Volume 1, Number 8
Nineteenth Missouri Report Of Public Schools - 1868 Taney - J. J. Brown
School houses. We have in the county about twenty-five or thirty buildings that bear the name of school houses, but they are all built of logs, owing to the scarcity of sawed lumber, consequently, we have not a first class school house in the county. Some of the districts are making arrangements to build respectable school houses, and I fondly hope the day is not far distant when every pupil in the county will have a comfortable and well-furnished school house, in which to secure instruction.
Grounds. The people are beginning to learn that it is a dangerous practice to build school houses on the public domain, or lands belonging to some individual, without requiring a deed for it, hence nearly all the subdistricts are purchasing the ground on which their buildings are being erected; and I yet have hopes that at no distant day, they will have them beautifully ornamented with groves of trees suitable for the purpose.
Furniture. Our furniture is very limited, in fact, we have almost none, except "wooden benches" at a few writing desks.
Apparatus. We have none whatever in the county, but I hope that our school officers will, in a short time, procure a sufficiency for our public schools.
Teachers. We have, at this time, some very able teachers, who, as a general thing, manifest considerable interest in a popular education, though I regret to say that a very large portion of them are poorly qualified to teach school. The people being, generally, uneducated themselves, are as apt to make choice of an imposter, as a competent person, for their teacher, and if the superintendent refuses to grant a certificate, the local directors, being governed by public sentiment, will employ none.
County associations or institutes. We have a teachers' institute, its first session was held in last June, and the second in October, they were each in session three days, and proved to be a complete success.
Reports of School Officers: School officers have been very prompt in reporting the number of school children in their respective subdistricts, but as yet have made none to the superintendent.
Interest manifested in the Education of Colored People. We have not a sufficient number of colored children in the county for a school, but judging from the vote, on the Constitutional Amendment, at the last election, I think a majority of the people would take considerable interest in the education of that unfortunate class of humanity.
When the people learn to elect men to office who are intelligent, and have the good will of the county at heart, then we may expect the cause of education to advance, but so long as the people are so ignorant that they will elect men to offices of the greatest importance, simply because they are good citizens, so long we may expect the cause of education to be retarded.
(Here we delete certain uncomplimentary references to the ignorance and incompetence of some of Taney County's officials. Ed.)
It has too long been the practice in our border counties, to elect men to office, without regard to qualifications, and so long as that is kept up, our public schools will not rise above the present grade of education.
I do really think that our Legislature ought to give the State Superintendent the sole power of appointing the county superintendents and require him to appoint none but those well qualified to discharge the duties.
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