Alexander Dimitry

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Report of Alexander Dimitry, Superintendent of Public Education of Louisiana

Photo Credit: Louisiana Research Collection, John Minor Wisdom Collection, Box 11, Folder 22, Document 482

Contributors

Alexander Dimitry was the Superintendent of Public Education of Louisiana in 1850. The Superintendent wrote a yearly report about everything involving the Public School system.

The Public School Fund

In order to make the cost of education free to those children who were eligible, the State had to get its funds from various strategies. By law, there were three things that contributed to the State School Fun under the Act of Congress of September 4th, 1841. Firstly, 10% of the net proceeds of the sales of public lands went directly to public education. The state also collected the proceeds from the estates of deceased persons. Finally, fines and forfeitures contributed to this budget. The state did everything they could to try and lessen the expenses of free public education in the state. In 1849, the Public School Fund amounted to $40,272.63, plus an additional $19,105.84 of interest which had accumulated over the previous years. [1]

The cost of education varied from $6.21 to $17.47 per child. This covered six months and thirteen days worth of education. This cost variation was mainly due to location. Overall, in Louisiana, the average cost was $12 per child per year. [2]

Public School Laws

There were many laws that needed to be followed regarding the public education system. The law stated that there needed to be a certain number of children, comprised of both sexes, between the ages of six and sixteen that are entitled to free instruction in schools. In addition, the number of schools, the qualifications of the teachers, the number of pupils in attendance, the length of time the schools were taught, the amount of money paid for tuition, and the amount of money spent on the purchase, development, or rent of school houses were some of the main components covered by Alexander Dimitry in his report. [3]

In order to determine the number of children entitled to instruction, the state referred to the census of 1847. It stated that there were 49,514 children in Louisiana that were eligible for this education. However these estimations were not always correct. In 1850, there were 52,716 children receiving public education, meaning that there was an excess of 4,202 children. This caused overcrowding, yet the budget did not have the means to develop even more new school houses. In Louisiana there were 649 school houses. Most of the time these were ordinary frame or log houses. [4]

One of the other issues that was discussed in this report was the qualifications of teachers. These teachers needed to have strong abilities, be intelligent, and have a mission. Dimitry states that they had to be classified as “middling to excellent”. He also said that the State of Louisiana wanted to select the best teachers that could be secured for the totally inadequate salaries. Dimitry clarifies that this scantiness is due to the limited School Fund. [5]

The law declared that the public schools should not have any discrimination of sex. In 1850, of the 22,927 students, 2,327 of the children were females while 20,600 were males. [6]

Rural Schools

Majority of the report is referring to the schools located in cities and villages and more populous parishes. The schools in more remote parts of the state were much harder to regulate and keep as an organized district. The first main issue was that there were not sufficient numbers of children to contribute to the schools because in the country there was already a more sparse population. Because of this, the cost to attend was more expensive. The Board of Education decided that it would be beneficial to adjust the age requirement of students rather than to shut down the schools entirely. The failing school districts had to re-write their policy, and said that children would not be admitted before the age of ten or after the age of fourteen. The city schools in the state had education available from age six to sixteen. This major cut resulted in the reduction of educable children by six-tenths. [7]

Works Cited

* Dimitry, Alexander. Report of Alexander Dimitry Superintendent of Public Education of Louisiana. 21 Jan. 1850, 1.
  • Dimitry, Alexander. Report of Alexander Dimitry Superintendent of Public Education of Louisiana. 21 Jan. 1850, 3.
  • Dimitry, Alexander. Report of Alexander Dimitry Superintendent of Public Education of Louisiana. 21 Jan. 1850, 1.
  • Dimitry, Alexander. Report of Alexander Dimitry Superintendent of Public Education of Louisiana. 21 Jan. 1850, 2.
  • Dimitry, Alexander. Report of Alexander Dimitry Superintendent of Public Education of Louisiana. 21 Jan. 1850, 2.
  • Dimitry, Alexander. Report of Alexander Dimitry Superintendent of Public Education of Louisiana. 21 Jan. 1850, 2.
  • Dimitry, Alexander. Report of Alexander Dimitry Superintendent of Public Education of Louisiana. 21 Jan. 1850, 2.

This page was last modified on 06 November 2013, at 03:15