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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 72.djvu/462

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458
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

tions may be made for these states as are found necessary after the proposed system of education has been put into operation in the states where the great masses of negro population are found. Counting Maryland, there are practically 500,000 square miles of this country that are densely populated with colored people.

One schoolhouse for each sixteen square miles would make the average distance about a mile that each child would have to walk. In no case would this distance be as great as three miles. This is seen by forming a square, each side being four miles, and by placing the school house in the center of the square. These buildings, however, may be placed nearer together or farther apart according to the density of the population.

A schoolhouse with grounds may be secured for $500, which property may be kept in repairs with funds mentioned later. Teachers in most localities may be readily secured at $40 per month and six days per week, so that the expenditure below may be regarded as quite sufficient.

A teacher at $50 per month for ten months—$500. His time may be divided between two schoolhouses, he teaching five months at the one and five months at the other, or he might teach alternate days at either schoolhouse, in which case he should live about halfway between the two. In the latter case, which seems preferable, the pupil has less time to forget what he has already acquired and besides he may be of considerable service to his parents.[1]

Beginning at eight years old, the child should be required to attend school six years. If it attends school a longer time, payments for the same should be made. This money may be used to help in part to keep the schoolhouse in repairs.

About thirty thousand schoolhouses are necessary for the above area of territory. These houses would require an initial expenditure of $15,000,000. All of this sum need not be used at one time, as it will take several years for the consummation of the system and in the building of the houses. The yearly expenditure for the thirty thousand teachers, fuel, etc., at say $250 per house is $7,500,000. This is about the cost of one battleship.

In the six years of primary study these children may learn good behavior, discipline, reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, spelling, elementary grammar, elementary history, something about farming. The average pupil in the primary school will for ages to come be more adapted to working the land than for any other occupation. The ex-

  1. A successful system is in operation in the University of Cincinnati among some of the engineering students, who spend alternate weeks at the university and at their employers' factories. These students are thus able in six years to earn their way through the engineering course.