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The conditions in the United States do not require, nor do our people demand, that there should be in our course of study a dominant tendency toward any particular phase of industrial progress. We have noticed the opposite in the exhibit of every other nation at Paris this summer. There is no question as to the excellence of their work. The system of manual instruction employed in the schools of France is beyond doubt brought to a higher state of perfection than in any other country. The exhibits from the écoles primaires supérieures, both in the Champ de Mars and the Ville de Paris building, were equal in many respects to the work of master-workmen. The only question is whether the needs of specializing in the schools supported by We are quite positive that our own social conditions do not demand it. We have our manual-training high schools and a system of manual training in many of our elementary schools, but its object is to train the senses in conjunction with the mind, but not to the exclusion of the humanities. Our industrial drawing is developed from an original system of elementary drawing, but not with the intention of making designers or artists, tho we are pleased if this may be the result. We aim to develop the imagination, to train the powers of accurate observation, and to enable the pupil to represent his conclusion both graphically and in well-chosen language.

a nation justify this excessive public money.

There exist certainly radical differences in the theory underlying public education. Which will subserve better the destinies of the nation only experience can determine. It is possible that both continents have the system which their own civilization and industrial development most require.

We cannot form a just comparison of the educational systems of countries without taking into account the history of the country and the antecedents of the people. No adequate idea of Greek art and Greek literature could be obtained unless we knew the characteristics of the Greek nation, its intense love of freedom, and its passion for physical beauty and development. We must look to the traditions of the people, their historical beginnings, and the spirit of their institutions. America has been particularly fortunate in this respect. We had no legacy of ignorance and stolidity bequeathed to us from the Middle Ages. There are some advantages in being a young nation. Whatever nation of Europe you may choose for an example; whether we take France or Prussia, which for nearly a century have been engaged upon the problem of the education of the masses; or England, which has been engaged uponit a lesser time; or Russia, which is just beginning -they have had first to penetrate down thru the ignorance, superstition, and even the antipathy to culture generated by centuries of mental apathy. They have had first to awaken a responsive spirit—a problem we have escaped.

The exposition of 1900 led to the discovery of none of these things. All students of education have seen the drift of school affairs. The exposition did, however, emphasize the vital problems of our educational life by placing side by side in contrast the many systems evolved from the various relations of the governing and the governed. But the question most general in its application, which is engrossing the attention of the greatest number of countries, and which at the exposition was most diversely represented, is to what extent the social and industrial development of a nation warrants specialized training at public expense in elementary schools.




Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is not always that an audience has the text printed and put in its hands. But, to make sure of a full understanding in this discussion, I have had the resolution and petition printed, and I trust each of you has a copy in hand. To make sure of its meaning, let me read it with you:

Resolved, That this department respectfully presents the following petition to the Board of Directors of the National Educational Association and asks for its favorable action thereon:

To the Board of Directors of the National Educational Association:


WHEREAS, The twelve simplified spellings are widely used and generally legitimized because of their adoption by the National Educational Association in its late volumes of proceedings; and

WHEREAS, The National Educational Association is looked upon, and justly, as the natural and logical friend of childhood, and the indorser and promoter of all movements looking to improvement and advance in education; and

WHEREAS, There is great need, particularly in the interest of children and other learners of our lanthat cohesion, organization, and standing should be given to the movement for simplifying our spelling by giving it wise, capable, and influential leadership;


Therefore, We, the Department of Superintendence, at this our annual meeting, recognizing the responsibility which rests upon the teachers of the country, as well as the opportunity now open to them, to insure the steady progress of this movement along moderate, reasonable, and practical lines, do respectfully request you to appoint the persons named below as a permanent commission in the interest of the movement toward simplifying our spelling, and to appropriate the sum of $1,000 for each of the next five years to be used in whole or in part by said commission in such way as it may judge to be to the greatest advantage of the cause, the appointment and appropriation to be made upon the following


1. That the commission may fill all vacancies arising in its body or in its offices by a majority vote, cast by mail or otherwise, as may seem expedient, and it may elect additional members at its discretion and establish rules for its own government.

2. That the commission shall make an annual report, including an itemized statement of expenditures, to the Department of Superintendence, and also to the Board of Directors of the National Educational Association.

3. That the money appropriated for the commission shall be paid by the Treasurer of the National Educational Association upon vouchers duly signed by the president of the commission.

4. That any unused portion of the amount authorized to be expended in any one year may be used in any subsequent year.


William R. Harper, president of the University of

E. Benjamin Andrews, chancellor of the University
of Nebraska.

Andrew S. Draper, president of the University of

Dr. J. W. Stearns, professor of pedagogy, University
of Wisconsin.

Dr. John Dewey, head professor of pedagogy, University of Chicago.

Ella F. Young, assistant professor of pedagogy, Uni-
versity of Chicago.

F. A. March, professor of comparative philology,
Lafayette College, Pennsylvania.

Francis W. Parker, president of Chicago Institute.
E. G. Cooley, superintendent of schools, Chicago.
Lewis H. Jones, superintendent of schools, Cleveland.

R. G. Boone, superintendent of schools, Cincinnati. Charles M. Jordan, superintendent of schools, Minneapolis.

Edward Brooks, superintendent of schools, Philadelphia.

J. H. Van Sickle, superintendent of schools, Balti


Dr. W. H. Ward, editor of the Independent.
Melvil Dewey, director of the state library and home
education departments of the University of the
State of New York.

Henry Holt, publisher, New York.

Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Cambridge, Mass.
Benjamin E. Smith, managing editor of the Century

James MacAlister, director of the Drexel Institute,

In regard to the names just read, I want it clearly understood that there is no fiction or guesswork in putting them on this list. I hold in my hand the written assent to serve on this commission, if it is appointed, of every person named excepting two. They assented orally, and are in the audience, and can speak out if I have misunderstood them.

It is probably well at the outset to guard against any misinterpretation of this petition. The proposition to appoint such a commission, and to give it money to use in its discretion in the interest of this movement to rationalize our spelling, appears to strike some as an effort to create a committee to head a raid against our orthographic absurdities, and to bombard the public with pleas and arguments for simplified spelling as vigorously each year as $1,000 will permit.

There is no such thought or purpose behind this proposition. Does any member of this department believe that there is the slightest danger that Dr. Harper, or Dr. Draper, or Superintendent Cooley, or Dr. Dewey, or any other person named on this commission, would lend himself to an aggressive or an offensive propaganda on this subject? There is not a single zealot, or even an enthusiast, on the list.

Let me call your attention to the composition of this proposed commission: seven university men, all of them well known; seven superintendents of large systems; and seven men prominent as educators or editors, or in some other line of work. That there is only one lady in the list is no fault of mine. I wanted the women teachers well represented. I proposed to several eminent women in the best way I knew, but only one accepted. Is it possible that anyone can fear that the men named are going to put their heads together to decide what changes in spelling are desirable, and then keep dinging at their fellowcitizens to adopt these changes? Is it to be feared that they will attempt to agitate this question or to accelerate the movement already started without using good sense, without considering the danger of reaction, of creating disgust, of intensifying prejudice?

Friends have remonstrated against urging this measure on the ground that it is wise to let well enough alone; that the most dangerous thing for the reform now is to try to hurry it; that we must wait for the new spellings already inaugurated to "soak in," and take root, if you will excuse the mixed metaphor. Are not the records and the standing of the persons named ample guarantee that they understand all this? that they know enough not to make the fire too hot for the broth? For thirty-five years I have advocated the simplification of our spelling whenever fit occasion has offered. For twenty years I have used in Intelligence the identical spellings which this association has adopted, and I am using no more today than I did at first. Why? Simply because I have never felt that the time was ripe for me to take an additional advance step. You may be sure

I Consent to serve on the commission, if appointed, was received after adjournment of the department from Chauncey M. Depew, United States senator from New York, and Miss Sarah L. Arnold, supervisor of primary instruction, Boston, Mass.

I would take no hand in any scheme which might undo what I have so long labored to help to build up; in any scheme that might tend to chill the sentiment and the sympathies favorable to this movement which are just beginning to warm into life. No such purpose and no such danger lie in this proposition. The business and professional records of the men and women named in this list, their demonstrated level-headedness and good sense, are ample assurance that we shall not put the cause in jeopardy from hasty, ill-advised, or overzealous counsels by intrusting them with the leadership, while their eminence and standing will bring immense strength to the cause and guarantee moderation and wisdom in promoting it.

Every genuine schoolmaster must have Abraham Lincoln's faith in the people. When the people once fully understand the bearings of a practical question, you can safely trust their decision. The great, the essential thing is to make them understand the question. Give them light, and you need not fear the general result.

It is on this principle that I urge the appointment of this commission. One main purpose is to establish a bureau of light and publicity; to evoke a voice so clear and wise and moderate and authoritative that the people will have confidence in it and follow it.

There is need in the movement today of a nerve center, to which information and stimulus will be communicated, to be sent out again as inspiration and impulse; a central body to receive and consider all reform suggestions, to publish such as it deems wise and practicable, and thus to bring into touch with each other all the elements which favor the simplifying of our spelling.

The simple appointment and announcement of a commission composed of such scholars and leaders of thought would in itself be a most potent influence in liberating and evoking spelling-reform sympathies and developing sentiment in its support. If nothing else were done than to cause this commission, representative of the great body of teachers, to stand forth clearly before the people as both an umpire and a leader in the purposeful evolution of rational spelling, it would be well worth the money which it is proposed to spend.

Such a commission, standing as sponsor for the intelligent and reasonable and wise direction of this movement, would give character and standing to it which would be of great advantage. It would give the cause recognition as a thing feasible and desirable, and to be encouraged by all progressive social forces.

The best scholars and educators of this country, and of England, are practically a unit in believing in the simplifying of our spelling, differing only as to degree and methods. They have never taken or been encouraged to take active charge of the movement. Thru the agency of this commission scholars, educators, men of character and stability and influence, free from all suspicion of overzeal or immoderateness will have the movement in hand. The weight of their advice and influence will harmonize the divergent views as to methods of procedure and bring into unison all elements favorable to reform.

Such a commission would save the cause from its unwise friends and convince the public that there is a simplification of spelling which is moderate, feasible, and progressive, which is approved by scholars and educators, and which all sensible men and women can safely indorse and encourage.

Today there is little concert of action among the friends of simplified spelling. No supporter of the cause can learn, except by chance, of other supporters. A great many people who are really in sympathy with it take no practical steps to help it because they hear no voice of recognized wisdom and of commanding influence to lead them. There is the greatest need of a head center to which all may look for guidance and advice. To create such a committee, for wise counsel and for judicious encouragement of the movement, is the object of this effort. It would install a moderator and leader, whose moral weight and authority would hold the enthusiasts in check and attract sympathy to the cause. It would give cohesion, stability, organization, and standing to the movement.

We are all agreed that simplified spelling can and will come only as a process of development. But it will never come thru a blind, unguided, accidental, haphazard development. It will come only thru a development which is guided and conscious on somebody's part. An evolution that is intelligent and purposeful, which is directed according to the wisdom of some one, or of some many, is the only evolution, whether slow or rapid, which will ultimately give us rational spelling. So far the movement has progressed by uncertain steps, according as the suggestions of Noah Webster, or of the philological societies, or of the National Educational Association have been accepted and acted upon. But there is need of a matured plan, a far-reaching purpose, framed on moderate and intelligent lines, by which all can work who believe in the end sought One good step has already been taken thru the initiative of this department. Sooner or later a next step must be taken, and a next, and a next, and a next, until the grand con summation is reached-simple phonetic spelling.

Now, what shall be the next step? Who shall determine it? Shall it be the change of ph to f? the reduction of double consonants to one? the omission of the final e when phonetically useless or misleading? What it shall be is plainly a question of mere expediency. Who shall decide it? Is the time ripe to inaugurate one or all of these changes? These questions some time must be decided. Is it wise to leave them to be brought up in this department as the spirit may move a member, and let them be decided by vote according as one influence or another happens to predominate at the moment, without reference to any comprehensive plan, and without any definite knowledge as to the ripeness of the time? To ask the question is to answer it. It would certainly be the part of wisdom to place this whole matter of controlling and promoting this movement for simplifying our spelling in the hands of a selected body of capable, trustworthy, representative, earnest men, such as are nominated in this petition.

The objections urged against adopting this petition may all be grouped under one head, viz.: it is not the function of the National Educational Association to espouse, much less to spend money on, any particular cause in regard to which any difference of opinion exists among its members. Now, I should like to know why it is not in keeping with the general purpose and character of the National Educational Association to put its immense influence and its wise directing hand behind this important movement and keep them there. It is as distinctly a movement in the interest of education as any that can be named. It is the interests of our children, not only of the present, but of innumerable generations to come, and of others who have to learn our language, which constitute the great argument in favor of this reform.

Primarily this whole question is an educational question, and if it may not properly enlist the earnest effort and sympathy of this body and of the National Educational Association in general, I do not know for what these organizations exist. The teachers of the country, represented by their superintendents, are the most logical element in the community, not only to move in this matter of simplifying spelling, as they have done, but also to see that good and wise leadership is provided and kept at the head. Is there a cause in the line of progress and reform more appropriate for the National Educational Association to foster, a cause more fit and logical for it to spend some of its money upon ?

But, it is said, the superintendents are not at one on this question, nor are the great mass of teachers. So far as the mass of teachers are concerned, they are loyal to their superintendents. Let them know where the superintendents, as a body, stand on any educational question, and you will find the teachers with them. It would be deplorable and unnatural if it were not so.

So far as this body of superintendents is concerned, and also the Board of Directors, who have the final voice, the question is simply one of majority rule. Why should it not be? Did ever any great movement for the betterment of mankind command unanimous support? Is it reasonable to say that this organization should never actively support any measure upon which its members are not all agreed?

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