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COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATIO
THE YEAR 1893-94.
DIGEST OF THE LAWS REGULATING THE ADMINISTRA
TION, CHARACTER, AND FINANCES OF THE PUBLICSCHOOL SYSTEMS OF THE STATES OF THE UNION.1
The following epitome deals primarily with the pedagogical as distinguished from the political features of the school law of the several States. These Statesoutside the fact of the duty of the federated nation to guarantee a republican form of government to each and the consequent desirability of a system of public education to accomplish that and the homogeneity of national intellectual interestsare each, as should be well known, an autonomous government in matters pertaining to education.
This chapter is to be considered a continuation of that on the educational provisions of the constitutions of the States appearing in the last report. Matters there appearing as broadly blocked out by the electors are here collected under certain pedagogical heads as elaborated by the several legislatures and published thronghout the extent of some 4,000 pages, each State arranging and classifying its laws to suit its own convenience. The method of treating each State uniformly employed in this digest not only concentrates the facts, but at the same time, in a measure, indexes them. In the next report, in addition to the inevitable annual revision, it is hoped to lay the final chapter of this series before the public.
In considering the general character of the school laws of the States, one is impressed that there is a certain apparent if not real distinction between the varying emphasis that has been placed on the same subject. In the manufacturing East, northeast of Pennsylvania at least, there has lately been developed an intense desire to operate effectively upon the parent to cause him to educate his child; in other words, to cause him to avail himself for the good of the child of the advantages offered by the public schools at least for a short period during the year. In the South, the preoccupation seems to have been to provide competent teachers, while in the West there has been a tendency to regulate the politico-educational machinery.
It has been deemed inexpedient to attempt in this compilation to show clearly the condition of a very important and much agitated feature of the social side of school affairs called the township system. An examination of the claims for this system reveals that its merits are conditioned by the character of the environment amidst which it is to be operated. The question does not appear to derive its vitality from the extent of territory embraced by the “ township,” but rather from the amount of taxable property within a given territory, and perhaps at bottom upon the marked inequalities of taxable property between different portions of that territory. Thus in a rich country of many concentrations of inhabitants a plan might operate excellently within a portion of a county which, among a poorer, less dense, and comparatively more evenly distributed population, might not avail, even though the whole county were to be included. In the latter case a true township system would embrace perhaps the whole educational jurisdiction-in other words, the State. This sort of township system is in Massachu
1 By Mr. Wellford Addis, specialist in the Bureau. MRECAP)
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