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Its program is very simple and involves the schools and their cooperation at every step of the way. It goes directly and first of all to the high schools of the country. As you well know, there are in the high schools of the United States approximately 500,000 boys who are sixteen years of age and over. In every school it appoints an enrolling officer, whose business it is to bring to the attention of every boy of Reserve age in that particular school the claims of the Reserve upon his services, and the actual enrolment of boys into the Reserve.
The second item in its program is to train the boys enrolled. Various state divisions of the Reserve have issued special pamphlets upon the elements of farm practice and have, thru cooperation with school authority, introduced them into the school curriculum. These courses in school have been supplemented by demonstration work upon farms in the neighborhood of high schools and have been undertaken chiefly upon Saturdays, morning or afternoon, or both.
The third item in its program is the inspection of working-places-of shops and of farms-in order that the living and working conditions of boys employed shall conform to a sufficient and decent standard set up by the Reserve.
The fourth item in its program is the supervision of boys enrolled and at work.
Manifestly the schools are a vital factor in the success of the Reserve, first to enrol, next to train, and last to supervise the boys employed.
Hitherto in our work the schools have been of vital necessity to our progress. The happy time has come when the United States Boys' Working Reserve is now a vital necessity to the efficiency of the schools. Official figures that report school mortality incident to the war are sporadic and not wholly satisfactory. Massachusetts reports for the two-year period just past an actual decrease in her school enrolment of 4 per cent. As her expected increase in enrolment is 7 per cent, there has been, it would seem, a decrease of 18 per cent in the enrolment that she had a right to expect for the two-year period. New Jersey reports a like decrease, upon the same basis of reckoning, of 11 per cent. Statistics gathered from some of the great schools of populous centers like Newark, N.J., and Philadelphia, Pa., show a decrease of approximately 30 per cent from the normal expected enrolment. For those boys who have already left school and have gone to work there must be provided some kind of training that will continue their preparation for manhood and citizenship. The Department of Labor, through the United States Boys' Working Reserve, proposes to place into every one of its employment offices of the Employment Service, a representative of the United States Boys' Working Reserve to whom all applicants of Reserve age shall be referred for disposition. Thru the Reserve representatives in the various employment offices reference of boys who apply at the office can be made to those school men and school forces who will undertake their continued instruction. As regards other thousands of boys who have been attending school up to the current month and are now about to enter industry, the employment offices, thru Reserve representatives, will be enabled to control in a measure the drift from school to shop and mill and will be instrumental in turning large numbers of boys back to their schools where they should rightly be.
WAR-MODIFIED EDUCATION, THE TEACHERS, AND THE
WALTER R. SIDERS, SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS, POCATELLO, IDAHO The school is an institution establisht by the state for the purpose
of training its people to the standards of its citizenship. If the state were static the school could become a perfected institution with its procedure exactly determined and its purposes perfectly defined. Because the social elements of a state are ever substituting new ideals for old, because of the pressure of events, natural and man-made, within and without the state, a nation is a progression, and like the kaleidoscope ever presents a new combination of its elements. Since the school is but a phase of this social movement, it must recognize its obligations to keep abreast with national changes; it must so change and adapt itself as to meet the new ends demanded.
Our duty is to study conditions as they exist in the state. Unquestionably our schools face a crisis. We are confronted with the solution of many new problems, among which may be enumerated:
1. The threatened shortage of teachers—how to increase the supply and how to retain those in service.
2. The equalization of educational opportunity to all the children of the nation, rural as well as urban, poor as well as rich. For the future depends upon what these citizens shall be.
3. The preservation of health and the conservation of national vitality. As a corollary, the study of recreation to the end that it may become a wise use of leisure time.
4. The Americanization of our foreign element. We have recruited regiments demanding interpreters dealing with six different languages.
5. The education of the illiterate, of whom we have five and one-half millions, or a ratio of one in every twenty.
6. The continuation of educational opportunity to adults who have not had the opportunity or the desire for education in their youth, for the purpose of giving new types of education not afforded in their past.
7. The provision for vocational training, to the end that all may be economically independent, not alone for their own well-being, but that they may not become a burden to the rest of the people.
8. Training for patriotism and citizenship.
The new era causes us to look ahead. We are preparing for tomorrow as well as for today. We find:
1. That new vocations are opening up, demanding new training.
2. That our international commerce and citizenship will create a demand for the teaching of several modern languages.
3. Ourselves thrown upon our own resources and compelled to develop our chemistry and applied science to the degree which will answer our crisis.
4. Ourselves citizens of the world. The new social order and the consequent new civic problems will open new fields for study.
5. In short, that we are confronted with an amazing perplexity of unsolved problems whose solutions will tax our best efforts and demand untiring energy.
I trust that it is not expected that this discussion will offer an answer to these problems, but that it shall have discharged its duty if it points out a method of solution.
It will be readily granted that the first schools were organized to meet definite demands existing in the society of their inception. From age to age new demands have been recognized and incorporated, but much that was obsolete has been retained.
The method proposed is this: Draw a parallel between the school as it is and the school as it would be were the state to create it anew at the present time. Let us put out of our minds for the moment the school as it is. Let us forget that such an institution exists or ever has existed. Now if we draw up an institution for the purposes of citizenship, what will be its ends and aims ? What curricula will answer to these ends and aims? What educational procedure will accomplish these desired results ?
With this plan formulated, let us set it in parallel with our present system, and proceed to analysis, comparison, and substitution, "proving all things and holding fast to that which is good.” No pretension is made that this method is new, that it is infallible, or that other methods will not prove better. But it is a working scheme which any educator who is a student of life can use.
Teachers must throw themselves into the current of national and local life. We live too much unto ourselves. A larger understanding is needed. Appreciation will come from an enlarged outlook, which outlook will enable us to serve our schools more effectually and to bring the people to a realization that the teacher is worthy of a reward as adequate, and of a social recognition as desirable, as that of any other profession. Teachers who are unwilling to read the signs of the times may expect to read the handwriting on the wall.
Let us leave our academic aloofness. Let us be not only in the world, but of it. Thus will we come to understand the new order and become the apostles of the new era, fulfilling the purposes which the nation expects of us. Thus may we play our part in the discovery of the new America. There are those who pretend to despise the statement that coming events cast their shadows before. Thoughtful men have long seen this present world-struggle. As long as there was room in this world for men to flee from a distasteful social system-from political, religious, and economic conditions not suitable to working out the destinies desired and to developing the peculiar genius of those protesting against things as they were that long could conflict be avoided. Our prophetic ones saw the time when the world would be settled up, when the world must settle down, when men of diametric ideas must face instead of fleeing from each other, when the struggle would come to determine which system of social order would endure. We may take this as an example of how we must study our social forces to adapt our education to meet succeeding events.
Many organizations are at this time using the schools as agencies --for governmental war work and as agencies for social and civic reform. Eighty-seven organizations desiring to use the schools have been reported. We have given and will continue to give to all governmental requests the right of way. Other requests we shall use if they serve school ends and aims. These numerous demands are signs of the times. It is well to determine if they represent a deep-seated need of the people or the momentary sentiment of a small group.
The government has made so many appeals to the people and they have responded so loyally that we wonder if an appeal for teachers as a patriotic duty would not be heard. There are many persons of education and refinement who have the means and the leisure to give themselves to the work of a teacher. Cannot such be brought into service? The teachers of America never had such an opportunity for service as now. Let us take the aims and objects of our epoch-making Commission on National Emergency to the public, let us seriously campaign for the accomplishment of these objects. Let us make the splendid report of the Committee on Resolutions our platform and strive to carry every one of its planks over the top. Let us enlist the teachers of America in our National Education Association, that we may present a united front in our educational requests.
May our lives throb with the pulse of the nation, may we catch the spirit of the new movement, may our hearts be on fire with zeal for our country and the welfare of our people, may we discover the new America, and may God grant us a tongue of flame from his altar that we may teach with the fervor and the enthusiasm which the times demand.
WAR-MODIFIED EDUCATION AND ILLITERACY CORA WILSON STEWART, PRESIDENT, KENTUCKY ILLITERACY COMMISSION,
FRANKFORT, KY. When I think of the five and a half million illiterates in this country, when I think of the skepticism of some school people as to the ability of these illiterates to learn, and when I think of our hesitancy and our long delay in coming to their relief, I feel as Thomas Jefferson must have felt when he, himself a slaveholder, contemplated the institution of slavery and said, "I tremble when I remember that God is just!"
Among our five and a half million illiterates, 1,600,000 are foreign born. The remainder, nearly 4,000,000 in number, are native born. For the foreign born to be ignorant of our government, our laws, and our traditions is deplorable indeed, but for the native born to be ignorant of them is not only a menace but a disgrace. We are attempting to Americanize foreigners, an excellent thing to do, but let us not forget to Americanize the people of the Abraham Lincoln and Booker T. Washington type.
It is no longer a question of the right or the need of the illiterates in this country to enlightenment. It is not now a question of their joy in book and pen, but it is a question of national welfare, of bringing five and a half million more people speedily into intelligent sympathy with our war aims and enlisting their support.
This is a war in which international law, justice, human rights, and even common decency have been cast to the four winds by the enemy. To none of these have we any appeal. There is but one thing that will win this war—and that thing may be exprest in just one word. That word is power. Would it not then be the part of wisdom for the leaders of this country first to determine the source of power and then speedily to increase it? Had it not been said and demonstrated countless times thru the ages that "knowledge is power," it is being demonstrated at this time, in this very hour, when we behold the nation which has the lowest percentage of illiteracy holding the world at bay, and the one of our Allies which has the highest percentage broken down, disrupted, unable to enjoy her longcoveted and hardly won liberty and unable, we fear, to sustain a democracy now that she has one. The nations to which I refer are Germany, with only five out of every thousand of her population illiterate, and Russia, with six hundred and ninety out of every thousand unable to read and write.
What is the relation of the five and a half million illiterates in this country to the war, or rather what ought their relation to be? The government expects of them intelligent cooperation. Ignorance cannot cooperate. The entire propaganda to arouse the people to intelligent, sympathetic cooperation is a printed propaganda, and the very first step toward intelligent response is a written subscription or pledge.
The illiterates are the people who do not, as a rule, attend public meetings. Our speakers, whether four-minute men or forty-minute men, have mist them. Only two methods of enlightening them, then, may be considered. One would be to send conversationalists among them to tell them just what the war means and what the government expects them to do. Russia tried this. Returned soldiers went from village to village, talking, talking, talking, to the people. It was too slow. It has not succeeded. There is just one other plan, and that is to teach the people to read and