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20 weeks, and the age from 8-14 to 8-12 years. During the same year the truancy laws were made more stringent. By acts of 1876 and 1878 these laws were made so effective that attendance was practically universal.
By act of 1889 exemption from complying with the law, on account of poverty, was done away with. By amendments passed during the present year, the age has been raised to 15, wherever opportunity is furnished for instruction in the use of tools, or for industrial education in any form. There is no native illiteracy in Massachusetts.
Connecticut passed its first compulsory education act in 1650 and added to or modified it until 1888, when the present act was adopted.
The law at present enforces attendance upon all children from 8-16 years of age, for 24 weeks each year.
In New York state a compulsory education law was passed May 11th, 1874. By section 4 of this act the age of compulsory attendance was fixed at from 8 to 14 years, and the time to 14 weeks in each year, and the penalty of non-attendance by section 5, to five dollars for each week of such delinquency. Section 6 provides free text-books for poor children.
In Rhode Island the fine compulsory law was passed in 1883. This law was revised in 1887, and made more stringent and practicable. The penalty for non-attendance is fixed at twenty dollars, age from 7-15, and time at 12 weeks each year.
Children found playing truant are to be consigned to houses of correction, and penalties are laid upon municipalities for failure to carry out the law.
Kansas passed a compulsory attendance law in 1874, and amended it in 1876. The age is fixed at from 8-14, time 12 weeks, six of which must be consecutive.
Illinois passed such a law in 1883, and a more stringent one in 1889, called "The Force Act." The age is fixed at from 7-14 years, and time 16 weeks, 8 of which shall be consecutive. A fine of $20 is provided for delinquents, with imprisonment until paid with costs.
Wisconsin dates her law from September 1879.
amended in 1882, and provides that every child between 7-15 years must attend school for at least 12 weeks in each year. In 1889 a new act was passed called the "Bennett Law," which provided a more workable system. All fines imposed revert to the school boards for their use.
The District of Columbia has also a compulsory law, passed in 1864.
Vermont first declared for compulsory attendance in 1867, and confirmed and strengthened her law in 1870 and 1888, when the time of compulsory attendance was extended to 20 weeks, and illiterate children under 14 were debarred from seeking employment.
New Hampshire's law dates from 1871. It was amended in 1886. The age is fixed at 6 to 16 years, and truants may be sent to reform schools for one year.
Michigan, where so much has been done to educate the people, dates her first law from 1871. In 1883 a new act was passed, and it was amended in 1885. Its provisions are the same as those of the Kansas law already mentioned.
Washington Territory passed a compulsory act in 1871, fixing time at 3 months and the penalty for delinquency at $100. Additional acts were passed in 1877, 1883, and in 1890 the present law was passed.
Nevada follows with a law dating from 1873, with like provisions, but with a higher penalty for a second offence, to wit, $200.
California passed her act in 1874 and it is still in force.
Maine made compulsory laws as long ago as 1850, and strengthened them in 1875. The age is from 9 to 15 years.
New Jersey dates her original law from 1875, but the present act was passed in 1885; truants are sent to reform institutions. Wyoming provided for herself such a law in 1876. The age was fixed at from 7 to 20 years, for 3 months in the year.
This law was revised in 1887, and the age changed to from 6 to 21 years.
Constables are charged with apprehending loiterers on the streets during school hours.
Ohio dates her law from 1877. It was ineffective, as no provision was made for its enforcement, but the subsequent act of 1889, amended in 1890, is perfect in this respect; the age is fixed at from 8 to 14, but those over 14 and under 16 who cannot read and write must attend school one-half of each day.
Dakota passed a compulsory act in 1883, and amended it in 1887.
Montana also in 1883, identical with the Kansas law. Minnesota adopted a compulsory education law in 1885. Its provisions are also similar to those of the Kansas law, although penalties for delinquents are greater. In Nebraska attendance was made compulsory in 1887. Idaho followed her example during the same year. New Mexico antedates them
by 17 years, but she added to and strengthened her law in 1887 and 1891.
Colorado followed in 1889 with a law, based wisely upon the Michigan law. Oregon seized her opportunity in 1889, and Utah in 1890.
San Salvador and some of the other Central American States have compulsory laws in force, and under these laws Guatemala is making great strides towards the more advanced state of her more northern neighbours.
And last, and of more importance to us, Ontario in 1891. Clause 4 of this act reads as follows:-“ All children between 8 and 14 years of age shall attend school for the full term during which the school of the section or municipality in which they reside is open each year, unless excused for the reasons hereinafter mentioned, and if the parents or guardians having legal charge of such children shall fail to send them to school regularly for said full term, or if such children shall absent themselves from school without satisfactory excuses, such parents, guardians and children shall be subject to the provisions and penalties of section 9 of this act." Section 9 provides a penalty of not less than $5 nor more than $20 for delinquents, or they may be required to furnish bonds for their future conduct, and article 15 provides a fine of from $25 to $50 for those officers charged with the enforcement of the act who fail to do their duty. This act went into force July 1st, 1891.
In most countries where compulsory laws are in force the schools are free or practically so, and in many, text-books are
Such then is a brief historical resumé of the subject.
OPINIONS OF EMINENT EDUCATORS.
The following paragraphs contain a few opinions as enunciated by men of note and influence:
Superintendent Draper, of N. Y., says that "A government that provides a free public school system for its own safety is necessarily bound to see that all children are brought within the influences of that system."
Superintendent Maxwell of Brooklyn says, "A law that does not provide summary punishment for the parents who neglect their duty, is unworthy this age and country."
R. T. Ely in Century, says, "Compulsory education laws should everywhere be passed and enforced as in other civilized countries."
Samuel Smith, M.P., says in London Times, after travelling in Germany "I have not seen a single case of a ragged or begging child."
The Massachusetts Board of Education in 1852 said, "It is the right and duty of the State, for its own safety and advantage, to intervene and compel the parent to accord to his child, as a fundamental right, so much of education as shall fit him to be a citizen of a free state."
Hon. B. G. Northrop said in 1872, "To bring up children in ignorance is a crime, and should be treated as such."
Superintendent John Jasper, of N. Y. city, said in 1890, “The beneficial effects of the enforcement of this law are shown most clearly by the police statistics."
Superintendent Edwards of Illinois said in 1890, "The compulsory education law is right in principle," and "To say that it is an interference with the freedom of the citizen is emphatically to misrepresent it."
Superintendent Thayer, of Wisconsin, said in 1890, "All classes of citizens concede the right of the State to supervise and control the education of children where parents or guardians neglect or refuse to make suitable and adequate provision for such education, and to compel attendance of children."
The Lutheran Synod of Missouri left on record in 1889 the following in regard to compulsory education:-"In case parents neglect their duty, the State is justified in compelling them, by appropriate legislation, to the discharge of their duty."
The National Educational Association, at its meeting in Philadelphia in 1891, resolved, "That it is the right and the duty of the State not only to provide for this education, but also to insist that no child shall be deprived of that priceless heritage."
Superintendent John Slaughter, of Wyoming, says, "I am uncompromisingly in favour of compulsory education."
Hon, John Hancock, of Ohio, said in Jan. 1890, "The compulsory education law is one of the highest moment to our people."
The State Board of Dakota declared in 1888, "The State has the right to compel the support of schools, and the further right to compel attendance."
The Committee on legislation at the convention of Dec. Indiana recommended "that the State legislature be urged to enact a well-considered law for compulsory attendance." Superintendent Thayer, of Wisconsin, recently said, “Some form of compulsory education is a necessity."
Hon. C. E. White said, at Lincoln, Nebraska, on Dec. 30th, 1890, "Compulsory education in Germany defeated France in the late war."
Superintendent John Hancock, of Ohio, said, Feb. 25th, 1890, "The public sentiment of the people of Ohio is in favour of the complete enforcement of the compulsory law."
The Superintendent of the Boston schools said, on the same date, that “not more than 500 children out of 7,000 are absent during any one year."
The Chicago Daily News, of Jan. last, said, "There will be nowidespread dissent to the doctrine, that compulsory education in the language of the republic, for a certain number of days in each year, is really the fundamental groundwork of any beneficent compulsory school law."
President Walker said, at the Illinois State Convention in field in Dec., 1890, "There are thousands of children growing up in ignorance to become a perpetual menace to the peace and safety of the state. Parents failing to secure to them a suitable education, the State should compel."
Prof. Loon, of Arkansas, says "Compulsory and universal taxation calls for universal and compulsory education. The State's right to protect itself against the dangers of ignorance and crime is paramount to the parent's right."
The Christian Guardian, of Toronto, said last winter, "The press and public are getting thoroughly alive to the importance of compulsory education. Discussion is compelled by the lax school attendance of children, and the excellence of our educational system cannot endure a reproach like this. The Trades and Labor Council have been considering the question, and the report of its legislative committee thereon contains some excellent suggestions. We hope it is true that the Minister of Education is considering an amending measure which will cure the defects of the school law in its present state. There are so many considerations of public benefit which cluster round this needed reform, that it is impossible to imagine a more salutary change. It touches the life of our youth in all vital points, and will prove a better guarantee of good citizenship and patriotism than any other means which could be proposed. Every society for charitable relief, every institution connected with the reformation of our juvenile criminals, every movement for the preservation of our Canadian youth, will hail compulsory education as a friend and deliverer. When children are compelled to attend the public schools they will not only gain habits and instruction which will last them.