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Show the patrons-the school board-that in addition to teaching you have to govern, to keep order, to interest fifty or sixty little immortals for six hours; that every day you decide cases of discipline that General Grant, when he was president, would call a cabinet meeting on. Put into our schools books of interest to the young; let the Last of the Mohicans, Lallah Rookh, and even Hiawatha give place to books of interest about the progress of our country, what commerce, agriculture, and the mechanic arts are doing, what science and skill have done for the world. Teach in every recitation morals and manners, better citizenship, broader.patriotism, greater love for home and school.
Here is a good place to bring in the relative number of men and women teachers: In the United States.ih 1882, men 40 per cent.; in 1890, 35 per cent.; in 1900, 25 per cent.; and now it is stated that nearly 80 per cent. of our teachers are females. Says one: "There has been no incentive for men to prepare for this calling, and they have left the field,” and now if is difficult to keep their places filled with competent women teachers. Possibly the situation would be better if the schools would adopt the plan Fort Worth did M.1882. Upon the inauguration of her public schools, for the remuneration of her teachers, the general rule was laid down that: in the same grade of work, the same salary should be given to the women as to the men. Fort Worth went still farther, and gave the colored teachers doing the same work in the same grades the same pay as the white teachers. The salaries there depend upon two elements—the grade of certificate and the number of years in the schools. Five dollars is added to each month's salary for each following year. This is what may be called a sliding scale; it works well.
In the employment of teachers, Professor Münsterberg says: "There was never before a nation that gave the education of the young into the hands of the lowest bidder." He might go farther. I'll do so for him and say, that in all the trades, in all the commercial transactions, the employment of teachers is the only one in which the employer selects the goods and sets the price. "Mr. we have this day selected you as a teacher in our schools, and you will receive $ as your salary." Should it not read thus ? "We have this day selected you as a teacher in our schools; what compensation do you expect us to give?"
Again, there is much in the times—much in the spirit of the times. We are in an age of unprecedented prosperity all along the line. The salaries of our teachers have been improving-here a little and there a little. Now is the time to make an effort to bring about what would seem to be a fairer compensation for our teachers; the facts and reason seem to point that way. With the increase in all values, the expenses of the teachers. like the expenses of other people, have greatly increased.
The university and college men have been insisting for years that our teachers should be better paid; this comes from the top downward. Let us begin at the bottom and work up; let us begin with the mothers, and they with the fathers, the tax payers; let us show by our qualifications, our equipment, that we are entitled to more consideration, better remuneration. Let every teacher take in hand this matter, and the day will not be far distant when the calling-the profession then-of the teacher will rank so high that the best men and the best women of our land will again come into the fold.
Their calling, not their profession, as yet has nothing of insignia. Article 1, section 9 of the Constitution of the United States, forbids in this calling, as in all professions, all titles of honor, viz.: "No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States."
But there is a joy "in the deed that is done." With great pride and greater pleasure, on one occasion I heard Mrs. Granville Boyd, a Christian teacher of Virginia, say, speaking of that great scholar, president of three different universities, and an eminent astronomer, Dr. L. C. Garland: "Langdon may measure the distance between the stars, may weigh the earth, but I taught him his letters."
Still another case, even broader and more comprehensive: Said that sweet-spirited and splendid pulpit and platform orator, the general agent of the Peabody Fund, Dr. J. L. M. Curry:
And when the Confederate soldier furled his flag at Appomattox there was not a southern state that had a system of public schools; but now in organic law and in statutes, universal education is recognized as a paramount duty. Newspaper press gives intelligent and effective support; party platforms incorporate public schools in the political creeds; state revenues are appropriated; local communities levy taxes, and scarcely a murmur of dissent is heard in opposition to the doctrine that "free government must stand or fall with free schools." Let me affirm with emphasis, as an educator, as a patriot, as an American, that on universal education, on free schools, depends the prosperity of the country and the safety and perpetuity of the Republic.
The full fruition of the teacher's labors, "joy in the doing," brings joy in the deed done.
CHARLES H. KEYES, SUPERVISOR OF SCHOOLS, SOUTH DISTRICT,
All that we call progress in civilization is but obedience to the deepest and divinest instinct of the race. Its command to society is to repeat and improve itself. Since man first lifted his face from sod to sky, this instinct has impelled his footsteps. Modern society has organized no agency to insure fidelity to this law of growth toward manliness and godliness that is at all comparable in its opportunity with the school. The home, the church, the whole social body has turned over to the school the largest and most important share of the work of training to meet the command, obedience to which spells social uplift, and disobedience to which means degeneracy. The character of our schools then must determine the fate of society. They should be what the true training of childhood and youth demand. They should be organized and administered for this, for the service, and not primarily for the convenience of the teacher or the comfort of the taxpayer. Under this view of the function of the school, I submit that economic prudence and social wisdom demand that provision shall be made for adequate and honorable pensions for teachers. From this point of view it will be no argument to urge pensions because teachers want them, or because teachers need them, or because teachers deserve them. I desire to justify my thesis on the ground that such a policy is demanded by the schools themselves. Parents, and taxpayers, and patrons of our schools, and not school teachers, have the prime interest in enacting pensions for worthy teachers. It may be, therefore, true that I have brought my argument to the wrong forum, and that this audience, composed in a majority possibly of teachers, is not the jury whose verdict we desire. to influence. But, teachers of America's youth, you will pardon me and hear me, if I forgot you, and address myself to the distinguished citizens of this marvelous city and state, and to the other lovers of education, who now honor this association with their presence.
There are five cogent reasons why pensions should be provided for the teachers of the schools to which you are intrusting the education of your children.
1. That is the best teaching which emanates from a soul that devotes itself
with a singleness of purpose to the guidance, the training, and the inspiration of the youth. No teacher can do the best work for our children while at the same time compelled to be busy with plans for securing a livelihood when the days of service in the schoolroom are over. No teacher can fitly train children by day and worry by night over the question of raiment and food and shelter for the days that come too soon. Children deserve a happy childhood of hard work and healthful play. Give them a cheerful, joy-inspiring teacher, who can give all the best that is in her to her school.
There can be no teaching worth while for children from a worried woman or a care-burdened man. Working, planning, and worrying to make provisions for old age take too much of the time and thought that belongs to the children. I submit, therefore, that it is to our interest to secure the enactment of laws that will provide for the teacher in her old age.
2. Teachers of the largest ability are every year being drawn away from the school service, in which they have proved their high capacity, to enter on more remunerative fields of endeavor. To continue serving our children is to accept an old age of dependence or privation. To enter upon the new field of work is to receive rewards large enough to enable them to make provisions for their declining years. The teacher does not receive, nor is she ever likely to receive, compensation ample enough to permit such provisions. Unless we would see the education of our children turned over to second-rate women and to third-rate men, we must provide the rewards that would permit our ablest teachers to consecrate their lives to the service of our schools. I submit that for this reason alone it is the duty and interest of every parent and every patriot to aid in securing honorable and adequate pensions for teachers. Note the attractiveness of the pension-the able lawyer earning $10,000 to $15,000 annually, attracted to the $3,000 or $4,000 judgeship, which has the retirement at age limit.
3. The efficiency of an army always depends upon the character of the recruiting department. The great army of teachers should always attract many of the brightest and ablest young men and women who, year by year, graduate from our leading educational institutions. Nay, the service should be so treated as to attract young men and women of character and brains to prepare for it as an honored and honorable profession. The current rewards of the teachers are so grossly inadequate that the very material we most need in our schools is being diverted to other callings.
Even if salaries should be increased to the highest point for which we have any reason to hope, they would still be too small to permit the laying by of a competence for old age. Young men and women of high attainments see this, and carefully avoid the teaching profession. A guaranty that faithful service of our schools for a term of years would insure in age the modest independence, and leisure for study that many an inspiring scholar most desires, would win rich recruits for our educational army. Can there be any
doubt of the wisdom and the expediency of instituting honorable pensions as a means to this needed re-enforcement of our school?
4. There are in many of our schools men and women with the largest capacity for growth who are earning unusually good salaries, from which they are laying by a fund to take care of themselves in old age. To do this they are compelled to deny themselves the opportunity to travel, the time to study, the ownership of books, and the change of scene for bodily rest, which are essential to the life and growth of an inspiring teacher. How a retirement pension would change all this and enable such men and women to multiply their own powers, stimulate and refine their associates to the blessing of the boys and girls! Every worthy parent finds his richest rewards not so much. in the material situations he has conquered, the honors he has won, the wealth he has amassed, as in the contemplation of the rich opportunity those furnish for his boys and girls who share with him and after him their enjoyment. Society, like the individual, will find its richest life in making wise provision for its successors. Are not your boys and girls worth your making for them the small sacrifice needed to give them more teachers who can afford from time to time to renew their youth, their scholarship, their inspiration. Is there any escape from the conclusion that it is folly to unduly delay the coming of the day when the teachers in our schools shall enjoy these opportunities because we have provided for their old age adequate and honorable pensions?
5. In thousands of the older cities and towns of our Union, there are teachers who have practically worn themselves out in the service of our schools. From periods of from twenty-five to forty-five years they have spared no power of heart and brain in loving and consecrated devotion of their lives to the lives of boys and girls. They are body-tired, heart-sore, and brain-weary, with a frequency that is agonizing to witness. They have been able to save little or nothing. They cannot see that it is their duty to retire to privation or to charity. No official has the criminal courage and hardness of heart to turn them out to alms or starvation. As a result they are spoiling the tempers and abusing the intellects of whole schoolhouses full of children in return for their confinement by the community at hard labor in the schoolroom. But this cruel and inhuman punishment of faithful old teachers who ought long ago to have honorably retired on pay, goes on in a thousand American towns. The splendid teaching that they did for twenty-five and thirty-five years is no excuse for continuing to sacrifice to each of their broken years forty or fifty of your boys and girls. Forget these devoted broken men and women if you will. If in the hardness of your heart you shall conclude to work them to death, I say nothing of the shame. But I do ask, can common business intelligence justify you in paying for something that you are not getting? Can decent. regard for your own boys and girls justify their continued sacrifice? There is a patriotism whose ebullition takes the form of a rush of blood to the head. and words to the lips that might with hand on heart stand in the presence of teachers and schools thus sacrificed and talk of love of country; but you, my
friends, know that no country is worth loving that, with eyes open to such an abuse, long permits it to continue. As honest men and women, are we not driven to the conclusion that honorable and adequate pensions for teachers must be provided in defense of the home and its children?
There is no escape from the conclusion that, no matter what the teachers may want or need or deserve, the interests of the child, the parent, and society, demand this pension establishment. We must now consider how it is to be secured.
Three general plans have been advocated and put in operation:
1. Bodies of teachers bent on providing for disabled veterans of the schoolroom have formed teachers' retirement associations, teachers' guilds, and teachers' annuity associations. They have provided small annuities for aged and worthy teachers by assessments of their own membership, increased by donations of philanthropic individuals, and in some instances by small legislative appropriations. The Retirement Fund Department of the New Jersey State Teachers' Association, the Connecticut Teachers' Annuity Guild, and the Boston Teachers' Retirement Fund Association, are good examples of these movements of which there have been many thruout the Union. They have not furnished, nor can they ever hope to furnish, complete and satisfactory disposal of the problem. Looked at as final agencies, they are subject to all the vicissitudes attaching to voluntary fraternal insurance societies with amateur managements. Some teachers support them as wellmeaning philanthropies, but even the school teacher seeking old-age protection that is really insurance knows enough to send her money to Hartford for the purchase of the real article. But these associations have done their greatest work in securing the adoption of other plans for more adequately solving the problem. In fact, all the rational teachers' pension legislation on the statute books of American commonwealths has been secured largely, if not entirely, thru the influence of these teachers' organization.
2. Progressive cities in various quarters of our country have established, under legislative sanction, retirement funds for their own teachers. New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, and San Francisco, furnish the best example for this second scheme. Percentages of teachers' salaries, deductions on account. of teachers' absences, and donations, form the major portion of the fund in all these plans except in the city of New York, where the foregoing sources are largely increased by the addition of 5 per cent. of all the excise money and fees for liquor licenses received by the city. Under these different city plans maximum annuities vary from $150 a year up to $2,000 a year, this latter sum being provided by the city of New York, where the lowest annuity is equal to half the salary paid at the time of retirement.
3. A few states have enacted general pension laws for the benefit of all these teachers. Of these Rhode Island and New Jersey have formulated the most generous and most equitable statutes. New Jersey provides the bulk of her fund by deduction of from 2 to 3 per cent. of the salaries of all teachers.