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LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL.

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
BUREAU OF EDUCATION,

Washington. SIR: Superintendents, members of school boards, and other education officers in city schools are constantly wanting to know for one reason or another, as are many students of education and educational administration, what the current practice in school administration is. There being no one source of information on this subject, each school officer or student of education who wants information on any phase of the subject sends a series of letters or a questionnaire to education officers in a large number of other cities asking for information, and then compiles and interprets the replies as best he can, frequently at much expense of time and money. All such information should be obtainable immediately upon request from this bureau, and the bureau should make it possible through its publications for any officer or student of education to obtain information upon any such subject by referring to its printed reports, bulletins, and circulars of information. When the bureau has such support as it should have, this will be possible. To make this possible in some degree in regard to this particular field, I am transmitting herewith for publication, as a bulletin of the Bureau of Education, a manuscript on Current Practice in City School Administration, which has been compiled under my direction by W. S. Deffenbaugh, chief of the division of school administration in this bureau. Respectfully submitted.

P. P. CLAXTON,

Commissioner. The SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR.

PREFACE.

The aim of this study is to present data concerning school-board organization, administration, and supervision in cities of more than 25,000 population. The data have been compiled from replies to questionnaires addressed to superintendents of schools and to secretaries of school boards. A sufficient number of replies have been received to make it possible to present data from the representative city schools of the country and to present summaries that show prevailing practice.

Theories of school administration are not discussed, because of a lack of space and because these are easily accessible in several excellent textbooks' on the subject and in two or three current educational magazines. The summary of each topic consists of two parts. In one part the prevailing practice is described, generally with the aid of graphs; in the other the prevailing opinion of students of school administration is presented, as interpreted from textbooks on school administration, current educational magazines, and city school surveys.

1 A bibliography will be furnished upon request.

VI

1

CURRENT PRACTICE IN CITY SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION.

THE SCHOOL BOARD.

Number of members. The consensus of opinion is that a small school board can work more effectively than a large one. Few, if any, students of school administration favor a board of education of more than 15 members. Practically all advocate a board of 5, 7, or 9 members. In practice the size of school boards in cities of 100,000 or more population ranges from 4 to 46 members. The median number is 9 and the mode 5. In cities having between 25,000 and 100,000 population the number of board members ranges from 3 to 21. The median number is 7 and the mode 9.

These facts are represented by graphs I, II

Number
of cities.

11

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Number of members. 4 5 6 7 8 9 12 13 14 15

21

30
1. Size of school boards in 43 cities of 100,000 population and over.

Median, 9; mode, 5.

How selected.-Educational thought favors election of board members at large by popular vote or appointment by mayor. Fewer schoolmen favor appointment by the mayor than election by the people. Practically no students of school administration favor appointment by the city council or the courts. In practice 64 per cent of the school boards in cities of 100,000 or more population are elected by the people, 22 per cent are appointed by the mayor, 7 per cent by the city council or commission, and 7 per cent by the courts.

In cities having between 25,000 and 100,000 population 79 per cent are elected by popular vote, 16 per cent appointed by the mayor, and 5 per cent by the council or commission.

Comparison of the statistics for 57 of the larger cities with similar statistics collected in 1902 shows that there have been few changes

1 School Administration in Municipal Government. Frank Rollins.

Number of cities.

39

21

Number of members. 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
II. Size of school boards in 138 cities between 25,000 and 100,000 population.

Median, 7; mode, 9.

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