The school has rules to govern it, that the pupil may be guided, directed, and protected in the pursuit of knowledge. Schools can not work without order, and there can be no order without government. The members of the school desire that good order be maintained, for they know their success depends upon it; so that school, government, like all other good government, exists by the consent and for the good of the governed.
Officers.—The school, like all other governments, has its officers. These are the school board, or trustees, and the teacher. They are responsible for the government and good conduct of the school. There are, in most governments, three kinds of officers, corresponding to the three departments of government—the legislative, the judicial, and the executive. The legislative department of the government makes the laws, the judicial department explains them, and the executive department executes them. School officers are mostly executive; that is, their chief duties are to enforce the laws made by the legislature for the government of the public schools. As they also make rules for the school, their duties are partly legislative.
Appointment, term of office.—The district officers are usually elected by the legal voters of the school district; but in some States they are appointed by the county superintendent, or county school commissioner as he is often called. In most States the term of office is three years, but in some it is two years, and in others it is only one year. Trustees or directors usually receive no pay for their services.
Duties.—In most States it is the duty of the district officers to raise money by levying taxes for the erection of school-buildings, and to superintend their construction; to purchase furniture and apparatus; to care for the school property; to employ teachers and fix their salaries; to visit the school and direct its work; to take the school census; and to make reports to the higher school officers. In some States, as in Indiana, most of these duties belong to the office of township trustee.
The teacher.—The teacher is usually employed by the directors or trustees, but in some States he is employed by the township trustee or by the county superintendent. He must first pass an examination before an examiner, or board of examiners, and obtain therefrom a certificate or license entitling him to teach in the public schools.
Powers.—The teacher has the same power and right to govern the school that the parent has to govern the family. The law puts the teacher in the parent’s place and expects him to perform the parent’s office, subject to the action of the directors or trustees. It clothes him with all power necessary to govern the school, and then holds him responsible for its conduct, the directors having the right to dismiss him at any time for a failure to perform his duty.