental principles on which the best results in education depend. The effective organization of the rural school includes a course of study which provides (1) elementary preparatory education upon which the child can base advanced education, (2) cultural training which provides for the child the greatest degree of general culture which can be given in the common school course as a part of basic education, (3) the correlation of the home and community and school interests of the child.
Course of Study -- For a number of years a course of study for the state was published by this department and revised each biennium, but later its publication was abandoned and the Illinois course of study recommended. This course proved very helpful, but in some points failed to apply in the strongest way to conditions in Nebraska. Consequently, the Nebraska Education Commission was created by the Nebraska State Teachers' Association and the Superintendents and Principals' Association for the purpose of co-operating with the state superintendent in the preparation of a course of study for the elementary schools. The needs of Nebraska were given first place. Courses of study in use in other states were consulted freely. The principles for the effective organization of the rural schools were combined In the course of study under outlines, directions, and suggestions to teachers, including the suggestive daily program, regular work in the common branches, work in agriculture, nature study, domestic science, manual training, manners and morals, plays and games, music, organization of boys' and girls' clubs, directions for school libraries, and programs of study for high schools approved under the free high school law. The first edition of the present course of study for elementary schools was issued May 5, 1909. This course proved so acceptable to the teachers and county superintendents that a second edition was published a few months later. It is now in use in the rural schools in
every county of the state and in the grades of nearly all village and town schools. Some city schools make use of those parts of the course which may well be applied to their needs.
This course of study should be revised each biennium or each quadrennium to meet the changing needs of the state. The school law provides that the county superintendent shall furnish each district in his county a copy of the course of study as prescribed by the state superintendent and that the same shall be paid for out of the general funds of the county. Section 11666, laws of Nebraska (Cobbey).
Eighth Grade Graduates. -- The use by the rural schools of a course of study which includes education which is of most importance to the child from an environmental standpoint and which at the same time prepares him for effective high school work leads to the encouragement of a greater number of young people to complete the work of the rural school, and on the completion of such work stimulates within them a desire for further education. The activity of county superintendents throughout the state in the encouragement of pupils to finish the work of the elementary course before dropping out of school has continued unabated through this biennium. According to reports received from county superintendents for last year, 9,912 eighth grade pupils took the final examinations. Of this number, 5,822 took examination or completed examination in all eighth grade subjects, and 5,026 received free high school certificates, Eighth grade graduation or promotion exercises were held in seventy-seven of the ninety-two counties last year. In some counties the exercises were held in each school district; in others the exercises were held by townships at central points; in twelve counties the exercises were held by sections of the county at convenient points; and in thirty-eight counties exercises were held at the county seats for all the eighth grade graduates of the county. Special eighth grade graduating exercises were also held in a large number of town and city schools. In many such cases, graduates from the surrounding rural schools were invited to participate, because of the fact that the greater number of such rural school graduates would join the local town or city eighth grade graduates in high school the next year. In a number or counties every town and city school united with the graduates of the rural schools in a general county eighth grade graduating exercise..
This recognition of the completion of the eighth grade course of study by the pupil of the rural school and the placing of his accomplishment on an equivalent basis with that of the pupil of the town and city school has done much toward the encouragement of the work of the rural schools and has also been an important factor in bringing the town and country together on a recognized social relation of equality, which is highly beneficial both to urban and rural communities.
Consolidation of School Districts. -- The movement for the establishment of stronger schools which can bring to the rural community
the best conditions that obtain In town and city schools and yet preserve the influence and environment of the country has steadily continued to grow during the past two years and promises yet greater development In the near future.
Modern School Buildings for rural Schools. -- This biennium has shown a continued increase in the number of modern rural school buildings erected. A large number of rural school buildings erected during the past two years have modern facilities as to heating, lighting, and ventilating, up-to-date equipment for handling to the best advantage the correlated work In manual training, domestic science, and agriculture. The beautifying of rural school grounds has also received Its share of attention. Fences, trees, grass, flowers, and vines, and homelike, comfortable, hygienic, convenient school buildings are fast replacing the traditional neglected and barren school grounds and "box-car" school buildings in rural communities.
Better Teachers for Rural
Schools. -- The demand for better trained teachers for the rural
schools is being met to a most satisfactory degree by the normal
training courses in high schools In all parts of the state favored
with strong high schools, and in the sparsely settled portions of the
state by the eight state junior normal schools conducted during the
Over 6,000 rural schools In Nebraska are asking each year for good teachers. The average teaching life of the rural school teacher in this state is three years. This necessitates the introduction each year of at least 2000 new, untried teachers in the rural schools. All the normal schools, running with full attendance, do not turn out a sufficient number of graduates to supply the village, town, and city schools. Only a few graduates of normal schools go to the rural schools to teach. The greater number of the 2.000 beginning teachers required in the rural schools must therefore come from the high schools of the state. Without provision in such high schools for normal training, these high school graduates would go directly to the rural schools with no training whatever in the art of school management and school teaching, and generally without appreciation of the fact that effective teaching and supervision of a school is an art which requires their most earnest study and preparation, if the children entrusted to their care are to receive right training.
Normal Training High Schools. -- There were enrolled last year In the 112 normal training high schools' in the state a total of 1,819 student teachers. Of this number 892 graduated and are this year available as teachers for the rural schools, There are enrolled this year in the normal training high schools a total of 1,860 student teachers. This will furnish the state for the next year over 1,000 teachers who will have completed a four-year high school course of study in an accredited high school and the normal training course for teachers the state has made no other appropriation which has
brought to Its rural communities a greater comparative return than the normal training appropriation, which has resulted in the establishment of courses of training for teachers of rural schools at 112 points throughout the state.
Junior Normals. -- The state junior normal schools have performed a like service in bringing to the outlying sections of the state provision by which the young people of such communities may, during the summer months, secure elementary normal training which will fit them to serve the communities most in need of more and better prepared teachers.
State Aid. -- The appropriation of $75,000 distributed among the school districts of the state which were unable to hold five months of school from their own resources has proved of untold benefit to many deserving communities. These weak districts have been enabled thereby to provide increased amount of public school education for the children of the sparsely settled portions of the state.
Disbanding of Inactive Districts. -- The recent legislation providing for the disbanding of inactive school districts and the annexation of such territory and unorganized territory to adjoining districts has resulted In bringing school privileges to a large number of people in the sparsely settled portions of the state who were deprived of school privileges.
School Library Law. -- The law providing for the setting aside of ten cents per pupil in each school district to be used for the purchase of school library books has provided rural schools with some of the necessary library facilities and has added materially to the efficiency of teaching in the rural schools,
Nebraska Boys' and Girls' Clubs. -- Nebraska is the most nearly agricultural state in the Union. Not only the purely rural communities, but our towns and cities are dependent for their maintenance and growth upon the development of the agricultural interests of the state. The Nebraska boys' and girls' clubs wore organized nearly six years ago for the purpose of creating an interest and an activity through the public schools in certain phases of industrial education, which had at that time not received their due share of attention.
The Ideals of a people and the development of the whole social structure owe their growth to the interest in and intimate acquaintance with the best there is in all that relates to the thoughts and activities which go to make up the daily routine of living. Gleaning as It does from the other sciences those applications which are of greatest interest and utility to all who live in an agricultural environment, agriculture justly demands a prominent place in the course of study in every grade of school work. Every child should be educated in those things pertaining to the home and community which have to do with his everyday life, and which enable him to work out and apply through
direct contact with the objective the principles, theories, and facts which come to him in his general education.
Establishment of Courses of Study In Agriculture, Domestic Science and Manual Training. -- Beginning in 1905 with 506 members, the membership of the Nebraska boys' and girls' clubs has increased through state, district, and county school clubs to a membership of over 32,000 at the present time. One of the principal objects sought in the organization of these clubs has already been attained. Since the organization of the first clubs, elementary agriculture as a regular subject has been placed in the course of study in nearly every accredited and approved high school in the state. This includes 107 high schools maintaining normal training classes for preparing teachers for the rural schools, and other high schools accredited to the University of Nebraska, and one, two, and three-year high schools approved under the free high school law. Where a school is not properly equipped with either laboratory facilities or proper teaching force for doing effective work in agriculture, such schools are encouraged to substitute for agriculture some other branch which can be taught properly until the required facilities are secured for handling agriculture.
Course of Study for Rural Schools. -- The new course of study for elementary schools adopted May, 1909, provides for a course in agriculture which can be carried out in every rural school in the state. The work in agriculture is outlined In the three lower grades under nature study; in the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh grades it is included under industrial geography, and in the eighth grade in a study of the geography of Nebraska and agriculture as a distinct subject. Courses In elementary domestic science and manual training are also provided in the new state course of study for the grades.
Domestic Science and Manual
Training.--As a result of the activity of girls clubs in domestic
science, regular courses of study with proper laboratory equipment
and special features have been added in a large number of the best
high schools of the state. Boys' and girls' clubs in manual training
work have resulted in courses in manual training with proper
equipment and special teachers being added in a large number of town
and city schools which had, before this time given no attention to
such work. The new school buildings constructed in the towns and
cities of the better class almost without exception provide
laboratory facilities for the special courses in domestic science and
Agriculture is generally handled in the regular science laboratories. The county high school at Kimball has a four-year course in agriculture, domestic science and manual training in connection with the training course for teachers and the standard high school course.
But the most encouraging feature of the work is the results as shown in the construction of modern rural school buildings which pro-
vide a laboratory room for domestic science and manual training work, and the doing of elementary work in these branches in hundreds of other schools which without special equipment are correlating agriculture, domestic science and manual training with the home interests, through which the pupil's interest is stimulated and his activities directed by the teacher, but the greater part of the work is done in the home in the great laboratories or field, garden, and kitchen.
Industrial Education Recognized. -- The greatest function of the boys' and girls' clubs has been performed. Teachers, school officers, and patrons have begun to realize the feet that industrial education of the sort in which these young people have been engaged has a legitimate place in the education of every child. Industrial education, not as a preparation for a vocation, but in its cultured relation to the general education of every child, has won its way to a recognized place in the public school curriculum. The problem now is one of proper correlation with the regular common branches recognized as a necessary part in the public school course, The work of the boys' and girls' club will continue, both in stimulating the right interest, attitude and activity on the part of those young people who are growing into the school life each year, and in now lines of work which bring the home and the school into closer relation and enable the youth to find expression in activity which brings interest to study and joy to work.
Co-operation of University and Board of Agriculture. -- This department has been able to do this work through the co-operation and assistance of all the interested agencies in the state, but the burden of the work has been shared especially by the University of Nebraska and the State Board of Agriculture. The University of Nebraska, through the department of Farmers' Institutes, has rendered very substantial assistance in providing instructors, lecturers, and judges to carry out the work of the state and county clubs, and has united in the publication of bulletins by which the work has been directed to the thousands of young people who have been reached during the past six years. The State Board of Agriculture has given substantial support and assistance in the publication of bulletins and other cash appropriations for carrying out the purposes of the annual state conventions and contests. Without the material assistance of the State Board of Agriculture and the University of Nebraska and other interested agencies, this department, being without special funds for the work, would have been able to accomplish very little of what has been done through the instrumentality of the boys' and girls' clubs in placing before the people of the state the problem of industrial education in a way which has already resulted la Its establishment to so extended a degree as a part of the public school courses of study.
Work of Clubs Yet Important. -- These clubs have yet a great part to perform in the work of the future. Just now plans are under way
for uniting the interests of these clubs with that of the Boy Scouts of America and the newer organization, the Girl Campguards of America. These organizations have a most important relation to both the school and the home. To the school they bring that application of education in the real things of life that are too often obscured by overcrowding in the regulation course of study, which sometimes fails to take into consideration the individuality of the child and the environment of the home from which he comes. To the home they bring the application of education in its best sense to home duties and associations. The home thus becomes a place of interest and intelligently directed activity in all its relations instead of a place of misunderstood, unhappy relations and grinding toil. All this counts for character, efficiency, and citizenship.
Better Support for Rural Schools. -- Country schools will be as effective in educating rural school children as are the town schools in educating town children, whenever the people of the rural communities put a corresponding amount of money into the support of their schools and demand for their children as good privileges in education as that provided for their town and city cousins. This cannot be done under the present school tax limitations by law in some small and weak districts where the taxing value of the school district is not sufficient to provide the necessary means of support, but the statement is in general true. Reports on file in this office from county superintendents :show that town and city school districts on the average tax themselves double the amount voted by the rural school districts as a whole. Education costs money, as well as interest and activity in the right direction.
Over $3,000,000 for School
Buildings. -- Recently this department sent a blank form to the
superintendents and principals of city, town and village schools and
to all county superintendents, in which such superintendents and
principals were requested to name, among other things, the amount
expended during the past six years for new school buildings. The
reports from county superintendents indicate that $444,000 were
expended during the past six years for rural school buildings; and
city superintendents report an aggregate of $2,750,000 for buildings
in city, town, and village school districts.
Accredited and Approved. -- This biennium closes with 130 four-year and 49 three-year high schools accredited to the University of Nebraska. A total of 385 high schools are this year approved by this department under the free high school law. 108 of these are two-year and 24 are one-year high schools. All these schools are using, with slight variations, the Nebraska high school manual, issued jointly by the University of Nebraska and this department.
New Modern School Buildings. -- Of the $2,750,000 spent for new buildings in cities and towns during the past six years, $1,305,550
were expended for buildings erected during the past biennium. These buildings in the towns and cities of the better class are, with few exceptions, provided with modern facilities in heating, lighting, and ventilating, and are equipped for physical training, with gymnasium and adequate playground room and equipment. Laboratories for manual training and domestic science are features in the new buildings.
Normal Training. -- One hundred and seven high schools and five academies approved for normal training are rendering great service to the state and respective communities by maintaining courses of study for preparing teachers for the rural schools.
Free High Schools. -- The free high school law has not only greatly increased the attendance at approved and accredited high schools but has resulted in greatly improving the efficiency of the high schools. Under the operation of this law, high schools are obliged to maintain a course of study which meets the requirements of the Nebraska high school manual. This item has been very serviceable In checking the tendency of the smaller high schools to maintain top-heavy courses of study and to weaken the efficiency of the entire school by attempting to carry more high school work than the teaching force and equipment will justify. Under the workings of this law, this department has exercised care in the approval of high schools. Where high schools were maintaining more grades of high school work than the teaching force of the school justified, such schools before being approved have been induced either to drop one or more grades of high school work or to add a sufficient teaching force to do the work well. Where there has been lack of equipment, such schools have been required either to provide the necessary equipment or discontinue the attempt at teaching that which they were not prepared to handle in an efficient way. This applies especially to the science work in small high schools.
Better High Schools for Both
Rural and Town Children. -- Through the workings of the free high
school law, there are now in the high schools of Nebraska more than
5,000 children from rural communities who are thus provided with
educational privileges equal to that of children residing in high
school districts, and the children of a great number of high school
districts have a better school to attend in their home district
because of the standard to which such high schools have been forced
to come under the working of the free high school law.
During the past biennium we have continued to emphasize the importance of industrial education as an important part of public school education. This has found expression in the work of the Nebraska boys' and girls' clubs, in the state course of study adopted for the elementary schools of the state, in the special courses of study in agriculture, domestic science, and manual training adopted in town
and city schools. It has been our object to encourage the
correlation of industrial training with the regular school work.
Industrial education fitting for the trades has a very limited place
in this state, which Is so completely agricultural in its greater
interests. The problem before us now is the adaptation and
correlation of industrial education with the regular work of the
school in such a way that each child may be led to the right kind and
degree of interest in that phase of industrial work with which he
should become familiar in his home life and which will lead to, the
development of the kind and degree of skill which will enable him to
take a part in an effective way in the activities which may in the
present or in the future become his part. Public school education is
not to be industrialized, but industrial work is to, become
educationalized, thus joining the clement of interest, skill and
happiness in the study, work and recreation of the individual.
Good Teachers Needed. -- After providing the best equipment and surroundings for the education of the child, there yet applies the old-time expression: "As the teacher, so is the school." Pleasant, comfortable, convenient, and hygienic surroundings, courses of study, libraries and good equipment are essential for best results; but a good teacher is the one absolutely necessary requirement for an entirely successful school. The task of taking charge of from five to forty children, coming from home training as varied as Is the educational ideas of the community; of controlling and teaching this heterogeneous collection of youth, many a one of whom has proved in his individual capacity to be beyond the controlling and teaching powers of his own parents -- this is a problem requiring for its complete solution an educated mind, a skilled touch, a keen perception, a tender heart, and a tactful application of all the attributes of the successful teacher.
Better Wages for Teachers. -- The wage paid public school teachers is so far below that paid in other lines of employment, for a corresponding degree of education, skill, applied energy, and devotion to cause, that the commercial world and other better paid professions draw largely each year from the front teaching ranks. Ten thousand three hundred and fifty-five different teachers were last year teaching in Nebraska public schools. Nearly one-third of that number were replaced this year, and a like number will be needed next year to fill the vacancies caused by marriage, failing health, death, better employment, or other cause. Three thousand new school teachers will be needed next year to fill the vacant chairs of pedagogy in rural, town, and city schools in the state. Our four state normal schools; our university teacher's college; our eight state junior normal schools; colleges and universities approved by the state for granting state certificates; a number of other private institutions; our 112 normal training high schools and academies -- all these are doing their best to fill
the vacant places, yet all schools cannot be supplied with trained teachers. There will yet be schools asking for third grade teachers, and teachers with emergency and limited certificates. Better wages will bring more good teachers.
A Big Institution. -- The schools of the state are a big institution. The raw product they receive is included in 376,447 children between the ages of 5 and 21 years. Over 20,000 school officers direct more than 10,000 teachers, in 7,071 school districts, in 7,157 school buildings, with a total valuation of school district property amounting to $16,290,412.15.
Critics Should Consider. -- Some citizens have criticised the finished product of the schools. Such critics have not always examined carefully the raw materials furnished the school, neither have they in some cases noted the lack of proper equipment, and the wage offered to attract the most skilled managers to place in charge of the 7,071 sections of the great citizen-making institution known as the public schools.
Schools Do Well. -- The
informed and unprejudiced witness knows that our schools are turning
out as a whole an honest product, entirely in keeping with the means
provided. We are doing good work. With better housing, better
machinery, better tools, better trained superintendents and teachers,
we can give the state in corresponding degee (sic) a more
satisfactory service. This can come through liberal appropriations
for the maintenance of our educational institutions which are
preparing teachers and for those offering instruction, and through
legislation which will enable school districts to meet the local
needs in public school education.
The appropriation of $75,000 to aid weak school districts during the biennium is an expression of munificent kindness and interest on the part of the well to do and well developed sections of the state toward the newer, sparsely settled, and undeveloped sections which find the providing of adequate school privileges beyond their temporary means.
Helps Ten Thousand Children. -- The appropriation distributed among school districts unable to hold five months of school from their own resources has been divided in 38 counties, among 461 school districts, and has brought extended school privileges to nearly 10,000 school children during the two years just closing.
Increase Needed. -- This appropriation should be continued and increased until all needy communities can from their own resources provide proper schooling for their children. There is no better class of citizenship in the state, and none where education is more appre-
ciated and where education counts for more good in the lines of
embryonic citizenship, than in those sections of the state which have
been. so rapidly peopled that the funds available by taxation are not
sufficient to provide the needed school facilities.
We are now ready for an advanced step in certification. A very important step was taken in certification when the present certification law went into operation five years ago. The uniform state examinations for the issuance of county teachers' certificates is the system now recognized throughout the country, as one which is impartial and uniform in requirements and effective in operation. It takes away from the issuance of teachers' certificates all local prejudice or sympathy which, under the old system, often resulted in undesirable results in certification. When the certification law went into effect in 1905 because of the necessity at that time for filling the schools with legally certificated teachers, concessions were made in the acceptance of credits and the extension of privileges in the examination. We are now at the place where such concessions are no longer necessary. Every teacher holding a certificate should be required to give evidence of the same qualifications required of every other teacher holding the same kind of certificate. Those who claim concessions on account of superior privileges for preparation should be asked to pass the test as all others who are applicants for the same kind of certificate.
We have now on file in this office about 65,000 different records In the examination series. These records represent at least 4,000 names now carried on the examination files. The duplicates come because of transfer of teachers from one county to another. There are about 40,000 different names and addresses now carried on the examination record. Of this number approximately 20,000 are active. That is, they are the names of teachers actively engaged in school work or are names of candidates for certificates who have hot completed the examinations. There are approximately 2,000 withdrawals from the teaching profession each year from those who hold county certificates. The number of those who attempt the examination but find themselves insufficiently educated to meet the tests are approximately 4,000 per year.
During the past biennium 38,000 registration numbers were assigned. This is in excess of the preceding biennium by about 2,000. During the biennium 152,821 answer papers have been submitted. These average about three pages each, making a number of pages of written manuscripts read and valued by the examining committee about 500,000. Since the certification law went into effect in 1905 nearly 400,000 manuscript papers have been read, with a total approximate page of manuscript read 1,250,000.
About 3,000 different persons participate In the examination each month. Practically one-half of these use examination rights from pre-
ceding months' registration, leaving the number of new registrations 1,500 each month.
I am convinced that our examinations are held at too frequent intervals. Four quarterly examinations with possibly one extra examination during the year would serve the purpose better and at a much reduced expense.
The law should be amended so that the examination record in the state superintendent's office would be carried solely with the individual, and so that the teachers when certificated would hold a certificate good throughout the state and legal in any county on registration with and indorsement by the respective county superintendents. This would require that all certificates be filled out and issued by the state superintendent and that they be validated by the county superintendent when presented in his county. The work of filling out and issuing these certificates would be less for the state examining committee than that now required in keeping the separate individual records and checking up the reports from the various counties.
The certification laws should be so carefully guarded that those who make careful preparation for teaching will receive just recognition and that those who do not make the required effort to properly prepare cannot be certificated until they meet the established requirements. In justice to those teachers who expend time, money and effort in preparation, they should not be subjected to competition with those who do not put forth the required effort to properly prepare themselves.
Certification by Normal Schools, Colleges and Universities. -- The last bulletin issued by this office, December 9, on rules and regulations governing the certification of teachers through universities, colleges, and normal schools sets forth clearly and explicitly the requirements for certification of teachers through state institutions and schools approved on the basis of state institutions. This is taken up under the following headings:
Directions to applicants for
University and college first grade state certificates.
University of Nebraska (Teachers' College) requirements of graduation.
Normal School first and second grade certificates.
Requirements for admission to normal schools.
First grade state certificate, practice teaching for seniors.
Elementary state certificates and second grade certificates.
Teachers' training course.
Observation work in training course.
Rules governing time and credits.
Evaluation of credits.
Equivalents as adopted by the Board of Education of the State Normal Schools.
Re-issuance of elementary or second grade state certificates.
Allowance of time and accepted credits.
Registration of state certificates.
Eight weeks' and twelve weeks' normal training.
Requirements of Institutions.
There are in Nebraska sixteen educational institutions issuing state certificates. The standard for issuance of these state certificates is set by the University of Nebraska for other universities and colleges and by the state normal schools for other normal schools. It is important that these standards be carefully set and as carefully adhered to by the state institutions. The state examining committee operating under the law approves the certification of teachers in schools recognized on a basis of state institutions. This committee has been caused a great deal of annoyance and confusion by the lack of a uniform course of study in the normal schools with strict adherence to the rules in the graduation of students and the issuance of state certificates.,
During the past year the state normal school board has adopted a uniform course of study for the four state normal schools and has established regulations under which no student is to be graduated from any one of the normal schools until his record of credits has been approved by the state examining board. The board also adopted a resolution to the effect that no further changes in the requirements will be made before September, 1911. This enables colleges working under the law to direct their students in the planning of their work for the year so it will be no just occasion for disappointment at the close of the year when the applicant applies for his certificate.
This office has used its influence
to maintain a high standard of scholarship and training at the state
normal schools in the graduation of students leading from courses of
certification. It is my opinion that it is the duty of the state to
provide for efficient training of teachers and then to demand that no
certificates bearing the name of the state be issued until those
requirements have been met by the applicant. Those who plead for
leniency and disregard of the requirements for graduation on account
of sympathy for the applicant or for other reasons pertaining to the
individual should keep in mind the fact that our schools do not exist
for the purpose of providing employment for needy individuals. On the
other hand, our schools have a right to demand the best teacher that
the funds of the district can secure. And school officers have a
right to demand that every certificate bearing the name of the state
or county represent the qualifications required by law and guaranteed
and named on the certificate.
Through action of the interstate conference on certification held at Lincoln last June and at Salt Lake City in November, interstate recognition of teachers' certificates is now under way to become effective throughout the United States. Of the 10,355 employed in Nebraska last year, several hundred came to us from other states and an equal number of Nebraska teachers went to other states to teach.
The recognition of Nebraska certificates by other states depends entirely upon the standard of qualification maintained in the state. At the interstate conferences, the fact was established that Nebraska is classed among states having certification on a state uniform basis which enables the state to rank with the group of states giving highest valuation in interstate recognition.
However, this recognition is based upon carrying out the provision of the law as written. Those inclined to lower the standard of certification by demanding for individuals or groups of individuals special concessions in the way of certification other than the regular, impartial, uniform way are not only asking for a cheapened certificate for the individual in whom they are interested but are asking for a lowering of the standards, which cheapens Nebraska certificates held by other persons who have shown their qualifications in the regular way.
Interstate recognition is now given to certificates which are secured through the regular examinations. Grades given in certificates by instructors of high schools, normal schools or other institutions are not acceptable on the interstate valuation. This does not apply to life and state certificates issued on a completion of advanced courses of study where such certificates show such advanced training. The application applies chiefly to county certificates, elementary certificates issued by normal schools, and state certificates issued by state departpartments (sic) or state committees on examination. The acceptance of high school grades on county certificates in lieu of the examination and the acceptance of normal school grades from elementary state certificates at their expiration and the issuance of a county certificate from such grades, both of these practices must be discontinued if the Nebraska standard of certification is to remain where it should be and If our teachers who do hold certificates earned in the regular way are to receive just recognition. If we are to protect the interests of our own schools and our well qualified teachers and to hold a dignified place in the rank with other states, our county certificates and state certificates issued on examination must be issued only upon grades earned by applicants on a uniform state examination. In recognition of this fact and in behalf of the schools and well qualified teachers of the state, at the meeting of the state normal school board held in December, 1910, I presented the following resolutions:
"That after September 1, 1911, elementary state certificates shall be issued by the state normal school only to those persons who shall have passed successfully the uniform state examination with first grade county certificate."
I am recommending also that after September 1, 1911, all county certificates shall be issued only on grades earned by applicants in the uniform state examination for county certificates. This is simply living up to the law as it Is now written, and asking every person who receives a certificate to give evidence through the regular way of
© 2003 for the NEGenWeb Project by Ted & Carole Miller