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EDUCATION BOARD., Issue 7986, 15 August 1889
The members in attendance at to-day’s meeting were—Messrs H. Clark (chairman), J. Green, J. W. Jago, J. Macgregor, M. Fraer, and the Hon. T. Dick. A note was received from Dr Burns stating that Dr Hislop required rest of mind and body, and was therefore unable to attend the meeting. RESIGNATIONS. The following resignations were accepted: —W. W. Mackie, head-teacher, Lowburn ; Wm. Darley, head-teacher, Papakaio; Thyrza Davies, third assistant, Arthur street; Grace J. Thomson, mistres- 1 , Dunjj troon. APPOINTMENTS. The following appointments were approved of W, W. Mackie, head-teacher, Kakapuaka, vice A. Marshall, left the service ; Louisa Richards, head-teacher, Rongahere, new appointment. EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTE. The Chairman said that the resolutions of the Educational Institute re the appointment of teachers had been allowed to lie on
the table from last meeting, to be discussed to-day; but as the subject was a somewhat important one, and several members were absent, it seemed to him advisable that there should be a further postponement. Mr Fraer agreed with the chairman, and moved that further consideration as to the appointment of teachers be held over till there was a full meeting of the Board. The motion was agreed to. ACCOUNTS. Accounts amounting to L 5,521 13s 9d were passed for payment. ARTHUR STREET, The following letters were received from the secretary to the Arthur street School Committee:— I am directed to convey to you the following resolutions of the Arthur street School Committee : — ll (1) That in the opinion of this Committee the accommodation in the head-master’s room is decidedly inadequate and uncomfortable, and that the Board’s architect be requested to report on providing proper accommodation for him. (2) That this Committee continue of opinion that the resolution of the Board in respect to the appointment of teachers is inadequate and uncalled for, and has not been justified by the discussions which have reached the public; and this Committee will consider <he desirability of supporting candidates favoring the views entertained by the great majority of the school committees.”
I am instructed by the Arthur street School Committee to forward to jou the uodernoted resolution passed at their last meeting, held on the sth current; this Committee, it is matter for regret that the Education Board did not accept Mr White’s statement in explanation of fiis speech at the Educational Institute, and so end all di-pute as to Mr White’s intentions as affecting the members of the Board.”
The letters were minuted as read. pupil-teachers’ regulations. The new regulations bearing on the appointment, education, and examination of pupil-teachers were laid on the table. The Secretary said that as soon as they were passed he would forward them to the Minister for approval, though they could not come into operation until the Ist of January next. [A draft of the regulations has already appeared in our columns.] Mr Jago said that the reason that had mainly weighed with the Committee in raising the age from fourteen to fifteen years was that a boy or girl of fourteen had not that personal influence and experience necessary to fit him or her to have control over a class of other children. Fifteen years was quite young enough for a boy or girl who was put in a position of quasi authority. Mr Dick : What will you do with those who have passed the Sixth Standard ? Mr Jago ; Let them stop at school, Mr Dick knew of a case in which a girl under eleven years of age had passed the Sixth Standard. Mr Jago : So much the worse for her. Let her lie quiet for a year or two. TheSF.CRBTART mentioned that the average age of passing the Sixth Standard in Otago was fourteen years, Mr Jago thought that there were too many young women coming forward for appointment as pupil-teachers, and one of the other reasons that bad influenced the Committee in raising the age was that they considered it advisable to render the getting of appointments less easy than at present, and to show that some stability of character was required. A boy or girl passing at fourteen did not lose time; they could go on with other studies, and thus better qualify themselves. He did not consider it necessary to speak to each point raised in the new regulations, but might mention that the Committee had had long study over them and frequent conference with the inspectors, who gave the regulations their full concurrence and approval. Ha moved that the regulations be adopted. Mr Dick agreed that there were plenty of applicants for appointment, but thought it possible that there might be a case in which a boy or girl wishing to become a pupilteacher could not get at his or her school the necessary preliminary training. Was it expected that those who wished appointments should not come before the Board until after they had received three months’ teaching ? Mr Jago replied that they had no place before the Board until they procured a certificate in the prescribed form. Mr Dick thought it would be as well to provide against the contingency of a scholar requiring some protection against unfair treatment, and would move—“ That any pupil desirous of having the preliminary training prescribed, if unable to obtain such training in the school to which he belongs, may apply to the Board to ascertain if such training may be got elsewhere.” Mr Jago said that he would accept this as an addition to the regulations, and no other member objecting, the words referred to were incorporated. IRREGULAR COMMUNICATIONS,
It was reported that three letters bearing on educational matters had been receivedone addressed to the chairman, another to DrHislop(who had passed it over to the chairman), and the third to tho inspectors. On the motion of Mr Jago, the Board resolved that the letters bo read. Two of these letters purported to be signed by “ A. Mason, Maitland street”; the other by “ John Mills, York place,”
The letters commented with drastic severity, bordering on the libellous, on the management of the Board, the conduct of the inspectors, and the teaching of several of the Board’s employes. Mr Jago said that he had received a letter in much the same terms, and evidently written by the individual who had penned the three letters referred to, though purporting to be signed by “ William Adamson, York place.” He had searched Stone’s Directory, and could not find mention of any William Adamson excepting one residing at Invercargill. After discussion it was agreed to treat the communications as anonymous and drop them into tho fire. Later on the Chairman mentioned that he had just received a letter that was evidently intended to be placed before the Board, but it had not came to hand, as prescribed by tho rules, twenty-four hours before the time of meeting, and would, ho supposed, not be received. The suggestion was adopted. ME WHITE’S SPEECH. The Board went into committee to con aider the following from Mr White Normal School, Dunedin, August I t. Sir,—ln reply to yours of the 19th July, 1889,1 have to say that I regret that the Board have misunderstood my letter so far as to be led to say that any part of it is of an evasive character. I made no evasive explanation; I had neither motive, nor reason, nor occasion for doing to. As my statements at the Institute meeting were open, general, pertaining to a system, and not specific, I cannot think that it is the Board’s intention that I should now make my words more definite or more pointed than they were originally. I can only repeat what I have already said; that my remarks had reference to a system of line of policy, and to what appeared to me to be its actual and inevitable effect.—l am, yours respectfully, D. White. Mr P. Q. Pryde, •' Secretary Education Board. On resuming fie Chairman reported that the following resolution had been carried, and moved its adoption That, in the opinion of the Board, Mr White committed a grave indiscretion in publicly speaking at the Educational Institute in such terms as to be generally understood to imply a
charge of gross and systematic favoritism on the part of the Board in the selection of candidates for appointments, although it seems doubtful in view of Mr White’s “o'plnration” whether ho m ant to make such a charge ; and that the Board censure Mr M Lite for such indiscretion.
Mc Macgeegor approved of the resolution on this subject, and in sajiog so wished to say a few words in explanation as to the aspect in which the matter presented itself to his mind. The resolution, as he understood it, meant simply this ; that the words used by Mr White in his speech at the Educational Institute—the words of which the Board complaint <1 —were such as to be understood, and were in fact understood by every single individual he (Mr Macgregor) had come across, of conveying a charge against the Board of having been guilty of gross and systematic favoritism in connection with the selection of candidates for appointment. It was true that the Board had bad an explanation at very great length from Mr While as to the words he used, but this left him (Mr Macgregor) and every member ot the Board in doubt as to whether Mr White intended or not to make such a charge against the Board as had been referred to. The position he (Mr Macgregor) took up was simply this: that whether or not Mr White intended to make such a charge against the Board, he had used words regarding the Board which had been understood as making such a charge. They were words apt for the purpose of making such a charge, and apt to convey no other meaning. They were words which would be used by any person desiring to make such a charge against the Board, As he read Mr White’s explanation he declined to say he had no intention of making such a charge. The full extent to which Mr White went was to leave him (Mr Macgregor) in donbt as to whether he intended to make such a charge or not. But if the Board valued its selfrespect it could not allow Mr White or any of its officials to make use of such language as conveying tuch a charge against the Board. He (Mr Macgregor) said that even if Mr White had no intention of making such a charge, he had at least been guilty of what the resolution called a gross indiscretion in using words which conveyed the impression that thatwas what he intended to urge. He (Mr Macgregor) did not say it would have been expecting too much of Mr White to admit that he was indiscreet in using such words. To have made snch an admission would have amounted to no more than this; that he was human, like the rest of us, and therefore not infallible. Bat Mr White had not made any snch admission, and the Board could not allow the matter to pass unnot'ced, for the reasons ho (Mr Macgregor) had attempted to ex. plaib, whether Mr White intended to make such a charge or not. Mr White had said that he knew what respect for official superiority meant, and he (Mr Macgregor) had no donbt he did; but having admitted using these words, he should also have admitted that the words in their ordinary meaning could have no other meaning than he (Mr Macgregor) had said, because no other person he had come across could get any other meaning from them. Therefore it was that he (Mr Macgregor) said that Mr White might have admitted 1 that he had been indiscreet in using such words. The question of whether the Board had been guilty of favoritism or not 1 was not, as he understood it, the question ‘ before them now, It was a question of 1 whether Mr White used words that ira- '■ puted wrong to the Board; and he (Mr Macgregor) would not allow this opportunity to pass without saying that he ' could not countenance the Board allow- ! ing itself and its members to be spoken of in such terms as those employed 1 by Mr White. He (Mr Macgregor) had endeavored to do his duty as a member, and would challenge any person to point to any one instance of favoritism on his part. He 1 would not allow anyone to include him in a charge of favoritism. The Board could not do less than say what was embodied in the resolution. Mr White 1 might attach what importance he liked 1 to this, but the Board could not preserve its self-respect if it allowed the matter to pass 1 without notice. Mr White had said something about appealing to committees. He : was welcome to appeal to what he called the more popular body. He (Mr Macgregor) ; had never made popularity the standard of his conduct, and never intended to do so. The expression of opinion embodied in the resolution before the Board said as little as the Board could say. * He seconded the motion.
Mr Fbaer quite concurred with the resolution, and thought with Mr Macgregor that it was about as mild as the Board could put it. He was astonished that a man of Mr
White’s position should have been guilty of such an indiscretion, and must say that he had much more opinion of Mr White before rending the speech referred to, which to his (Mr Fraer’s) mind bristled with a desire to have a fling at the Board and with nothing else.
Mr Green endorsed nearly every word that Mr Macgregor had uttered, and begged to express his great grief that Mr "White had used the words ascribed to him—words which would be understood by a large number of people as implying gross favoritism by the Board. Mr White had endeavored to show that he did not intend his remarks to apply to the Board, but that it was the system he was trying to expose. If that was accepted by the public, the Board would feel only too pleased, but be had given a definition of words which he (Mr Green) took leave to think not half a dozen people in New Zealand would give to them. Mr White had furnished very elaborate replies to the questions put to him, but the last question would have been answered more satisfactorily if he had simply replied “ Yes ” or “No.” The Board had unanimously held the very highest opinion of Mr White as a teacher, and up to the date of that speech there was not a member of the Board who did not think that Mr White was as good aman as a teacher. He (Mr Green) hoped that that opinion might not be changed. Time would show. There was sure to be great difference of opinion as to what had been said and as to the action taken. 4 s to the threat of at) appeal to committees, he (Mr Green) was one of those members who retired this year, and the man in the street said that be would not come back again. Well, it might be so, but he hoped that whoever came after him would endeavor to discharge his duty as he (Mr Green) had tried to discharge his. He was not one who courted popularity, but had performed his duty faithfully and fearlessly. As to the main question, he had not yet discovered that Mr White said in bis letter that he did not charge the Board with the action that was referred to. He had not said so. Ho had gone round the question, fie (Mr Green) should still have retained the high opinion of Mr White he had always held even if he had said that he did apply the charge to the Board, and it would have beep infinitely more to his credit if he had done so.
Mr Dick said that from the very outset of the three-man system he was opposed to it. He spoke and argued against it, and said that the result would be something very unpleasant for the Board. His predictions had been verified sooner than he anticipated. The system did not suit the teachers nor the committees, and if it suited the Board themselves he was very much astonished, for it was not a pleasant task to have to limit their selection so narrowly. But while he disagreed with the system, he would say that any charge of favoritism against the Board could not be tolerated—(hear, hear) —favoritism and perhaps something stronger. He held that the Board was faithful and upright and true, and though he had been fighting against it it appeared to him that they had made the best effort they could to obtain justice, To outsiders, however, there must appear something very strange occasionally—something that people might set down to ignorance, or to unfitness for the duty which they assumed. The sooner they got rid of this three-name system the better, and then they could adopt something like that suggested in the Institute’s resolutions. Coming to this matter ot Mr White, when he read the speech he must confess that it did appear to him as charging the Board with injustice and favoritism, and so on; and hje 1 (Mr Dick) was then'a party to the proposal that Mr White be asked to explain his meaning. When Mr White did that, and said it was the system he was attacking, and that he did not wish to be understood as charging anybody with favoritism—when he got so far as to say this, he (Mr Dick) then thought it would
became the Board to act in a generous spirit to Mr White, and take it that he meant what he said. Further, Mr White was one of our best teachers, who had done good work, and was a man whom we could look upon us a faithful exponent of the objects of education in this district. Looking at these things, it became the Board to put the kindest interpretation they could upon the matter. Therefore it was that he (Mr Dick) had proposed an amendment to the motion at a previous meeting, lie would not propose it again, because ha knew that he stood alone; hut ho trusted that the raising of the question would lead the Board to consider that Uk position which they held v.-'u He ~t a ,i;u-'hv of applicants — unfii" !-; jh.-T -1. • owe lie Foard detdt
unf .thy ; :• ur.ju: ..y, ->i.t because t.o: .. that had been adopted was unjust and unfair. Hi: repeated that the was unfair and un just to the school committees and to a number of applicants, and he trusted it would not be long before the Boird reverted to the old system, or something like it somewhat improved. Mr Jago said that the “three men system ” was not now under discussion. If it were, he might have something to say in answer to what had been said by Mr Dick. That system was a fair subject for discussion, and had Mr White confined himself to buc'i a statement concerning it as was found in his letter no one would have had reason to find fault with him. Had Mr White confined himself to that, and given them a Letter system, no one could have any right to take exception to his action. But he had used language which imputed to the Board a course of conduct of “a most improper and unworthy nature,'’ and his language was incapable of any other construction. Ho said afterwards that he spoke of the system and not of the Board. If that was his intention he had used exceedingly objectionable language to give it expression, and in so doing had been guilty of the indiscretion with which the resolution charged him. The whole speech bristled with charges against the Board—charges of arrogance, and of assuming duties which the members had not time or_ ability to discharge, and of having no guiding principle or wish to act in the selection of teachers, and Mr White went on to say that if the Board continued to carry on the present system, or would not go back to the old system or adopt the new system recommended by the Institute, the Institute would appeal to the committees to enable them to carry out the reforms suggested. Taking the speech as a whole be (Mr Jago) found it impossible to avoid the conclusion that Mr White’s language, whether intentional or otherwise, was of a most offensive character, and fully warranted the adoption of the resolution. So far as the appeal to the committees was concerned, he (Mr Jago) was utterly indifferent. Had ho been left to the freedom of his own will he would not have sought a scat at the Board, and did so only at the urgent request of friends who thought he might be of service to the cause of education ; and he was ready to retire at any moment that he ceased to bo of service there. He had no axe to grind nor personal interest to promote. The motion was then put and carried, Mr Dick being alone in voting “ no.”
EDUCATION BOARD., Issue 7986, 15 August 1889
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