Extract from the Report of H. A. Clifford, Esquire, Local Superintendent of the Simcoe District, 1848
Information contributed by Jim Westcott
“The School-Houses in this District, with only two exceptions, are Log Buildings, and only a few of them are provided with suitable seats and desks; some of the older houses are fast going to decay, and wherever they have been replaced by new ones greater attention as been paid to furnishing them with proper conveniences. No ventilation apparatus has been introduced in any of them, neither do any of them contain more than one room.
“I am happy to say that the National School Books have very generally introduced into this District during the past year, as you will perceive by the Report. It is true that this remark refers only to the First, Second and Third Reading Books, and in a few instances, to the fourth; but I consider that by their introduction we have made one grand step towards general improvement, for I find that amongst the Teachers who use them but one opinion of their merit prevails, vicelike, that the progress and improvement now made are much more rapid and substantial than before their introduction. Until the last two years the English Reader and the Scriptures, (very frequently only the latter,) were the only reading books to be found in many of the school; and although I am glad to say that the Scriptures have in no instance been discarded, still the indiscriminate use of them has, in a great measure, ceased, and books designed for progressive school readers now assist them in storing the children’s minds with useful information.
“With regard to the sentiments of the people on the subject of Education, I have to remark that of course they are very various, although I believe that upon the whole a better feeling exists and more cordiality and unanimity begin to be exhibited towards the schools. At first, almost all classes strongly objected to any direct tax upon them for promoting the objects of general education; but the novelty of such a tax has now worn off, and the improbability of its being abolished having become apparent to all, less dissatisfaction and less opposition are now offered to its collection.”