Project Gutenberg's On the Firing Line in Education, by Adoniram Judson Ladd

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Title: On the Firing Line in Education

Author: Adoniram Judson Ladd

Release Date: June 7, 2007 [EBook #21762]

Language: English

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Professor of Education, State University of North Dakota

[Pg 4]
Copyright, 1919, by Richard G. Badger
All Rights Reserved
Made in the United States of America
[Pg 5]The Gorham Press, Boston, U. S. A.


Of the ten studies making up this little volume only one, the last, aside from the Introduction, was designed primarily for publication. Each of the others had a definite personal audience in mind while being prepared. Still, nearly all have later found their way into print, and some have been reprinted in other periodicals and quoted quite extensively in still others. Many letters of appreciation, too, from strangers who have chanced to read this address or that, have come to the writer. These facts, together with expressions of appreciation upon delivery and with definite suggestions from many for publication, have finally led the writer to feel that possibly their gathering together might be worth while. But in fairness to himself, as well as to others, also in the interests of accuracy, he is prompted to give an additional reason for venturing upon the hazardous undertaking of offering "cold meats" to people not overly hungry. Not words of praise alone, no matter how warm, would justify such a decision, for one can never take such expressions at quite their face value—'tis so easy to make pleasant remarks! So the matter was thrown back to where it belonged all the time—upon the writer to decide the case on the merits of the various [Pg 6]discussions as dealing with present-day educational problems.

While separate addresses, upon different topics, given at different times, and with no thought of connection, they all do bear upon one great matter of universal interest—that of education. The title, "On the Firing Line in Education," belongs specifically to but the first of the topics discust. Still, it is appropriate to the entire group since the various matters handled are fundamental and the positions taken considerably in advance of common use. But we are clearly moving in the general direction indicated—'twill not be long now before the main army has caught up, and then the firing line will be still further advanced.

I have a very definite conviction that, at any financial cost, we should provide thru the school for the physical as well as for the psychical and the moral development of the child. This is not to take the place of the home—merely to supplement the work of the majority of homes. Only thus can we adequately educate all. I believe, too, that in any scientific view of the educational process the sense organs are paramount in importance, and therefore urge their care and training. That the positions taken in the various addresses upon these and other matters are sound has been pretty well demonstrated during the last two years when the demands of war have faced us. This is made clear in the Introduction that follows.

I am under obligations to the various periodicals in which these studies have appeared for permission to use them again in this form. I also appreciate the courtesy of Mr. Badger, the publisher, in allowing me to use certain simplified forms of spelling, thus departing from the usual [Pg 7]over-conservative practise of publishers. Is not this, too, one of the firing-line activities?

A. J. Ladd

Grand Forks, North Dakota,
March, 1919

[Pg 8]


[Pg 9]

Introduction—Have the Schools Been Discredited by the Revelations of the War13
I.On the Firing Line in Education37
Social Betterment, the Dominant Motive in Education38
Child Study43
Physical Education50
The Educational Survey51
Vocational Guidance53
The Educational Psychologist56
II.The Relation of the State University to the High Schools of the State63
The Elementary School65
The High School67
The State University75
III.The University and the Teacher89
The Kind of Teachers the University Should Employ91
The University Teacher in his Classroom94
The University's Attitude Toward the Preparation of Teachers for the Schools of the State105
IV.The Eye Problem in the Schools115
V.The Home, the Church, and the School133
The Home134
The Church141
The School150
VI.Noblesse Oblige163
VII.Improvements in Our Public Schools185
VIII.Local Winter Sports203
IX.The Function of Teachers College217
X.Credit for Quality in Secondary and Higher Education243

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[Pg 12]

From School and Society, April 5, 1919

[Pg 13]

Knowing that I was about to publish a book on education in which the Great War, now happily closed, was not taken as the point of departure, a friend said to me one day, in substance, "Aren't you taking undue risks just now in putting out a book on education that isn't based upon a program of reconstruction? Haven't all our so-called educational principles been dis-credited? Shall you get any readers if you do not admit educational failure thus far, and proceed to discuss a change of front, made imperative by recent revelations?" And the editor of a well known educational journal, in asking me for an article, recently, said, among other things, "I should be glad to have an article upon some phase of reconstruction after the war, educational, social, philosophical, as you may like. Here is the next great battlefield of the future, and if the educational forces do not redeem themselves here, it is my opinion that we shall become a greater laughing stock than we have ever been before."

To both of these statements I desire to take exception. To be sure, the war has taught us many lessons bearing upon education; to be sure, it has revealed shortcomings, limitations, and weaknesses.[Pg 14] But it seems to me that it has also made clear that we have been working along right lines. Our fundamental educational principles have not been dis-credited. There is no far-reaching educational failure to admit, nor is there any serious shortcoming from which the educational forces of the country have to redeem themselves. "Laughing stock," does the gentleman say? Oh no! Far from it! Let us not get panicky! Some weaknesses brought to light? Certainly. But in the analysis, later to be made, let us see if, for the most part, they do not but demonstrate the soundness of our educational principles and the far-sightedness of our educational leaders together with the short-sightedness of the present critics, in that had suggested recommendations been followed these weaknesses would not have existed. Let us give here but one illustration, and that briefly. We all admit that the medical examinations for the war found too many physical defects, and too many men thereby incapacitated for efficient military service. But would not the results have been very different if, during the last generation, the suggestions and strong recommendations of educators relative to physical education in our schools been acted upon by the public? Ah! The fault was not with educational principles; they were sound. The educational forces of the country knew what was needed, but a parsimonious public would not follow intelligent leadership. We could say, all along the line, "I told you so," if we felt so inclined. Instead of being the "laughing stock" we could—if the matter were not too serious—throw the laugh upon the other fellow. The purpose of our schools has never been to produce soldiers at the[Pg 15] drop of the hat, and so they have never been blighted by military training. (May it never come!) Their task has been to produce men and women of character and purpose and ideals—men and women of initiative who could become anything called for by an emergency. And nobly have they succeeded, as evidenced by the successful prosecution of the war.

In view of all that the United States has done to assist in bringing the war to its successful close, from the adoption of the selective draft down thru the management of the training camps, the operation of the railroads, conservation of food and fuel, to the knitting of a pair of socks and the sale of a thrift stamp, what shall be said of the success or failure of our schools? Every man, woman, and child in this gigantic work, from President Wilson down to the colored bootblack who saved his nickels to buy a stamp, or to the little girl who voluntarily went without her sugar, has been a product of the schools. Thru the instruction, the discipline, and the training given in those schools, they became the men and women who could rise to the emergency and do the things needed. And they did.

No college or university or professional school ever taught Mr. Wilson how to be President of the United States during these troublous days; nor Mr. McAdoo how to manage the railroads; nor Mr. Pershing all about war; nor any local worker how to lead the Red Cross work, any more than the lower schools have taught the boys who went into the trenches how to use the gas mask and how to go without food; how to shoulder arms and how to march. But the schools all along the line did help to give them ideals, did train them in team-play; did instil[Pg 16] into them the principles of democracy and the love of country, so that when the need came they arose as one man to repel the foe. And the study of arithmetic, geography, and grammar; of chemistry, physics, and medicine; of Latin, Greek, and history has, in each case, made its contribution to the preparation of home workers, soldiers, scientific experts, financial managers, and statesmen—has helped to make each an individual of initiative.

Under the guidance of our educational leaders, following principles that they had workt out, the schools of the country were moving quietly along, each one of the 750,000 teachers doing faithfully the work at hand day by day. We had never thought of war as a possibility for us, and of course preparation for it had not been made, in the slightest degree, a part of the work of the schools. But when war, with all its horrors, was finally forced upon us and we needed statesmen and scientists and military leaders to guide and direct, they were at hand in the graduates of our colleges and universities—broadly trained men capable of assimilating, or learning, or in other ways gaining quickly, the specific form of efficiency needed in the particular activity assigned. And when we needed soldiers they were at hand in the person of our boys of the schools, both common and high, from every nook and corner of the land—boys and men who merely needed direction and leadership, capable of at once falling into line and quickly taking on the professional phase of their training. Could we have asked our schools to do more? The supreme test had come, and it was being met in a manner gratifying to all. The boys and the girls, the men and the women, on the[Pg 17] farm, in the store, in the home, in the workshop, in the schools and colleges, have responded "Here am I. Show me what you want me to do, and I will do it even unto death." It was done, and they did it. The schools had nobly demonstrated their efficiency.

To be sure, all this was not done without making mistakes. Not all the products of all the schools were able to rise to the occasion and to be depended upon in our hour of need. When the great national search-light was trained upon the product of the schools, seeking leaders of infinite variety and number, and likewise hosts of followers to do definite and difficult things, many deficient ones were discovered—some deficient in mental caliber, some weak in moral fiber, some lacking in physical stamina. And right here is to be seen the only serious failure of our schools. Not every boy, not every girl, had been made as efficient as could have been desired. But, happily, in our great numbers enough were found to do even the stupendous work at hand, and to do it well. In spite of moral lapses, not a few, in spite of instances of mental incompetence, far too many, and in spite of physical handicaps, distressingly large—in spite of all this, I say, the United States surprised the world with the quickness with which we pulled ourselves together, and with the marvelous efficiency with which we mobilized all our resources. Many losses of course there were—losses of men, losses of days, losses of dollars. But when all is said and done, the losses were slight when compared with the accomplishments. Credit to whom credit is due! But because of these losses unthinking men immediately began to criticise the[Pg 18] schools. They should have been trade schools, or industrial schools or military schools—any kind of schools that they were not. And how clearly it was being demonstrated, we were told, that the time formerly spent on music and drawing, art and literature, algebra and geometry, history and Latin, had all been wasted! How much better it would have been if, instead of these "frills," the children had been given "practical subjects"! (Practical. Save the mark. One is tempted here to go off on a by-path and discuss the topic, "What is Practical?") Thus the criticism of the unthinking—of the laymen who went off at half-cock.

And this criticism was deepened and strengthened and extended and made more vehement, again by the unthinking, when the fine results of the Plattsburgh experiment were revealed, in which, thru the processes of intensive training, men were quickly whipt into shape for new, and difficult, and responsible undertakings. And the equally good results that came from the officers' training schools, in which college boys by a similar program were metamorphosed, almost at over-night, into capable army officers, had the same effect. How signally had the schools failed! And these long years spent in school and college, "dawdling over the frills," had been to no effect, whereas "a few weeks under intelligent educational direction accomplishes marvels."

And the same has further illustration. Ministers of the Gospel selected for chaplains, physicians and surgeons chosen for medical service, nurses for the Red Cross, engineers for various forms of engineering, and many others have all been given this short period of intensive training and, to their credit and[Pg 19] ours be it said, all responded quickly. But the conclusion drawn by the unthinking has been, all along the line, that the later efficiency of these men which has gained for us the plaudits and the gratitude of the world was due to this short period of intensive training, "under men who were intelligent enough to know just what was needed and just how to go about to secure it"—men not hampered by any pedagogical nonsense or grown stale over a long attempt to discriminate between the "infinity of nothingness and the nothingness of infinity" (as one might summarize a rather common criticism), rather than to the former years of patient toil, and discipline, and accomplishment which had really laid the foundation so well that all were able thus to respond. The common school, the high school, the college, and the professional school was dis-credited, one and all, in favor of a short-cut method analogous to the so-called "Business College,"—a short-cut method that could result only in disaster if applied without the appropriate preparation.

How long it does take people to realize that real education is a slow process! that it takes years and years and years of varied experiences for the processes of assimilation and development to bring about the fine fruitage of stable character!

And the Government, too (I suppose we can criticize Washington just a little now without serious danger of being sent to jail), must have had the same point of view in regard to the general management of education since, during the war, it did not entrust its educational war program into the hands of the National Bureau of Education. It did have the War Department and the Navy Department and the[Pg 20] Treasury Department manage their respective phases of war activities. Why was not the Department of Education called on to direct the educational work? Had it been, the S. A. T. C. fiasco, as well as some other blunders, would doubtless have been avoided. But the thought (or was it the lack of thought?) must have been that most anybody outside of the teaching profession would know better how to get educational results than any one from within. A similar point of view is generally discernible in the election of boards of education in towns and cities thruout the country—any one is satisfactory save those who know definitely what should be going on inside of the school house.

Perhaps all this was to be expected. I rather think so. But I confess to surprise when I find such criticism being echoed from within—from men who should know better, as, for example, the two quoted at the beginning of this article. The explanation, I suppose, is that, timid in nature, they have become panicky and lost their bearings. Perhaps they were suffering from a mild form of brain-storm, and have temporarily slipt back into the ranks of the unthinking.

Let us analyze the situation and see if we can discover just what the war did reveal as to the short-*comings of our educational system. Let us then try to locate the responsibility.

One of the most serious of the educational shortcomings thus revealed is a high percentage of illiteracy—nearly eight per cent, I understand, the country over. The seriousness of such a situation can scarcely be overestimated. It was serious in time[Pg 21] of war—the inability of a soldier to read orders, or to follow written directions, or to make written reports, especially when one takes into consideration the myriad forms of war service just recently used, would limit his possibilities of service and cripple himself and all his companions. But illiteracy is even more serious in times of peace, for then such individuals are not immediately under the direction of intelligent officers and thus prevented from the disastrous results of their own ignorant actions. Think for a moment of what it means in a democracy and for a democracy to have one out of every ten (disregarding children) of the possible directing forces of the government unable to read or write!

But when we add to this statement of mere illiteracy the fact that a large percentage of these illiterates are of foreign birth or extraction and have never learned either to speak or understand the language of their adopted country, the situation is seen to be even more serious in potentiality, both in peace and war. Our authorities have been too lax, it seems, in not requiring that all children of foreign extraction, whether foreign or American born, be educated in the English language. In communities thickly settled by alien peoples they have too often allowed the schools to be conducted in the vernaculars of the people—a German school here, an Austrian school there, and an Italian school over yonder, and so on. And it goes without saying that in schools in which children are instructed in alien tongues 'tis not the American spirit that is inculcated nor American ideals that take root. No one[Pg 22] would challenge the statement that here is a defect in the execution of our educational program, and one that must be remedied at any cost.

Still another serious weakness as revealed by the merciless hand of war is that of physical shortcoming. A large number of men were rejected for service and a still larger number accepted only for limited service because of physical disability as shown by the medical examinations. I have not the figures at hand, but 'tis common knowledge that the situation is considered grave. Eye defects, ear defects, defective teeth, weak lungs, flat feet, round shoulders, spinal curvature, unsymmetrical development, and many other defects were discovered in great numbers. Perhaps nothing but a rigid medical examination by a military officer would ever have opened our eyes to the real situation. But this did. The revelations came as a surprise to nearly all except the educational leaders of the country. They have known, all the time, what the situation has been and, for a generation, have been trying to combat it.

Again the question is raised as to whether these defects, or weaknesses, of American education, in both fields mentioned, as serious as they have been seen to be for war, are not even a more serious menace when looked upon from the point of view of peace, and therefore, even tho the war has been won, of such commanding importance as to demand our immediate and continued attention.

One might go on and name other shortcomings in the working out of our educational program that have been more clearly brought to the surface during the critical days of our warfare. But this article is not intended to be a catalog. The two men[Pg 23]tioned are fundamental and far-reaching. Illiteracy and physical disability! Weakness along these lines strikes at the very roots of national life and of individual well-being. And if, as a nation and as individuals, we are ever going to enter into our inheritance, these defects must be remedied. But before trying to discuss remedies, it will be well to locate responsibility. Are our basic educational principles unsound, or merely our educational practises unsatisfactory? Are the educational leaders of the country all wrong in theory? Have their heads been so high among the clouds that they have not seen the real boy and his homely task? Or have they seen clearly and mapt out wisely, whereas the public, relatively unthinking upon technical matters and always slow to act in new fields, has not been ready to follow? Is it in theory or in practise where the real shortcoming is to be found? The answer to the question is vital. If in theory, then is the situation serious indeed for that would mean that our psychology is wrong—that our whole philosophy of life and of government has been built upon error. Truly, then, after all these years, the "educational forces" would need to "redeem" themselves so as not to be "a greater laughing stock than we have ever been before." But if the weakness lies merely in our practise, not yet having been able to attain to our ideals, then, tho serious, it would be but child's play, comparatively speaking, to put ourselves right. We should need to take courage, redouble our efforts, and all that, but should not need to start all over again.

How shall we account for the illiteracy revealed among both alien and native born? Not by faulty[Pg 24] methods of teaching can it be explained, nor by anything else that teachers have done or have not done. Illiterates have not attended the schools. It is due either to insufficient legislation or to non-enforcement of laws, doubtless more the latter save in the case of adult aliens.

From the very beginning of our colonial life, early in the 17th century, universal education has been a part of both our educational and our governmental creeds. A program of compulsory education was early found necessary, early adopted, and never abandoned. Beginning in Massachusetts and going south and west, following considerably behind but then keeping almost even pace with settlement and development after statehood had come, legislation has decreed that every child born into the land or coming into it by immigration shall enjoy the advantages of education, at least to the extent of knowing how to read and write the English language. Every state in the Union has compulsory attendance laws upon its statute books. These laws are not as thorogoing as they should be in many cases but yet, even as they are, if enforced, they should leave almost no illiteracy among people whose childhood has been spent in this country. For the least satisfactory laws—those of some of the Southern states, Georgia, for example, require school attendance for at least four months of each year between the ages of eight and fourteen. But illiteracy, even among our own people, has been revealed—too much of it. The laws have not been enforced. There is the sore spot. Why have they not been enforced? But of that later.[Pg 25]

The education of adult aliens is another matter, and a very different one. As a problem it is almost new. That is, it has been only in relatively recent years that it has been recognized as such. True, for several years some of the states most largely affected, such as Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and others have been wrestling with it, but not very much has yet been attempted toward introducing the compulsory features. And private agencies, philanthropic, industrial, religious, political, and others have also done good work. But all that had thus far been done had accomplisht little more, at the outbreak of the war, than to open our eyes to the existence of a problem. And in our leisurely way we were going about its solution. But war came. The European nations were aflame. We had many Europeans in our midst. Investigations were made. The universal draft was adopted. The revelations were startling. It was discovered that in 1910 there were in the United States 2,953,011 white persons of foreign birth, 10 years of age and over, unable to speak the English language. Of these 56,805 were from ten to fifteen years of age, 330,994 between fifteen and twenty-one, and 2,565,212 twenty-one and over. Note the number, more than two and a half millions, twenty-one years of age and over—men grown, fathers of families, many of them—unable to speak the language of their adopted country! And of these 788,631 were illiterate—unable to read or write in any language!

Nothing short of legal requirements on a large scale, and rigidly enforced, absolutely free of cost to the immigrant, can ever remove the menace. The[Pg 26] law-making bodies of the country, both State and Federal, must act and act quickly or this growing menace will get beyond our control.

And the long catalog of physical defects—what shall be said of them? Shall they be charged against the "educational forces" of the country? Are they a disgrace from which we must "redeem" ourselves so that we shall not become the "greater laughing stock"? It is perfectly evident that somebody has blundered because the whole sad list of defects is, speaking broadly, preventive and, for the most part, also remediable. But where lies the responsibility—upon the home, the school, or society? Of course, primarily, upon the home; the child comes from the home, goes to the home, is a part of the home, is under the immediate control of the home. But yet, many homes, especially homes of alien peoples, are not sufficiently intelligent to have entrusted to them matters of such far-reaching importance. And many others are not financially able to have proper attention given.

But the school does know. And it, or what it represents, is abundantly able financially to handle the matter. It knows clearly how the child with physical defects is hampered in trying to perform its school work; it knows, too, how seriously the entire work of the school is interfered with when there are many such in the room; and it also knows the handicap under which such unfortunate children face life when school days are over. And the school knows, too, the preventive and remediable natures of these defects. Possessing all this knowledge, why has it not acted? To make a long story short, it has acted. To the extent of its authority and with all the influ[Pg 27]ence and power at its command it has acted, has been acting for many years, and is still acting. For more than a generation the educational forces of the country have been engaged in a nation-wide educational campaign designed to make clear to the homes of the country and to the voters of the country the growing seriousness of the situation. On the lecture platform and from the Gospel pulpit, in the educational press and in the popular magazine, aye, in the daily newspaper, in private conversation and in public discussion, in season and out of season, they have labored unceasingly to acquaint the public with the facts and to urge preventive and remedial action. To the unselfish work of these leaders of educational thought and action, supplemented by the generous assistance of the medical profession, is due the fact of our present-day intelligence in regard to the matter. Educators have been deeply interested, thoroly alive, and intelligently at work. How they have agitated the matter of better ventilation and better lighting of schoolhouses! How they have pleaded for medical inspection and appropriate medical treatment of school children! How they have urged the employment of the school nurse! How they have workt for the playground and the gymnasium and for sane methods of handling the same!

But they do not form the court of last appeal. They have no authority. They all stand in about the same anomalous position as does the man nominally at the head of the educational activities of the country—the United States Commissioner of Education. They may gather statistics, make reports, and suggest action. But that is all. Tho possess[Pg 28]ing full knowledge of the situation, tho knowing just how to proceed to usher in a better day, they are not permitted to take any action. Responsible? Of course they are not responsible. "Redeem" themselves? From what, pray? "Laughing stock"? How long, oh! how long, will our great army of teachers, three-fourths of a million strong, be unappreciated, belittled, and maligned!

Who, then, is responsible? In the last analysis there is but one answer—the public itself. Since the community at large as well as the individual afflicted is, in the final outcome, a sufferer in every case of physical disability, as also in that of illiteracy, it is its duty, as a mesure of self-protection, at least, to assume direction. Adequate information is at hand as to desirable methods of procedure. Demonstrations a-plenty have been given to prove that the program suggested is feasible, inexpensive, and beneficial. This has been brought about thru the action of a few small groups who have thus presented clear and convincing object lessons. But why must we say "a few"? Why is not such work nation-wide? That is a longer story. It follows.

The United States of America is a Republic—a representative democracy—a government in which all the people participate. And the government of the United States is a Federal government. It is made up of a group of States, each one exercising supervision and control over its local matters. And education has thus far been considered a local matter. And in many ways that soverenty has been still further divided. We have as a smaller unit of school organization the county, and a smaller one yet, the township, and, in many states, a still smaller one, the[Pg 29] school district, containing, in many instances, only a few square miles of territory and, of course, a very limited population. But in some respects, within certain limits, each of these small units is a law unto itself, having much to say as to the length of the school term, the character of the teaching, and many other phases including such as the one under consideration.

For these reasons it frequently happens that side by side are school districts, or townships, or counties, with widely differing educational programs. Here is one with attractive buildings, well ventilated and well lighted, well equipt in every way, in the hands of competent teachers, with physician and nurses subject to call. But just over the imaginary line is another with nothing quite satisfactory. They are just living up to the strict letter of the State's requirement and that is all. Not one dollar is being spent that represents the community's voluntary contribution to the welfare of its child life or to the future well-being of humanity.

And why? Just because we are a Democracy. Just because our action must be the united action of many, representing the average intelligence of the entire governmental unit and not that of its most intelligent members. For this reason a democracy is always slow to act along new lines. The majority of the people have to be convinced of the wisdom of the new mesure. And education is itself always a slow process. People change their minds slowly. Slowness of action is one of the prices we have to pay for our democracy. On the other hand, an absolute monarchy can act quickly, for there may be but one individual to assimilate the new idea or to[Pg 30] be convinced of the wisdom of the proposed change.

These facts are easily made clear by historical references, and, happily, in the very matter under discussion—educational procedure. In the eighteenth century Prussia, under the two great Hohenzollern kings, Frederick William I and his son, Frederick the Great, the two ruling from 1713 to 1786, made most rapid strides in education. Both were practically absolute rulers, but they were benevolent and far-sighted, and the educational reforms that they inaugurated were basic and far-reaching, such as state-control and support, compulsory attendance, and the professional education of teachers. Being absolute in authority, all they needed to do was to promulgate the decrees and order their execution. The result was that, educationally, Prussia immediately forged ahead of all the other European countries.

England, on the other hand, was a limited monarchy. Her king could not have acted thus even if he so desired. Such mesures had to have the sanction of Parliament, which would have to hark back to an enlightened public opinion since Parliament was a representative body. And public opinion, especially in matters of education, is slow of creation. As a matter of fact, even tho the English people were much in advance of the Germans in civilization and in all the refinements of life, it was not till 1833 that England as a government took her first step looking toward the education of her children thru appropriating money. And the grant of that Act was only a paltry £20,000 a year to be used by two religious societies for the erection of school houses. And it was an entire generation later, even 1870,[Pg 31] before they adopted the necessary principles of compulsory attendance and local taxation. More than a hundred years behind Prussia, England was, in the management of educational affairs!

Another illustration of the slow action of democracy is nearer at hand both in time and space, even in our own country. For one reason or another, rather, for many reasons, education was at a low-water mark in the United States the latter part of the eighteenth and the first part of the nineteenth centuries. Thoughtful men, progressive educators, prominent statesmen, searching for the cause and for the remedy, found the one in the poor character of the teaching being done and the other in the establishment of the State Normal School patterned after those of Germany. This was first suggested in 1816 in Connecticut and pretty faithfully kept before the people of New England thereafter. But in spite of every effort, including a campaign of education and the establishment of private normal schools for the purposes of demonstration, it was not till 1838 that the Massachusetts legislature could be induced to act. And she would not have done so then had it not been that a very prominent man of Boston, a friend of the cause, Mr. Edmund Dwight, showed his faith in the movement by making a generous contribution out of his private funds. Note, too, this action from another point of view—the amount of Democracy's initial contribution toward this new great movement in America: Mr. Dwight's gift of $10,000 was evenly matched by that of the wealthy state of Massachusetts! And the $20,000 was the amount planned for the establishment of three new normal schools and their maintenance for[Pg 32] three years! That amount to-day would scarcely build a coal shed for each of three new normal schools!

But I am not advocating monarchical methods even to hasten so good a cause as educational improvement. I am merely accounting for our slowness of action in needed reform. For several reasons I should be decidedly opposed to adopting such a program of centralization even if we could. In the first place, not every absolute monarch would act as did Frederick the Great. There are few benevolent despots. In France during the seventeenth centuries the Louises were just as absolute as were the Fredericks in Germany. But they were not interested in education for the people. Again, Germany's system of education, tho objectively efficient, has been far from satisfactory because not based on sane moral principles. And that fact, by the way, has finally been Germany's undoing. Now, we can scarcely conceive of Democracy erecting an educational structure on an unsatisfactory moral foundation.

And still again, the action of an absolute monarch, in all such matters as education, tho perhaps temporarily rapid, is not permanent. Remove the guiding spirit and it slips back. An illustration will assist. Again Germany furnishes it. The little duchy of Gotha, just south of Prussia, serves us. During the Thirty Years' War Gotha had suffered greatly. Near its close, in 1640, Duke Ernest the Pious became its ruler. He had at heart the good of his people. He believed that education could be a very important factor in their upbuilding, and at once put into effect a progressive program. His people were greatly bettered and his duchy became[Pg 33] a fine object lesson for other German States. But Duke Ernest died. And his educational reforms, not springing from the people themselves, followed him not long after.

A few years ago President Diaz, Mexico's benevolent despot of nearly half a century, died. And his people, never having been taught how to rule themselves nor practised in the art, went to pieces.

Democracy is slow but she is apt to be sure. Her action in educational matters is often provokingly dilatory, but she holds what she gains and thus continues to progress. She does not take a step forward until she is sure of her ground, but then she stands firm. Her actions are the results of deliberate thought based on adequate data gathered from actual experiments and not to be shaken. Democracy would not give up universal education nor take one step backward in the matter of compulsory attendance to secure it. She would not part with her elementary normal schools for anything in the world. And when once she sees her duty clear she will add to her school workers, in every community, the physician, the nurse, and the playground director. She will do it and, quickly noting improvements, soon wonder why she had not done it long before.

Since so much emphasis has been placed on the conservative nature of Democracy and on its consequent slowness of action, a word should be added as to its possibilities in emergency. Tho we were slow in entering the Great War, once our duty was clear we acted with a promptness, a unanimity, and an efficiency that surprised both friend and foe, giving heart to the one and consternation to the other.[Pg 34] Tho a democracy, we invested our chief executive with a power and an authority beyond that possest by any monarch in the world.

So let us not be discouraged. The situation is not as bad as it might be. Our fundamental principles are sound. We are working along right lines and accomplishing good results. Our shortcomings, our weaknesses, our failures, if you wish to call them such, are seen only when our record is compared with a perfect score. The schools have not yet attained to 100 per cent efficiency; that is, the country over. Here and there, under the favorable conditions of an intelligent citizenry willing to follow expert leadership even to the extent of providing adequate funds, are schools and departments of schools of approximately 100 per cent efficiency. And these, as Democracy's experiments, assure us of other advance steps. They are object lessons. Thus Democracy always advances.

Finally, what shall we say? What shall we do? Not to "redeem" ourselves, oh, no! not that! but to approximate the 100 per cent efficiency all along the line? What? Why, knowing that we are headed aright, keep steadily forward with our eyes on the goal, refusing to be stampeded by the unthinking critic of whom Democracy always has a plenty. Take courage! Speed up![Pg 35]



[Pg 36]

President's Address delivered at the Annual Banquet of the Fortnightly Club, Grand Forks, North Dakota, June 4, 1917

[Pg 37]

The plan of the military campaign is worked out in the quiet, away back in the rear, sometimes at considerable distance from the place of actual hostilities. It is worked out quietly, usually slowly, and attracts but little attention. But when worked out and ready to be put into operation, the plan is taken forward and activities begin. Supplies are gotten ready, men stationed, guns loaded, the firing line is formed. Here is where the battle is to be fought, where an attempt is to be made to carry out the plans formed in the quiet, back there in the rear. Activity characterizes the scene. Advances are being made, new things being done. Every effort is put forth to realize the plans.

It is not different in education. In the quiet of the laboratories and the study, thoughtful men consider conditions, form plans, and develop theories of educational betterment that have to be tried out, out in the open. A firing line has to be formed, a place where new things are to be done different from the regular conventional activities. The humdrum, prosaic, traditional, everyday work goes on, in the main, all around but at these points where some advances are being tried, a new and it is hoped better program tested. All eyes are centered, all minds eager. The analogy is not inapt.[Pg 38]

It is my purpose to discuss briefly some of the things that are happening on our educational firing lines. I want to bring to your attention first, however, the plan of the great educational campaign upon which we have entered, the goal before us at the present time, and then take up a few of the relatively new and typical positions being taken by leaders of educational thought, having the realization of that goal in view. This will present to you some of the things that are actually being done in a few progressive communities and point out possibilities for others.

Social Betterment, the Dominant Motive in Education

If I interpret aright the present-day educational thought, the dominant motive in it all is social in character. That is to say, in all of our plans for the education of children we keep them in mind as future members of society, acting with one another and all working together for the common good and for the betterment of the race. And around this motive, or back of it, or being used by it as a means, can be grouped all the significant educational practises of the time.

Formerly the motive was largely psychological. That is, the school effected its organization, chose its curriculum, worked out its program, and decided upon its methods in order that it might assist the child in the development of its instincts and capacities, thus enabling him to realize his own personality. The great French educator, Rousseau, living in the eighteenth century, was responsible for[Pg 39] this movement and it was a notable advance beyond the haphazard and aimless practise of the time. Pestalozzi, the great Swiss educational reformer, Froebel, the German apostle of childhood, and Herbart, the psychological genius of the Fatherland, were disciples of Rousseau and worked out from his point of view, trying to put it into practise in the school-rooms.

And here was the firing line in education for many a long day. True, none of these later men ignored social relationships as did Rousseau. True, a strong case could be made out, if one should wish to defend the thesis, that these distinguished followers of Rousseau, even tho carrying out his program in the main, were likewise inaugurating the new sociological movement. But yet it was not sufficiently clear to dominate even in their own minds. The individual stood out beyond the mass. He filled the stage. Nor did they clearly pass it on to others. As a matter of fact, what the immediate followers of these men got from them was the theory of individualism in its better form.

The best definition of education that can be given from this point of view is the development of an inner life. That is what Rousseau wanted to bring about and Pestalozzi and Froebel, and our own Colonel Parker of more recent times, the modern apostle of childhood, had the same vision. And so to Froebel and these others, likewise, the school was an institution in which each child should discover his own individuality, work out his own personality, and develop harmoniously all his powers. True, in that environment and doing all that, the child is going to learn the relationships of society, and thus[Pg 40] the school might become a means for social progress as well as the instrument of individual development. But this was incidental. The development of the inner life was the goal. Fashioned in the quiet, in the study, away from the haunts of man, this became the program and the rallying cry, and out on the firing line it was striven for. On the educational battlefields of both Europe and America, where redoubts were being stormed and advance positions taken, this was the one great end in view. It eventuated in the child study movement of the present generation that is now at its height and that has done so much to mitigate the severities of the old time school room practises and likewise greatly aided in putting education on a scientific basis.

The immediate followers, I say, of the great European quartet of educators had the above worthy goal in view; but with their followers, many of them, especially the noisy ones, the modern sophists, it degenerated into a theory of pure individualism of the most selfish type. The theory of getting on in the world, every man for himself, became rampant. The school came to be looked upon as an institution in which children could learn how to get ahead of the rest of the community, and education as merely another weapon to use in making society contribute more to purse and pleasure. And on the firing line, formed by these noisy agitators, mistaken by many as educational leaders, these were the things striven for. But this aberration was only temporary. The real educational leaders, in trying to realize the goal of Rousseau and Pestalozzi and to do it having to combat this movement of wildcat educational speculation, gradually came to see a more important truth[Pg 41] even than the one they were seeking. As on many another firing line, victories by the wayside have clarified our vision and given us new perspectives, and a goal, not at first recognized, looms large upon the horizon.

For thru all this struggle we have learned that the first business of the public school is to teach the child to live in the world in which he finds himself, to understand his share in it and to perform it because, after all, unless people learn to adapt themselves to other individuals and communities, disorder and chaos follow. In it all we have come to see that education is the best instrument for regenerating society.

Not individual development, then, the selfish view of Rousseau, not even the harmonious development of all the faculties, the one-sided, somewhat restricted, or undeveloped, view of Pestalozzi and others of his followers, surely not individual efficiency for personal gain, the selfish view of crass materialism, but social efficiency is the present-day motive in education. And the definition of education takes on a different color. Not merely the development of inner life but in conjunction with that or in addition to it, the development in the individual of the power of adjustment to an ever changing social environment. And likewise the school becomes more than a place in which the child can discover himself. Aye, it is the instrument that democracy has fashioned for realizing its broad and humanitarian ideal. Democracy is ever striving for closer and more harmonious relation between its members, a greater degree of social justice, and the school is its efficient means.[Pg 42]

These two tendencies, the psychological and the sociological,—only two since the narrow individualistic was never accepted and is now being rapidly eliminated—these two are not antagonistic nor mutually exclusive. The difference is largely in point of view or emphasis. One may say that they are but the two sides of the same shield but the fact remains that there are two sides. There is a difference and the change came as suggested. And the change has modified conditions on the firing line. Ever since Mr. Spencer asked his suggestive question, "what knowledge is of most worth," the question of educational values has been raised and the curriculum has come under close scrutiny. The result has been a modification. The purely linguistic and literary, that which does not function directly for preparation in life and society, is slowly giving way to that which deals with the facts and forces of nature and of social institutions.

Thus far I have tried to make plain the great educational campaign in which we are engaged, as seen on the firing line,—to point out the goal before us, universal education, of course, and social efficiency for each member of the group. That suggests at once as a definition of education, the one made famous by Herbert Spencer more than a half century ago, "Preparation for complete living." That was good as a start in the new direction, but one of the most prominent generals of our educational forces now commanding at the front, John Dewey of Columbia University, has suggested a modification which brings it up to date and gives the key-note of explanation to the tactics now in vogue out there in the front ranks. He says that[Pg 43] instead of being the preparation for life, education is life itself. Some without trying to probe deeply into the thought back of the trenchant expression, have said that this was a mere play upon words. But Dewey is not a man who plays with words. What he meant by the statement is that the child is best prepared for life as an adult by living the right kind of life as a child. That is by living a life that has real meaning to him now, a normal natural life, putting forth those activities that spring from within, not merely sitting behind a narrow desk trying to memorize wordy descriptions of complicated facts thought to be useful to him later on. And when we go out and see what they are doing on the firing line we shall see just that being done.

Child Study

But perhaps I should guard against a possible misapprehension. In eliminating the materialistic point of view in individualism—narrow individual development for personal gain—we have not thrown aside the goal of development suggested by Rousseau and Pestalozzi. Advanced educational thought has that prominently in mind—the discovery of the child's latent powers—his possibilities—his tastes—his "bent" and the development of the same. But while with them that was the goal, the end in view, and a somewhat selfish one, even tho not crassly materialistic, it has become, with us, a means to a larger end, namely, social betterment. The child must be known and developed to enable it to be able to contribute its largest quota to the welfare of society.[Pg 44]

With this general direction of educational activity made plain, and incidentally the character of the activities along the entire battle front, let us pass to a consideration of a few specific activities that will illustrate the general movement. Let us bear in mind that we have in view, in the first place, the individual child whose tastes and aptitudes we must discover and, on the basis of discovery, whose fullest development, consistent with the rights of others, we must seek. And the reason for this, you know, is that only as this is done and he is prepared to do that kind of work in the world for which his tastes best adapt him—only thus can he be made the most efficient member of society possible. Because, as Plato said, centuries ago, "Society is but the individual writ large"—a collection of individuals. The foundation of all things in social life is the individual.

Now, I'll admit, at once, that that is not the program of the rank and file of the schools. It should be, but it isn't. What the schools are trying to do, in the main, is to teach the children a lot of facts that tradition says would be well for them to know when they become adults, wholly irrespective of the child's present attitude toward these facts—whether or not they have meaning for him. What the high schools are trying to do is to teach the relatively few who survive this grade program, in addition to these elementary tradition-directed facts of knowledge, a lot more of meaningless matter prescribed by the colleges and listed under that alluring title, "entrance requirements." And as a result of these programs the schools are sending altogether too many of their boys and girls into society[Pg 45] unacquainted with themselves, and ill-fitted for any useful occupation, and therefore out of sympathy with the serious work of the world. They are misfits in the social and economic world and are obliged to take their places in the ranks of the lowest-paid of unskilled labor—and work up if they can.

Now, what is being done on the firing lines to remedy this situation and to usher in the new day? Well, first, in our normal schools—institutions established and maintained for the simple purpose of preparing young people for teaching children—great emphasis is being placed upon the study of the child. It is felt that only as the teacher understands the child mind and the laws of its development can she direct that development aright. (That's a sensible point of view, isn't it? And yet it is only on the firing line in educational practise that we find it recognized. Without that factor of equipment, the teacher is teaching subjects, not boys and girls.) In many normal schools child study is one of the required subjects—no one may graduate or be recommended for a teaching position who has not taken it. It should be required in all—and will be a little later on. No person should be allowed to occupy the position of teacher of children who has not made such a study—and proved himself efficient in it. Boards of education should demand it even if some normal schools do not yet require it for graduation. It is far and away the most important part of the teacher's professional equipment.

And then in our schools of education and teachers colleges—institutions set apart for preparing teachers for our high schools and for administrative positions—the study of adolescence is receiving in[Pg 46]creasing attention. The high school boy and the high school girl are being made the subjects of close, careful, scientific study. It is thought that in order to deal effectively with these young people the high school teacher should understand those marvelous changes—physical, mental, and moral—thru which they are passing. How else can one know how to check where checking is needed (and it usually is needed somewhere along the line); to guide where the pathway is obscure (and every adolescent is sure to pass thru valleys of darkness during the high school course); and to inspire where inspiration is lacking (and with some it is lacking a good deal of the time)—in a word, how else than thru a knowledge of the situation can one be the "philosopher, guide, and friend" that the adolescent always needs?

Do you know that about one-fourth of all students who enter the freshman classes of our high schools, thruout the United States, drop out before the close of the first semester? Do you know, too, that the elimination continues right along until that one-fourth is made more than one-half before graduation day arrives? Now, these boys and girls enter full of hope and expectation, eager and ambitious for what the high school is supposed to do for them; they do not plan to drop out before completing the course—nor do their parents plan to have them do so. Why do they do it? What has changed their point of view and sent them from the school, sad and disappointed, and their parents dissatisfied with both school and child? What is it? Do you want me to tell you? The situation has been the subject of investigation in many places thruout[Pg 47] the country, and the conclusion reached by thoughtful men and women, unbiased students of educational practises, is that, while many influences combine to bring about that unfortunate result, the chief cause of this high mortality is the unsympathetic attitude of high school teachers toward the adolescent. But, you may ask, why unsympathetic? Because they regard them as fickle, unstable, and irrational, and so have but little patience with them. I'll admit that the adolescent seems all that at times, but that is only on the surface. The developmental changes—physical and moral—thru which he is passing often make the life during this period one of turmoil. From fourteen to eighteen—the normal high school period—is frequently called the "storm and stress period" of life. Not having made a study of the situation, high school teachers, in the main, do not know the fundamental scientific facts, and therefore can not account for actions, points of view, signs of waywardness, lack of appreciation, poor lessons, etc., etc., that sometimes characterize the youth while a student in the high school. They often lay to an unclean mind what springs from a perfectly normal development of the sex function; they are sure that moral perversity is the basis of actions that are more correctly explained by reference to a moral nature merely in the process of development; they think that pure laziness alone explains the lack of vigorous work, whereas the boy is growing so fast that he has no strength for anything else; they scold him for being awkward and say it is due to carelessness and a slip-shod mind, because they do not know that the muscles sometimes grow faster than the bones, making accurate[Pg 48] co-ordination a physical impossibility; in a word, to general, all round cussedness they charge behavior that should be referred to high blood pressure, aching bones, the knitting together by fiber growth of the various brain centers, and finally, to youthful enthusiasm, all of which are perfectly normal signs of developing youth. They do it because they do not know any better. They are ignorant of many things that touch, and vitally, the young people with whom they are working. But how could it be otherwise? They have never given any reflective thought to the matter. The term "half-baked" that they often apply to the adolescent in disgust, or in coarse jest, is, from this point of view, more applicable to themselves.

That, I say,—the unsympathetic attitude of the high school teacher toward the adolescent—is the chief cause of the high mortality of high school students. That, coupled with another, that springs from the same fundamental situation—ignorance of the needs and points of view of the adolescent—tho not so chargeable to the individual class teacher as to the school system as a whole, local, state, and national, pretty nearly cover the ground. The other cause to which I refer is the course of study and program of activities that are so ill-adapted to the tastes, and needs, and capacities of adolescent boys and girls—studies and activities that have no real meaning to them and that fit them for nothing definite save college entrance where the same old process, meaningless to many, often goes on for another period.

What is being done on the firing line to better such conditions? A good deal; quite a good deal.[Pg 49] Normal schools and schools of education here and there, the former more than the latter, are now giving attention to the matter, requiring in some cases and urging in others, prospective teachers to become intelligent in regard to the lives they are to direct. It is being done at our own institution as at others. This year Dr. Todd has given instruction in child study to nearly one hundred young men and women who are looking forward to teaching in the grades, and I have had a group of some thirty-five or forty prospective high school teachers and superintendents who have been making a careful study of adolescence. I guarantee that these people will not make the crude and unfeeling blunders that I have mentioned as too common among high school teachers, as they run. These are firing-line activities. They were nearly new a dozen years ago. My introduction of such courses in our University was smiled at indulgently by some of my colleagues and sharply criticised, especially the work in adolescence, by others. They are not yet required of students preparing to teach, but have evidently demonstrated their value since, tho in no sense snap courses, they have become very popular.

As illustrative of this work let me refer to a notable recent action of the legislature of Iowa. It has just passed an Act appropriating to the State University $25,000 a year for the purpose of financing what is called a "child-welfare" campaign. The plan is to make an exhaustive scientific study of the child from both the physiological and psychological points of view, to the end that it may be better known and thus more satisfactorily guided in its educational career.

One other thing, in this same connection, is being[Pg 50] done on our firing lines all over the country—something that is hoped will set the people at large, parents and citizens generally, to thinking sanely on educational matters and ere long rectify our blunders as to subjects of study and general school activities and thus result in sending the children out efficient workmen in suitable fields. I refer to addresses and discussions such as this and others, to articles in newspapers and magazines, and the educational press, and to even more extensive and thoro discussions put out in book form from time to time for the laymen.

The old darkey says, "The world do move." We sometimes think it moves very slowly, but yet it "do move." Tho we can't see it move, we can, by looking back, see that it has moved.

Physical Education

Another thing for which we are fighting out on the firing lines is an adequate system of physical education. This would include periodical medical inspection of every child from the kindergarten up; it would also include the school nurse and the visiting nurse, and, as well, free public clinics for ear, eye, nose, throat, and tooth difficulties. It would also include, for mental and moral as well as physical ends, well-equipt playground and gymnasium facilities under the direction of men and women expert and skilful in those fields—and these would be in operation the entire year.

The physical education of the child and adolescent should be as carefully planned, as scientifically workt out in a positive way, as the intellectual. Why[Pg 51] not? Because you know—every intelligent person knows—that the physical is the basis for the mental and the moral. You know—we all know—that a sound, a healthy, a sane life can not be developt in an unsound or a diseased body. Then why are these activities merely on the firing lines and not a part of the regular program? Because ignorance, and prejudice, and selfishness, and stubbornness, and penuriousness are still keeping many people in the trenches. But they will be dislodged. Just as sure as fate they will be driven from cover. They are fighting a losing battle. They are standing in the way of an irresistible movement that is sure to engulf them. If there were time I should like to describe just what is being done along this line in some places and give the reflex influence of the same on the community. It has surely meant a new heaven and a new earth to many a child, and glimmerings of the same to many a community. But I pass to less spectacular matters, continuing to discuss principles rather than illustrations.

The Educational Survey

Another matter of interest these days is the educational survey that has been taken up by many progressive communities. The plan is, as many of you know, to subject the school system of a city or community to a searching investigation in order to discover, if possible, its weak points, if it has any, to the end of their betterment. Experts are brought in who, without fear or favor, examine the system from all possible points of view—location and arrangement of school buildings including heat[Pg 52]ing, lighting, and general health conditions, adequacy of playground and athletic facilities, the extent to which the schools are satisfying community needs in the way of equipt workmen and the needs of the young people for equipment for suitable work, the cost of the system, attendance, methods of teaching and supervision, course of study, etc. Outside experts are brought in for various reasons: known to have no personal interest in the outcome, their reports are likely to be received with greater respect; and, too, a local committee, thru nearness and very familiarity, would fail to notice features, good as well as bad, that might at once attract the attention of strangers. Many cities, ranging from 2500 to half a million people, have already availed themselves of the survey with, in the main, very gratifying results. Not only have cities used the survey, but other units of educational administration. There have been a few very significant and interesting rural school surveys by counties in several states. A similar study has been made of several State universities, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nevada, for example. I notice that the legislature of Minnesota has just arranged for a survey of theirs. You all recall that such a survey was made of all the institutions of higher education of North Dakota only a short time ago. The general feeling is that it was well worth while. Such and even more extensive surveys have already been made in five other states—Oregon, Iowa, Washington, Colorado, and Wyoming. The end sought in each and all of these surveys, whether city schools, higher institutions, or state-wide systems, is greater efficiency—larger service to society. A survey of this character is usually fol[Pg 53]lowed by a detailed printed report that is generously distributed resulting in greater interest in the schools and a more intelligent appreciation of their work and their needs.

Vocational Guidance

Much has been said in recent years about vocational education. The schools have been severely criticised for not teaching trades. Many have demanded that that be the dominating motive in all our schools, especially in the high schools. The educational press, for the last decade, has kept the matter in the limelight. Books have been written calling attention to the heavy dropping out of school of pupils even before reaching high school age wholly unfitted to do anything above the most menial and lowest-paid work. They have argued strenuously and sometimes logically for better things. To this program the objection has been raised that children in these early years are not yet ready to choose their work of life; that they do not yet sufficiently know themselves—their own tastes and capacities for such serious choice; it has also been urged that to place before children such attractive objective features would result in swerving many from the normal pathway of their development and check it midway. The result has been what might be called a compromise, and the firing-line activities have been somewhat modified. Not vocational education but vocational guidance is now more nearly the thought. And this has a much larger content, a background, a more scientific basis, and one organically connected with the larger movement of which I have already spoken[Pg 54]—the social motive in education supplemented by the individual involving the discovery and development of taste and capacity.

I have already called attention to the high mortality of high school students. The reasons I have given are the lack of sympathy that the teacher has with the adolescent and the lack of meaning found in the work being done. The same facts account for the heavy elimination that takes place in the upper grades of the elementary school. But both are being remedied to some extent. The first thru the child-study movement and the second thru the matter of vocational guidance. And the two are very closely connected as one can see at a glance. Thru the child-study movement the teacher comes to know child nature so well that direct application can be made to the individual child and an intimate knowledge gained of his tastes, capacities, ambitions, and dominant interests. This will enable her to give the subject matter definite meaning in the early years, and, later on, when vocations begin to attract, the guiding may be intelligent and the final choice a suitable one. From the beginning of the adolescent period there should be opportunities furnished by the school or thru its co-operative effort for children to test themselves in various lines—academic lines, vocational lines. They should, in a word, be vocationally tempted in as many different directions as possible so as to come to know themselves so well that the final settling will not be haphazard. In these ways they should be guided into their vocations, definite ones, just as early in life as they can be adequately prepared for them. For example:—if his tastes and capacities fit a certain[Pg 55] boy for merely a mechanical pursuit that requires but little academic learning, such as carpentry, plumbing, blacksmithing, brick laying, etc., he should, relatively early in the adolescent period, be thus guided, and not forced to attempt an academic course that can have no possible meaning to him. This would send him out, a productive member of society, happy in his work because suited to him and efficient in it because fitted for doing it well. If, on the other hand, tastes and capacities fit for academic or professional careers, such as medicine, law, teaching, or engineering, the principle would remain the same but the program would differ. The academic work, meaningless to the prospective plumber, or dressmaker, would be full of meaning to the embryo lawyer or teacher, and the period of preparation much prolonged.

Such are the points of view that teachers should hold, and such the opportunities that schools should offer. And it is all being found out on the firing lines. This program is being carried out to some extent in many places in different parts of the country. The time is not very far distant when something of the kind will be demanded in all our towns. For out in the front ranks the high school is no longer regarded chiefly as a preparatory for college. Out there it is seen to possess a much larger function—assisting the child—every child—to form its own acquaintance and to begin the planning of its future. In other words, the thought on the firing line is that the high school is an institution established by a community for community purposes—to take its young people—all of them—and guide them thru the difficult and transitional period[Pg 56] of adolescence, directing, inspiring, shaping, checking, developing for the largest manhood and womanhood possible and providing the community with efficient workmen in various lines.

The Educational Psychologist

While there are many other activities, significant and interesting, that might well be considered in such a treatment as this, I shall close with a very brief mention of one more—the place and work of the educational psychologist in our modern system.

One of the most significant of the newer movements in educational procedure is that termed educational mesurements, perhaps better called the mesurement of intelligence. About a generation ago it began to be observed that many children did not pass thru the grades with the regularity that was thought normal or desirable. Many were obliged to repeat grades—they did not "pass," to use the language of the schools. The more the matter was investigated, the more serious was it seen to be. Investigation has gone on until at last carefully gathered statistics tell us that almost, if not quite, one-half of all the children in the schools fail to progress thru the grades at the expected rate. For some reason, or for some combination of reasons, they are retarded from one to three years. And of the $400,000,000 annually spent to carry on the work of the schools it is estimated that from $40,000,000 to $50,000,000 go every year in attempts to teach these retarded ones what they have already tried but failed to learn. Here was a double loss, a financial one of large proportions and a human[Pg 57] one of much more serious import. Why the retardation? And what could be done to check it?

Thoughtful consideration was given to the matter with the following revelation: it was seen that in educational procedure all matters of grading, promotion, even choice of subject matter where there was a choice, were being handled on the basis of results of tests of information—possession of knowledge facts—rather than of ability or intelligence. This might not be so bad if the knowledge sought in these tests were knowledge necessary to have in order to function adequately in the new or advanced environment. But usually no such relationship could be traced. It was but another illustration of no present meaning connected with the work of the school. A remedy was sought, and is being sought, in trying to substitute for the information test a test of intelligence. It is generally admitted that neither one is an adequate mesure of the other. A child may have a very high grade of intelligence and yet make a very poor showing in the ordinary schoolroom test for knowledge, not that he has been unable to learn such facts but merely that his interests and attention have not been thus focust. On the other hand, it is entirely possible for one of low-grade intelligence to receive a very creditable "mark" in a test for information since it is frequently a test of verbal memory, that "great simulator of intelligence," as Binet calls it.

One of the most interesting of the books bearing upon this new educational movement is The Measurement of Intelligence by Professor Terman of Leland Stanford University. In the thoughts just exprest I have used material found in this book.[Pg 58]

So, for a few years now, educational psychologists have been trying to work out a series of tests of intelligence, so that children may be located on the basis of their general intelligence, or ability to accomplish results. The results so far are very promising as tending to eliminate much of the loss mentioned above. And out on our firing lines the educational psychologist is being looked upon as a necessity in any system looking forward to real efficiency. It is thought that thru the saving he could effect in the two directions cited his regular employment would be a matter of economic foresight. A few years ago it was the school physician who was being fought for out in the front ranks. He is now a fixture in every up-to-date school system, and it is the psychologist for whom battle is now being waged. And it is only a question of time when his position will be secure and the line pushed forward for another attack.

I have discust with you briefly some of the interesting points of view of the education of to-day. I have tried to place before you, first, what I think to be its dominant motive—social betterment, made effective thru discovery and development of the individual's tastes and dominant interests. To show how this program is becoming established and worked out, I have touched upon various new lines of activity in sympathy with and contributing to the general movement. Thus I discust briefly the great child-study movement having for its goal knowledge of the individual child as a basis for its educational treatment. Following this I spoke of physical education—its beginning in many places and the great need for extension. Another activity named was the[Pg 59] educational survey by means of which a community may have its own educational activity tested by impartial experts that its real efficiency may be known. Then followed brief discussion of the new movement for vocational guidance that is doing so much where being used to make the youth efficient and happy in his chosen and appropriate field of activity. I closed the discussion with a mention of a still newer movement having the same great ends in view—the employment of the educational psychologist. Firing-line activities all of these are, each vigorous and active in the great movement for educational betterment.[Pg 61][Pg 60]

[Pg 63]



An Address delivered before the Annual Conference of the North Dakota Superintendents and Principals at the University of North Dakota, May 18, 1916

This is a topic of great interest to us all—to you in the field and to us here on the campus. The work of the two institutions is so closely related, each depends so much upon the other, that participation in the activities of one bespeaks interest in the other. But before we can discuss at all intelligently the matter of relationship it will be necessary to look at the two separately—objectively, as it were—to note the function of each and its place in the educational system of the State. What is the university? What is the high school? And what is the work of each? are questions that must first be answered.

In the first place, of course, the two are but parts of a still larger whole, neither being an independent, self-sufficing entity. The larger whole is the educational system of the State, of which there is one other part equally important with the two named, even the elementary school. And all three parts forming the whole are creations of the State, devised, controlled, and maintained for a very definite purpose—namely, the welfare and happiness of our people.

While it is true that the three parts are correlative, each supplementing the others and the system[Pg 64] incomplete without all three, it is also true that they are co-ordinate, no one of the three being, per se, in authority over any other, nor any one subordinate to another. Let me put before you, very briefly, that we may all be thinking together, the system in its outlines and then discuss each of its parts, trying to discover its function and its node of work. Then we shall pass to the matter of relationship.

The system as a whole covers and tries to provide for the entire school life of the individual. The elementary period, or department, includes, in the main, as now organized, the work of the first eight years of the child's school life and ministers to it from the age of six to fourteen years. The secondary, beginning where the elementary closes, carries on the work for four years and is followed by the higher, the colleges and the professional schools—the university.

It may clarify matters somewhat and thus give us a clearer perspective, if, before, entering upon the discussion, I account for the system as we have it to-day.

Our Colonial forefathers in the Old Bay State, back in the 17th century, in providing to meet the situation that prest upon them, unconsciously laid the foundations for an educational system that expanded with their expansion and developed with their development. But before taking the initial steps they did not wait to analyze the entire situation and upon logical or philosophical grounds map it out in its entirety. They had no such thought. They needed ministers of the Gospel and, since a knowledge of Latin was the one sure gateway to that profession, they established a Latin school almost as soon[Pg 65] as they had set their own dwelling places in order. This was in 1635, and Harvard College followed the very next year to complete the preparation. It was an afterthought and came eleven years later when they legislated for an elementary school. And even tho we can see, in what they had then produced, the fundamental factors of our present somewhat complicated system, the people who were responsible for its organization were only dimly conscious of the significance of it all. They builded better than they knew. The broad outlines can not be improved. Details, of course, are ever changing as local conditions change, but from the very nature of things, the elementary, the secondary, and the higher schools have remained with us, each for a quite definite purpose and all working together for a common end. Let us look, therefore, for a moment, at each of the three and see for what it stands and what it should attempt to do.

The Elementary School

The fundamental purpose of the elementary school in a democracy is well stated in the first legislation on the continent touching elementary education, tho not mentioning the elementary school. It was in the Massachusetts colonies in 1642. The General Court passed an ordinance of which the following quotation gives the substance:

"This Court, taking into consideration the great neglect of many parents and masters in the training of their children in labor and learning, and other employments which may be profitable to the commonwealth, do hereupon order and decree that in every[Pg 66] town the chosen men appointed for managing the prudential affairs of the same shall henceforth stand charged with the care of the redress of this evil ... and for this end they, or the greater number of them, shall have the power to take account, from time to time, of all parents and masters, and of their children, concerning their calling and employment of their children, especially of their ability to read and understand the principles of religion and the capital laws of this country; and they shall have power ... to put forth as apprentices the children of such as they shall find not to be able and fit to employ and to bring them up."

Here was compulsory elementary education, that children might know how to read, might "understand the principles of religion and the capital laws of the State," and also that they might be taught to work. And why? For their own present and future welfare, and that they might be "profitable to the commonwealth," the document reads.

It was for all the children of all the people. The same thought is with us to-day and, analyzed and stated in our present-day terminology, may be put about as follows:

The elementary school is for all the people and aims to do for all three things: first, exercise a positive directive influence over the child's physical development; second, carry on, in a more systematic, scientific manner the training of the sense organs already begun by the home, thus opening up the life to the beauties of nature, art, and other forms of truth, and so providing for the development of the inner life of each in accordance with inherent leaning and capability; and, third, equip them with the tools[Pg 67] of knowledge and give such knowledge facts and develop such points of view as will enable each to become a self-directing, constructive, and contributing member of his democratic community.

Attendance upon the elementary school should, in the interests of all as individuals and of the State as an organization, be compulsory.

The High School

The high school should likewise be for all, tho for a somewhat different purpose. While attendance should not be compulsory, the aim should be to make it universal. For a somewhat different purpose, I said; I should perhaps have said for an added purpose, because I would have the three ends of the elementary school kept constantly in view as fundamental bases. But, assuming that these things have been well done, the chief purpose of the high school should be to discover the child's latent powers, his dominant interests, and then, so far as these are wholesome, help him plan his education in their general direction. I might put it briefly thus: the chief function of the high school should be to help the child to become acquainted with himself and begin the planning of his future. Let us look at it carefully and see if it is not sound.

At the conclusion of the elementary school, at the age of 14, the boys and girls are still children; they are developing, not developed, in either body or mind. They have not yet reached, in the main, the period of rapid acceleration of physical growth, intellectual expansion, or moral development; they are just reaching it; they are now in the early stages of[Pg 68] that wonderful period of adolescence when the boy is being transformed into the man and the girl into the woman. They are neither children nor adults, yet manifesting the characteristics of both. They do not know themselves, nor does any one else know them intimately. How can they? They are not yet formed. They are in the process of formation. What will emerge as a result of the process, we know only in broad outlines—not at all in minute detail. So many factors are at work and there are possible so many combinations of factors that no one can tell; for it is during the period of adolescence that hereditary characteristics show themselves. Up to this time the child is a child of the race; during this period it becomes the offspring of its parents. And the factors of heredity—father, mother, ancestry—are mingling and clashing and combining with the factors of environment, and what the outcome is going to be, nobody knows, in specific cases, in advance.

This is the period when the heart, the lungs, and the brain are being transformed, modified, whipt into shape for the performance of the duties of adulthood. It is a period when, in the intellectual realm, because of what is taking place in the physical, concepts are being clarified, relationships traced, ideas formed, things seen in the right perspective, and real reasoning begun. It is the period when, in the moral field, because of what is being accomplished in the physical and the intellectual, principles are being apprehended that will finally enable the individual to distinguish between right and wrong, to organize on principle rather than upon expediency his relationships with his fellows, and eventually to become a[Pg 69] free moral agent, self-controlled and self-directed. It is the period, therefore, when ideals are being formed, habits fixt, character shaped, life plans matured, and professions chosen.

And so, with such an individual and during such a period, what other function of the high school can begin to compare, either in importance or in appropriateness, with the one stated?

It may be objected that I do not include in this function of the high school that which has been during a large portion of its history its foremost work—preparation for college. The seeming omission has not been accidental. I say the seeming omission because, even tho not specifically stated, it is there, for all who should be encouraged to prepare for college. But it has not been made prominent since, in my judgment, it is of minor importance. Note again the function as suggested—to help the child know himself, find out what he wants to do and what he can do best, and then begin getting ready for doing it well. If the specific form of future activity decided upon in a particular instance should call for the contribution of the college, then of course the plan mentioned would include appropriate preparation.

But from what point of view should the high school be regarded and for whom should it be planned? Should it be for the relatively few who go beyond, or for the great majority who do not? It is a fair question and admits of but one answer. The high schools of the State must, of course, give adequate preparation for entrance into the State university. Some of them must—not necessarily every one. It must be the preparatory school, since[Pg 70] both are State institutions and the only ones occupying the field. But it should do vastly more than that. Being of the people, by the people, and for the people, it should be so handled as to serve all, not merely a few, of the people. It is perfectly plain, therefore, where the emphasis should be placed.

Please do not misunderstand me; I am not looking upon this from any narrow point of view, I am not thinking merely of getting these children ready for jobs—certainly not all of them. I am not advocating the transforming of our high schools into trade schools—not at all. What I am urging primarily is a different point of view—and so enlarging and modifying our high school activities and equipment that all our children, instead of only a few, may find there a congenial atmosphere and activities suited to their tastes. If their tastes lie in the direction of carpentering, or of plumbing, or of dress-making, well and good; let them be thus developed and prepared to go out into their community somewhat equipt for remunerative toil and for community service. Why not? Are they not as worthy as those who have tastes and ambitions or a more literary character and who, therefore, look forward to the chair of the teacher, the office of the lawyer, or the practise of a physician? And is not the community under as much obligation to the one as to the other? Some fear that such a program would lessen the number preparing for college, that work of this objective character would be so attractive that all would choose it. These fears are groundless. Children are not all built that way. At any rate it would not lessen the number who ought to go to college—who are adapted to that kind of work. It[Pg 71] would, of course, greatly increase the number attending high schools—holding those who now, because of lack of interest in the work offered, drop out of school entirely and thus swell the ranks of unskilled and unintelligent labor. And that is greatly worth while. My own feeling is, too, that out of the greatly increased attendance of the high school an even larger number than at present would find their way to the university, and that they would be better equipt in point of view and purpose than are many who enter under present conditions. This suggestion is made not to keep boys and girls out of the university, but to send them there with a purpose.

But there is oftentimes a misapprehension as to these two possible programs for the high schools. Preparation for college and preparation for life are by no means antagonistic. Preparation for college is the only kind of preparation for life for him who goes to college. And for him who, during his high school course, plans to go to college, but who at its close, finds himself unable to do so, for economic or other reasons, it should still be the best possible preparation for life that he could have made, and it will be if, as I am urging, it has all the time been based upon his own nature and seeking his normal development in the direction of his dominant interests. And preparation for life should be the very best kind of preparation for college, for him who later changes his plans and goes to college as well as for him who does not, since the college itself should be regarded as merely completing preparation for life. But a great many, the majority, no doubt, will not go to college, should not go to college, or to put it better, perhaps, need not go to college. The activ[Pg 72]ities of life, psychical as well as manual, for which they are best adapted by native endowment, and in the performance of which they will, therefore, be happiest, and thru which they will, therefore, contribute most to the welfare of society, do not need for their satisfactory performance school preparation beyond the high school period. In other words, a great many boys and girls should not be urged to go to college. They should not if they do not have within them those characteristics of leadership which, developed, will make them leaders. The college graduate who, in later life, is a street car conductor, or a Pullman porter, or what-not, has largely wasted the time and money spent in college. And this is not because these occupations are not honorable, but because they do not call for that kind of preparation. And the kind of an individual who is at home as a street car conductor does not usually profit greatly by the work of the college. I will not put it as David Starr Jordan is said to have done, that "It does not pay to give a fifty-cent boy a five thousand dollar education." It is not a question of dollars and cents—rather one of fitness and of fitting. The so-called "fifty-cent boy" who may have been given the "five thousand dollar education" and because of its inappropriateness degenerated into a ten-cent man, might have been made into a thousand dollar man if he had been given the right kind of education. The boy who has the instincts of a blacksmith, who likes the shaping of iron and the shoeing of horses and the smell of the forge, will be a far happier and more useful member of society as a blacksmith than, made over by the college, as a[Pg 73] lawyer without clients, a physician without patients, or a teacher always hunting a new position.

I have discust the high school, as you see, from the point of view of the developmental needs of the children of the community. The outcome would have been practically the same had I looked upon it from the standpoint of the industrial needs of the community. I fully believe that a high school should be to-day just what it was originally planned to be back there in the first half of the nineteenth century—a school higher than the elementary, controlled by the community, in co-operation with the educational leaders of the State, serving the needs of the community, fitting its boys and girls for service in the community and discriminating, if at all, in the favor of the group of boys and girls who are not going to college, since that group is much the larger. Since boys and girls are nearer to us than industrial needs, I have chosen to look at the problem from that angle.

I am well aware that my point of view in this entire matter is not quite in accord with the present-day program. The American high school still has preparation for college as the one dominant object. Its curriculum is planned for that end. It is rated at first, second, or third class, depending upon the degree in which it meets college entrance requirements—not upon the degree in which it serves the community needs or develops the community's children.

I realize fully that the change suggested would involve quite a decided rearrangement of the ordinary high school program. With the time at my disposal it will be impossible to discuss the matter in[Pg 74] detail, but it should be touched upon briefly to get the matter of relationship clearly before us.

The first change would be in the matter of organization: instead of having the elementary school, as now, covering eight years and closing with the child at the age of 14, it should cover but six years, sending the child to the high school at about the age of 12, at which time, approximately, begin those physical and psychological changes earlier spoken of, as belonging to adolescence. And that thought has taken root, as we all know, in the junior high school movement. Six years is long enough to do well all that the elementary school should be expected to do. It certainly is as long as children can be held interested in the kind of work thought necessary for the child, and as long as he can be happy in the atmosphere of the ordinary elementary school. It is long enough for the laying of foundations. It is time something else should be taken up.

Planning to meet the needs of adolescents, we must take the adolescents as they are—many of them not primarily students of books, but individuals of ceaseless activity, physical as well as mental, vastly more interested in the doing of things than in the learning of lessons. And we must provide a means whereby they can learn to do all sorts of things that have to be done in the community. The subject matter, the methods of handling young life, the atmosphere, the activities, and the ends in view, should be so changed or modified, or supplemented as to be appropriate to the new and changing personalities to be affected by them. The details would differ with different communities but the principle is adaptable to all.[Pg 75]

The State University

With the functions of these two departments thus clearly in mind, let us look at the next in order—the State university. Fortunately this discussion need not detain us long since there is a quite well recognized unanimity of opinion in regard to its work.

While the State university does many things, and some of them well, and while it can be said to have many ends in view, its one all-inclusive function is to prepare leaders for society. It must prepare leaders in law, that justice may be done; leaders in medicine that health may be preserved; leaders in engineering that the State's resources may be developed; leaders in education that the youth of the State may be educated; leaders in research that the boundaries of knowledge may be pushed out—leaders all along the line that character may be formed, statesmanship developed, and the welfare of the people secured and preserved. And the preparation of all these is not, primarily, that those prepared may achieve fame or amass fortunes, but that society may be better served.

We are all agreed, in the United States, that elementary education should be universal. Many are now taking the position that I have already advanced that secondary education should likewise reach and serve all. But all stop at that point. No one even suggests a college education for every boy and girl. And the reason is found in the above statement of the function of the institution, since not all are suited to leadership. It takes only the relatively few who stand out clearly in their high school experi[Pg 76]ences as possessing the characteristics of leadership, and these few it develops, equips, locates.

Coming a little closer to our subject—tho I think we have not been very far from it at any time—let us inquire as to this relationship along some more specific lines.

It goes without saying that the relationship should be very cordial. The two institutions are creatures of the State, partners in the important work of educating the children of the State. Each has its own work to do, and neither has been given any authority over the other. At the same time each depends upon the other, neither being able to do its own work without the other's assistance. They should work hand in hand, each assisting the other in every possible way to realize its largest usefulness to the community and the State. In general, the high school should send its students to the university well equipt to do the lines of work for which they respectively apply. And the university, knowing in each case just what that work is to be, and the difficulties it presents, should be the judge as to the details of that equipment.

On the other hand, the university should not make requirements for beginning its work that are beyond the capacity of the ordinary high school student. Nor should it definitely require or legislate against specific subjects upon which there is no general agreement among educational leaders. Something is wrong somewhere, in the matter of educational values, when some colleges absolutely prescribe for entrance certain subjects for which others will give no credit at all: for example, at the present time 91 colleges in the United States require at least one[Pg 77] unit of natural science and 8 colleges will not accept a single unit; again, 13 require 2 units of natural science and 22 will not accept the two. Until we know a little better than we do at present what we are doing and why we are doing it, it might be well to move slowly in legislating for or against specific subjects. The university should keep in mind the fact that the high school has other duties to perform—and possibly more important ones—than preparing a few students for the university.

I am glad to say that in this matter of entrance requirements the two institutions are gradually coming closer together. The university is coming to have greater respect for and more confidence in the high school and its work. Whereas in the earlier days all entrance work was rigidly prescribed, now, in nearly all of our higher institutions, several units are open to free choice from a list of accepted subjects. In a goodly number these units may be chosen from any subjects offered by an approved high school. And, too, there are five institutions of good standing that allow the entire 15 units to be thus chosen. Our own, as you doubtless know, is much more generous in this matter than the great majority. It gives a margin of 5 units to be thus selected. I think there are but 9 institutions in the whole country more liberal. As you know, too, in all our colleges save Engineering we specifically require but 4 units—3 in English and 1 in mathematics. From the others free election among groups is allowed. The movement here and elsewhere seems to be in the direction of requiring the completion of a full four-year high school course, with increasing flexibility as to specific subjects. And that seems wise.[Pg 78]

It gives me pleasure, at this point, to say that the relationship between the University of North Dakota and the high schools of the State has ever been most cordial. I think there has never been a time when the two, tho differing at times in details, have not co-operated in the most frank and cordial manner to bring about the best good of both and to secure the best service to the State. Neither one has been selfish, trying to secure undue advantage over the other. Where domination of the university over the high school can be seen—as it most certainly can be seen—and even tho, as I have said, the work of the high school is what it ought not to be—mainly a preparation for the university—this University and these high schools are not at fault. It is not a local situation. It is nation-wide, and even nation-wide as it is, it does not include, consciously and directly, the State universities. The older colleges and universities did dominate, but the relation between the State university and the high school has ever been cordial. They have always recognized their partnership and have acted in accordance with it. But yet we have all been caught in the maelstrom, and it would be difficult for any one institution or any one State to get out of it. So no immediate or rapid change can be expected. Large bodies move slowly. The change will come, but it will come gradually thru claiming a little here and granting a little there.

But before leaving this topic of entrance requirements, I desire to refer to one of its broad factors and touch, incidentally, upon the large matter of university attendance in general. In discussing the high school, and again the university, I have tried to make clear the fact that not all high school stu[Pg 79]dents should be urged or expected to go on to the university. Remember that the high schools should be made to serve all the youth of the State but that the university's work is to take but the choice ones of these, or, better yet, the scholarly output of the high schools, and equip them for leadership in society, and the point is clear. It is a new problem but coming to be a very real one. Going to college is getting to be the fashion—almost a fad in some places. We all know that a goodly number of students, boys and girls alike, enter the universities, East and West, every year who have no characteristics of leadership, who are not fitted for real university work, either in academic equipment, maturity of judgment, point of view, or earnestness of purpose. Many of these young people are wholly worthy, well meaning, and ambitious in a weak way, but they have been misguided. They have listened to the attractive preaching of the popular but unintelligent gospel of college attendance for all and, caught by the glamor—the foot-ball, the track meet, the declamation contest, the fraternity pin, the Junior prom, etc.—have answered the hail of "All aboard for the University!" without knowing what university work really is or what it is for.

The college and the university are also coming to be thought a convenient place for rich fathers to dump their incorrigible sons and marriageable daughters for a few years. And in some sections these rich fathers are increasing in numbers at an alarming rate. The presence of all such people (they can not be called students) in various classes is a drag, and the wheels of the institution are clogged. These people themselves are soon disillu[Pg 80]sioned but ashamed to quit; the home people are dissatisfied with results; the university is unjustly blamed for not developing them into leaders—there is trouble all around. I am not speaking of our own institution alone; others are experiencing the same difficulty and are seeking a way out. Michigan University, for example, is now urging its alumni to discriminate carefully in sending students to their Alma Mater; it wants only those fitted by nature as well as by the preparatory school.

As said above, this is coming to be a real problem and difficult of solution. What shall be the relationship of the university to the high school touching these various classes of its graduates? Should it receive them all? If not, where shall the line be drawn? And who shall draw it? Shall one factor of the entrance requirements be the recommendation of the high school principal or superintendent? Would it be well for the high school to have two distinct grades: one for local graduation and a higher for university entrance? That is done in some places. The entire matter is worthy of careful thought of both high school and university.

With the discussion of one more point of contact, the preparation of teachers for the high schools, I am thru.

If, as stated above, the great function of the State university is to provide leaders for society, then, in a broad way it is easy to answer the question as to what it should do for the preparation of teachers for high schools—it should prepare them. For where else is clear-headed, unselfish leadership more needed than in the high schools from the students of which are being selected, thru direction and competition,[Pg 81] the boys and girls who are to pass out to the colleges and then into the world as leaders? We all know that that is what happens. The man or woman, untouched by college or university, who yet occupies a responsible position of leadership is an exception to the rule. And where else than in a university can preparation for high school teaching be secured? But of what sort should be this preparation? The answer to the question in general has long been clear—it should be professional as well as academic in character. Mere acquaintance with the subject to be taught is no longer held adequate by people at all intelligent along educational lines. And during the progress of the movement that has demonstrated to us the need of professional preparation, there has been worked out also, along somewhat general lines, the details of this preparation. We are now, the country over, in approximate agreement that it should cover the History of Education, Philosophy of Education, Psychology, including the study of adolescence, and Methods of Teaching. Institutions differ somewhat in minor matters within these broad fields, but the development of the movement in the United States has resulted in approximately the above program—professional preparation for all teachers in the high school and that along the four lines suggested. But the movement has gone much farther than suggested by my statement. The results are found in something more authoritative and more permanent than tentative agreement among educational leaders, or even among educational institutions. The law-making bodies of the land have taken a part, and by legal enactment have required about what I have suggested. The[Pg 82] State of North Dakota, for example, requires professional equipment of every teacher within its borders—no, not quite, it does not require it of its teachers in the special schools—the reform school, the schools for the deaf, blind, and the feeble minded—nor in its institutions of higher education, including the normal schools and the University. And in this North Dakota does not differ from other states of the Union. But it is strange, isn't it? that the state absolutely requires professional preparation of all its elementary and secondary teachers and yet does not require it of those whom it engages to equip them? Some of them have it, of course, and the majority of those who give the specifically professional courses, but the greater number of all teachers in the higher institutions are lacking in this respect. That doesn't mean that all university teachers are poor teachers. Many of them have learned how to teach in the crude and expensive school of experience. They have, at last, the professional equipment, but gained at high cost. Perhaps this lack of professional equipment accounts, in a mesure, for the admittedly poor character of much of the teaching in our colleges, normal schools, and universities.

But to come back to the high school and the preparation of high school teachers. What does North Dakota require, and how does the University meet the requirement?

All teachers in classified high schools, save special teachers of music and drawing, are required to hold certificates that presuppose proficiency in psychology, history of education, principles of education, school administration, and methods. Special teach[Pg 83]ers in music and drawing are required to have covered in professional lines only psychology and pedagogy. But in cases where the certificate is granted on the basis of college work instead of on results of an examination, the law requires that the applicant shall have covered at least two year-courses, or sixteen semester hours, of professional work, and it recommends that this be distributed among the four great fields: history of education, principles of education, methods of teaching, and school management.

The School of Education has been organized within the University for the specific purpose of preparing teachers for the high schools of the State. To graduate from the School of Education and thus receive the B.A. degree and the Bachelor's Diploma in teaching, which is accredited by law as a first-grade professional certificate, and also to be recommended for teaching specific subjects in the high-school, an applicant is required, first, to have specialized, academically, in the subject to be taught. The amount of work required for this specializing varies with the different subjects, but in most cases it is from 20 to 24 semester hours. Recall what is meant by the work of a semester hour and you will easily see how broad our academic requirement is. It means that in addition to one's high school work he is required to carry the subject in practically daily recitation for from 2½ to 3 years in the University. To some that may seem too much, but we feel that the first requirement for teaching in the high school should be a thoro grounding in the subjects to be taught.

The academic matter thus disposed of, let us note[Pg 84] the professional. For this, in its various phases, we require 20 semester hours covering psychology, history of education, secondary education, philosophy of education, and methods of teaching academic subjects in which the student has been specializing and which he expects to teach. The course in methods includes observation and practise teaching of the same subjects in the Model High School under expert supervision. Many of our students voluntarily take more than 20 hours, but that is all that is required. We have cut down the professional requirement to the minimum so as to leave ample opportunity within the course for thoro mastery of the subjects to be taught, and also for general culture and the development of broad-mindedness, not being willing to send teachers into the high schools as narrow specialists.

Were there time I should like to go more into detail in regard to these various requirements and try to show the contribution of each; but I must pass on to speak of another way by means of which the University enables students to meet the legal requirements for teaching in the high schools—thru the College of Arts. A student who graduates from the College of Arts and who has had, during the progress of this course, 16 hours of Education is, upon application to the State Board of Education and the payment of a fee of $5, granted a first grade professional certificate. But this method of preparation is seen to be quite unsatisfactory when contrasted with the one just outlined. The Arts student is a relatively free lance, practically wholly so in the choice and arrangements of his professional work. In the School of Education the program is for all[Pg 85] the professional subjects, save general psychology, to be taken after the beginning of the junior year and so immediately prior to the actual work of teaching, and too, when the student is relatively mature. But with the Arts student, it may all be taken much earlier, during relative immaturity and making a long period elapse between it and the work of teaching—quite long enough for the influence of the professional atmosphere, always valuable in such matters, to be wholly lost. The question of the professional work of the School of Education student is carefully planned to meet the ends in view. Each course has its definite contribution. The Arts student may, and often does, select courses that are not the most appropriate for high school teaching: for example, instead of a course in adolescence he may select one in child study which deals only with the child in the grades. Instead of a special methods course in the subjects he plans to teach in high school, he may select a course in methods in elementary subjects; and he may not take any course in secondary education nor have any practise teaching in the Model High School. The work may be—quite often is—ill-arranged and of little value as a professional preparation for high school teacher.

I have dwelt upon this contrast because the University and its School of Education has suffered by the laxness of this second mode of preparation. Some of the people who thus go out are not good representative products of the institution's professional activity.

Just a closing word as to this phase of the subject. You see what we are trying to do and how we are trying to do it. From the work of the young[Pg 86] people whom we have sent you from time to time, how successful have we been? Our work as to time and content of courses and our general equipment are about the same as found in similar institutions in other states. We differ somewhat, of course, in personalities and in individual point of view but, taking everything together, we are doing the best we know how with the material that you send us as students. How does our product suit you? What criticism have you to make and what changes to suggest?[Pg 87]

[Pg 88]

[Pg 89]



An Address delivered at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada, March 30, 1916, in the Exchange Lectureship existing between the University of Manitoba and the University of North Dakota. It was printed in the "American Schoolmaster," December, 1916

Having accepted the kind invitation of the University of Manitoba to be one of the exchange lecturers from the University of North Dakota, for the current year, I made inquiry as to the nature of the different groups of people whom I should be expected to address. I did this so as to be able to select appropriate themes for discussion.

For this gathering, therefore, semi-popular in character and made up, as I was told it would be, of the more thoughtful and intelligent people of the community, University, and city, I selected as my topic for discussion, "The University and the Teacher."

To a group of educated men and women who have visions—people who are characteristically looking beyond the present and trying to plan for the development of a great democratic state and for the welfare of a free people, I know of no line of thought more appropriate or suggestive. This is true because in such a state and with such a people, the state or provincial university is the recognized leader of thought and action. And this is true since the one great function of such an institution is to take the choice youth and maidens from the various sections of the state and, thru the work of the class room day in and day out, week by week,[Pg 90] year after year, give them knowledge, shape their opinions, mold their characters, and develop their minds, and then send them back into society as recognized leaders of the next generation.

The topic is doubly suggestive when we stop to inquire as to what makes a university or any other institution of learning—what it is that really gives it its reputation, its character, its influence. What is it, anyway? Its towering brick walls? Its libraries and its laboratories? Its athletic prowess? Its beautiful campus? Why, no, of course not. Not any one of these nor all of them combined, complete and extended and excellent as they may be, or as useful as they all are, ever yet made or ever can make a great university. A real university, or any other institution of learning, is made up of the men and the women who form its student and its teaching bodies. The character of the institution, its very life blood, is drawn from them. Their points of view, their motives, their scholarships, their visions, their aspirations, make it what it is in every instance.

You recall that ex-President Garfield's description of a university included only two factors as essential—the teacher and the student. The external equipment—buildings, libraries, laboratories—what not—is merely a tool in their hands. Please do not misunderstand me. I am not inveighing against these things; they are necessary. What I am insisting upon is that not things but teachers make a university. And so my topic, "The University and the Teacher," launches us at once into the midst of a great big thought. So big, indeed, it is, that it goes without saying that it cannot be adequately handled in the brief space of a single address. Only[Pg 91] certain phases of the large topic can be touched upon at all, and they treated but briefly.

But, after all, the function of a speaker, certainly upon such an occasion as this, is not merely to give information. It is not to speak with finality upon any subject. Is it not, rather, to direct the thoughts of the listeners along worthy lines? For any good that shall result from the meeting together of speaker and audience will be the direct outcome of their thoughts and not of his words. So, after having thus spoken briefly of the university as a whole—of its place in the state, its great influence and that of its teaching body—I invite you to think with me as I touch the subject here and there briefly discussing these three sub-topics: 1. The Kind of Teachers the University should Employ; 2. The University Teacher in His Classroom; 3. The University's Attitude Toward the Preparation of Teachers. Our first discussion, then, will be of

The Kind of Teachers the University Should Employ

A few moments ago I said that the one great function of a State University was to provide the State with a competent leadership. That involves, however, a subsidiary function of such great importance, especially as we regard the teaching force, that an added word is needed both to prevent misunderstanding and to make clear the line of discussion of this sub-topic. The development of a competent leadership is the all-embracing function of such an institution, but that can not be done save as the institution is, at the same time, thru some or all of[Pg 92] its teachers, keeping fully abreast, or well in the lead, of the discovery of new knowledge and of new applications of knowledge in the various fields of human endeavor. And this is true because men can not be leaders in any field of action unless they possess the fullest and latest items of knowledge obtainable in that particular field, and again because real leadership can not be developed save thru the use, as educative material, of the fullest and latest.

What kind of teachers should the university employ? Clearly, teachers who can do these two things: men of open and enquiring minds, men of imagination, men who are hungry and thirsty for knowledge, men of research—men of the laboratory and the library. But that is but one side; we must also have men of vision, men of great breadth of view, men of broad human sympathies, men who can take this knowledge, old and new, and with it, as educative material, help to shape opinions, and mold characters, and fashion destinies, thus transforming crude, unstable, and immature youth into men and women of virtue, and knowledge, and courage, and sanity, and poise, into whose trust, therefore, can be placed the guiding of a great, free, developing people—men of the classroom, teachers and inspirers of youth.

The question may well be asked if I mean two groups of teachers, a research group and a teaching group, neither one acting within the field of the other. Not necessarily and certainly not absolutely. To quite an extent the two functions should overlap since each supplements the other. The man of research should also be a teacher in order both to keep his human sympathies alive and as a spur to still[Pg 93] further search. And every teacher should be, to some extent, a man of research so that thru his own joy in discovery he will be able to kindle a like fire in the minds of others, thus keeping the spirit of discovery alive and active in the land, and also that he may invite his students to drink at a living stream instead of a stagnant pool. The teacher who is not also a student, and continually working at it, is usually but a poor teacher. But while all this is true, it is probably true also that no person is equally successful in both fields. Some men are primarily teachers—are in their element in the classroom engaged with the problems of the student but only indifferently successful in the laboratory, while others, at home in the laboratory, are somewhat out of place and ill-at-ease in the classroom. I shall not attempt to say which of the two functions is the more important or the more useful. Both are needed and, as said before, both are needed, to some extent, in each. But, in the main, where characteristics are marked, the shoemaker should be allowed to stick to his last. It is a very wise procedure that is more and more being followed at the present time, in American universities, of recognizing such differences and making provision for research professorships that include no teaching duties whatever. The percentage of these should be small, of course.

What kind of a teacher should the university employ, then? The teacher who is eager to push the boundaries of human knowledge a little beyond the point yet reached and who also greatly desires to take knowledge as an instrument and with it develop boys and girls and equip them for leadership in the great world of action. So far as possible the two[Pg 94] kinds of service should be performed by the same person, but yet that is immaterial—the material thing being that both kinds be performed.

What kind of teachers should the university employ? Why, teachers who not only desire to do these two things, but who also know how to do them. If one is to do research work, he should know how to do it, economically and efficiently. His preparation should have included a certain amount of reflection upon the reasons for research and of training in the manner of conducting the same. Likewise, if he is to be a teacher, he should be well grounded in the theory and art of teaching. If he is going to shape opinions, mold character, give points of view, develop human minds, then it goes without saying that his preparation should have included a very thoro study of the human mind in its various relationships, activities, and stages of development. If a teacher is expected to equip young men and women for the duties of life as leaders in the great social, economic, and political activities, he must also possess great stores of knowledge, and likewise know how to impart that knowledge so that it will become equally the possession of others.

The University Teacher in His Classroom

The second of my three topics, "The University Teacher in His Classroom," is an even more intimate one than the one just treated. It is so intimate that perhaps discretion would be the better part of valor, but since I am at a considerable distance from the people and the institutions I am discussing, I feel that I can proceed with comparative safety.[Pg 95]

There is abroad at the present time considerable hostile criticism of our higher education. Our graduates, it is said, are not able "to connect up"; "it takes them two or three years after they get out to find themselves"; "they first have to get rid of a lot of theoretical notions that have been given them before they can learn the practical things of life." President Foster of Reed College, Oregon, puts it thus: "It is possible to graduate from almost any college without an idea in one's head." Professor Wenley, Head of the Department of Philosophy in Michigan University, had about the same thought when he gave me his original definition of an American college as "A so-called institution of higher learning whose chief accomplishment is the inoculation of innocent youth against education." Or shall we put it in the words of our friend Mr. Dooley: "Nowadays when a lad goes to college, the prisidint takes him into a Turkish room, gives him a cigareet an' says: Me dear boy, what special branch iv larnin wud ye like to have studied f'r ye be our compitint perfessors?"

Such are some of the caustic remarks that we occasionally hear. Of course the situation is always exaggerated in such criticisms; but, as the old saw puts it, "Where there's so much smoke, there must be some fire." Where does the trouble lie? All sorts of guesses have been made, and some careful investigations entered into in an effort to discover the cause. The outcome of all such consideration, so far as I am able to learn, throws the responsibility upon the teacher rather than upon the institution as a whole, and upon his teaching ability rather than upon any lack of knowledge. We cannot teach, it[Pg 96] is said. In spite of the knowledge that we possess, we do not know how to present that knowledge so that another can gain it. Nicholas Murray Butler, the brainy President of Columbia University, says, "The teaching of many very famous men [in colleges and universities] is distinctly poor; sometimes it is even worse."

These are rather interesting statements and worthy of thought. What is meant by teaching, anyway? Teaching involves a double process and two persons, both active upon the same matter. Both must be successful for either to be. Teaching is causing to learn, and when there is no learning, there can have been no teaching. "Learning is not merely the correlative idea of teaching, but is one of its constituent elements." No matter how much an instructor may know, no matter how much he may say nor what he may do, if he doesn't cause the student to put forth those mental activities that result in learning, he doesn't teach. And it is claimed that, in many cases, our university instructors do not know how to do this. He knows but he does not know how to cause another to know, is a common criticism.

I suppose it is true, tho loyalty makes me rather dislike to admit it, that with us the poorest teaching in our entire educational system is done in colleges and universities. My own observation both as a student and as a teacher all along the line leads me to say that, in the main, our best teaching is done in the elementary grades, second best in the high schools, and poorest in the higher institutions. Another puts it thus: "We have excellent teaching in the lower primary grades and in the graduate[Pg 97] schools, but between these two extremes, we can call it teaching only by courtesy." Another, the president of a State University, is reported to have said, "I have resolved never again to turn my undergraduates over to young Ph. D.'s. It takes five years to make a commonsense teacher of a raw doctor fresh from three years of graduate work."

If these statements are true, and I am afraid that there's much of truth in them, the situation is rather serious. Still, it isn't at all surprising when one takes the whole matter into consideration. For relatively few university instructors have given any attention to the matter of teaching itself. They have studied the subject matter with which they are to deal. They have become proficient so far as knowledge is concerned. No fault can be found with them touching the matter of erudition. But they have not given any reflective thought to the art of teaching. They have not made a study of the human mind in its development in order to know how it receives knowledge as mental nourishment, and to understand the assimilative process; they have not given themselves to a systematic and scientific study of human life so as to know how to handle it in its various moods and characteristics. How differently these good people would have planned if they had expected to practise Law, or Medicine or to enter the Ministry! In every such case they would have made professional preparation for their work. Isn't it strange that any one should think that this profession—the most important—could be practised with success in its higher realms, by people who have never given its practise one moment's attention? President Butler, in giving reasons for poor college[Pg 98] teaching, says, "Too few instructors are interested in education."

I am reminded of Socrates' shrewd parody of a supposed speech of Euthydemus who, totally ignorant of statecraft, desired election to an important position in the government of the city of Athens. It is suggestive here: "I, O man of Athens, have never learned the medical art from any one, nor have been desirous that any physician should be my instructor; for I have constantly been on my guard, not only against learning anything of the art from any one, but even against appearing to have learned anything; nevertheless confer on me this medical appointment, for I will endeavor to learn by making experiments upon you." Comment is unnecessary.

There are three kinds of knowledge that every teacher should possess, that every successful teacher does possess: first, knowledge of the subject matter with which he deals; second, knowledge of the human mind which he is trying to stimulate; and third, knowledge of the way to bring these two together in a helpful manner. Of the three, I am afraid that university instructors have, in the main, but the first. At any rate, all they know of the other two is of an empirical character and what they have picked up incidentally. There are exceptions, to be sure. Every worthy institution has them, striking exceptions, too, some of them are. A few of our older men have become good teachers thru practise and experiment, and an occasional young man now comes with professional preparation. But yet, as in so many other matters, the exceptions merely prove the rule.

Thus equipt, or rather with this serious lack of[Pg 99] equipment, the young university instructor begins his work. If he is, to use the words of the university president just quoted, "a raw doctor fresh from three years of graduate work," he probably begins by copying the methods of procedure of his own recent instructors. He tries to set these immature boys and girls at research problems and, in classroom, tries to impart information by the lecture method.

How well I remember such an instance in my own freshman days. I fell into the hands of such an instructor in Greek. We were reading that most charming of Greek stories—The Odyssey. Textual criticism was this man's hobby, and we were put to work trying to compare texts, to delve into the intricacies of form and structure—trying to improve upon Homer! Such information as we could not find he gave us, in the formal lecture, day after day. But when we got it, we did not want it because we did not know what to do with it. Now, I am not quarreling with textual criticism. It would have been all right for that young doctor (he was younger than I was at that time) to deal with the facts of textual criticism, with some people, at some time, but it was all wrong for him to attempt to give those facts to us in our freshman year in the College of Arts. They were not adapted to our intellectual needs. They did not fit into our mental stomachs. We could not keep them down, or in, or something. But the pathetic fact was that the instructor did not know that they did not fit. I, being older than many in the class and thus appreciating better the barrenness of the Greek pasture in which we were trying to graze, finally managed, by a little skilful maneuver, to escape and to join another group that happened[Pg 100] to be in the care of a real teacher who knew not only Homer but, as well, freshman boys and girls, the reasons for teaching Homer to freshmen boys and girls, and how to do it. He was acquainted with both the science and the art of teaching. Oh, how green was the pasture here, and how abundant and how nutritious the food! In all my university experience I recall nothing more delightful.

But this is ancient history? Yes, I know it is. But yet, I am sorry to say, history repeats itself. Those three great mistakes that that young doctor made in my Greek class some twenty or more years ago are being made this very year by young doctors and by old doctors and by many who are not doctors at all, in one subject or another, in well-nigh every college or university in the United States. Our instructors do not know well enough how to adapt knowledge to human needs; they have the erroneous notion that the chief function of an educational institution is to impart information; and, too, many of them are afflicted with the lecture craze.

Touching these three mistakes, let me say, briefly: first, as to the adaptation of knowledge: the word education is derived from the Latin educo, educare, and means to nourish, and nourishment, physical, mental, or moral, is never secured save as the food is adapted to the organism. And just as much care as our scientific dietitians give to our dining-room service, our university instructors should give to the mental and moral pabulum that they serve to their students, especially the lower classes if not the entire body of undergraduates. They should know this knowledge as mental nourishment; they should know the condition of the mind, and they should[Pg 101] know how to select and prepare this food for digestion and assimilation.

As to the second mistake, the undue emphasis upon the mere imparting of knowledge: let me quote a few words from President Wilson, uttered when President of Princeton University: "We should remember," said he, "that information is not education. The greater part of the work that we are doing in our colleges to-day is to impart information." I am afraid that he is correct. I am very much afraid that that is mainly what we are doing. But it is wrong. The greater part of our work should not be to impart knowledge. It should be to assist in interpreting the knowledge that the student himself gets—to fit it to his own life needs and to help him learn how to study and how to think for himself. In other words, this information in which we deal should not be an end in itself, but a means to an end. And that end should be development, mental power, point of view—character. To be sure, we must deal in knowledge facts (do not, I beg of you, misunderstand me) but not for the mere possession of those facts.

And lastly the lecture craze, under the domination of which otherwise sensible people get into the habit of supplying information to students who already know how to read instead of telling them where to find it and then discussing it with them. How common it is! But why? Simply because it is easy. How much easier it is than to conduct a real live recitation in which there is the give and take, the action and reaction, of eager vigorous young minds, where the instructor is the agency of interpretation and the inspiration! To conduct such an exercise[Pg 102] with from thirty to fifty bright college students and keep them on the alert is no lazy man's task. It requires brains and skill, whereas anybody can do the other thing! President Foster is correct in saying, "There should be fewer lectures ... the easiest of all methods of instruction."

Again let me give an illustration drawn from my own sad experience, just to show what at least some of this lecturing is. This, you see, is getting to be a confession as well as an exposition. I was taking a course in the History of Philosophy. It was given by a man well known in the educational world, then and now. He was well thought of both as a teacher and a man. He read his lectures from manuscript. We were supposed to put into our note books every golden word that dropt from his inspired lips. And the most of us tried to do so, and in the effort got down some that were not golden. I did as the rest did till one day, fresh from the lecture, I went into the library and chanced upon a copy of Burt's "History of Greek Philosophy." I opened it and shortly found the very discussion, and some of the very sentences, word for word, that I had just copied with so much labor into my note book. And they were in print, too, so much easier to read than my note book writing! I at once sent to the publisher for a copy of the book and took no more notes in that course. Nor did I take any more courses under that instructor.

And so it was in a course in history—only there the kind old professor was naïve enough to tell us the name of the book from which he got his lectures. And again, let me say that history repeats itself.[Pg 103] Am I wrong in my criticism? Let me quote from one whose words carry more weight than do mine—Nicholas Murray Butler, President of Columbia University—(Ed. Rev. Apr., 1915, p. 399): "To use—or rather to abuse—the academic lecture by making it a medium for the conveyance of mere information is to shut one's eyes to the fact that the art of printing has been discovered. The proper use of the lecture is the critical interpretation by the older scholar of the information which the younger has gained for himself. Its object is to inspire and to guide and by no means merely to inform."

I do not mean to condemn the lecture method absolutely. There are certain lines of work in which it is quite necessary. This is true in some advanced courses, especially in the sciences, where an instructor is doing both lines of university work—carrying on research and giving his advanced students the results of his findings. Of course these have not yet been embodied in a text or other printed form and cannot be thus given.

And this same justification can be urged for some of the work in our professional schools where both the material used and the end sought are different. In still another line of work the lecture is permissible—if it deal with a relatively new subject or with new phases of an old subject not yet covered by a satisfactory text. But here it need not continue long because some enterprising instructor will soon satisfy the need. The formal lecture has therefore no place in the earlier and but slight place in the later years of undergraduate work. Its place should be taken by the text and reference book and the[Pg 104] class discussion. One of the finest accomplishments that we can help our students to gain is the ability to master the book.

Then, in conclusion, touching the matter of teaching, fidelity to truth compels me to admit, tho reluctantly, that much of it is very poor. It satisfies the external demands and that is about all. It is not of a character to kindle enthusiasm nor to develop high ideals of scholarship. Much of it, I said, not all. Every institution has some good teachers, some very excellent ones, but no institution is overstockt with species of that genus. The great majority of our undergraduates are poorly taught. That examination mortality is not greater than it is is due to two fine qualities, one in the student body and the other in the instructors. It speaks eloquently of the initiative of the students, and demonstrates that instructors can be fair even if they can't teach. Many times we know that we are to blame for the poor work of the student and, knowing it, will not visit the penalty upon the unoffending head.

The reason for this lamentable situation can be traced to two practises: In the first place, up to the present time, as said before, very few prospective college teachers have made any professional preparation for their work as teachers. In the second place, it is the almost universal custom to place the freshmen and sophomores, by all means our largest classes and the ones in greatest need of skilled teachers, in the hands of young instructors who have not yet learned how to teach. Relief will come thru two changes; first, when either the State or the governing board of the college shall demand professional preparation of every one allowed to occupy a teach[Pg 105]ing position, just as we do now for positions in the elementary and secondary schools. And if any one should raise a question as to the value of such preparation, my only but all-sufficient answer is to point to the universally recognized improvement in the character of teaching in those parts of our educational system since that requirement was put into effect. And the second needed change is this—for Presidents seeking teachers to ask candidates two questions instead of one as heretofore: first, of course, the question should be, "What do you know?" Satisfied as to that, let the second come clear and strong, "Can you teach?" And until an affirmative answer is demonstrated, let the appointment be withheld. It might be salutary, too, in dealing with the forces on the ground, to follow President Foster's suggestion given in these words: "It would be well if more teachers were dismissed because they fail to stimulate thinking of any kind."

I come now to the last of my three sub-topics,

The University's Attitude Toward the Preparation of Teachers for the Schools of the State

Fortunately, its discussion need not detain us long. What should be that attitude? If you will analyze the relationship existing between the teachers of a state and that state's progress and development, and then recall my brief discussion of the function of a State University—to provide leaders—the answer to the question is at once apparent. The logic of the situation is clear. For what other body of people in a state are so clearly the state's leaders[Pg 106] as the teachers? Always intellectually and, for the most part, in these days, morally and physically, the teachers in our schools mold the coming generation and guide it into paths of progress and accomplishment. This is true of the teachers of a state more than of any other group of people within its borders not excepting the ministry.

We have, in the States, a system of State Normal Schools maintained for the purpose of preparing teachers for the elementary schools. Each state of the Union has from one to a dozen of these institutions. North Dakota has three. The course of study covers from one to two years' work in advance of a four-year high school course. In the East it is usually two years, in the West, one. This work is partly academic and partly professional and is always supposed to include a certain amount of practise teaching under expert supervision.

The elementary teachers thus provided for by the normal schools, there are left for preparation at the university teachers for the secondary schools, for city superintendencies, special teachers of various kinds, and teachers for college and university positions. And this latter is a work, it seems to me, the State University must perform. They are already doing this, to quite an extent, for the high schools; a few are doing it well and the rest are working in that direction. A few, too, are taking up the more advanced phases of the work and are competent to prepare for college teaching. The movement is strongly on.

It may not be uninteresting for me to trace this movement briefly as it has developed with us. For it has been a development. Our system of education[Pg 107] was not planned at the beginning from a careful theoretical study of our present or prospective educational needs, but has grown up, little by little, step by step, to meet and satisfy from time to time present and pressing needs.

The movement for the professional preparation of teachers began in the first quarter of the nineteenth century in Massachusetts. That state, with others, was suffering from an educational declension that had been going on for a long time. Matters were getting serious. Finally, a few clear-headed, far-seeing leaders made an analysis of the situation hoping to bring about a betterment of conditions. They quickly put the finger upon the sore spot—the poor quality of teaching being done in the schools. A remedy was sought. It was found in the European Normal Schools, an institution devoted to the professional preparation of teachers for the elementary schools. An agitation was begun for its establishment on this side of the water. After many weary years the efforts were crowned with success when, in 1838, the State Legislature of Massachusetts planned for the equipment of three. Thru their work the character of the teaching in the elementary schools was at once improved. Other states followed the example and this new institution soon began its westward sweep, following the development of the country.

This early work, however, had in mind the improvement of teachers for only the common schools, rural and urban. Indeed, at that time no one even suggested that any other teacher needs special preparation. But when, after the Civil War, the high schools began to develop so markedly, the problem of[Pg 108] teachers became a pressing one. Since teachers with normal school preparation were everywhere being recognized as superior to all others in the elementary schools, it was the most natural thing in the world for those in charge of the new high schools to demand professional preparation of their teachers.

But where could it be obtained? Not in the normal schools, because it should be of different character than that planned for elementary teachers. To make a long story short, the universities and colleges took the matter up and provided the professional work thought necessary by adding Departments of Education. Michigan University was the first to act when, in 1878, the Regents established a chair called the "Theory and Art of Teaching." The example was followed by others, and, tho limited in scope and experimental in character, it was at once seen to be justified in the improved character of high school teaching. Improvements were sure to follow. The next step was the expansion of the department of education into the Teachers College, or School of Education, as it is getting to be called, which is now recognized as a professional school of equal rank with the School of Law or the School of Medicine. An essential element of its equipment is a high school for observation and practise under expert supervision, just as an elementary practise school is an essential part of a well equipt normal school.

New York University, in the city of New York, was the first to move in this direction. This was in 1890. For fifteen years progress was slow and halting and confined to private institutions. But it was justifying itself. In 1905 the University of North Dakota effected the larger organization, the first[Pg 109] of the State universities to do so. During the last five or six years, however, several others have fallen into line including such institutions as Missouri, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. The institutions that have not yet effected this change and thus organized schools of education still maintain their Departments of Education and thus try to satisfy the need. The University of North Dakota was also one of the very first to make use of the high school for observation and practise, and in all lines of development has been recognized as occupying an advanced position. Other institutions, older and larger, contemplating a change, have frequently advised with us. If this mention seems borne of institutional pride, I trust that it will also be regarded as pardonable.

Thus the movement—not the result of a theoretical formulation, but a situation forced upon us by the logic of events. It is as logical, however, and as irrevocable, as tho produced by deductive reasoning. An explanation of a statement made earlier in the paper as to the relative teaching abilities of elementary, secondary, and higher teachers, can now be seen in the periods of development of the corresponding professional schools.

What should be the attitude of the university toward the education of teachers? Let us follow the development a little farther.

During the last few years another very interesting phase of the movement has begun to show itself. You will recall that as soon as professional preparation demonstrated its usefulness in improving the character of elementary teaching, it was demanded for teachers in the secondary schools. And now that it has proved efficient in that field, it is being[Pg 110] demanded in the field next higher—the colleges and universities. And this demand, like the others, is no longer confined to professional schools or educational journals—to the people from the inside. It is being taken up by laymen, even the daily papers, and prest with some vigor. To give the point of view, I give a single quotation from an editorial in a recent issue of the Minneapolis Journal: "None of our graduate schools require any course in education or teaching methods, or any previous experience in teaching work for a Ph. D. degree, except, of course, in the field of education, where theory is cultivated, if not practised. May it not be found that the best method to increase the teaching efficiency of the undergraduate instruction in colleges and universities will be to provide every graduate student with definite and detailed instruction in teaching methods for his chosen subject?"

This demand, thus clearly voiced, and coming from many sides, will continue until granted as has been the case with each of the others. And as a result the teaching of our undergraduates will be improved. To do this added work, however, will not require another institution. The present universities, thru their Schools of Education, amplified and strengthened, will supply the need.

Just as the University, thru its Medical School, provides its community with skilled physicians and public health officers to secure and preserve public health, and thru its Law School performs a similar service in sending out men who become competent lawyers and judges to secure the administration of justice, and thru its College of Engineering, its engineers to safeguard property, public welfare and[Pg 111] life itself, so, thru its School of Education, it must provide its teachers for all these and other advanced fields. And all this service must be performed not that individual citizens may be better prepared to make a living, amass a fortune, or achieve fame, but that the community may be served.

So the School of Education, now given equal rank with other professional schools of the university, must ere long be recognized, by virtue of the work thus forced upon it, as, in a very definite way, superior to them all in opportunity and responsibility.[Pg 113][Pg 112]

[Pg 114]

[Pg 115]



A Paper read before the 1914 meeting of the North Dakota State Association of Opticians. It was printed in the May, 1914, issue of "The Optical Journal and Review," also in the same issue of "The Keystone"

I do not know how fully people appreciate the importance of the eye as an agent, or factor, of human cultivation. Judging from the amount of work it is being made to do in our schools and in nearly all our processes of education, we might perhaps be led to feel that its importance is fully appreciated, indeed, that it is being looked upon as the sole factor, or agent. But, on the other hand, this very excessive use, especially in the early school years, leading, as it does in such a large percentage of cases, to serious impairment of vision, almost tells us that its great value is not appreciated. If it were, should we be likely to abuse it as we do in these early years and thus render it incapable of performing its larger, fuller use later on? The attitude seems rather to be that its conservation is not thought to be necessary. That, however, springs from ignorance rather than from studied disregard.

But let us look for a moment at the processes of education and note where the eye comes in. If there is anything upon which leading educators are now practically agreed, or upon which they tend to agree, it is that education as a process is a matter of development rather than the learning of knowledge facts. Now, that development is analogous to the growth and development of the plant, that is,[Pg 116] it is brought about thru nourishment. In the plant this nourishment is taken in thru the roots, becomes absorbed and assimilated and thus ministers to growth and development. In the child, looking at it from the physical point of view and having in mind psychical, not physical, nourishment, the sense organs serve this purpose. Did you ever stop to think that the sense organs form the only connecting link between the great outside world, which serves as raw material for the nourishment, and the inner life of the child, the development of which we are seeking? Did you ever stop to think that these sense organs, the eye, the ear, the nose, the tongue, and the surface of the body as the organ of touch, form the only possible avenue of approach to that inner life? Cut off, or close up, these avenues and no development of this inner life would be possible in the slightest degree. Thus considered, these same sense organs, simple as they seem to be, leap into importance that almost staggers one's thought. The most priceless possession of any child, I often say to my classes in education, is made up of their eyes, their ears, their noses, their tongues, and their finger tips—simply because thru them is poured the nourishment that sustains psychic life and ministers to the development of the same.

Of these five sense organs, the eye is, par excellence, the one of value. More psychic nourishment is poured into the laboratory of psychic life thru this one channel alone than thru all others combined. Indeed, one of our most eminent scientific psychologists after making most careful investigation of the matter, estimates that the eye's contribution is about[Pg 117] 74% as against the other 26% that comes thru all the other sources. If this relative value of the eye be even approximately correct, how eminently important it is that it be studied with close scientific accuracy, that it be guarded with the utmost and intelligent jealousy, and that it be cared for with the most scrupulous fidelity!

But what is the situation? The Optician and the Oculist have made the most careful, scientific study of the eye. They know it thoroly, both its possibilities of service and its limitations. And they have told the rest of us all about it. But let us see how intelligent we are in the use of the knowledge they have given us. They tell us that the eye of the child is undeveloped and that in the undeveloped state it should not be much used on small or close work. In other words, the child's eye is far-sighted. But at the age of six years we place the child in the school room, put a book in its hands, and compel its use, eyes or no eyes, as long as the child remains in any institution of learning. Why, gentlemen, we have gone mad on this book proposition. We act as tho we think that it is only in the book that knowledge can be found. We act as tho we think that it is only thru the printed page that psychic nourishment can reach the inner life of the child, whereas, as a matter of fact, both the knowledge and the nourishment that are appropriate to the child in all its early years are better obtained thru direct contact with the great outside world itself and by direct communication from the lips of the teacher. If this fact were fully appreciated and acted upon, we should, in two very definite ways,[Pg 118] conserve this very important organ; for we should use the eyes upon objects at a greater distance thus preventing unnecessary strain, and allow other organs of sense to share with the eye in the work of gathering information and of appropriating mental nourishment.

Please do not misunderstand me. I am not underestimating the place and value of books, nor decrying their use. They are the storehouse of knowledge and the source of inspiration, but not for children. Our young children in school and out of school read too much—are too much tied to the book. Thru this prolonged and close use of the eye upon small and nearby objects for which, in its undeveloped condition, it is not fitted, the organ is permanently weakened and rendered incapable of its legitimate use later in life when the book is a necessity. And again, this excessive use of the eye causes an atrophy of the other organs that is really serious.

Nor is this all. The Optician and the Oculist have studied the matter so carefully and know the eye so thoroly in its various stages of development that they know exactly the size of type that children of various ages should use. And they know, too, the kind of paper that should be used in books for children. And they have told us all about it. But we systematically disregard all this information gained with such painstaking care, and instead of using the large clear type and the unglazed, soft tinted paper recommended, we persist in tolerating the unsatisfactory merely because it is a little cheaper. Penny wise and pound foolish we surely are. What we save now we shall have to pay later on with compound interest besides compelling our[Pg 119] children to undergo physical pain and mental handicap.

And yet again. We are told by our scientific friends the relative amounts of window and floor space that the schoolroom should have in order to be adequately lighted! Not one in ten has as much window space as it should have, and a good portion of what has been provided is frequently covered up by shades thru the teacher's perverted notion of relative values—seeming to have greater appreciation for certain so-called artistic effects than for eye comfort and safety in work. And then again, these scientific friends of ours have told us that there should be in the schoolroom no cross lights; that the light should not shine upon the blackboards nor into the faces of the children, but that it should come only from the rear and the left and from above. They have found out, too, and told us, the proper shades of color for the walls—scientific knowledge, all of it, and therefore thoroly reliable. But how systematically do we disregard all this valuable information! In the construction of a new school building there is nothing that should receive more careful and scientific consideration than the matter of lighting, but too often the architect is either entirely ignorant of the entire matter, or else is selfishly interested in so-called architectural effects.

I do not mean that we all disregard all these things, that we have no school houses properly constructed, no school books properly printed, and no teachers intelligent and sensible in their handling of boys and girls. Not at all. During the last twenty years we have made long strides in advance along many of these lines in many places. But the bright[Pg 120] spots are still the exception and not the rule. The friends of children and of the race need to keep vigilantly at work.

Now, let us look at the matter from another point of view. Let us ask what are the results of this persistent and widespread disregard of the normal conditions under which the eye should work and of the fundamental laws of eye development. What do we find? Why, we find just what you are prepared to expect after considering the above disregard. We find that, whereas at the beginning of school life the percentage of school children suffering from visual defects is relatively small, that percentage increases as we ascend the grades. In other words, the regular, systematic work of our schools is all the time weakening the eyes—all the time causing serious visual defects. Gulick and Ayers came to this conclusion as one of the results of their exhaustive investigation, made in 1908, which culminated in the well known work on "Medical Inspection of Schools," published at that time. This is all the more striking since they found that the prevalence of other physical defects steadily decreases as the years pass.

An investigation carried on in Jefferson City, Missouri, in 1907-1908, illustrates the point under discussion; 20% of all children in grades one to three inclusive were found to have defective vision, whereas in grades nine to twelve inclusive 40.5% were found thus handicapped. In some parts of Germany the increase in defective vision as children ascend the grades is seen to be much more marked than in our own country. In one particular study that comes to mind, a study of short-sightedness alone (published, however, some years ago) it was shown that[Pg 121] the increase was from practically none at all to approximately 100%. In other words, the work of the schools had made practically every child near-sighted. And the general tendency seems to be in this direction. Indeed, I know of but one study in which a contrary tendency has been observed. And that was in a rural district—St. Louis County, Missouri—where a study was made about four years ago. Under the conditions observed there, the frequency of short-sightedness seemed to diminish with increasing age. And the reasons for this local tendency, being so directly contrary to the general tendency, men have been trying to understand. Various suggestions have been made such as the atmosphere of the rural as against the city districts being, in the main, more favorable from hygienic points of view; or the fewer pupils in the classes in school, thus enabling the teachers to give more personal attention so preventing undue eye-strain; and the shorter school year maintained in the country giving the children less prolonged periods of eye-strain. But whatever be the explanation of this interesting exception, it yet remains true that the regular work of the school, week in, week out, year after year, causes the eyes of our children to deteriorate, or at least the two go hand in hand with grounds for a very strong suspicion in the minds of those who have expert knowledge of the general situation that the one is the cause of the other.

With this point established, namely, that the work of the schools is but ill-adapted to the structure the nature of the child's eye, resulting in steady deterioration, let us try to see how widespread is such deterioration and how serious. This can best be done[Pg 122] briefly thru the use of a few statistics taken from the results of investigations that have been made as to the physical conditions of our school children. From these results I disregard all figures save those that bear on the matter of visual defects since that is our one topic of discussion.

In Cleveland, Ohio, in 1906-1907, a very exhaustive and illuminating investigation was made under the general supervision of Dr. Wallin, one of the most eminent authorities on the relationship of the physical and the mental in the work of our schools. Dr. Wallin called to his assistance many experts, both medical and physical, and his report was a very noteworthy one from many points of view. I touch only two or three points here and there. In one school, the Mayflower, located in a fine residence section of the city, 972 pupils were examined, and 20% of them found to be suffering from some rather serious form of eye defect. In an East End school, another of the so-called better class of schools, 668 children were examined and 32.4% found with defective vision. Even more startling than these were the results found in a school of about the same size in what was called a "congested" district of the city. Six hundred and sixteen were examined and 71.1% found defective.

Another very significant fact was brought to light by this investigation—the disregard paid to the whole matter by parents and teachers. Perhaps I should not include teachers in speaking of this disregard since they have, at best, but advisory power. In the East End school, out of the 668 children examined, 216, or 32.4% were found defective, but only 43, or 6.4%, were being relieved by the use of[Pg 123] glasses. And in the "congested" district the disparity was even more striking since out of the 437, or 71.1% of the entire number who had visual defects, only 11, or 1.8%, were being relieved.

In one investigation made in New York City in 1908, 1,442 pupils were considered, and 42% found suffering from eye defects. In Jefferson City, Missouri, in 1908, the results of the examination of 1,000 white children showed 36.5% suffering from somewhat serious visual defects; and many others in lesser degrees. Of these 1,000 children, 410, or 41%, were found to need the assistance of glasses, but only 38, or 3.8%, were being thus assisted.

In Los Angeles, California, in 1909, 5,000 children were examined, and 61% found to be suffering from the same trouble. Again, in Philadelphia, in 1909, the well-known Dr. Risley found, in an examination of 2,422 children, that 44.7% were continual sufferers from some form of eye trouble. I could easily cite similar results from many more studies, but surely these are sufficient. These are startling facts, and very serious when we think merely of this one fact alone without considering it in its relationship to anything else. But when we stop to consider the fact that these sufferers are children, in the schools, and are thus handicapped in their work of education—in their efforts to fit themselves for the struggle of life—it assumes even larger proportions and becomes truly appalling.

What does it mean? Why, it means, in terms of the school man, retardation and elimination. To the layman those words may need interpretation. Retardation means the checking of a pupil in his educational progress thru the grades, necessitating[Pg 124] the spending of a longer period than that which is considered normal. For example, a normal pupil is one who enters school at six years of age and is promoted each year regularly; or "a pupil whose age and grade correspond to this standard." Thus, the standard age for a second grade pupil, during the year, is 7 years; for a fourth grade, 9 years; and for an eighth grade, 13 years; or in every case, five more than the number of his grade. If one is older than the number of his grade plus five, he is retarded by the amount of the difference; thus a twelve-year-old child in the sixth grade is retarded one year since a sixth-grade child should be but eleven years old. Somehow he has lost a year. Thru failure to do satisfactory work such a child has had to repeat the work of some one of his grades. Elimination means the dropping out of a child from school altogether before the regular course is completed. We find relatively little elimination in the lower grades since the compulsory attendance laws require attendance. But just as soon as the upper limit of age is reached there is much of it.

I do not know how closely you have followed this matter of retardation in the schools and elimination from them, but I think sufficiently to render it unnecessary for me to discuss the matter at length. Let me refer to but one study which is typical as showing the seriousness of the situation. In 1907, Mr. S. L. Heeter, at that time Superintendent of Schools in St. Paul, Minnesota, working under instruction of his Board of School Inspectors, made a very careful investigation as to the matter of retardation in the schools of that city. You may be surprised to learn some of the results. He found[Pg 125] more than one-half, exactly 56%, of all the children in the schools at least one year behind normal grade, and many of them much more than one year behind. To be exact: 12,672 children were below grade. Of these, 6,328 were one year behind; 3,650 were two years behind; 1,689 were three years behind; 651 were four years behind; 221 were five years behind, and 133 were six years behind. Now, what is the cause of such a serious situation? Mr. Heeter, in his report of his findings, speaks as follows:

"There are evidently many causes of this phenomenal retardation—yet it seems likely that one of the largest factors ... is physiological, and that more attention given in our schools to the bodily conditions of our children will throw new light on our educational problems, and even on the subject of backward children, and of delinquency itself." "It appears," he goes on to say, "that the schools have been too exclusively concerned about the minds of children and too little concerned about their bodies. Much time and energy and money have been wasted in trying to make all children equal in mental power, without regard to physical inequalities, until now waste products are clogging our educational machinery." And Mr. Heeter's conclusion is that of all who have studied the matter with any care.

Let me now show the relationship existing between the two, that is, between retardation and physical defects. I can do it briefly by referring to the work of Dr. Cronin in New York City. This is but one instance, but it is typical of conditions. A few years ago, as chief Medical Inspector of the schools of New York City, Dr. Cronin read a paper[Pg 126] before the School Hygiene Association of America in which he made the statement that an examination of all children reported as backward by various teachers revealed 95% of them as physically defective.

Thus, in a hasty way, but I think correctly, I have thrown the chief burden of backwardness in school, or retardation, upon physical defects. But our special topic is eye trouble. How much of this burden must be referred to this specific source? It is difficult to say exactly. But knowing as we do the great prevalence of eye defects among school children, from 20% to 71%, you remember, depending somewhat upon locality and environment; and knowing, too, the close relationship existing between the eyes of our children and the work of the schools (this school work, you know, is nearly all done with the eyes. It should not be, but it is); knowing all this, it is not beside the mark to say that a very large percentage of the retardation must be laid at its doors.

And what are we going to do about it? What should be done? The reform is easily seen to be a many-sided one. It is educational—our teachers should come to know that the book is only one, and not the chief one, of the many sources of knowledge open to the child; it is physiological—we should all know the eye better than we do, its normal use and its limitations; the reform is architectural—our architects and boards of education should realize that the seating and the lighting of school houses should receive most careful consideration; the reform is economic—we should come to appreciate the unwisdom of being "penny wise and pound foolish," and[Pg 127] recall the old saw, "a stitch in time saves nine"; the reform is medical—we should get our people to see that thoro and regular medical inspection of all our school children is the only sensible method of procedure. And so I might go on naming phase after phase of the problem. It is so many-sided that we can not hope for its immediate and perfectly satisfactory solution. But there are certain quite specific ends in view that should at once and all the time be kept before us. Touching the matter of medical inspection, our state law, instead of being merely permissive should be mandatory, and should be made to apply to every school community in the state. Of course, the cry of expense would be at once raised, but it could easily be shown, were there time at my disposal, that it would be an economic mesure rather than one increasing the cost of our schools. Because every time that a child repeats a grade in school, that year's school work in the life of the child has cost the city or school community twice as much as it should. Whenever, as in the case of St. Paul, already cited, a child is two, three, or six years behind normal grade, there is an extra heavy burden of taxation placed on the city. Medical inspection, wherever it has been made effective, has resulted in lowering, very materially, the amount of retardation. And it is looked upon as saving the community very much more than it has cost, saying nothing at all about the added effectiveness of the child for the work of the school nor of his greater happiness. This statement could easily be substantiated were there time. But that is not necessary. It is so apparent that he who runs may read.

But the time when we can expect such a law to[Pg 128] be put in force is, I am afraid, considerably removed from the present. Large bodies move slowly; we must have patience. We must keep steadily at it preaching the good gospel of reform. But in the meantime can we not hasten the glad day of full and complete medical inspection, and at the same time bring relief to a very large number of little sufferers, by throwing emphasis, whenever the opportunity offers, upon the phase of the subject that is before us this morning? The eye trouble is the chiefest of all those of a physical nature. It has far more to do in causing retardation of our boys and girls than any of the other physical defects, and therefore should receive its own prompt and vigorous attention irrespective of everything else. Upon this one point let us have immediate relief and keep it up as rapidly as possible. Let us adopt some program of action which will bring relief as quickly as possible to children suffering from visual defects. For I have no sympathy with the position taken by that foolish mother (perhaps I should be charitable and merely say "ignorant" mother. I think she was both ignorant and foolish), who said to me when I was urging her to have glasses fitted for her little girl, "Why, Mr. Ladd, I can't bear to think of Mary wearing glasses. I am going to keep them away from her just as long as she can possibly get along without them." I replied, "My good woman, if you have any regard for the comfort and well-being of your little girl, or if you care for her progress in school, instead of keeping glasses away from her as long as possible, you should see to it that she has the best that can be procured just as soon as they can be of the slightest assistance." I went on to[Pg 129] tell her that it was entirely possible that the use of the glasses at that time for a year or two might enable her to do without them permanently later on. But she did not get them; of course not. They would not have added to the attractiveness of the little face. How hard it is for the unreflecting to deny themselves a present pleasure, whether in money or pride, for a future good![Pg 131][Pg 130]

[Pg 132]

[Pg 133]



An Extension Lecture delivered in many places in North Dakota and Minnesota

It goes without saying, I am sure, that these three great institutions—the Home, the Church, and the School—fundamental as they are in the life of each, and even of civilization itself, can not be adequately handled in the brief time given to a single address. But yet I think that in that time we can account for each, roughly trace its interesting career, and locate it in our complex life of to-day with function briefly stated. And in it all, or out of it all, directly or indirectly, I think we shall see the relationship existing between the three. This relationship, so strong and so vital, the appreciation of which is so necessary for constructive action and large results in life, I particularly desire to make appear. And it is this relationship that gives appropriateness to the handling of the three in a single address tho each, from a different point of view, might well be made the center of an entire evening's consideration.

The home, the church, and the school! What troops of memories arise around each as we turn our gaze backward! How sweet and sacred appears the home as we recall mother and father, sister and brother, in the old home setting in the early days of our pilgrimage! How solemn and hallowed seems the church as we go back in thought to our first[Pg 134] connections with it in Sunday school, in its communion service, and to our own entrance as members! And how fascinating and joyful, even the sometimes tinged with regret or apprehension, the school as we retrace our pathway over the years of its associations! The home, the church, and the school—but the first of these is the home.

The Home

Let me ask you, therefore, to think with me first of the home—of that institution which in its very inception, more than any other, was God-inspired; that institution which from its very beginning up to the present hour has, more than any other, reflected the spirit and purpose of God—that institution whose center is the child and whose function that child's development—the home. It is the most ancient of all the institutions of man. Organized and set apart at the very dawn of human life, when the morning stars were singing together, the divine Voice gave it sanction and stated its function: "Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth." And the institution, as the ages have passed, has never once lapsed and never repudiated its origin or its work. Still it has advanced so far and improved so much in outward appearance, at any rate, and developed so greatly that, as we know it to-day, we may almost call it a modern institution, so modern indeed and so different from all others as to merit the name of American institution.

Students of history have so laid bare the conditions of living and of home life in the past as to reveal to us the fact that the home, as we know it[Pg 135] and love it, did not exist prior to our own day. In all former periods, even tho glorious to look back upon, some of them, golden days as they were of the world's upward struggle, we search in vain for our kind of a home. The home of the American workman to-day is provided with more comforts and conveniences, has in it more of the elements of culture and refinement, is more eloquent of love and the higher life than was the home of the ruler of a few generations ago. And the chief factors in it all, those which bind all together and give meaning, are the honored place given the wife and mother and, springing from that, love, love of parent for child and child for parent. For we all know, when we come to think of it, that our love of home and dear ones is ever our motive for action as we explore new fields and mark out new paths, overcome obstacles and surmount difficulties—in a word, carry the banners of civilization to new heights!

The home of all people, in all ages of the world's history, but especially as we know it to-day, is the one thing for which men live and work. Stop the first man you meet on the street,—"rich man, poor man, beggar-man, thief, doctor, lawyer, butcher, priest,"—any man, going along with a preoccupied mind, thinking of the case he is to plead, the trade he is to make, the book he is to write. Get into this man's mind, down below this particular thing that is on the surface of it, and down there there is one picture that you wilt always find, the picture of a cozy corner somewhere, of a woman sitting by the table or before the fire, of two or three growing girls, and a boy or two that look like him. Meet him wherever you will, find him in whatever occupation, or[Pg 136] in whatever stage of spiritual or intellectual development; whenever you get under his jacket, whether it be a blouse or a tuxedo, you'll find this picture hanging on the wall of his heart. Ninety-nine men out of every hundred say, with Robert Burns:

"To make a happy fire-side clime
For weans and wife,
That's the true pathos and sublime
Of human life."

And the young man of to-day, looking forth into the years that are to come, picturing himself as and where he would like to be, who sees himself alone, without the joys and companionship of wife and child, the young man who doesn't plan to have a home of his own to which he can lead the choice of his heart and in which he may multiply, thru the development of his own offspring, his powers of usefulness,—such a young man is a selfish monstrosity. And the young woman who isn't longing for a home of her own—for a little kingdom in which as Queen, she may rule jointly with a chosen King in loving ministration to their natural subjects—such a young woman is an abnormal specimen. The desire of every little girl for a doll, the craving of every boy for an animal pet, is but the manifestation of the deep-seated instinct of parenthood. Do nothing to stifle it. Minister to its growth and development. And young man—young woman, you who have left behind the days of knee trousers and short dresses, and with them have laid aside the doll and the pet, think it not weakness when you find yourself irresistibly[Pg 137] drawn by the sweet smile of an innocent babe or by the childish prattle of one a little farther on. Be not ashamed when, under such influence, you picture yourself the center of a home, and in this connection think of him or her whom you would like to have share it with you. It is the sweetest influence that can ever come into your life. Rightly regarded and used, it will do more for your happiness and usefulness than any or all others that will ever come to you.

But when the crucial moment comes—when the die is to be cast and the promise asked and given that will bind the two lives together, halt for a moment until one asks and the other answers this "Woman's Question."

The Woman's Question

"Do you know you have asked for the costliest thing
Ever made by the Hand above—
A woman's heart and a woman's life
And a woman's wonderful love?

"You have written my lesson of duty out;
Manlike you have questioned me;
Now stand at the bar of my woman's soul
Until I question thee.

"You require your mutton shall always be hot,
Your stockings and shirts shall be whole.
I require your heart to be true as God's stars
And as pure as Heaven your soul.

"You require a cook for your mutton and beef.
[Pg 138]I require a far better thing.
A seamstress you're wanting for stockings and shirts,
I look for a man and a king.

"A king for a beautiful realm called home,
And a man that the Maker, God,
Shall look upon as He did the first
And say, 'It is very good.'

"I am fair and young, but the rose will fade
From my soft fair cheek some day;
Will you love me then 'mid the falling leaves
As you did in the bloom of May?

"Is your heart an ocean so strong and deep
I may launch my all on its tide?
A loving woman finds Heaven or hell
On the day she is made a bride.

"I require all things that are grand and true,
All things that a man should be,
If you promise me this, I would stake my life
To be all you demand of me.

"If you can not do this, a seamstress and cook
You can hire with little to pay.
But a woman's heart and a woman's life
Are not to be won that way."

Yes, Bobby Burns was right when he said,

"To make a happy fire-side clime,
For weans and wife,
That's the true pathos and sublime
Of human life."
[Pg 139]

Exactly what is God's ultimate purpose for the human race, I think no one knows. And I am not sure that we need to know. Where clear vision is not granted we walk by faith. But even if the ultimate end is not clearly portrayed, even if we are kept in the dark as to the great outcome, we do know pretty well His method of procedure. A careful study of the past and a critical analysis of the data now at hand looking to the future enable us to grasp with some clearness the leading outlines of the program. From generation to generation, from century to century, from age to age, as time has rolled on, there has been a gradual moving onward and upward, a steady improvement both in the refining and civilizing of man's own being and in bringing that being into sympathetic relations with the external world, that is, a gradual development of man's own powers, and an ever increasing control of the forces of nature. In spite of the fact that this progress has been, at times, painfully slow, it has never once ceased, and during the last century it has moved on with constantly accelerating speed until to-day the human race stands upon the highest point ever reached. I have absolutely no sympathy with that narrow pessimism which is always talking about "the good old times." All in all, there never was a time in the history of the world when man knew so much as to-day; there never was a time when his life was so ministered to by the forces of nature; never a time when his heart was so tender, when it responded so quickly to human suffering, never a time when all forms of evil were so quickly condemned nor when so much good was being done. The long program seems to have been for each age and each[Pg 140] generation to hand on to its successors the legacy received, but increased and strengthened and bettered. How much longer this upward movement is to continue, how much more the race is to know and do, how much better it is to be, no one knows. God's ultimate purpose, His great object in view—we may not be able to grasp, but certainly it is not difficult for us to note the general direction of the movement. It is upward.

In all this, wherein does the home come, and what is its function? Is it not, has it not been from the very beginning the Divine agency used for doing this great work? Was not the home instituted, endowed with the divine power of love, and consecrated for the perpetuation of the race? "Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth." True, as many times pointed out, our toils and our struggles, our earnings and our productions, incidentally give us pleasure and satisfaction and power, but yet even these are but a means to an end,—that parents may beget, rear, and educate their children in such a way that they can carry the banner of civilization a little higher—lift society to a higher level and draw mankind nearer to God.

So it is that the center and circumference of the home is the child. In the child the home finds its meaning, its excuse, and its justification. It exists, then, that the child may be adequately prepared for doing its great work in the world. Whatever else it may do, on the side, it has one great problem. The child! The child! The best crop the farmer raises, the best article the manufacturer puts on the market, the best ware the merchant handles, the best case the lawyer pleads, the best sermon the minister preaches[Pg 141]—or at least that which gives meaning to all of these—the child! "The fruit of all the past and the seed of all the future." God bless the home and God bless its best fruitage—the child!

The Church

Thus the home—God's simple yet mighty agent in His great work of developing the human race. Its work was accepted and for a time all went well. Such preparation, mostly physical, as the child needed for its future work the home gave without difficulty. But this simple life could not continue indefinitely. One of the fundamental principles of life absolutely forbade man's standing still. The laws of growth and development pushed him on. Whether he would or not, he was compelled to move forward, just as the acorn, obeying the law of its being, changes its form, its size, and adds to its complexity. Little by little man, obeying these inexorable laws, began to develop. His mental, his moral, and his physical natures gradually assumed new forms—new needs and desires were born. More and more his vision became expanded until he could see into and mesurably appreciate the forces of nature. His life was becoming more complex. Now, this larger life, this greater complexity of life, in addition to its own complexity, added materially to the work of preparing the child for playing its part in this great onward movement.

Such preparation as was needed by the child of the primitive home to equip it for playing its part as an adult would no longer suffice. The home must now do something more than satisfy the needs of the body—provide food, clothing, and shelter, and incidentally give opportunity to learn, mostly by imi[Pg 142]tation, how to do this for another generation of children. The spiritual life needed attention and, as well, the intellectual. Competition was growing keen, and each felt the need of a better equipment that he might play his part well in the larger life that was surely before him. And this larger outlook upon life was itself growing by what it was feeding upon and making its own demands for better things.

But the home was handicapped. It felt the need, but with all other things that it had to do, had no time to take up these new duties. And again, the most of the homes, even if time had been abundant, did not know how to do the new work. So it set about finding a solution to its problem. This was found in the principle of the division of labor. It was seen that time would be saved and results much more satisfactorily reached by delegating to persons definitely prepared and set aside for that purpose certain phases of this work. So the church was instituted and, a little later, the school. To the church was delegated, speaking broadly, the religious and moral development of the child and to the school, the intellectual development.

It was exactly the same principle that, later on, took from the home the weaving of cloth and the making of shoes and other industrial pursuits. With this added complexity of life, the homes could not profitably carry on all these varied activities—be, in addition to a home, also a tailor shop and a shoe factory, a church and a school. And so the homes of a community combined, selecting one man particularly adapted to that work to make all the shoes for the community, another the cloth, etc. And, in like manner, earlier in history, one was set aside to[Pg 143] minister to the spiritual life, and one to teach the children. Both were offshoots of the home, delegated by the home to do a certain very definite portion of its work. Each took directions from the collective home and looked to it as the source of its authority. And such it was. The point is this: the home was the original educational institution and, as well, the original religious institution. At first it alone performed the work of all three: it was our home, our church, and school all in one. It finally established the others and merely delegated work to these supplemental agencies, so, at any time, it may withdraw that work from them. It is master of the situation. This withdrawal may be done either by the collective home or by any individual home. If any home represented here this evening, for any reason whatever, wishes to resume the religious function and alone direct the religious development of the children, no one can say it nay. And it is the same in regard to the school. If any parent here wishes to withdraw his children from the school and himself, either directly or indirectly, provide for their intellectual development, he has a perfect right to do so. Our compulsory attendance laws are satisfied when evidence is furnished of the child's advancement. Of course the church and the school, in this primitive stage, were both exceedingly crude—corresponding to the crude notions of religious and intellectual development then held by man, yet playing the same great part as now in the drama of life. I suppose it is true that these differentiations were at first only semi-conscious, but nevertheless they were real differentiations and had large influence upon the development of man.[Pg 144]

To trace the development of the church thru its early stages is not necessary for the purpose of this address, so I pass at once to the establishment of the Christian church which is in reality our representative of the same fundamental institution. Like the home and the school, the church began in a very humble way, and during the progress of the centuries passed thru many vicissitudes and underwent many changes. Let me speak very briefly of four stages, or periods, of the history of the Christian church: first, the primitive stage, that period of about 350 years following its birth when, in the main, motives were pure, ambitions unselfish, and ideals high. But, tho it was founded to provide the means of securing the religious development of the child and the race thru the perpetuation and extension of the teachings of Christ, and tho it was launched forth into its great career in the spirit of love and meekness and fellowship that characterized His life, it was not long, as history counts time, before that worthy function was entirely lost sight of, that spirit wholly cast aside, and the new institution entered upon its second period, becoming a mere political machine which, in its utter disregard of rights and justice, in the shrewdness and daring of its schemes, and in the blackness of its methods, almost surpassed even our own most skilful efforts in those directions. "My kingdom is not of this world," Christ had said, and yet the church, founded upon His teachings and led by men pretending to be His true representatives, had become, in very deed, a kingdom of this world. The possession and use of worldly power by the church had so blunted its moral sense that Dante, in the early part[Pg 145] of the fourteenth century, felt forced to exclaim, and exclaimed with truth:

"The Church of Rome,
Mixing two governments that ill assort,
Hath missed her footing, fall'n into the mire,
And there herself and burden much defiled."

But Dante's criticism and other forces brought to bear drew back the erring leaders to some slight conception of their function and to some slight effort toward the performance of duty, tho neither conception nor performance took them back to their pristine merit. And the church entered another historical stage, the third, and one whose dominant thought and purpose prevails even up to modern times. Indeed, so recently has it passed that its dark outlines are even yet discoverable as we glance backward. In this new conception of the church and its work we find the function of the institution to be not religious development of the individual and of the race, as it had been at first, but merely technical salvation. And the institution may be pictured as a great lifeboat thrust out into the storm to save from destruction those who can be drawn within—while all others perish.

You remember the painting of the picture, foreground and background, how the emphasis was thrown upon the world to come! This world was not man's home. He was a sojourner here, a wanderer. His citizenship was in Heaven. He was a pilgrim passing thru a strange and weary land, and the only purpose of the pilgrimage was a preparation for the life to come. The nature of man himself was[Pg 146] corrupt. The world around him was evil. Alone and unaided he was powerless. He was lost both for this world and the next. The storms of life were about him, the great waves were ready to engulf him. But the church, as a lifeboat, was thrust out into the breakers, and upon certain stipulated conditions was ready to take him in. The church was represented as having received direct from the hands of God "the keys of heaven and hell," and as being able to open the gates of a better world to all true believers. But true believers, you know, were no longer the pure followers of the crucified Christ, simply those who would accept the man-made dogmas of the church. No matter how full of error the church was, no matter how corrupt her leaders, there could be no safety outside of her fold. Accept the dogma, salvation was sure; once within, all was well. Religious development was not sought. The character of the life, previous or prospective, mattered not. Acceptance of the dogma was the only requirement. So she taught—having departed Oh! so far from her character and program when given existence by the home and started out on her beneficent work. And so tight had her grip become that none dared dispute her claims. The child had outgrown her mother, that is, the church had, in its own conception, outgrown the home, and it repudiated her control. Indeed, she held the keys—she was the ark of safety.

I have dwelt upon this because, with varying degrees of emphasis, that has been the conception of the church from medieval times almost to our own day. Indeed, I am not sure that it has entirely passed even at the present time. There are doubtless some people who continue thus to regard the[Pg 147] church, and there is more than one branch of the institution whose definitely formulated statements of belief can be interpreted in no other way however much, as a practical fact, the members have departed from them.

There are some branches of the church that still teach that the child, newly born into the world, fresh from the hand of God, is already corrupt, prone to evil, of its own volition choosing evil in preference to good. And, believing that, they require the parents when presenting the babe at the altar for holy baptism, to affirm that that pure and innocent babe has inherited an evil and corrupt nature, and that it was conceived and born in sin. A monstrous doctrine, violating not only every parental instinct, but as well all the principles of psychology and ethics. Yea, verily, the Dark Ages are not yet wholly past! Yes, there are doubtless some who still look upon the church as a lifeboat, and who think that that lifeboat should offer safety and protection to those alone who already have on the life preserver. In other words, there are still some who seem to think that church membership should be granted only to those whose character and belief already assure them of abundant entrance into the heavenly kingdom and who, therefore, do not really need church membership.

But yet, on the whole, as a working conception, we have discarded the lifeboat idea and are now regarding the church rather as a great school, so to speak, in which all the children of men, thru the grace of God and mutual helpfulness, may gradually develop the Christian character and eventually come to be the very elect of God. No longer is it being regarded[Pg 148] as merely an ark of safety, a lifeboat, ministering to the few, but as a great social beneficent institution shedding abroad upon all people its life-giving light and lifting all men nearer to God; true, giving her choicest blessings to those who come closest and partake most fully of her nature, but yet like the sun which shines upon all and both by direct and indirect rays warms and lightens all. Between the two views, what a contrast! And that change can not be better seen than by a contrast of the methods of work—the methods used to replenish the ranks, to offer the boon of membership to those deemed worthy or to those whom such boon could help.

The old evangelism—you remember its key-note, the old revival meeting, in which skilful word painting presented the two extremes, heaven and hell. And when the emotional nature was wrought up to the desired pitch and fear to the right degree, a choice was demanded,—conversion, it was called. The newer evangelism—Christian nurture in the home and school, and the various agencies of the church—is not as spectacular as the old. It doesn't make as much noise nor draw to itself so much attention. Nor do results so readily lend themselves to figures and tabulation. It does not bring about certain times when large accessions are made to the church membership, feeling rather that a continuous stream, tho smaller, indicates a more healthy growth. But it recognizes the fact that human nature is not necessarily depraved, that, on the other hand, the Christian life is the natural life and that the child under the sweet influences of the home and school and church passes naturally from one stage to another often not knowing when the transitions take place.[Pg 149] Christian nurture—a continuous process—in which development is the key-note, not conversion, a sudden transformation, a terrible wrenching of the whole being, is the church's present method of growth. Oh! the old has not entirely gone—here and there we occasionally see evidences of its presence. Professional evangelism we call it to-day. I ran across it in a recent trip East. A big, barnlike structure had been erected which was called "the tabernacle." Its floor was of sawdust sprinkled on the ground. Here for about a month a professional evangelist had harangued the curious crowds in immoderate, and oftentimes immodest language. Wit and sarcasm and slang and emotion had been freely used in his efforts to make sinners "hit the sawdust trail," to use his own spectacular language, as well as to extort money from the pockets of the attendants. He left the town $5,000 richer than when he entered and also carried with him, as advertising material, a long list of so-called converts. A travesty on the sacred work of the church! But such methods are to-day the exception and not the rule, and the exceptions merely prove the rule.

And to-day church membership is graciously held out to all who need help in the work of perfecting character—to all who need assistance in leading the Christian life, as well as to those whose battles have already been fought and won. The question asked is no longer, "Have you attained?" but rather, "Do you wish to attain?" When an individual, child or adult, seeks entrance at the doors of an educational institution, the only condition imposed is assurance of his desire to be a learner. The doors swing open. And thank God the church is at last coming to the[Pg 150] same position. And so we see her to-day well started upon the fourth stage of her development, accepting as her one great work that given her at birth so long ago—the religious development of the child and the race.

The School

The American school is a wonderful institution. In its absolute universality and impartiality, in its fine spirit of democracy both of teachers and pupils, there is nothing like it elsewhere in the world. It is a product of the genius of our people. Product? Yes, but, also, successively, the most influential cause of the genius of our people. From the first, in a somewhat remarkable degree, we have been a people knowing no social classes or distinctions. The caste idea, so prevalent in European countries, has ever been repugnant to us. And our schools, emanating from such a people, have had a powerful reflex influence in shaping the people and keeping those fine ideals ever before us. But let us go back and see whence it came—trace the connection between the complex, highly influential institution of to-day and the simple offshoot of the home of primitive times. Just when it was first instituted, nobody knows; but in essential features it is very ancient. Long before the beginning of the Christian era, as a supplementary agent of the home having in charge that one portion of its work, it was a well-recognized and highly esteemed institution.

I have already called attention to the great changes that have taken place in the home and in the church as the centuries have passed. The school likewise has changed, and is to-day as far removed[Pg 151] from its original prototype as either of the others. It has changed because the home has changed, and in its changes has kept pace with the changing ideals and added complexities of home life. At the very first, only the essentials—teacher and boy—were present: no building, the great out-of-doors furnished the room and the friendly tree the only protection from sun and storm; no course of study, no book—the teacher was all in all. But this stage passed and the next, that continued so long and is more characteristic, followed. Here we find the building and the book as well as the teacher and the boy. The boy's one task is to transfer the contents of the book to his own mental storehouse and the teacher's function to see that the transfer is made. Knowledge was the main element of the child's preparation, that the home demanded of its school. And this often but ill-fitted him for the performance of the duties of life. This period continued for many centuries, down almost to the present time. But another and a greater followed—a period in which not merely knowledge was demanded as an outcome of the school's activities, but something else very different, including that, it is true, but finer and greater than that—something toward which they are the contributing agents—a somewhat harmonious development of the entire life—physical, mental, and moral.

Little by little, as time has passed, the home seems to have been throwing added burdens upon the school until now it sometimes looks as if the school is expected to give the entire preparation of the child—moral, physical, and manual, as well as mental. It sometimes seems as if the home had gone off on a vacation and left the school to do its work. Now,[Pg 152] that statement implies a criticism of the home. On the other hand, it is frequently said by unfriendly critics of our public schools that the schools are all the time reaching out and, in a grasping way, more and more taking unto themselves the sacred rights and privileges of the home, even setting themselves up in authority over the home, aye, even alienating the affections of the children, making the home of none effect. Where does the truth lie? Has the home been so negligent of its duty, or has the school forgotten that it is the creature of the home? Which is the usurper? That is an interesting question. We can not go into it in detail, but let me suggest that it has all come about not so much from the unwarranted assumption of the school, nor the conscious and wilful neglect of the home as from the unconscious working out of a great principle fundamental in human development—namely, that the three phases of a child's life—the physical, the moral, and the intellectual,—can not be separately developed.

At first the home had the three lines of work. Soon it delegated two of them to other agencies and then, thru inexperience or thoughtlessness, made the fatal mistake of withdrawing supervision, assuming that no oversight was necessary. Unwise and short-sighted! No individual would thus deal with any other interest. The farm, the store, the financial interest of any kind, even the thing that ministers to the pleasure of life, often receives more personal attention from the parent than does the school. And this situation is not peculiar to our own day. When I was a boy, in another and distant state, we used to sing a song called "The Parent and the School." The various verses showed that parents were in the[Pg 153] habit of visiting every other known place—the theater, the concert, the fair, the sea, the neighbors, and each verse closed with the refrain, "And why don't they visit the school?" They should, but they did not then, nor do they to-day. Somehow, all along the line, the home has seemed to think that if it should satisfy the physical needs of the child in providing food and clothing and shelter, the school should develop the intellectual and the church the moral natures in different places and at different times, and under different conditions, and that in some mysterious manner the three could become satisfactorily blended into a harmonious life. Impossible! The three natures are so clearly interrelated, each depends so much upon the others, that the separate and independent development of any one is impossible.

The spiritual depends upon the intellectual as the house rests upon the foundation. Its mental pictures, its concepts, its beliefs, come out of it, and are marred, misshapen, untrue, just to the extent to which that is faulty. Intelligence is necessary to religious belief and religious life. And the intellectual, in its foundation laying, can not stop short at that point any more than a plant can stop growing when its roots are well developed. The process once well begun is pushed on by the force from behind and must enter the higher realm. So I am not surprised that the school at times seems to be in charge of the entire work. And physical conditions have so much to do with success in both fields that they must be considered by both. The three processes are not only interrelated, they are interlaced, intertwined, as the strands of a braided cord. And just as the cord[Pg 154] would be incomplete, just as it would lack strength, if any of the strands were to be omitted, or if the braiding were to be haphazard, so the life would be incomplete, one-sided, weak, should these three processes not go on side by side under the fostering care of an intelligent unifying agency. Indeed, if there is any one thing that has been demonstrated beyond the peradventure of a doubt by modern research in the physical and psychical realms, it is the significant fact that life is a unity. The physical, the intellectual, and the moral are like the three leaves of the clover. And just as with the clover we must apply the nourishment to the root and not to the separated branches, so with the child we must so select and use our educative material that the three-fold development shall result from the single application.

A simple illustration or two will help to make the point clear. All children study arithmetic in school. It is an intellectual activity and so clearly belongs to the school. Why do all study it? Because for the practical duties of life they need to know how to handle numbers. It is a practical study. Yes, but there is something else that the subject is supposed to yield or the extended time given to it could not be justified. It yields large fruitage in the development of the power of concentration and intellectual keenness. Yes, but better than that. All mathematical subjects, in that they require absolute accuracy and definiteness in their operations, are particularly helpful in developing those fine moral qualities of honesty, integrity, and upright dealing. Again, history is taught in the schools as an intellectual subject. In intellectual development alone[Pg 155] it is worth all it costs. But over and above the value as a mental quickener it is to be placed as a builder of character, and ministering to the development of the moral and even the spiritual life. Nowhere else can the young so well learn that "righteousness exalteth a nation" and that "sin is a reproach to any people." In no other way so well as by the study of history can desired examples of noble character be placed before the young for imitation. Take but one other illustration, that of gymnastics and athletics—the entire program of play. For physical development? Yes, but in addition to that and finer than that, intellectual development of a high order thru the keener activity of the senses, the quicker and more accurate vision, the developed judgment, and finer discriminations. Yes, but better even than mere intellectual keenness there result from such activities the rare moral qualities of tolerance, respect for others, and self-control. And so I might go on and give illustration after illustration. It is not necessary. You catch my point. I am merely trying to demonstrate two facts: first, that the great breadth of the work of the school—embracing as it does, the development of the entire nature of the child, mental, moral, and physical, instead of merely the mental, that which was given her at first, is hers now not because of the home's neglect nor because the school has been unduly ambitious and grasping, but because we have come to see that life is a unity and can not be cut up into parts each separately developed. And secondly, I have tried to show that the school does interest itself in the moral life of the pupil. As a matter of fact, the school does more to develop morality and to lead toward a sane[Pg 156] religious life than all other agencies combined. Our modern American school is a wonderful institution.

But in spite of the fact that the school is broad in its ministrations, it can not stand alone. All three institutions are needed. But the three must work together and in harmony and intelligently, each assisting the others. And one of the three must act as the centralizing, the unifying, the combining agency and bring order out of that which would otherwise be chaos by recognizing the value of each contribution of each of the others, assigning it to its proper place and thus aptly blending the work of the three. Now, which shall be the centralizing force? Really, is there any question? Must it not be the original institution—the home—the one which saw the need of the others and called them into being—the one upon which the responsibility finally rests? And even tho many individual homes are weak, wholly incapable of doing themselves all the varied kinds of work needed, yet the collective institution can and must act. And even the individual home, efficient or inefficient, should, much more than it does, thus act within the limits of its own jurisdiction and up to the limits of its own power.

And to whom does the school belong, anyway? To the Board of Education? Is it the private possession of the teachers? Does it exist to give teachers positions? Why, no, of course not. It is yours, and yours, and yours. They, both Board and teachers, are your servants, hired men and women, if you and they please—hired for pay to do your work, just as much as are the clerks in your stores, the harvest hands on the farms, or the maids in the kitchen. A different kind of work to be sure but, nevertheless,[Pg 157] we are workmen for pay. And we need watching just as much as do the other workers. But let us put it in this way—we need intelligent, sympathetic co-operation, as an opportunity and as a spur for our best work and as a joy in it all—your constant kindly interest and your intelligent co-operation. I suppose that the situation is quite different in a city of this size from what it is in the large centers. I remember of talking, at one time, to an audience of teachers in a large city. I was astounded to learn that those teachers did not know, by sight even, the parents of one-half of their pupils, and many of them had been in the schools for a period of from three to four years. Whose fault was it? The teacher's or the parents? Why, what is the school? And whose is it? And what is it for? Whose fault was it? The question does not need an answer. It answers itself. But I urged those teachers to visit the homes—to become acquainted with the parents of their pupils so that they could know the atmosphere surrounding them and thus be better able to guide their development and minister to their varied needs. But I did not thus urge them because they had, up to that time, neglected their duty, rather because there seemed no prospect that the homes would embrace their opportunity and take the initiative.

I fancy that here in the smaller place where everybody knows everybody it is very different. Doubtless there is not a teacher here whose acquaintance has not been made by both parents of every child in her or his room. Probably there is not one who has not been entertained in every home represented in the room. This should be the situation not pri[Pg 158]marily because parents owe teachers such attention, not because any such social responsibility rests upon them, but rather because the relationship thus created gives parents the best possible opportunity to co-operate with the school in doing that portion of the home's great work. No, parents do not "owe" it to the teachers, rather do they "owe" it to their children and the next generation. I am urging this program because it is the only way by which you can get the most and best service from the schools.

It is true that parents may not understand all the subjects that are taught in the schools. Parents may not be acquainted with the methods of teaching so that they can be intelligent critics of schoolroom procedure. Never mind. That is not necessary. You do know boys and girls. Many of you could give us teachers valuable suggestions on the best ways of dealing with boys and girls. And there isn't one of you who could not assist the teacher in the work with your own children. And then there is another way to look upon it. It is altogether possible that this closer acquaintance with the school and with the teachers—with men and women who have made a careful, scientific study of boys and girls and of the art of teaching—it is altogether possible, I say, that this contact might react helpfully upon you and the home. You might possibly get suggestions from us that would help you in the home. The closer contact might be mutually helpful.

And so, in this necessarily hurried manner we have passed in review these three great age-old yet very modern institutions—the home, the church, and the school. We have seen whence each has arisen, have[Pg 159] noted the pathway trod, and caught a glimpse of its present-day function. And the close relationship, too, must have become plain as we passed along. No one of the three, we have seen, could stand alone. Each depends upon both the others and likewise lends them both assistance. For sane, all-round, constructive work in any one field, the contributions of all are seen to be needed.

Let us, therefore, take an account of stock, as the business man says, and note our individual attitude and responsibility. As representing the home, let us look upon the other two as creatures of our own building still requiring direction and fostering care. Let our attitude toward them be neither patronizing nor coldly critical. As representing the church and the school, let us not forget the source of our being. We should not ignore the home nor attempt to dominate it. Let us, rather, seek to carry out its program, rendering a good account of our stewardship. Thus and thus only can the great work originally entrusted to the home be accomplished.[Pg 161][Pg 160]

[Pg 162]

[Pg 163]



A Convocation Address delivered at the University of North Dakota, January 29, 1916

There is no audience before which a speaker should have greater reason for apprehension than an audience made up largely of university students. There is no audience for which a speaker should more carefully choose his thoughts and the words for their expression than a university audience, nor one more worthy of earnest treatment. On the other hand, there is no audience that a speaker can address more inspiring than an audience made up of young men and women in the heyday of young life preparing for better and larger usefulness.

All this is true because there is no other audience that can be gathered together whose future work can begin to compare, in far-reaching consequences, in possibilities for usefulness, with that of such an audience. There is no other company of people of equal number within whose keeping there is more of potential weal or woe for coming generations. And these things are true because university students of to-day are the world's leaders of to-morrow.

This is not so trite a saying as the one that declares that the boys and girls of one generation are to be the men and women of the next, but it is just as true and just as significant. Indeed, I suppose it can not be called a trite saying in the true sense of the[Pg 164] term. It has not been uttered so many times, is not now being used so commonly, as to indicate its universal acceptance. It is not so obviously true as to preclude challenge and argument. It is my purpose very briefly to examine the statement and from the conclusion reached connect the same with the thought of a beautiful proverb that has come down to us thru a long lapse of years—Noblesse Oblige—our privileges compel us.

So far as I know there is no way of seeing the future save thru a study of the facts of the past and the indications of the present. The university students of a generation ago—where are they to-day? Positions of leadership to-day—filled by whom?

Exhaustive and thoroly satisfactory statistics are not at hand, but such as we have speak eloquently in favor of the statement in question. Practically our only reliable statistics touching the matter are gathered from our biographical cyclopedias. A few years ago a very interesting study was made of the data found in the current issue of Who's Who in America. This book, you know, is made up of short biographies of such persons living at the time in the United States as have become real factors in the progress and achievement of the age, in other words, of men recognized as leaders in thought and action in the educational, political, military, and business realms.

Of the whole number mentioned in the issue studied educational data were given of 11,019. Of that number 1,111 had enjoyed only elementary school advantages; 1,966 had added to these only the advantages of secondary education, but 7,942 had[Pg 165] come from the colleges and universities. In other words, more than 72% of these leaders are shown to have received their final preparations for leadership within college walls.

Figures as interesting have been gathered thru a use of Appleton's Cyclopedia of Biography. A few years ago careful study was made of an edition just then out and it was found that of the college graduates of America one out of every forty had gained sufficient distinction to merit recognition in that cyclopedia, whereas only one out of 10,000 non-graduates, the public at large, had received such distinction. In other words, the college graduate had 250 chances to the other man's one for achieving leadership.

Moreover, the higher institutions of learning have furnished every one of the Chief Justices of our Supreme Court, 75% of our Presidents, 70% of the membership of our two highest courts, and more than 50% of all our Congressmen. The last state-men is very significant when one recalls our method of selecting Congressmen—our political machinery and its devious modes of working. I have no authentic data of other fields, but all that one needs to do to satisfy himself practically as to other details is to call to his service his own knowledge of the general situation. In the communities with which you are acquainted, among the people whom you know either personally or by reputation, what are the facts? Who are the leaders? Where college people are found, are they leaders or followers?

There are exceptions, of course. There come to you at once the names of men, a few of them, who, thru the exercise of their own inherent strength, un[Pg 166]aided by college or university, have risen to deserved greatness. I have only to mention the names of our immortal Lincoln, or England's present David Lloyd George, in the field of statesmanship, or of Lord Strathcona or Sir William Van Horne, or James J. Hill, railroad kings and empire builders, in the business world, or of Luther Burbank, in the realm of science, to make the fact of exceptions perfectly clear. But they are exceptions—that's the point—and exceptions merely prove the rule.

And even as to the few it is scarcely necessary to say that their positions, tho of leadership, are, generally speaking, subordinate ones, they themselves even while leading in certain limited fields, are following the leadership of others in broader fields which include their own—and the ones followed are they of the broader training. This is especially true of men who have achieved success in the business world or in the political field. Their success, their leadership, is often more seeming than real,—depending as it does upon their advisers—broadly educated men. Take Lord Strathcona, for example, or Mr. Hill, as typical illustrations; with all their far-sightedness and their recognized ability, what could they have done, even in their own field of activity, had it not been for the trained physicist, the skilled chemist, and the engineer—products of the university—who gave them their rails, built their bridges, designed their engines, and in many ways made it possible for them to realize their dreams? They would have been powerless. Tho leaders, they followed, and their kind always will follow, the university student. They may hire this student and pay him his wage, but they are still indebted to him for leading them onward and upward.[Pg 167]

From a hasty survey, therefore, which, however, I am satisfied would yield the same fruitage no matter to what extent pushed, our statement seems to be justified.

But let us look at it from another point of view. How is the matter regarded by those of the present time most deeply interested in the future well-being of man and of the nations of the world? By those people and those forces who feel the responsibility of providing leadership for the next generation? What steps are being taken to reach the end—to provide the leaders? On any hypothesis other than the one assumed in my initial statement can you account for the lavish expenditure for the endowment and maintenance of higher institutions of learning that so characterize our generation? From one side to the other of our broad land, aye, from distant lands and from the isles of the sea comes the same testimony: benevolent individuals seem to vie with one another in the munificence of their gifts for higher education. Even soveren states and great nations, under the guidance of far-seeing leaders, are planting these institutions and, in a truly generous manner, providing for their present and future needs.

That the college is the only source from whence can come our supply of leaders is a real conviction in the minds of men the world over, is shown by a recent incident in war-stricken Europe. It was only a few months ago and during the terrible campaign in Eastern Poland, even while shells were bursting and men were dying, that the Central Powers stopt, as it were, in the mad rush of wanton destruction, to re-establish and reorganize the old University of Warsaw. More than that, they added to the old insti[Pg 168]tution two new faculties, or colleges, as we would call them.

Strange, isn't it? In the incident I can see but this logic: a recognition of the fact that, with the forces of destruction reaping such an awful harvest, their civilization was doomed unless some step could be taken, not, primarily, to check the present war but rather to provide, at its close, an adequate supply of leaders. That seemed to them the only way to prevent a permanent impoverishment and a dropping back into a state of, at least, temporary semi-barbarism as was so common during the early Middle Ages under analogous circumstances. And the step taken by those shrewd, coldly-calculating war lords was the strengthening of the forces of higher education. One reason why, during the Middle Ages, there was this frequent dropping back is the fact that this relationship between leadership and education was not recognized.

Under the powerful impulse of this conviction, namely, that the well-equipt college as a part of the broad university community is the only source of leadership, men and states and provinces and nations are sacrificing for higher education as never before. New institutions are being founded and old ones strengthened. Magnificent buildings are being erected with seemingly little thought of cost provided only that they serve their purpose. Libraries so thoroly equipt as to leave nothing desired, laboratories unsurpast in completeness, vast gymnasiums containing every possible apparatus for bodily development, and other facilities of every kind and description, all irrespective of cost, are daily being added. And better than buildings and grounds, more[Pg 169] vital than equipment and endowment, are the trained minds and pure hearts that, in ever increasing numbers, are being freely offered on the same shrine. Abilities, and training, and attainments that in the world of business would yield their possessors independent fortunes, or in the fields of authorship or politics result in honor and fame, are here freely offered. The material return rendered for such service is the merest pittance absolutely needed for family support, and the immaterial, but one's enshrinement in the heart of an occasional grateful student plus the consciousness of having done one's duty. Can such a generous outpouring of material and spiritual treasures be accounted for on any hypothesis other than a recognition of the great world's needs and a firm belief that those needs can be best satisfied thru an educated leadership? Nay, verily, all these things are being done because the best thought of the day feels, both instinctively and with reason, that only thus can the kingdom of God come among men.

What unique, important, and responsible position the State or Provincial University occupies among civic institutions! What splendid opportunities for usefulness are his who is the executive head of such an institution! Aye, and what weighty responsibilities rest upon him! Fellow teachers, what manifold opportunities for usefulness are yours, and what weighty responsibilities rest upon you by virtue of the fact that you are teachers in such an institution! And my message to you is the same as to the student body—Noblesse Oblige! Freely have you received, freely must you give. Tho the state does not, nor ever can, adequately pay you for your[Pg 170] best services, still you must not falter. You must continue to live up to your own high ideals of your noble profession. The very acceptance of such positions in such an institution carries with it the obligation of performance—Noblesse Oblige!

But who are these college and university students who have such a large and important future before them and for whose training and development, because of that future, such elaborate preparations are being made? The university man—who and what is he? Likewise the university woman? Let us answer the question simply and briefly by merely saying that, tho sometimes rude and crude because immature and undeveloped, they are yet the keenest, the brightest, the most far-seeing, the most promising young men and women of the land. They are the choice souls found, one here, another there, one in the hamlet and another on the farm, one in the city and another on the prairie, one in a palace, another in a sod house. They are a picked lot selected not only from the so-called upper ranks of thought and action, but as well from the highways and by-ways of our broad land, chosen because of intellectual strength and moral fiber, because of high ideals and lofty purposes; chosen by themselves, it may be true, but chosen nevertheless, thru their equipment of mind and heart. The very fact that you are here and others are not is testimony sufficient to your greater worth. Exceptions, to be true, there are, but none too many prove the rule. I am not saying these things in a spirit of flattery, not at all. I am merely stating facts, and thru these facts trying to help you catch the vision—to see your opportunity and accept the responsibilities. But note the sig[Pg 171]nificance—those already best equipt by the superior quality of their brain matter and of their mental fiber and of their moral nature and who therefore without further preparation would easily distance the others, are here giving themselves even better equipment. There can be no question as to the relative position of the two classes in the years to come—the one class is to furnish the leaders, the other the followers. The one is to form the ideals, to set the standards, to decide upon policies, to mark out courses, the other to try to reach the goals set. The two classes may be equally good morally, equally worthy of respect and honor because equally faithful in the performance of duties suited to their tastes and abilities, but yet, from the very nature of things, the one going ahead, the other following behind. And in the years to come your competitors will be not from among the non-college men and women—you have already put yourself out of their reach—but from among those who, like yourselves, ambitious for better and greater things, are to-day, in this and other similar institutions, using every means, straining every nerve, to attain the highest possible degree of efficiency for future service. You are not only to be leaders, but in some way you seem to know it instinctively and to be putting yourselves in a state of readiness.

But does some one raise the objection that this theory of leadership does not seem to be in harmony with the spirit and genius of our American institutions; that under a democratic form of government all are equal; that all men, irrespective of intellectual attainment, share equally, not only before the law but in the very making of law; that in America[Pg 172] all men are rulers? All this is true theoretically and, to a certain extent, practically, but it does not lessen the need of efficient leadership; it increases that need, or, at any rate, it makes it necessary that the number capable of efficient leadership be greatly increased. The very fact that all have a voice in the government, that all do share, consciously and potently, in its exercise and in its responsibilities, speaks more loudly than anything else can of the need of wise leadership. If the great mass of people were not factors, they would not have to be taken into account. They might need drivers but not leaders. But being factors and yet, in the main, not being capable of adequate analysis of our most complex and highly intricate problems, they must be provided with safe and efficient leaders. I believe in the honesty, in the good intentions, and in the good sense of the common people. But I do not believe in their ability to detect relations, to draw wise conclusions, and to formulate policies touching the complicated political, social, and economic conditions of our times.

It is a well-recognized fact that, as some one has said, "speaking broadly, the striking disadvantage under which a democracy labors, as contrasted, let us say, with certain types of autocracy, lies in its inability to plan effectively with reference to remote goals.... What we call 'far ahead' thinking is difficult for the individual, but it is vastly more difficult for the group, and its difficulty is intensified in both cases if it demands large measures of present sacrifice." No, democracy must be led. Leaders they must have. If honest and disinterested ones are not at hand, selfish and dishonest ones will be ac[Pg 173]cepted. I grant that leadership is not the greatest need of democracy, that, of course, is a higher level of knowledge and intelligence, but I do claim that leadership is, and always will be, the greatest present need of democracy, since it is only thru that leadership that the higher intelligence can be reached, without loss, and in the shortest possible time.

But again, do you point out certain great victories of the common people, so-called, when they have risen in the power of their might and, in the exercise of their right, have put down men who had assumed the right to lead them and were leading them astray? Do you point to the State of Missouri of a decade ago, and to New York City again and again, and to England a generation ago, as illustrations? True, in all these cases and in many others, notable victories had been gained by and for the people. But is it not also true that in every such case the people won victories because wisely led? Think you that corruption and violation of law would have been so checked in Missouri a decade ago and the breakers of law been so thoroly punished, had it not been for the clear-headed work of that fearless, public-spirited Joseph W. Folk? Does not Charles S. Whitman come to your mind when the great struggle in New York City is mentioned? And Hiram W. Johnson in California? And when we recall the victories of the people in our own Motherland across the sea, do we not have at once a mental picture of the "Grand Old Man," William Ewart Gladstone? Had it not been for these leaders or others who might else have taken their places, half of the people whose votes helped win the victories would never have known that there were such vic[Pg 174]tories to win. They would never have realized the extent to which they were being wronged and mis-ruled.

Certain conditions were not quite satisfactory. All people felt, half unconsciously, that rights were not being respected, that justice was not being done—that something was wrong somewhere—but that was about all, about as far as they went or could go. But these leaders, who, in years gone by, in the colleges and the universities, had been trained to search for causes, to see relations, and to draw conclusions, had scented danger from afar. And to the task of ferreting out the evil and of finding remedies they devoted the strength of their splendidly equipt minds and the purity of their strong hearts. Following up the lead of surface manifestations they finally unearthed corporate greed, political domination, and Satanic selfishness in such kinds and amounts as to be really appalling. But they did not stop there—they searched for remedies and then went before the people and told them a plain simple tale of what they had found—of how grossly the people were being wronged—and they outlined programs of reform. The people believed them; they rallied to their standards, accepted their leadership, and won the victories. And such victories, in greater or less degree, are being won all over the land, thank God! And back of every one of them you can find, if you search, a smaller or larger edition of Folk, Whitman, or Gladstone.

And how about the future? Are all the victories won? No more such work to do? Ah! the question does not need an answer. Then who are to be the leaders? Why not you? and you? and you? De[Pg 175]pend upon it, they are going to be college men and college women, and who more capable or worthy than yourselves?

There are two ways in which I want you young people to look upon this matter; in the first place, from the point of view of your own personal interests. Here are opportunities for advancement, openings the filling of which will bring to you worldly success, and honor and fame. Both by natural endowment and by special training you are fitted for the work. Seize, then, the opportunities and make the most of them, because the world and they that dwell therein belong to him who knows how to use them. From one point of view this is perfectly legitimate, and I urge it. It is not only one's right but one's duty to make the most of himself—to advance his own interests. The program becomes censurable only when it absorbs all else—when one's own interest is sought at the expense of the interest of other people instead of in connection with it or as a step in its realization.

Now, the other way in which I want you to regard the matter is from the point of view of the interests of the people at large. Let me put it like this: here is your body politic, the people of North Dakota, 600,000 strong, or, better yet, the people of the United States, some hundred million in number, partners in ownership of our magnificent country, co-laborers in its administration, and sharers in the work of their own government and in the working out of their destinies—each with a share and an influence and each expected to participate. But so complicated are the matters needing consideration, so difficult of solution many of the problems arising,[Pg 176] and so infinitely vast the whole undertaking that the great majority of the people, thru either immaturity or lack of training, often do not know what is best to do. And again, skilful manipulators, dishonest self-seekers, are ever at hand with plausible theories calculated to befog the untrained, deceive the unsuspecting, and to lead them all astray. Taking everything into consideration, the situation is extremely difficult. In a plain word, these untrained people, the product of the elementary schools, can not see far enough ahead to know that oftentimes the policy that seems most attractive is full of danger for the future. They are not qualified to weigh, and estimate, and decide. But there is a class among them, college-bred men and women, a small class, relatively, that is qualified. Thru long years of study, and investigation, and reflection, in institutions freely provided and generously maintained by the people now in need, they have attained such a knowledge of affairs and such an ability to cope with intricate problems as to make them efficient leaders—leaders capable of guiding aright the noble ship of state thru difficult and tortuous channels beset, on every side, by dangerous rocks and calamitous whirlpools. And among that class of efficient leaders you, young men and young women of the University of North Dakota, will soon be numbered. How shall you respond to the call of duty? Your State, by virtue of what she has done and is now doing for you, has a right to expect unselfishness and unstinted service in her own interests and in those of mankind. Shall she get it? Will you rise to the occasion and, even at a sacrifice of personal comfort, ease, esthetic enjoyment, money, give to her what is[Pg 177] her due? Will you remember Noblesse Oblige? Of course you will. For there is a well-established principle, clearly stated in Holy Writ and sanctioned by the ages, that of those to whom much hath been given, much will also be required. Noblesse Oblige—your privileges compel you.

Because the theory of the old motto, "Paucis vivat humanum genus," "for the few live the many," is no longer maintained. The many do not live for the few. The reverse is true. The few live for the many. But yet, the service is not unrewarded—only a portion of the reward has come first. In your equipment you are being paid in advance. David Starr Jordan has happily clothed the thought in these words: "It is in the saving of the few who serve the many that the progress of civilization lies. In the march of the common man, and in the influence of the man uncommon who rises freely from the ranks, we have all of history that counts."

And here I might stop. But a general statement, more or less abstract, needs practical illustration: the "how," the "when," and the "where" are perfectly legitimate questions for you to ask. Let us then throw a hasty glance upon some of the great activities that claim men's attention, and discover some of the openings awaiting you.

The teaching profession will draw heavily upon your ranks—that profession, full and rich in opportunities for usefulness beyond any and all others, is more and more looking for you, and waiting impatiently for your full equipment and thoro readiness. All of the higher positions must come to you and others like you. No others are, or will be, adequately prepared. In nearly all of our states the[Pg 178] legal requirement for a high school teacher and, of course, for the high school principal and city superintendent is the completion of a full four-year college course including a certain specified amount of professional work. In some of the states, indeed, the requirement is of a full year beyond the undergraduate course, or the possession of a Master's degree, with the emphasis of this added year thrown upon the subjects to be taught and the manner of handling the same.

So the facts are borne upon us that the desk of the high school principal, the office of the city superintendent, the chair of the college professor, the position of college and university president, is soon to be offered you. Are you ready for it? ready in academic equipment? ready in professional attainment? And are you equally well prepared in that even finer element—the possession of your soul by the spirit of Noblesse Oblige?

I can not say, of course, to which of you here to-day a college presidency is to be offered, nor the professor's chair, nor any other specific position. Nor can I say just when the offer will come. But I can say, and with assurance, that all these positions and all others of leadership in the educational field will be offered to college men and college women, and in all probability as soon as they are well ready for them. Moreover, it can doubtless be said that they will be apportioned fairly on the basis of merit and fitness. And then you will have in your hands the shaping of the destinies of a great free people with all the emoluments, the opportunities, and the responsibilities that should accompany a work of such moment.[Pg 179]

And the Gospel ministry can no longer look elsewhere. If it is to continue to wield its mighty influence for good, and to play its magnificent rôle of leadership in our developing civilization, especially among our rapidly increasing educated classes, it must more and more come into its rightful inheritance, so long withheld, of that broader conception of brotherhood and Christianity that forgets the letter of the law in magnifying its spirit—that puts life before dogma and character before creed. And this, fellow students, can never be without the broad university equipment.

We have traveled far during these latter years. And no longer do we consider it sufficient that the minister of the Gospel know merely his Bible and his theology. In addition to these, aye, as a basis for these, it is now demanded (that is, if he be accorded a position of real leadership among thinking people) that he know as well his history and his sociology, his psychology and his biology, and indeed that he be acquainted with all the fields of human knowledge. Not only that, he must know life as it is lived to-day, and the thoughts and emotions of men as they are manifested in the give and take of actual life. And none of these can be obtained within the narrow confines of the old theological seminary. The modern university is the only institution in which the minister of the future can get it all and get it in the right order and in the correct admixture. In the laboratories, the libraries, and the classrooms he will delve deeply into the realms of science, literature, and art, and there and on the campus, in its varied activities, touch hands and exchange thoughts with the future lawyer, teacher, physician, engineer,[Pg 180] business man, what-not, and thus gain tolerance, humility, catholicity of spirit, and the spirit of true democracy.

Thus circumstanced during his preparatory years, he will go out capable of seeing things in their proper perspective. That's the kind of man that the ministry is calling to-day, and the call will be louder and more incessant as the years pass and the education of the people progresses. That's the kind of man we already have in some of our leading pulpits, and they are exerting a tremendous influence in all departments of life. But the supply is limited. There's not enough to go around. Many more are needed. Our universities must furnish them. Will this institution do its share? Will some of you young men, with your well-trained bodies, with your finely-disciplined minds, with your highly-cultured natures, with that fine balance of powers that means so much and that can accomplish so much for the world if thus used—will you turn aside from the beaten path that would be sure to lead to fame and power and worldly success and enter the more difficult but more useful field of the Christian ministry for the simple purpose of serving mankind? You are the kind of men we want, and I am sure that you will not disappoint us.

And so I might go on, did time permit, and point out attractive and responsible openings in many different activities—the fields of engineering and journalism, the professions of medicine and law, the great world of business, even politics (should I not say, rather, and especially politics?). It is not necessary to go farther into detail. You catch my thought. In one and all of these, positions of leader[Pg 181]ship are calling loudly for men and women of large knowledge, of trained minds, of broad outlook, and of splendid visions; and these characteristics are the fruitage of nothing less than the broad and comprehensive foundations laid in the college and the university. And you who have them are, by the very fact of possession, under obligation to use them for the public weal. How is it, young man, young woman? Are you going to mesure up to the twentieth century standard? Will you carry with you from this hall when you leave to-day, and from this institution when she honors you with her diploma, and out into the great activities of life,—will you carry with you, I ask, and make the basis of your actions in life, the thought of these two little words that have been engaging our attention this morning—Noblesse Oblige?[Pg 183][Pg 182]

[Pg 184]

[Pg 185]



A Paper read before the Commercial Club of Grand Forks, North Dakota, January 24, 1911, and printed in the Grand Forks "Daily Herald," January 29, 1911

In accepting an invitation to speak upon the topic assigned, "Improvements in Our Public Schools," I come not as a hostile critic, not even as an impartial observer viewing and commenting upon something belonging to another. Rather, I come as a sympathetic friend to talk about an institution in which I am vitally interested and of whose good work I am proud. Indeed, I am to discuss a great business industry, if you please, in which you and I are joint stockholders and for whose success we are alike responsible. And, too, I have been for so many years a teacher and so closely connected with educational work that I feel akin to every other man and woman engaged in that occupation. Knowing how easy it is to make mistakes and thus fall short of attaining our high ideals in this most trying and most difficult work, I am temperamentally inclined to magnify the difficulties and to overlook the shortcomings of educational workers. To be sure, in speaking upon "Improvements," I am admitting that improvements are possible. But the best friend of a person or an institution is one who talks frankly and honestly, admitting weaknesses, if such there be, and suggesting assistance. Such an attitude can not well be interpreted as a criticism either of men or mesures.[Pg 186]

A gentleman met me on the street a day or two ago and said, "I understand that you are going to find fault with our schools next Tuesday night. What for? I want you to understand that our schools are all right. Let well enough alone." A few days ago one of the local papers said of the schools, "The public schools of Grand Forks are recognized as the finest in the Northwest and the school system is up-to-date in every respect."

And that idea seems to be chronic. Such expressions are common in our papers and from many of our people. The impression sought to be given is doubtless that of "Let well enough alone," or "Hands off." Now, Mr. Chairman, while this feeling clearly betokens a general confidence in the management of the schools of which those directly in charge may well take pride, nevertheless, it is not an altogether healthy condition of affairs.

While I believe in a wise conservatism as against an unthinking radicalism, I am in no sense of the term a "stand-patter." The individual who has earned this picturesque title, I care not whether in the halls of Congress or in the ranks of the educators, is a foe to progress. A "stand-patter" is such because he is in a rut and either too lazy or too corrupt to get out.

Things ought not to remain long as they are in any business, in any enterprise, in any institution. Civilization never stands still. The most dangerous attitude of mind that a man can hold is that of complacency, that of perfect satisfaction with things as they are. The good is always a foe to the best.

No, gentlemen, our schools are not "up-to-date in every respect," not altogether the "finest" in the[Pg 187] great Northwest. The Northwest, you know, is a pretty big place and has some pretty enterprising towns. But no individual town has, in all respects, the finest schools in the Northwest, or in any other place. Our schools are, like those of other cities, just a good strong average. Like every other system, it contains some good teachers and some not so good; some up-to-date methods of instruction are being used and some which should be improved; some features there are to be strongly commended and some, doubtless, that should be discontinued. And more than this, gentlemen, you have no right to demand, or expect, from your Superintendent and your Board of Education. They will be the very first to endorse all that I have admitted above. Indeed, that they do not hold that exaggerated opinion is clearly apparent from the fact that they are even now considering improvements. And may the day never dawn when we shall see no needed improvements for our public schools! Should such a time come, it would simply mean that in matters educational our eyes have become dimmed and that we are rapidly falling behind.

Had the men of this city been "stand-patters" touching the city, Grand Forks would not be to-day what it is—the surprise and the admiration of every intelligent visitor. Were you men here to-night, in your civic relationship, "stand-patters," the promise of the future would be less bright than it is. During my early connection with Grand Forks I often wondered as to the secret of its enterprise. I was not long in discovering, however, that it was found in the spirit of this Commercial Club; a spirit, it is, of hope, of civic pride, of optimism, yet a spirit[Pg 188] of almost divine discontent. You have all the time been proud of your city, but yet not satisfied with it; not satisfied, because you saw visions of a finer city into which yours might grow. Your city was not up-to-date—to help make it so you needed a street railway system; what did you do? Worked for it and—got it. Not yet up-to-date? A great auditorium was needed; you put your hand into your hip-pocket and lo! it arises in, what was it, thirty days? The goal not even yet in sight? No, because better pavement was imperative—and it came. Still something lacking? An up-to-date street lighting system—you put some of your men to work on it and it is now our pride and our neighbors' despair. And so I might go on, I do not need to. Only let me say that it will be a sad day for Grand Forks when we shall think that we have really reached the goal—when there is not something toward which we are striving.

I am glad that, in this same spirit, you have now turned your gaze to the school house. Let us apply there the same principle of free, intelligent discussion and hearty, generous co-operation, each trying to outdo the other in loyalty and generous support, hoping, eventually, to make our schools the "finest in the Northwest," and "up-to-date in every respect."

But this is a pretty big subject for treatment in an after-dinner talk of from 15 to 20 minutes. It involves so much, embracing within its scope, as it may, everything from finance to theology. The very function of the school, in the large, might well be considered under such a topic, and scores of details. I might well talk upon the education of teach[Pg 189]ers as I do before my classes, or upon educational psychology—vital subjects all, but scarcely appropriate here. It is, indeed, a large and interesting subject, lots of places to catch hold. Manifestly, I can treat it only superficially. All that I can do is merely in the line of suggestion, trying to direct your attention to some of the general features, somewhat objective in character.

The first suggestion I have to make is along this very line—the greatness, the many-sidedness of the educational problem and the need of general community intelligence in regard to it. Indeed, there are many aspects of the school work, countless number of details touching books, courses of study, immediate and remote ends, as well as the larger philosophical bases, in which the public is deeply interested but imperfectly informed. Many a parent is ignorant as to what the schools are trying to do, and why? Not comprehending the end in view, unintelligent as to the means being used, and with little time or ability to investigate, friction often arises. The public and its educational system, the homes and the schools, the teachers and the parents, should in some way be brought closer together and an opportunity given for their mutual understanding. There are various ways in which this opportunity is given in different places: thru mothers' meetings, in some; thru home and school societies, in others; thru the establishment of what some call "visiting days," in others, etc. Great good is sure to result from a systematic use of any one of them.

But we in Grand Forks are a very busy people; clubs and societies without number claim our attention and secure our membership; public meetings[Pg 190] for the discussion of charities, health, morals, foods, etc., saying nothing about church and social demands, are already taking us too often from homes in the evening, so that I hesitate to suggest another such activity even in the interests of so important a matter as the public schools. But believing very firmly as I do that the largest success of our schools can be secured only thru a cordial co-operation of the homes and the schools, and believing also that this co-operation rests upon intelligence as to the aims of the schools and the means that are being used, I am going to suggest a way of meeting the difficulty—namely, the utilization of another educational agency of large influence and philanthropic spirit—I refer to the Press. It is not my purpose to present here an extended eulogy of the Press. That is not necessary. You all know what a mighty factor it is in shaping public opinion. I merely call attention to the fact that it is an educational institution; that it appeals not, as do the schools, to the children, but to the parents of the children: and then that in Grand Forks it goes into almost every home in the city. I suggest that this agency be used to bring about a frank, open discussion, and therefore a better understanding, of the function and the work of our public schools—local, state, and national. For our people, in addition to being busy, are both intelligent and enterprising. They know the value of the Press. They are great readers. I have been surprised, again and again, at the large circulation enjoyed by both our enterprising dailies. I have also been surprised to know how closely all our people keep in touch with local happenings chronicled there. An[Pg 191] educational column in one or both of the local papers in which the work of the schools, from taxation to lead pencils, could be discust, would be an innovation of great value. An open forum, so to speak, it might be, in which questions could be asked and answered, and also contributions made from the larger field of educational effort. Of course I do not suggest this as a place for the airing of personal feelings, of petty details, of minor matters, rather, an opportunity for discussing with and for an intelligent and enquiring people great educational questions, fundamental principles, and broad, humanitarian policies. All such matters, because fundamental in the development of civilization and because of universal interest, should and could be handled with frank simplicity. Such a discussion, constructive in character, could not fail of doing great good—of being very helpful to teachers and parents alike.

Another suggestion that I want to make and an improvement that I am going to urge touches very closely the matter of efficiency of systems of education. Now, the efficiency of an educational institution or of a system of schools is often mesured by the success of those completing its course of study—of those profiting, to the full, by all that it offers. That is the point of view taken by those people who so greatly praise the work of the old district school of our boyhood days, "back East." They point to this man and that one, men who have achieved eminent success, whose only "schooling," perhaps, was received in the "little red school house" and therefore claim that it was a great institution for the making of men. But therein lurks a fallacy.[Pg 192] Great men have issued from the "little red school house," it is true, but they became great not because of, but in spite of, the fact that the school house was "little" and was "red." In pointing to such men as these, as products, they forget the great silent multitude of boys and girls who were in the same "little red school house" but who were never heard of after they emerged. The pathetic feature of the old district school was the great number of children who fell by the wayside. And so, to-day, no educational institution should be rated as to efficiency by considering the success merely of those completing its courses. To form a correct estimate we must consider as well all those who entered and dropt out before completion.

No system of schools is really efficient in which any considerable percentage of the children drop out before completing the elementary course of study. No system of schools is satisfactorily efficient which is so managed as to require, or even allow, any considerable percentage of the children to repeat grades, that is, to fail of promotion, making it necessary to go over the work the second time. Or, to put it in other words, in which any considerable percentage of the children are doing work in grades lower than their ages would suggest.

This is the matter of retardation of which we are hearing so much in these days, and in regard to which Grand Forks, as well as other cities, suffers. In my judgment, there are two main causes of retardation: poor teaching and physical defects of the children. There are two ways by which satisfactory teaching can be secured: in the first place, by securing the best teachers available, and this, I[Pg 193] am very sure, our Board of Education and our superintendent always try to do. In the second place, by improving the quality of work thus secured thru expert supervision on the part of the superintendent and the principals of the various schools. And this I am sure is not done to the extent that it might be were matters differently arranged. If another suggestion that I shall make later on is adopted, however, provision will be made for this improvement.

Physical defects on the part of the children I named as the second cause of retardation. And the remedy for the major portion of this cause is found in my next suggestion—medical inspection of our school children.

Estimating the conditions in Grand Forks on the basis of what has been discovered in many other places in which medical inspection is in operation, from 25% to 80% of the children in our schools are suffering from physical defects of some sort that interfere, to a greater or less degree, with the work of the school. There is no doubt in the minds of well-informed people that here is found a very fruitful cause of retardation, as seen both in grade-failure and in early dropping out of school. And very many of these defects are removable and, therefore, the retardation preventable.

Now, the only seemingly valid reason that I have ever heard urged against the employment of the school physician is that of expense. It does cost something, I'll admit. All good things do. The necessary expense, however, is often overestimated. But let us see if we are not, even in hesitating at the expense, whatever it may be, wholly illogical.[Pg 194] The city assumes the duty of educating the young, but if many of the young are not in a condition to receive that education, should we not logically see that the hindrances are removed? We enact compulsory attendance laws; should we not, where necessary, make it possible for the physically defective as well as others, to profit by such attendance? Otherwise, are we not wasting money?

I have mentioned the expense, but there are two ways of looking at that. I am now going to advocate medical inspection as an economic mesure—as a money saver. Every child who repeats a grade is costing the city more than it should for its education. That is clearly apparent. How much that amounts to, in the aggregate, in Grand Forks, I do not know. But it is probably no small item. I have no doubt that, in the long run, the saving would pay the school physician. And then we should be clearly ahead in all the years saved by the various children, as well as the greater happiness and usefulness directly resulting from the improved situation. On the whole, it seems to me and to many others with whom I have talked that the next step forward that we should ask our Board of Education to take is the adoption of medical inspection.

Another phase of the subject to which I desire to call your attention is that of the superintendency. And it isn't exactly like the old maid sister telling the mother of half a dozen lusty boys how to bring them up because, in addition to spending years in the study and teaching of educational matters, I have occupied the superintendent's office and tried to do his work.

Historically, the superintendent of schools repre[Pg 195]sents a development from the Board of Education, not from the teaching body. Originally, he was looked upon as the business manager of the Board, rather than an educator by profession. Quite specifically, he was, at first, often one of the regularly elected members of the Board, designated by the Board to attend to the details of the work, to keep the educational machine properly oiled, his selection seldom being dictated by any particular qualification of a professional character.

But in this matter of education as in other matters, great changes have arisen. In those days teaching was not looked upon as a profession. It was merely a calling, a trade, a temporary activity requiring no special preparation. Anybody could teach and could teach any subject. Education was not recognized as a science. The function of the school was merely to give knowledge and it was not looked upon, as to-day, as a great social institution, largely responsible for the welfare of society and even for the stability of government. And as touching the child, not interesting itself with the formation of right habits of action, with the development of character, in a word, so handling the child and his environment as to bring about both the normal development of his inner life and the adequate shaping and preparing of that life to satisfy the demands that will later be met. Not at all.

But great changes have arisen. Education has become a science, and its activities, its processes, are being based upon definite scientific principles. We are to-day demanding a professional preparation of all our teachers. We require them to know something about the child mind and the laws of its[Pg 196] development. We expect them to know why they teach this subject and that, that is, the educational values of the various subjects, and the best manner of administering this educational food. Education, I say, is now looked upon as a science, closely allied to and continually assisted by its sister science of sociology, definitely based upon and springing out of the sciences of psychology and physiology, and even having its roots deep down in the sub-soil of biology.

Together with this change of thought as to the function and work of the school, there has been a corresponding change as to the superintendent and his work. While we are not completely emancipated from the old rule of cut and try, from the old mechanical routine, the country as a whole has taken some long strides in advance. While some boards of education still look upon their superintendent as a chore boy, that idea has, on the whole, long since been abandoned. And the best educational thought of the country to-day regards the superintendent primarily as an educator, having to do with the inner, rather than the outer, phases of the school's activities. And our most progressive centers are looking upon him as a specialist, an educational expert, and demanding in him an educational and a professional equipment commensurate with the larger, more difficult, and most important work. He must be intimately acquainted with the sciences most closely related to his own and capable of drawing upon all the others for contributory assistance. And then, in carrying out the thought of this larger view and so shaping matters of detail as to profit by the superb equipment[Pg 197] provided in the new superintendent, he has been freed from the routine work formerly done by him, thus giving the opportunity of studying the local problems and planning their solution.

Now for my definite suggestion. It has taken me a long time to get to it, but I believe it is worth the time. I want you to look upon the superintendency of your schools as the largest, the most difficult, and most important position within the bestowal of the city. The mayor's job doesn't begin to compare with it. And then after you have so rated the position, I want you to free the man who holds it from all hack-work, from the details of business management, from anything and everything that now prevents him from making a careful, scientific, investigative study of fundamental educational problems that confront him right here in Grand Forks.

And what are some of those problems, do you ask? Superintendent Kelly could doubtless name a score of them that he is waiting to get at but can not for want of time. Let me suggest a few that are confronting our superintendents all over the land. Nor can I do more than mention them. I name first this matter of retardation of which I have already spoken. Why is it that so many children fail of promotion and so have to repeat grades, thus adding to the expense of the schools? It no longer satisfies to say, "Because they do not study"—the question is, "Why do they not study?" Is it the fault of the child, the home, or the school? And, whosoever it is, how can the difficulty be removed? You would not in your business suffer a daily loss thru unnecessary friction—thru the unsatisfactory[Pg 198] working of your machinery. You demand the largest and best output possible for the money expended. Why not the same in the biggest business enterprise of the city—your schools? But to prevent the friction, you must know the cause. I want the superintendent to have time to investigate these matters. All this applies as well to those who drop out before completing the course as to those merely repeating a grade. An analogous question: Why do so few, relatively, of the graduates of the eighth grade enter the high school? And why do so few of those who enter complete the course? Again, is it because they can see no real connection between the work of the high school and the work of life—because it doesn't seem to fit them for anything? These things should be investigated and, when reasons are found, the remedy applied. We should know the facts. But all these matters take time, and the days are only so long and a man's strength always limited. Exhausted by hack-work, no man can do constructive thinking. And so we go on in our waste of money and energy and life. The waste of soil, the waste of tools, in our farming communities, doesn't compare with this waste in seriousness. Let us adopt the principles of scientific conservation.

And now, in keeping with the topic given me to discuss, "Improvement in Our Public Schools," I have given three quite definite suggestions: In the first place, I have recommended the utilization of the Press as an agent of improvement. That is, I have asked that there be established in one or both of your daily papers an educational column in charge of some competent person thru which the public could become better informed on school mat[Pg 199]ters and thus able to co-operate more intelligently in the upbuilding of the schools. In the second place, I have urged that mesures be taken looking toward the adoption of regular and systematic medical inspection of all school children. And lastly, I have urged you to look upon your superintendent of schools as an educational expert rather than a business man. And, regarding him as such, I have asked you to free him from the petty details of office work and all mechanical drudgery so that his training and his abilities could be used for educational betterment.[Pg 201][Pg 200]

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A Paper read before the Franklin Club of Grand Forks, North Dakota, December 1, 1910, and printed in the Grand Forks "Daily Herald," December 4, 1910

It is no longer necessary to offer an extended plea for a recognition of the value of physical training. The human race, in its upward climbing, long ago passed the stage where the body was looked upon as a hindrance to the soul in its aspirations. We have likewise gone beyond that higher stage in which the attitude toward the physical being was merely negative, and have clearly reached an altitude upon which we recognize a well-defined relationship between the physical man and the mental and spiritual man. We know now that only as each is healthy and thus in a condition to do its own work well, is the other able to act normally. As the great English philosopher, Locke, said, "A sound mind in a sound body is a brief but full description of a happy state in this world." This is a well-recognized article of our educational creed, not only, but even the conservative religious workers have accepted the principle, and we find inscribed over the entrances to our Christian Association buildings the word "body" as well as the word more commonly found in such connection, "spirit."

But to go back just a moment: let us consider it from the standpoint of mere physical betterment. We know that a muscle unused means a muscle un[Pg 204]developed, and that, on the contrary, intelligent, systematic use, with a definite purpose in view, will accomplish wonders in physical development. We know something as to what a physical trainer can do with a bunch of raw foot-ball material. We know how the gymnasium can metamorphose a loose-jointed, lop-sided, stoop-shouldered, shamble-gaited young fellow. We know what the brisk recruiting officer can do with the "awkward squad." In the one case as in the other, the physical training stands him upon his feet; it takes the kinks out of his back; it throws his head up; it unties the knots in his legs; it puts fire into his eye. The good red blood courses thru his veins, and even shows itself in his cheeks. He walks with an elastic step. Every organ of his body is doing its duty. He no longer needs liver pills, digestive tablets or wizard oil.

I said "mere physical betterment," didn't I? Well, you can not have "mere" physical betterment. In every case suggested above, there is something better than physical improvement. Without knowing why, or how, the young fellow, after the training suggested, in addition to being a more perfectly functioning animal, a better working flesh-and-blood machine, is several rounds higher up on the ladder of manhood. He looks you in the eye. He gives your hand a regular Stearns grip. He dares to say that his soul is his own. And why? Because the life-giving oxygen is getting down into the long-neglected corners of his lungs. Because his heart is forcing this purified blood thru his veins building up his system and incidentally throwing off the waste and poisonous matter, so that, relieved of the dregs, the bodily organs can really function.[Pg 205] And if that is true of the "gizzard" it is likewise true of the brain. He can feel more keenly, think more wisely. But all this can be done by physical exercise alone. Some of the best of these results can be obtained by the use of the mere punching bag; by running around the house, if you run often enough and fast enough; all alone with the dumb bells or Indian clubs, if you keep at it long enough, or even by walking out to the University on the railroad tracks and saving your street car nickels. But taken thus, these exercises constitute a mere medicine. And people don't take medicine until they have to. And for some strange reason they won't take this kind even then unless some doctor prescribes it in consideration of the payment of a good sized fee. Why is it? Simply because we prize things in proportion to their cost?

Now, we want these results and even better ones. And we don't want to pay the doctor's fees for this or any other kind of medicine in order to get them. What are we going to do about it? Isn't there some sugar coating that we can put on to these physical exercise pills to make them a little more palatable? Can't we in some way make ourselves believe that we are eating candy instead of taking quinine? For you know that we grown-ups have not lost all our powers of imagination. How often we play make believe, even yet! I'll tell you what we can do. Let's have this same physical exercise idea but introduce into it the element of sport which Webster defines as "that which diverts and makes mirth." Let's do these stunts "for the fun of it" instead of as a medicine. We'll get the results, just the same, and thus get double pay for our pains.[Pg 206] I fancy that the skiing and the skating, the snow-shoeing and the curling of which we are to hear, all have that element tucked away somewhere in their anatomy.

But you may ask me what more there is than the results already mentioned to be gotten from these physical exercises, if we succeed in covering up the quinine with Mr. Webster's molasses. I've used Indian clubs and dumb bells by the hour; I've walked to the University in season and out of season; I've even run around the house—and as a result have experienced the exhilaration that comes from such vigorous discipline. I've been better for it, physically, and therefore, of course, mentally. More oxygen, better blood, firmer bodily tissue including better nourished brain cells, have done their beneficent work. But yet, as I look back and see myself going thru these various maneuvers, I am fully confident of the fact that all this time I was also doing something else—that my poor brain cells, which really needed recuperation more than any other part of my body, that these brain cells were still at work, that I was all the time carrying on a more or less strenuous train of thought as exhaustive as tho I were seated in my study chair, or standing before my class in the recitation room. More than one lecture, or address, have I worked out while walking to and from the University.

Now, one of the most important things for us to do is occasionally to stop thinking, or at least to stop thinking along our accustomed lines. We should give those few brain cells that are being made to work over-time a chance to rest once in a while. We are living too fast. Our lives are too intense.[Pg 207] We are running our machines under high pressure, and some of them are already showing the results altho they are almost new. Unless there is a change, new ones will have to take their places ere long. The rate of speed of the life of the modern American business and professional man, the rate of speed of the life of the modern American society woman, is something terrific. We are wearing ourselves out before our time. Modern life is so complex, so exacting, so wearing, that we are losing all the joy of living. We are at our own firesides so seldom and for such short periods that we scarcely know our own little ones. Longfellow's "Children's Hour" that came "as a pause in the day's occupation," is almost wholly unknown in most American homes. There is no "pause" in the day's occupation. The occupation goes right on till after these "children" are soundly asleep in their beds and begins again before they are awake in the morning. And all this is true even of us, right here in this select circle, the "favored ones," many would call us.

But I am not giving a diatribe on American life, so will not pursue the matter farther. All that I am trying to do is simply this: to call attention to the fact that we are living fast—faster than our physical and mental make-up can long stand; that we have already reached the danger point. And what are we going to do about it? Well, we shall have to do many things before the problems are all solved, the difficulties all met. As a slight relief, and to answer a question raised a little earlier in the paper, I am suggesting the sports—those activities that both rejuvenate the physical man and also "divert and make mirth." Into these we can not[Pg 208] carry our teaching and our preaching and our making of social calls. The goods of the merchant, the notes of the banker, the briefs of the lawyer, the annoyances of the teacher, and the cares of the housewife, alike, would all have to be left behind. The mind could rest while the body and the spirit are being recreated. An hour a day, in the open air, with fears and anxieties and schemes all cast aside, in companionship with kindred spirits similarly divested of that which troubles and makes afraid, all engaged in recreative sports, would do more to make us physically well, morally strong, and civilly decent than all the pills of the doctors, all the texts of the preachers, and all the keys of the jailers!

In keeping with the world-wide movement in this direction our own people, in their civic capacity, have already acted and have thus become the possessor of splendid park facilities which offer ample opportunities, when fully developed, for a sane out-of-door life of a population many times as large as ours at the present time. And as we all know, the Park Board has entered intelligently and systematically upon this matter of development and improvement. Much has already been done. Very much more is fully outlined in the minds of the Park Board. I think it is their purpose—and I fully believe that they will carry it out—to proceed in this matter of development just as rapidly as the people show, by their use of the facilities progressively offered, an appreciation.

Nearly all the work done thus far, such as clearing away the rubbish, making the shady retreats usable, fitting up picnic grounds, caring for the[Pg 209] tennis courts, golf links, and other game reserves, as well as erecting pavilions and other conveniences, has looked toward putting the grounds into condition for summer use. And the response on the part of the people has been gratifying. As rapidly as the parks have been put into shape, they have been generously used by an appreciative people. It has done my heart good, many times, especially on Sundays in the hot summer months, to see the numbers of people, and the people, who were really using the parks. They have been the people, in a large mesure, who can not easily get elsewhere the best things that the parks give.

Thus far, as said, the plans for development have looked mainly toward summer use, But I am especially glad to note a recent improvement that shows that the Park Board has the winter use of the parks also definitely in mind. I refer to the new skating rink in Riverside Park. It is a most commendable institution. I very much hope that it will be extensively used, not only by the people living in that part of the city, but by those of all sections. It belongs to all of us. Here is an opportunity for a most delightful winter sport freely offered. If appreciated, as shown by its use, I have no doubt that it will be duplicated next winter, and on a larger scale, in Lincoln Park. And if we show that we appreciate this, other features will be added.

Perhaps I should stop here, but I can not lose the opportunity of saying just a word to connect this topic with the great playground movement, and therefore in behalf of providing facilities for winter and summer sports alike, for our boys and girls—our young people.[Pg 210]

Do you realize fully that the boys and girls of to-day—yours and mine, yes, and just as truly those less favored—those into whose lives there comes but little cheer, into whose stomachs there goes but little nourishing food, and into whose lungs, but little oxygen—do you realize, I ask, that these boys and girls are to be the men and women of to-morrow, with all the responsibilities of the world resting upon their shoulders? Do we want them to enter upon the duties of life stoop-shouldered, flat-chested, spectacle-eyed? Do we want them to be anæmic, pessimistic, nervous wrecks? Do we want them to be mental weaklings and moral cowards? Do we want them even to approximate these conditions? No? Then, with all our provisions for their wants and their needs, let us be sure to develop those things which minister so largely to the development of the opposite characteristics. Prevention is not only cheaper than cure, it is also better. Let us see that our parks are developed with provisions for our boys and girls as well as for the adults. Let us see that playgrounds are scattered over our city and provision made for both winter and summer sports.

In addition to the Riverside Park skating rink, I wish the City Council or the Board of Education would establish one on the grounds of the Winship school, another at the Central building, and still a third on the Belmont grounds. This could be done at nominal cost. What a splendid opportunity it would give to all the children of the city to engage in this most healthful and invigorating sport! It would give them their needed entertainment and relaxation in the pure, invigorating, out-of-door air. It would surround them with an emotional atmos[Pg 211]phere that is at once normal, natural, and spiritually health-giving. Instead of these conditions, what do we find? Many of our young boys and girls and very many of those a little older—those just entering upon manhood and womanhood, when both emotional and physical atmosphere count for so much in the forming of habits and the choosing of ideals—many of these future men and women are finding their entertainment and their relaxation (and mind you, at the close of a day in school or in the evening after a day spent in the poorly ventilated office or store) in the moving-picture show or at the vaudeville. And in these places the air is apt to be both hot and impure, and all the physical conditions enervating. The emotional atmosphere, too, is sure to be abnormal, unnatural, and spiritually deadening. We find here, and in too large quantity to be a negligible factor, the atmosphere, the conditions, the associations, that help greatly to breed incorrigibles, truants, and laggards in our schools; that develop juvenile delinquents, hasty marriages, and early divorces; that send into the world paupers, grafters, and criminals. Not all the conditions are such in all such places, it is true, but as affecting young life these are usually the dominating ones.

I am not condemning the theater. It has its legitimate place, and a large place it is, in normal, healthy, American life. I am merely declaiming against these lower forms as usually conducted for commercial gain—these perversions of the true theater idea—these institutions that deal so largely in the sensational elements and appeal so strongly to the passions. I am told that the cheap theater is the poor man's club. I very much doubt if that[Pg 212] is its chief function or, rather, that its chief result is a wholesome quickening of the better nature of this poor man—that its chief accomplishment is to send him back to his home kinder, truer, and stronger, thru either the relaxation or the instruction, to grapple with the difficulties of life. I greatly fear that, as usually conducted, its influence upon the adult is at best but the temporary slaking of an unhealthy and never-satisfied thirst, and that upon the child and the adolescent it is a distinct blunting of all the finer sensibilities and elements of character. But even these lower forms are not all bad. There is enough of good in them to warrant an attempt at improvement rather than elimination. They can be improved, made clean, and wholesome, and thus become a positive factor in the development of right character. I doubt if it will be done, however, until some other motive than personal gain shall be responsible for their management. Still, as they are, they might be very greatly bettered if in some way those most deeply interested in the outcome could have a choice in the selection of the material to be used.

One of the best ways to counteract the harmful influence of the poorly conducted moving picture show and the vaudeville is to develop something better to take their places. Let it be something that contains the life-giving principles, something that will appeal with equal force to the impressionable youth, and yet be clean and wholesome and natural. Shall we not look upon the public playground for the children, and the park system, for all, as a promising hope? And, properly developed, would they not soon come to act on the young, both[Pg 213] physically and psychically, as a prevention, thus making a later cure unnecessary? And upon adults, might we not reasonably expect their use to tend toward making less attractive, and so to the eventual abandonment of, many of these practises and forms of entertainment and recreation that are now so sapping of both physical and psychical life?[Pg 215][Pg 214]

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An Address delivered before the North Dakota State Teachers Association on December 27, 1906. It later appeared in the January and February, 1910, issues of "Education"

Among the various educational institutions of the United States to-day, the one which, as it seems to me, is attracting the most intelligent attention on the part of our educational thinkers, and the one upon the right solution of whose problems depends, in a high degree, the success of our entire educational system, is the institution for the education of teachers. For we all have come, finally, to accept as true the statement of the old German writer, "School reform means schoolmaster reform," also that other, used so effectively in the days of our own early educational revival, "As is the teacher so is the school." And we are ready to-day to admit that those statements are true whether applied to the ungraded rural school with its noticeable lack of needed equipment, to the perfectly graded school of the city with every facility that human ingenuity can devise and money procure, or to the college and university where scholarship and culture are supposed to make their abode and contribute of their fullness. For I care not, and you care not, what be the physical and material equipment of the school; I care not, nor do you, what be the scholastic attainments of the one called teacher; if he isn't able to teach, that is, to cause to learn, we all know that the school, in just the mesure of his inability, is a[Pg 218] failure. One thing further we all know, and that is this: one plank in our great educational platform is belief in the necessity of an institution set apart for the preparation of teachers. We are irrevocably committed to the idea. It is a part of our educational creed. Fortunately, in our educational evolution we have left far behind us the stage when the wisdom of that institution was seriously questioned. Our pedagogical forefathers, valiant explorers, discoverers, heroes, educational statesmen—Carter, Mann, Page, Sheldon and others—have left us this priceless heritage. It remains for us to-day merely to analyze the institution, agree upon the respective functions of its various types, and then apply ourselves with intelligent vigor each to the solution of his own problems.

As we look around us, we clearly distinguish three distinct types of the institution under discussion. The oldest, best known, and most numerous is called the state normal school. It dates from the time of Horace Mann and Edmund Dwight, the former of whom recognized the need and knew how to inaugurate the movement, the latter, having unbounded faith in Mr. Mann, provided the funds. Nearly every state in the union has now one or more intelligently at work. All that have not, have practically the same thing under another name—normal departments in connection with the state universities.

The next type, in order of time and numbers, as well, is found in connection with the higher educational institutions of the country. It has various names, as "Department of Education," "School of Education," "Division of Education," "Pedagogical[Pg 219] Department," "School of Pedagogy" and "Teachers College." Probably the name most common in the past has been "Department of Education," or "Pedagogical Department," tho in the developed form it is changing to "School of Education" or "Teachers College." Of these, there are at work, according to the 1909 report of the Commissioner of Education, 171. That is, there are 171 colleges and universities maintaining at least a department, or chair, of education, and giving professional instruction of college grade.

The third type, latest in appearance and as yet fewest in number, but with fair promise of rapid increase and great usefulness, is the county school, called "County Normal Training Class" in Michigan and "County Training School" in Wisconsin, in which two states the movement is at its best. Indeed, I do not know of any other state in which the work has been thus definitely organized. Of these, Michigan had, a year ago, forty-one, and Wisconsin, twenty. Possibly in this connection one ought to mention the good work being done in high schools in several states, but seen at its best in Nebraska and New York. Yet this work is but an adjunct to the high school, and does not so clearly approach a separate institution.

Of these three types it is the second which is the subject of the present discussion—whose function I seek. It is really immaterial whether we use, in the discussion, the appellation of Minnesota and say "College of Education," or that of Harvard and call it "Division of Education," or that of Columbia, Missouri, and North Dakota, and say "Teachers College." For they are all one and the[Pg 220] same institution with but slightly different systems of organization. I use the latter term because more familiar and more likely, I think, as time passes, to prevail.

But these three types are so closely connected that the function of one cannot be clearly seen alone. Therefore I propose very briefly to examine the establishment of each so as to learn why it was called into existence—what function it was originally expected to perform. I shall then briefly examine present conditions, trying to discover if any changes have taken place in the general educational situation of sufficient moment to make necessary a rearrangement or readjustment. Finally, I shall draw my conclusions as to present functions, and with a more careful analysis of certain factors state the reasons for those conclusions as briefly as possible.

First, as to state normal schools: it is, of course, entirely unnecessary to go into details as to organization or early work of this institution in our country. I am stating what is known to all when I say that Horace Mann in Massachusetts, Henry Barnard in Connecticut, David Page in New York, and William Phelps in New Jersey had one and only one thought in view in working for the establishment of normal schools and for the development of their work. They, one and all, were seeking some means for providing better teachers for the common schools. No one, so far as I am able to discover, at this time even suggested that any other teachers needed a special preparation for their work. To be sure, the American high school was hardly under way when the normal school movement was inaugurated, in 1839, there being then but half a dozen in[Pg 221] the entire country. Ten years later there were but eighteen. There was, however, in those days a large number of academies giving secondary instruction. But there was no thought of looking to the normal schools for academy teachers, they came from the colleges. Indeed, generally speaking, the academies and high schools as then being developed, were offering a higher grade of academic work than the normal schools, and they were rather assisting the latter in the production of teachers. This was especially true in New York, a movement having there been inaugurated by which, thru financial aid from the State, many of the academies were offering normal school instruction and sending out into the rural schools and city grades a very creditable product. And the character of the movement in the East has continued to be the character of the movement as it has swept Westward. I think there has not been established in the United States a single state normal school whose function has not been understood to be the preparation of teachers for the common schools. And by "common schools" I mean the first eight grades of the public school, including both rural and urban communities, for it has been only in recent years that we have carefully discriminated between the two.

Next, let us look at the teachers college. Bear in mind that I use the term as referring to the institution, or department, under whatever name it may be known, that is doing professional work in the preparation of teachers in connection with colleges and universities. In taking up the topic, attention needs first to be called to two facts: the rapid development of our high school system and[Pg 222] the high degree of success already attained by our normal schools.

After the close of the Civil War our high schools began to multiply—rapidly from 1870 to 1880, by leaps and bounds from that time to the present. In 1870 there were 170; 1880, 800; 1890, 2,526; 1900, 6,005; and in 1908, 8,960. (Annual reports of the Commissioner of Education.) But no sooner had the high school movement obtained good headway than the serious problem arose as to the supply of teachers. And so well, on the whole, had the normal school done its work that it had more than justified its existence. Thru its work the character of the teaching in the elementary schools had been greatly improved. Teachers, with normal school equipment, were everywhere recognized as superior to those otherwise trained or not trained at all. Very naturally, then, when the problem of high school teachers arose, professional preparation was demanded. But where could it be obtained and how?

The state normal schools, true to their function of preparing teachers, tried to satisfy the additional demands placed upon them. They added to their equipment, modified and extended their courses, and in every way did all they could. Indeed, they did all that was done in a professional way for nearly a generation. But the high schools were increasing, both in numbers and in academic requirements of students and teachers. City school systems were being developed and extended in a most unprecedented manner, calling for skilled superintendents, supervisors, grade principals, special teachers, etc., until, finally, thoughtful men began to see that the[Pg 223] impossible was being asked of the state normal schools. For two reasons, it was seen, they could not do the double work; in the first place, they had more than they could do in their original sphere of providing teachers for the elementary schools, and secondly, their academic possibilities, even increased as they had been in attempting the work, were clearly seen to be wholly inadequate. It was discovered, also, that, in spite of the efforts being put forth by the normal schools, the higher teaching positions—superintendencies, high school principalships, etc.—were going to men of collegiate attainment, even at the sacrifice of professional training which was then being recognized as very desirable.

What was to be done? To make a long story short, the universities and colleges, with their more extended courses, better equipment, and stronger faculties, took the matter up and added educational departments in which could be given, with but slight additional outlay, both the academic and professional equipment thought to be needed by the high school teacher.

This work was first clearly suggested and outlined at the annual meeting of the Michigan State Teachers' Association in 1870. Dr. W. H. Payne, then city superintendent of schools at Adrian, Michigan, read a notable address upon the subject, "The Relation Between the University and Our High Schools." Eight years later, the Regents of Michigan University established a chair of "Theory and Art of Teaching," and to it called the man who had, by the address just mentioned, offered a practical as well as a logical solution of the difficult problem.[Pg 224]

The example thus set by Michigan University was soon followed by others—Cornell, Ohio, Illinois, Harvard, Chicago and others, until now this new department is found in nearly every prominent college and university in the land. These are our teachers colleges or, rather, the sources from which they are springing. For, to be sure, not every pedagogical department found in a higher institution of learning, tho doing in a general way the same grade of work, should be called a teachers college. Tho having its roots in these, the teachers college proper differs from the most of them in several ways. The pedagogical department of a college, and too, a thoroly reputable college, may be, and usually is, merely one of the many departments of the institution, represented on its faculty by a single professor and offering but a limited range of professional work—a few courses in the history of education, principles of education, and "pedagogy," usually. A teachers college, on the other hand, has an organization and, sometimes, a financial status of its own. Its relationship to the institution as a whole is getting to be the same as that of the other professional schools. The movement is toward a separate faculty, headed by a dean, and representing all the different phases of both academic and professional work. While many of the members of the faculty do, and may continue to, give courses in the other colleges, they have a distinct, organic connection with the teachers college. The teachers college is also getting to have, as a vital part of its equipment, a model high school bearing to it the same relationship that the model, or practise, school bears to our normal schools. While this fulness of[Pg 225] organization and equipment has not yet been reached by a large number, it has by several, among which are Columbia, Missouri, Chicago, and, approximately, North Dakota, with many others moving rapidly in the same direction.

Just a few words, now, as to the third type mentioned, the county normal school: As already suggested, the line of demarcation was not early drawn between the urban and the rural school. But cities grew; city school systems were developed; the normal schools, in spite of rapid increase, were not able to keep up with the rapidly increasing demands. And, since the field for normal school graduates has ever been an open one, they have located where the remuneration has been the most generous. Now, cities and villages are, generally speaking, the centers of intelligence as well as of population and wealth. The people of these communities have appreciated the superiority of professionally prepared teachers, and they have been able to pay the added price. The result has been that they have appropriated practically the entire output of the normal schools. None have been left for the rural schools.

And again, with these economic changes there came to be more and more clearly seen, as the years went by, a difference, internal and somewhat vital, between the schools of the rural and the urban communities, making in some ways a different sort of preparation desirable. Now, the state normal school, growing with the movement, and ever keenly alive to its opportunities for usefulness, noting clearly the location of its product, very wisely began to modify its work so as to make it better suited to the needs of its main customers—the well-graded schools of[Pg 226] the city and village. And so it has resulted that, even if the normal schools could supply the demands for both country and city teachers, so far as numbers are concerned, the preparation given is not the most ideal for the former. And just as when professionally trained secondary teachers were needed a new institution was created for their preparation, in very recent years an institution has appeared to satisfy this new need, one whose function is as clearly announced, and one which seems to fit into the situation as well, and we have the county normal school of Michigan and Wisconsin, as mentioned above.

Whether we shall see a rapid extension of this new movement, making the county normal school as fixt an institution as the state normal school has become, and as the teachers college bids fair to become, or whether, thru consolidation, the distinctive type of our rural school shall disappear and our state normal schools be increased in number to meet the larger demands, only the future can tell. This latter, however, will not be in our generation, and I confidently look for the former. I believe the general adoption and adaptation of the county normal school idea would be one of the most economical and speedy means of solving some of our most serious rural school problems. And I also believe that it should be our next step, if we can take but one step at a time, toward professional education of teachers.

If I have analyzed aright the present situation, and have been fair in my all too brief account of the rise and development of these institutions, we see that we have in our midst to-day, as a result of the development of our educational system, and[Pg 227] to keep pace with it, the development of the idea so long ago adopted—the value of the professional preparation of the teacher—three quite distinct types of an institution for such purpose. Enumerating now in order of grade of work rather than of historical development, we have (1) the county normal school, whose function is solely the preparation of teachers for the rural schools—sixty-one of them found only in Michigan and Wisconsin, sending into the rural schools of those states about 800 fairly well equipt teachers each year; (2) the old state normal school of historic fame, whose function is the preparation of teachers for the elementary grades of our city and village schools—195 there were two years ago—and they sent out into the schools approximately 10,000 teachers, mostly graduates; (3) the teachers college, found always in connection with a college of high rank or of a full-fledged university, offering work, both academic and professional, of full university grade and covering the full university period of four years. The number cannot be stated definitely, because the process that is transforming the old pedagogical departments into teachers colleges is at such varying stages of development. Its function is best stated in the words of the institution in which it was founded (Calendar of the University of Michigan for 1904-1905, p. 126):—

"1. To fit university students for the higher positions in the public school service.

"2. To promote the study of educational science.

"3. To teach the history of education and of educational systems and doctrines.[Pg 228]

"4. To secure to teaching the rights, prerogatives and advantages of a profession.

"5. To give a more perfect unity to our state educational system, by bringing the secondary schools into closer relations with the university."

"Higher position in the public school service" meant, in the main, in the early days, city superintendencies and high school principalships. To these, others have been added, one by one, owing very largely to the great success of the movement and the growing appreciation of the value of professional preparation for occupants of such positions, until now they include city superintendencies, high school and grade principalships, subject supervisorships, high school, normal school, and college instructorships. Already the leading teachers colleges, the ones at Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago universities, are being definitely looked to for these later added and more responsible workmen.

Thus far I have but stated historical facts known to all who are reasonably well informed touching the history of education and current educational practise in our country. I have done this all too briefly, I am well aware. But the reason that I could do it briefly is the fact that the readers of this journal are well informed upon the historical phases of the subject. All that I needed to do was to cull out and bring to the fore the pertinent facts. But the question now arises, is this differentiation logical? Are there any reasons, psychological, economic, or otherwise, for such differentiation? If there are, it is going to continue, and these types of the institution which now seem to have been given each such a definite and separate work to do are[Pg 229] going to be relatively permanent. If not, we shall continue to cut and try, undoing to-morrow what was done to-day, and chaos will result.

This institution, with its various types, is not one that has evolved from a careful theoretical study of our present or prospective educational needs, but one that has grown up, little by little, step by step, to meet and satisfy from time to time the present and pressing needs of the larger system of which it forms a part, and for the service of which it was called into existence. But is it not true that oftentimes the logic of events—the movements of history—reveal to us our fundamental principles, outline for us our policy of action, and even write out for us our program of procedure as correctly and even more irrevocably than philosophical formulation could do? Is not that especially likely to occur under such a form of government as ours? I think it has occurred in the present case.

It is interesting to note in this connection the fact that the logic of events has led us, in our efforts to solve the difficult problem of the education of our teachers, to practically the same solution as that already reached by France and Germany, which countries proceeded more nearly along the pathway of theoretical philosophical formulation.

I believe that at least two of these institutions, the state normal school and the teachers college, have come to stay, and with practically the functions outlined above. Of the county normal school, as said before, I do not feel quite so sure. I am led to the belief in the relative permanency of these types of professional school, not only by a knowledge of the history of their development, but also[Pg 230] by the conviction, formed by a somewhat careful study of the entire problem, that there are fundamental reasons, psychological as well as economical, for the differentiation. In other words, my own somewhat careful study of the entire situation brings me to the same position that the logic of events has brought us all.

As to the county normal school: it is so apparent as scarcely to need mention that the teacher of the rural school needs a preparation differing in many ways from that needed by the teacher of the city grades. The environment, physical, psychical, and social, is so different that a teacher equipt to do thoroly good work in either one place might signally fail in the other. And the present economic situation speaks with nearly the same insistence. Even if our state normal schools were sending out teachers ideally equipt for service in the rural communities, the remuneration there offered is, and for an indefinite time will remain, so low as practically to keep them out of the schools. Either we must have special institutions for the preparation of the teachers of the rural schools, or else those schools must, in the main, continue to do without professionally prepared teachers.

Turning now to the other type, it is equally clear to me that the very character of the work in the elementary and secondary schools should be different one from the other, different as to discipline, ends in view, subjects of study, and methods of handling the same. In the elementary school the pupil is a child, with the mind, the tastes, the ambitions of a child, and he should be allowed to remain a child. The ends in view are right habits,[Pg 231] right ideals, and knowledge facts. In the secondary school the student is an adolescent, with the mind of an adolescent, having peculiar and erratic tastes, changing ambitions, and conflicting emotions. He is neither child nor adult, but passing thru the most dangerous and critical period of his entire life. The ends in view are no longer merely habits, ideals, and knowledge facts, but, added to these, and now more important for emphasis because presumably right principles have already been established, breadth and fixity of character, self-acquaintance, scholarship, and culture. Tell me that the atmosphere, psychical and spiritual, and the training, academic and professional, that will produce the ideal teacher of the child will also produce the ideal teacher of the adolescent? Nay, verily! You might as well tell the florist that the American Beauty rose and the Snow Flower of the Northern forest will both reach perfection if grown side by side. Then surely we need different kinds of institutions. I cannot better conclude this thought than by using the words of Dr. Wm. T. Harris found in the introductory paragraph of an article on "The Future of the Normal School." (Ed. Rev., January, 1899, p. 1.) Dr. Harris says: "I have tried to set down in this paper the grounds for commending the normal school as it exists for its chosen work of preparing teachers for the elementary schools, and at the same time urging the need of training schools with different methods of preparation for the kindergarten, below, and for the secondary school, the college and the post-graduate school, above the elementary school."

The reason just given, the psychological one, is[Pg 232] alone sufficient for believing that the differentiation is logical. But let me add another, almost equally effective—an academic reason, directly academic and at the same time indirectly economic. This is found in the following words, taken from Dr. Payne's "Contributions to the Science of Education." (Am. Book Co., 1886, p. 538.) "If there is any well-established principle of school economy it is this: The scholarship of the teacher should be considerably broader than the scholarship of his most advanced pupil." Nobody now questions the statement.

Upon the basis of that principle there is little criticism to be offered of the academic equipment of our normal school graduates as teachers in the grades. No normal school now completes its work with less than one full year beyond the completion of a four-year high school course, and two years beyond is rapidly getting to be the standard. So that normal school graduation gives the prospective teacher of the grades at least four years of academic, and from one to two years of professional and academic work beyond the point to be reached by "his most advanced pupil." To be sure, more would be better—a longer experience and a closer acquaintance with the great character forming subjects, such as literature, history, philosophy, etc. This would give breadth of view, clearness of perception, and a right perspective—elements of incomparable value in the equipment of the teacher. But yet, in view of our economic conditions and of a general lack of understanding and therefore of appreciation in the lay mind of the most vital and fundamental work of the teacher, we cannot yet hope for teachers ideally equipt. And our present standards, if[Pg 233] insisted upon and the work thus far be thoro and clear and faithful, will give us increasingly better results and eventually lead to conditions more nearly ideal.

But this judgment as to criticism must be very different when we look upon these graduates as possible teachers in the high school. The scholarship of such a teacher there would be but little, if any, "broader than the scholarship of his most advanced pupil." While there is to-day no uniform legislation touching the requirements as to qualifications of high school teachers in the United States, each state, and even each school, being largely a law unto itself, there is getting to be a very decided uniformity the country over as to practise, and in many ways this is much more significant than formal legislation would be. For without compulsion, the whole people, each section and each state, independent of all others, seemingly by the very necessity of the case, have fixt upon the same minimum standard of qualification for high school teachers. And that minimum is the completion of a full four-year collegiate course of instruction, including—indeed, in many cases, plus—a certain emphasis to be placed upon the subjects to be handled, and a certain amount of time devoted to strictly professional subjects. To be sure, in some states legislation has spoken, as in Minnesota, requiring completion of collegiate work, and practically so in North Dakota, requiring completion of such work for superintendencies and high school principalships, and strongly recommending the same for all teaching positions in the high school. In California a step farther has been taken in requiring, in addition[Pg 234] to that, a full year of graduate study. The tendency, in several states, seems to be in the direction of the position taken by California. And with that tendency I am in sympathy.

This movement upward, however, I do not want to see go any farther. I deprecate the tendency, seen in some quarters, of setting up as the symbol of the standard of qualification for the high school teacher, the doctor's degree. I do not want the boys and girls of our high schools taught, or rather directed in their upward development, by mere specialists—doctors of philosophy, who know everything about nothing, and nothing about everything. Nor do I want them directed by men and women who are obliged to "cipher on page twenty while the class is working on page nineteen." But I do want them directed by men and women who are thoroly acquainted with the subjects which they teach, and who know how to handle the same; but especially by men and women of broad, liberal culture, men and women whose lives have been enriched by the best there is in literature, history, art, science, and philosophy, and who know life, and are in warm sympathy with young life. Teachers thus equipt are able, from their high vantage point, to reach out here and there and take as educative material that which will contribute to the beautiful and strong development of each case at hand. And such an equipment, on its academic side, comes not short of the master's degree, or its equivalent.

My authority for the statement made above as to the growing uniformity of practise in requiring as minimum qualification for high school teachers a full collegiate course, and as to the tendency in[Pg 235] several states toward requiring, in addition, a full year of graduate study, is found in an extended correspondence with normal school principals and city and state superintendents representing the entire country.

These facts as to present-day requirements seem to me to fix somewhat definitely the matters under discussion. Our normal schools, with possibly two or three exceptions, are not equipt to give the extended qualification now demanded for the high school teacher. Barring the two or three, the best of them do not pretend to carry the student more than two years beyond high school graduation. And whether it be one or two years, the work is, as it ought to be, mainly professional—not academic. Indeed, the presidents of many of our strongest normal schools insist that they do not do any strictly academic work. And if the lack is so great touching high school teachers, how much greater touching positions still higher.

To be sure, the work of the normal schools might be sufficiently extended to enable them to do this additional and advanced work. New buildings might be erected, laboratory facilities increased, libraries enlarged, additional and stronger teachers provided, etc. But is it necessary? Is it wise? Is it likely to happen with our legislators holding the purse strings so tightly tied? To all such questions the answer must inevitably be negative. It is not necessary because not really needed for the preparation of elementary teachers, while for the preparation of secondary teachers other agencies are at hand. And if not needed the unwisdom of such an extension can scarcely be questioned. Certainly not, if, as urged[Pg 236] above, different kinds of institutions are needed for the preparation of the two grades of teachers. Then, if both not needed and unwise, it is not likely to happen in any case where legislators are intelligently informed as to the situation.

To indicate the feeling among many of our leading educators touching this point, it might be interesting, in closing, to give a brief summary of the correspondence mentioned above. This inquiry, was directed to all our state superintendents, to forty of the leading normal school principals representing all sections of the country, and to fifty-two leading and representative city superintendents. The following questions were asked:—

(1) Are your normal schools at the present time equipt to give adequate preparation to prospective high school teachers?

(2) If you think they are not, would it be wise to add to their present equipment such facilities as would enable them to give such preparation, or can that work be better done in some other way?

Replies From State Superintendents

To question (1). Thirty-eight replies were received, of which twenty-nine were negative and nine affirmative. Of the nine, however, only one came from a state in which normal school facilities are at all superior to what may be termed a fair average, and in that state these facilities are found in only one of the five normal schools, whereas, in five of the nine, these facilities are inferior to what may be termed a fair average. In two of the nine, tho the state superintendents gave affirmative answers,[Pg 237] the consensus of opinion of the normal school principals was negative. In a word, the nine affirmative replies indicate individual opinions, and result from a limited perspective.

To question (2). Twenty-nine replies were received, of which fifteen were specifically negative, five specifically affirmative, and nine implied a misunderstanding of the question. But nearly all of the nine, as well as the fifteen, stated definitely or clearly implied that such work should be done in the colleges and universities.

Replies From Normal School Principals

To question (1). Twenty-eight replies were received, of which twenty were negative, and eight affirmative. Of the eight, three were from states having but one normal school each, and perhaps, therefore, admittedly strong; two from states having each one school much superior to the others of the same state, and referring specifically to that school. Of the remaining three, one was from a new state in the Northwest, one from a Southern state, and one stated that only in some branches was the equipment sufficient.

To question (2). Twenty replies were received, of which sixteen were negative, and four affirmative. Of the four, not one said that all should be so equipt. Each suggested that perhaps it would be well thus to extend the equipment of one school in a state.

Replies From City Superintendents

To question (1). Thirty replies were received, of which twenty-eight were negative, and two affirma[Pg 238]tive. The two were from a state in which is to be found a single normal school, and that, one of the best.

To question (2). Twenty-eight replies were received, of which twenty-six were negative, and two affirmative.

To be sure, correspondence upon this point was not sufficiently extended to be conclusive, but yet my correspondents were, in the main, leaders in their respective lines, and therefore represent the best educational thought and practise of the times. The summary speaks clearly and to the point, and to the same point, note, that the logic of events has already brought us. The work of the normal school should continue to be, as it has been from the beginning, devoted to preparation of teachers for the grades, while prospective teachers in the high schools should seek their preparation in the teachers colleges, under whatever specific names known, where the professional phases of the work will be as much emphasized, but be different, and be differently handled as befitting the different character of the work to be done, and where they can receive the broader academic outlook and equipment absolutely essential to an adequate handling of the larger and more difficult situation.

Note.—Since the appearance of the January number of Education, my attention has been called to the fact that in naming institutions giving early attention to the preparation of secondary teachers I omitted some that should have found a place in such an enumeration. It is true that several others might well have been mentioned. On page 286, line 5 (page 224, line 3 of this work), I might well have added the School of Pedagogy of New York University, also Clark, Stanford, California, and Teachers College, Columbia, and again, "and others." And on page 289, line 18 (page 228, line 18 of this[Pg 239] work), I certainly should have added the School of Pedagogy of New York University and Clark University, possibly others, for the work is progressing rapidly. But it was the movement I had in mind rather than the specific contributions of various institutions. The omissions were not born of any desire to withhold from any institution the credit that it deserves.

Since this matter is again open, let me add an interesting fact in regard to the New York University School of Pedagogy, just mentioned. If I mistake not, we have here the first real "teachers college," that is, the first instance in which we see a "Department of Education," having merely equal standing with other departments in a university, become, thru definite action of that university's governing body, "a professional school of equal rank with the other professional schools of the University." This change was made on March 3, 1890. Judging by results, it has been amply justified. The institution is doing a large and splendid work.—The Author.

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From the "Educational Review," March, 1909, and the "Western Journal of Education" (now the "American Schoolmaster"), May, 1909

In the Educational Review for May, 1908, Mr. W. B. Secor had an article under the caption, "Credit for Quality in the Secondary School." Mr. Secor says, in his opening paragraph, "The present system of giving credit towards graduation in use in the secondary school, takes account mainly of the amount of work done.... The student who barely passes his work gets just the same amount of credit towards graduation as the one who passes high in the nineties. It is to be expected, then, that the student ... will reason something like this: I will be graduated if I pass my work in the seventies just the same as if I pass it in the nineties. What is the use of wasting time and effort in securing a high average?" He then suggests a system of marking which "would not only fix a minimum of quality, but would also recognize different degrees of quality by giving more credit toward graduation for high quality than for low," which system, he thinks, would also tend to "a strengthening of the intellectual life of the secondary school." Mr. Secor does not claim to be the originator of the idea, giving to President Hyde of Bowdoin that doubtful honor. He also refers to two articles in the Educational Review, one in the issue of April, 1905, written[Pg 244] by Professor Thomas, of Columbia University, speaking of the system as just introduced into that institution, and the other in the issue of December, 1906, by Professor Kennedy, describing the system as then in use in the University of North Dakota. After these references have been cited, the system is discust from various points of view and its extension into the secondary field favored, tho, in his closing paragraph, Mr. Secor says, "Now the plan here proposed does not claim perfection. It may not even be a workable scheme when put to the test."

Mr. Secor's article is but one of many evidences that the experiment now being tried in a few of our higher institutions of learning, of attempting to estimate and adequately reward quality as well as quantity of work done by students, is attracting considerable attention. It is not at all strange that these experiments are attracting attention, for the idea is taking and its justice seemingly so apparent. Because of this interest I desire to examine some parts of Mr. Secor's article and in the process of that examination briefly discuss the so-called "Credit-for-quality" idea. I shall be materially aided in such discussion by my experience with the practical workings of the system in the University of North Dakota, and shall take the opportunity of letting the educational world know how the system is working and how it is being regarded in the institution in which it has been receiving its most extensive and thoro trial. For while the system did not originate here, it was here first put into operation, and for years an earnest, honest, heroic effort has been put forth in its behalf. I might say,[Pg 245] parenthetically, that the details of the system Mr. Secor suggests are almost identically the ones that have been in use in this institution. They were found to be faulty, however, and have been materially changed.

I have read and re-read Mr. Secor's article with both interest and apprehension; with interest, because the "Credit-for-quality" idea has been engaging my thoughtful attention on both its practical and its theoretical sides for a considerable time; with apprehension, since the article seems to recommend the system for use in our secondary schools. I am sorry the recommendation has been made for the conclusions I have reached from my double study are very different from those being held by Mr. Secor. I seriously question the wisdom of extending the system at all, even when dealing with students of college rank, much more seriously, then, when applied to those of the secondary school who are four years younger, much less mature, and therefore less able to profit by the meritorious features and at the same time withstand the weakening influences attendant upon the system. Indeed, I think its adoption in the secondary schools would be nothing short of a calamity. Another reason why I feel impelled to speak is that reference is made in Mr. Secor's article to the working of the system in the institution with which I am connected as "highly satisfactory." In justice to the system itself and certainly in view of its suggested extension, that impression should not be allowed to go forth without modification or correction. I shall attempt, therefore, in this discussion, to do three things, tho I shall not try to separate the three spatially:[Pg 246] (1) to discuss this marking system on its merits; (2) to report to the educational world our findings after an experience with it of five years, and (3) to urge against its extension into the secondary field.

Let me say, at the outset, that I have been connected with the University of North Dakota for three years—the last three of the five during which the system has been in use. I have had all the time from one hundred to one hundred twenty-five students. The grading has had to be done three times a year, since our school year, up to the present time, has been separated into three terms. Let me also make plain the fact that in all I say I speak upon my own responsibility, not for the institution nor for its faculty, tho it is true that nearly, if not quite, half the faculty hold practically the same views regarding the system.

It is true, as Mr. Secor says, that "the present system of giving credit towards graduation used in our secondary schools takes account mainly of the amount of work done." It passes upon quality, as he says, only "when it fixes a passing mark." It may also be true, as he takes for granted, that it would be desirable to give credit towards graduation for quality as well as for quantity, but of this I am very much in doubt, especially in dealing with secondary students. It does not sufficiently take into consideration the value of content, and that, it seems to me, is a factor that should not be disregarded. I think I value as highly as most men the discipline, or mental power, gained by close application; likewise, the habit of thoroness gained thru doing work well; but yet, in addition to those acquisitions, I confess that I also place high value[Pg 247] upon knowledge as a possession. In other words, I want the student, both high school and college, to know something.

I will gladly admit, however, that it is very desirable to secure from the student quality as well as quantity. That, I am inclined to think, is the main thing that Mr. Secor is really after. He thinks the best way, or, at any rate, a very good way, to get it is thru the device of giving extra credit toward graduation for the higher grades of work. My experience with the system does not lead me to that conclusion. Interest in the subject matter itself is always essential to the doing of a high quality of work. And such interest in the subject matter of school studies is scarcely secured by anything so artificial as rewards smacking of the market. So far as it can not be secured directly, and resort must be made to artificial incentives to secure it, I think that incentives can be found much more in keeping with the general spirit and purpose of education than the constant appeal to the commercial value of the grades being obtained. The ordinary monthly report card sent to the home, on which the quality of work being done in the various subjects is indicated by "excellent," "good," "poor," etc., and even by the too common "per cent," is artificial stimulus enough. Every teacher knows what an incentive the report card can be made. To be sure, teachers differ greatly in their ability to use this card skilfully, but so used it can exert great power. Not long ago I discust this "Credit-for-quality" matter with a class of about thirty university students, mostly freshmen, and, somewhat to my surprise, I discovered that with the major[Pg 248]ity of them the chief reason for desiring the "A" and "B" (our marks for extra credit toward graduation) was not that they bore the extra credit, but that the descriptive terms "excellent" and "good" secure extra appreciation from the home when term standings are reported. This might not be true of any large percentage of university students, certainly would not be of the upper classes. Added years have made them shrewder. Under the influence of our system they have become keener to appreciate a "bargain." But it certainly would be true of a very large percentage of secondary students.

Considerable experience in the secondary schools leads me to doubt very much that the typical high school student reasons as Mr. Secor suggests in his first paragraph. Some do, of course, and so do some university students, but not the great body of either. Barring a small percentage, students as they run, in both high school and college, are an earnest lot of young people. They are in these institutions for a purpose. They are seeking, so far as their vision extends, well-developed manhood and womanhood. Their chief desire is not to slide thru. The two immediate ends normally in view are consciousness of progressive growth and appreciation from parent and teacher. How eager the majority are for this appreciation is well known to all. All the stimulus needed, in addition to what the subjects and the student's own desire furnish, the resourceful teacher has at hand wrapt up in his own personality. If any other stimulus is needed it can be given by a grading of diplomas as is now being done in many high schools and colleges. I hold that to add to the marks now in common use what[Pg 249] may be called a monetary fringe is both unnecessary and really subversive of the true ends of the school work. As teachers we should seek to elevate ideals, not to lower them; to furnish right motives, not wrong ones; to place before the developing youth high incentives, not low ones.

Mr. Secor says, "the proposed plan is superior to the present system in that it gives a natural and not an artificial incentive to high scholarship." By what process of reasoning he reaches the conclusion that mere "marks and honors" are more "unnatural" and "artificial" than the same marks and honors with a commercial tag appended, I fail to see. The truth of the matter is, both are artificial. As incentives, both are low, but it stands to reason that the latter is much lower than the former. The best friends of the system here, in the University of North Dakota, admit that, as an incentive, it is both artificial and low. Mr. Secor goes on to say, "the system" (that is, the "Credit-for-quality") "puts a premium on thorough-going scholarship by enabling the student to come up for graduation without being forced to study so many subjects that he is not able to do any of them well." If our secondary school courses are so arranged as to force the student "to study so many subjects that he is not able to do any of them well," then something is radically wrong with the courses of study. But no evil can be remedied by introducing a greater. As a matter of fact, the application of the system does not lead to "thorough-going scholarship," at least not in the University of North Dakota where, for five years, an honest and faithful effort has been made to secure that result. In all our discussions[Pg 250] I have never heard one of its friends make that claim for it, altho the charge has been repeatedly made that it is destructive of scholarship. The writer goes on to say, "he" (the student) "may substitute depth for breadth, if he so desires, and is encouraged to do so." Shall we, in the secondary schools, encourage depth? Yes, to be sure, relative depth, but not too much of it, and not then at the expense of breadth. For is not the high school student in that stage of his development when he responds to the sense of breadth rather than that of depth? We could not make of him a student of research if we should try. Let us not try.

In the last paragraph of the article referred to we find a hint of a lack of thoro conviction on the part of the writer himself. "It may not even be a workable scheme when put to the test," he says. Let me say that here, after five years' use, it is not proving to be satisfactorily "workable" even with students of college grade, and by a recent faculty action it has been entirely eliminated from our preparatory department.

This lack of conviction on the part of Mr. Secor calls to mind an interesting bit of history connected with the movement. As said before, it did not originate in the University of North Dakota. Dr. William DeWitt Hyde, President of Bowdoin College, is responsible for the suggestion. He sketched the plan in an Outlook article of August 2nd, 1902, but evidently lacking the courage of his conviction did not introduce it into his own institution, preferring, seemingly, that the experiment be made elsewhere. This has been, from the start, very suggestive to me. I have some admiration for President Hyde's shrewd[Pg 251]ness. The University of North Dakota fell into the trap thus skilfully set. And it is easier to fall into a trap than to get out of it. As a matter of fact, the system is more on trial now, after five years' use, than ever before. Other institutions would do well to await further developments.

In attempting to analyze the situation at the University of North Dakota, let me again refer to Mr. Secor's article. He says, "The plan, with some modifications, is at present being used in the University of North Dakota and in Columbia University with results that are reported to be highly satisfactory." To substantiate his statement he refers, in a foot-note, to the articles in the Educational Review from which he got his information. Now, the conclusion that Mr. Secor reaches from reading these articles is hardly warranted by the articles themselves. I fear he read too much between the lines. Let us see: Professor Thomas wrote of the Columbia system more than three years ago, and only a couple of months after its adoption; nor does he say anything as to its success,—in fact, he could not, for there was nothing to say. He merely explained the new system and gave voice to his expectations. The Columbia system may be proving "highly satisfactory," but surely that article does not say that it is. And when the other article is analyzed, the case is found to be somewhat similar. Professor Kennedy wrote on the system in the University of North Dakota nearly two years ago, fully two academic years, for the article appeared in December, 1906, before the close of the first term of the year 1906-'07. Now two years in the life of an experiment of this kind is a long time. And Pro[Pg 252]fessor Kennedy in writing his article, did not put the case as strongly as does Mr. Secor from reading it. All that he said of its successful working was: "We ... thus far can truthfully say it is working itself out in desirable results—in more and better work than under the old plan." From these data, given when they were, Mr. Secor is certainly not justified in saying that "the plan ... is at present being used in the University of North Dakota with results that are reported to be highly satisfactory."

Professor Kennedy's statement was his individual judgment at the time he wrote his article. A considerable number of his co-laborers would not then have agreed with him. He probably would not write even as strongly as that to-day. If he should, a still larger number would disagree. He might write as strongly of his own belief in the theoretical soundness of the system, but that is quite another matter. As a matter of fact, during the last two years the weaknesses of the system have become so much more apparent that many members of the faculty then favorable, or at least hopeful, have at last come to despair of ever being able to eliminate the objectionable features and strengthen the weak points sufficiently to warrant its retention.

Professor Kennedy's article goes into detail as to the adoption of the plan, and clearly states its various changes up to the date of his writing. In our efforts, since then, to "improve" and "strengthen" it, various other changes have been made so that, as a matter of fact, one who knew it in its early history only would hardly recognise it as planned for use next year (quite different in de[Pg 253]tail from that now in use) save in the fundamental principle. That remains the same; the institution desires to secure a better quality of work from its students; it also desires to enable the student of exceptional ability or unusual industry to cut short his period of undergraduate study. To accomplish these ends it continues to use its so-called "Credit-for-quality" system of marking. This is done, altho a large and steadily increasing number of the faculty members feel that it does not do the first and that it overdoes the second.

As to these ends: I think that no one on the faculty really feels that, on the whole, we are getting a better grade of work than should reasonably be expected without the system; or, to put it in another way, no one would be bold enough to say that our students are doing better work than the students of similar institutions that do not use the system. On the other hand, it is true that some who have come among us since the adoption of the system give the comparison the less favorable turn.

Thru the operation of the system many can and do shorten their course; too many, I feel. Too many who have neither "exceptional ability" nor "unusual industry," unless it be ability "to work the Prof." and industry in that laudable enterprise. The course that normally takes four full years can be shortened from a portion of a term to a full year. Prior to June, 1908, the "time saved" could reach to a full year and a half. True, no one had actually completed a course in two and a half years, but one young lady's time was only slightly in excess of that and the excess was fully overbalanced by the time she gave to outside work—to library assist[Pg 254]ance for remuneration, and to journalism. And that gait was being struck by others. It only remained to be seen how long the wind would hold out. It was clearly possible. But the faculty became alarmed. Clearly recognizing the above stated possibility and being wholly unwilling thus to lower its high standard, it passed a resolution that arbitrarily limits the number of credits a student may receive in a given time to such an extent as to prevent graduation in less than three years. But several have gained, and others are gaining, sufficient surplus to enable them to complete their work in three years. From fifteen to twenty per cent, it is estimated, are enabled to shorten their course to that extent. Now some of these are thoroly good students, and, assuming that the system is sound in principle, well deserve to profit thereby. But others are just ordinarily good students, scarcely above the rank and file. In addition to those who complete their work in three years, some thirty or forty per cent more shorten it by lesser amounts, ranging all the way down to an inappreciable period.

But aside from the system's failure in reaching one of its ends and its too great success in reaching the other, it has developed numerous and unfortunate evils that many regard as exceedingly serious, and revealed weaknesses that seem well nigh impossible to eliminate. Space allows scarcely more than an enumeration of these, but a mere enumeration is better than to deal wholly in general terms. (1) In the first place, I should say that the "Credit-for-quality" system of marking as used by us places before the students unworthy ideals. Students of university rank can be led to seek knowledge for[Pg 255] knowledge's sake, truth for truth's sake. They can be taught to see farther ahead than the close of the term, and something more precious than an extra three-tenths of a credit. But this thought has already been sufficiently treated earlier in the article. (2) It leads to faulty methods of study and unsatisfactory final results. In the preparation of the lessons, a good recitation, rather than thoro understanding of the subject matter, is too apt to be the objective point. Many good students have told me that they find it difficult to resist the tendency to subordinate understanding to memory. (3) It may lead, often does, to unwise election of courses. Some teachers mark higher than others. Under the influence of our system students are very quick to learn these individual characteristics, and those who have developed the "itching palm" know how to profit by that knowledge. (4) It places students who receive extra credit for quality at a disadvantage in seeking to enter other institutions of learning. The credits thus gained will not be recognized. This would operate only in making the transfer during the undergraduate period, but it does there.[1] (5)

[Pg 256]

It is demoralizing to both students and teachers. I refer to the inevitable outcome of such a system; some students (sometimes few and sometimes many) develop considerable skill in "working the Prof." Teachers offering elective courses are constantly under great temptation and students are shrewd enough to know it. And again, under the same count: it is freely claimed by both teachers and students that the cheating in examinations, of which we doubtless have our share (some claim much more than our share, tho personally I doubt it), is very greatly increased if not largely caused by our system of marking. In hopes of remedying this some[Pg 257] of the students are now urging the adoption of the "honor system" of conducting examinations. (6) It is impossible to create uniform standards corresponding to our various grades. There are as many standards for each grade as there are instructors. A grade of work for which one instructor would give an "A" (1.3), another would give a "B" (1.2) and still another a "C" (1.0). Standards can not be fixt. To show how greatly they differ, in marking the work for the first term of this year one instructor gave only seven per cent of his students extra credit, while another thus rewarded more than seventy per cent of his. This range, however, is abnormal. But a range of twenty-five per cent to sixty-five per cent is not, even tho the two instructors have approximately the same students and do approximately the same grade of work. Other evils and weaknesses might be mentioned, but these are sufficient to show the tendency.

On the other hand, what strong paints can be urged as an offset? The only ones I have ever heard offered are: (1) it is an incentive, and (2) it does enable students to shorten the period of undergraduate work. I grant them both, but I hold that the incentive is a low one—much lower than we need to use—and that the shortening of the course is far from being an unmixt blessing.

Let me again refer to the matter of content, upon our value of which, to quite an extent, our estimate of the merit of the "Credit-for-quality" system must rest. The young people in our colleges and universities, in planning for lives of usefulness and success, place themselves in our hands for direction and guidance. Knowing that we are older, wiser,[Pg 258] more learned, and more experienced than they, they ask our advice and, in the main, follow it. To the incentives we use in dealing with them, they respond; the motives we supply urge them on; the standards of value we erect for them, they use; and the ideals we place before them, they try to reach. All this places large responsibilities upon us. Are we wise in telling from fifteen to twenty per cent of these young people that three years is all the time that it is wise for them to spend in college work? They will all remain the full four years unless we plan differently for them. To be sure, there is no magic in the number four as numbering the years of one's college course, nor in three, nor in two, nor in any other number. But would not any normal student who spends four years in the college atmosphere, mingling with college people, both students and teachers, doing college work, drinking from the pure fountains of literature, of history, of philosophy, of science, of art, et cetera, be broader in range and more fully equipt for the varied and complicated duties of life and for life's enjoyment, than he would be with only three years thus spent? And is not the fourth year by far the best of the four? Why shall you and I discourage him from doing that which we know to be well for him and which he is willing to do? Why deny him the rare fruitage of that fourth year? Why say to him when he is just ready to enter into the enjoyments of his student life, "you would better go?" After all, is it not this very three-year student with his finer ability, his keener insight, and his greater industry who can most greatly profit by the extra year? Shall we not rather encourage him to stay longer and delve deeper[Pg 259] and reach to the very heart of things? Whether looked at from the standpoint of the student's own advantage, or from that of the world at large, which is to profit by his equipment, is it not really the four-year or even the five-year student who would better be excused at the end of the third year? Instead of being in a hurry to send our choice students away, let us get them to do their high quality of work just the same, but to do it during four years instead of three. They are the very ones who will most readily respond to such appeals and they will so respond unless we put other notions into their heads. It is sometimes urged, in justification of the "Credit-for-quality" idea, that one student in three years can accomplish more, in gaining both knowledge and mental power, than another in four. There is no doubt about it. Some can do more in two years than others in four; some in one, and some with no college work can easily outstrip others with the best advantages. Shall we say to such an one, "you do not need to go to college—it would be time wasted"? By no means. Above all others we want him because he can most largely profit by what he gets, and we shall reap the reward later on. But supposing one student at the close of his third college year is better able to make his way in the world than another at the end of his fourth year, that is not the question at all. The function of the college is not to bring students to a level, but to develop each one to the utmost. Each should be considered separately and the question asked, "the longer or the shorter term—which will do the more for him?"

Some other developments here can hardly fail to[Pg 260] be of interest. Originally planned to operate in our entire institution, exclusive of the College of Law into which it was not allowed to enter, this system has gradually been eliminated from all the colleges save the College of Liberal Arts and Teachers College. True, in these colleges of exclusion the matter of content figures more prominently than in the others—the curricula are more fixt—but that is far from being the only reason for the exclusion. And even more suggestive as touching the secondary school extension recommended by the article under discussion, is our recent action excluding the system from our preparatory department, now being transformed into a model high school for Teachers College. This elimination, likewise, was in part due to the fixt number of courses demanded of all secondary schools, but yet, not largely so. When this matter came up for decision it needed no emphasis upon that point to carry the recommendation. It would have carried without those conditions. The strongest advocates of the system did not, by a single word, urge its retention in the Model High School. All felt, seemingly, that it was not well suited to students of that grade.

Note.—The reason for repeating this article here is largely historical, tho interest in the matter discust occasionally crops out even yet. It will be of interest to some who have not otherwise heard of it to learn that the University of North Dakota long since discarded the system. It was voted out completely early in the year 1910. And thus was realized Professor Kennedy's apprehension exprest in his Educational Review discussion of 1906: "We have, I grant, had our doubts and fears, knowing well that many a promising theory lies high and dry on the shoals of the past."

[Pg 261]


[1] Experience has shown that I was in error in the statement of this sentence. It has been found to operate to the disadvantage of our students entering other institutions in graduate as well as undergraduate departments. Graduate schools have become very particular, some of them not being satisfied without passing in review well nigh the entire former school life of an applicant, apparently to assure themselves that no short-cuts have been made. This fact is an interesting confirmation of the position of this article relative to the importance of content—when it pleads for quantity, as well as quality.

This entire matter is made clear by referring to one instance. Others could be cited. One of our graduates, Miss Ethel J. May, a very strong student, "profited" by the so-called "credit-for-quality" system to such an extent that she shortened her undergraduate period of study by an entire year, receiving her degree with honor. Then she taught for a few years with signal success, later returning for graduate work. For her Master's degree she spent an entire year in study, since the system did not operate in the graduate department. Again she taught with success, later entering the University of Illinois as an applicant for the doctorate. Here it was that her troubles began, and all because she had thus "profited" way back in her undergraduate days. She was told that the year "saved" would now have to be made up—that the period of study for her doctorate would have to be at least three years, and this in spite of the fact that she held the degree of Master of Arts from a state university of the first class, and was planning to continue along the same lines of work. After considerable discussion and institutional negotiation, this much of a concession was made: "If your work proves to be excellent, your shortage will be disregarded." So she went to work with that incubus, or stimulus—whichever you wish to regard it—over her. Neither she nor her committee knew how to plan her work, not knowing whether it was to be for two years or for three. And not until the very close of her year's work was her status determined—full credit then being granted for her former degrees. Miss May's sane comment now is, "I would not advise any one to try to shorten the regular four-year undergraduate period of study."

(Author 1918)


Academies, 221
Adolescent, 46-49, 54-56, 67, 68, 74, 81, 85, 219, 231
Adults, 211, 212, 213
Aliens, education of, 25
Alien people, 21
Appleton's Cyclopedia, 165
Arithmetic, 154
Ayers, 120
Barnard, Henry, 220
Bay State, Old, 64
Binet, 57
Boards of Education, 45, 156, 195
Bowdoin College, 243, 250
Burbank, Luther, 166
Burns, Robert, 136, 138
Bureau of Education, 19
Butler, Nicholas Murray, 96, 97, 103
California, 233, 234
Carter, 218
Child, the, 43, 44, 45, 68, 116, 117, 121, 140, 141, 147, 151, 154, 195
Child Study, 43, 45, 49, 54, 58, 85
Child-Welfare, 49
Church, 133, 141-159
Civil War, 107, 222
College, 69-82, 104, 110, 165, 167, 217-237
Law, 260
Liberal Arts, 84, 99, 260
College, Preparation for, 71, 73
Teachers, 45, 219-238
Commissioner of Education, 27
Community Service, 73
Connecticut, 31, 220
County Training School, 219
"Credit-for-Quality" System, 243-260
Cronin, Dr., 125
Dante, 144, 145
Democracy, 29, 31-34, 41, 65, 171, 172, 173, 180
Department of Education, 20
Dewey, John, 42, 43
Diaz, President, 31
Dooley, Mr., 95
Dwight, Edmund, 31, 218
Boards of, 45, 84, 156, 195
Bureau of, 19
Department of, 108, 109, 218, 219, 223
Elementary, 65, 75
History of, 81, 82, 83, 84, 227, 228
Motive in, 38
Philosophy of, 81, 84
Physical, 50, 66, 155, 203
Principles of, 82, 83, 224
Professional, 81
School of in North Dakota, 82-85
School of, 83-85, 108-111, 218
Secondary, 75, 84, 85, 164
Universal, 24
Educational mesurements, 56
Educational psychologist, 56, 58, 59
Educational Review, 243, 251, 260
Educational Survey, 51, 52, 59
Elementary School, 65, 66, 67, 73, 74, 105, 106, 107, 108, 230, 231
England, 30, 173
Entrance requirements, 44, 48, 76, 80
Ernest, Duke, 32
Euthydemus, 98
Eye, 115-118, 120, 121, 129
Federal Government, 28
Folk, Joseph W., 173, 174
Foster, President, 95, 102, 105
France, 32, 229
Frederick the Great, 30, 32
Frederick William I, 30
Froebel, 39
Garfield, ex-President, 90
Georgia, 24
Germans, 30, 31
Germany, 32, 120, 229
Gladstone, William Ewart, 173, 174
Gotha, 32
Government, the, 19
Grand Forks, North Dakota, 186-199
Greek, 99, 100
Gulick, 120
Harris, Dr. William T., 231
Harvard College, 65, 219, 224
Heeter, S. L., 124, 125
Herbart, 39
High Schools, 44-47, 53, 55, 63-86, 107, 108, 220, 223, 233, 234, 247, 248
High School Teacher, 46-49, 80-85, 178, 222, 223, 228, 233-238
Hill, James J., 166
History, 154, 155
History of Education, 81, 82, 83, 84, 224
Home, 26, 66, 133-159
Homer, 99, 100
Hyde, President, 243, 250
Illiteracy, 20-24
Individualism, Theory of, 39, 43
Iowa, Legislature of, 49
Jefferson City, 120, 123
Johnson, Hiram W., 173
Jordan, David Starr, 72, 177
Kennedy, Professor, 244, 251, 252, 260
Law, School of, 108, 110
Leadership, 75-81, 163-181
Lecture method, 99-103
Lincoln, 166
Literature, 232, 234, 258
Lloyd-George, David, 166
Locke, 203
Longfellow, 207
Los Angeles, 123
Louises, the, of France, 32
McAdoo, Mr., 218, 220
Mann, Horace, 218, 220
Massachusetts, 24, 25, 31, 65, 107, 220
Medical Inspection, 22, 27, 193, 194
Medicine, School of, 108, 110
Methods of Teaching, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85

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