1892-94 TO 1898-1900
IVIION OF RESEARCH
Thomas D. Bailey
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
P36- ,' AUGUST, 1962
NARRATIVE REPORTS OF COUNTY SUPERINTENDENTS
1892-94 to 1898-1900
Research Report 21
Division of Research
Thomas D. Bailey
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
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Research Report 21 is a compilation of County
Superintendents' narrative reports covering
statistical and other school data for the period
The preparation of this report is one phase in
the implementation of Florida's plan for improv-
ing statistical services of the State Department
of Education under the Provisions of Title X,
National Defense Education Act.
Research Report 21 is composed of extracts from the file of State Super-
intendents' Biennial Reports in the State Department of Education. It pre-
sents in full the narrative reports submitted by county superintendents for
the years 1892 through 1900. An earlier report, Research Report 20, covered
the first ten years of Florida's public school system from 1869 to 1880. No
narrative reports of county superintendents are on file for the years between
1880 and 1892. Either such reports were not requested or if received were
not printed in the annual report of the State Superintendent during this period.
Thus this report is a continuation of the series of reports that were begun
in Research Report 20.
Considerable growth took place during the years not covered by county super-
intendents' narrative reports. In fact, State Superintendent Sheats refers
to this as the "era of greatest development of public education in the State."
When the educational system of the State becomes pretty thoroughly
developed, the statistical changes for any one or two years may be
quite small, often too slight to furnish reliable data to deter-
mine whether or not advancement has been real and permanent. In
partial illustration of this point, the fact is cited that the era
of greatest development in public education in the State dates
back from 1888 to 1878 during.which decade the number of schools
grew from 992 to 2,240; the enrollment, from 36,951 to 82,323, both
more than doubling in the ten years.
It is interesting to note that while some inequalities existed among schools
within the same county, Florida operated a public school system based on the
county as the local administrative unit. In 1892 State Superintendent Albert
J. Russell wrote
Some persons, evidently desirous o-F creating sensation by appealing
to prejudice, are frequently referring to the supposed immense
amount of money expended for the cities and towns to the detriment
of the country . .
In the cities and towns there are congregated large number of school
youth of both races in most cases, and in order to properly accom-
modate them great numbers of schools, of sittings, and of appliances
are required and cannot be dispensed with, and the statement cannot
be sustained as truth that the schools of cities are largely pro-
vided for at the expense or detriment of the country schools, but
there are no city or town schools recognized in the school law of
this State. All are county schools; that by the side of the re-
motest forest and that in the metropolitan centre. Each county
constitutes of itself a school district, and is presided over by a
Board of Public Instruction and a County Superintendent. The same
law, rules and regulations control and provide for all.
These county superintendents' narrative reports give a first-hand account of
the major problems and difficulties experienced in the growth and development
of public education in Florida just before the turn of the century. The
struggles for financial support and public acceptance of new ideas were ever
present. This period saw the beginning of public school transportation
through the use of wagonettes--a controversial move. It also saw the beginning
of the move toward compulsory attendance, uniform textbooks, teachers' exam-
inations, and the idea of concentrated'(consolidated) schools. Even school
people objected to some of thses "progressive steps" as is brought out in some
of the narrative reports.
Speaking of consolidation and transportation of pupils, State Superintendent
William N. Sheats wrote
During the past two years several of the counties have inaugurated
the system of consolidating the smaller schools and transporting
the pupils by wagons, thereby materially decreasing the number of
their schools. This system is now in operation in many of the
States and is being commended as lessening the cost of the schools
and proving beneficial to the children in rural and thinly populated
districts. It is confidently believed, if the tendency to multiply
the number of schools had not been checked, that their number in
the State would have been over 3,000 by this date, their real value
being diminished in proportion to the increase. The chief design
of the three-mile limit, made law at the suggestion of my predeces-
sor, was to counteract the tendency to establish new schools.
One school to a township in many of the rural districts with a
properly conducted transportation of the pupils living over two
miles from a strong and centrally located school, would doubtless
better educate all the children at less cost, prove conducive to
health and morals of the pupils, and relieve the anxiety of parents
at the danger attending their children on the way to and from
school. No alarm need be caused at the decrease of the number of
schools, consolidation with transportation points to better in-
struction, longer terms, and more attractive and comfortable school
houses--a decided gain for all. Let the system be generally adopted
In summarizing the need for compulsory attendance laws, Superintendent Sheats
added in his report to the legislatures
In the beginning compulsory education is every where and always felt
to be severe and meets with energetic contradiction and opposition.
Those who favor keeping the masses in ignorance encourage opposition,
whether openly or secretly. In the course of time, however, the
masses become reconciled, and the law enforcing regular school at-
tendance is recognized as a protection; yet its suspension would be
followed by a noticeable falling off of attendance, even in the most
0 a 0 0 4
The County Superintendents in State Convention, after free and full
discussion, declared with much unanimity that such a law is necessary
and adopted the following: "Resolved, That a compulsory education
law be enacted in the State of Florida, requiring every child between
the ages of 6 and lh to attend school at least 80 days in every
year; Provided, That such limitations shall be attached to the law
as will not make attendance a hardship upon any child."
A compulsory law is needed more for its moral effect than for its
rigor; a rigorous law or one containing much costly machinery, I
would vigorously oppose. It is believed that a conservative law,
such as obtains in some of the States, can be drawn which will in-
flict no hardship upon any parent really desirous of educating his
children and will still preserve the effect of preventing any con-
siderable number of youth from growing up in ignorance and vice to
become either paupers or criminals and so to continue through life
a constant tax upon the State.
The struggle for uniformity in textbooks was continuing in 1900. The State
had no law on the subject since the law passed in 1893 was left out in the
codification of the Revised Statutes. In annual convention, the county
superintendents passed the following resolution favoring county unity but
opposing state uniformity. The approval was not unanimous.
Resolved, That State Uniformity of Text Books is unwise, non-pro-
gressive and undemocratic; that County Uniformity is desirable, and
it is hereby recommended that the next Legislature enact such laws
as will legalize this plan; provide for the selection, adoption,
purchase and sale of books by county school authorities, and protect
pupils and patrons.
In his report the State Superintendent treated this same subject:
There are many in the State favoring Uniformity, others, the crea-
tion of a Book Commission whose duty it shall be to examine books
and to recommend two or more texts on each subject from which County
Boards shall make adoptions. I am somewhat inclined to the latter
course, but make no such recommendation, as the textbook question
is a very serious and complicated one, and any school officer
taking a decided stand upon this question is liable to have his good
Notwithstanding the great amount of literature in opposition to State
Uniformity, or State Advisory Committees, profusely and promiscously
circulated by capital invested in school book publications, I am
unable to see why such provision, wisely, judiciously, conservatively,
and incorruptably administered would prove a detriment to the
State . Every utterance on an educational platform in oppo-
sition to any species of State Uniformity seems to be more or less
suggested by those engaged in the manufacture of books . . I
find in me a spirit that resists to the utmost a seeming effort of
organized capital or tutor the utterances of the educational press
and speakers and to influence official recommendation and action
as though the administration of schools were a partitive one, one
factor being the book companies, the other the officers legally
charged with school government.
As might be expected, teachers' examinations, no matter how worthy their objectives
created quite a disturbance. Superintendent Sheats, who was largely respon-
sible for the establishment of a system of state teachers' certificates based
on uniform examinations, provided some interesting comments in this area in
I (Superintendent Sheats) felt that the standard of the ideal tea-
cher was entirely too low in every respect . . I realized that
the matter of examination would of necessity have to be taken par-
tially out of the hands of local authorities, often incapable in
point of education of properly conducting them, and too often
biased in their judgment of the fitness of candidates to teach by
questions of necessity, relationship, politics, personal advantage,
spite, or other influence . . It was apparent that if there
was to be anything like a State school system in fact as well as
in name, the mode of examinations and the requirements in the same
could not be left to the caprice of county school authorities, even
as good as some were,
Superintendent Sheats prepared and had enacted by the Legislature, a bill
providing for uniform state examinations and certificates based on such
examinations. This bill cancelled several hundred unexpired five year certifi-
cates, or certificates that, as Superintendent Sheats put it, "were five-year
ostensibly, but as custom had run, in reality perpetual certificates." It
was recognized that this abrupt change worked to the disadvantage of a number
of good and competent teachers.
It would have been a pleasing task, had it been possible, to have
framed a law that would, while effectually reaching the latter (in-
competent teachers), have recognized and protected the former (capable
teachers); but to reach the deep seated disease, it was found necessary
to cut through some good sound flesh. None regretted this more than
Given time and faithful execution, the law will fully vindicate its
wisdom and verify to the fullest extent the promises and fondest
hopes c its friends, and accomplish for our own State what is claimed
it has done for other states in which it has been tested.
It is admitted that a missing link or two in the law had to be sup-
plied by official interpretation; these were promptly furnished and
there was not the least difficulty found in putting in operation the
provisions of the law in seven-eights of the counties in the State;
in the one-eighth, it existed more in the imagination and obstinate
blindness of those charged with its execution, and who were at the
same time hunting grounds for evasion.
Reports of county superintendents
are reproduced as printed without
editorial comment or revision.
First Reports of County Superintendents taken from the Report
of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, W. N. Sheats,
Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1892.
The condition of the schools of Calhoun county is very promising. We have
only a few teachers, but they are doing good work.
I intend to give each teacher two schools during the year, and in that way
get nearly all the schools taught.
I am trying to have our schools graded, and am meeting with fair success, not-
withstanding the opposition of some patrons (patrons of the blue-back spelling-
book type) who consider it a waste of money to furnish their children with
I am also advocating the necessity of building better school houses, equipping
them with better furniture, apparatus, etc., than we have at present.
I am working to have a High School established in our county, where advanced
pupils may be trained for the profession of teaching.
I would be pleased to have a full corps of teachers in our county; teachers
who would live in our midst, teachers educated in the county and who would
take interest in elevating the educational status of Calhoun.
I favor Uniform Examinations, because they are fair and impartial to all, free
from favoritism by School Board and County Superintendent. I also believe
they are better for the true teacher, in that he tries to elevate himself in
his profession, and by elevating himself he elevates his school.
I would suggest that Second Grade Certificates be made good in any county in
That County Superintendents be compelled to visit their several schools more
than once during the term.
That the Legislature regulate the salaries of County Superintendents, instead
of School Boards doing so.
Yours very truly,
P. F. FISHER,
Condition of School Affairs in Citrus County, Florida, for the Term of 1894-'95.
The schools of this county are being taught this term by young teachers, with
but two or three exceptions. Nearly all of them are bringing to their work
in the school-room zeal, energy, enthusiasm and intelligence. They show a
readiness to profit by their own and others' experiences, and to learn how to
correct past mistakes and win future successes.
In the history of this county the schools were never in a better condition
financially, educationally, and in every other way than at present. Good
school houses have been and are being built as rapidly as our funds will per-
mit, furnished with patent school desks, charts, maps, stoves, blackboards,
etc. There is less complaint from dissatisfied patrons than ever before, and,
so far as the writer knows, the people are better satisfied with the progress
and management of their children than at any previous time. The teachers are
all residents of the county, identified with its interests, and have the con-
fidence of the people. The same is true of all the school authorities,
The teachers are orgainzed into a County Teachers' Assosiation, which meets
once in every two months at different places in the county, thus bringing the
teachers and patrons in social and educational contact and acquaintance. At
these meetings, practical essays are read and discussed, live questions pro-
pounded and answered, experiences compared, opinions interchanged, future
plans considered and, in fact, the whole range of school work brought in re-
view and passed upon. The best of feeling and good fellowship have always
prevailed at such times. No rasping, harsh criticisms are indulged in, but
helpful fraternity and becoming courtesy is the rule.
The Superintendent has failed in but two instances to be present at these
meetings, and then only because it was unavoidable. He delivers lectures on
pedagogics and discusses practical questions at these times, and endeavors by
every means in his power to push forward the work of education in the county.
He visits the schools, cousults with the teachers, patrons and pupils, con-
siders and relieves, as far as possible, the needs of each of these classes,
tries to correct their mistakes and encourages the teachers to faithful work,
the patrons to send their children regularly to school and the pupils to
diligent and persevering study. No adverse criticism of the teacher in the
presence of his or her pupils is indulged in by him, but rather, if any-
thing amiss is discovered in the teacher's methods, conduct or management,
he quietly calls his or her attention to it by a written note which is un-
obtrusively handed to the teacher before leaving. This cautiousness he deems
very important for obvious reasons. He devotes all his time to his official
work, except, of course, the Sabbaths. When dissatisfaction arises in any
community about school matters he repairs as quickly as possible to the local-
ity, consults with the parties concerned and rarely fails to adjust the dif-
ficulty. In his efforts to secure the efficient working of the school laws
and promote the best interests of the school, he has generally had the hearty
co-operation and approval of the School Board. The President of the Board
frequently attends the meetings of the teachers and enters earnestly into the
work of the day be essays and counsel. Other members are sometimes present
also. Supervisors are, in most cases, efficient and faithful to their duties
though some of them do not visit the schools as often as could be desired.
Finally, though we consider that school matters in this county are progress-
ing as well as could be expected in view of the sparseness of the population
in many parts of the county, and other difficulties, yet we do not propose
to rest content until we have brought our schools to the highest attainable
efficiency and success. To this end, the Superintendent, School Board and
teachers of this county will learn, as far as in them lies, of other and
older counties and school workers the best ways to achieve the results desired.
Those who are in advance of us on educational lines will find us ever ready
to listen to their counsel and profit by their experience.
As to needed legislation, I would respectfully suggest amendment of the law
so that second and third grade teachers may transfer from one county to another
without examination, and extension of the limit of Third Grade Certificate;
otherwise, nearly all our colored schools will be closed after this year.
Either change the limit of the branches required, or the advancement in those
branches for Third Grade. Colored teachers, as a rule, can not take success-
fully the same examination as the whites.
I favor the new law for uniform examinations for several reasons.
1. Because the older class of teachers, with their old notions and obsolete
methods are retiring before it, and younger, fresher, more vigorous, more
enthusiastic, more energetic teachers take their places with modern
methods and the tractability of youth. Old teachers can not be fired out
of the ruts, while young ones are ready to learn from any reliable source.
2. Because it largely eliminates tramp teachers, pleasure and health seekers
from other States. My most worthless teachers have generally been of this
3. Because the people seem to have confidence in the impartiality and strict-
ness of these examinations, and that confidence helps the teachers, and,
through them, the schools,
4. Because the teachers themselves will realize, after awhile, that their
efforts for self-improvement and greater efficiency are appreciated by
the people, and hence there will be a general uplift of the profession
and the cause of education.
Eo A. HARRISON
Co. Supt. Pub. Inst. Citrus county.
Hon. W. No Sheats, State Superintendent Public Instruction, Tallahassee, Fla.:
Dear Sir: The educational interests of this county are in fair condition
but not nearly so good as I desire.
I think the school law should be so changed as to .require a graded high school
to be established in each county at the county seat, to be maintained eight
months each year. It should also require 'every school in the county to be
closed for the school year whenever- the monthly average attendance falls be-
low 50 per cent, of the total enrollment.
Each County Superintendent should also receive as compensation for his ser-
vices 2 per cent. of the total receipts, and 2 j per cent. of the total
disbursements of his county for school purposes. To be eligible to the
office of County Superintendent of Public Instruction, one should have taught
at'least two years under a State or First Grade Certificate.
I hope to see all of the above put in proper shape and become law on January
1, 1896; except that those Superintendents now holding office and not possessed
of the above requirements may be permitted to exercise the functions of their
office until the expiration of the present term.,
To be eligible to the office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction
one should have taught at least five years an A. B. or A. M. diploma from some
recognized college. This should'also become law.
I am a strong advocate of the new law, though I think it slightly deficient
in not having properly provided for a beginning, so to speak, for examinations.
It saves time. It prevents annoyance by friends and relatives who think them-
selves capable of teaching but are mistaken. It inspires confidence in cer-
tificates from other counties, etc.
T. C, COLLINS
Sec'y. and Co. Supt, Columbia county.
Hon. W. N. Sheats, Superintendent Public Instruction, Tallahassee, Fla.:
My Dear Sir--I beg leave to submit the following reports
Financially we rank Al. We carried a surplus of $1,700 over from last year,
our object being to have on hand enough funds to meet our obligations to the
teachers for the months of October and November. Our taxes do not begin to
come in until December and January. A school warrant has never been dis-
counted in this county. We try to be conservative in our management of our
schools, and still try to keep up with the procession.
We are paying from $40 to $60 per month to teachers, and only $225 to our
Superintendent per annum.
The laborer is worthy of his hire. A Supervisor works for nothing, and
nine times out of ten is overpaid. Abolish him, or pay him for his services.
Make all grades of certificates good in any county of the State, for they all
pass on the same questions. Amend the law so that $40Q shall be the minimum
salary of a County Superintendent.
What a glorious thing it would be if the schools could be placed on a Civil
A truly high-minded man of education certainly must wince when he is forced
to dabble in the mire of politics.
Pay the teacher who can sing and teach the rudiments of music $5 a month more
salary, and will give her pupils the benefit of her talent.
If you want to do Dade County a favor, change the September examination to the
E. R. BRADLEY,
Hon. W. N. Sheats, State Superintendent, Tallahassee, Fla.t
Our school affairs are in a very satisfactory condition and we are able
financially to keep them up to the present standard. The only drawback is
the closing of about twenty schools for lack 9f teaching force.
With some modifications I think we qan hereafter run all our schools in this
county under the present law, but if we have to get all our Third Grade
Teachers into Second Grade next year, and all our Second Grade into First
Grade in two or four years at farthest, we will run less schools each year
or will drop experienced Second and Third Grade teachers for new ones with
like certificates. You will see by this that I think the law should be so
modified that we can for some years, at least, continue to issue Third and
Second Grade certificates, otherwise we will be unable to run all our country
schools, as teachers qualified to take First Grade certificates will not come
here to take country schools running only about five months at from $30 to
$40 per month; and we will not be able to bring our teachers up as fast as the
present law requires. Should the law be thus modified, there will still be
the following inducements for teachers to progress: First, under a Third
Grade the teacher will have to be examined each year, and a Second Grade once
in two years, and when we know how teachers dread these examinations we know
they will try to progress to get rid of being examined once in each, or every
other year. And again, a Third Grade teacher is liable to be dropped, if
one holding a Second Grade can be obtained, and the same would be certain to
happen to a Second Grade when a First Grade could be obtained. I am in favor
of the present law with above mentioned modifications.
You ask what special efforts I am making for the betterment of our schools.
My special efforts have always been to get the very best teachers possible;
next, the very best school buildings, furniture and apparatus possible, as
these are the great prerequisites for good schools, and good schools cannot
be had without them, I favor the uniform examinations because they must be
more impartial, and every teacher must stand on his own merits, and knowing
this the teacher is bound to progress.
JOEL Do MEAD,
County Superintendent Duval County.
Hon. W. N. Sheats, Tallahassee, Fla.t
Dear Sir--In reply to your circular I would state that we have made appropria-
tions for 63 schools, employing 94 teachers. Forty-one of these, with 65
teachers, are white schools, and 22, with 29 teachers, are negro schools.
We now have in operation $1 schools, employing 82 teachers, and we will have
12 small schools to put in operation, say the 1st of February or March next,
which will require 12 teachers, one each.
The attendance thus far this term has certainly been 10 per cent. better
than ever before, and after a trip of two and a half weeks through the county,
and visiting a number of the schools and talking with the teachers and patrons,
I am encouraged to believe that this year's school work will show a marked
improvement over any year since public schools were established in this county.
In the way of betterment we have erected two comfortable one-room school
buildings and an addition of two rooms to another building at a cost of $1,450,
and have made repairs on other buildings at a cost of $800.
We have also purchased and placed in different school-rooms 140 double patent
desks of best make, and 115 yards of black-board.
What is most urgently needed for our schools at this time is a revision of our
revenue laws, so as to bring money promptly into the school treasury. Our
taxes are now due on November 1, but all taxpayers have until April 1 of the
following year in which to make this payment. This being the case, only a few
of our small taxpayers think of paying before February or March, and our school
teachers have to wait for their money or our School Boards have to borrow the
same at a big rate of interest. All this can be remedied by framing a revenue
law on business principles.
Make the taxes as now due on the 1st of November, and allow a discount of 5
per cent, to all who pay in November, 4 per cent. to those who pay in December,
3 percent. to those who pay in January and so on; and add 1 per cent, per month
to all who pay after April the 1st until July, when sales should be made peremp-
tory on the property of all failing to pay theirs (sic) taxes before that date.
Do this and our teachers can be paid prompely, and they will be encouraged to
do more and better school work than ever before.
N. B. COOK,
Superintendent Escamiba County.
Recommendations of County School Board
The Board of Public Instruction of Escambia County respectfully recommend to
the State Superintendent, and to the State Board of Public Instruction, and to
the Senators and Representatives from Escambia County, that the school law be
amended as follows, viz.2
That the election of County Boards be discontinued, and that hereafter members
of the county boards shall be appointed by the State Board of Public Instruction
for four years, provided, that in the first appointment of each county board
one member shall be appointed for two years, one for three years, and one for
four years; and provided further, that in the first appointment preference
shall be given to a former member of experience, who has faithfully and satis-
factorily discharged the duties of the office for one or more years.
We recommend that the law for the Uniform Examinations of teachers remain
unchanged, except that part of Section 56 beginning with and after the word
"nothing" which we recommend be stricken out.
We recommend that a school year be not less than five or more than eight months,
and that a school term be one half the number of weeks of a school year.
We recommend that all counties shall assess the full rate of 5 mills for school
We recommend that the infliction of corporal punishment be prohibited within
We further recommend that all other provisions of the present school law be
retained unchanged. Respectfully submitted, GEO. S. HALLMARK,
N. B. COOK WM. FISHER,
Sec'y and Supt. Board of Public Instruction.
Hon. W. N. Sheats, Tallahassee, Fla:
Dear Sir--Our county will operate for 1894-95, 38 white schools; four eight
months, one six months, one five months, and 32 four months. We have only
12 colored teachers, one of them will teach three schools, and the balance,
say, two schools, each for four months. If funds do not miscarry, will not
have a deficit. Condition about as well as could be expected, under all the
circumstances, I favor the uniform examinations, because they make teachers
apply themselves, especially the young. They give dignity to the profession.
In part, my special efforts are to get patrons interested, by continued
talking, and argument, and to do all I can in getting teachers to improve
their qualifications, by conversation, examination, by loaning books, and
giving commissions of publishers, to induce subscriptions to educational
journals. I try to get young men and women to stand the examinations. As
far as means admit, I send bright literary papers to boys and girls in the
Any suggestions as to the needed legislation do not occur to me, except "let
well enough alone," for the present.
C. E. L. ALLISON
In the forty schools that have opened in this county since July the 1st, there
is an enrollment of 1,I04 pupils, with a fair average attendance. There are
twenty-seven schools yet to open. Some of these will begin next month; others
will have to wait till the close of those now running.
The interest in school work within the schools compares favorably with that
of last year. The opposition among the people to the new school law will
cease, I think, when they come to understand it better and begin to see its
The insufficiency of teachers, so far as white schools are concerned, was
caused by the reduction of salaries. The County Commissioners are to blame
for this. Owing to the low levy of mills allowed by them for school purposes,
the School Board was forced to reduce salaries in order that expenses might
be met with the amount levied When this was done, a number of teachers
gave up their schools, and in September took the examination in other counties.
In some of my schools, the patrons have supplemented the salaries paid by the
I am trying to get my schools in readiness for grading, and think I shall
have everything arranged, and a uniform course of study prepared.in'time for
the next scholastic year. I am endeavoring, too, to have my teachers keep
in touch with the best educational thought by reading good work, on teach-
in, mand good school journals.
As to changes in the school law, I think it would be better to have Second and
Third Grade Certificates made good in the same way that a First Grade
Certificate is made good--by endorsement by County Superintendents; and that
an applicant for a Third Grade be allowed the same grade a second time upon
re-examination. I think, too, that a central grading committee, selected by
the State Board, to grade the manuscripts of all the counties, would give
better satisfaction than a County Grading Committee for each county. Should
this be done, it might not be necessary to have certificates of one county
endorsed by the County Superinterdent of another county to make them good in
the county in which they are endorsed. I favor the uniform examinations,
because they afford a better standard of measurement as to the requirements
and efficiency of teachers, binding them closer together in thought and work,
and stimulating them to efforts for better results.
I trust the next Legislature will make the law referring to the levying of
taxes for school purposes so plain that it can not be misconstrued--that County
School Boards may not be left at the mercy of County Commissioners.
GEO. J. GRAHAM.
Brooksville, Fla., December 4, 1894.
Hon. W. N. Sheats, State Superintendent Public Instruction:
Dear Sir--Permit me to reply with pleasure to your enquiries of November 25,
1894, as follows
Our financial condition is not good, but improving. Otherwise our school
affairs are in better shape than they have ever been. Some embarrassment
exists on account of scarcity of teachers, but that has been offset by abolish-
ing the shiftless, irresponsible, perfunctory style of teaching that has here-
Our advancement in public school education is very gratifying, being equal,
no doubt, to that of the best counties in the State. This has been accom-
plished, I believe, by the system of education adopted, which may be briefly
outlined as follows
1. Comfortable school houses and seats.
2. Free school books--circulating library plan.
3. Maps, charts, etc.--much blackboard surface.
U. High School--first class in every respect.
5. Monthly Institute--compulsory attendance.
6. First class resident and home-reared teachers appointed to schools for
full time of certificates.
7. Uniform course of study for entire county, arranged into nine grades,
each divided int9 quarters, two months in length, adhering strictly to
course of study, compulsory.
8. Quarterly written examinations of every pupil required. Promotions based
9. Result of examination in each study reported to parent or guardian.
General average of each pupil reported to County Superintendent for re-
cord, all questions asked to accompany report.
10. Written excuses for all absences of pupils.
11. Monthly letters to County Superintendent from all pupils; teachers sub-
mitting to him at the monthly meeting only those previously approved.
12. Reading clubs to be kept up during vacation in every school-room where
they can be maintained successfully.
13. Thorough examinations by County Superintendent of each school at least
twice during the term. No visit of Superintendent to be less than one
hour in length.
14. Constant agitation of the school question among the people by public
meetings, through the press, and otherwise, during summer.
By these and other methods we propose to make Hernando superior, if possible,
to every other county in the State in public school education.
Our compact, uniform system of education, so successful and popular, has not
been brought to its present high standard of excellence by radical measures
of mine alone, but by development to which my predecessors, present and former
School Boards, Hernando High School officials, county newspapers and public
men have largely contributed.
We are a united people on this subject.
We all work together.
I favor Uniform Examinations for the following and other reasons:
1. They are made without reference to individual applicants,
2. The County Superintendent is relieved of grave responsibility and sus-
picion of favoritism.
3. Factional, political, family or personal considerations cannot force the
granting of certificates,
4. Tramp and "ground-hog-case" teachers are eliminated. "Ships That Pass
in the Night" must pass on. "Stranded wrecks" do not drift into the school
5. They compel hard study for preparation and a thorough review of "laid
aside" branches of education. Teachers must rub off the rust and renew
acquaintance with the grindstone.
6. Teaching is elevated to the dignity of a profession. Those only who
intend to live by teaching will prepare for and endure the examinations.
7. The County Superintendent has on file written proof of the teacher's
8. Hernando County has written examinations of pupils. Teachers who have
passed though them will understand how to take them, and appreciate their
9.. They have removed some perfunctory teachers, who had become so entrenched"
that nothing short of a general upheaval could have dislodged them.
10. When things come too hot and fast for comfort, the County Superintendent
can dodge and let the State Superintendent catch them on the ear.
No suggestion of needed legislation occurs to me now in a shape for your con-
sideration. Before the Legislature meets I may have something definite to
Don't forget to say in your biennial report for old Hernando, for she deserves
it, that I have the best association of teachers in the State and the best
A. Mo C. RUSSELL
Hon. W. N. Sheats, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tallahassee, Fla:
Sir--In accordance with the requirement of the law, I have the honor to submit
a short report of the condition of schools of Hillsborough County.
The schools throughout the county, with few exceptions, are doing satisfactory
work; they are properly graded and enthusiastically and intelligently conducted.
The teachers seem to be determined to make the work a success. The attendance
in most of the schools so far has been very good. The school-rooms are kept
neat and clean, and the patrons in many places have shown a willingness to im-
prove the buildings, so as to make them more comfortable as well as attractive.
In very few instances has the Board of Public Instruction been called upon to
aid in the erection of school houses.
The colored teachers are making earnest endeavors to improve.
By carefully examining the work of teachers in the several grades, and by con-
ducting county normals and district institutes regularly every year, we have
succeeded in aiding the teachers in their responsible work. I respectfully
suggest that such legislation be enacted by which the examination of teachers
may be made more effective, so as to keep out applicants who have book learn-
ing, but who are lacking in practical efficiency.
The inspection of schools enables me to find out what the teachers need in
order to make their work more successful, and in the county normal and dis-
trict institutes I have always paid close attention to these matters.
Lt W. BUCHHOLZ,
Izagora, Fla., December 3, l89l.
Hon. W. N. Sheats, Tallahassee, Fla.,
Dear Sir--As you request it, I give' you a short account of the school affairs
of our county and their condition, but have never desired my name in print;
but as you want the information I will give it in as 'few lines as possible.
1. The school affairs in our county are tolerable good and are improving.
The new law as to uniform examinations as a general thing is giving
general satisfaction, and the general results so far are highly appreciated
by all and no person is'better pleased with it than I am. As a general
thing I have been the examining party, and the patrons would make up a
school for a good neighbor and come with him and hear me examine him, and
would say we are satisfied with him and want him. He is competent to
teach our children and he is a poor man, and if we have anything to give,
he had as well have it as any person, and if I fail to give him the school
a bad report goes out.
2. You ask what effort I am making for the betterment of our county in school
Answer--I am doing all I can by precept and example, I am encouraging all
for a higher standard of education, teachers especially. I favor the new
examination law, because it does away with favoritism by patrons and those
who teach for a little-money instead of making cotton. It gives much bet-
ter qualified teachers and does away with public annoyance.
The future happiness, peace and prosperity of our people rests entirely
upon the education of the rising generation. I am going among them all
the time trying to get them to make every sacrifice possible to so raise
their children and teach them by precept and example, and educate them so
that the next generation may be an improvement on the past. Also to
build better houses and equip them with everything needful. Now we have
a High School and our people are moving there rapidly and we are going
to take, or receive the benefit. I don't think we will have any more
need of boarding out at DeFuniak. All that have attended it, say ours is
fully as good.
But, my brother, the last election I fear has crippled us. We have been
drawing from the State near $1,200 or $1,500 a year, and now I am afraid
we will not get more than $700 or $800, and we will not be able to have
more than a three months school term.
I feel proud to look back to the time when I was first appointed, in '75
or '76, and see what we are now. A few years since a few shanties with
split pole seats and dirt floors, and teachers that could spell and read,
but hardly write their names.
Aucilla, Fla., Dec. 8, 1894.
Hon. W. N. Sheats, State Superintendent Public Instruction:
Dear Sirt Complying with your request to report condition of school affairs
of this county, I beg leave to state that the school work is progressing
nicely; we have a very good teaching force, the attendance about as good as
usual. We are building some new school houses, repairing and furnishing
others, trying to correct mistakes made in the past by consolidating schools
that are too near together and by abolishing others, that is, we are trying
to have fewer and better schools. We have had for years a Summer School for
our teachers which has been conducted by the best teachers we could employ
and we expect to continue this policy.
I have no suggestions about legislation unless a more beneficient system
could be devised for the common schools. If the amendments to the constitu-
tion basing distribution of funds on average attendance could be wiped out,
I think this would be an improvement. At present it is like paying the
teacher according to number of pupils which we all know, after fair trial,
won't do; it is an inducement to swindle. I favor the uniform examinations,
because they are fair.
JAMES A. WALKER
(There is no report on the general condition of schools in this county, but
the Superintendent wrote the following on the subject of the' examination law.)
I believe my teachers are better qualified than they were the year previous.
The examinations this year were no more difficult than they had been in this
county the previous year, but many teachers got the impression that they would
be more difficult and therefore prepared for them.
Interest in education has for many years been increasing in this county and
it continues to increase, It is better each year than the year before.
The effect of the new examination law if faithfully and discreetly carried
out will be good.
I favor it, because:
1. It enables the State Superintendent to systemize his work.
2. It gives the State Superintendent a means of knowing the educational con-
dition and progress of each county.
3. It gives all persons interested in education a means of comparing the
educational standing of the various counties.
4. It helps the weaker counties to rise to the position of the stronger ones.
5. It gives teachers a means of knowing what character of examinations they
6. It relieves County Superintendent from the solicitations of parents and
friends to grant special favors to their sons and daughters.
7. Although no present County Superintendent would be influenced by such
solicitation, some of our successors might be.
8. It gives County Superintendents and School Boards authority to appoint
Grading Committees from the best teachers of the county.
9. With uniform examinations there is less opportunity for dishonest appli-
cants to secure the questions in advance than where the examinations
ace not uniform.
J. C. COMPTON,
(Superintendent Kantz confined his report to the examination law.)
The educational interest of the county have been greatly benefitted by the
examination law, The places made vacant in the ranks of the teachers have
been filled by better material. I would say, in general qualifications and
interest in school work, that the teachers are at least 50 per cent. better
than they were the year previous.
The popular interest in public education is improved 100 per cent.
If the new examination law is faithfully and discreetly exectued, it will
raise the standard of education equal to the best States, besides encourage
I favor it, because it gives all the teachers in the State an equal test and
the questions are more carefully and properly prepared. All the leading
educational States have uniform examinations, and by all means let Florida
share equal educational advantages.
D. C. KANTZ,
Hon. W. M. Sheats, Tallahassee, Fla.t
Dear Sir--Levy county is not disturbed by the new examination law, only in
the line of causing some uneasiness on the part of teachers who knew their
incompetency. We are impressed with the justness and progressiveness of the
law, and accordingly endorse the spirit of same. I favor the law and am
satisfied with the way it has been interpreted and carried out.
In the May examination there were twelve applicants for examination, eleven
white and one colored. No certificates were granted. Professor L. H. Carter
conducted a Normal School for us during the month of August.
In the September examination there were eleven applicants for examination,
eight white and three colored. The white teachers all received certificates
except one, and that one was not of our county. One of the colored teachers
received a certificate.
One white teacher was examined in the October examination and received a cer-
We have nine white teachers in the county, one having a First Grade Certifi-
cate, five having Second Grade, and three Third Grade Certificates. We
have only one colored teacher in the county; that one holds a Third Grade
Certificate. In consequence of our having but one colored teacher in the
county, some of the colored schools cannot be taught this year. I hope this
will stimulate the colored people to greater effort in preparing themselves
I favor the examination law, because it gives all an equal showing, and forces
them to study or leave the field.
The Board of Public Instruction for Liberty county has made a noble effort to
establish a High School at Bristol. We have our new school house nearly com-
pleted. It is a two story frame building, 30 by O0 feet, with a side build-
ing, 20 by 32 feet, for primary and music departments.
We have employed Professor L. H. Carter as principal of the school for a term
of eight months. He has been teaching in the old school building about two
months, We will move into the new school building as soon as it is ready.
The Bristol High School is pleasantly situated in a healthy locality, and
under the guidance of the efficient principal, Professor L. H. Carter, and
the co-operation of school officers and patrons, we hope for it a bright and
T, J. GRE3ORY,
Hon. W. N. Sheats, State Superintendent Public Instruction, Tallahassee, Fla.:
Dear Sir-On request I would say that the school interest of the county was
never just what I would like it to be, but think we are improving. Sickness
has hindered some in the attendance on the schools. Teachers are qualifying
themselves for better work, and the future is bright for the county and State,
under the new examination law, if it is faithfully enforced.
I am trying to have the law and regulations of the Department of Education
I can see no necessity for further legislation. I think that the law, as it
is, is the best I have ever seen, and don't see just how it could be bettered.
Possibly it might give better satisfaction to teachers to make Second Grade
Certificates transferable from one county to another.
We as a people are very well satisfied with the present law. There are a few
that are inclined to grumble because some pet has failed in examination, but
it don't (sic) amount to much.
R. L. WILLIAMS,
Palmetto, Fla., December 15, 1894.
Hon. W. N. Sheats, Tallahassee, Fla.:
My Dear Sir--Absence from home on a round of visits to my schools in the in-
terior of the county has prevented me replying earlier to your request in
circular letter under date of the 25th ult.
I cheerfully give you herewith, in a brief way, the information desired.
Since you have presented an opportunity, I cannot refrain from indulging in
some feeling of pride in mentioning the progress of matters pertaining to
education in our county, as evinced in the fact that the old order with its
narrower views is being gradually swept away and in its stead has come the
progressive and enlightened spirit which sees that the knowledge of to-day
is better than that of yesterday.
It has been shown to us that without well trained teachers there can be no
well trained pupils. No better evidence of the general interest manifested
in the education of the children of our county can be cited than that nearly
every sub-school district in the county, which, besides paying a county
school tax of five mills, have levied a special tax of three mills, and now
we have but few districts where comfortable houses are lacking. Since the
beginning of '94, the Manatee County High School has been established under
an efficient corps of teachers with a present enrollment of more than one
The town of Palmetto has recently voted to issue bonds to build and equip a
handsome school building, and, with the opening of the next school term will
begin under the best graded system.
To an intelligent, live and wide-awake Board of Public Instruction our patrons
are greatly indebted for this progress in the cause of education.
I favor uniform examinations, but not under the present law. I would suggest:
First, for the benefit of our young teachers that Third Grade certificates
be allowed under annual examination twice. Second, Second Grade certificates
should be transferable. Third, to grant County Boards and County Superin-
tendents more discretionary power to fill vacancies in special cases. We see
the necessity of this at present in our county. Uniform examinations excite
more public interest, more interest in the teacher, more investigation and
closer study and a greater desire and determination to excel and not to fail.
A general "waking up" and alarm in the ranks of the laggards is a noticeable
The past examinations were not so difficult, as they were long and tiresome.
Four to five days are too long and expensive.
W. M. ROWLETT,
Key West, Fla., January 7, 1895.
Hon. W. N. Sheats, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tallahassee
Dear Sirt The schools of Monroe county, are at this time undoubtedly in
better condition than they have been for several years. They are at present
being conducted upon a more systematic method of teaching than has heretofore
been done. During the past two years, regular weekly teacher's meetings have
been held, and a uniform method of teaching has been adopted, and its ap-
plication has been demonstrated at these meetings. These meetings have vir-
tually been a course of institute work, and have been the means of develop-
ing among the teachers, a better order of school management, and a uniform
system of grading and teaching, although but few in number, probably less
than any other county. I think that the schools of Monroe county will
compare favorably with the schools of any other part of the State.
It is my aim, however, to continue the improvement made in our schools during
the past two years, so that when I retire from office two years hence, my
successor will find them in good condition in every respect.
We have in the city of Key West, which largely constitutes the county of
Monroe, four public schools, two for the whites and two for the negroes. In
one of the white schools there is an enrollment of 627 pupils, and in the
other an enrollment of 338. In one of the colored schools there is an enroll-
ment of 385 pupils, and in the other 304.
The schools on the other islands constituting the county of Monroe are all in
very fair condition, being under good and efficient teachers, who are deeply
interested in their respective fields of labor. Many inconveniences are ex-
perienced by the teachers and pupils of these schools, on the out-islands,
in attending school regularly, since they have to depend largely upon winds
and water, and go to the school houses from their homes in sail boats.
The examination law, as a whole, has aroused the teachers employed in the
schools to the necessity of studying to know something more of school teach-
ing, than simply going to a school house for five or six hours per day, to
take care of a number of children and hear recitations.
Yet, although teachers realized the above, they were compelled on account
of the great event to take place, and the uncertainty of the exact nature and
line of the examination to go delving into studies and books, over many
unnecessary lines to prepare themselves for the purpose of passing the examin-
ation, When the examination did take place, lot the disappointment. After
many weeks of hard study, reading and re-reading, preparing for it, and for
better school work, the questions that confronted them were upon a different
line than what might have been anticipated.
In reply to Question 12 I would says I am in favor of Uniform Examinations,
but I think the questions should be in each branch of a practical order, that
will test the abilities of the teacher in practical school work, and not
simply to test the memory upon dates and political facts, and points of minor
importance in all the other branches. While I am in favor of the Uniform
Examination, I think that the certificate procured by any person should be
uniform in its application. A Second or Third Grade Certificate, issued by
the Superintendent of one county, in accordance with the law, upon an ex-
amination uniform, at the same time, and graded by a grading committee, as
provided for by the Uniform Examination Law, should be endorsable and accept-
able by any other Superintendent of any other county of the State.
Suppose that in one county there are not enough teachers with certificates
to fill all the positions, while in another county, even an adjoining one,
there is a surplus of certified teachers of the Second and Third Grade, the
one bounty can not under the present law, send over into the other county and
employ one of these teachers to take charge of a small school, which does not
pay a sufficient salary to justify a teacher of the First Grade. Undoubtedly
this has been the case in some counties of the State during the present year.
In regard to the certificates, I think that while a Third Grade Certificate
should be good for only one year, yet it should be subject to renewal, upon
examination, at least two or three times. A Second Grade Certificate should
entitle any teacher to teach in any department of a school below the high
grade, and should be subject to renewal for any number of times, provided
they desire to continue in the same department or some similar one.
I think that in the case of a First Grade Certificate, it should be zood for
three years, but the County Superintendent should be given power to extend
the time or renew the certificate, without examination, provided that the
holder of the certificate has demonstrated to the Superintendent by actual
work in the school, his abilities and qualification for the work in hand,
and provided that said teacher continues under the said Superintendent,
I have expressed my views thus freely in answer to your questions, and I
trust they will be accepted in the same friendly spirit with which they are
I trust that you will succeed at the coming Legislature in getting such
amendments to the present school laws, as will give the County Superintendent
more power and latitude of operations, and make him a "Member of the School
Board" as well as Secretary thereof. Under the law as it now stands, the
Superintendent is about like the "fifth wheel of a coach" upon which the Board
turns, He neither has voice nor vote, and many times in meetings of the Board
his suggestions have neither weight nor influence with knowledgable (?)
members of a School Board.
C. F. KEMP,
Hon. W. M. Sheats, Tallahassee, Fla.:
Dear Sir: In reply to your question as to the condition of the Pasco county
schools, I have the honor to report that they are in better condition this
year than ever, and I am glad to report that more interest is manifested
every year by patrons, children and teachers in the school work, and a con-
stant demand is made by patrons for longer terms and more school facilities.
Every school district in the county with but two exceptions have a special
tax of from two to three mills levied for the purpose of building and furnish.
ing and extending school terms.
The new educational law met but little opposition in this county and the
School Board and Grading Committees have done all in their power to give it
a fair test.
As to suggestions, I think that the law relative to the assessment and col-
lection of the special school tax should be so amended that it can be assessed
and collected by sale as other taxes, and the same cognizance taken of it by
the state authorities as of other taxes.
I would also suggest that there be a still lower grade of certificate for
colored teachers, if possible to have it. Pasco will, as appears now, be
unable to have a single colored school taught this year.
In reply to your question as to whether I favor or oppose uniform examinations,
I beg leave to state that I favor uniform examinations for the following rea-
1. Because they bring every teacher in the State in touch with the State ed-
2. Because teachers through that head become cognizant of the trend of edu-
cational matters and know that they are a part of a great educational
3. Because education becomes a systemetic business and will be so recognized
and upheld by the intelligent public.
4. It drives out incompetent instructors or puts new life and energy into
them, for they can no longer drift about in search of lax examination
5. Because uniform examinations have been adopted by the most progressive
States and counties of the world, and we must be in line with them.
ROBT. M. RAY,
Putnam county schools are on the upward grade and our teachers are settling
down to teaching as a profession. We observed the new law to the letter,
and we think it had a tendency to give us better teachers, those mostly who
have an interest in school work; hence better tuition. We have gotten our
county out of debt, have placed our finances on a sound basis and "pay as
Our school houses, furnishings and school equipment are poor, and we shall
turn our attention to bettering them soon.
The new school law operates well, but needs a proviso. In an extreme case
of a teacher's inability to continue the term out, and no reserve force to
*draw upon, some provision should be made for examination of applicant to
fill unexpired term.
I favor uniform examinations, because it is the best way to uniformly elevate
the standard of teaching. If County Superintendents had to get out questions
for examinations as formerly, somewould be done, some half done and some not
done at all; hence would never get out of old ruts, etc.
THOSE. W. RALPH,
Superintendent of Public Instruction of Putnam County.
ST. JOHNS COUNTY
St. Augustine, Fla., January 28, 1895.
Hon. W. N. Sheats:
Dear Sir--Enclosed find blank, as requested. Your first blank sent me was
on file, and somehow I got an impression that I had plenty of time to answer,
and as I have been very busy and absent most of my time visiting schools, I
ask your pardon for having caused you any delay.
I did not have to consider about the questions, as I can see very plainly the
improvement in our teachers under the new law.
R. F. SABATE,
SANTA ROSA COUNTY
Hon. W. N. Sheats, State Superintendent Public Instruction:
I am glad to report a marked improvement in the condition of public schools
of Santa Rosa this year.
Some schools (?) have been eliminated. In many instances two schools have
been combined. Where ten schools (?) formerly existed, we now have five live,
healthy schools. The school depends almost entirely on the teacher.
73--~~ -1- --CCI
This truth has been demonstrated three times this year in my county--wish I
had time and space to tell you all.
To build up my schools I labor to make successful teachers. This year I
have inaugurated a Reading Circle or County Teachers' Association, with course
Every teacher is urged to read a good State, also national school journal
and to attend the State Teachers' Association.
I require every teacher to comply strictly with the school law and regulations
of the Board of Public Instruction.
I cancel (promptly) certificates of immoral, incompetent, or of unsuccessful
I hope to see the spirit of our new school law remain unchanged. Would be
glad to see Second Grade Certificates transferable.
Let me briefly and honestly say, that I most heartily favor Uniform Examinations
for the good they have already accomplished in the State.
Very truly yours,
E. L. McDANIEL
Hon. W, N. Sheats:
Dear Sir--Since the new law went into operation we have had more competent
teachers. We have a sufficiency of white teachers to teach all the white
schools, for each teacher could teach more than one school, as the term of
most of our schools is only four months.
The attendance is not as good as could be desired, due in part, perhaps, to
poverty of parents, causing them to need the labor of their children; but,
in great measure it is to be feared, to inadequate concern for their children'
education. I have to some extent, by public address, urged the importance of
regularity in attendance.
I note, as a bad feature, dissensions among patrons as to teachers and location
of school buildings that could, I think, be mitigated by firmness on the part
of the County Board.
We have not a sufficient number of colored teachers for the colored schools.
The prospect now is that six of our ten colored schools will be untaught.
I have written to three or four counties, asking if they could send First
Grade colored teachers to this county. None have responded affirmatively.
It may be that some of our white schools will be untaught. If so, it will
not be because we have not teachers enough to teach them.
I do not favor making Second Grade Certificates good out of the county where
issued. It will remove just so much of stimulus to study. There will be each
year less necessity for it, as the number of First Grades increase.
I favor fewer and lower branches for Third Grades and a higher percentage.
I favor one grading committee for the whole State. A grade will then mean
the same thing in each and every county, As it is now, a good grading com-
mittee may "weed out" incompetent teachers, only to have them succeeded by
an equally incompetent crop who got First Grades in another county. County
Superintendents may not always be competent to examine before endorsement.
I suspect they will often endorse upon the assumption that the grading com-
mittee was faithful and competent, which, I suspect, would be in some cases
far from the truth.
R. Q. BAKER,
Superintendent Walton County.
Taken from the Report of the Superintendent of Public
Instruction, W. N. Sheats, Superintendent of Public
Hon. W. N. Sheats, Superintendent Public Instruction, Tallahassee, Fla.t
Dear Sir--In compliance with your request, I shall endeavor to give you a
brief report of the condition of the schools in this county, and the status
of educational affairs generally.
Making due allowance for the disaster brought about by the freeze of '95, and
the devastating effect of the recent cyclone, which materially injured the
school property in the county, our schools have had a steady growth during the
past two years. As the educational system of this county is, for the most
part, a continuation of the policy of my honored predecessor,--his policy at
that time being practically that of the State at present, the improvement in-
cident to the operation of the new school law, has not been so marked as in
other counties, possibly, but one of excellent growth and development under
such a system,
We have, in every way possible, endeavored to develop and perfect the system.
We maintain an active interest upon the part of teachers by being greatly in
earnest and interested ourselves.
Schools Visited.--As the law directs, every school is visited and carefully
inspected by the Superintendent, notwithstanding there are one hundred and
twenty in the county. Good teachers are encouraged, and inexperienced ones
taught how to teach by teaching classes for them.
Count Institutes.--A county institute is held annually at the county site,
and every teacher is compelled to attend and participate in the exercises of
a carefully prepared program, Generally some noted educator is engaged to
lecture on such occasions.
Monthly Local Institutes.--The county is divided into four local districts,
and n institute is held monthly at some point in each of them. It is not
infrequent that the interest manifested at these meetings equals that at the
Sub-district Tax.--Our school facilities have been greatly enhanced, and the
Tunds materially augmented by the operation of a sub-district tax in each of
twelve districts in the county, The funds accruing from these districts,
aggregate $3,000,00 annually, This, of course, is expended for new buildings,
furniture, lengthening the term of school, and otherwise as the law directs.
New Buildings.--During the period covered by this report, about $10,000.00
have been expended in the way of new buildings; notably among the number,
those at Hawthorne and Micanopy, the latter being one of, possibly, only
seven brick public school buildings in the State. Its value is $5,000,00,
Suggestions.--l. I am in favor of an educational qualification for County
.Superintendent--say to be the holder of a First Grade Certificate, and I
hope the next Legislature will enact such a law.
2. I am, also, in favor of a State Grading Committee, as under the present
system of gradation, uniformity, the very object of the law, is largely
defeated. As an illustration, I have had several to fail to even secure
(sic) a Third Grade Certificate in this county, when upon trial in some
other county, with little or no preparation, they obtained a First Grade.
Hence there is something lacking.
3. There is absolutely no need at present of such a law as that relating to
Third Grade Certificates. It should be repealed, and re-enacted into law
as it first appeared upon the statute books.
4. There shouldr be established'by,law, at the county site in each county, a
graded and high school, running eight months, Equal provision should be
made for both races when necessary.
I am very truly yours,
WM. M. HOLLOWAY,
Co. Supt. Schools,
Hon. W. N. Sheatst
Dear Sir--A review of the condition of the schools shows that satisfactory
progress has been made in the four years just ended.
School Buildings.--We have good school houses in nearly every district where
there six or more pupils. We have avoided creating a debt. The Board
furnished the material and the patrons contributed the lots and cost of con-
struction. The houses are neat and of suitable size, properly furnished with
patent desks. Now that the schools are nearly all comfortably housed and
seated, they will be more completely equipped with charts and apparatus.
Free Text-Books .-Having had charge of the distribution of the school books,
that the Board, in 1880, was obliged to purchase to carry out the order, I
was soon convinced that it would be true economy to have free school books
as well as as (sic) free tuition. The Board at all times liberal and progres-
sive, approved; but, did not feel justified the step. The initial expense
being about $900, $500 of which is the appropriation for school supplies, $100
(a little more possibly) is balance of books on hand (alluded to above) and
$300 special apportionment. Thus while not affecting our term, free books
has (sic) removed a serious course of annoyance as well as an obstacle to the
proper classification and progress of the pupils.
Uniform Examinations.--While the steady improvement is due in part to the
normal progress, it is also in a large measure due to the more systematic
examinations and compulsory requirements now in force. We have always had
many very excellent teachers who have influenced our progress, but the Uniform
Examination Law has made it possible to improve the methods of instruction
in those districts which offered little, except the salary to teachers and
which really required the most competent.
County Institutes.--J have endeavored to make our institutes of more practical
use thanieretofore, the lectures and discussions being supplemented by model
classes, illustrating the methods which the teachers were expected to use
during the term.
The County Normal Institute, held in September, was in large part practice
work, pupils from School No. 2, Titusville, forming the model classes, I
emphasized the necessity for more careful attention to analysis and language.
This school was not intended to supplant the State Summer Schools, but to
give the teachers who were unable to attend them, and especially those with-
out experience, some professional training. The result of the course has
been very evident and satisfactory, teachers of experience acknowledging the
benefit. The experience gained will be used to make future institutes more
High School.--While we have no High School established as such, the Titusville
school -isprepared to give a full course from Kindergarten to High School, the
principal and assistants being thoroughly qualified for the work in their re-
spective departments. The Board is also ready to increase the staff of teach-
ers at any time necessary.
Kindergarten Work.--I employed an experienced and superior Kindergartener in
the Primary Department in 1892, who has continued in charge to the present
time. A part of the day is given to Kindergarten classes.
It reaches many to whom such instruction is of more benefit than to those
whose means enable them to pay proper attention to the training of their
I know that the teachers as a corps are doing better work and have good rea-
son to think that the patrons appreciate the schools,
JNO. S. SAMS,
Supt. Brevard County.
Hon. W. N. Sheats, Superintendent Public Instruction, Tallahassee, Fla.:
Dear Sir: In compliance with your request asking for reports from County
Superintendents in regard to the condition, improvement, etc,, in the schools
of the State, I give you the following few items from my county:
Influence of Better Teachers.--Our schools are in better condition than they
have been owing--
1st. To the teaching force being better prepared for their work and, consequently,
doing better work.
2d. Because we pay our teachers promptly at the end of every month, thereby
stimulating them to do the work required.
3d. Our teachers are being paid according to merit (paying them salaries
according to efficiency and the grade of certificate), thereby encourag-
ing them to work up to a higher grade. So much for the teaching force.
Other Causes of Improvement.--Now, among other things which help the progress
of education in our county I will mention the followings
1st, Extending the school term one month--giving pupils five instead of four
2d. In having our schools supplied with adopted series of books, thereby
being able to classify and grade.
3d, In having better houses built. We have had five new school buildings
erected in the last two years--larger, better lighted, and more conven-
ient in every way than former ones, and owned by the Board of Public
Sub-districts.--4th. We have three sub-districts in the county, the levy in
which will extend the term somewhat in those districts. And last, but not
least, in having a State Superintendent who is engineering matters in the
right way, willing and always ready to give counsel and advice in educational
matters when called on.
Pleased with the Growth.--I am pleased with the progressive growth of education
in my own county in the last few years, and in saying this I am confident I
voice the sentiment of a large majority of the people of my county. I have
had my share of difficulties in accomplishing what little I have done.
Books Found in Use.--On my first visits to the schools of my county four years
ago I found Readers by nearly every author known or unknown to fame, Arithmetics
ditto, Geographies and Grammars the same, Spellers of all kinds--from a few
leaves to a whole book--Blue-Backs standing out in bold relief.
The people seemed to be perfectly satisfied, and would, perhaps, visit the
school on its closing day to hear their children belch forth words of four or
five syllables from the great Blue-Back Speller.
Opposition to Change.--The order went forth that the Blue-Back must be laid
aside and pupils be supplied with the adopted series of books. When the order
became known a wail was heard. "Fisher will bankrupt us," some would say,
"in having us to buy new books." Others would say, "It's all Sheats' fault."
Books Given the Poor.--School work has changed since then. Pupils generally
are supplied wth the necessary text-books. Those too poor to buy are sup-
plied free by the School Board.
The people are pleased with the new order of things, knowing that it works
better for the educational interests of their children.
Sdggestions.--What we need most now is legislation to enable us to raise funds
sufficient to run our schools eight months.
Our children will never be able to get a common school education in four or
five months in the year. I could mention other legislation needed, but as
there will probably be suggestions from reports of other County Superintendents
touching on matters of this kind, I will leave it with them.
Very respectfully, P. F. FISHER,
County Superintendent Calhoun County,
Supt. W. N. Sheats, Tallahassee, Floridat
Dear Sir--In obedience to the request for a report and brief review of the
past official work of those County Superintendents whose terms of office
expire Jan. 5, 1897, contained in ydur circular letter of Dec. 18, 1896, I
beg leave to submit the following resume of my official life in Citrus county.
My first term of office began July 1, 1887, by appointment of Governor Perry,
soon after the cutting off of the territory included in Citrus county from
old Hernando county. In the fall of 1888 I was elected to succeed myself as
County Superintendent of Citrus county, was again elected in 1892, and have
held the position till the present time, making a total of nine and one-half
Condition of the County in 1887.--At the beginning of this county's history
it had no money, was in debt for its part of the old county's obligations, not
over a half-dozen, poorly built and unfurnished school houses, with few re-
sident teachers, and inexperienced officers. The county was poor, had not
very many orange groves, no railroads, and no apparent prospect of early en-
richment. Notwithstanding these unpropitious environments, our school officers,
one and all, set to work to create schools, build school houses, furnish the
same, employ teachers as competent as could then be had, and carve out a
history and a destiny for our schools.
Influence of the Phosphate Boom.--Later, when the phosphate boom struck us,
our plans and prospects were very materially affected by the rapid shifting
of our population from one part of the county to another, or removal of families
to other States, consequent upon the selling out of their properties to phos;
phate land buyers. At one sitting during this time, our Board abolished
eleven schools, because their former patrons had moved away.
The Freeze,--Scarcely had we recovered from these unfortunate conditions, when
the great freeze and bank failure came and nearly overthrew us again. Now,
however, we are getting upon our feet again, and hope, 'ere long, to have
recovered fully from the disasters of the past.
Had Co-operation.--In all my efforts, as County Superintendent, to further
the interests and minister to the needs of the schools of this county, I
have always had the hearty co-operation, to the extent of their ability, of
our various school boards, supervisors, teachers, and, for the most part, the
patrons of schools. I have only had to lay my plans before past and present
members of our school boards, to receive prompt acquiescence, if possible,
in all that was suggested, and ready granting of whatever was asked. There
has never been even a moderately serious disagreement between myself and these
gentlemanly and able school officials.
SM Successor.--I feel confident that all the gentlemen who will take charge
of the school affairs of this county the fifth of this month will serve the
people with equal fidelity and patriotism. This remark applies with equal force
to my own successor, Rev. C. S. Young, who is an experienced teacher, hold-
ing a First-Grade Certificate under the present law, and is an intelligent,
cultured Christian gentleman, who has the interests of the schools truly at
heart, and will, I feel assured, do all in his power to foster their best
Progress Made.-Beginning, as I have said, with nothing worthy of the name
of school or school house, we have at the present time thirty-five schools,
thirty-one of which have patent desks, nearly all supplied with maps and
charts, reasonably comfortable school houses, with stoves and other furniture.
Our school population is about 950. We have never had more than thirty-six
schools in operation in any one year.
A School for Every Child.--There is scarcely a child within the bounds of the
county who is not within reasonable distance of a school, The few who are
not, are allowed to transfer to other districts or other counties, that they
may attend school somewhere at the county's expense.
Character of Teachers.--Though nearly all our teachers are young, they are
intelligent, energetic and progressive, and are, in my opinion, young or old,
the peers of any of like experience in the State. Nearly all of them take
one or more educational journals, read educational books, attend county teachers'
meetings, as well as State Associations, and, in a word, without claiming to be
anywhere near perfect, nevertheless, they try to keep abreast of the times in
all lines of school work.
Supervisiors..-Our Supervisors, for the most part, attend as faithfully to
their duties as could be expected without compensation. We have never had
any difficulty with them.
Schools Graded.-o Our schools are tolerably well graded, considering that they
are nearly all country schools. Attendance is not always the best, but we
generally get at least two-thirds of our enrollment for average attendance.
There are six colored schools. There are thirty-one white and four colored
teachers, nearly all of whom are residents in the county.
Examinations and Term Record--Book.--At the end of the term, the teacher holds
a written examination when possible, and oral if not, grades each pupil in
every study, records this grading, together with attendance, tardiness, de-
portment and general average in a book called a Term Record, which together
with the register, Supervisor's receipt for furniture, final reports, etc.,
are turned over to the County Superintendent before the last warrant is drawn.
Blank Arbor Day reports, Supervisors' and teachers' reports for each month,
pupils' permits for attendance outside their own district or county, teachers'
receipts for warrants, and all other blanks supplied by the State and County
Boards are required to be used.
Use of Term Records.--These Term Records are turned over to the next teachers,
who grade their pupils for the new term according to the facts therein re-
corded. Each pupil gets a duplicate record of his grading upon a card made
for the purpose. Should a pupil change his residence between terms, he has
only to present his card to the new teacher to have his grade standing pro-
perly allowed. Without this card or term Record to show his standing, he
must be examined to ascertain it. Teachers are required to continue pupils
from the point at which they stopped the preceding term, unless for satis-
When a pupil completes a given branch, he may be examined by the County
Superintendent, and be granted a certificate showing such completion.
Course of Stud e.-We have a course of study, rules and regulations printed in
pamphlet, and everything pretty well systematized. The teachers were consulted
in adopting the course of study, but I myself conceived and carried into oper-
ation the rest of the system, with the consent, of course, of the School Board.
Within the last two years every effort has been made to increase the efficiency
of all departments of school work, and though we have not yet attained to all
that has been desired, yet we feel that, with the foundations already laid,
much will be accomplished in the future.
County Hih School.--Our County High School, at Inverness, in charge of three
competent lady teachers, is now accomplishing better work than ever before.
New Buildings.--Since July, 1894, several new buildings have been erected and
?Gnished. Twenty-one school houses have been built since the division of
the county from the old one, upon the plan the Board furnishing the material
and the patrons doing or having the work done.
No Suggestions, Yet Suggests.--In view of the contempt with which past re-
commendations of county Superintendents to the State Legilsature have been
treated by that august body, I have no suggestions to make. I will say, how-
ever, that our present special tax law is exceedingly defective, and needs
material amendment; but as every time it is touched by our wise solons it gets
into a worse muddle. I presume it had better be let alone. It is incompre-
hensible as it is, in some parts, but further tinkering would only make con-
fusion worse confounded. Nearly all our school laws are more or less contra-
dicting and doubtful,.
Sub-districts and Tax.--We have ten Sub-Districts in this county, levying a
tax of from one and one-half to three mills. In our County School levy, we
always go to the limit of the law (five mills) without opposition of the part
of County Commissioners or others.
No Warrants Discounted.--When we run out of money, as we sometimes do before
the new taxes come in, we borrow enough to do us, and never allow our warrants
to be discounted. This year, as for several past, we had enough left over
from last year to pay all expenses to the first of December. Our finances
are in a sound condition at present, and likely to remain so. This county
was one of the five in the State, last July, that could cash any county or
school warrant on presentation or at sight.
This report has been written in great haste and is not, therefore, what I
would desire it to be in the proper arrangement of its various parts, but I
have no time now to revise it, and must submit it with the compliments of
Your humble servant,
E. So HARRISON,
Co. Supt. Citrus Co., Fla.
Hon. Wm. N. Sheats, State Superintendent Public Instruction, Tallahassee, Fla.:
Dear Sir--In reply to your request for a report of the condition of the schools
of Clay county, I take pleasure in saying that they are in better shape this
year than ever. We have in Clay county fifty-four schools; forty-five for
white and nine for colored pupils; the enrollment being 1281; 1048 white and
238 negro (sic) pupils, While we had seven schools not taught by the 30th of
June, 1896, we will be able to have all taught the present term, which will
increase the enrollment to 1o00 on 1500. We have 35 teachers, 30 white and
5 negros (sic),
Aided y County Board.--Aided as I have been by one of the most zealous School
Ba-rds, one that hve conscientiously endeavored to assist in carrying out
all measures that could advance the educational interests of Clay county, we
have been enabled to change the character, by our combined efforts, of our
schools by encouraging patrons to become more interested in school work. Our
aim has been and will continue to be to make our schools better.
I would be pleased to know that the time is not far distant when all the
schools in the county will require at least one assistant teacher, and when
several well-graded schools, ranking favorably with such schools in the State,
shall be required and sustained.
School Houses and Teachers.i>-We have succeeded in building good common school
houses for all our districts, with very few exceptions, which I think very
important, among the requirements of a school. Then, having, as we now have,
the best of teachers we have made a beginning, and with the aid and encourage-
ment which teachers, patrons and pupils need and will receive from our County
School Board and myself, we are bound to make a success. We have teachers
uniformly energetic and progressive. I cannot say enough in commendation of
our School Board for the manner in which they have managed the school interests
in Clay county, and their untiring efforts generally to advance the cause of
Our finances are in good condition,
Uniform Examinations.--Our educational interests are advancing, attributable
in a great measure to having a qualified corps of teachers, second to none,
but the equal I believe of any. The qualifications of teachers are entirely
due to the uniform examinations, which I cannot refrain from heartily en-
dorsing, and which I am more in favor of now than I was at first. At the
adoption of the uniform system of examining teachers, I thought it too rigid,
but now think it could not, without difficulty be improved. It gives the
teachers something to work for; to secure a higher grade certificate, qualify-
ing them to secure better salaries and to make themselves more successful
educators than in handling the lower grades of certificates.
1. If the amendments to the Constitution as it now is, (basing distribution
of funds on average attendance,) could be stricken out, it would be far
2. The present method of paying the teachers according to the number of
pupils everyone connected with school work, knows to be a failure.
3, I favor the the(sic) uniform examinations from the fact that they are
fair, and this manner of paying the teacher according to the attendance is
consequently not in accordance with the spirit of the uniform examinations.
4. I greatly favor and advocate the payment of teachers for their services
by the months according to grade of certificate held by them and by their
success as teachers.
5. I would also favor a law so framed as to compel parents and guardians to
send children under their care to school--or give some good cause for
failure. Also the adoption of a uniformity of text-books throughout the
6. As to the selection of Supervisors, a person is worthy of his hire; a
Supervisor works for nothing, and, in most cases', he is overpaid. I
would recommend paid Supervisors and a penalty for neglect of duty.
7. I favor a higher tax rate for school purposes in order to secure a longer
term of schools than four or five months.
8. I think nothing would improve our schools as much as to have them commence
January lst and close December 31st, because our taxes would then be
collected in time to meet the requirements of our school year. As it is,
our teachers have to wait, until about the close of the school year for
their salaries taught at the opening of the school year. I know by the
change I suggest, the school interests of Clay county would be greatly
benefited, and no county in the State would suffer by the change.
Gratification at Progress.--T have herewith in a brief way given the infor-
mation desired. Since you have given me the opportunity I cannot refrain
from expressing, in some feeling of pride, gratification at the progress of
matters concerning education in Clay county. Older views are being swept
away and newer and more improved and enlightened ones taking their places,
the improvement in teachers and the success they have acquired is marked and
progressive. This is due in a great measure to the Uniform System of Exam-
inations adopted by our State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Hon.
Wm* N. Sheats.
W. W. SHEDD,
Superintendent of Schools, Clay county, Florida.
Hon. Wm. N. Sheats, State Superintendent Public Instruction, Tallahassee, Fla.r
Dear Sir--I respectfully submit the following report: Our schools are in a
very satisfactory condition at present, and promise well for the future.
I have just returned from a tour of inspection, and from personal observation
can report progress from the "State of Dade."
The working condition of our schools is apparently better, and less friction
has been observed than at any time during their existence. Our plan of
development has been briefly marked by the procuring of equipment.
Houses and Furniture.--New school houses have been built and furnished with
patent desks, globes, charts, dictionaries, etc.
Course of Study.--A uniform course of study and a set of rules and regula-
tions have been adopted for the government of teachers and pupils, and good
teachers have been employed to teach our schools.
Character of Teachers.--Our teachers are enthusiastic in their work, and since
they all hold certificates granted under the Uniform Examinations of this
State, it is needless to add that they are thoroughly equipped for the ren-
dering of good service. Nearly all subscribe for one or more educational
journals, and thus keep in touch with the most modern ideas and systems of
Our Growth.--Our schools have been more than doubled in number, and the to-
tal attendance correspondingly increased since July, '94o They number now
twenty-ffour~ Four of these are colored.
Finances.--Financially we are all right. Our balance on hand Dec. 1, 1896,
was $2,7i4O.6. Our County Commissioners have never displayed any hesitancy
in granting the full limit (five mills) allowed by law for school mainten-
anceg neither has our School Board, in any instance, been too bashful to ask
for the same, Our teachers are paid promptly at the end of each month, and
a teacher's warrant is accepted by our banks with as much readiness as New
Suggestive Legislation,--Fix by law the minimum salary of the County Superin-
tendent, define his qualifications, make him a member of the School Board,
and give him some latitude in which to do efficient work. Under the present
law he is more or less of a "figurehead," without power to vote, and hampered
too much in his freedom of action. The County Superintendent should be a
teacher of experience, holding a first-grade certificate, or a graduate of
some recognized college, or preferably both.
Place a premium on first-grade certificates, make the third-grade certificate
transferable and subject to renewal upon examination. This is necessary for
the accommodation of our colored brethren.
I regard the present school law as excellent, as a whole, but venture to offer
these few suggestions as a result of my observation.
Very respectfully yours,
Wo L. WIDMEYER,
Acting Superintendent' Public Instruction.
Hon. W. N. Sheats, Tallahassee, Fla.a
Dear Sir--In reply to your circular letter of 18th inst., asking for a state-
ment of the school operations, and the changes and improvements in same from
July 1st, 1894, to July 1st, 1896, inclusive, in the public schools in
Escambia county, I beg to refer you to the annual statement of June 30th,
1894, which shows that there were enrolled that year 4,029 pupils, and an
average attendance of 2,971 pupils. The report for June 30th, 1896, shows
an enrollment of 4,215 pupils, and an average attendance of 2,818 pupils.
Buildings and Furnitureo--Within the two years from July 1st, 1894, to July
ist, 1896, the following comfortable one-room school buildings have been
erected and furnished with modern desks and furniture, to-wita Schools
Nos. 13, 29, 30, 46, 58, 68, 69 and 71. Additions of one room each have been
made to schools Nos. 2 and 16, and a fine four-room building, No. 70, has
just been completed in the city, which is a model in every respect, rooms
30 x 32 and nicely furnished. Schools Nos. 27 and 31 were added to in 189$.
School building No. 27 is a comfortable two-room building, but with only one
room finished; No. 31 is a three-room building removed to a much larger and
better lot and improved in every way.
On July 1st, 1894, we owned school property as follows School lots, $12,190;
school buildings, $31,640; school furniture, $9,308. On July 1st, 1896,
school lots, $13,095; school buildings, $32,905; school furniture, $11,169.
We have not made the progress that we think ought to have been made, but we
have had many obstacles to contend against, and upon the whole feel that we
have no right to be despondent, for our advancement has been continuous, if
Pursue Business Methods,--We have been doing our best to run our schools on
strict business methods and will continue on these lines to the end, hoping
to realize our brightest expectations in advancing the schools of Escambia
county to the front rank.
A Tax System Suggested.--If we could get our Legislature to frame a revenue
bill on business principles, that is, offer an inducement for prompt pay-
ment of taxes, just as any business man would do to encourage a promt (sic)
payment of a debt, we would be able to meet the pay-rolls for our teachers
promptly, and this would encourage them to do more and better work in our
This could be done without a hardship on any tax-payer in the State. Make
the taxes as now, due on November 1st, give a discount of 2 per cent on all
taxes paid in November, 1 per cent on all paid.in December, January pay full
taxes, February add j of one per cent. interest, and 1 per cent additional
for every month until June, when the year's work should be closed.
This would be business, and would bring money into the county treasury in a
steady stream, and you would no more hear of 'teachers having to wait for
their pay, or any other of the creditors of our county.
N. B. COOK,
County Supt. Public Instruction for Escambia County.
The schools inthis county for the years ending June 30, 1895, and June 30,
1896, were better in many respects than those of preceding years. This was
due to a better class of teachers, an improvement in methods of instruction,
and more systematic work.
Teachers Encouraged to Read.--I endeavored to aid my teachers by encourag-
ing them to read good school journals and works on teaching, and by an inter-
change of thoughts and ideas as to their plans and methods of work. As a
consequence, there was a livelier interest taken in teaching, and more ac-
complished, with better results.
School Attendance.--The average attendance was not as good as I wished, but
there was a considerable increase over that of the year before, The atten-
dance for this year has been better still. Pupils, too, have been better
classed in their work. Most of the schools have been taught. Others are
School Buildings.--Better houses have been built within the past two years
for many of the schools. Where it has not been done by the School Board,
the patrons have built them with private means.
On the whole, the schools have done well, considering that the county has
been so badly handicapped for the want of funds.
1. County School Boards should be given the right to fix, within the legal
limits, the county levy for school purposes,
2. The minimum levy should not be less than four mills.
3. Provision should be made for collecting taxes earlier than they are now
4. There should be an educational qualification for County Superintendents.
$. He should also be made an ex-officio member of the School Board.
6. There should be a limit to second and third grade certificates. Second
grade should not be renewed more than three times; third grade not more
7. A State Grading committee should take the place of county grading com-
mittees. Then the grading would be uniform; now it is not.
8. The law should require each county in the State to establish a graded
GEORGE J. GRAHAM,
Hon. W. N. Sheats, State Superintendent Public Instruction:
Dear Sir--At your request I submit the following in regard to school affairs
in Hernando county.
Financial.--In 1894 our school operations were seriously embarrassed by an
old indebtedness, approximating $3,000. In 1896 the last of that was paid.
The grand jury of this county on January 15, 1897, made a thorough examina-
tion of school affairs, and, after giving facts and figures, reported in its
presentment as follows: "In case collections are as good this year as they
have been during the last year, the year will leave our School Board in
better financial condition than it has been for some years past, a condition
of affairs which should give pleasure to all good citizens."
Interest and Course of Study.--Interest in education has been steadily in-
creasing. The course of study, rules and regulations prescribed by the Board
have been heartily endorsed by the people generally; all active opposition
has died out. The increase of agricultural labor required of the children,
consequent upon the freeze, has lowered the average attendance, but the enroll-
ment in many localities has largely increased.
School Houses, Furniture, etc.--We are well supplied with frame school houses.
Two houses have been built and one purchased during the past two years.
Cisterns have been built and wells dug where needed, and all the schools have
been supplied with good stoves. Patent desks are in use in three school
houses. Financial embarrassment has prevented the purchase of improved furn-
iture. We intend to supply all schools with patend desks in the near future.
Uniform Examinationp.--Uniform examinations have greatly improved the class
of teachers, and opposition to them has changed generally to commendation.
They have been conducted in this county with absolute fairness and results
have been quite satisfactory, except in regard to negro (sic) teachers. Our
negro (sic) population has suffered on account of failures of negro (sLc) teachers
to pass. The special examination clause of the new law has not been put in
operation, a sufficient necessity not having arisen.
Free-Book Sytem.--The free school-book system has prevailed here for several
years, and grows constantly in the affections of the people. We do not see
how a regular course of study, uniform text-books and uninterrupted advance-
ment of pupils can be maintianed without it. The failure to purchase text-
books at the right time, caused by the caprice or poverty of parents never
occurs to check the onward progress of pupils. It has also proven to be the
cheapest method of furnishing school books.
Teachers' Institutes.--Our teachers' institute meets monthly for eight months
in the year, and is an element of great power. In fact, it is the heart of
our system--by its active pulsations keeping alive the educational interest
and progress of the county. Under the influence of the institute our teachers
are constantly improving. Every teacher attends and prepares essays. These
essays are preserved by the Secretary, to be condensed and published as the
work of the Institute.
Summer Schools.--Interest in Summer Normals has greatly increased. Last year,
for the first time, we seriously recommended attendance upon them, and several
of our teachers attended and were greatly benefited. This year the Teachers'
Institute has endorsed them and passed strong resolutions urging our School
Board to take all necessary steps, including an appropriation, to secure the
holding of one of them at Brooksville. Don't forget us in this matter,
Developed Home Teachers.--During the past three years Hernando county has de-
veloped more home-reared teachers than ever before in the same length of time
in the history of the county. Any graduate of our system can take, with credit-
able averages, the State uniform examinations. Only one of our graduates has
Owing to our uniform system of graded schools for the entire county, our home
teachers have generally given the best staisfaction. The only difficulties
we have experienced in operating our system have been with imported and old-
time teachers, who could not or would not conform to our system. We have
old teachers that are up to date, and imported teachers that are fully alive
to our methods. These have been of great help to us and to our schools, and
with them we have had no difficulty. Hernando county, in my opinion, has a
splendid corps of teachers.
Summary of Present,Status,--The condition of our school affairs can be summar-
ized about as follows:
1. Improved condition of finances.
2. Interest in education constantly on the increase.
3. Well supplied with houses--increase of three.
4. Stoves and free text-books in every school
5. One-third of school grounds supplied with wells or cisterns; the others,
water supply convenient.
6. One-fifth enclosed with fences.
7. One advanced Graded and one High School,
8. Three-fourths of our teachers are resident and home-reared, and all en-
thusiastic and possessed of first-class ability to teach.
9. Nine special-tax schools, an increase of six for the past two years,
10. General term of school four months; in special-tax districts, five to
11. Teachers' Institute successfully maintained for the past three years,
12, Three schools furnished with patent desks.
13. Sixteen schools supplied with educational charts; all with geographical
Future Plans,--Our plans for the future include all the satisfactory features
of our present educational system, a six months' term in general and eight
months in the special-tax districts, a revision of course of study to make
it conform to six and eight months terms, and a more accurate record of the
age, advancement and disposal of the children of school age.
Litarary Clubs and Libraries.--It is our intention to promote literary clubs
and libraries in all the schools, so that educational advancement and interest
may be kept up after close of school. We expect to urge the purchase of a
library by patrons for every school, independent of text-books, to be let out
on circulating library plan. We wish to make the school h6use the centre of
interest, culture and refinement in every neighborhood.
Aspirations~--In conclusion we will say, we aim to reach the superlative
degree in everything worthy of effort and accomplishment in the domain of ed-
ucation. We hope to show you at the close of our four years' term the best
system of education, the most thorough and devoted corps of teachers, the
best equipped country school houses, the most intellectual, progressive and
ambitious youths of both sexes, a people the most devoted to the cause of
education, and, in consequence of the fruition of these hopes, the happiest
Superintendent in the State.
A. M. Co RUSSELL,
Hon. W. N. Sheats, State Superintendent Public Instruction, Tallahassee, Fla.:
Dear Sir--In accordance with the law, and with your request, I herewith send
you report on the condition of the schools of Hillsboro county:
Since my last report, the schools have continued their onward march,
New Buildings.--Six new school-houses have been built and properly furnished.
TheR school-houses and grounds throughout the county are neatly kept. In
most instances good drinking water is supplied.
Teachers.--It is with a considerable degree of pride that I am able to report
favorably again on the work of the teachers. With very few exceptions, they
are wide-awake, zealous and efficient in the performance of their duties.
As a natural consequence, prejudice against the improved methods of teaching
has been almost entirely overcome, and patrons are showing their appreciation
more and more of the efficient work that is being done. Tardiness and ir-
regularity in attendance are gradually disappearing; promptness and punctuality
are being recognized as essentials to success in school work and most power-
ful factors in forming character.
Course of Stdy and Record Book.--When entering upon my official duties ten
years ago, I noticed that one of the greatest obstacles to progress of the
schools lay in the frequent changes of teachers, and the absence of a uniform
system for carrying on the work. To obviate the bad effects that would
naturally follow, a Course of Study was placed in the hands of supervisors and
teachers, indicating the work to be done by the several grades in the dif-
ferent studies, and each school was provided with a Record Book in which
teachers were required to record monthly the work done in the several grades
and branches, also to keep a record of the monthly enrollment and average
attendance and such other matter as might be of interest to the succeeding
Summer School.--Summer normals and district institutes conducted by the County
Superintendent every year, a careful and systematic inspection of each teacher's
work together with the hearty co-operation of an intelligent, impartial and
public-spirited Board of Education have been instrumental in bringing about
the present satisfactory condition of our schools.
L. W. BUCHHOLZ,
Hon. W. N. Sheats, Tallahassee, Fla.:
Dear Sir--In compliance with your request I will make a short statement in
relation to the schools of Holmes county, from July 1894 to July 1896.
Improvements in Buildings and Equipment.--There is considerable improvements
in buildings. Most of the old houses have been torn down and replaced with
good framed buildings, furnished with good seats, good desks and blackboards.
Nine new houses have been built and fitted up with stoves. School grounds
are better kept and everything indicates greater interest than has ever been
manifested heretofore in this county.
Teachers' Examinations.--Our examinations have been well attended and con-
ducted as fairly as could be under the circumstances, a good percentage ob-
tained certificates. All were well pleased except those who failed; those
who failed, of course, complained and made the usual charges that fraud was
perpetrated and the Gradinp Committee had shown partiality.
Opposition to the Law.--Our people were very much opposed to the uniform ex-
amination law, because some had pets they wanted to put in the schools. They
said thet Sheats wanted to get up something new, curtailing their liberties,
and it would come to pass that a "poor man" could not get a school.
Opposition Waning.--But now every one, with a few exceptions, admit that it
was just the thing needed; by means of it, we have rid ourselves of a lot of
old croakers who knew nothing and sought a little school as a substitute for
a cotton crop.
Old Way of Getting a Teacher.--Under the old orderof things there were always
some aspiring teachers on the pad trying to make up a little school to be
taught as soon as they could finish their crop. The crop over, the teacher
and a few patrons would go to see the Board to get license to teach; if the
teacher failed, woe be unto the Board and County Superintendent, everything
was said about them except something good.
The New Way.--Now, as soon as our examination is over, the Supervisors are
present, each seeking to get the highest grade teacher possible. Now they
say, Sheats is the "right man in the right place."
Have a High S6hool.--I think Providence directed us to be ready for the law
when it was passed, for we had just organized a High School and were prepar-
ing to raise the standard of education in our county. We now see the necessity
of getting away from the old plan; under which to be able to write so that it
could be read, a little spelling, reading and ciphering, and sometimes a little
geography and grammar (Smith's), was the acme of educational aspiration.
Praise for Examination Law.--I attribute the improvement in interest manifested
by the teachers and people in general entirely to the influence of our uniform
Term of Service,--I have been connected with the schools of Holmes county from
january 1st, 1875, up to January 1897, and I think the past year has been
the greatest in our history. More interest has been manifested by the patrons
than ever before in this county.
Attends School Closings.--I have been invited to a number of schools at the
close to lecture, preach, or otherwise contribute to the success of the oc-
casion. I could not fill all the applications; it has not been so heretofore,
the schools wanted to close as quietly as possible.
Suggestions--A High School Mandatory.--I hope you will use all your influence
to have a law passed making every county have a High School, so that young
men and women may be prepared at home to teach the schools of their county
as well as fitted for other important stations in life. I think it is your
duty, as the chief of the educational department of the State, to see that
such a school is established in every county. I want the time soon to come
when every county will be perfectly independent of every other county for
teachers, and I believe a High School for every county will bring this state
of things to pass.
Hon. W. N. Sheats, Tallahassee, Fla.t
Dear Sir--Complying with your request to report condition of School affairs
of this county, I beg leave to state that school work is progressing nicely,
that they are in better condition this year than ever, and that more interest
is manifested every year by patrons, children and teachers in the school work,
and a constant demand is made by patrons for longer terms and better school
facilities, This, however, under present school law, (allowing County Comm-
issioners to determine amount of mills levied for school purposes) cannot be
granted. Under the circumstances our Board is doing all in their power on
New Buildings.--During the last two years there have been eleven new frame
school buildings constructed in the county, where before existed nothing but
the rude log house with its puncheon seats, and also many others have been
remoddled (sic) and greatly improved.
Uniform Examination Law.--Our teachers and people heartily endorse the Uniform
Examination Law for many reasons, but it seems to me that it would be better
to have one Grading Committee for each .Judicial, District.
State Uniform Text-Books.--We have a uniform series of text-books adopted in
the" county, which, as a general rule, are used in all the public schools, but
occasionally there move into the county families from other counties, who
have a different set of books, and who feel unable to purchase the books adopted
by our Board. Then there arises an extra work for the teacher; therefore, I
think it would be much better for all concerned, that the State Board be em-
powered with authority to make this adoption.
County Institutes.--We hold regularly County Institutes which I am sorry to
say are not as well attended as they should be, but great interest in manifested
by those who attend, and excellent work is being done along this line.
Summer School.--We hope to have this year a Summer Normal for the benefit of
our teachers, for we fully recognize the beneficial results of these meetings.
On the whole I would say that there has been a decided improvement in school
interest in the last two years and that it is still increasing.
I trust that you may be able at the next Legislature to have such changes in
the school law as you may deem beneficial to the school interest.
A. J. WOOLDRIDGE,
Co. Supt. Jackson county.
Hon. Wm, N. Sheats:
Allow me to make the following report of my stewardship as County Superinten-
dent, which is now soon to close for entrance again into the private walks of life.
Condition of Things Found.--I took hold of the educational helm without ex-
perience inthe work, and with due respect to my predecessor, I must say in
justice to myself, that I found very little system in the work. The stand-
ard of education was extremely low for both pupils and teachers, the county
was without a High School or any school that could be pointed to as a model
or a stimulus for the others, all things were on a dead low level.
Set to Work with Determination.--But my heart was in the work and I began as
btestT knew how the great work of reform, under the direction and leadership
of a man of long experience and whose heart burns with zeal for the great
cause, it is needless for me to say that I refer to the Hon. Win. N. Sheats.
There was much to be done, and praise is due the County Board for the hearty
co-operation they have extended me in all my undertakings. My own experience,
as unworthy as I may have been demonstrated to me that County Boards only
need a leader, some one capable of mapping out and suggesting, and they will
Financially Impeded.--We have been greatly crippled in our work for the past
two years by having our school assessment reduced to the minimum limit,
three mills, in 189h, and raised only to h 1 mills in 1895, at the same time
the valuation put upon railroad lands in the county was greatly reduced.
These two things co-operated to greatly diminish our revenues, just at the
time when we were making all possible efforts to encourage the introduction
of a better grade of teachers by raising salaries.
Taking all things into consideration, I feel that we have done remarkably
well under the circumstances.
County Hih School.--A County High School has been established at Mayo, the
county seat, which is at present under the Principalship of Prof. Jno. D.
Alderman, and we feel that it is a grand success and a great achievement in
a county circumstanced and situated like ours, with no past movement in that
direction. From this school in 1895 came five of our teachers, and the pre-
sent term will give us several more.
Uniform Examinations.--I have examined fifty-one applicants under the uni-
form examination law; thrity-two of that number were awarded certificates.
Our corps of teachers is growing into a live and enthusiastic body of workers,
studying their texts and their profession ten times as much as was ever known
in this county before.
Extends Farewell Thanks.--My administration as a whole has been pleasant, and
before retiring from office I desire to thank my friend, the honored State
Superintendent, for the continued kindness and counsel extended to me at all
times, and for his zeal and faithfulness in the great cause in which we are
I also tender thanks to the faithful and worthy teachers and to the School
Board of the county for their cheerful co-operation with me in the work, and
last, but not least, to the good people of Lafayette county who have manifested
appreciation of my work.
J. P. ABBOTT,
Hon. W. N. Sheats, State Superintendent Public Instruction, Tallahassee, Fla.t
My Dear Sir--I have the pleasure to submit to you this general report of the
condition and progress of the Public Schools of Lake county during the last
Loss in Revenue.--The loss of our orange groves in the winter of 1894-95 re-
duced the assessed valuation of the property of Lake county from about
$t,000,000 to about $2,500,000. This caused a direct loss to the school fund
of $7,500 per year. Our county school tax was already five mills and of
course we could not increase it so as to make up the loss caused by the re-
duced valuation. Yet, notwithstanding this great adversity, we have kept
the condition of our schools almost up to the standard which they had reached
before that time.
Teachers Warrants Not Discounted.--During the school year of 1895 and 1896,
as well as in former years, we had to contend with the late payment of taxes,
just as other counties do. But we did not permit our teachers to bear the
loss of discount on their school warrants. It is true that some warrants
were discounted, but they were all discounted at one bank, and by a contract
between the County School Board and that bank a definite record of such dis-
count was kept by the bank, and instead of retaining this discount as com-
pensation for cashing the warrants, the County School Board agreed to pay
the bank a definite rate of interest for the use of its money. The discount
was charged to the bank, and as soon as the County Treasurer had a sufficient
amount of money on hand to pay all indebtedness, a settlement was made with
the bank and with the teachers whose warrants had been discounted. If the
discount which the bank had received amounted to less than the interest on
their money for the actual time which it had been in use, the School Board
paid to the bank the difference, but if the discount amounted to more than
the interest, the bank paid to the School Board the difference. At this
general settlement the County School Board returned to each teacher the full
amount of the discount which he had paid to the bank. By this plan the teach-
ers lost practically nothing and the bankreceived a reasonable rate, and only
a reasonable rate, of interest on its money used in cashing the warrants.
The plan has always been satisfactory to all parties concerned and is less
expensive and much more satisfactory to the School Board than borrowing money
Condition of Finances.--We opened our schools this year with about $8,400 in
the treasur7--a larger amount than we had ever had on hand at that time of
the year since the county was organized, and no part of the taxes of 1896
had at that time been collected. This amount, with;the taxes of 1896, will
be sufficient to sustain our schools six months and leave a surplus of eight
or nine thousand dollars with) which to open the schools next year. This
condition of our school fund convinces us that notwithstanding our severe
loss of two years ago our schools will not suffer to any serious extent.
Character of Teachers,--Our teachers are usually well qualified for their work.
Some of the have taken special courses in training schools and nearly all of
them have read a few good books on the subject of pedagogy and school manage-
ment. They all have free access to a circulating library of about fifty well
selected volumes upon the subject of teaching, and many of them have been much
benefitted by its use. Some of them have excellent libraries of their own.
Grades of Certificates Held.--Of about sixty white teachers in this county
last year, eleven of them held first grade certificates and only five of them
held third grade. This year thirteen of them hold first grade certificates
and only six hold third grade. If we succeed in supplying our schools with
good teachers we feel that their success for that year is to a great extent
All primary instruction should be given by skilled teachers, and we have
usually been able to supply the primary departments of our graded schools
with that class of teachers. We of course do the same for the ungraded schools
when it is possible, for primary work must be done in all of them.
Permanency of Teachers.--An effort is made to retain all good teachers in the
same school for several years. In many places we succeed in doing this but
in some we fail. A definite law, giving School Boards authority to employ
teachers for terms of two or four years, would assist us very much in making
teachers more permanent in their work.
Selection of Teachers.--The County School Board has used much care in the
selection of teachers, and local school officers who have been given the pri-
lege of recommending teachers have not usually abused that trust. If the local
officers (Supervisors) do not have teachers whom they know to be competent
they usually leave the selection and employment of them entirely to the County
School Board and County Superintendent. This is a wise practice and one that
is gaining in prevalence in this county every year.
Buildings and Furniture.-.Prior to last year our School Board spent about
$1,000 each year in building, repairing and furnishing school houses, but
last year that work was suspended on account of the scarcity of money. This
year we have been furnishing material with which building and repairing can
be done and the school patrons are doing the work. A few of our school houses
are not yet as comfortable as they should be. About half of them are yet to
be furnished with the patent desks.
Evidences of Successful Work.--The personal examinations which we have made
of the school work of both teachers and pupils has been, in a large number of
cases, very satisfactory. One of the best evidences of the merits of the
Public Schools in Lake county is the success of the advanced pupils who apply
for teachers' certificates at the State Uniform Examinations. Their grades
are usually among the very best that are issued, and in the last examination,
among a large number of applicants, the highest first grade certificate issued
was given to a public school pupil only seventeen years old who had never at-
tended school outside of this county.
Public Interest Good.--I do not want to close this report without speaking
of the universal and hearty support that is given the Public Schools by the
citizens of our county. The maximum limit of school tax is paid cheerfully,
and almost every citizen does whatever he can to encourage their interest and
highest success. Very truly yours,
J. C. COMPTON,
Hon. Wm. N. Sheats, State Superintendent Public Instruction, Tallahassee, Fla.:
Dear Sir--In compliance with your request I herewith submit the following report
Immense Territory and Sparse Population.--Lee county is over sixty miles
square, giving her an area of over three and one-half thousand square miles,
or about three times as large as the State of Rhode Island. The county is
sparsely settled, making the schools scattered and small.
Evanescent School.-In some of the hunting and fishing districts the settle-
ments were not permanent, consequently only temporary school advantages could
be given. Schools of twenty pupils were established in such places, when not
a single inhabitant was to be found there the following year.
Pro Rata System.--It has always been our aim to give every child of school
age equal advantages by giving him the "pro rata" of the funds, which was ten
dollars "per capital which often gave single families living too remote from
regular schools a teacher.
Course of Study Adopted.--A regular course of study has been adopted, embracing
eight grades, which pupils are expected to complete in eight years.
The County Superintendent is required to prepare uniform questions at the close
of the term for examination, on which the pupils are graded.
Uniform Examinations.--The law requiring uniform examinations for teachers has
greatly raised the standard of teachers and schools; our indifferent and non-
progressive teachers are "laid on the shelf," while only the best qualified
are now the ones to instruct our youth.
Good Effects of the Freeze.--Since the freeze in December, 1895, our school
enrollment has increased about 40 per cent. Five new school houses have been
built, costing from $500. to 4900., and have been supplied with the best single
I have been County Superintendent ever since Lee county was established in 1886,
and feel satisfied that the foundation of the schools are well laid.
D. C. KANTZ,
Hon. W. N. Sheats, Tallahassee, Fla.:
Dear Sir--I have the honor, in complying with your request for a special re-
port of the condition of our schools, etc., to submit the followings
Tmprovements.--During the last two years we have been rapidly improving our
school property, and supplying needed apparatus. Prior to that we exhausted
our funds annually in appropriations for teachers salaries. We now control
more money and can afford to improve buildings. When obtainable, we hold deeds
to all school property. Teachers salaries have increased and property improved.
Course of Study,-Our schools are now closely graded. Information was furnished
to the County Board last year that only five (5) per cent. of irregularities
then existed in the entire county. This course of study was adopted in 1891,
and has been slightly modified since, by the addition of three branches of study
and a change in two text-books. Under its operation children who attended
school regularly are certain of advancement. No option is allowed either pupil
or teacher--the course of study must be carried out; provided, that in case
of a young man or woman who expects to attend school during only one term,
he or she is allowed the privilege of choosing subjects.
Promotions,--Beginning with the Fifth Grade, pupils are advanced from grade
to grade by making a general average of 65 per cent. on a written examination.
Questions for these examinations are prepared by County Superintendent, and
are sent out upon requisition of teacher at any time. All examination papers
are first graded by the teacher who sends them to County Superintendent for
inspection and approval. This heavy work is thus undertaken by County Super-
intendent in order that there may be county uniformity. Promotion cards are
sent to those who pass; those who fail are required to review the work of that
grade. Exceptions to this rule will occur where the teacher assigns good rea-
sons for a pupil's failure and urgently requests that he or she be allowed to
take up the work of the higher grade. This teacher's recommendation is filed,
together with the examinee's papers. Certificates of graduation are presented
those who complete the full course of study.
Teacher's Recommendations.--At the close of each school, teachers are required
to file with the County Superintendent a statement by grades, showing the stand-
ing of each pupil. Appended to this statement is the teacher's recommendation
for those not promoted by examination. This report is expected to explain to
a successor the condition of the school, and account for the difference in
standing of pupils of the same grade. We try to save that much time to our
schools which is usually consumed by a successor in "getting acquainted with
the pupils." We require all teachers to work for the next term of school.
Weekly Reports,--We open schools in September; many do not begin until later.
The work of starting up schools, where all do not begin at one date, detains
me in the office usually until the last of October. To reach these schools--
and all others--we use a daily recitations from each grade. This work is re-
ported as done by grades, and report sent in at the end of each week.
Final Day.--All schools make the last day a gala day--examinations, speaking,
display of work on file, and dinner. We prefer having these exercises during
the day to the exhibitions given at night. This is encouraged because the
actual work can be seen rather than the performances of children witnessed
besides, the opportunity is offered the County Superintendent of addressing
the patrons and citizens upon those lines of thought which will intensify
pride of school and loyalty to teacher,
County School Exposition.--On this occasion the schools of the county have
on exhibition the actual work done by pupils of all grades. A large building
is decorated and space reserved for each school separately. On tables and
upon walls are tastily arranged maps, historical charts, arithmetic tables,
language tablets, written spelling, compositions, essays, drawings in physio-
logy, and any special work done by boy or girl of unusual talent,
Teachers Institutes.--Our teachers are convened by call of County Superin-
tendent the first week of October, and at that time organize themselves into
a Teachers' Association, to last only during the school term, of five months;
subsequently, they hold monthly meetings of the organization, frequently
honoring the County Superintendent by making him presiding officer. The pro-
grammes for these monthly meetings are arranged so as to bring into discussion
those questions which bear closely upon the every day work of the school room.
Distinctive Idea in Education,--We work under the motto of Character Build-
ing. We impress all teachers that education lies not so much in acquiring
knowledge as in making men and women--citizens. Whether as a result of such
teaching or not, still the fact is that we have but few cases of corporal
Our effort is in the line of developing the potentialities of each boy and
girl, We begin with "integrity" and end with "intelligence."
High Schools.--Our plan is to have the common schools tributary to the high,
schools. We graduate pupils in a course of study uniform throughout the county,
and allow no branches introduced except those which are prescribed; the com-
mon schools are exempt from undertaking High School work.
In the High School Course, no attempt is made for a distinctive college pre-
paration. We try to cover the work necessary for a county First Grade Teachers'
Certificates. We have organized, under the Sub-District Law, a high school
in each of the towns Bronson and Cedar Key.
Examination Law.--The little opposition that at one time existed to this law
has been reduced to a minimum. I feel that had the County Superintendent and
teachers been opposed to the law, the people would have been more disturbed.
Much praise is due our teachers for wisely accepting the situation and work-
ing for the issues, and doing so with but little or no complaint.
We hold two examinations each year, and appoint on the Grading Committee
teachers who will consider only the work before them. This law is largely
responsible for the rapid increase in the efficiency of our teachers.
Policies.--We pay our school warrants in cash. When the treasury is ex-
hausted, we borrow money.
Good schools are patronized; to have good schools we need good teachers. We
secure the best we can, giving preference to those who reside in our county.
We base the salaries (1) on the grade of certificate, (2) the size of the school.
All schools are required to make 60 per cent. average. Failing to do this for
one week, the teacher must close school, to resume at any time when the average
can be made. The Board suspends this regulation in cases where an attempt is
made to wilfully break down the school.
We teach our people that these schools are not State institutions nor "public
We enforce all county and State regulations, and co-operate with our teachers.
County Supt. Pub. Inst.
Hon. W. N. Sheats, State Superintendent Public Instruction, Tallahassee, Fla,:
Dear Sir--By your request I send you a report of the condition of the schools
of Liberty county. In my judgment the schools of the county are in a better
condition than ever before. There is much improvement needed, and much yet
to be done before the schools of the county are anything like they ought to
be. We have had difficulties, financially and otherwise, to contend with;
but, notwithstanding all this, there has been considerable improvement made
during the past two years, and we propose to keep doing our best for the better-
ment of our schools by the proper use of the means at our command.
Effect of Examination Law,--As a consequence of the new school law we have
bette teachers and better schools. We have seven white teachers in the county,
and the white schools can all be taught by two schools being taught by the
We have only two colored teachers in the county, and for that cause some of the
small colored schools cannot be taught.
New Buildi.ngps.--Several new school houses have been built in the county during
the past two years
In the year 1894 a good school house was built at Bristol, at a cost of more
than $1,600, for the purpose of establishing a County High School.
County High School.--We have employed competent teachers and have had good
schools. For the year beginning July 1, 1894, the Bristol High School was
taught for a term of eight months. For the year beginning July 1, 1895, four
months, and for the year beginning July 1, 1896, four months, the term being
shortened for lack of school funds.
The Bristol High School is located on a ten acre lot, in a healthy locality,
near Bristol, the county site. It has been deeded to the Board of Public In-
struction, is paid for, and free from all incumbrances,
Suggestion--Make a High School Mandatory,--I think it would be well to have
a law enacted that would require each county in the State to establish one
High School at the county site, or some central point in the county, and that
the length of the term in each High School shall be at least six months.
Yours very respectfully,
T. J. GREGORY,
County Superintendent Public Instruction.
Hon. W. M. Sheats, Tallahassee, Fla.:
Dear Sir--In reply to your circular letter of recent date, I say that the
years 1894 and '95 and '96 have been years of prosperity in Madison county
New Buildings.--We have built several good comfortable buildings, and have
repaired many others. We have not moved as fast as could be desired, but we
are doing all that our funds will allow. Having just emerged from under a
debt of twenty-five hundred dollars, we try to be cautious lest we again be-
come entangled under the same yoke of debt.
Sinking Fund,--I have been anxious to provide a Sinking Fund, so that we could
pass over the summer and fall months without teachers having to suffer a dis-
count on their scrip.
I think the county is in fairly good condition financially.
When Schools Run.--Our county is an agricultural (sic) county. A large per
cnt of our schools run in the summer and fall. I am not an advocate of
summer terms but allow it from necessity. Cotton being our only money crop
our people have to work their children on the farm during crop season.
Books Adopted Insisted On.--When I look back only a few years and see the
difficulties that were confronting me in the shape of fogyism, I can but con-
gratulate the county for the success we have had in freeing the schools from
these erroneous ideas about books and methods. This has been done by insist-
ing on the teachers teaching the books adopted and using the modern methods
regardless of the wishes or advice of the smart ones. While we are glad of
the success we have had, we feel that there is still much to be done.
Buildings Contemplated.--We contemplate building a good substantial school-
building in the town of Madison in the near future. We have purchased a beau-
tiful lot conveniently located; we propose to build a house that will be an
ornament to the town and the pride of the county, and so equip it with apparatus
so that we will be prepared to do as good work as any High School in the State.
We are preparing to build up about fifteen First Grade schools in the county
so that we can work our First Grade teachers to better advantage. We do not
claim to be in the lead but we are coming. Our watchword is forward.
Teachers' Institute.--The teachers of the county are organized and meet twice
each month, the object of the association is the professional improvement of
the teachers and the development of a course of study which shall be uniform
throughout the county.
We have ample teaching force.
I think, taking everything into consideration, we have improved fifty per cent
since the publication of the last biennial report.
Approve Examination Law.--I have no recommendation to offer relative to any
change in the examination law. I fully endorse it. I give it credit for
much of the improvement in the county. We now have a corps of live active
teachers, seventy-five per cent better than formerly.
Count Board Should Levy School -Tax.--I would recommend a change in the re-
venue law. I think the Boarof Public Instruction of the several counties
should levy the school tax, for the reason that the needs of the county are
best known to them.
I would like also to have a statute confining pupils to the schools in their
respective districts, having only one school in the county open for all, and
let that be the County High School.
Yours in the work,
R. L. WILLIAMS,
Co. Supt. Public Instruction.
Hon. W. N, Sheats, State Superintendent Public Instruction, Tallahassee, Florida:
My Dear Sir--I have the pleasure of submitting herewith report on condition,
etc., of our schools, in response to your favor of the 18th inst. All things
considered, the past scholastic year has been one of more than average pros-
perity, although nothing of extraordinary moment has transpired to make it an
epoch in the history of our public schools.
Present School Board.--I can but feel that our present School Board has done a
good part by our schools, for which they deserve much credit; though all has
not been accomplished that was hoped for, yet we have cause for gratification
over the amount of good accomplished, and may well look forward to still
greater results for the near future in the general upbuilding of the cause
of education in our county.
Growth in Attendance and Efficiency.--My last annual report shows, as you
have doubtless noted, a marked increase over previous years in enrollment
and attendance; our reports show also that the number of pupils who pursue the
more advanced studies of the common school curriculum increases each year.
These two facts alone, clearly indicate the growth and efficiency of our schools.
I am more impressed every day with my responsibility and the importance and
necessity of our schools keeping pace with other improved methods in the great
industries of life, and the necessity of my teachers being better equipped for
their work--the better to satisfy the demands of an intelligent public.
Classification and Gradation,--Since assuming my official position it has been
my earnest desire to unify the work in the county. A system of classification
and gradation has been adopted, as far as practicable, and its beneficent
effects are already apparent. We have a good corps of teachers doing good
work, but we feel they should be better teachers doing better work.
Influence of Institutes and County High School.--For the best results along
this line, I build largely my hopes upon our County Normal or Teachers'
Institutes and our County High School. I believe our Institute work marks a
new era in public education in our county. The every-day problems of the
school room are explained, the subjects to be taught are analyzed and simpli-
fied, methods are discussed and ideals created; the teachers return to their
work strengthened, inspired for greater endeavor, prepared for closer study
and better comprehension of the meaning of their work.
Wants of Teachers.--The wants of our teachers are two-fold--more skill in
methods of instruction, more accurate and broader scholarship and wider in-
formation. In organizing the County Institute, or summer school for teachers,
it is a great stride towards supplying these needs; still, I doubt sometimes
if many of my people fully realize how great a benefit these institutes will
prove to them as individuals and as a community; such an appreciation must
come to them by degrees.
Success of igh School.--Under the able management of Prof. Thos. C. Walton
and his efficient assistants, the success of our County High School has ex-
ceeded our expectations with an enrollment of 148 pupils last term, and with
an assurance of a larger attendance the present term. On this school we will
depend largely in the future as a source of supply for teachers in our ele-
mentary schools. I am fully convinced that nothing will raise the teaching
standard so much as a County High School, and it is my earnest desire to
place every district school in line with our High School.
Unfiorm Examinations.--The State Uniform Examination Law has unquestionably
elevated the profession of teaching and accomplished a great good for the
Public Schools of the State. Thpse teachers who yet fail to appreciate its
requirements and demands, and who are not reading and studying and keeping
abreast with educational advancement, are unconsciously gradually withdrawing
themselves from their profession.
New Buildings.--In the way of providing more comfortable and better furnished
school buildings, much has been done. The County High School Building is a
good substantial, two-story frame building, located at Braidentown, the county
site, erected by the public-spirited citizens of that town at a cost of about
$2,500, and donated to the county for school purposes.
The Palmetto Academy is a handsome new building, built and furnished by the
citizens fo the Palmetto School District; costing $2,700.
The Manatee School building has recently been overhauled, divided into separate
apartments and thoroughly equipped for the very best school work under its able
Principal, Prof. J. M. Stuart. With commendable zeal the patrons of our county
schools have caught up the interest manifested by the patrons and citizens of
our towns, and the gratifying results are better and more comfortable build-
ings in nearly every school sub-district, many of which are being furnished
with patent desks of the latest design.
1. I favor an amendment to the act placing the power with the board of County
Commissioners to fix the amount of tax to be levied for county school
purposes. This power should be conferred upon County School Boards; it
is reasonable to assume that County School Boards are more familiar with
the actual requirements and needs of the schools under their supervision
than any other body.
2. I favor a law making mandatory the establishment of County High Schools
in every county having a specified valuation and population.
3. I favor the adoption of uniform text-books for the State; published and
furnished by the State to patrons at the actual cost of publication, thereby
saving thousands of dollars annually to the patrons of our public schools,
4. I favor no further legislation on the State Uniform Examination Law; in
my opinion-, the law cannot be improved upon.
With assurance of respect and esteem, I am
W. M. ROWLETT,
Supt. Pub. Inst.,
Office of Board of Public Instruction, Ocala, January 1, 1897.
Hon. Wm. N. Sheats, State Superintendent Public Instruction,j Tallahassee, Fla.t
Dear Sir--In compliance with your request for a brief report from this office
as to the progress of educational matters in Marion county, I have the honor
of submitting the following reports
Primitive Condition of Schools.--Entering the office of County Superintendent
in 1880, after careful inspection of the field my report to the Board for that
scholastic year made plain the necessity for comfortable school buildings,
furniture, and the adoption of a series of text-books, for the county did not
own a single building, and schools were taught in cabins, churches and private
Uniform Text-Booksv--One recommendation made in 1883 resulted in the adoption
of a series of text-books by the Board, which has been continued, with few
changes, to the present date. At first this innovation met with some opposi-
tion; but, after seeing the good results and real gain in the work of the
school-room, it was fully approved.
School Attendance.--From this date the attendance in our schools began to in-
crease and continued to do so until 1894, when it reached the highest enroll-
ment--over five thousand pupils. The demoralizing effect of the freeze, al-
most ruining our people in many sections of the county, reduced the attendance
but not the interest, for, commencing this term with seventy-seven white and
Thirty-six colored schools, the reports from these schools show that the atten-
dance will be greater than it was in 1895 and 1896, proving clearly that the
patrons have an abiding interest in our schools.
School Buildings.--The great drawback to any decided improvement in school
work from the first, was the entire absence of proper buildings and furniture.
Seeing this, I urged in every section the necessity of supplying the imperative
demand in this line. In 1886 the work was begun, and has been continued to
the present. The county now owns sixty-seven good school buildings, furnished
with the very best improved patent desks, black-boards, maps, charts and globes.
Since 1894 four white and three colored school buildings have been erected
and furnished. Of the entire number of buildings only Seven are for colored
schools, as the negroes seem loth in most cases to deed to the Board a site
upon which to build; but, be it said to their credit, they all have very com-
fortable frame buildings, which are in amny instances well furnished with
good desks and black-boards.
Uniform Examinations.--Uniform examinations did not at first meet the general
approval of the public. As the law was not well understood, and in its original
form was too iron-clad in its terms, it gave much dissatisfaction. Since the
amendment by the last Legislature the law is approved by all interested. It
has relieved the County Superintendents and School Boards of great responsi-
bilities and placed the same upon grading committees, who are made responsible
for the teaching force in each county. If care is taken in conducting the
examinations and every interest properly guarded, as it has been my aid to
do, there seems no reason for changing this law. The standing and character
of the committees appointed by the Board to grade the papers are above re-
proach, and I feel confident in stating that these examinations have been
honestly and fairly conducted. Yet this has not improved our teaching force,
as the county has lost none of its old teachers on account of the new system,
and has to-day (sic) a large surplus of unemployed people who have passed the
Course of Study,--Soon after the adoption of text-books a course of study for
the county schools was adopted, but it was not made mandatory until a full set
of rules and regulations, with a revised course of study, was adopted by the
Board of Public Instruction October 1, 1889, renewed in 1891, and again in
1894. This greatly aids the teachers in classifying their schools and system-
atizing the work of the school term. This was received with general approval,
did much to improve our school work and make it uniform throughout the county.
County Institutes.--Realizing at an early date the necessity for better tea-
chers and better schools, I constantly advocated the holding of Teachers'
Institutes, and as early as 1887 organized one at Ocala, to continue one week.
While comparatively little was accomplished in so brief a time, the results
were felt thoughtout the county, and a demand came from not only the teachers,
but also from the patrons and citizens for their continuance. They were con-
tinued thereafter at stated times for one or two weeks each year until a sys-
tem of institutes continued until the organization of Summer Schools -by State
Superintendent W. N. Sheats, which met my hearty approval and co-operation.
My efforts in behalf of this educational movement need no comment from me in
Teachers' Associations.--While fully appreciating the value of Teachers' Associ-
ations as a mental stimulant and an incentive to better work in the school-
room, the duties of my office have been so numerous and exactingas to leave
little time for attention to them, I will state, however, that considerable
interest has been manifested by our teachers during past years in a County
Teachers' Association, which was continued for several years and was usually
well sustained by those who could attend. Our county is so large, schools
in some sections are so scattered and remote from the place of assembling,
that it has been utterly impossible for many teachers to attend such meet-
ings. At present the Association is discontinued.
Amendments to School Laws.--
1. I would let the school law stand as it is, especially the part that re-
lates to the examination of teachers.
2, I would make the selection and appointment of teachers for any and all
counties the duty of Boards of Public Instruction.
3. I would advocate the abolition of the present census law as a useless
expense to the State. If the census is of such importance that it must
be taken, place that responsibility upon the County Superintendent, and
let it be taken in January, while schools are in session, instead of
June, thereby getting a far more reliable census than in the past,
Conclusion,--In making this, my last report to your office, let me state that
a school system has been thoroughly established in this county, and it now
only needs complete development by those to whose care it has been committed.
Notwithstanding the 7reat disasters which we have sustained, our finances
have been so managed as to meet all obligations without increasing the rate
of taxation to the utmost limit. The aim of my work has been to leave the
cause of popular education in Marion county safe and firmly established, not
only with the officials, but in the hearts and homes of our people.
M. L. PAYNE,
County Superintendent Public Instruction.
Key West, Fla.
Hon. W. N. Sheats, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tallahassee, Fla.:
Dear Sir--The general condition of the schools of Monroe county is very good,
and there seems to be a spirit of improvement each year. The interest in our
schools and the school work, on the part of the patrons and public, is much
more earnest at present than has heretofore been manifested.
Attendance Demands More Room.--The attendance at each of our city schools is
large and the necessity of more school room is very evident. In one of our
schools is an enrollment of 765 pupils with an average attendance daily of
between 500 and 600.
The Board will certainly have to provide an additional school building in
the near future for the accommodation of the great number of pupils of this
The other school for white children in our city is also well attended, but
not so crowded as the above mentioned.
Negro Schools.--The schools for colored children of the city are well attended
and have large enrollments. Additional school room was provided for one of
the colored schools during the past year, and it is to be hoped that the Board
will be able to erect a new school building for the other colored school, which
is very much needed, in the near future.
Character of Teachers and Examination Law.--Our teachers are very much interested
and are earnest in their work, and have much improved as teachers during the
past four years. Although the Uniform Examination Law was not at first regarded
with much favor, yet I am sure that after only a few years of its application
the teachers now appreciate its value' as a means of development of the teaching
force within them. I can certainly value the importance of continuing the
law for uniform examinations of teachers of our public schools and would not,
for a moment, entertain a thought of going back to the old "go as you please"
method of examinations and appointments of teachers, wherein friendship and
relationship had much weight and influence.
School Furniture.--All of our schools are supplied with good furniture and
with every facility for good work. I believe in having our schools well sup-
plied with black-boards and crayons, and have put in a great deal since I have
been in this office, Every school room is well supplied with black-boards and
the good work accomplished as a result is fully appreciated.
Value of Teachers' Meetings.--Our regular weekly teachers' meetings, at which
the practical work of a school room is discussed, and the best methods of in-
struction are demonstrated, is undoubtedly of great value as a means of im-
provement of our school system and the development of our teachers as instructors,
Our course of study in the schools is very nearly uniform, and will be made
more so as soon as possible.
I would simply say that I am fully in accord with anything that looks to the
betterment of our public school system.
C. F. KEMP,
Hon. W, N. Sheats, Tallahassee, Fla.:
Dear Sir--Replying to your request in reference to the operation of the
school system in Nassau county for years 1895-96, I would say that we have
been uhder some disadvantage during the past year owing to the storm, the
disastrous effects of which prevented the carrying into effect some con-
Buildings.--I am pleased to report that during that time we have been com-
pelled to build fourteen school-houses, twelve for whites and two for colored.
They are good warm buildings, ceiled throughout, well vintilated and furnished;
aggregate value, about $4,000. The attendance has increased very materially
and I am pleased to say the parents are taking more active interest in school
Uniform Examinations.--The uniform examination as required was at first con-
sidered unfair and entailing great hardships. This was owing to the unpre-
pared condition of applicants, the result was, that when first put in opera-
tion, there were eighty Third class certificates issued. It is now, however,
recognized as an absolute necessity and the good results are shown by the fact
that at subsequent examinations the applicants had prepared themselves and
obtained higher grade certificates, so that there are now but five Third
grade certificates used in the county, one white and four colored.
Teachers' Institutes--Library Needed.--Teachers' meetings were held at Fern-
andine, but were purely of a local nature. Mr. Bennett, the Principal of
school No. 1, reports them very beneficial and recommends that they be general,
as he very aptly says, they will do more toward improvement in "Theory and
Practice" of teaching than any other method employed.
I regret very much that this county does not possess a county School Library.
I consider this one of the most essential items towards a correct theory of
Summer Schools and Uniform Text Books.--Summer schools have proven themselves
decidedly beneficial in this county, especially in the absence of an Institute.
Referring to uniform Text Books, in the rural districts, those adopted by the
Board are in general use. The Board recognizes however that the more advanced
books should be used, some of which have been adopted by the graded schools
with marked beneficial results. It is to be hoped that in the near future
this county at least will own all books used in public schools. Should this
state of affairs occur, I predict an increase of at least twenty-five per cent.
of present attendance. There are in my estimation that many who are unable
to purchase necessary books to take advantage of opportunities offered.
Literary Societies.--Referring to Literary Societies, I do not wish to be
placed on record as opposing the same, but my observation of an attempt at the
operation of one in this county convinces me that it consumes too much of
students' time that should be devoted to daily studies.
Kindergarten Class.--A Kindergarten class was introduced at Fernandina white
school. This at first did not find much favor, but the effect was soon noticed.
This was abandoned last term owing to lack of funds to properly equip the class.
Some of the patrons now demand this to be added, and my successor infroms me
that this will be encouraged in every way. I would recommend this be adopted
Warrants Discounted-Change in Tax System Suggestedo--One of the needed reforms
which no doubt has suggested itself to you as well as to all County Superin-
tendents, is the earlier collection of taxes, School year commences July 1st,
the taxes for that year are not collected until the following June. This
leaves counties practically without funds until schools are closed, in the
meantime school warrants for teaching, etc., have been issued and holders are
either obliged to suffer heavy discount or the county is compelled to borrow
at heavy interest. Remedy for this would be that the Legislature direct that
the time for giving in returns of taxes be limited to March 30th. This would
permit assessors to complete rolls earlier and taxes could be collected within
the same year for which assessed. It is hoped that this or some other remedy
will be applied.
H. L. MATTAIR,
Supt. Public Instruction, Nassau County, Fla.
Hon. W. N. Sheats, Tallahassee, Fla.:
Progress of Education.--
Dear Sir--Replying to your request for a statement referring to our public
schools, I am happy to say, that through the strong assistance of our Board
of Public Instruction, the teachers and people, we have made fine progress
in education in Orange County.
Effect of Uniform Examinations --Since the advent of your new law greater
time has perhaps been given to study, preparation for expected calls upon mem-
ory. Concentration of thought upon all topics coming under the law for ex-
aminations, a condensation, if you please, of subjects in use daily in our
While a few have been worried, the masses, as may be seen by the greater num-
ber passing in the upper grades--have found the limit of use in the common
school system, there has been little objection, all interest in a general
sense is growing and the schools prospering.
Comparative State of Florida Schools.--As this month closes my connection as
an officer for the past eighteen years, with Florida's great system of educa-
tion, I take pleasure in stating that perhaps no state has made greater pro-
gress. While we have had the will-power, energy, the brain, we have greatly
lacked in finances to cope with northern states in buildings and aids to
teachers and pupils. I do not mention this complainingly, but we might have
more than equaled the North had we a reserve fund as most of them have. But,
Mr. Superintendent, we are on the upward grade and other states will have to
infuse more progress into their systems or we, the Peninsular State, the ex-
treme south, will occupy the topmost round in the educational ladder.
Extends Thanks,--Allow me to thank one and all for their courtesy in the past,
wishing all continued progress, and that Florida may soon be a great leader,
I am, sincerely yours,
J. T. BEEKS,
Hon. Wm. N. Sheats, State Superintendent Public Instruction:
Dear Sir--Notwithstanding the fact of a non-increasing population in this
county for the past two years, I have to report a large enrollment and a
large average attendance in the schools of the county for the year 1896, and
also for 1894-95. I do not attribute this improvement solely to any one
cause--several have aided in its creation,
Success of System, on What Dependent.--The success of our public school sys-
tem depends mainly Tay almost entirely) upon the teachers and patrons, or
parents and-guardians. Given true teachers and educationally alive and earn-
estly cooperative patrons and our system or any system cannot but be a grand
success. Recognizing this fact, I have striven to come into close and frequent
contact with both teachers and patrons, endeavoring to awaken a due concern
for their children's highest well being in the minds of the patrons. By
repeated visitation of the schools and talks with the children and teachers
I have sought to enthuse both with an ambition to achieve best results,
High School Supplies Teachers.--Another cause for the advance experienced
in the improvement noticeable in our staff of teachers. The relation of our
present staff of teachers employed in the district, or out of town schools,
to the pioneer teachers of this frontier county of only ten years ago, is one
not of comparison, but of contrast, Many of our present teachers have been
educated and trained in our County High School, this fact together with the
stricter and juster examination received by our teachers at the Summer Normal
Schools held in Kissimmee in 1895, explain the improved status of our teach-
Benefits of Free Text-Books.--The chief cause, however, of the gains mentioned,
and also o the better work, that I am convinced is being done this year, is
the fact that at the commencement of the present term were introducing the
system of free text-books for the primary and grammar schools of the county.
This I know positively has brought into the school and kept therein many
children whose parents were either too poor or too indifferent to purchase
the necessary text-books, and too proud to accept them as a gift, feeling I
can easily understand and sympathize with. I am persuaded also that a gain
of at least 25 per cent. will be made this term, over previous ones in many
of our schools, in the quality and quantity of the work done. I dare venture
the statement that in 50 per cent. of the schools of this State, outside of
the towns, the work being done is discounted 25 per cent. at least for the
want of a sufficiency of proper text-books. It is, I am sure, a "penny wise
and pound foolish policy" to attempt to economize in our public school system
by not supplying the text-books with the teachers. In all country districts
where the patrons themselves lack education, it is almost as necessary to
provide the one as the other.
New Schools.--Five new schools have been established, and several others re-
suscitated since 1894.
The County High School, located at Kissimmee, continues its useful career and
has improved upon its past successful work. It is still, as it has ever been,
the pride of the town and county.
To Whom Success Attributable.--Whatever small measure of success indicated
above may be in any sense attributable to my efforts during my official term,
now about to expire, it is only just and proper to say, is largely due to
the liberal and enlightened policy of the Board of Public Instruction, and
especially of its chairman,
Supt. Osceola County.
Hon. W. N. Sheats, State Superintendent Public Instruction, Tallahassee, Fla.:
Dear Sir--In compliance with your request for a short report of the condition
of the school system in this county during my administration, I have the honor
to submit herewith the following brief statement.
Condition of County Schools in 1889.--When I took charge in January 1889, the
reports on file for the year pervious show an enrollment of 1028 pupils,
thirty-eight teachers. Property valued at $4,000. The county had been in
existence but a year and a half and my predecessor, Capt. A. H. Ravieses,
had organized the schools in the woods without money or houses. Before he
retired they were under good headway and the plans for a graded school at
Dade City had matured and the building was under construction. I found a debt
of about $5,000 to be met which had grown out of the new order of things,
Increase in Enrollment and Number of Schools--Graded School.--It is with plea-
sure that I can state that, through the co-operation of the people, the school
system of the county continued to develop along satisfactory lines. -We now
have an actual enrollment of 1123 pupils, 48 teachers and 42 schools includ-
ing the graded school which is in a flourishing condition and has, happily
been a success from the day it opened, and has been an educational center from
which well equipped teachers have gone out into the common schools and devel-
oped them to a higher degree of proficiency. During the earlier days of my
term a home grown teacher was a rarity and the "imported" teacher the natural
order of affairs, today the condition of things is reversed and three-fourths
of our teachers are our own boys and girls who are the fruit of our public
schools in the last six years.
School Term--Sub-District--School Property.--The length of our school term
is five months which is supplemented from one to three months in about twenty-
five school districts, by the special tax levied by the districts.
The value of our school property is $14,0OO in round numbers. Our warrants,
which bear interest from the date of presentment, are taken at par at the
Uniform Examination of Teachers.--The greatest drawback I found to the success
of the school system during my first term was the awful lack of educational
qualification on the part of many teachers. After the enactment of the new
educational law, the provisions of which have been carried out to the letter
in this county, the teachers took on a new growth and their efficiency has
been nearly doubled, many of these teachers who most bitterly denounced the
law at first are now its warmest supporters.
1. I would suggest that the law should be so extended in its operations
that all school officers will be brought under its provisions, for since
these officers are to supervise education and means and instruments they
should be sufficiently well versed in the acquirements and requirements
upon which they are to pass as will enable them to judge intelligently.
Since "as is the school master so is the school," is an accepted con-
clusion, the same conclusion may be accepted with regard to school officers.
2, Another suggestion I beg to make is, that the school law be so amended
as to abolish the present special tax system on account of its cumbersome-
ness and other reasons, and in its stead a law be enacted, by constitutional
amendment if necessary, authorizing the Board of Public Instruction on a
petition of two-thirds of the school districts in a county, to assess a
special tax of not more than three mills to be proportioned and applied
in the school districts by the board, for the purposes specified in pe-
titions, whether for extneding the school terms or building and furnishing.
In conclusion I extend you my hand in encouragement for your zeal in the school
work, and assure you that your efforts have borne good fruits and will yet
produce greater results.
I have the honor to be your obedient servant,
ROBT. M RAY,
County Superintendent Schools, Pasco County.
Hon. Wm. N. Sheats, Tallahassee, Fla.:
Dear Sir--The schools of Polk county, while not all we would desire, are in
a more prosperous condition than ever before in the history of the county.
There is greater interest manifested by the patrons as is shown by increased
and more regular attendance of pupils.
New Buildings and Furniture.--During the last two years the School Board
with the assistance of the patrons, have erected twenty-two new school build-
ings, all of which are comfortably furnished. Patent desks have been placed
in ten schools, patrons in all cases assisting the Board in buying the desks
and other supplies.
We think that when the patrons help build and equip their school-house they
appreciate it more highly and take better care of it.
Work of Uniform Examinations.--The uniform examination law has done a great
deal toward elevating the teaching profession, It has put teachers to work
as they never worked before. It has driven out to a great extent incompetent
teachers who sap the life out of the profession. All live teachers of this
county heartily approve of the uniform examination law. I would like to see
a limit to the life of a Third Grade certificate.
Uniform Course of Study.--We have placed in the hands of the teachers a Uni-
form Course of T udy with manual of instruction to the teachers. This has
done a great deal toward unifying the work in the schools and bringing about
an educational system in the county. The teachers are required to familiarize
themselves with its contents and adhere strictly to the Course of Study.
County Teachers' Association,--We organized in 1893 "The Polk County Teachers'
Association," and have held meetings about once each month during school term
ever since, greatly to the benefit of the teachers and the schools,
Teachers' Reading Circle.--We have organized in connection with the Teachers'
Association a Teachers' Reading Circle. The books adopted for the year 1897
are, Quick's "EducationalrReformers," Parker's "Talks on Teaching," Rousseau's
The teachers are taking hold of the reading course enthusiastically and we
expect good results from it.
Pupils Reading Circle.--We have also a Pupils' Reading Circle, but as yet
but few are enrolled and little has been accomplished owing principally to
the lack of books and the inability of the patrons to buy them.
A Library in Each School.--We hope to establish a library in each school
during this year and have it filled with choice books for each grade, and in
this way perfect the Pupils Reading Circle. We need more supplementary read-
ing. School Boards should encourage the establishment of school libraries
by offering to help such schools as desire them.
Sub-District Schools,.-We have six School Sub-districts already established
in which are levied a special tax of three mills for extending the term, re-
pairing buildings, etc.
Teachers Paid Cash.--We pay our teachers in cash each month. If we have no
the (sic) money on hand we borrow it.
Upon the whole our schools are on the up grade.
Need of Normal School.--We feel the need of a good Normal School in the southern
part of the- ate.
J. L. HOLLINGSWORTH,
Hon. W. N. Sheats, State Superintendent Public Instruction, Tallahassee, Fla.:
Dear Sir--I herewith submit a summary report of some of the leading educational
movements in Putnam county for the past scholastic years from July 1, 1894,
to July 1, 1896.
Need of New Buildings.--One among some others of the desired objects of our
county after July, 1894, was to build new school houses, repair old ones,
and equip them all with better paraphernalia. We have been unable to do
this by reason of having our chief source of wealth-production cut off. In
this, however, we have not been totally discouraged, for in my addresses to
teachers and pupils when visiting schools and in my official intercourse
with the patrons of this county, I have advised them to make obstacles stepping
stones to success, and thus, being denied those greater privileges, we must
labor harder for results. In many cases this has been done. We yet hope to
be in such a financial condition as to be able to realize this longing desire
of our anticipation.
Improvement Steady and Evident.--The advancement of our educational work has
been slow and upward We know improvement is being made all along the line.
We know the methods and adopted under our present system are reaching the
child's mind, and giving it wider range and activity. We see this demonstrated
at almost every school we visit. A child that has entered school during the
four years of my supervision and been trained under the new regime, responds
freer and more intelligently--so far as his studies have taken him--to any
question put to him, and with that satisfied air of knowing he is right, than
many older ones who have been stumbling in a hap-hazard way over these things
for many years. I have frequently called the teacher's attention to these
things, and we have been unable to attribute it to any other cause than to
the higher and more modern methods of instruction. Observing the strict
letter of the new laws, we have not always been able to provide all of our
schools with teachers, but we have managed to give the most important ones
full terms, and the lesser ones shorter terms when the others were out.
School Enrollment.--Our general school enrollment has not increased during
the past two years, over prior reports, owing to the removal of many persons
to other places--seeking more lucrative fields of employment. Especially
has this been true of many rural districts--in some of which it has been hard
to support a school at all--where a goodly number of pupils and a fair average
was once in attendance. The town and village schools, in many instances,
have swelled in numbers, for there has been a tendency to remove from the re-
mote country districts to the towns and villages.
Course of Stud.--The first year of our official work we labored very hard
to provide an issue a course of study. Some of it through experience we
have seen fit to modify, extend and enlarge. In that course we set the mark
high, and the percentage to be made on examination to advance to the higher
grades, well up. We believe in a high standard in everything if we expect
success and advancement. We have never attempted to define a teacher's
duties other than to give a zenera2 outline. I rather like versatility in
teaching, and while uniformity to a certain extent is good, if all the work
in the school-room was done upon the same principle some pupils, by reason
of their natural characteristics, would get no benefit. We first of all
try to get such teachers as have a stock of knowledge to draw upon, and we
expect every teacher to have a certain amount of tact to meet emergencies.
If they do not, the school lags, complaints arise, and the teacher thus retires
himself to other shades to seek more congenial callings.
Graded Schools.--We have several graded schools in this county, and this was
one of the objects among others we chiefly desired to see. There is much room
for improvement on this line yet. Palatka has her schools well graded--both
white and colored. We have a High-School Course in the Palatka white school,
open to every pupil in the county who can meet the test of examination to
enter. A prepared course of four years is given in the higher branches, whereby
a pupil is thoroughly qualified to enter college, or go out and obtain a high-
grade certificate. Much credit is due Professor I. I. Himes for the laborious
efforts he has made in this school to bring it to its present high standard.
Teachers Paid Monthly.--We have one thing we can boast of in historic old
Putnam, among others, and that is, during the two years of financial depression
through which we have passed, the teacher's money was ready at the close of
every month taught, and no warrant issued by our School Board had ever to be
discounted or was not worth its face value when repsented for payment. Our
School Board is exceedingly zealous in the cause of education, and very suc-
cessful manipulators of finances.
Suggested Legislation,--Now a few words on legislation: 1. We think the law
providing for the election of members of the School Board a mistake. It
throws the matter into politics, sometimes engenders feelings of discontent
in some localities, and will often put a member on some School Boards regard-
less of color or nationality as a reward of some political engineering, it
would be better for school interests not to have these.
Who Should Make the School Levy.--2. The changing of the law so as to give
Boards of County Commissioners authority in fixing village is not right, and
this county has once been made to feel its effects. If School Boards know
thier business, and it is presumed a majority of them do, they better under-
stand a county's needs in the school line, than those who give it no attention
or study. The law fixes the minimum millage at three and the maximum at five
mills on the dollar, and within these limits every School Board should have
unabridged privilege to ask, demand and expect on county assessments.
Limit to Third-Grade Certificates.--3. Giving a teacher permission to hold
more than one third-grade certificate has been a check upon our school ad-
vancement, as many teachers--naturally so constituted and can't help it--
will never aspire to anything higher when the same grade will meet the
demands of the law.
Perfect the Sub-District Law,--h. We think so much of the redtape formula
now laid down in the present law, whereby towns or localities can incorporate
themselves into school sub-districts, to increase their school facilities and
privileges, ought to be removed; a shorter, plainer, less complicated law
enacted, so as to be easily adopted by every school district of the State.
Manual Training Department.--5. I look forward to the day not far distant,
when a manual training depratment will be attached to every school of impor-
tance, for we are educating boys and girls and turning them out helpless
upon the world to become culprits. They learn to look upon physical labor
as degrading, and resort to every crime in the decalogue to escape it.
Compulsory Education.--6, And lastly, I come to the crowning point of school
legislation--compulsory education. In Putnam county I find the greatest
hinderance to the advancement of our educational work to be the parents. A
thousand and one petty matters with parents are sufficient cause to keep their
children from school. To keep a pupil from school on trivial things, trains
him to think there are more important demands on him than obtaining an ed-
ucation. It blunts his perception, destroys his interest or enthusiasm at
such time, too, as the teacher by earnest labor has aroused him to his duty,
and oftimes, sad to say, the teacher's energies being thus destroyed, he looks
upon the task as a hopeless one and never renews it on the same subject again.
The State may never renews (sic) it on the same subject again. The State
may not be ripe for compulsory education, but it is as sure to come as that
we move forward in this great educational work.
THOSE. W. RALPH,
ST. JOHNS COUNTY
St. Augustine, Fla.
Hon. W..N. Sheats, Tallahassee, Florida:
Dear Sir--I beg leave to submit the following brief statement:
Buildings and Apparatus--High School.--During the past two years my official
acts have been along the same lines as formerly.
It has been one of the leading aims of the County School Board to erect
suitable school buildings and to provide them, as far as possible, with such
apparatus as would render teaching effective.
In your last bi-ennial report you recognized only one High School in the State.
Our county now has a High School with a good course of study and qualified
Examination Law.-The Uniform Examination Law has done a great deal toward
building up our school system.
The names of members of Grading Committees should be kept secret as the law
School Tax.-.The people of this county would gladly pay more school tax, but
our- oar of County Commissioners believe in small assessments. Do they
ever think of the public schools? They certainly should give the schools
attention since they are the power to regulate the amount of money expended
for educational purposes. Our improvements are limited to the value of money
I am out officially, yet with you in the cause,
R. F. SABATE,
SANTA ROSA COUNTY
Hon. W. N. Sheats, State Superintendent of Public Instruction:
Dear Sir--It affords me pleasure to report a general improvement in school
affairs of Santa Rosa county since the issuance of your last bi-ennial report.
Lots and New Buildings.--Many lots or sites for educational purposes have been
generously donated, and some new and comfortable buildings erected. This was
accomplished by appeals (circular letters) to Supervisors and by the Superin-
tendent meeting and talking to parents.
In a few more years I hope to have a well equipped school house in every dis-
trict in the county.
Causes of Improvement in Teaching Force.--I am happy to report, too, a very
marked improvement in teaching force-teachers who are ambitious are acquiring
professional libraries and keeping in close touch with educational progress.
This is due to many causes: the "New School Law," the greatest and richest
inheritance the children of Florida ever received and the enforcement of this
law; the regulation of the County School Board paying Third Grade Certificate
holders, who are strictly third grade teachers, not more than twenty ($20)
dollars per month; the prompt payment, in cash, of teachers each month; the
rejection from the examination room of immoral would-be-teachers; and by not
assinging to schools teachers (?) who have proved to be undesirable or incap-
able or incapacitated for school work.
Teachers Boarded Free.--With few exceptions all districts cheerfully provide
homes free of cost for teachers, and just here I will add that the greater
part of the expenses of new buildings was borne by interested fathers and
mothers. In one instance the mothers, you might say, were the architects,
God bless the women--our true Southern women--for of them are my best
teachers, and I am seriously thinking of getting several appointed as Super-
School Attendance and How to Improve It,--While the enrollment and average
attendance is not as good as I desire, yet it compares favorably with that
of other counties, and is growing.
To accomplish this result, and secure good attendance, we must in many cases
educate the parents, and in all cases have attractive teachers as well as
attractive school houses and premises.
A tender child should no more be permitted to receive instruction from a
blear-eyed, loathsome, or deformed teacher, than to sit day after day with
its little limbs hanging from a high bench in an old bat-roost school house.
Old Debt Paid.--During the past two scholastic years we have paid the last
cent of an old debt incurred more than four years ago.
School Term Lengthened.--In 1895-96 the school term was extended from four
(U) months to five (5) months, and a five months term will be taught this
Scant School Fund--Plenty of Money for Less Worthy Purposes.--Our greatest
need is school funds--we can not operate schools unless we have money.
Some of our law makers show by their actions that they believe four months
tuition a year will make statesmen and mothers of statesmen.
The State Militia get all they can spend for arms, equipment and encampments.
Nearly every county boasts of a jail costing from $10,000 to $30,000, and
yet many towns that are county sites, cannot vote a Sub-District and levy
$1,000 for a High School building.
Are the military displays and the criminals of more importance to us than
our children and the future prosperity of our country?
School Fund Robbed.--The fine and forfeiture fund has been taken from us,
and now aemad is made upon us by County Commissioners to pay the Assessor
and Collector of Revenue their commissions (on county school tax) from our
meager school fund. We will not pay this unlawful claim unless forced to do
so by the Supreme Court.
God grant a reformation along this line. May the people of Florida awake
and realize that they owe their children a debt, and pay it.
Three Mill State Tax.--Give us a three mill State tax for educational purposes,
a compulsory school law, and the apportionment of the school funds between
the races according to equity and justice.
Very truly yours,
E. L. MbDANIEL,
Supt. Public Instruction,
Live Oak, Florida.
Hon. W. N. Sheats, State Supt. of Public Instruction, Tallahassee, Fla,:
Dear Sir--The schools of Suwannee county are in a decidedly better condition
now than at any previous period. We have employed more high grade teachers
and paid them better salaries for the years 1895 and 1896 than at any other
Evidences of Improvement.--We have established nine new schools in the past
two years, and the enrollment and daily average attendance have increased,
at least, 10 per cent. The patrons have taken more interest and have co-operated
with the Superintendent and Board more than ever before.
Uniform Examination Law.--The Uniform Examination Law meets with the hearty
approval of almost every one. It has certainly given us better teachers.
The teacher appreciates a certificate more after having received it under the
present law, because a very rigid examination makes him hustle for it.
Efficient teachers are in great demand in our county, which has largely been
supplied, but yet there is room at the top. The best teachers get the most
work and the biggest pay.
High School--Sub-District Tax.--We have two school Sub-Districts in the
county which levy a three mill special tax. They are the Live Oak and Wellborn.
The tax of the Live Oak district is paid to the Suwannee High School, and
amounts to $1,000 yearly. This school is open eight months in the year and
is free to any child of school age in the county. The school has been in the
hands of a most efficient corps of teachers for the past two terms, and it
is no idle boast to say this school is one of the very best of its kind, and
is a great factor in building up an educational interest on the part of the
people of our county.
What Proud of.--Upon the whole, in conclusion, we beg to say that we are proud
of our schools, our school law as it relates to examinations and our State
school administrative officer. We feel that our State and county are fortun-
ate in having good schools and in sufficient numbers to enable every child
to attend school four months each year,
B. F. UMSTEAD,
Hon. W. N. Sheats, State Superintendent, Tallahassee, Fla.t
My Dear Sir--I beg leave to submit the following reports
Improvement the Order.--I am glad toreport a remarkable improvement in the
condition of public schools of Wakulla county this year. Our teachers are
settling down to teaching as a profession. Our county is out of debt. We
have placed our finances on a sound basis, and pay as we go. Our school
houses, furnishings and equipment are not what they ought to be, and we have
turned our attention to bettering them by furnishing lots and building good
and comfortable houses on them.
Dissension Among Patrons.-I note as a bad feature dissension among patrons
as to teachers and location of school buildings, that I think could be mit-
igated by firmness on the part of School Boards.
We have a very good teaching force at present. Attendance about as good as
I am advocating the necessity of good school buildings, equipped with better
furniture and apparatus than we have at present.
Wh He Works for a High Schoolo--I am also working for a High School to be
established in our county, where advanced pupils may be trained for the pur-
pose of teaching.
I would be pleased to have a full corps of teachers in our county. Teachers
who would live in our midst,.educated in the county, and who would take an
interest in elevating the educational status of Wakulla county.
Satisfied With School Law,--I see no necessity for further legislation, I
think that the present school law, as it is, is the best I have ever seen,
and I don't see how it could be bettered. We as a people are satisfied with
the present school law. Though some are inclined to grumble because some
pet have failed in examination, but it does not amount to much. I favor uni-
form examinations, because it is the best way to uniformly elevate the standard
If County Superintendents had to get out questions for examinations as formerly,
some would be done, some half done, some not done at all, hence would never
get out of old ruts. Most Respectfully,
S. M. REVELL,
Argyle, Fla., Jan. 1st, 1897.
Hon, W. N. Sheats, Superintendent Education:
Dear Sir--It gratifies me to be able to report progress, on the whole, in
educational matters in this county.
Uniform Examinations.--The law providing for uniform teachers' examinations
has greatly improved the character of the teaching in our public schools. The
gain in this direction is immense. Living near the State line, I have oppor-
tunity, by comparison, to learn something of the excellence of our system.
In more than one instance, within my knowledge, applicants failing to obtain
the lowest grade of certificate in this county have straightway crossed the
line and got certificates of high grade. Much credit, for the increased
efficiency of our teachers, is due to our faithful, courageous and conscientious
Grading Committees, upon whom rests in large measure the responsibility for
elevating the standard of education of our public schools.
School Buildings.--There has been some improvements in the matter of school
buildings, particularly as to arrangements for lighting and heating. Candor
impels the statement, however, that the needs in this direction are still very
great. Many of our buildings are such as to endanger the lives of the pupils
by draughts, and their sight 'y deficiency of light. Our school funds are
insufficient to bear the expense of school architecture, and many of our patrons
seem not to appreciate its importance.
low Averae Attendance.--This report will be very misleading if I failed to
note certain ujnfavorable features. Along with the improved character of the
teaching already emphasized, it is lamentable that the average attendance in
many schools is very low. In some cases sickness and the poverty of patrons
necessitating the services of their children at home, may explain this
meager attendance. But, it is to be feared, that want of deep interest on
the part of parents in the education of their children, and a failure to
exert parental authority to overcome the reluctance of children will account
for most of it.
Teachers' Association.--I note, as both indicative and promotive of progress,
the organization of a "Teachers' Association" with headquarters at DeFuniak
Springs, that is watchful to discover defects in our system and thoughtful to
The teaching in our schools is less than formerly a mere cramming of the mind
with facts, and there is more elucidation of underlying principles.
Failure of School Board to Exercise Its Authority.--The insistence of parents on
hde privi ege of sele-tig teachers, nd the extreme reluctance of the School
Board to contravene their will, has resulted in some grievous "misfits." Inasmuch
as the State assumes the burden of expense for the schools the law vests in the
School Board, representing the State, the right to name the teachers. In making
assignments it is well indeed for the Board to give consideration to the wishes
of patrons. But there are other considerations besides acceptability, and a firm,
but judicious, use of the legal power of the Board in the premises would, I think,
improve the prospect.
The improved character of the teaching is the strong point, the average attend-
ance, in many of the schools, at least, is a weak one. I have had it in mind,
by means of the local press, or by meetings of patrons, or both, to endeavor to
improve the attendance. Respectfully,
R. Q. BAKER,
County Superintendent Walton County
Hon. W. N. Sheats, Tallahassee, Fla.:
Dear Sir--In reply to your request to furnish you with a report as to the
condition of the schools of Washington county, I have the honor to state that
they are in better condition this year than ever; and I am glad to report that
every year more interest in the school work is manifested by patrons, children
and teachers and that a constant demand for longer terms and for better school
facilities is made.
Sub-Districts Contemplated,--Several of our school districts are endeavoring
to create special school districts for the purpose of building and extending
Teachers Reading.--The number of teachers reading school journals and other
matter pertaining to educational work has more than doubled in the past year.
I am gald to report, also, that patrons are beginning to look well into the
reading matter which goes into their homes. This is an important item and
has our attention while circulating among our people.
Changes Suggested in the Laws.--
1. As to suggestions, I think that the law regulating the assessment and
collection of taxes should be so revised as to give relief to teachers,
who as a rule pay heavy discounts, and, besides, work for small salaries.
2. I would also suggest that the section of school law creating sub-districts
for high school purposes be made applicable to the whole county where any
county may see fit to establish one or more high schools for the benefit
of the entire county. This plan, we think, would enable the poorer counties
to have at least one or two High Schools, whereas the sub-district law,
as it now exists will not furnish the required funds necessary for effectual
work, though the full three mills be assessed.
Effect of Enforcement of School Law.--I am glad also to state that a rigid
enforcement of the school law has brought about much reform in the work of
every one connected withthe educational affairs of our county in the past two
years although one of the backward counties. We will have taught this year
about seventy-two schools with an enrollment of 2,500 pupils.
Increase in New Buildings.--We have added considerably to the number of school
buildings owned by the School Board, at least twenty new buildings in the
past two years.
Yours most respectfully,
W. C. LOCKEY,
Supt. Pub. Inst. Washington County.
Taken from the Report of the Superintendent of Public
Instruction, W. N. Sheats, Superintendent of Public In-
In obedience to your request, I hereby make you a brief report on the condition
of educational affairs in this county, for two years ending June 30, 1898.
During the period of time embraced in the report, the schools have had a steady
growth and development. All the school houses and furniture demolished by
the cyclone have been rebuilt and replaced, in almost every instance better
buildings and equipment being the result.
The Gainesville Graded and High School.--The Gainesville Graded and High School
which, on account of the financial stringency incident to the freeze and other
disasters, had been reduced to a term of six months, has again been extended
to an eight months' term. The last two months of this school serve as the
County Normal School, where every white teacher, prospective or otherwise,
may attend free of charge. By this plan we are to some extent independent
of your generosity in furnishing us a State Normal School; however, we always
accept this supplement to our efforts with pleasure.
Union Academy.--Union Academy, the colored graded school in this city, has
recently been enlarged by the addition of another story. It is now one of the
most imposing school structures in the State. It'will comfortably house 700
pupils. This school also runs eight months, the last two of which serve the
same purpose as the white school referred to above.
Takes a Hopeful View of the Future.--We take a very hopeful view of the future
when we are constrained to say that, with few exceptions, perhaps no county
in the State has a more loyal, enthusiastic and self-sacrificing body of teachers
than has Alachua. The most difficult problem for solution at our hands is how
to make our salaries commensurate with the just demands of our teachers.
Some Legislation Imperatively Necessary.--Notwithstanding the fact that some
years haveelapsed since the freeze, and that various enterprises and indus-
tries have sprung up since, which should in a large measure, if not entirely,
offset the loss sustained by this calamity, we are annually confronted by a
decline in our valuations. Now, if something be not speedily done in the way
of a more just and equitable plan of assessment, or if the constitutional
tax limit of five mills be not removed, our schools in this county must in-
Resolutions of Teachers.--The following resolutions were passed by the Alachua
County Teachers' Association:
Whereas, The school law of our fair State was intended to establish a uniform
system of examination--a system by which the certificates of each grade should
be uniform throughout the State; and
Whereas, The law in practice has largely failed to accomplish this end, for
which it was passed; and
Whereas, We feel that the slackness of the authorities of some counties in
granting certificates works an injustice on the teachers of other counties
in the State where the authorities are more strict; and
Whereas, We feel that it is highly important to the school interest of our
state that every grade of certificate should be uniform and transferable
throughout the State; therefore, be it
Resolved, That we, the teachers of Alachua county, do respectfully ask of
our representatives and senator that they do earnestly use every honest effort
at the next session of the legislature to have our present school law so
amended as to provide for a State, instead of a County, Grading Committee.
Resolved, That the said Committee shall be composed of twelve, twenty-four
or some multiple of twelve, of the most competent teachers of the State, and
that the said Committee shall be appointed by the State Board of Education.
Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be sent to each member of the
legislature of our county and to the senator of our district, and that a copy
be sent to State Superintendent Sheats, and also that a copy be published with
the minutes of our meeting.
WILLIAM M. HOLLOWAY,
In compliance with your request, I will make a short statement regarding
the schools of Baker county, from July 1st, 1896, to July 1st, 1898.
New Buildings.--The school buildings destroyed by the storm of 1896 have been
replaced with new and more comfortable ones, by expending the money apportioned
for building purposes, instead of having the schools taught. By so doing we
have a fairly good frame building in almost every district.
Growth.--The total attendance in this county has greatly increased. There
are now forty-five schools established, five of which are for colored children.
Had the School Board adhered to the three-mile limit, the number of schools
would be fewer. To the contrary, five new schools have been established.
Character of Teachers,--We have but four resident teachers in the county.
While the uniform examination has reduced the number of our teachers, it has
raised the standard of scholarship.
We endeavor to give our resident teachers almoststeady employment, that they
may make teaching a profession, and live by it. You see by the above state-
ment that we have to import the larger number of our teachers, but we have
been (with few exceptions) successful in getting good, enthusiastic teachers.
It has been a little difficult the past year to secure teachers to supply the
demand, at the time needed.
Sub-Districts.--We have one sub-district, comprising three schools. The
money accruing from this special tax is being expended in lengthening the term,
and in improving buildings.
Attendance.--The average attendance was not as good as we would like, but think
my report will show an increase over that of previous years. We believe our
schools have made a step forward, and we will endeavor to keep them on the
upward move. There is much yet to be done, but lack of school revenue is one
fearful obstacle. Unless we are enabled to run a longer term than four
months, and establish a High School, our advancement will be slow.
Finances.--Our teachers are paid promptly. When we have no money in the
treasury, we borrow--the Board paying the discount.
Interest Manifested.--I am pleased to state that there is more interest man-
ifested, both by parents and teachers, in school work, than ever.
Suggestions.--I would suggest that the clause, "nor more than five mills,"
be stricken, and that the levy be placed in the hands of the County School
Boards. I also favor a State Grading Committee.
In compliance with your request, I have the honor to transmit herewith a brief
account of the educational status of Bradford county for 1897 and 1898.
Grading the Schools.--I would suggest that the clause "nor more than five*
of the county, feeling that is is impossible for any County Superintendent
to advance his work rapidly until he classifies and systematizes it. Each
school is required to furnish a complete grading of every pupil to aid in
classification of same at beginning of next year.
Finance,--Our financial condition is kept within the bounds of our ability
to pay, yet we feel the pressing need of more funds. We keep our teachers
on a cash basis, although on account of the delay in the collection of taxes,
we have to pay interest to our local bank to cash the warrants. The County
Treasurer pays the indebtedness as fast as he collects, thereby shortening
the time of interest.
School Buildings.--The fearful storm of 1896 swept away all the school houses
in the western part of the county. We have replaced them with stronger and
better buildings. In doing this we had to draw heavily on our funds.
School Term Lengthened.--We have increased our school term one month. I
have made unceasing efforts with both patrons and teachers to increase the
average attendance in the schools. The result is a growing one, yet it is
far from what I wish it to be.
igh Schools.--From the beginning of my work in the schools, I have felt an
earnest desire to inculcate in the pupils a desire for higher manhood. The
result of my work in that line has been a source of keen gratification, as
we have more young people in the High Schools now fiting (sic) themselves
for useful work than ever before in the county's history.
We have four schools in the county where the higher branches are taught--
Lake Butler, Providence, Starke and Hampton.
We have established a county High School at Starke, with an eight months'
Apparently the printer has omitted a line.
Sub-Districts,--We have three sub-districts. Their two years ended in the
summer, when they held their elections, and almost unanimously elected the
continuance of taxes for sub-district schools.
County Teachers' Association.--We have a well-attended Teachers' Association,
which meets monthly. Our teachers rank high in their interest in association
Summary.--There has been a marked growth of true school spirit in patrons,
pupils and teachers during the last two years. We are doing the best possible
with the limited means at command, and feel that our greatest need is more
F. G. SCHELL,
While my annual report shows a slight decrease in numbers and average attend-
ance, there is really a stronger interest in education than ever. The morale
and tone of the schools are excellent. Our people wish to have improved
school facilities, Good schools and good roads are now the order of the day,
consequently they favor increased taxation for these purposes.
Finance.--The debt which appears by the report has been caused by the non-
collection of taxes, about 22 j per cent. remaining uncollected on June 30th.
A part can be charged to purchase of supplies.
Free Text Books,--The adoption of free text books has been of great value
to the schools. The expense for the second year, just ended, was $662 for
1,117 pupils, or 59 j cents per pupil. The loss of books has been trifling,
and the condition of the books much better, in the average, than when they
were private property.
JOHN H. SAMS,
In reply to your request, I give you the following items in regard to school
affairs in this county:
Growing Interest.--We are still improving all along the line of education.
We are having better teachers each succeeding year. The Board of Public In-
struction have been very progressive for the last two years, using every
means in their power to help raise the standard of education. Our people show
their interest by building better school houses, in clamoring for longer terms,
Teachers Willing to Worko--Teachers are always ready to do good work for us,
First. We pay them punctually with warrants worth 100 cents on the dollar
anywhere in the United States.
Second. They know that when their work is done, their salary is ready and
Those who work for us once are willing to do so again. We pay our teachers
according to grade, which I think is a good method, as it instills into the
teacher a stimulating force to try to raise higher in the scale of knowledge.
County Institute.--We generally hold two institutes each year, and would be
pleased to hold them oftener if we could, but owing to lack of railroad
facilities it is rather expensive on teachers to meet more than twice during
The Examination Law Still 0. K.--I am still pleased with the Examination
aw, thanks to our State Superintendent. He has done a great deal of good
to County Superintendents in having such a law to guide and govern them. It
has worked other blessings towards the cause of education which are well
known throughout the State.
Some Very Good Schools.--We have some good schools in the county, notably
Wewahitchka, with an enrollment of 100 pupils, taught by two first grade
Our financial condition is very good. We pay every dollar we contract for,
and have a balance on hand at the end of the scholastic year. This balance
helps us out until taxes come in the succeeding fall and winter.
"To What Do We Owe Our Prosperity?".--Our prosperity in school matters dates
back to the second year of State Superintendent Sheats' official career. We
got the old system pretty well shaken off by the end of 189l, thanks to the
system laid down by our brave State Superintendent, who stood by the helm of
State education, although opposed by a great many. The firm stand he has
taken has proven a blessing, and Calhoun county owes him a debt of gratitude,
and thanks him for his bravery and individuality.
Suggestions.--We still need legislation to enable us to raise more funds to
run our schools eight months. I am somewhat opposed to State Unfiormity of
text-books just at present.
My reason may seem selfish, which is as follows:
Calhoun county has never been so well supplied with books as at present, and
to lay aside the greater part of the books now in use and buy others would
almost ruin our schools. Our people are generally poor and unable to buy new
series of books every few years, I merely make this statement for my own
I could mention other legislation, but I consider the matter in this light
A State Superintendent who has been elected by the people and indorsed after
four years' work in the cause of education, who knows the condition of every
county in the State, and I micht say of every school in each county, can be
trusted to advise the Legislature as to the educational Legislation needed.
I am satisfied he does know and will do right.
P. F. FISHER,
I have the pleasure of submitting to you this general report of the progress
and condition of the public schools of Citrus county for the past two years.
Attendance.--Thirty-two schools have been maintained with an enrollment of
7(4 and an average attendance of 565 for the year ending June 30, 1898. The
report of 1896 shows an enrollment of 737, and an average attendance of h92.
While there has been very little change in the enrollment, the attendance
has increased 4 per cent.
Dicipline.--The morale of the schools has been good, and discipline has not
been difficult to maintain. The study of such books as Page of Teaching, and
White's School Management, as brought forward in the uniform examinations,
has had a good effect in this direction, as well as improving the methods of
Grade of Teachers.--There has been a gradual improvement in the grade of
teachers' certificates. The force employed at present (1898-99) shows thir-
teen 1st grade teachers and two 3d grade, as against nine 1st grade and six
3d grade in 1896. The tendency in our training schools and teachers' as-
sociations is to elevate the profession and raise the standard of education.
Loss of Revenue,--It is a matter of deep regret that our revenues are decreas-
ing. The assessed valuation of property in Citrus county in 1896, was
$1,629,780. By the last assessment (1898), it is $1,305,616, a decrease of
$32h,1l4. This causes a direct loss to the school fund of about $1,500 per
year. Our county school tax was already five mills, hence could not be in-
creased. It has been a difficult problem to keep up the standard in the schools
on this diminished revenue. Four things have been suggested and attempted
with this end in view, viz; Money has been borrowed; salaries have been lowered;
sub-district levies encouraged; and schools consolidated as much as circum-
stances would permit.
Teachers' Warrants at Par.--To accomplish this and yet keep within its income,
the Board has borrowed money each year to pay teachers' warrants from Nov-
ember until April. After this time, the tax collections are sufficient to
refund this money and keep up school expenses. In 1897, a debt which had been
carried over, was not paid until September. To meet this deficiency, the
school term was shortened one month, making it fopr months for that year.
At present we have $1,984.51 cash on hand. Our indebtedness is $1,500,
leaving us a balance in the treasury of $394.51 over our indebtedness.
Salaries.--By report of 1895 and '96, it appears that the cost per pupil, in
Citrus county, was the highest in the State, with the exception of two counties.
The teacher's salary was based on grade of certificate held. A change has
been made in this respect. The salary is now based upon the enrollment and
attendance, and the studies required to be taught in each school, thus placing
it as nearly as practicable upon a "pro rata" basis. This has reduced the
cost of the schools several hundred dollars,
Transportation.--Wherever it has been found to be economy to pay for the trans-
portation of children in small schools to other school near by, the Board has
recommended this course, and sought to introduce it. Our experience shows
that three small schools can be transported to another school for about the
same amount as would be required to maintain one school. This plan has been
adopted with two small schools the present terms By this plan, the children
are more regular- in their attendance, and the increased number adds to the
interest of the school.
Sub-Districts.--The number of sub-districts has increased from ten to fif-
teen in the past two years. The full assessment for 1898 is $2,678.86,
ranging from one to three mills in each sub-district. All of the white schools
in the county except five, are embraced in these districts. This fnmd is
used first to secure a good school house, keep it in repair, and then to lengthen
the school term. In several of the samll schools the monthly salaries of the
teachers are supplemented from his fund. A convention of sub district trustees
was held last June, in which school matters were discussed. We hope something
was accomplished in promoting co-operation between the School Board and Boards
of Sub-district Trustees, and that more satisfactory results will follow.
New Buildings.--Four new school buildings have been erected, one pruchased,
and one room added to another at a total expense of $2,465. For repairs and
improvements, $250 have been paid, for furniture, apparatus, charts, maps,
etc., $500. Of this entire amount, about $1,500 have been paid from sub-district
funds and private subscriptions. The policy of the Board has been to furnish
only the material for new buildings. The total valuation of school buildings
in the county to January 1st, 1899, is $8,300. Insurance to the amount of
4h,500 is carried on five of the best buildings.
Desks and Apparatus.--All of our schools are furnished with patent desks,
good blackboards, charts, wall-maps and stoves. Old blackboards have been
repainted, or replaced by new ones. One thousand square feet of new blackboard
have been put up. One fourth of this is real slate, the remainder hyloplate.
The latter is less expensive, and more satisfactory. An effort has also been
made to furnish all the schools with pure drinking water. Cisterns have been
recommended for this purpose.
School Office and Libraries.--Through the kindness of the Library Association,
the library building with its furnishings and library, has come into the pos-
session of the Board of Public Instruction. In addition to its uses as a
library, it provides a convenient and comforatble office for the Board. The
County Commissioners make an annual appropriation sufficient to keep it in
repair. The library is yet small, containing about one hundred and fifty
volumes, books of reference, history and general literature.
A teachers' library, consisting of books adapted especially to the needs of
teachers, has been recently started. This has a nucleus of about twenty volumes.
Teachers' Association.--A teachers' association has been kept up for a number
of years, and still continues with interest and profit to its members. Subjects
relating to their profession, methods and plan of work are discussed at each
meeting, Attendance on its meetings is required by the board of every white
teacher under contract.
Graded and High Schools.--There are in the county three graded schools with
two teachers each, and one high school with three teachers. Each of these
schools is doing a good work. One of them, the Crystal River School, is con-
tinued through the summer as a private school, without expense to the county,
for review, and special training for teachers, and those qualifying themselves
to teach. It is presided over by Mrs. L. A, Bennett, an estimable Christian
lady of culture and refinement, and one who has justly earned the reputation
of being an able and successful teacher.
School Books.--The contract for text-books expired last July. A new contract
has been maee, to cover a period of five years. While some of the old books
have been retained, spellers, grammars, arithmetics, algebras, geographies
and readers have been changed. A course of supplementary reading has also
been recommended. The suggestions of the Text-book Committee, appointed by
the Superintendents' Convention, have been followed in making these changes.
Schools Visited,--The schools have all been visited and inspected by the Su-
perintendent, Everything of importance pertaining to each school, character
of instruction, discipline, etc., is carefully noted in a book kept for the
1. The sub-district law needs to be amended.
2. The general revenue law should be so amended as to secure more prompt
collections. To secure the collection of poll tax from the negro, the
man who employs him, should be made responsible for his poll tax.
3. Plans and specifications should be prepared by the State for convenient
and comfortable school buildings. It is painfully evident that in many
instances, buildings better arranged and better adapted to the needs of
schools, could have been built for the same expenditure of time and money.
In concluding this report it is a pleasure to state that our citizens generally
pay their taxes for schools cheerfully, that our school officers are zealous
and faithful, and our teachers capable, painstaking and diligent in school
CHAS. S. YOUNG,
In accordance with request, I herewith send you a report of the condition of
the public schools of Clay county.
Grading of Schools.--The schools of this county have continued to advance.
The work in the schools is being carried on more generally by the improved
methods of teaching, yet I find it very difficult to grade the schools in the
rural districts, as in such schools there are girls and boys whose school
life will close with the term, making it necessary for such pupils to con-
fine themselves to some particular study. It is almost impossible to grade
schools and keep them graded where the attendance is as above stated, yet
we have succeeded in being able to classify many of our schools into well
graded country schools.
The condition of the schools is good. The conduct and character of same is
progressive, the principal cause of which is the progressive spirit manifested
by the teachers of the county. I cannot speak too highly of the teachers of
Clay county for their zealous efforts to place their individual schools first
in character and progress.
County Hh School,--Under the present management the course of study is prac-
tical nd sufficiently comprehensive to fit those completing it for the active
duties of life. Pupils completing this course are prepared to enter the
junior classes of our best colleges. The work during the past session has
been much more satisfactory and more successful than ever before, and under
the present management I think will rank with any of the schools of the
same character throughout the State.
Finances.--While it is a pleasure to speak so highly of the conduct and con-
dition of our schools and of the work being done by our teachers, I regret
to have to say that the county school fund is behind. The cause is attributable
to the insufficiency of the funds to meet the necessary expenses the Board
is by law compelled to incur.
The School Board.--I think under the management of our present Board retrench-
ment will be made in every way possible, and in a short time, with the help
of our Legislature, our school fund will be sufficient to enable us to in-
crease the length of term,
Schools and Buildings.--We have 46 white and 9 negro schools, with an enroll-
ment of 1,i45 white pupils and 260 negro pupils. Total enrollment, 1,305.
Since my last report we have done very little building, only in the way of
repairs. Nearly every school district has a comfortable school building
furnished with the necessary furntiure.
Uniform Examinations.--While some do not favor the present law of uniform
examinations, I heartily endorse it, from the fact that it has given to the
State of Florida better teachers and more successful educators than the State
ever had before. I once thought it most too rigid, but after witnessing
the great benefits derived from it, I can do nothing more than to favor it
in its entirety,
Pay of Teachers,--I oppose the custom of paying teachers according to the
number of pupils, but favor paying according to grade of certificate and the
success they attain in teaching, which is in accordance with the spirit of
the uniform examinations.
Other Suggestions.--As in my last report, I favor a compulsory school law.
I favor a higher rate of taxation for school purposes.
In regard to minimum and maximum levy for school purposes, I do not favor
either. I do not think that a county should be compelled to levy three mills
if only one mill be required, neither do I think the various County Boards
should be restricted to five mills should more be required for school pur-
poses. Hence, I think the law should be so changed as to remove the limit
as to maximum and minimum and place the levy for school purposes in the
hands of competent School Boards. I also think that the law should be so
amended as to compel School Boards and Treasurers of school funds to apply
the income of any year to current expenses of that year. I think it would
be more convenient to have the school year from the 1st day of January to
31st day of December, instead of 1st day of July to 30th day of June.
I would be pleased to have the County Superintendents of the State to join
me in thanking the State Superintendent for his unswerving devotion to the
educational interests of the State of Florida.
W. W. SHEDD,
At your request I submit the following statement in regard to school affairs
in Columbia county for two.years ending June 30th 1898.
New Buildings,--Six new school houses have been built and properly furnished
with desks, heaters, etc., at a cost of $7,200. The school houses and grounds
throughout the county are neatly kept, and in most instances are supplied with
good drinking water.
Uniform Examinations.--The uniform examinations for teachers have greatly raised
their standard, and meets with the approval of all interested in education.
The demand for better teachers continues to grow, which evidences the fact
that people appreciate a good thing when they get it.
Teachers' Association.--Appreciating the value of county teachers' associations
as a stimulant and an incentive to better work in the schools, we organized
a Teacher's Association in October 1897, and have held monthly meetings ever
since. Though not as well attended as I would like, yet great interest is
manifested by those who do attend. The object of the association is the pro-
fessional improvement of teachers, and I am glad that it is having the desired
effect, increasing a stronger desire to do more and better work.
Improvement Steady.--While our growth pertaining to education has been slow
it has been steady on all lines. A marked improvement in teaching force is
manifest. Teachers who are ambitious have acquired professional libraries
and are keeping in touch with educational progress. This is due first, to
the Uniform Examination law; second, to the regulation of the School Board
which provides that third grade certificate holders be paid not more than
$25 per month.
High School.--The High School building in Lake City, located on a four acre
lot, is a magnificent one, with seven class rooms, properly furnished with
desks, heaters, apparatus, etc. The enrollment of the High School for 1898
is 240, and under the able management of Prof. Henry Rickards and his assist-
ants, excellent work is being done. We feel that it is a success, and accom-
plishing its aim, as is evidenced by the work and success of its pupils in
the Uniform Examination for teachers.
Sub-Districts.--We have only one sub-district in this county, levying a tax
of three mills, which is applied for lengthening term and paying teachers.
Summary of Present Status,--The condition of our school affairs can be summarized
about as follows:
1, Financial condition is improving.
2. Interest in education is increasing.
'3. We are supplied with school houses.
4. We have two advanced graded and one High School.
5. We have one special tax school.
6. The general term of school is four months,
7. Three schools are supplied with patent desks.
In conclusion we intend reaching a higher plane in every thing worthy of
effort and accomplishment pertaining to education. We hope to show you at
the end of our four years term a better system of education, a more thorough
and devoted corps of teachers, and better equipped school houses throughout
Suggestions. There should be a Grading Committee for each Judicial District
composed of five practical teachers appointed by the State Superintendent.
H. L. AVANT,
Your request for a report of the condition of Dade county schools is just
received and I am pleased to be able to report that we are on the upward grade.
Good Financial Condition,--Since 1896, I assure you, we have not retrograded
in atny particular. Our financial condition is excellent; we have no indebt-
edness; our warrants to teachers are received at the banks at one hundred
cents on the dollar; the full limit of taxes for school purposes is granted,
and we had on hand a balance of $2,000 from last year to begin this year's
Buildings.--Since July '96, we have built seven school houses at a cost of
$3,173, all being one room houses, except that at Iemon City, which has four
rooms and cost $800, aided by subscription; and thatat Miami, also of four
rooms, costing $2,500. The town and private donations supplemented the
Board's appropriation. The Miami school has four teachers and is equivalent
to a High School, being well graded and having classes doing High School
The board has spent $2,OL5 for furniture and apparatus since 1896, every
school being fully supplied with desks, globes, maps, charts, etc,
Teachers! Salaries.--We have nineteen white schools and six negro schools,
twenty-four white teachers and eight negroes. All receive a uniform salary
of $40 per month, except the principals, who are paid $50.
Graded Course of Study..,A course of study had already been provided, but
tis year it has been revised and more definitely divided into grades, and
the work assigned is clearly designated, even to number of page, where a text
book is used. At the end of the school year each pupil will be given a cer-
tificate of grade standing, good in any part of the county. This is designed
as a correction of the evil arising from a change of teachers or schools where
no class records are left, and pupils are made to turn back to the beginning
of their text books by each new teacher. We are finding good results already,
There is a marked improvement in attendance, application, and interest on
the part of the pupils, and an eagerness to reach and hold a higher grade
certificate at the end of the year.
Intermissions.-.-We have introduced one other regulation into our rwrk that
is followed with good results, that is, short intermissions in place of
fifteen minute recess and long noon. All of the schools now have a five
minute recess at the end of each hour, and thirty minutes for lunch at twelve.
This gives a relaxation of muscles, and a change of work for the next hour
period, both a great benefit to the pupil; but another result that is not less
important is the improvement in discipline--there is no time for quarrels on
the play ground, where most of the disorder originates.
I am very much in favor of Compulsory Education, and also a Uniform Text Book
Z. T. MERRITT,
DE SOTO COUNTY
At your request I submit the following brief report of the public schools and
school work of DeSoto County, for the two years ending June 30, 1898.
Territory and Settlement.--DeSoto, a comparatively new county, with an area
of over 4,000 square miles, is sparsely settled, with only one railroad run-
ning through the western portion of the county, and leaving many of our schools
far back in the interior. This makes it very difficult to keep up an interest
in the work, though we are doing all we can to overcome this difficulty, and
to make the entire work a success. I think we are succeeding admirably, for
the patrons are fully awake to the educational interest of their children.
Number of Schools and Enrollment.--We had 62 white schools, with an enrollment
of 2,010 pupils, for the year ending June 30th, 1897, and 63 schools, with
an enrollment of 2,069, for the year ending June 30th, 1898. There are two
colored schools with an enrollment of 60 pupils for each of the above years.
Most of our schools are small and well distributed through this vast territory.
This gives the County Superintendent no small amount of travel in visiting
schools, and, as our schools begin in the early summer, he has to encounter
a great deal of high water and disagreeable weather.
Arcadia High School,--The Arcadia High School was established in 1897, with
an enrollment of 156 pupils, and was very successfully managed for a term of
eight months by Prof. E. F. Wilson, principal, ably assisted by Prof. R. E.
Watkins and Miss Emma Alderman. There was an increasing interest to the close
of the term, and much good accomplished. Quite a number of our young teachers
attended the last three months of this school. Prof. Wilson has been employed
again for the present year, assisted by Prof. H. L. Swatts, Miss Josie Wilder
and Mrs. E. M. Williamson. Every department is giving perfect satisfaction,
and our people are justly proud of this school.
Normal Schools.--Several of our best teachers conduct Normal Schools of three
months' term in different parts of the county, in the spring, after the public
terms have closed. These schools are well attended by young teachers and
advanced pupils preparing to teach. They are doing a vast amount of good in
preparing teachers for the examinations, and for doing better work in the
school room. They are prime factors in the advancement of education in our
School Buildings and Furniture.--For the past two years we have built quite a
number of good school buildings, and repaired most of the old ones. We will
soon have good buildings for all of the schools in the county, and I think we
will soon have them furnished with patent desks, charts, and other necessary
Teachers..*A large majority of our teachers are natives of this county, and
deserve much credit for the energy they are displaying in the preparation
for teaching, and the efficient work they are doing in the school room.
Our imported teachers are of the very best class and have come to us by
special invitation from sections where they have had good educational advan-
tages, and have been a great help to our home teachers as well as to the
Board of Public Instruction and Finance,--We have been very fortunate in
securing good and competent men for members of the School Board, men with-
out a single exception, who have given a hearty co-operation and generous
support to the County Superintendent in all his efforts to advance the edu-
cational interests of the county, and have kept the finances in good con-
dition. We pay cash as we go. A school warrant'in this county is as good
Abolish Five-Mill Maximum.--The Board passed a resolution requesting the
Legislature to amed Section 8 of Article XII of the State Constitution,
by striking the words "nor more than 5 mills."
In conclusion, I will say that the outlook is very good, and we hope to do
better work each year until we raise the standard of education to what it
ought to be.
M. F, GIDDENS,
During the last two years we have aimed at salient improvements in our
schools as follows:
City Schools.-.Two radical, necessary and popular efforts at reorganization
were effected, to-wit: An expert, trained model worker inthe first primary
grade of each of our schools, resulting in a very marked improvement; and at
the other end of the system, the establishment of a commercial department,
and a laboratory of chemical and physical sciences in the High School,
causing an immediate doubling of the enrollment and attendance with an in-
crease of only one teacher.
Rural Schools.--In these schools two paramount defectsn-lack of trained
teachers and burdensome daily programs, with average recitations not longer
than ten minutes--have received our attention.
To Train Teachers.--The Superintendent has used his visits as his best oppor-
tunity to do model class work, the only method for developing the art endow-
ment of the untrained teachers. A county training school will do the rest.
To Simplify Programs.--Concentration of 45 one-teacher schools into 15
central schools of three teachers each increases the recitation period three
times. This concentration accomplished by conveyance of pupils over all
distances beyond one and a half miles, is being introduced gradually, and is
now working at five schools. Other good results of this system are the pre-
servation of the health and energy of pupils, increased average attendance,
and protection of the farmers' girls from vicious vagabonds.
Normal Schools.--We have had two Peabody Normals, one last year for whites
and one the year before for negroes. In both, the work was almost wholly
If these schools cannot be organized and conducted so as to present model
classwork in the high art of teaching, their period of usefulness is past.
Other schools, in nearly every county, do better academic work than these
summer normals. If Duval county could only have her "pro rata" share of all
funds spent on normals of every description, to expend on an itinerant train-
ing teacher as an assistant to the Superintendent, she would be fortunate.
Pending the improbable, the Superintendent must patiently pursue his itinerary
alone, with a county training school in which real children shall be pupils
and aspiring teachers shall be observers and participating instructors.
Finances.--Our chief obstacle is "lack of funds." Florida seems to have
been very unwise in her amendments to the constitution relative to school
The loss of "all fines under the penal law" with no gain in capitation taxes
was very unfortunate. The amendment apportioning the State funds "in propor-
tion to the average attendance" in lieu of the school population works great
injustice. Attendance cannot be attained from a school population without
school houses, furniture and appliances, conveyance and skilled teachers, all
of which demand every cent that said population can in justice expect, to-witt
all it pays in school tax.
1. Eliminate the 5 mill maximum from the Constitution by amendment.
2. Restore the county levy for school purposes into the hands of the Board
of Public Instruction, as in the revised statutes of 1892.
3. Re-amend the Constitution making State funds apportionable in proportion
to school population, and restoring fines and penalties to the school
fund as in 1892 and before.
4, Eliminte (sic) the Sub-Districting clauses of the constitution and all
laws thereunder after the 5 mill maximum may have been removed.
5. New legislation placing a teacher's' (sic) standing in model class work
and school management at least on a par with her examination standing,
in grading her certificate.
GEO. P. GLENN,
Summer Schools Appreciated by Duval's Teachers.--Resolutions unanimously
adopted by the teachers in the Summer School (for negroes) in Jacksonville,
Whereas, We, the teachers of the Public Schools of Florida, who are now as-
sembled as pupils of the Jacksonville Summer Normal, feel that in our attend-
ing this Normal we have derived untold benefits, and know that we have had
competent instructors, who have faithfully and earnestly discharged their duties
in every instance, and believe thatthe wisest discretion was displayed in
the selection of our instructors, and realize that these Summer Normals are a
great benefit to the State in raising the standard of education and preparing
the teachers for better work in the Public Schools; therefore, be it
Resolved, 1st, That we, the teachers of the Peabody Summer Normal, express
our gratitude to Hon. W. N. Sheats, State Superintendent of Public Instruction,
for his wise provision in establishing these Summer Normals, to prepare the
teachers for better work in the Public Schools of the State, and for the
appointment of competent men to conduct these Normals, and for his earnest
efforts in endeavoring to perfect the system of education in the State. *
Resolved, 2d, That we extend our gratitude to Profs. McBeath and Floyd for
the kind and untiring efforts they have put forth as our instructors during
the past two months.
Resolved, 3d, That we express our high appreciation for the interesting and
instructive lectures, given by Supt. L. W. Buchholz, of Tampa. * *
Mrs. L. B, Robinson,
S. S. Thompson,
Miss E. M. White,
Miss C. C. Cutton,
S. P, Robinson,
Resolutions unanimously adopted by the Jacksonville Normal (for whites),
July 8, 1898.
Whereas, We, the teachers of Duval and other counties, have been privileged
to enjoy the benefits to be derived from the Summer Normal held at this place;
Whereas, A new impetus has been given to our work by the enthusiasm and in-
spiration gained during the session, from a clearer insight into the duties
and privileges of a teacher's life, our desire for a broader and deeper pre-
paration for scholarship, and a more thorough preparation for school-room
work has been renewed; and
Whereas, We feel that the Normal School, although not as well attended as we
could wish, has been both pleasant and profitable; therefore, be it
Resolved, 1st, That we acknowledge our obligations to the State Legislature,
to Dr. J. L. M. Curry, agent of the Peabody Fund, and to the State Superinten-
dent, W, N. Sheats, for securing to us the Summer Normal, * *
3d. That we express our gratitude and satisfaction in having as instructors
Professors C. L. Hayes and H. E. Bennett, of the State Normal, Professor
Hayes has few superiors in his profession, and his presentations are scholarly,
clear, and interesting. He has never allowed an opportunity to pass in which
he could impress upon us the importance of our work. In him we have found
the scholar, the gentleman and friend, as well as teacher, Professor Bennett
has proved himself an able assistant, and has led us to a truer conception
of the development of child intelligence.
4th. That we thank Miss Hatter, Miss Budwing, and the little tots, who
made the object lessons so profitable and interesting. * *
7th. That we most sincerely regret that the School must be closed after so
short, yet profitable term.
Ada M, Ground,
Abbie B. Avery,
In compliance with your circular letter of the 6th inst., I herewith submit
a condensed statement of school operations in this, Escambia County, from the
1st day of July, 1896 to June 30th, 1898.
Enrollment and Attendance.--For the school year of 1896 and 1897 the total
enrollment of pupils was 3,809, with an average attendance of 2,550; and for
the school year of 1897 andlI98 the total enrollment of pupils was 4,485,
with an average daily attendance of 3,104. The total enrollment in the white
schools for that year was 2,939, with an average daily attendance of 2,048,
and the enrollment in the negro schools for the same period was 1,546, with
an average daily attendance of 1,056.
Investments for Improvements.--Within the last two years the following has
been added: To furniture, $1,154; $654 to school lots, and $4,551 to new
school buildings. This makes the total valuation of school property, on
June 30th, 1898 as follows School lots, $13,715; school buildings, $37,095;
for furniture and apparatus, $11,839, or a grand total of $62,649, to which
has been added since July 1st, 1898, three new and comfortable one-room
school buildings, and $525 additional furniture, which has all been paid for.
Adverse Conditions,--We have had an unusual amount of bad, rainy weather
since Sept. 1st, when our first schools were opened, and with the addition
of considerable friction, from a partial change in school books, I am now
satisfied that the year 1898-99 will not make as good a record in enrollment
or average attendance as was made in 1897-98.
We are making strenuous efforts to run our schools on strict business methods,
but owing to the annual addition of new material to our teaching force, we find
it to be a hard matter to reach our ideals.
Legislation.--As for new legislation, I have nothing further to suggest than
that where responsibility is placed, the means ought to go with it. And as
the County Boards of Public Instruction are responsible for the success of
the public schools, they, and not the Board of County Commissioners, should,
under the law, fix the rate of school taxes.
N. B. COOK,
I submit the following report. When I assumed the office of Superintendent,
the schools were making marked progress, the Board of Public Instruction was
composed of men ready to give assistance in bringing the public schools to
a higher standard. Knowing that the well-being of the schools depends upon
the co-operation of patrons, I have endeavored to awaken in them a sincere
concern for their children's most elevated well-being. I must say with regret
that I have not met with the fullness of my expectations along this line.
Dissensions among patrons are yet alive, and have been factors in hindering
the betterance of the schools; yet, in spite of these hindering agencies,
the schools have done very well.
Uniform Examination Law.--I am fully convinced that the educational status
of the State is much better than ever before. I attribute this to the Uni-
form Examination Law, The day the law went into effect there was a revolu-
tion in educational affairs in this State. By it, the doors of the school
houses were closed to old fogies, who once were permanent, but now a force
of well-qualified and earnest teachers have taken their places. There are
not enough resident teachers in my county to fill the places. I hope, how-
ever, that the day is not far off when there will be a full force of ef-
ficient teachers. I favor the Uniform Examination Law because those who
would teach are forced to prepare themselves for the profession or quit the
Married Women Not Employed.--Our Board passed a resolution not to employ a
married lady as teacher of any school in the county, basing such action upon
First. A married lady has domestic duties which occupy much of her time and
attention, thus rendering it impracticable for her to give proper attention
to her school work.
Second. Such action is intended to encourage the unmarried lady teachers of
the county to qualify themselves for the highest positions.
How Our Teachers Are Paid.--The salaries of teachers are not based upon the
grade of certificates, but more upon the merits of the teacher.
School warrants are always paid in cash, When the treasury is exhausted
(this has occurred but seldom in the past two years), money is borrowed.
Attendance of Pupils,--There has been a noticeable increase in the enroll-
ment of pupils. But it is a lamentable fact that the average attendance is
small when compared with the number enrolled. This is largely chargeable
to the non-interest of the parents and guardians.
Buildings, Furniture, and Apparatus.--There are some good buildings, and
considerable sums have been expended in supplying these with furniture,
apparatus, etc., while in some localities there is need of improvement.
Uniformity of Text-Books,--I am opposed to State uniformity of text-books,
but favor couuntyuniformity. I think each county should have the right to
legislate for itself in this matter.
opposes A State Grading Committee.--I am, to some extent, opposed to a State
Grading committee; at least, I am opposed to it on the grounds upon which
some base their argument, viz.; "That it would keep down fraud." This is
true to a great extent, possibly altogether true, but if a fraud is worked
by one or more, it is possible that others can do the same. Therefore, I
cannot see that we could safely secure ourselves against all possible frauds
by such a measure.
Opposed to Holidays.--I shall be glad to see a law enacted prohibiting any
School Board from paying any teacher for any holiday, except National holidays.
It is without any common reason to pay a teacher, or any other individual,
for service not actually rendered. And on National holidays the teachers ought
to be required to hold appropriate exercises in their schools.
R. M. YENT,
I submit my report on the condition of the schools of this county for the past
Conditions on Assuming Office,--When I entered up on the duties of the office
of County Superintendent, Jan. 1st, 1897, owing to the illness of my predecessor,
Captain C. E. L. Allison, who had been confined to his room for several months,
I found matters in a very unsatisfactory condition. In addition to this, our
very efficient Chairman of the Board of Public Instruction, the Hon. B. S. G.
Smith, during the fall term of 1896, had been confined to his bed for several
weeks with malarial fever, which also caused considerable friction in the
working of the schools. A large number of the schools had closed, the terms
of others had about half expired, and some few had just started; very few
warrants had been issued, many reports, monthly and final, had been lost and
had to be duplicated; many of the latter were so imperfect that final reports,
monthly reports, and registers had to be consulted, compared and adjusted,
in order to get matters into any shape, and the only encouraging feature was
that our enrollment and average attendance were evidently above that of the
Growth Continuous.--Since that time our numbers have steadily increased, and
although measles, whooping cough and diphtheria have been prevalent in our
county, the schools continue to be more flourishing, and, I believe, my
next annual report will show an increased average of more than 20 per cent.
over that of last year.
New Schools and Home Teachers.--Several new schools have been established,
and our teachers, with very few exceptions, are to the manor born--natives
of Gadsden county--and the productions of her schools. It speaks well for
them that they are trying to.fit and perfect themselves for their calling.
A great many of them, the past two years, have been attending the different
colleges, and we now have on hand a corps of teachers that bid fair to be an
honor to Gadsden county. Every year some bright boys and girls are coming
to the front from the piney woods and obtaining a good education at the
Raised School Levy--We have raised our school levy from 4 and 4 to 5
mills, and there is less prejudice against the public school system than at
any time during its history. We have labored under many disadvantages in
our county, and necessarily have to go slow, but we are evidently on the
upward grade, as a proof of which the patrons have built several nice school
houses this year, and a great many are beginning to favor the sub-district
system. I am doing all I oan to stir up an educational enthusiasm among
School Term.--We have what you might call a semi-High School in Quincy, which
runs eight months; two or three central schools in the county run six months,
and all the rest four months.
Uniform Examination Law.--I attribute the decreasing opposition to the public
schools and the success we are making, more to the Uniform Examination Law
than to anything else, and I regret very much to see so many suggestions from
some, that want to come to the front, to have the laws changed to suit their
different whims and their imaginary interests.
We had better let the law remain as it is than be patching it up every ses-
sion of the Legislature. The third grade certificates are hurting no one
except those who hold them. This year I could hardly get a school to accept
a thrid grade teacher when there was any possible chance to secure one with
a first or second grade. The people are not going to have a shoddy article
when they can get hold of anything better.
State Grading Committee.--We are bitterly opposed to a State or District
Grading Committee, It would be safe to say that no county is being damaged
by bogus importations from other counties. No Board or Superintendent is
compelled to give a teacher a school because he or she holds a first or
second grade certificate. There are graduates of colleges and holders of State
certificates that we would not keep long, if they were foisted upon us. Let
those counties that are clamoring for Central Grading Committees drive off
the imposters from their midst, and the State will soon be cleared of such
tramps and peripatetic humbugs,
Favors County Uniformity In Text-Books,--We are opposed to anything that goes
beyond a county uniformity of books. We want the same books in all the county
schools, and that is as far as we go on that line. We believe in local self-
J. R. KEY,
At your request I submit the following report in regard to school affairs in
Financial.--When I came into the office as Superintendent, I found my county
indebted to about $2,300. The County Commissioners refused to raise the
millage, hence, we are still in debt, but think we will be able to reduce
the amount considerably this year, and our county will be in better condition
financially than for many years.
Interest and Course of Study,--The patrons seem to take more interest in
the education of their children each succeeding year. This, I think, is
largely due to the Teachers' Association of our county. At first it was an
uphill business, but now patrons, as well as teachers, take deep interest in
the exercises, and all say that they gain a great deal of information by the
School Houses, Furniture, Etc.--The various schools of the county are better
supplied with good houses and patent desks, making the school-rooms more
pleasant and comfortable.
School Attendance.--The attendance at all the schools is much better this year
than ever before; in fact, it increases annually, which shows that all parties
are more interested each year,
The county now has two High Schools and two Sub-district schools, both doing
Needed Amendments to Laws.--
1. The School Board should have the authority to levy the school tax.
2. Provision should be made for the early collection of taxes.
3. There should be a Grading Committee appointed by the State Superintendent
for each Judicial Circuit, as I advocated at the Superintendents' Con-
vention at Jacksonville last spring.
4. The salary of Superintendents should be fixed by the Legislature, based
on number of schools. The expenses of Superintendents in visiting so large
a number of schools are very heavy, and in order that he may be able to
discharge his whole duty he should receive a fair remuneration for his
JNO. E. HANNA,
I submit the following as my bi-ennial report on the educational progress of
General Advancement.--Since my last report our progress has been "onward and
upward." While we are much gratified at our improved condition, we are not
satisfied, but realize that much is yet to be accomplished before we reach
the limit of possible improvement. A spirit of hopefulness, co-operation and
aspiration for better things exists among teachers, patrons, school officers
and pupils. The standard has been placed high, and all are striving with unity
of purpose to reach it. That conditions are gratifying is apparent from the
last Grand Jury's general presentment on the subject, made January 12, 1899:
"The schools under the present management are in a prosperous condition in
nearly all parts of the county," Local dissensions in three districts about
the building and location of school houses have marred the general harmony,
and this explains the qualification in the presentments.
Board of Public Instruction.--The members of our School Board, W, E. Law, T. D,
Graham, and H T.Valenine, are progressive and practical men. The present
prosperous condition of our school affairs is largely due to their intense in-
terest and fearless discharge of their important duties. Without their con-
stant co-operation and willingly given assistance, the teachers and County
Superintendent would have fallen far short of the good results.obtained, They
are liberal, practical and wisely prudent in the management of our school
finances. In making appropriations, they will mot go beyond the limits of
probable income, and are careful in all their expenditures that the public
fund he not wasted. Yet they are neither parsimonious nor niggardly to teachers
or schools. They pay their teachers promptly at the close of each month, and
will not permit school warrants to be hawked'about the streets at a discount.
County Commissioners.--The County Commissioners of this county are in hearty
sympathy with our educational interests. They cheerfully levy the full limit
of school taxes, and assist in every other legitimate way in promoting the
welfare of the schools.
Supervisors and Trustees,--Our Supervisorp and Trustees have proven themselves
to be men of enterprise and public spirit in promoting the best interests of
their local schools. With scarcely an exception they have contributed liber-
ally of their time, labor and money to make them more successful and efficient,
and have cordially co-operated with teachers and Superintendent in their
efforts to elevate the educational standard and improve the methods of in-
struction. The local school officer is a potential factor in the success of
Teachers.--The scholarship and proficiency of the teachers of this county have
been improved to a marked degree during the past two years. Our teachers
have attended Teachers' Summer Schools, lectures, Institutes and teachers'
associations, and have read pedagogical books and educational periodicals until
they are keenly alive to and conversant with the best methods of modern teach-
ing." We require this, and in return we give them the preference in assignment
to schools. Among the whites there is not a third grade teacher, and only
five of the second grade in the county, I refer to those who are distinctly
Hernando county teachers. We have only two of the second grade from abroad.
All of our second grade intend to obtain a first at the next examination or
resign. The atmosphere here is not healthy for third grade teachers--they
climb higher or retire. I am more impressed than ever with the usefulness
and importance of the home teachers Hernando county has given to the public
schools an excellent class of teachers reared in her own institutions, Grat-
ifying reports reach us of their success and popularity in other portions of
the State where they have been called to teach,
Financial.--The delay in the collection of taxes is the most annoying circum-
stance connected with our finances. The freeze of 1894 and the drought of
last year have reduced our income considerably, compelling a mortifying re-
duction in salaries, but we hope for better things in this respect in the
near future. From present indications, the operations of the schools this
year will leave the Board out of debt. Money is borrowed to meet expenses
because the taxes are uncollected at the time the schools must be taught.
Will or can the Legislature remedy this evil?
New Courses of Study, Rules and Regulationso--The rapid advancement of our
public schools has compelled a revision of our course of study. The Board
issued September 3, l898, rules and regulations for the county and a course
of study for each of the three classes of schools taught, elementary, grammar
and high school, so arranged as to secure uniformity of grade in all the
schools. Strict adherence to the courses of study is compulsory upon teachers
and pupils. Our rules and regulations were given our closest thought and
deepest study in their preparation,. They have been pronounced admirable by
the highest school authority in the State.
School Houses and Furniture,--Three comfortable frame schools houses have
been built--one a large two-story building--one has been enlarged, another
nicely ceiled and three furnished with patent desks, since my last bi-ennial
report. Every school house in the county is a comfortable frame building,
and is furnished with good seats (two exceptions), maps, charts, text-bpok.
library, ample black-boards, water facilities, stoves and desks, and in some,
globes. Six schools have patent desks. We have not an old-fashioned log
cabin school house in the county.
Free Book System.--The free school book system has been continued, and increases
in popularity with the people. The longer we use it the better we like it. It
is regarded by all classes of our people as absolutely indispensable. To go
back to the old system now would be suicidal.
Teachers' Institute.--We still retain the Teachers' Institute in our educational
system. We have kept it in operation for five years, and have found it to be
a most useful means of improving the methods and sustaining the high character
of our teaching force. The Institute brings out and improves the good points
of good teachers, and reveals the inferior character of poor teachers, who
cannot be improved. It is maintained under the auspices of the School Board
and conducted by the County Superintendent as a school of instruction in the
theory and practice of teaching. A session of the Institute, continuing a
week or more, is held in August and once a month during the term of school.
Attendance of teachers is compulsory.
Literary Societies.--The number of literary societies in the public schools
has been increased, and through their operation interest in education has been
largely augmented. By them the children are made familiar with parliamentary
usage, taught how to conduct public meetings and societies, and encouraged
to cultivate a healthy literary taste. Through them, we expect to secure use-
ful libraries of miscellaneous books in our public schools.
School Grounds.--Beautifying school grounds and keeping them neat and clean,
is a noticeable and commendable feature of our progress. Teachers and pupils
generallyhave shown much pride in making school rooms presentable and attractive.
School Sub-Districts.--A large majority of our school districts have been con-
verted into school sub-districts, and special taxes aggregating over $1,500
per annum are levied by the votes of the people. Before the close of this
year all the districts of the county will probably be made school sub-districts,
levying special taxes for school purposes, except two* This feature of our
school system has met with increased popular favor. It would be a great mistake
on the part of the Legislature to undertake to eliminate it from our school
law, or in any way cripple it by adverse legislation. The present law should
be improved and made to conform to the constitution. The County Treasury
should be the depositary of all special school funds, and sub-district trustees
should be authorized to draw warrants on the Treasurer against the amount of
special school funds placed to their credit in his hands, as the County Com-
missioners and School Boards now do. The relations between the trustees and
the County School Board should be more clearly defined, so as to prevent friction
Public Favor.--In conclusion, I desire to acknowledge the hearty and almost
unanimous support accorded the public schools and school officers by the citizens
of the county. During the din of a most furious clamor raised by the few
political clackers here, the present Board was overwhelmingly re-elected at the
last election. This was a deserved tribute paid by an enlightened citizen-
ship to the progressiveness, faithfulness, and courage of the men placed in
charge of school affairs two years ago.
A. M. C. RUSSELL,
In accordance with your request I send you the following report:
After a thorough examination of the schools of this county I find that many
of my schools have done excellent work; and, on the whole, all have done
fairly well, and probably compare favorably with the schools of other counties
and States, yet I am not satisfied with the results.
Matters of such vital importance as public education should be considered
candidly and frankly, and when they are not what they should be, fulsome praise
and roseate reports will not correct the existing evils.
The cases for the unsatisfactory condition of our schools deserve careful
and honest investigation. These causes may be briefly stated under three heads:
1. Short terms.
2. Untrained teachers.
3. Constant change of teachers.
Short Terms A Waste.--It is a criminal waste of money to the State and of
precious time to the children to give only four or five months' terms, taught
in many instances by untrained teachers. Long vacations discourage pupils,
as it takes so long to form right habits of study, that by the time they get
interested in their work, and are beginning to make real progress, the term
ends, and another long vacation follows, broken by another school term of
four or five months, and probably taught by an inexperienced teacher who in
consequence of the yearly changes which take place, spends half the session
in organizing the school, and getting acquainted with the disposition, capa-
bilities and environments of the pupils, if, happily, his mind has sufficient
maturity to consider these important points.
The consequence is that nine-tenths of the pupils between fourteen and fifteen
an age when they should be able to do intelligent work in the shops or on the
farm, do not even know the bent of their own minds.
Necessity for Trained Teachers,--The necessity for carefully trained teachers
is not disputed by any thoughtful people in this enlightened age; and as bad
as short sessions are, untrained teachers are worse. It is better to have a
child in school five months under a teacher who has been specially trained
for the work, than to have it ten months under a teacher who has not received
this training, even though he be a college graduate.
Teachers' Salaries.--A good corps of trained teachers cannot be maintained
on poor pay and half year employment. Teachers, as well as people in other
professions, do not remain young always and must look our for a "rainy day,"
and thirty to sixty dollars per month does not even furnish a living for one
year; consequently, year by year, competent teachers drop out and go into
other lines of work, leave the field to be occupied by inexperienced recruits,
who if possessed of talent soon follow in the footsteps of their predecessors.
Now as to the remedies for the evils enumerated:
The school tax is a tax of which the people never complain, if the results
are satisfactory. This tax falls as heavily on the poor laborer in the re-
mostes outlying school districts as it does on those living in the towns and
cities; and these districts are as much entitled to first class teachers and
first class schools as any other portions of the county. Now, the problem
to be solved is, how can every section be efficiently served? How can the
best interests of education among the masses be promoted?
In considering this question the following remedies suggest themselves:
1st. A consolidation of the small schools. This, of course, would be a
matter of a little inconvenience to some of the pupils, but it would be a
utilization of funds that would give more school months and would justify the
employment of better teachers.
2d. Have one teacher appointed to two schools in isolated districts, teach-
ing both schools alternately, devoting a week to each. Experience has shown
that this has brought about excellent results in other countries. While
this plan would not save dollars to the county, it would secure better teachers
for the children, as a teacher could afford to teach ten months in the year
for a smaller salary than he could for four or five months. In some sections
at certain times in the year the children are needed at home to work, but this
might be over come by giving short vacations, or by half day sessions, arrang-
ing it so that the larger pupils should receive their instruction from seven
until ten, and the primary grades from particulars respecting this institution
in order to show the ten until one o'clock.
Suggestions might be offered with reference to Course of Study, Methods of
Teaching, Compulsory Attendance, etc., but this report is already too lengthy.
I append a resolution passed by the Board of Public Instruction of this county,
which I deem of sufficient importance for publication in your report.
L. W. BUCHHOLZ,
Resolutions of County School Board.--
To the Honorable Senator and Members of the House of Representatives from
The members of the School Board of Hillsborough county respectfully represent
to your honorable body, that Sec. 8, Art. 12, of the Constitution of Florida,
is so restrictive upon the Board of Public Instruction as to make it entirely
unoracticable for them to promote the best educational interest of the State,
which we feel satisfied was contemplated by the honorable members of the Con-
vention that framed the Constitution of the State.
1st. The valuation of property throughout the State has been so materially
lessened by the cold wave that passed over the State four years ago as to
render the maximum tax of five mills for educational purposes, in some sections,
less than the minimum of three mills provided by the former of the Constitu-
tion when this important, and, we may say, "paramount" interest of the State
As costodians of the educational interest of Hillsborough county, we have
jealously guarded its interests in our very best conception, and in as econ-
omical a manner as this interest would admit of, but we find ourselves so
hampered by the inadequate funds that the Constitution places at our disposal,
and that, too, at the discretion of other agencies, as to defeat us in our
highest aim and pride, that of making Florida's educational advantages first
and foremost in the ranks of Southern States.
We respectfully submit: 1st. That in Hillsborough county, and we believe
the same feeling exists throughout the State, no portion of the county tax
is more cheerfully paid, and whose increase would be more willingly met, than
that appropriated to the school fund.
We submit 2nd. That the members of the Board of Public Instruction, being
elected by the people, are eminently the choice of the district they represent,
and should have exclusive control of such appropriations as in their wisdom
will be required to maintain the public school system of the county, and we
further recommend that the Constitution be so amended as to provide for this
We submit and respectfully recommend to your Honorable Body: 3rd. That Art. 12,
Sec. 8, be so amended as to read "a tax of not less than 3 mills nor more than
10 mills on the dollar on all taxable property in the same."
DR. G. H. SYMMES,
PERRY G. WALL,
Attebtt L. W. Buchholz,
Secretary and County Superintendent.
In compliance with your request, I respectfully submit the following brief
report of the public school operations of Holmes county, from July 1, 1896,
to June 30, 1898.
Condition of Things Found.--When I entered upon the responsible duties as
County Superintendent, January 6, 1896, I regret very much to say, with due
respect to my predecessor, that I found the school indebtedness to be
$6,153.16. In a poor county like this, where the total receipts on the school
fund will not exceed $5,01 per annum., it will be conceded that the financial
condition was not good.
What Was Done,--We could not reduce the school term, as it was already at the
minimum limit. We could not unite any of the schools, as none were located
nearer than three miles of each other; so we had to reduce teachers' salaries.
This we did not like to do, as they were not receiving enough for their ser-
vices to enable him to save some money.
A person is expected to make more than a meager support an any other profession,
why not at teaching?
Teachers Boarded Free.--With few exceptions the teachers had no board bills
to pay, as the patrons welcomed them into their homes free of charge. Right
here I wish to especially thank the benevolent ladies of this county for the
kind treatment teachers have received at their hands. Greater love for the
ladies hath no man than I. They are always at the post of duty.
I will say by the way of encouragement and of a statement of facts to the
ladies who are teaching and expect to become teachers, that some of our best
teachers are female teachers.
God bless the kind mothers; they are always ready to send their children to
school. If fathers had the interest in the educating of their children that
mothers have, we would not need a compulsory educational law, but as it is,
we do need such a law.
The Old Debt Partly Paid.--During the past two scholastic years we have paid
about one-half of the old debt.
Standard of Teachers Raised.--The standard of teachers has been raised by com-
plying with the S'tate &TU rm Examination law, and the attendance at the Summer
Rules, Regulations and Course of Study,--We have Rule4 Regulations and Course
of Study for the guidance of teachers. We are trying W. M. Welch & Co.'s
"Classification Set" in the Westville High School, and if it proves to be the
record we think it is we will place it in the rural schools.
Needed Amendments to Laws.--The School Boards should have sole authority to
levy the school tax, and Section 8, Article 12, of the Constitution should
be amended by striking our the words,, "nor more than five mills."
J. A. J. HATHAWAY,
In reply to the request for a brief report of the condition of school work
in Jackson county, the following is respectfully submitted:
The schools, with but few exceptions are moving along nicely with a fair
average attendance and reasonable progress. Since your last bi-ennial report
we have had erected in our county, by the patrons, some very creditable
school houses, and, on the whole, I would say the school interest is on the
Too Many Schools Established.-The retiring Board has, in my judgment, allowed
too many schools created considering the amount of school funds received, but
I hope and believe our new Board will be more careful on this line.
School Board Should Levy School Tax.--I certainly think that the power given
to the Board of County Commissioners to say what amount of tax should be levied
for school purposes, should, at the next Legislature, be changed and placed
in the hands of the School Board, for it is presumable that they are better
acquainted with the needs of the schools than any other body.
Make County Superintendent Member of Board,--I also favor a law making the
County Superintendent a member of the School Board, and also having one mem-
ber from the county at large, which would make five members instead of three.
Grading Committee for Each Judicial Circuit,--I also favor having one Grading
Committee to do the work for several counties, say each Judicial District.
My reason for this is that there can scarcely be had a committee in any county,
who are not familiar with the hand-writing of some of the applicants, and
would suggest that this committee be appointed by the State Superintendent
and selected from the teachers of some other district than the one in which
they are to act As such committee.
District Institutes.--The attendance at County Institutes is usually small,
the reason generally given is that teachers are not supplied with means of
conveyance, so I have decided to divide the county into three districts, so
that no teacher can plead this as an excuse in the future--placing one of
these Institutes in the reach of all. I hope you may have the co-operation
of the next Legislature in your work, and have such needed changes made in
the present law, as your observation and experience have shown to be beneficial.
A. J. WOOLDRIDGE,
I beg leave to submit the following brief report of the condition of the public
schools of this county, for the two years ending June 30, 1898:
Improved Finances.--It is with great pleasure that I report a substantial im-
provement in our finances during the past two years, notwithstanding the
general depression in all lines of business, and the consequent hard times
A school debt of $5,700 had been reduced to less than $2,000 by July 1, 1898,
and the County Treasurer reported to the School Board, at its November
meeting, "That all outstanding warrants had been paid.1'
School Warrants At Pare--Our teachers are paid their salaries promptly and
school warrants are at par, instead of being subject to a discount as here-
Longer Terms,--This improvement in our finances has been accomplished by the
practice of simple business economy, and not at any sacrifice by our schools,
either in the way of less efficient teachers, or shorter terms; but on the
contrary, the work done in the schools has been a decided improvement on that
done in past years, and the terms of five or six schools have been lengthened.
New Buildings.--Four new school houses have been built and substantial repairs
made on five, while seven have been provided with patent desks.
Our High School.--The Monticello High School, which is a graded school with
a distinct High School department, employs five teachers, has an eight months
term and is well patronized by the citizens of Monticello and the surrounding
country. It has been very much improved of late and is now a credit to the
county afd State. There are ten other graded schools in the county with eight
Course of Study.--Heretofore this county had not adopted any course of study,
7 t-e-Board has recently remedied this want, and has now in press a twenty-
page pamphlet devoted to this subject,
Cheap School Books.--Our Board, after the recent adoption of text books for
the county, made arrangements with our local agent whereby these books are
sold to the children at an advance of only 10 per cent. on their net cost to
the Board, a great improvement on former arrangements.
A Good School Board,--In my efforts for the improvement of the school system
of the county, I have had the hearty co-operation and assistance of an intel-
ligent and public spirited School Board, who have cheerfully seconded all of
my suggestions, without which I could have accomplished but little, and I am
glad to say that their efforts seem to have been appreciated, as they have
all been re-elected.
Plans for the Future.--I shall try to establish libraries in all country
schools, as essential factors in building them up and stimulating interest'
I shall also try to organize a County Teachers' Association.
Needed Amendments to the Laws.--
1. Either make Supervisors more efficient or abolish the office.
2. Establish a State Grading Committee to grade all papers. There can be
no uniformity in the grades of certificates under existing circumstances,
as the standard of excellence is different in each county, and changes
in the same county with every change in the membership of the Grading
J. H. GIRARDEAU,
In reporting the condition of school affairs in this county, I beg leave to
state that school work is progressing nicely. The schools are in better con-
dition this year than they have ever been. More interest is manifested every
year by patrons, children, and teachers, and a constant demand is made for
longer terms and better school facilities. These, however, under the present
law, allowing the County Commissioners to fix the number of mills to be levied
for school purposes, can not be granted; under the circumstances our School
Board is doing all it can.
New Buildings.--During the last two years there have been four new frame
school buildings constructed, the titles for the land on which said buildings
were constructed are on file in this office. The buildings were furnished with
a reasonable amount of modern apparatus with other improvements.
State Uniform Examination Law.--The teachers and people heartily endorse the
Uniform Examination law for many reasons. The present system of grading
committees is preferable to a State Grading Committee.
Uniform Text Books.--We have a uniform series of text books adopted in this
county, which as a general rule are used with much success in all public schools.
County Institutes,--During the past two years County Institutes have been held,
but I am sorry to say that they were not as well attended as they should have
been. Great interest was manifested by those who attended and much good was
Teachers' Summer Schools.--We hope to have this year another Summer School for
the benefit of our teachers, for we fully recognize the benefits of those