Original Document
Original Document
Report of the Superintendent of Common Schools, "On the Advantages and Disadvantages of Public Normal Schools," 1856.

On the advantages and disadvantages of public normal schools:

They gratuitously prepare the teachers of our own schools; that by preparing our own teachers it promotes that degree of uniformity and equality of instruction so essential; that it avoids all sectarianism in the education of the state teachers, and consequently in the schools committed to their care; and that if properly organized and conducted, it will embrace a higher degree of talent in its instruction than can be expected in the more humble and less desirable private institution. The disadvantages are that through the impossibility of establishing and supporting a sufficient number of State schools, the supply of graduates will be much smaller than the demand; that in avoiding sectarianism in its instructions, less prominence may be given to the important subject of Christian morality than is due it, and that wanting the stimulus of dependence for their support on an income from students, its professors may become less diligent... and the danger, not to be concealed, that the state school may become either the servant or the victim of political purpose.

On the advantages and disadvantages of private normal schools:

Some of its advantages are, that if properly constituted and taught, it prepares its graduates sufficiently well for all purposes; that it costs the state nothing; that it gives free scope for sound religious and moral instruction, according to the preferences of those who may patronize and control it; that it is wholly removed from the danger of political interference, and that its professors constantly act under the wholesome stimulus of an enlarged self-interest. Some of its disadvantages are, that its diploma has not the seal of public authority; that no uniformity of studies or models of instruction could be expected among the graduates of the different institutions of this class, and a feeling of rivalry, if not of hostility, might be excited that would prejudice their usefulness; and the expense will be onerous to the 'aspirants to the teachers' profession... The institutions of this class being wholly independent of State authority... can in no way be made to stimulate the other parts of the system.

Credit: From the Report of the Superintendent of Common Schools, 1856
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