Page images

The bill of the Emergency Council contents itself with the establishment of a Department of Education, defining its functions and appropriating money for the operation of the department.

The bill of the committee of the National Education Association adds large appropriations to be used as subsidies in the states to promote Americanization of immigrants, improvement of rural schools, and better training of teachers.

Both bills leave to the discretion of the President the determination of what existing educational agencies of government shall be transferred to the new department.

The functions of the Department of Education are thus defined in the bill of the Emergency Council on Education in Section 9:

1. That it shall be the duty of the Department of Education to cooperate with the states in the development of public educational facilities, including public health education, and to act as the agent of the states and upon their request in matters of education of interstate interest.

2. That the department shall represent the people of the United States in international educational affairs, shall keep the people of the United States informed of progress in education abroad, and shall disseminate abroad knowledge of American education and of the national life and ideals of the American people, and to this end shall maintain as attachés at foreign embassies properly qualified American students of education.

3. The Department shall care for educational wards of the nation not intrusted to the care of the respective states, and shall execute such laws as Congress may make looking toward the Americanization of immigrants, the equalization of educational opportunities, and the guaranteeing to every child such knowledge of the American language as shall enable the child to discharge his obligations as an American citizen.

4. The Department shall encourage learning in all branches, scientific research, and the advancement of teaching as a profession. It shall promote the organization of learned societies and seek thru such societies and by publications to disseminate for the benefit of all the people the fruits of learning and scientific study wherever found.

5. The Department shall organize a National Council of Education, to be composed of representatives, nominated annually, one each, by the great, learned societies representing an important field of knowledge, under regulations prescribed by the Secretary. The functions of this Council shall be to place at the disposal of the government, both in war and in peace, all national resources of learning and scientific study.

The bill appropriates $500,000 additional per annum for the administration of these new functions.

In addition to these bills drawn but not yet introduced, there is a bill now before the Senate Committee on Education introduced by Senator Owen, which, however, merely magnifies the present bureau into a department without outlining new functions.

One other alternative has suggested itself to those interested in the creation of a Department of Education, that should be mentioned in this connection. This is the proposal to transfer from the Department of the Interior, the Land Office, the Pension Office, and the Patent Office, change the name of the department to Education and Public Health, or Arts, Science, and Public Health, transfer to it the educational functions of other departments, and thus create a true Department of Education. This is a plan which we hope to discuss with the President in the near future.

There is a growing sentiment in favor of a national Department of Education. This sentiment is attaining such proportions that we believe that if no action is taken by the present administration the creation of a department can be made a campaign issue in the next presidential campaign and be written into the platform of one, if not both, of the great political parties. There is general agreement among the teaching professions in favor of such a department, tho there is some difference of opinion as to just what the functions of such a department should be. We propose to ask the National Education Association at this meeting to appoint a committee of three in each state to urge the creation of such a department, as was done in 1865. We trust that the resolution will have your support.

In conclusion let me urge each one of you to do what you can to create interest in this matter in your own neighborhood. The project is too big and too fundamental to be hurried. We want to build for the new department broad foundations of public interest. Only thus can we be sure that when Congress acts the bill will not be shorn of its significant features, or the new department, like the department of 1866, wither and die because prematurely born and inadequately nourisht.



PORTLAND, ORE. The needs of the nation in war time have emphasized the importance of conserving the health and strength of our people, especially of our young men. The effective strength of the Army is menast by venereal diseases probably more than by all other diseases put together. This creates an emergency which can be met only by the earnest cooperation of all possible agencies. The essential problem is recognized by the Surgeon General's Department to be one of education. The share of the institutions of higher learning in this education is an important one and has a twofold character.

1. For the instruction of the rising generation in the essential facts of sex and for the cultivation of those personal and social motives which are powerful for the ends of health we must depend upon teachers now in training in normal schools and colleges and in the education departments of our universities. It is clear that some process of selection and training should be set to work so that students of biology, physical education, and related subjects, who are specially qualified by scientific knowledge and natural tact and sympathy, may be specifically trained for the work of sex education. Not that they should give their whole time or any considerable part of their time to this subject, but that they should be wise enough to incorporate in regular courses of instruction an understanding of the essential facts and relations of sex.

2. The young men who attend college and university in war times become, almost all of them, an integral part of the national forces. If the war continues, the men who are at college this fall will in a year or so, perhaps even in a few months, be commissioned and noncommissioned officers in the Army or Navy. There they will set standards for companies and regiments. They need to know accurately the dangers that follow sexual vice, and they need to know clearly the means of sex health.

It has been abundantly proved that the preoccupation of men's minds and physical energies by constructive activity and wholesome amusement is of first importance. Everything that keeps the soldier in vital connection with his home and friends and keeps alive and growing his ambition for future success, not only as a soldier in time of war, but as a citizen in time of peace, ministers directly to his health of mind and body.

It is the privilege and task of the young officers of the new Army to plan and provide activities for their men which shall in this way sustain their morale and promote their present and future usefulness. For these reasons it must be clear that only by including in our present and future plans for higher education a recognition of the need for sex education and a wise provision for meeting that need can we help to meet the present emergency and conserve the strength of our young men and women for the great tasks of reconstruction that will follow the war.



ON EDUCATION AND SPECIAL TRAINING, WASHINGTON, D.C. We are inclined to think that everything is in the melting-pot, and that after the war all the bad things will be gone and we shall be ready for a new world. It is probable, however, that human nature will reassert itself, and that while some things will be better, others will be worse.

One activity that will be profoundly affected is education, and this for two reasons: first, because, more than any other human activity, education has been severely put to the test by the war; and secondly, because before 1914 we were on the brink of a great change in education as a whole. The effect of the war upon education will be, it seems to me, to make it at once more idealistic and more practical. It will be made more idealistic because for the first time in generations the whole civilized world has been shaken to its depths, and before America shall have played her full part there is scarcely a family and scarcely a youth who will not have been brought face to face with great ethical questions. Furthermore by this war democracy has been lifted from a mere name to which we did lip service to a visualized idea for which we are giving everything most precious.

On the other hand education will become more practical because the war has shown that our national unpreparedness was due in great measure to the fact that American education had almost no relation to the needs of modern life.

After the war we shall be striving in education to do these things on the idealistic side, first, to give youth a real vision of genuine democracy; secondly, to assimilate the peoples of other nations and to give them a similar vision; thirdly, to give every boy and girl the largest opportunity that can possibly be provided. On the practical side we shall be striving to make the most of our resources, both material and human, to prevent waste and to teach genuine economics.

To enable education to perform this far broader service, to these ideal and practical ends, there are certain essentials: first, more money, in order that teachers may be paid more and that their classes may be smaller; secondly, thoro reform in the administrative control of public education; thirdly, real cooperation among all the agencies which make for the education of children and youth; fourthly, different and higher standards in the training of teachers; fifthly, a much larger proportion of men teachers, especially in the secondary schools; sixthly, entire emancipation from textbooks and from textbook domination; seventhly, all-day sessions of the schools.

With education thus put on an efficient basis we should inaugurate universal service for both men and women between the sixteenth and twentyfifth years, this service to include some military training and a larger amount of training in hygiene and gymnastics, and a major part of the time to be given to specific training along vocational lines, fitting for the real service to society (see outline of principles appended).

With these weapons of money, men, and better administration the next generation in education should be able to get at and educate practically every child as an individual; should be able to give him genuine vocational guidance and effective vocational training, whether he is to be a carpenter, a lawyer, or a college president; should put a stop, in large measure, to the waste in human and material resources which disgraced us before the war; should be able to infuse youth, not only with an understanding, but with true devotion to democracy; and finally should stimulate and perpetuate that understanding and that true knowledge which teaches that the only genuine living is a life of service.

PRINCIPLES UNDERLYING UNIVERSAL MILITARY SERVICE It should be really universal, including every young person of both sexes. It should be exacted between the ages of sixteen, or possibly eighteen, and twenty-five. It should be a combination of military and vocational (or avocational) service, with the emphasis strongly upon the vocational side. As far as possible it should be given as a part of school, college, shop, store, or office training, but should always be under federal supervision.

Service should be for the whole of at least one continuous year (or half of two continuous years) and for a certain part of a number of years thereafter. The person who has rendered the year of service should give at least one or two weeks each year, for perhaps ten years thereafter, to some sort of continued course, both military and vocational.

The year's service should include for men daily military exercises, and for women organized calisthenics, gymnastics, or a modified military drill. This should occupy not less than one nor more than two hours per day. The rest of the “National Service Year" should be given to the organized, serious, and intensive following of some trade, occupation, vocation, or avocation which is of distinct service to the country: (1) in war; (2) in the support of war; (3) in the furthering of agriculture, industry, or commerce; or (4) in the promotion of the general welfare.

There should be a recognized and permanent organization within the locality and thruout the country of those performing this national service, so as to promote a feeling of national solidarity.

For those pursuing education beyond the sixteenth or eighteenth year the service should be dovetailed in with the high-school, college, or professional-school training. For those leaving school before the sixteenth or eighteenth year, the year of service should either be subsidized by the federal government, or there should be devised some plan of cooperative part-time work under which, possibly, the service might be spread over two years, the youth giving half his time during those two years to earning and the other half to service.

Without making a calculation of the cost it would seem best for this year of service to be subsidized jointly by the federal government, the state (or local) government, and the parent or guardian—the last providing sustenance, and the first two sharing between them the cost of training.

“The National Service Year” should include a thoro physical overhauling and "bracing up," and there should be included as much outdoor life as possible. The service to be rendered during this year by girls and women should include all the duties of the household, nursing, etc., as well as vocational work feasible for women. As an essential part of every course there should be a substantial amount of teaching of ethics, civics, and the duties of a citizen in a democracy. Where necessary there should be provision for teaching the public school elements and also English to foreigners.

Where there are dependents making it impossible for the youth to give even half-time to this service, there should be some form of family allowance by the government on the same general plan as that of the War Risk Insurance Bureau. Such support, however, should be in the nature of an obligation to be repaid by the “National Service Soldier" in subsequent years.

Industries should be formally brought in by requiring their cooperation in providing opportunities for training, in making cooperative part-time schemes possible, etc.

« PreviousContinue »