The securing of plans met with opposition in each district, but before the contracts were let it was found that the plans saved more than their cost.
School officers have been continually urged to demand qualified teachers and the result has been a demand for experienced teachers. The wages have been increased as will be shown later. The beginning teacher is hired for only a few months, with the understanding that if she makes good she may finish the school.
More effective work on the part of the teachers and pupils has also been emphasized and demanded.
A County Athletic Association was organized in 1909 and the result was quite satisfactory. It helped to interest a number of the older boys who were about to leave school without finishing the course. A county banner is given to the school winning the most points. When the banner is won three times it becomes the property of the school winning it.
An effort has been made, and the results have thus far been very satisfactory, to clean out and burn old text books which have been packed away on the shelves for years.
The value of school property as reported for 1910 was $225,721.50. The enrollment of 1909-10 was: Boys, 2,156; girls, 2,048; total, 4,204. The 1910 census shows boys, 2,720; girls, 2,554;, total!, 5,274. Average daily attendance for the year was: Boys, 1,447; girls, 1,446; total, 2,893.
It cost $121,974.88 to run the schools of the county for the year 1909-10.
While the educational progress in this county has not been all we hoped for, it is very satisfactory from the fact that better and more practical work is being done than ever before in the history of the county.
Teachers have been very faithful to their duty and have conscientiously labored to meet the new demands placed upon them. Aside from the college and normal graduates, 85 per cent have attended summer schools. County associations and teachers' institutes have been attended by 95 per cent of the teachers, while district and state associations have been as well attended as could be expected when we consider the sentiment among school officers against giving teachers the time, much less defraying a portion of the expense in the attendance of such meetings. Where teachers could attend without the loss of time, they have defrayed their own expense and attended. This county employs 105 teachers and last year seventy-five sets of reading circle books were sold and fifty teachers, by their note books, showed that they did creditable work. However, there are
A rural school building, showing old schoolhouse in the rear.
some among us who are very indifferent to the work in which they are engaged and it is with dire threats only that we secure their attendance at educational gatherings or persuade them to do more than draw their salary. It is gratifying to know that these are the exceptions and the number of such is growing less each year and for the good of the cause I sincerely hope that the time is near at hand when these can he eliminated entirely.
Various educational associations and reading circle work have tended strongly to better qualifications, but what deserves more credit than anything else is the summer school. Too much, in my opinion, cannot be said in praise of the summer school for what it has done by way of better qualifications of the teacher. Perhaps back of this is the new certification law. Not enough normal trainers from the high school have as yet been employed to enable us to judge correctly what effect the high school normal training is going to have. It is but justice to say, however, that the four or five that were employed last year did creditable work.
I wish to state that not only has there been a preceptable awakening among teachers, but among school officers. Because of the scarcity of farm labor, I have been unable to successfully hold school officers meetings. Boards generally have been very liberal in their appropriations for school purposes. During the past two years five new school houses have been built and a score have been repaired and made as good as new. With but few exceptions every school building in the county is now conveniently arranged and scientifically heated, lighted and ventilated. Seventy-five per cent of the schools are supplied with all necessary apparatus and a school library in every school.
The course of study has been as closely followed, I think, as was practical for the first year. I am confident that it will be used to a much better advantage the coming year, because teachers generally are more familiar with it and will arrange their daily programs more nearly in accord with it. This course of study has been especially beneficial to teachers in preparing pupils for the eighth grade examinations. During the past two years 130 pupils have taken the eighth grade examinations. Sixty per cent of these have been successful and 75 per cent of these are pursuing higher education either in high schools or colleges. I am confident that with proper encouragement that 90 per cent of those who can be persuaded to complete the eighth grade can be induced to pursue higher education.
I have high hopes that industrial
work in which there has been a start made in this county will be a
stimulus to keeping the boys and girls in school. I have but little
hopes for those who have to get their education through compulsion.
Compulsory education so far as this county is concerned has been a
failure. Perhaps this is the fault of the county superintendent. If
so, it is well. I hope for a time when a compulsory education law is
unnecessary. I believe that with better equipped teachers school work
can he made attractive and prac-
© 2003 for the NEGenWeb Project by Ted & Carole Miller