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The elementary schools of Prussia, the so-called "people's schools," have less supervision than our American city schools, because the teachers all have professional training. Still there is a general supervision exercised by the state. The provincial governments, the representatives of the Minister of Education, supervise the systems of schools in their provinces indirectly, by examining the teachers at their graduation from the normal schools. These school councilors, as they are called, make occasional visits to schools, here and there, but generally are considered the courts of appeal in school matters. Local supervision is exercised by the mayors and clergymen. In cities where a school commission exists that commission either supervises the schools through its members or employs professional school inspectors. Their duties are to all intents and purposes similar to those of our city-school superintendents. Clergymen have been greatly dis. credited as school inspectors during the liberal era in Prussia, Saxony, Bavaria, and other states; while in Würtemberg a law requires the school inspector to be a clergyman. Many of the inspectors in Prossia and other states are heads of normal schools, high schools, etc.
Prussia is divided into twelve provinces-Eastern and Western Prus. sia (on the Baltic), Pomerania, Posen, Brandenburg, Silesia, Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein, Hanover, Westphalia, Rhenish Prussia, and Hesse. Nassau. Each province is subdivided into three or four gorernmental districts. These are divided into kreise (circuits, counties), and the latter into communities or townships. Large cities, such as Berlin, Cologne, Frankfort, and others, are kreise by themselves, analogous to New York City and County, Chicago and Cook County. The communities vary considerably in size and number of inhabitants, but a school is provided for every 500 inhabitants.
Kreis (county) supervisors are found frequently, but the system of county supervision is not a general one, owing to the fact that the affairs of the schools in Prussia are not systematically regulated by law.
The school reports of the various inspectors are not published, but may be examined in their offices. Secret reports are also required, and are sent to the provincial headquarters. This practice of secretly reporting upon the teachers and their work has been at times discouraged and discredited, but to a limited extent it is still in practice.
In Berlin and other large cities the administration of the lower schools is similar to that of the American common schools. There is a school commission (a committee of the city council), a general superintendent (called “school councilor”), several assistant superintendents (called “ district inspectors”), a principal (called “rector”) at the head of each school building, and many associate teachers, but very few subordinate teachers. There is a distinction made between associate and subordi. nate teachers.
Normal schools. It is well understood that the professional training of teachers in Prussia is the foundation of strength of the people's schools. The earliest attempts on the part of the State at improving the schools were directed to establishing normal schools for the professional training of teachers. While in this couutry and in England the idea seems to prevail widely that normal-school preparation is not absolutely necessary for teaching, in Prussia it is considered the first and foremost need that the teachers be theoretically and practically taught how to teach. Hence the many normal schools each have a practice school where the normal students acquire practical experience in teaching.
In 1889 Prussia had 106 normal schools for men and 8 for women. Of these 114 schools, 72 were Protestant, 38 Catholic, 4 mixed. There were 689 professors and instructurs engaged in them, while the preparatory schools had 78 teachers. The number of students in the normal schools in 1888 was 8,507 (against 9,400 in 1869), aud the number of students in preparatory schools 1,991.
The expenses of the state for normal schools (all Prussian normal schools being state institutions) is about 600 marks (or $150) per an. num per student. The number of students seems to be exceptionally small, if compared with the number in our country, but we must not measure Prussia by an American standard. The “supply” is more than sufficient, because the " consumption" is not near so great as with us. As a rule, a teacher in Prussia is a teacher always. In Berlin, for instance, 108 new teachers were employed last year, and of these, 102 were for newly established schools; hence only six vacancies occurred in a corps of more than 3,000. If we compare this with the large number of changes taking place annually in our cities, it becomes obvious that 114 normal schools are sufficient for Prussia.
The course of study in normal schools in Prussia is one of three or four years. It embraces a thorough review of the common branches, the high school branches, theoretical and practical instruction in instrumental music, drawing, gymnastics, and pedagogy (history of education, psy. chology, theory and practice of teaching). No foreign languages are taught ip Prussian normal schools.
Most of these normal schools are situated in small towns of 1,000 to 8,000 inhabitants; indeed but very few are found in large cities (two in Berlin). The reason of this is found in the desire to keep the young would-be teachers free from the temptations of a large city. The
Thus we see that there is on the part of the government a recognition of teaching as a profession, and this recognition pervades all classes of society. The teacher of any school or grade ranks with his clerical, legal, and medical brother. Indeed, so far as my observations go, the teachers of Germany, as a class, stand higher in the estimation of tbe people than do members of other professious, and worthily so.-[J. T. Prince, ageut Massachusetts Board of Education.)
schools are boariling-schools—that is, the students live in the school building, and are kept uuder rigid control all day long. The following is a daily programme adhered to in a Prussian normal school : 6 o'clock A. M., rising; 6:30 till 7:30, preparing lessons onder supervision; 7:30 till 7:50, breakfast; 7:50 till 8, religious exercises in chapel ; 8 till 1, five or six lessons in experimental teaching; 1 till 1:30, dinner; 1:30 till 2, playing and walking in the grounds; 2 till 5, lessons in the academic department; 5 till 6, practice in instrumental music; 6 till 7, exercises out doors and gymnastics ; 7 till 7:30, supper; 7:30 till 9:30 working and studying in class rooms under supervision ; 9:50 till 10, evening prayer; 10, hour for retiring.
Examinations.—Previous to entering a normal school, many students pass a year or two in a preparatory school, but this is not obligatory. They may acquire their previous education anywhere. The state, being at times unable to secure a sufficient nombor of students, pays a premium to teachers of good repute who prepare boys for the normal schools. There is a rigid examination for admission. At the close of the course a still more rigid examination precedes graduation. A student rarely fails to graduate, the government having takeu the responsibility for his professional education. But the authorities grade tbe diplomas I, Ia, II, IIb, III, and IV. A teacher whose diploma numbers IV is not likely ever to obtain a lucrative position. This marking or grading of the diplomas is analogous to the issuing of diplomas in this country for one, two, three, or more years. A graduate of good standing finds a place as teacher without difficulty. He spends two years in active work in the school room and then presents himself for his final examination (the “repetition” examination). If he passes that he is free from further examinations and is recoguized as a professional teacher all over the empire. There is, however, little chance for him to be appointed to secondary schools, except occasionally in the lowest grades. The teachers and professors in the middle and high schools are nearly all university men. All normal school examinations are conducted by the faculty in the presence of a provincial school councillor. It is a postulate of the Prussian, and in fine, of the German Governrient, that the teacher is a servant or officer of the state, and as such must receive his training from the state.
Prussia had in 1887 in round numbers 75,000 teachers in the people's schools, of whom 10.6 per cent. were women, 89.4 per cent. men.
Appointment. The appointment of teachers is not regulated by a general law. The power of electing the teachers is vested in communal school authorities where such authorities exist. In country places the circuit (kreis) authorities perform this function, but whether elected by city authorities, or appointed by circuit inspectors, or chosen by patrons, the selection is subject to the confirmation of the representative of the government, be he the representative of the county, provincial, or state government, as the case may be. It must always be borne in mind that the Prussian governmental edifice is not a structure built on virgin soil as in America, where no historical obstacles obstructed the building, but a very complicated structure, which had to accommodate itself to existing circumstances and historical obstacles; hence the seemingly irregular mode of procedure in teachers' appointments. In the main the principle is adhered to, that the local author. ities nominate the teachers and the government confirms or rejects the nomination.
The legal and social position of the teacher is much better defined in Prussia than in many other countries. He receives a pension after having taught a certain number of years, and his widow and orphans are entitled to support, though this support rarely amounts to more than one-half of the teacher's salary. By means of coöperation the teachers of every German state have founded insurance, coöperative, and other societies for mutual aid-societies which, in a measure, supplement the measures of the state.
Salaries.--The last official school report of Prussia, that for 1887, states the average salary of the teachers in the people's or elementary schools to be as follows:
Average in the kingdom :
Average in the cities : marks.
marks. 1887, 1,067 =$256.
1887, 1,279 = $319. 1878, 1,102 = $275.
1878, 1,414 = $353. This shows a decrease in eight years of eighteen dollars in the kingdom and of thirty-three dollars in the cities. These salaries are comparatively smaller than in America, but it must be remembered that the teachers in Prussia have no rent to pay, as they live in dwellings attached to the schoolhouses. Calculating the rent at 20 per cent., the average salary may be considered to be $340. The salaries of rectors (principals) of large elementary schools in cities are higher. The teachers and professors of middle and high schools are not included in the averages men. tioned above; their salaries range much higher than the foregoing averages."
School age and compulsory attendance.--The legal school age is from the sixth (completed) to the fourteenth (completed) year. There are, however, exceptions in regard to the maximum limit. Confirmation in the Protestant church or first communion in the Catholic church termi. nates attendance; hence children in rural districts frequently leave school at the completion of the thirteenth year. Attendance in school is compulsory. This compulsion, distasteful as it may seem to citizens of a republic, has become a leading feature of the foremost European nations. In Germany it is adopted in all the states without exception. School attendance is insured by long habit and tradition. “The idea of compulsory attendance has taken so deep a root in the country, that it forms one of the most ordinary conceptions of the people" (C. O. Perry). More than a hundred and fifty years ago the government insisted upon regular attendance, and through the enforcement of ministerial orders it had become almost a habit with the people, so that the framers of the constitution (submitted to the King and sworn to by him in 1850) could safely introduce the compulsory attendance clause.
i The salaries of teachers, compared with what is paid for similar service in our own country, are small, but when we remember that the purchasing power of money is far greater in Germany than it is here, that the salaries in all professions are low, that the tenure of office of the teacher is very strong, and that liberal government aid is given to the teacher in case of a disability and to his family in the event of bis death, we can well understand why the profession of teaching calls to it the highest talent and most profound learning which a highly civilized state can produce. (J. T. Prince, agent Massachusetts Board of Education).
This compulsion refers only to elementary instruction from the age of six to that of fourteen, and does not apply to those receiving instruction in other than the people's schools; temporary absences for valid reasons may be granted, which reasons are very similar in all the states. Appli. cations for permanent exemption, however, are relatively rare, for there are comparatively few private schools and very little private tuition; the children of the higher strata of society are taught generally, when not at primary schools, in preparatory schools attached to the high schools. Default in attendance is punishable by fine or imprisonment, but the latter is rare. If parents are found unable to govern their children, the state takes care of the latter in reformatory institutions.
The percentage of absence is variously estimated at between 3 and 10 per cent., never more. No special law exists against child labor in factories, for the compulsory attendance law meets such cases effectively.
School terms and length of sessions.—The school year begins at Easter, and commonly lasts from forty-five to forty-six weeks. Vacations are at Easter (one week), at Whitsuntide (one week), at Christmas (one week), and at harvest time (three or four weeks). The daily sessions last six hours, from 8 till 12 and 2 till 4; or from 8 till 1 and 3 till 4; or from 8 till 2. There is no whole holiday on Saturday as in this country, but the schools are closed Wednesday and Saturday afternoons.
Schoolhouses.—The schoolhouses in Prussia, judged from an American standpoint, are insignificant looking and incommodious, but in the cities great progress has been made in school architecture. Forty.one million marks (about $10,000,000) were expended in 1886–87 for the erection and improvement of buildings for elementary schools. Most schoolhouses in cities are of recent origin, as is seen from the following statement :
From 1874 till 1882, 5,975 new buildings were erected and 2,710 build. ings were enlarged, at a total cost of 117,000,000 marks ($29,250,000).
From 1883 till 1886, 3,977 new buildings were erected and 3,975 buildings were enlarged, at a total cost of 104,000,000 ($26,000,000).
Eighty-seven per cent. of the cost of erection was defrayed by the communities, 13 by the state.