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‘ [199] . . . There is an unaccountable reluctance on the part of both teachers and scholars to use the spelling-book,—a book which, in the days of their fathers, was ever acknowledged “the only sure guide to the English Tongue.” . . . The committee are unanimously of opinion that the attainments in this branch are altogether inferior to what was witnessed in our schools twenty or thirty years ago.’

The committee of 1844 protest also against many studies, causing superficial knowledge, and increasing not only the expenses of education, but habits of inaccuracy, slackness, and inattention,—a kind of protest with which we are familiar in our time, the smoke, as it were, of the irrepressible conflict between two ideas, that of thoroughness and that of breadth, each educationally sound, although either pushed to extremes crowds the other to the wall.

The crying need of the schools, say the committee of 1844, is good teachers. The qualities wanted in them are of a high order,—an assemblage of attainments and virtues seldom found in one person. In case a teacher fails, however worthy or needy he may be, it is better that he should suffer through loss of position than that a whole school through him should waste or lose its golden days. The evils of irregularity in 1844 are very great, it not being unusual for a quarter of the pupils to be absent from school at one time. Collisions between parents and teachers in matters of discipline have been comparatively rare. It is hoped that teachers will continue to have the countenance of all good men in their endeavors to banish lying, obscenity, profanity, and every other vice and impropriety from the schools.

In 1846, it appears that many schools are too large, and that teachers cannot hear as many lessons as the scholars are able to learn. Hence idleness, lack of quiet, and lack of discipline. Eighty or ninety pupils tax a teacher unduly.

The schoolhouses this year received a thorough overhauling from the committee. One schoolhouse is well built, but has no ventilation. Another is ‘truly a noble building,’ but not without defects, for although one room is well ventilated and in good order, another has a floor badly shrunken, burned, and unclean, while certain plastering is falling, and the cellar contains water. Other buildings come in for a denunciation that is merciless: they are ‘old, leaky and rotten;’ ‘shamefully ’

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