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Lena Stone Criswell

THE MARLIN DEMOCRAT
Eighteenth Year - Number 42
Marlin, Texas, Wednesday, October 16, 1907
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AGRICULTURE IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
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Institute and Normal Work----Some
Suggestions by Supt. Eddins.
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       Last year the study of agriculture was introduced into fourteen of our schools.  There were enrollment in these schools 91 boys and 98 girls.  Each teacher who tried the experiment reported a successful class, and that the pupils were delighted with the study.
       The principal of one of the best schools in the county reports that he was able to get splendid work out of some pupils in this subject that he has just been unable to get to anything much in their other studies.
The girls have shown as much interest as the boys and all the teachers report that the work in agriculture tends to improve the pupils in penmanship, English and general habits of study.  With sufficient material and opportunity for proper teaching there is no doubt that this subject presents a wide field for useful and profitable study.
       The last legislature required the teaching of this subject by law and it is the duty of parents to aid in very (sic) way possible to get the subject well started in the schools.  New books on the subject will be necessary, and the moral support of the people must be given to the teacher.
       To teach the subject of agriculture successfully as a science will require a great deal of original experimental work, and to be able to make these experiments in an intelligent way will require a small lot of ground to be fenced so as to keep out chickens, rabbits and other small animals.  It is urged that the trustees take this matter in hand and provide a lot, say, 30x50 feet at least, and give our children the opportunity to learn at first hand some of the great secrets of nature.
       This matter will be discussed by the teachers in the institute and definite plans will be made to comply with the law.

VISITING SCHOOLS.

       The county superintendent made last year 221 visits to the various schools of the county and every school in the county was visited once, nearly all were visited twice and some were visited as many as five times.
       Last year the plan of visiting was to go to those places that seemed to require immediate attention, so that the rule was to go first to those places that sent for the superintendent and to the other places when it was convenient.
       In those visits, talks were made to the schools, lessons were recited, classes examined and the general conditions of the school studied and at the close of the visit a conference was held with the teacher in which such suggestions were made as seemed to be of benefit to the school.
       The reports of these visits were given to the county papers and were a source of encouragement to the schools and did much to keep the idea of school before the minds of the people.

INSTITUTE AND NORMAL WORK.

       The annual week institute was held in Marlin on Dec. 17 to 21, 1906, and there were present and participating in the work 109 teachers.  The work was devoted almost entirely to the subjects of school management, methods and agriculture.
       In most cases the work was conscientiously done and the teachers were greatly benefitted (sic) by it.
       The negro institute was held at the same time and did good work.
       As has been the policy of our teachers for several years, a joint summer normal was held with Limestone county at Thornton, and Falls county was ably represented by Miss Louise Wells of the Rosebud high school.  The work of the normal was very satisfactory and our teachers felt amply repaid for their attendance.
       The negroes also held a successful normal in Marlin.

SUGGESTIONS.

       The following suggestions are offered as to what should be the policy of the schools for the present.
       1.  Continue the improvement of the buildings until every school house in the county is completed, painted, fenced, comfortably seated and the yards set in trees.
       2.  That the school term be lengthened so as to give the child in the country an equal opportunity for an education with the city child.
       3.  That proper steps be taken to comply with the "spirit of the law that requires the teaching of agriculture in the schools.
       4.  That the holidays be so observed with appropriate exercises as to impress upon the pupils their full meaning and to teach them true patriotism, as was intended by those who placed the observing of the holidays in our laws.
       5.  That Arbor Day be celebrated in trying improve the appearance of the building and grounds.  Also that Special Day Exercises, Mother' Day, Company Afternoons and other devices be used to cultivate a closer relationship between the parents and the school, and that every effort be made to improve the general school spirit of the county.
                                                                        A.W.E.

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