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In examining the items of increase and decrease in the foregoing Summary, it is to be borne in mind that the schools of Roxbury have been added to those of Boston since the issue of the Summary of Statistics of 1866–67. Although the annexation of Roxbury was not consummated until January 1, 1868, the attendance of the pupils of the Roxbury schools is reckoned with that of the pupils of Boston during the whole of the school year, from September 1, 1867, to August 31, 1868.
In the items of salaries, the expense of the Roxbury schools from November 1, 1867, to the end of the finan cial year, April 30, 1868, is included; and in the items of Incidentals, the expense of the Roxbury schools, from January 1, 1868, to the end of the financial year, is included.
Considering the fact that the sums here reported as having been expended for salaries and incidental expenses do not represent the whole cost for those departments of expenditure in both Boston and Roxbury during the whole of the last financial year, it is evident that the true average cost per scholar for the year would not be produced by dividing those sums by the whole number of pupils. Therefore; I have in this Summary omitted the usual items relating to the cost per scholar.
The average whole number of pupils belonging to these schools during the past year was 14,385; the average attendance being 13,060, and the per cent of attendance 89.3. The number of teachers at the close of the school year was 303.
The following table shows the number of Primary pupils in each district promoted to the Grammar Schools in July 1868, and the average number of promotions to a school in each district:
The whole number of pupils promoted from the Primary Schools to the Grammar Schools in July was 1,972; the number promoted in March was 2,063; the total for the year was 4,063,-28 per cent. of the average whole number belonging. If this proportion is promoted each year, the average time required for the pupils to complete the primary course would be about three and a half years. From the above table, it appears that the Dwight, Rice, Lincoln and Norcross districts sent up the largest number to a school; and that the Lawrence, Adams, Washington and Dudley districts sent up the smallest number to a school. By dividing the cost of carrying on all the Primary Schools during the year by the number of pupils promoted to the Grammar Schools, we find that the average cost of fitting a pupil for promotion is about seventyfive dollars. Two provisions adopted by the Board have tended to reduce the expense of carrying on the Primary Schools. One of these was the grading of the schools, which secured more regular advancement of the pupils from class to class, and thus diminished the time required to go through the course. The other was the exclusion of children under five years of age. But the advantage gained in respect to economy by these measures has been in part, if not wholly, counterbalanced by the diminution which has taken place in the number of pupils to a teacher. If the schools were kept full, it would cost about sixty dollars to carry a pupil through the course.
The following table shows the number of Primary pupils in each district and the average number of pupils to a school, or teacher, during the last half year :
The above table shows that the average number of pupils to a teacher or school is 46.5, which is 9.5 less than the standard number. The 303 schools could accommodate nearly four thousand more pupils than have been in attendance during the past half year.
The Primary Schools are, in most respects, making satisfactory progress. It is safe to say, that this
department of our system was never in a better condition. Still, there are some teachers who do not so fully perform what is laid down in the course of study as could be desired. All that is required could be easily taught if each teacher in her grade or class would do her full duty. But if those in the lower classes neglect any of the requirements, it is of course more difficult for the teachers in the upper classes to keep up to the required standard. In the supervision of these schools, by the committees and masters, this matter should receive special attention.
It is by no means the least of the advantages of the graded system, that it necessarily makes each teacher, in a certain sense, an inspector and judge of the work of the teacher in the next lower grade, while his own work is in turn subject to the inspection and judgment of the teacher in the next higher grade. I find in these schools very gratifying evidence of the beneficial effects of the supervision of the Grammar masters, especially in those districts where the committees have given the masters the largest liberty in this respect. Of course it will take some time for all the masters to become so familiar with the handling of primary classes as to be able to give model illustrative lessons in their visits, for the benefit of the more inexperienced or less skilful teachers; but there is constant progress in this direction.
While writing this page, I have received eleven pretty little compositions in print letters, with an