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East and the extreme West could realize how in the Middle West flexibility of entrance requirements has been attained with a well-nigh irreducible minimum of specified subjects, and with the organization of schools, technical and professional—and a wide range of electives in group systems in the colleges, they would see their acute problems of the articulation of high school and college largely solved. The complaint of the domination of the college is an inherited one with little ground left to stand upon. Now college and secondary school men sit together in shaping entrance requirements. It is becoming clear that no part of the educational system exists for itself. No more than one member of the body can say to another member, "I have no need for thee," can one part of a school system say to another, "I have no use for you.” Many of the colleges, practically all of the universities, have been reorganized, and have courses that will continue courses in the secondary schools. Therefore, even if the high schools were to take the motto Mr. Green recommends, “fit for life first and for college incidentally," they will find that they have fitted for life and college. Surely, in this day of the acceptance of Herbart's doctrine of interest, and of the cultural value in socialized education of subjects pursued thoroly and psychologically, the high schools do not mean, by “fitting for life,” merely to teach the trick of getting a living. They must impart the art of life and conduct in the sense that the intellectual life, the true life, is more than meat and raiment.
By the present flexibility of entrance requirements, and the articulation of the graded, the high schools, the colleges, and universities in the Middle West the way is open for a reasonable and established reorganization in education.
The strong tendency for the unification of all educational forces is in harmony with the times and will counteract the movements to extreme differentiation of various types of schools, and preserve the unity of the school system. The evolution of an almost model system of education is to be found in the Department of Education of the state of New York, with complete administrative freedom for the commissioner. A somewhat similar development of the educational commission in Massachusetts, correcting the error of setting up a separate system for industrial education, the establishment of educational commissions in some fifteen other states encourage the belief that such systems of education will be freed from political entanglements; that tenure of office will be secured for professors and teachers, and that the state systems will continue as the vigorous units in the greater unity of the on-coming nationalism in education.
Our educational epoch is second only to its manifestation of the American "passion for education” in its “passion for societies.” Not less than thirty national, most of them called American, societies, having to do in one way or another with education, have been formed within the decade with a membership of above ninety thousand. These all are steadying the ark of education, and carrying it forward. They stand ready, after the old Anglo-Saxon fashion, by voluntary enthusiasm and enterprise to counteract adverse political influences and the deadening tendencies inherent in the routine activities of the profession of teaching. In their range they cover the entire field of science, pure and applied, of the professions, of the arts, of the humane activities, beginning with eugenics and the protection of the child, and not even ending in art and archaeology, but extending on toward the infinite in associations like that of Religious Education. Few of us are familiar with the activities of these handmaids of education. For example, how many are aware that the most important event in the art life of the United States occurred last May at Washington in the First National Convention of the American Federation of Arts, with the representatives present of one hundred and three chapters and fifty thousand persons ?: Have we kept up with the development of museums of all kinds, no longer considered as "storage warehouses”? Have we begun to know that this is an age of libraries, not simply housed in the Carnegie palaces, but circulating in the schools and traveling to the farthest rural district with thirty-four state library commissions ? We rejoice in the great movement that has given us above four thousand consolidated school districts of all kinds. The traveling libraries, however, are consolidating our entire communities, with a common library, and hastening the day of the social center in schoolhouse as well as country church. Aided by the educational and public press, and the bulletins of agricultural and university extension, our whole people in fact today are becoming a republic of learners. University and school extension supplement the continuation schools, so well begun in the cities. Education is now perpetual and universal.
This diffusion of knowledge in the eyes of some means diffuseness, superficiality, and brings out the objection "a little learning is a dangerous thing.” Our epoch meets this with an earnest effort to raise standards. The standardization of education is a present watchword in every kind of school, college, university, and profession, including the veterinarian. Some are frightened, fearing dead uniformity and mechanical results, or that there will be an institutional tyranny that will crush individualism. These are real dangers which, however, will never prevail in a society as keenly alive to education as ours in this epoch and as diverse in character with the different types of education and with the states as the primal educational unit. Where educators do not respond to the standardizing processes, standards are being forced upon them, forged by the evident inconveniences and commercial waste for schools and students, and compelled by the requirements of the professions that deal with life and property. The legislatures are driven to enact standards into laws to protect the people. The prevalent greed and graft have worked as subtly and
Appleton's Year Book, 1910, p. 737.
widely in education as elsewhere. The idealism of the American and the marvelous prosperity in certain centers have lifted up standards worthy of imitation. We are, therefore, rapidly approximating national standards, and world-standards, befitting the new nationalism of our New America. They are as convenient and educative as a national bank currency in the world of finance. Who does not know the meaning of fifteen secondary school units? Of sixty collegiate year-hours, with the qualitative definitions given to units by associations of college and secondary school men, and instrumentalities like the College Entrance Examination Board and the National Conference Committee on Standards of Colleges and Secondary Schools. The conferences of the chief state school officers of great sections of the country, of state examining and licensing boards, and of the professions are endorsing these standards, and waiting upon us school men for the perfecting of them.
Last and not least, this has been the epoch of private munificence, in extent rivaling the bounty of the state. The old and new endowed institutions are enabled to be as national in spirit as the state institutions, and the two types safeguard academic freedom, and give a variety and glory to our patriotism. The most original development is the establishment of great foundations like the General Education Board, the Carnegie Institution for Research, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the Russell Sage Foundation, the proposed Rockefeller Foundation, worthy in wealth and purpose of our New America, and reassuring in this commercial age that our educational epoch is the beginning of an era of a republic of research, of letters, learning, labor, and humanity, broadening and making perpetual the republic politic of Washington, Lincoln, and Roosevelt. Thus may the New America be perpetuated, the “Messiah of the Nations” of Riley's song:
High o’erlooking sea and land,
Thine a universal love,
TOPIC: THE COMING OF THE HUMANE ELEMENT IN
A. THE OPEN-AIR SCHOOL SHERMAN C. KINGSLEY, GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT, UNITED CHARITIES OF
CHICAGO, CHICAGO, ILL. The children of the United States spend 1,476,744 years in the schoolroom each twelve months. To this should be added the time spent by dull and backward pupils kept in at recess and after school, because they did not get their lessons or for bad conduct. No one has attempted to compute the loss in efficiency, school progress, and health of this vast army of children because of overheated, foul air prevalent in the schoolroom, and no one knows to what extent stupidity and bad conduct are attributable to the same cause.
Certain pressures for results prevalent in the business world do not operate in the schools. Unlike the factory or mercantile house, the schools have no anxiety about obtaining raw material. Each
Each year finds a roomful
a of children waiting at every grade. The school likewise has no problem of advertising or salesmanship in marketing its product, for each year the opposite door opens and an equal number dissolves back into the general public. The community giveth. The community taketh away.
Go back to the school of your childhood. The room is full of children of the same age as you and your fellows when you were there. It is as tho the world stood still and did not grow up. A never-ending stream of children is ready to the teacher's hand. She has her chance as this ceaseless procession makes its pause in her room and goes on during the brief years of school life and out into the world.
The general subject of the morning, "The Coming of the Humane Element in Education," interests me greatly. It is a most significant topic. The word “coming” rather than "arrival" or "arrived” was doubtless used advisedly. All will gladly concede that the “humane element” has a legitimate place in a system which deals with 19,000,000 children in a single year.
For this vast army resolves itself into individual units. Each wears clothes, lives at a certain address, possesses the possibility of getting wet feet and catching cold, knows whether and why he likes or dislikes his teacher. Let me select one from this number and tell you a word about her. In this way, you will understand why I, an outsider, am interested in this subject and why I have been asked to take part in this meeting of superintendents.
On the first Monday of September two years ago, Julia was one of forty-five children to be gotten over certain intellectual ground before the end of the school year by a teacher in the second grade. Most of the children got the pace and made progress, but Julia, for some unaccountable reason, lagged behind. The teacher, desiring to bring all her group under the wire inside the time limit, like all teachers who are judged by their ability to chase their brood toward that college somewhere, finally became conscious of Julia as an individual problem. She saw a very ordinary little girl, ten years old, pale, listless, but not markedly different from the other children except for this unaccountable "stupidity.” She wondered why a child, older than the rest, always quiet and attentive, could not keep up. One afternoon she got her clue when she heard a little boy shrilly whisper: “Hello there, 'Con Kid,"” and saw Julia shrink back into her seat as if someone had struck her.
In May, Julia's father had died of consumption. Until two months before his death, the child slept with him. When she began to cough and run an afternoon temperature, the tuberculosis nurse found a back porch roof on which Julia's cot could be placed, and coaxed her to sleep there. It was not a secluded spot. When one's mother is trying to bring up four children decently on nine dollars a week, one does not live in the suburbs. Many curious windows looked down on the little cot, and the children of the neighborhood, with innocent but exquisite cruelty, twitted and taunted the sensitive con kid” until she refused to sleep on the roof, and begged her mother to move to some place where no one would know about her. But education is compulsory, so she sat, five hours a day, with the other second graders in the stuffy schoolroom, running a temperature every afternoon and trying hard to get lessons in which she always failed.
Fortunately for Julia, the teacher read the papers, and she remembered that a school for such children, founded in loving remembrance of a child who died, was soon to be opened on a roof near Julia's home. She took the child there, and Julia discovered that she was not the only “con kid” in Chicago. That helped. The open-air life and the good food helped too; so did the Eskimo suits, and presently Julia began to learn. She gained ten pounds, made her grade, and, most important of all, she forgot all about being different from other children and enjoyed herself. Today, a picture of the “con kid,” rosy-cheeked, bright-eyed, and fairly radiating vitality, is going all over the country to help other children, well and sick, to win their fresh-air rights.
Three years ago, there was not a single place in this country where such a child could obtain medical care and schooling. The school that received Julia was Elizabeth McCormick Open-Air School No. 1, conducted by the United Charities of Chicago and the Board of Education; in which all expense of food, clothing, and equipment was met by a grant from the Elizabeth McCormick Memorial Fund Trustees.
Julia's story helped to jar us awake not only to her situation and that of her mother but to thousands of boys and girls in the city in a like condition.
We came upon these children in other ways. The United Charities of