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plan of its founders. But there lies before it, doubtless, still other stages of development and growth,-other territory to be occupied in the ever extending fields of learning—other work for the advancement of science and the elevation of mankind. Departments of Agricultural and Military science are already in contemplation, and will soon be added, and at no distant future the institution may advance to that higher and grander work which is comprehended in the highest notion of a true University.
The wise benificence of the policy which donated those seventy-two sections of land to the establishment of a great Seminary of learning can no longer be controverted. It may well be doubted whether any other equal portion of the public domain has purchased results so grand and valuable as this. Only twenty years have elapsed since the first students entered its halls, and it stands already in the front rank of American Institutions of learning. More than half a thousand students annually throng its lecture rooms, and its fame is known on both shores of the Atlantic.
The reports submitted by the Board of Regents and printed in the appendix to this volume, will show the present condition of the institution.
COLLEGES AND ACADEMIES.
The reports from the several incorporated institutions of learning, published in the appendix, exhibit them as in a gratifying state of prosperity as schools. These institutions are educating annually large nụmbers of the youth of the State, and are exercising no inconsiderable or unfavorable ivfluence over our educational system at large. Sustained solely by the generous charities of christian philanthropists, as were all the earlier Colleges of this country, they pour annually into the bosom of the State the rich contributions of sound learning and educated minds. A careful perusal of their reports, and of some of the State Visitors, appointed by this Department to visit them, will satisfy every reader of the debt of gratitude we owe them, and of their just claims upon the liberality of the public. May a generous people speedily relieve them from the financial embarrassments under which they are struggling, and a future, bright and prosperous as their past has been full of toil, fulfill the cherished hopes and philanthropic purposes of their christian founders.
STATE NORMAL SCHOOL.
The State Normal School was established under an act approved March 28, 1849. This act appropriated ten sections of salt spring lands for the erection of buildings and the purchase of apparatus, &c., and fifteen sections for an endowment fund for such school. This enterprise was placed under the control of a State Board of Education, a Board created for this purpose, and by this Board was located at Ypsilanti, the citizens of that place coutributing a site and a donation of $13,500 for the erection of buildings. The buildings were completed and dedicated, with appropriate ceremonies, in October, 1852, and in the following spring the school was opened for students.
Its success from the outset has been almost unprecedented in the history of similar institutions, and its beneficial influence upon the public school system of the State has fully justified the expectations of its early friends and founders.
In the report of the State Board of Education, in the Appendix, will be found a full statement of its present condition and progress.
THE STATE AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE.
By reason of some oversight, the law providing for the reorganization of the Agricultural College neglected to provide for any report from it to this department, and thus took it out of the general educational system of the State. A report of its progress and condition will doubtless reach the legislature through some other channel.
STATE REFORM SCHOOL.
An interesting report from the Board of Control of the State Reform School is transmitted in the Appendix. The crowded condition of this School, and the request of the Board of Control for a large appropriation of funds to enlarge buildings, will. bring before the Legislature again the difficult problems of reformatory education. How shall society save these poor, unfortunate children of vice and neglect from the career of ignorance and crime on which they have entered, and to which they seem consigned, and in savir.g them, save itself from becoming a prey to the depravities and crimes of their mature age? It is one of those terrible social problems, which will not rest or be forgotten. It starts up afresh with every fresh instance of childish crime, and says to society “find some practical solution or expect some direful consequence of your failure.” These poor, pilfering children, with hungry eyes, and covered with rags, are found hanging around the outskirts and purlieus of every city and willage in the land, saying to society, “ take care of our childhood or beware of our manhood;" “build our schools now, or build us prisons hereafter."
The State has done wisely to build this Reform School; but unless the experience of other States and other countries is false, it will not do wisely to enlarge it. Already the number of pupils congregated here is larger than can be successfully reached and penetrated by the reformatory influences which can be brought to bear on a single school. Both reason and experience would counsel the building of a separate school, or, what is better, the enlargement of this by the addition of a large farm on which houses may be erected for the accommodation of families of twenty-five or thirty boys each, to which those who have been partly reformed by the present institution, may be transferred, and where the work of reformation may go on till it is fully effected. This plan would necessitate the employment of a separate teacher for each family or group of boys who should live with them, and be at once keeper, parent and teacher. These pupils would cultivate the farm and be taught the science and practice of agriculture, as in the Agricultural Reform Schools of Europe and Massachusetts.
This plan, it is true, might involve some additional expense for teachers, but would, it is believed, add largely to the success of the work of reformation. And evidently, if the State is bound to undertake the reformatory education of these neglected and childish criminals, it is bound to meet promptly whatever expenses are necessary to secure the desired end. If only safe confinement and punishment are aimed at, then the expense is already too great; a prison would be cheaper. But if education and a final reform of their entire character are sought, then it is folly to stop just short of success for fear of a slight additional expense.
I have visited the school, during the past year, both on the Sabbath and on week days, and am happy to bear testimony to the fidelity of the several officers and teachers, and to the general good order and success. Additional teachers have recently been employed; but with the large increase of pupils, the teaching force is still too small.
THE GRADED SCHOOLS.
In the union or graded schools there has been a gratifying progress. The system is coming to be better understood, and the organization of the schools, in consequence, is steadily improving. The Superintendent has the most gratifying evidence that the full discussion of the theory of graded schools, and the detailed course of study for such schools, contained in his report of last year, have materially aided, in many cases, in securing a more complete classification and a more successful work. While reiterating, with increased emphasis, the views presented in that report, I can only add here the expression of my deepening conviction that the success of a union school requires as its three most essential conditions, 1st, the establishment by the school board, of a regular course of studies carefully graded ; 24, a thorough classification of the pupils into the several grades, and a steady adherence to this classification, no pupil passing into an advanced grade till he has thoroughly mastered the studies of the lower grades; and 3d, the employment of a competent principal who shall exercise a thorough and constant supervision over all the departments.
It has been deemed advisable to publish this year, as an additional aid and stimulus to the further development of this important branch of our school system, the reports of the several union schools making such reports. These reports, which will be found in the Appendix, contain much information of great value to district boards and teachers, which will enable them to form fair estimates of the actual and relative success of the several schools, and to compare the several systems of grading and courses of study now in vogue.
The Superintendent has visited in person a considerable number of the Union Schools to inspect their organization, and to view more closely their progress and success. He was wel. comed everywhere, and in most cases addressed both the schools and the public, on the urgent invitation of the teachers and the school officers. What he saw greatly confirmed bis conviction of the inherent excellence of this system of schools, and of the propriety of its still wider introduction. The air of refined culture, and the spirit of earnest scholarship pervading nearly. every high school, the modest and correct deportment and evident intelligence of the pupils, their neatness in personal appearance, and kindly courtesy in speech and manners, their quiet obedience to teachers and fine zeal in study, spoke volumes for the noble work these schools are doing for them and for mankind.
THE PRIMARY DISTRICT SCHOOLS.
These are preeminently the people's schools. To these must the great masses of our children look for whatever of school instruction they will ever receive; and to the improvement of these, therefore, will the wise statesman and philanthropic educationist give their most serious attention. I have repeatedly expressed the conviction that many, if not the majority of the schools are not accomplishing all that we might reasonably expect of them. The education they give is neither so thorough nor so extensive as it might easily be made. In the case of large numbers of children, it is scarcely worth the time