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the City Council for the year beginning May 1, 1868, is $1,013,240.00. The figures and percentages in full detail, may be found appended to this Report.
The numerous educational Reports of the cities and States of this country, show that the subject of popular education is receiving increased attention in all parts of our land. The recent action of the English Educational Commission, in sending its agents to examine and report on the systems of public instruction in the various nations of Europe and the United States, affords evidence of the anxiety and perhaps alarm with which the Government views the general ignorance of the lower classes in England. The comprehensive and invaluable reports made to the English Government by Mr. Fraser, in relation to education in the United States and Canada; by Mr. Fearon, on the Burgh schools and other schools of secondary education in Scotland; by Matthew Arnold, on the system of education for the middle and upper classes in France, Italy, Germany and Switzerland; by Baron Donald Mackay, on the condition of secondary education in the Netherlands, fully set forth the condition of popular education in those nations, and make clearly manifest, that the national progress and prosperity depend largely upon the education of the people. How absolutely necessary then is such education to us as citizens of the United States, where the government rests upon the will of the people, and where ignorance in a native born citizen of mature years is utterly inexcusable, and should be properly considered a crime!
Before entering upon our report proper, it may be
well to give a few extracts from the report of Special Commissioner Fraser, so far as they relate to the schools in the United States, so that we may be able to compare the opinion of an intelligent and educated stranger with our own judgment of ourselves.
Mr. Fraser says: "If I must undertake the invidious task of drawing comparisons, I must say that I decidedly prefer the system pursued in the Boston Grammar Schools to that pursued in those of New York, simply on the ground that the programme being more limited allows of the teaching being more thorough. In New York, too often the text-book seemed to supersede the teacher, and the memory to be more cultivated than the understanding. "The habit of answering questions so rapidly as almost to preclude the possibility of reflection, which is too generally encouraged in American schools as a sign of smartness, is wisely mistrusted by Boston educators."
Mr. Fraser, in speaking of the various systems of High School instruction, calls the English High School of Boston, "a school which I should have liked, if possible, to put under a glass case and bring to England for exhibition as a type of a thoroughly useful middleclass school."
"The free academy at New York and the Central High School at Philadelphia appear to aspire to a higher rank and to play a more distinguished part in the work of education than schools similarly related to the general system in other cities. They grant degrees; their teachers are dignified with the title of Professor'; the free academy possesses a Faculty.' . The func
tion of the High Schools at Boston,- I speak now of those for boys only, is strictly preparatory; they are schools only, not special schools even, but schools of secondary instruction, in one of which, the Latin School,― boys are fitted for college; in the other, the · English High School, a collegiate course not being in view, pupils are furnished with the means of completing a good English education, and fitting themselves for all departments of commercial life.""
"Such, at least, is the present aim of the English School, in default of any higher institution of special instruction to which it would naturally lead; but it is hoped that the sphere of its usefulness will be greatly enlarged, though its nominal functions will be contracted, by the establishment in Boston of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in which provision has been made for a special department, to be called the 'School of Industrial Science and Art,' which will stand to the English High School in a similar relation to that in which the university stands to the Latin School. The Latin School is related to the department of philosophy and belles lettres; the English School is a handmaid in the department of practical science and art. The one is to furnish the Commonwealth with its statesmen, physicians, lawyers, divines, litterateurs; the other is to supply it with capable men in the various fields of manufacturing, agricultural, and commercial industry." "The superior wisdom which presided over the organization of the Latin School at Boston is shown both in the comparatively early period at which the study of both Latin and Greek is introduced into the
course, and also in the early age at which it is recommended that boys intending to proceed to college should be placed at this school."
Again he says, "I have already mentioned the English High School at Boston as the one above all others that I visited in America which I should like the commissioners to have seen at work as I myself saw it at work on the 10th of June last the very type of a school for the middle classes of this country." "It was not the programme of study that elicited my admiration of this school-indeed I have learnt to attach very little weight either to programmes or systems, but the excellent spirit that seemed to pervade it the healthy, honest, thorough way in which all the work on part of both masters and pupils seemed to be done. Taking it for all in all, and as accomplishing the end at which it professes to aim, the English High School at Boston struck me as the model school of the United States. I wish we had a hundred such in England."
Of school buildings he says, "nothing can be finer or more suitable to the purpose, though very seldom with any pretensions to what is called architectural character, than some of the new school-houses which have been erected within the last five or six years in all the great cities of the Northern and Western States of the union, . fitted with elaborate, but not very successful, systems of heating and ventilation.”
"I do not know that the aggregate results of the system can be better summed up than by saying that there exists in America a general diffusion of intelligence rather than any high culture or profound erudition." . . .
"Yet notwithstanding these hindrances, and if not accomplishing all of which it is theoretically capable, if lacking some elements which we justly deem primary, and of which Americans themselves feel and regret the loss, it is still contributing powerfully to the development of a nation of which it is no flattery or exaggeration to say that it is, if not the most highly educated, yet certainly the most generally educated and intelligent people on the earth.”
The Committee find by carefully examining the reports from the High and Grammar Schools that they are in a satisfactory condition. The number of pupils now under the charge of the Board has been considerably increased during the past year by the annexation of the Highland District. During the last year a large addition to our school accommodations has been made. Two first-class Primary School Houses have been in course of erection, one in Charter Street, and the other in South Boston. The former was finished in December, and the latter will soon be ready for occupancy. Two large Grammar School Houses, the Wells and the Lewis, each containing twelve rooms and a hall, have been dedicated since the last Report was issued. A perspective view and a description of the former accompany this Report.
In the departments of special instruction, the Committee believe that more than the usual progress has been made, and they are gratified to be able to announce that hereafter music will be taught in all the classes of the Grammar Schools.