« PreviousContinue »
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
BUREAU OF EDUCATION,
Washington, D. C., June 15, 1887. SIR: I have the honor to submit the Annual Report of this Office for the year ending June 30, 1886.
I was nominated by the President to the Senate on the 3d day of August, and confirmed August 5, 1886, both dates being after the year covered by this Report had expired.
I visited the Office immediately after my confirmation, and, after a necessary delay in order to arrange my private affairs at home, assumed personal charge of its work about the beginning of last October.
During the year 1885–86, this Office received 8,522 letters, 50,771 printed communications, and 5,368 documents, books, and pamphlets; the communications sent out by the Office during the same time numbered 18,463 written and printed letters, 246,708 publications, and about 12,000 statistical forms of inquiry. All the statistical forms related to
year 1884–85, and the result appears in the Report of this Office for that time.
During the year 1885–86 the Office distributed the following pablications not heretofore mentioned.
Annual Report for 1883–84.
Part I: Drawing in Public Schools.
Shufeldt, U.S. A.
sioners on technical instruction.
Besides the foregoing new publications, the following formerly reported documents were republished in 1885–86, to supply renewed demands:
Circular No. 1, 1835. City-school systems in the United States.
Bulletin on instruction in morals and civil government. In addition to these, the Office had prepared and brought near to publication the following:
Special report on education at the New Orleans Exbibition ; Part
1: Catalogue of articles exhibited in the section of education; Part II: Proceedings of the International Congress of Educators; and Part III: Proceedings of the Department of Superin
tendence of the National Educational Association, etc. Also two pamphlets, one on the study of music in public schools, and the other containing the proceedings of the Department of Superin. tendence of the National Educational Association for 1886.
The list of publications prepared during the year 1885–86 certainly shows no lack of industry on the part of this Office; though it may be questioned whether the undertaking of labors so vast and various with a force so limited in number was entirely wise.
Upon the assumption of my new duties, I found that the Annual Report of the Office for the year 1884–85 was not complete, and that nothing had been done to prepare for the present Report. After a careful study of the situation I determined to urge the completion of the first-named document and other unfinished work then in the Office, and afterwards to concentrate all efforts as much as possible upon the preparation of the present volume, so that the delay in issuing it might be less than that in the case of previous issues, and that subsequent Reports might be more promptly prepared.
Work upon the Report for 1884–85 was not completed until the month of December, 1886, whenpr eparatory work on the present Report began.
The library of the Office, according to the Report of 1884–85, contained 17,500 books and 45,000 pamphlets. There are now on the shelves more than 18,000 volumes and over 50,000 pamphlets, besides duplicates.
The collection contains many pedagogical works, and forms a professional library of great value.
The preservation and cataloguing of this collection should be, as they have been, objects of constant attention, but the small amount of appropriation made for its benefit, and the limited force of the Office have not allowed as much to be done in this direction as is desirable. Of late years much attention has been given in this country to library organization and management, but educational libraries have not received the attention that their importance demands. I wish to em phasize the value of this library as an educational agency.
PLAN AND SCOPE OF THE PRESENT REPORT. Past experience had proved that the scheme of the Annual Reports, as established in the practice of the Office for fifteen years, could not be combined with prompt preparation and early printing of the document. The task which the devoted and experienced organizer of these Reports had found so increasingly difficult of execution, appeared to me to be yet more difficult when his guiding and informing care was no longer available. A revision of the plan upon which the future Annual Reports of the Office should be made became, therefore, imperative.
I need hardly say that it was my earnest wish to preserve, as far as practicable, the spirit and essence of the labor, even if changes in its form became desirable.
I felt deeply responsible to the great body of American educationists with whom the Office held and holds such intimate professional relations, and tried to keep in view the objects in which they took an interest or about which they desired information. At the same time a due regard for the economical and ready presentation of facts made it possible to avoid repetitions, to omit unimportant items, to consolidate related but hitherto separated facts, and to unite the discussion of statistical conditions with the tabular statements wherein they appear. By these means space has been saved. This fact has permitted the fuller discussion and presentation of special topics whenever such a course seemed advisable. Perhaps a short description of the first appendix in this volume will explain the foregoing remarks more effectually than any other form of statement.
The appendix in question presents statistical tables respecting the public school systems of the States, organized Territories, and the Dis. trict of Columbia, with illustrative text wherein various points and topics are discussed and explained. The substance of these tables is in most parts similar to that shown in Table I of former Reports issued by this Office; but now an attempt has been made to apply some simple but usefal statistical rules and methods for the purpose of supplementing and displaying the facts that are to be considered in order to facilitate comparison of one State with another, and of this country with other nations.
Then follows a résumé of the general condition of public schools in the several States and Territories, drawn chiefly from the printed reports kindly supplied by the superintendents thereof. The appendix concludes with a somewhat elaborate abstract of the public-school laws of each State and Territory, based on the latest editions and amendments obtainable.
The other appendixes in this volume are made upon the same plan, 80 that the facts, summaries, and discussions respecting any form of institution, or any grade of instruction, may be examined in connection with each other and studied together.
The general order of facts and topics, as presented in previous Reports, has been little disturbed, so that the comparison of facts for the year with those of previous years will present little difficulty to the student of American education.
The reference to foot-notes, which state the authority for the facts and opinions recited, has been made much more complete and minute than in former Reports. By this means it is hoped that statements inade can be more easily verified or corrected, and that an effectual check upon careless or inefficient work inay be supplied. An examination of these references will serve to give the ordinary reader a partial idea of the very numerous sources of information which the employés of this Office must consult in their ordinary work, and of the great labor necessary if anything like correctness of statement and catholicity of result is to be attained.
The foregoing remarks have seemed to me necessary to the understanding of the methods adopted or continued by me in the performance of the duties laid upon this Office by the law establishing it.
I do not propose to discuss many topics in this Report, preferring to refer whenever necessary to the appendixes, where most of the facts have been recorded and discussed. A few remarks upon salient points are here introduced.
GENERAL VIEW OF EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES.
In addition to the State and Territorial systems of public schools, to which more particular reference is made hereafter, this Office has for many years made statistical inquiries in many directions. Attention is respectfully invited to the following comparative statement respecting some of the results of these efforts, as they appear in the Report for 1884–85 and in the present volume. In the first-named document 276 cities, with a population exceeding 11,000,000, were reported as in correspondence with this Office. In the volume last mentioned 471 cities, with a population of about 12,130,000, were similarly reached. The other items in the following summary relate to schools of various kinds, chiefly separate from the public schools of States or cities, and include the number of such schools, as well as of their teachers and pupils :
Statistical summary of institutions, instructors, and students, as collected by the United
States Bureau of Education.
PUBLIC-SCHOOL SYSTEMS OF STATES AND TERRITORIES. The total expenditure of public moneys for educational purposes by the States and Territories during the year 1885–86 reached the sum of $111,304,927. This exceeded the expenditure of the previous year by $920,270. The expenditure per capita of' average attendance was $15.29, of which $13.14 was for current purposes.*
For each, 100 persons six to fourteen years of age, there were 105 enrolled in the pablic schools, of whom 67, or 64.6 per cent., were in average daily attendance. This percentage of attendance has increased from 48.6 since 1876, an increase which presents in a most tangible form the improvement which has taken place in regularity of school attend. ance during the last ten years.
For the statistics in detail of the public schools of the country, I refer to Appendix I of this Report. I would call special attention to the comparative table of the statistics of State systems of public schools (Table 8), in which are given in a systematic form 'many of the results which may be deduced by computatiou from the returns furnished by State superintendents. The relative status of education in the different States can be determined by the simple inspection of this table, thus rendering it of more practical service than the tables of absolute quantities.
* The expenditure for private schools and institutions of learning undoubtedly forms a considerable proportion of the monog expended by the peoplo for ociucational purposes; but unfortunately the amount cannot be determined by this Ofice, evou approximately.