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PACIFIC EDUCATIONAL JOURNAL.
$7,121 50. Work was begun at the close of the schools in May, and the building was ready to be occupied at the beginning of the next term in September. The addition was built of brick, alung the front of the original building, two stories high. The schoolhouse as it now stands contains six rooms, all of them large, roomy and finely furnished. The structure has been finished on the outside so that it resembles stone, and it makes a very bandsome appearance. Altogether this building has cost the district nearly $15,000.
The Oakilale schoolhouse stands on three acres of land. The schoolhouse in town occupies a full block. The Oakdale grounds are finely laid out in front of the building, and contain beautiful shrubbery and well kept flower beds. A large playground is situated back of the house. There has not been much care bestowed on the ground around the new schoolhouse in town, but poplar trees have lately been set out around the entire block. Both schoolhouses are supplied with water from the city water works.
Our schools at present are presided over by foarteen efficient teachers, and are running most smoothly and harmoniously. Richard White is the Principal and teacher of the First Grammar Department, assisted by Miss Carrie Garlizer. His room is situated in the Oakdale schoolhouse. The other teachers in this building are: C. A. Woodman, of the Second Grammar Department; 0. T. Harvey, of the Third Grammar; Miss Emma Perry, of rhe First Intermediate; Miss Alice Sproul, of the Fourth Intermediate; Miss Mollie Puillips, of the Second Primary; and Miss Clara Daly, of the Fourth Primary. The teachers at the new schoolhouse in town are: Miss Magnolia Wood, of the Second Intermediate; Miss Carrie Fuller, of the Third; Miss Flos Conger, of the Fifth; Miss Emma Wilson, of the Sixth Intermediate; Mrs. C. W. Kennedy, of the First Primary; and Miss Alice Crum, of the Third Primary. The salaries of these teachers amount to $1,100 per month. There are in the district 931 school children, and the attendance at the schools nearly reaches 700. The goverument of the schools is in the hands of three Trustees, the present members of the Board being William Earll, Frank Rinebart and L. H. McIntosh, In every respect our public schools at present are highly satisfactory, and are a source of infiuite pride to the citizens of Chico.
One of the ablest members of the present Board of Education, and one deeply interested in the schools, is Mr. Joseph Rothschild, one of the ablest lawyers of the city. Mr. Rothschild was educated partly in the public schools, and it goes without saying that he thoroughly understands their owrkings in all details. Mr. Rothschild will prove a valuable member, and his position as Chairman of the Salary Committee will set at ease the minds of those nervous teachers who are always fearing some change or reduction in salaries.
[Addressed to the Legislature in relation to Senate Bill 27, abolishing the
Official Organ. ]
What may be called the science of Instruction, as applied to our public school system, is a matter of very recent development. Twenty-five or thirty years ago the methods of enlightening the pupil in the mysteries of reading, writing and arithmetic were more physical than intellectual. The current usage consisted mainly in thumping knowledge of the rudiments into the scholar by heroic application of the rattan rather than by an enlightened, scientific course that, recognizing the difficulties involved, are applied to every sense and faculty of the youthful mind. Between the backwoods school of the last generation with its bare walls, ill-digested text books, and muscular master whose ideas of instruction were bounded by his own often crude notions, and the school of tu-day filled with the countless appliances for enlarging and illustrating to the eye what is addressed to the ear, whose teacher has made his calling an intelligent profession, and whose methods represent the sum of the best thought of the age, there is a difference that cannot be easily exaggerated.
The science of instruction has been immensely progressive, and never more so than now. The means of distributing information concerning the development of the educational system, however, is by no meanz as perfect as it might be. In the first place, the subject unfortunately possesses but scanty interest to the people at large, and is therefore neglected in current newspaper literature. In the second place, the isolation of many schools in districts remote from lines of communication practically shuts them out from a knowled'e of what is going on in the outer world. Realizing this, the laws of the State have wisely endeavored, so far as possible, to provide means for an interchange of ideas among those engaged in the business of instructing, and have not been niggardly in furnishing the funds necessary to this end. The teachers of the various counties are reqnired to assemble annually in so-called Institutes for the purpose of discussing their experience during the year, and of suggesting the one to the other systems of instruction that practice may have proved of useful application. For a like purpose, School Superintendents of the various counties are required, to assemble biennially.
Carrying out this plan of interchanging ideas, our lawinaktrs years ago provided for an official organ for the Department of Public Instruction. They rightly argued that if it was desirable for teachers and school perintendents to hold institutes and biennial sessions, it was also desirable to have at hand a means by which the teachers of each county might acquaint themselves with the work of such assemblages elsewhere throughout the entire State, and by which the useful part of such work might be preserved. The Statutes, moreover, had made the State Superintendent Public Instruction a sort of Supreme Court in the settlement of various questions that constantly arise in the management of school affairs. These decisions constitute a code as indispensable to the teacher and School Trustee as is the Practice Act to the lawyer. Our legislators appreciated that it was of great importance that these should be promptly published and circulated wherever needed, and if it accomplished no other purpose, this alone should justify the existence of an official organ. Lastly, they saw that the State University and Normal Schools needed some journal that would place them in communication with the general body of educators throughout the State. How much they have needed it is proven by the liberal use they have made of its columns.
These were the main considerations that induced the passage of the act creating an official organ for the Department of Public Instruction. Probably no one will deny that a publication which went no further than giving currency to the official news of the principal institutions and departments of instruction of the State would be of great general utility, and fill an important gap in the educational systen. The only objection urged against the organ is not based on the proposition that it is not and cannot be of service to instructors, but on the ground that the State provided means for compensating it for the work performed in its behalf. The idea has gone forth and has been industriously impressed on the public that it is in receipt of a subsidy. The very word of itself excites hostility. It has been synonymous in California with a genteel but none the less dangerous form of highway rubbery, and the mere suspicion of anything being subsidized is considered justifiable ground for attack. But there is no valid reason for charging the official organ with being subsidized. It is simply paid in an unusual way for services rendered, which, in the case of most newspapers, are compensated on the basis of advertising rates. The main object of establishing an official organ was to have it reach every school, and be a medium of universal circulation where needed. Therefore, instead of paying for official publications as advertisements, the State deemed it wiser to guarantee the circulation of one copy in each school district at the rate of $1.50 per year, and should the volume of official matter published be reckoned at the most mod. est advertising rate, the State will be found to be the great gainer by adopting this plan. The total sum so paid to the official organ is in the neighborhood of $3,000 per annum, and if we compare this with the vast sums expended annually for advertising State and County afairs in every other department of government, it must be admitted that the Department of Public Instruction cuts a modest figure in this line of expenditures. If it were attempted to do this same work through the ordinary journals of generat circulation, which could not in the nature of things reach half the teachers in the State, $30,000 a year would not begin to cover the bills.
The proposition that the JOURNAL shall exist independent of State patronage is utterly out of the question. The clientage of such a publication is in California too widely distributed geographically to admit of successful handling. Neither is it fair or businesslike, vr even honest, to discriminate against education by insisting that a pnblication conducted in its interests should do for nothing what every class of newspaper is liberally compensated for. It would be as reasonable to demand that County papers should publish the delinquent tax list, County ordinances, etc , free of charge—a proceeding that would drive two-thirds of them out of existence. The question that the Legislature must meet is this and no other: Shall the Department of Education have an organ, reasonably compensated, either on an advertising basis, or by a guaranteed circulation, or shall this all-important Department be deprived altogether of the means of publicity for its affairs ?
I am aware that in some quarters the Official Organ is not rega ded with tavor. I am aware that its literary merits have been criticised; that the payment to it of money by the State has been characterized as legalized robbery of the school children-a robbery, by the way, which amounts to a small fraction of a cent a year per child. But this hostility has been the result of circumstances in no wiy connected with its real merits or demerits. It was the outgrowth of a controversy that had its origin four years ago when the State Board of Education changed the official designation from one journal to another. A bitter animosity was aroused by the partisans of the two contestants, against which the successful JOURNAL had to contend as best it might. Many who should have been its friends, whose duty ii was to supplement its efforts in the cause of education, have been its consistent enemies, and have left no stone unturned to embitter the existence of its proprietors. Although this state of affairs has been no fault of these gentlemen, nevertheless it would be strange, under the circumstances, if it had not received a liberal share of uofriendly criticism. Against this, however, there has been more than an offset in the kind appreciation and endorsement of many prominent gentlemen interested in matters of education, such as the warm consideration of the late State Superintendent, of many County Superintendents, and of the Professors of the University of California, who have taken a lively interest in its welfare and have been regular contributors to its columns. With this number it appears under a new title, and under a management with new blood infused into the old. It now hopes for relations that will be cordial and friendly with all parties concerned, and should the Legislature and State Board of Education continue its existence as the official organ it will endeavor not to prove unworthy the confidence that such an act would imply
Jas. H. WILKINS.