Original Document
Original Document
Governor Daniel H. Hastings, "The Status of the Public Schools," January 3, 1899.

During the four years ending June, 1898, the number of schools increased from 24,541 to 27,347, the number of graded schools from 12,869 to 16,842, the whole number of teachers from 26,241 to 28,080, the total enrollment of pupils from 1,040,679 to 1,143,100, and the estimated value of school property has reached nearly $50,000,000. Free text books and supplies were furnished in all the schools. The total amount of money raised and appropriated for educational purposes by local and State taxation during the four years was $60,651,541.13.

The last message to the General Assembly recommended changes in the method of distributing the school appropriation and the recommendations were enacted into law. Under the old law the State appropriations were distributed according to the number of taxable citizens residing in each district. The new distribution is made upon a three fold basis: one-third upon the basis of the number of children between six and sixteen years of age; one-third upon the number of teachers regularly employed; one-third upon the number of taxable citizens residing in the district. Under the former law, the rate per taxable, for 1897, was $3.28. Under the present law, for 1898, the rate per child is $1.62, the rate per taxable $1.07; and the rate per teacher $66.07. These amounts are slightly diminished in those counties which contribute an increased portion of their appropriation to the salary of the county superintendent....

The century just closing has proved that the earning power of the industrial classes depends most of all upon their intelligence, and that the best markets of the world are controlled by the nations which have been foremost in banishing illiteracy and in
making ignorance impossible. To give her sons an equal chance with those of other states and nations, Pennsylvania must give them as good educational facilities as are possessed by any other Commonwealth or country upon the face of the Globe.

The Department of Public Instruction has reports from 217 high schools, with an attendance of 24,123 pupils. Since most of these high schools are located in the cities and boroughs, it is easily seen that the scholars in the rural districts do not enjoy as good school advantages as those living in the cities and boroughs. If the country boy and girl are not to be handicapped in the fierce industrial competition of the Twentieth Century the State must encourage the establishment of high schools at central points in rural districts, and this can be best accomplished by judicious appropriation in aid of township high schools. Common justice demands that something should be done toward bringing instruction in the elements of science nearer to all our people who are engaged in tilling the soil or occupied in adding to the Commonwealth at places remote from centres of population....

Credit: Governor Daniel H. Hastings, "The Status of the Public Schools," Annual Message to the Assembly, January 3, 1899. Pennsylvania Archives, Fourth Series, XII, 298-300.
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