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Report of the School Committee made March 8th 1838.

Your Committee in the discharge of their duty beg leave to present the following,


The proper training of the young, should be, and no doubt is, a subject that lies near the heart of every reflecting parent & guardian of youth in the land.—and especialy near, the heart of every philanthropist and Christian. The enquiry then at once forces itself upon the mind—what should that training be?—what does common sense—experience, & scripture, teach upon that subject as applicable to our public schools.—We answer,

1. It teaches first a wholesome discipline—By which we mean a prompt—uniform and cordial obedience to [p. 141] all the commands & wishes of the teacher.—Failing to recieve this you fail of every thing.—If this object can be attained by moral suasion—by an appeal not to fear,— but to the nobler faculties of the mind, and of the soul— By presenting to the mind of the child the right and the wrong in in the case—And inducing him to secure the happiness which springs from the one—and escape the misery consequent upon the other it is well. But failing here—and as a last resort, recours must be had to the rod.—For lips touched by inspiration have said—that sparing it, you spoil the child. On this subject however your Com are enabled with satisfaction to say, that our schools are constantly yielding to this principle of wholesome discipline.—And that the cases where corporeal punishment has been resorted to—are decreasing in the full ratio of that—submission

2. In the second place we notice uniform & prompt attendance as highly important to the success of our schools.

The irregular scholar is not only retarded in his own progress (beyond his actual loss of time) But stands in the way of others—Breaking up the classes—Deranging the order of the school—Increasing the labours of the teacher–And thus curtailing the opportunities of others—and doing an injury to every other member of the School.

In this particular however there has during the past year, been an evident improvement.—And we recommend to every parent & guardian of youth—not to loose sight of this subject, untill—the evil is fully remedied.

3. we next call your attention to the importance of persevering application—No child should be allowed to hold a book in his hand, and not us it—Half lounge, & half study half work & half play, will never make a good scholar, or an exemplary man. Let parents— Teachers—Friends of education—All—Impress upon the minds of youth this truth. [p. 142]

4. we speak with utmost confidence of the condition & prospects of the three masters schools—and only recommend to pursue the same general course,—with such alterations & improvements as experience & observation may suggest.—We notice with pleasure the perfect harmony, & good feeling, that exists between the teachers of these schools,—and the salutary influence that their laudable emulation is exerting on the whole.

Each, with his peculiar excellencies—willing to instruct and be instructed—and thus like a three fold chord—binding together in closer and more delightful union the dearest interests of the rising—generation.

5 In the western primary school there is nothing worthy of note, beyond the ordinary progress of a town school.

6. The primary school in the eastern district has made but little progress the past year.—But we attribute it not to the want of attention, or tact, on the part of the teacher—But to the great number of scholars and the straightness of the house. The speedy completion of the new schoolhouse (should the necesary funds be appropriated) will furnish ample accomodation for all the scholars in that part of the town—And relieve your Corn from the painful necessity of sending a number of scholars from this school, to the one south of the river.

7. The south primary has been conducted very much to the satisfaction of your Com—and consequently to the credit of the teacher. And now with the addition of an assistant in the east primary school (if found necesary) your Com recommend that these Schools pursue the same general plan as heretofore. That they may be commenced in the first of April, and continue eleven months. And that the Com be empowerd to limit the age of admission into them to five years, instead of four —if in their judgment it would contribute to the general good. [p. 143]

8. It is very manifest to your Com that our system of schools is gaining favour with the people. Children are flowing in from Academies private schools and the streets. Thus showing the estimation in which our schools are held by all classes of the community. And now, your Com are constrained to ask an appropriation of 2700 $ at least, in order to carry out succesfully the present system of public education.

9. Of the 2500$ raised last year , 100$ was expended for wood & Coal, and 1852$ a year—or 35$ and 61 cents a week, to pay the three male teachers, which sum averaged on 239 scholars the number sent to these schools is 14. cents 9. mills a week to each scholar.— The remaining 552$ divided by 48 the number of weeks the primary schools were kept gives $11.50 Cents a week to pay the teachers—which averaged on 217 scholars the number sent—is 5 Cents 5 mills a week to each.

10. In the close, your Com ask your particular attention to some of the advantages of this system of public education. It. It unites all classes of society in one common interest dear to their hearts, Viz. The education of their children.—2d. It excites in these children a thirst for knowledge—A laudible ambition to excell. 3d. It secures to them in future life, that union of feeling—and harmony of action—which naturaly springs out from early school associations, and attachments. And finaly, it furnishes to every child (be he rich or poor) the requisite knowledge, to enable him to protect his property—maintain his rights. Defend his liberties, and repell the encroachment of anarchy or despotism,—scourges which ever have their origin in ignorance of the people.

All which is respectfully submitted

By order of the School Committee

[p. 144]

Report of School ComEe. made to the town Aprl. 1st 1839.

Your Committee in the discharge of their duty beg leave respectfuly to


That after careful examination of all our public schools, we are happy to state that our system of schools, which, three years ago was a mere matter of theory, and doubtful experiment, is now in the full tide of successful operation,—Improving not the minds only—but the morals—the habits—the manners— and the hearts even, of all the rising generation who choose to avail themselves of their benefits. It is a fact well attested by your Com—the teachers and others, That cases of lying, so common to children especialy when uninstructed, have been few, & far between.—That Vulgar & obscene expressions are of rare occurence in and about our schools. And profanity that wicked & debasing crime which a few years ago stalked abroad with unblushing front, has mostly not to say entirely shrunk from the light, that mental & moral cultivation is sheding around our public schools. And the few exceptions which your Corn have been called to notice are from that class of large boys who from necessity in some cases—but from choice in most, have attended school but a small portion of their time. By way of illustration we mention with regret the cases of two large boys who for wilful disrespect to the Teacher—and disobedience of the rules of the school, have been—The one, suspended for two days—The other expelled until he should be willing to change entirely his course.—and yield implicitly to the rules & dicipline of the school. These boys have not returned: Nor is it desirable they should on any other terms— than those of thorough reformation. Much as we regret [p. 145] to see even one youth growing up in ignorance— wilfulness—& Sloth, (Those—fruitful sources of misery & crime:) we heartily acquiesce in that great and truly republican principal of Law—That the rights & privileges of the many should never be sacrificed to the interest or caprice of the few. We subjoin the testimony of the schools in regard to these cases.

Questions by your Com. Were Samuel & Joseph kind & peaceable companions? No Sir. said every child in the school. Did they obey the rules of the school? No Sir—Did your teacher do right to send them away? Yes Sir. Would you like to have them return? No Sir.

It is said that children & fools always speak the truth: and your Com believe it.

In this connection we mention a case that ocured last April at the close of the school year When three or four large boys, about to leave the school committed depredations on the school house, and on private property in it, to the amount of 10, to 15 dollars. Your Com held a court of enquiry on the cases—called in witnesses—established the facts—Assessed the damage on the parents ÷ who, (most of them) promptly responded to the call, and the money was paid over to the Town Treasurer. Nor does the blame restaltoget her on children, for parents too:—honestly it may be but injudiciously in the opinion of your Com,—take their children from the school for 3,-6, or even 12 months at a time.—And after they have lost their ardour for study—Contracted idle habits—and enlisted their thoughts & affections in other things they are turned back again upon the schools only to mar their beauty, and destroy the order harmony & good feeling that would otherwise prevail in them.

[In view of the facts your Com recommend that hereafter no scholar shall be received or retained in our public schools over sixteen years of age: Except by [p. 146] special permit from the Com, in extraordinary cases,— and for very strong reasons.]1

The Primary school in the western district taught by Miss Abbot has made fine proficiency during the past year very much to the satisfaction of your Com. and very creditable to the Teacher & Scholars.

The Primary South of the river has been interrupted by the sickness of the teacher Miss Richardson whose place for a time wass supplied by Miss Gardner The school however appears to be in fine order and progressing well. One family in this district are in the habit of sending their children late to school. a practice very much to be regretted.

The east Primary taught by Miss Mansfield was so large that it was found necesary to employ an assistant— And Miss Graves has divided her labours between that and the Grammar school kept in the same house. This school very backward the last year.—and not fully instructed until an assistant was employed—is now progressing very well. The deservedly popular characters of Mr. Tweed & Mr. Magoun as Teachers, has secured for them in neighboring towns a higher reward for their services than your appropriation (however liberal) would allow your Com to give. We notice with satisfaction that Mr. Foster and Mr. Baxter, their successors in office are treading hard upon their footsteps—And as a consequence of the late examination of their schools. Your Com are filled with high hopes in regard to the future prosperity of these schools, under their well directed and perservering labours.— Last, not least we come to speak of the High School—long and successfuly taught by Mr Forbes ranking probably with the first Academies in the Com Wealth. The pride & hope of its friends, where are developed not the powers and faculties of the mind only but the better feelings of the heart. A community governed by [p. 147] virtuous principles & kindly feelings—where profane vulgar & obscene language is discarded, and selfishness—pride—anger—wrath—malice—hatred—revenge, and all the baser passions are by law shut out, and forbearance—meekness—patience—brotherly kindness & love are the acknowledged principles of action.

A little Republic prescribing its own rules—enacting its own laws—judging its own causes—and punishing its own offenders,—The Teacher, a mere executive officer to enforce the decisions of the majority against the lawless & disobedient of this self-governed & happy community. Such, should be the high school—to such a condition it is rapidly approaching—and to Teacher & pupils we award our unqualified praise.


Whole No.Aver. Attend.Absences.
West Primary School24211 out of 8
South Primary School66581 out of 8
East Primary103801 out of 5

193 Scholars averaged on 650$ the Amt paid the four primary Teachers is $3.37 Cts a year to each Schor or 6 1/2 Cents a week.

Whole No.Aver. Absences.
West Grammar78601 out of 5 1/3
East Grammar86701 out of 5 1/3
High School57481 out of 6 1/3

221 Scholars averaged on 1850$ the Amt pd the 3 Male teachers is $8.37 a year to each Scholar or .16 Cts 1 mill a week [p. 148]

414 The whole No under instruction, averaged on 2812$ The whole Amt paid for support of Schools is $6.79 Cts 2 mills a year to each or .13 Cts per week.

School houses

The Six school rooms now in use are in very good condition, well supplied with heat & light, and rendering the Scholars in them very comfortable. But the new house in the eastern district (in particular) is almost perfect—a model school house, well worthy the notice of Towns & Committees about to build:— And well worth the money that it Cost. The furnace placed in it, fully answers the expectation of your Com, heating sufficiently three rooms, two of of which are very large, and at the same time consumes very little coal, and being perfectly safe.


Your Com state for the information of the Town (and in order to avoid unhappy collissions between parents & Teachers,) That Your Com or their successors in office will meet in the Committee room on the first Tuesday evening of each month to hear and act on Complaints or requests of Parents Teachers or others relating to any subject connected with the public schools. But the practice of going to the school room (on any pretence) to quarrel with or scold the Teacher, is one which your Com exceedingly regret and which the town no doubt, will heartily disapprove. In the close, your Com recommend to continue the schools on the present plan the coming year, to do which an appropriation will be needed of at least the amount expended the last year as by your printed statement. To some persons the Amount asked for, say 28 or 2900 dollars may even seem extravagant, especially when our Town [p. 149] is 16 or 17000, dollars in debt and our annual expenditures verry large.

—Yet however loudly & justly retrenchment may be called for—and wherever it may begin—Your Com entreat that it may stop ere it reaches the public schools.—For who that has visited our schools: That regards the dearest interests of the rising generation:— That views the poor as possessing equal talents, and entitled to equal honours & benefits with the rich: Who that has weighed the advantages of educating together all classes of the community, Thus, elevating the vulgar, & the rude, to a proper selfrespect that will lead them to lay aside their rude habits, and vulgar expressions.

Thus too:—Subduing the family pride, and haughty spirit of the children of the rich, when they find powerful competitors (for the highest honours of the school) from the poorest & most obscure families in the town. Who: your Com. ask that entertain these views, will withhold the necesary funds to carry out the system: or, graduate the benefits of public instruction by dollars & Cents.

Respectfully submitted

By order of the School Committee

Galen James Chairman Medford March 4th. 1839.

1 The bracketed paragraph is crossed in the manuscript, the second thought evidently being to omit it.

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