Normal Institutes.In 1876 the legislature of the state passed a law relating to county normal institutes, which law was supplemented in 1877. This law made it the duty of the county superintendents of public instruction to hold annually in their respective counties a normal institute of not less than four weeks. To defray the expenses of such institutes the county superintendents were directed to charge each person making application for a teacher's certificate a fee of $1 and $1 for every person enrolling as a member of the institute. Also it was made the duty of the state to pay $50 for the support of each county normal institute in which there should be an enrollment of not less than 50 members, and the board of county commissioners was empowered to aid by any sum not to exceed $100 annually.
The county superintendent of public instruction, who has the primary responsibility of holding the institute "for the instruction of teachers and those desiring to teach," employs, with the advice and consent of the state superintendent of public instruction, the conductors and instructors of the institute. He makes selections from those persons holding certificates authorizing them to conduct or instruct in county normal institutes. These certificates are granted by the state board of education to persons passing high qualifications for normal institute work, only successful teachers of large experience being considered efficient enough to hold a certificate. By virtue of its authority, the state board of education requires the holder of a certificate to base his instruction upon a course of study prepared by the board for the use of institutes. The course of study is printed and revised from year to year as the board deems wise. It is also graded and each day's work is outlined in each of the several branches for the entire month. This method of systematizing the work of the county institutes is of highest value, as the majority of teachers obtain their inspiration and training in the institute.
These institutes are steadily improving in attendance and in the quality of work done by both instructor and student. They are held during the summer months. The subjects taught are reading, grammar, mental and written arithmetic, physiology, geography, penmanship, calisthenics, school management, methods of teaching, civil government, bookkeeping, natural philosophy, botany and didactics. Hazelrigg gives the number of institutes in 1878 as 68. McDonald says that in 1892 there were 106 institutes, 105 of which enrolled not less than 50 members and were entitled to state aid. The expenditures for the institutes was $33,876.71 and the total enrollment 11,918. In 1908 F. T. Fairchild, state superintendent of public instruction, showed an attendance of 11,243, with the salaries of the conductors as $7,410, and of the instructors $26,706.Pages 372-373 from volume II of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed July 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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