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now issued, does little for the establishment of the standing and reputation of the holder. But a certificate granted by the central authority, and valid throughout the state, would create a professional rank and standing which would elevate the status of the holders. *
3. As a third condition requisite to the permanent tenure, probationary service must be provided. The candidate must not only have his certificate, but he must prove his capacity by actual service in teaching, before he can claim a definitive appointment. The period of probation should not be less than two years, and it might well be three or four. The judgment on the result should be rendered by one or more approved experts.
If a further guaranty against failure is deemed expedient, it may be obtained by an examination at the end of the probation, bearing especially on the practical work of the schoolroom.
4. As to the choice to be made among candidates thus prepared, the most judicious method appears to be for the superior school authority to nominate three or four candidates, having regard both to seniority and merit, and that the election from this list should be left to the local committee.
5. Provision for a suitable hierarchical situation for the teacher. Such a situation would comprise a competent supervision and the other means requisite for stimulating the teacher to the best efforts, by recognizing his worth and rewarding his merits ; and such a situation would also comprise the necessary machinery for administering
• Provision has been made for state certificates in a few of the states.
just and salutary discipline in cases of delinquency. In France the hierarchical situation is so well contrived that the young man of talents, entering upon his career as primary teacher in the remotest mountain hamlet, may hope to reach, by well-earned promotions, the principalship of a metropolitan school, or to become director of a normal school, or even inspector.
“It is the function of a good administration,” says the eminent Belgian publicist and educator, De Laveleye, “ to seek by fixed rules which science indicates to ascertain merit, and to class individuals according to their aptitudes; then there would be an end of solicitations, of subserviency, of intrigues, of protections, of favors, of injustices.” And this is the paradise for which the
He wants to feel that he owes his position to his merit, and not to favor, and to be sure that his efforts will be appreciated and recompensed. It is perhaps, in vain to hope that the public school teacher's path may be strewn with roses, but hitherto it has been too much hedged up with briers and thorns; but the supreme misery of his lot is to be judged by incompetents. This would necessarily be mitigated by the better supervision which the permanent tenure would require.
6. A retiring pension is requisite, not only as a security for old age, but as a means of rendering practicable the retirement of the aged and fatigued public servant, without reflecting on his reputation or abandoning him to destitution.
These six conditions are logically involved in the full and complete application of the principle of fixity of tenure. Moreover, they are at the same time the means of producing an equilibrium of risks and of authorities, which experience has proved to be indispensable to the most efficient, economical, and harmonious working of a school system.
In every point of view this reform in our system seems to me fundamental in its importance; all others are but secondary, subordinate, accessory. It may seem to the timid to be a bold undertaking, but it is not more bold in the present circumstances than was the project of state normal schools, or the project of a state board of educa. tion fifty years ago. Every epoch has its peculiar task. This reform I verily believe to be the task of the hour for the friends of educational progress. Public senti. ment is now everywhere drifting in this direction. In the powerful movement which has been begun to reform the civil service, I plainly see the dawning of a new and better day for the public school and the public school teacher. The press is daily teeming with arguments for our cause, for the principles of a good civil service are essentially the same as the principles of a good educational service. Hence the achievement of the civil ser. vice reform will prepare the way for this reform. The spoils system and the annual election are twin barbarisms, and with the abolition of the former the latter
But permanent tenure is not to be brought into successful operation by a single legislative act. This radical reform must be reached by a series of steps. Initiatory steps have already been taken in various quarters. It is worthy of mention that, at the late session of the Massachusetts Legislature, the chairman of the Committee on Public Service offered to include the teaching service in the provision of the civil service reform bill reported by his committee. This reform must begin practically in the cities and larger towns. Teachers have their duty in connection with this task. Everywhere they should pour in their petitions and memorials upon the legislatures, throughout the country, and do their share of the work in creating public opinion which shall demand this reform.