Monday, November 8, 2010

School Board Records--1895

Superintendents Report for 1895

Seventeen schools were opened (10 for whites and 7 for blacks). There were 1 white male teacher and 9 white female teachers, 4 black male teachers and 3 black female teachers. These teachers have shown themselves more or less attentive to their duties but taken all together they have done fairly well considering the many adverse circumstances under which the schools of this parish labor. It has been the endeavor of the committee of teachers and your Supt. to provide the school with a corps of instructors of the most efficient character by (ineligible) the teachers proving themselves competent during the previous sessions and to carefully examining the credentials and recommendations of those presenting themselves for the first time and except for one or two instances, they seem to have given satisfaction to the patrons of the schools.

{There were} 737 pupils enrolled, 313 white, 424 black. 37% of white and 33% of black children of school age enrolled. More schools need to be opened.

The parish owns 6 school buildings which are in fairly good repair. The other 11 schools are in buildings varying from humble farm negro cabins  to colored church buildings, one and all totally unfit for school purposes and deficient in proper school furniture.

The policy of paying a comparatively large salary to a teacher and then putting her in a dilapidated building without furniture other than a few rough boardseats needs no comment. If the School board cannot provide a schoolhouse to fit the teacher it might save money by providing a teacher at a salary to fit the schoolhouse.

There has been some complaint regarding the location of the school at Freetown in the 1st Ward and I suggest the school be moved to the place called Baumgarden a mile or so lower down where the Board owns a building now occupied by a colored church. There is also much complaint regarding the location at Paradis in the 4th Ward. It is in the Southern Pacific Railroad and sometimes the children are interfered with by tramps. Besides which the congregation of the church are continually threatening  to turn out the teacher. I would recommend that the school be located at Des Allemands or at Boutte, a few miles either way.

Before closing, I desire to say something regarding the salary paid to the teachers. The Board has fixed the salary of the past years at $40 per month without any reference whatever to the capacity or qualification of the teacher, or the number of children taught, or the grade of the school, or the race. No distinction is made between a highly educated white teacher, presiding over a school of 50 or more advanced pupils, and one teaching in a dilapidated cabin with a few children , hardly more advanced than the 2nd reader, and who was appointed because no one else could be found to accept the position. Another point the Board has overlooked is that the colored teachers live more cheaply, and because there are fewer employments open to them, there are always a large number of applicants seeking a place as teacher, consequently they are ready and willing to accept much lower salaries as is shown by the experience of other parishes. For instance we employ teachers from St. James Parish and St. John where they are glad to get $25 or $30 and give them $40. There seems to be no reason in such proceedings. Finally, it is impossible to get 17 teachers of the exact same grade. Some are bound to be better or worse than others, therefore it is hardly wise to fix an unvarying salary for all. The committee on teachers should be allowed the discretion in employing the teachers to fix the salary in accordance with the capacity and grade of the person employed. There is no Parish in the state, not even in the city of New Orleans, that pays a large salary for primary schools and particularly colored schools as this parish and certainly this parish cannot boast of having better taught children than elsewhere, and therefore it is difficult to see why it should spend the money.

                                                                                               (?) Kramer, Supt.

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