Imágenes de páginas

child must not be compelled to obey; he must be led to see the desirability of obedience, and do as told by his own wish, and the well-known proverb is regarded as hopelessly behind the times by these higher critics in the science of school government. But I insist that if the schools are to do the work justly expected of them in educating and training the children into citizenship, they must be taught to obey ; they must, when necessary, be made to feel the hand of authority, and sometimes that hand must be a heavy one. There is too much sentimentality in the teachings of some writers of the day, and because of this teachers spend precious time, to say nothing of nerve force wasted, in coaxing unruly children, when what is really needed is a short and sharp application of the switch, and both teacher and pupil would be the better for it. It is high time that this false theory of school government be frowned down, and common sense come into vogue again.

The government of a school is a means, not an end, and to govern a school well not one of the factors named-public opinion, teachers, parents, and school board—must be wanting in that co-operation which is essential if the children are to be taught the hardest of all lessons, that of obedience to constituted authority.







HE head of a large business college in an Eastern city recently

expressed himself as eminently dissatisfied with the educational attainments of the young people of both sexes who come to him from the public schools to be fitted for business life. “Why is it,” he asked, that the graduates of our grammar and even of our high schools cannot spell the most common words, know little or nothing about punctuation, are scarcely able to do simple examples in arithmetic, and have little apprehension of matters of business custom and etiquette ?" “We have to begin at the beginning and make them all over,” he continued, and then went on to berate the so-called " education," which, he claimed, lays special emphasis on a lot of “fads," to the practical exclusion of good, old-fashioned studies that are universally needed as a preparation for later duties. Give us back “the three R's,” and take away your manual training and nature study and what not, was the burden of this observer's complaint.

LITTLE later we talked in another large city with an intelligent

business man, the father of several sons and daughters, who complained that his children are allowed by their teachers to use loud, harsh tones without reproof or correction; that they are not taught the phonetic sounds of the letters ; and that they cannot take a common passage from any good book and read it with any suitable expression, showing appreciation of its meaning. This man frankly stated it as his opinion that the reason for the existence of these defects is that the teachers themselves are in the same defective condition; that they themselves use harsh tones in the schoolroom; do not know the phonetic sounds of the letters, and cannot (or do not take the trouble to) read intelligently. These two witnesses were apparently agreed that the time given to new subjects which have of late become popular in the common school curriculum makes it necessary to slight these other things which are of practical import, and they expressed a common and emphatic protest against the result. VHESE are serious criticisms, and if well founded, need careful

attention. . There is a new education.” What is it, and what does it seek to do? Perhaps it cannot be briefly defined. It is too large and comprehensive; but its spirit can be apprehended. It is the application of the scientific method to the whole subject of child-training. By a sort of laboratory process it patiently seeks the facts at the basis of all educational processes. It studies the child himself, his


[ocr errors]

body, and his mind; it investigates his heredity and his environment; it seeks to understand his natural destiny. It finds a parallel to the individual child's development in that of the race, and so the records of history become a fund of information for the guidance of the educator in his great work. The new education seeks the best means of attaining the desired result in the full development of the young human being. It believes that there are a vast number of latent possibilities in the body and mind of the child that can be brought out. As the training of the athlete develops a host of nerves and muscles that are unused by ordinary mortals, giving the will control over them, and making the body deft and supple and able, so it is the ideal and aim of the new education to put the whole body, mind, and spirit of the young human being in tune with intelligence; to bring out all capacities and powers in a harmonious and well-rounded development; to build up a complete and efficient modern manhood and womanhood. Certainly this is a high aim, and these are right ideals and a true and commendable spirit. What net results have they produced thus far?


BROAD view, substituted for a narrow vision, will not fail to

satisfy an intelligent observer that the new education is producing splendid results. Never in the history of the world has man known so much or achieved so much as he now knows and is achieving. His vision penetrates every portion of the globe, and searches the stars for their secrets. His swift ships and swifter locomotives carry him everywhere. No mountain is mighty enough to be a barrier, no sea so deep or boisterous that he cannot cross it. The lightning and the other great forces of nature are his servants, and his active brain is master everywhere. In all this growth and achievement education is the potent factor. It has revolutionized human life. It has given us our strenuous age. It is a mighty force that is sweeping us onward and upward in a magnificent development that can no more be stopped or deflected than the sun can be stopped from rising or the tides from moving the. waters of the ocean. THE defects spoken of in our earlier paragraphs are merely inci

than formerly, at least in proportion to the population. The great pace of our nation along the path of progress has become a spectacle to the world's peoples, and millions are attracted to our shores to be assimilated, educated, trained for participation in our splendid destiny. In the schools we see the raw material in process of manufacture. There will always be flaws and imperfections; but they are quickly eliminated


by the tests of actual experience. It becomes us to take special pains that our new and advanced methods do not crowd out and sacrifice what was best in the old theory and practice of teaching. The old and the new education are not mutually inimical and exclusive. The faults specified are the results of human carelessness and imperfection, and are partly chargeable upon the home as well as upon the school. By parental as well as by pedagogical painstaking they can and should be reduced to a minimum. The new education seeks this end as eagerly and more intelligently than it has ever before been sought. It is reconstructing the school program along scientific lines, and will eventually definitely settle many perplexing problems that are as yet unsettled. But no

But no one should be blind to its already magnificent achievements. And those who are in this great epochal movement, whether as leaders and commanders, or mere privates in the ranks, should, be respected as among the world's real benefactors. It is far better to aid them by sympathetic co-operation than to denounce them by narrow-visioned criticism.


NE of the important measures inaugurated at the meeting of the

National Educational Association in Boston last summer was the investigation of the subject of teachers' salaries. An influential committee was appointed for this purpose. This committee is making tables of all the salaries paid to teachers of all grades from kindergarten to superintendency, in all cities of the United States of eight thousand inhabitants and upward; in typical communities of less than eight thousand in every state; and a similar statement for twenty-five rural schools in each state. In addition, the purchasing power of money in typical localities will be studied; since it is realized that a given sum means more in a place where rents and other living expenses are low than in places where they are higher.

The committee has already discovered such facts as this : that in the past ten years living expenses have gone up from thirty to fifty per cent, while the salaries of teachers have been increased only about six per cent; so that as a matter of fact our teachers are working at from twenty-four to forty per cent less money than formerly. The steadiness of teachers' salaries is also being looked into. It is found that in many cases the teachers suffer from decreased wages where ambitious schemes are entered into by towns and cities for the erection of expensive schoolhouses. Retrenchment must take place somewhere, and thoughtless politicians sacrifice the teaching force for the sake of pretentious piles of brick and mortar. This mistake is fatal to our public schools, which will never do their best work until it is perceived that nothing is so important as a good and permanent teaching force. An invitation is extended to the general educational public to send the committee facts and suggestions that will aid them in their work. The committee is constituted as follows: Carroll D. Wright, United States Commissioner of Labor ; Prof. Joshua R. Giddings, Economist, Columbia University, New York City; Miss Anna Tolman Smith, Compiler and Specialist on European School Systems, United States Bureau of Education, Washington; Miss Catharine Goggin, Financial Secretary of the Teachers' Federation, Chicago; Edwin G. Cooley, Superintendent of Schools, Chicago; R. H. Halsey, President of the Wisconsin State Normal School, Oshkosh, and William McAndrew, Principal Girls' Technical High School, New York.

[ocr errors]

VOR the first time in the history of international expositions the

subject of education is to have a building exclusively its own at St. Louis. The Palace of Education and Social Economy will contain a comparative display of the educational systems of all nations. This building is of the Corinthian style of architecture, and stands in a very central location. It covers eight acres, and cost $320,000. In providing for the exhibit every effort is being made to show both the present status and the historical development of the subject, and the opportunity will be unsurpassed for the study of this, one of the greatest interests of humanity. The officers of the National Educational Association have just announced a change of date in the next annual meeting, at St. Louis. For a variety of good reasons the date has been set forward to June 28-July 2. Undoubtedly there will be a very large attendance, and from the splendid object lesson of the exhibit, illustrating the educational life of the whole world, will come new knowledge and inspiration that will play an important part in the further evolution of the race.

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »