Page images





DENVER, COLO. Today this Association stands upon the Mount of Vision, led to the summit by the red hand of war. Of the nation's travail is born our opportunity. The world's agony is our baptism, admitting us to membership in the knightly army of servants and soldiers of freedom. As crusaders of the new humanity I greet you and bid you listen to the challenge of the God of Nations. In the stillness of the night who has not heard his voice saying in accents of stern beauty: "Who goes there?” Have we answered, “Thy servant, Lord; ready to do Thy will. Take me, use me, all of me, body, mind, soul, time, effort, money”? Thank God, yes, from a mighty host of school people has this consecrated cry gone up!

In past years the Association has sometimes tarried in the sunlit valleys, participating in the rich and varied life of normal times, seeking, thru a discussion of many phases of educational activity, to arrive at a definite and decisive program of educational progress. At other times, leaving the more purely scholastic phases of endeavor, this great body of teachers has striven to realize its relation to the surging impulse of the common life and to adapt educational practice to modern community needs.

But the past year has been one of steady climbing, of eager, yet persistent, pushing toward the summit, where alone creative decisions can be made. The present situation is pregnant with vital issues. The tragic, yet augustly beautiful, national and international crises—blood-stained, yet diademed with the stars of a lofty idealism, are conditioning educational thinking and acting, and putting educational systems to the acid test of social and spiritual results.

Well may we, representatives of the teaching profession, face with awe our mighty responsibilities. Never before in the history of the world have the schools been called upon to play so potent a part in the national destiny. Not until now has the school organization been made the transmitting medium of a nation's hopes, needs, decisions, and commands. Until the present moment schoolroom walls have been opaque. Now they are known to be the almost transparent windows thru which the light of national service shines, from which must be reflected the conscious unity of the teacher, the child, the community, and the world. The war has called to the colors, summoned into active service of the most strenuous kind, every home in the land, thru the agency of the Young Soldiers of the School Republic, officered by their commissioned leaders, the teachers. And this is as it should be.

The old civilization is passing away. Within its collapsing walls the foundations of the new civilization are being laid. The old was materialistic, aggressive, egoistic, and consequently cruel. It was outwardly splendid, even sumptuous, and efficient to the point of fetishism, yet it contained the seeds of death, for that which selfishly seeks its own must of necessity lose all. The great conception of human unity burned but dimly in the consciousness of the chief exponents of the old order. Superficial thinking and living had weakened both brain and emotional power, and the incessant craving for sensation led to waste on every plane.

It has been said that nothing can be wrought out in the daily life of a republic that has not first been put into its schools. It may then be askt, Have the schools of the United States so utterly failed in producing a high type of national life that the war is being hailed as the transformer of the schools into a life higher and nobler than they have yet manifested? My answer is that the schools have performed the great task assigned them better perhaps than any other social agency, but that a great national consciousness, conscience, and unification can only be accomplisht whenever a community activity knows itself as a functioning part of the great whole, dedicated to the welfare of that whole thru the rich, free, and equal development of all its individual units.

We have believed that we could live in a world made up of numerous divisions, separating ourselves for the most part from those not directly in touch with our family and business life. The civilization that has incarnated this sense of separation is necessarily falling to pieces, and the new civilization, if it is to last, must be informed with the spirit of unity, warmed with the currents of love, and glorified by the knowledge of truth. We must come to understand that every phase of life partakes of the educative process. We must saturate ourselves with the conviction that unless the school interprets the life of nature, the home, the church, the press, the counting-house, and the forum, it can scarcely be considered an educational institution at all, but can lay claim merely to imparting instruction in certain technical subjects.

The new civilization will emphasize the distinction between mere instruction and true education just as certainly as it will proclaim service as the reason for business existence.

The new civilization will recognize the right of each human being to a trained body and a trained mind, and it will also stress the spiritual reality in each, as the sovereign to which the trained body and mind must render instant and efficient service.

The civilization that is to be will be capable of expressing in human institutions the highest ideal of all the people, and it is apparent that the chief agent in the creation of this new structure must be the school.

The war has gone far toward providing the schools with fresh subjectmatter, and it has quickened them to a sense of patriotic obligation. “Thę linking of education to life,” which has been striven for thru many decades, has come almost at once thru the stress of the great conflict thru which the world is passing to a fairer day.

War-modified education in America means an education sensitive to the needs of national development. War-modified education helps the child to train himself spiritually as the patriot and lover of his kind. Warmodified education results in a surrender of personal rights in favor of the greatest of all rights that of free cooperation in the service of the spirit of America.

The Junior Red Cross activities make the school children warriors of mercy, soldiers of healing, volunteers of helpfulness. "The war savings societies enlist the schools as financing agents of the war; as economic factors in the solution of the nation's and the world's problem of justice enthroned upon victory; as bodyguards of the home, safeguarding its welfare; as builders in one of the world's greatest constructive efforts. These are examples of the intensive extension of the functions of the school into the public service, and their relation to the course of study modifies, in large measure, the subject-matter to be taught.

War-modified geography may well be called “war-transformed geography.” History becomes a search for causes illustrated by the tragic events of the last four

years. It traces the relation between the psychology and the biology of the various warring nations and includes a study of the religious, philosophic, and artistic development of the races which stand for the clashing national faiths of the hostile peoples. History, philosophy, psychology, and sociology are seen to be but parts of a many-faceted human study, and all are fused in the flame of an intellectual and moral devotion to the ideals for which the free peoples are fighting.

The great dream of human brotherhood, thrown upon the screen of history by the God of Nations when the American Republic was born, can come true in full splendor of universal application only thru the instrumentality of all the human beings living under the American flag, and this instrumentality can be thus perfected only by the development of the schools to the full measure of their opportunity for service. Straight thinking, clean living, hard work, joyful play, and mighty loving must characterize the individual citizen and the collective action of all the citizenry in a republic, and it is the mission of war-modified education to produce this individual type and collective development.

The nationalization of education as a part of its war modification is a problem pressing for solution. It must be evident to all thinking people that public education should have the dignity, power, and prestige that come from national recognition. But it is also clearly necessary to preserve a proper balance between national and local authority in the administration of educational affairs.

The National Education Association, recognizing the changes that must be brought about in American education as a result of the war, has undertaken the mighty task of preparing a national program, this program having been necessitated by the war emergency. The Commission of the National Education Association that has been intrusted with this duty will make a report during this meeting, and the commission lays its work before you as a proof of devotion to your interests, to the interests of the teaching profession at large, and to the welfare of the children of the world.

This national program for Education deals with:

1. The nature of the present crisis faced by the public schools of the United States.

2. The preparation, supply, and compensation of teachers.
3. The importance and needs of rural education.
4. A complete program of physical and health education.
5. Problems of immigrant education and adult illiteracy.
6. Compulsory continuation schools.

7. The necessity for a national department of education and national cooperation with the states in strengthening the public schools.

This program has been prepared at the cost of a large expenditure of labor and time on the part of the commission. It is its contribution to war-modified education. It explains a part, at least, of the way in which the new civilization must be built. It summons to its aid the thinking people of this and the other allied countries. It cooperates with the far-visioned, loyal-souled men and women of Great Britain, France, and Italy, and offers assistance to, and will gratefully receive aid from, all who can bring to it trained thinking and loving service in behalf of the child.

The commission glimpses the far-flung influence of unified international educational ideals and practices. It foresees that the creative soul within each nation can work best thru educational methods. knows nat character-building is the acid test of education in any nation, and that world-salvation can come only thru a world-exaltation of the meaning and practice of the august reality that we call "education.” The commission is the servant of the common good. It is the extension of your vision, your powers, your zeal for sacrifice, your ability to build.

Your President submits to you the work of this commission as the greatest achievement of the educational year of 1917-18. It is also a prophecy of still greater advance, for the fulfilment of which you will be largely responsible.

But in additional ways the Association feels honored. It has been used as the transmitting medium of the government's wishes, and it rejoices in the fact that no appeal for national service has gone unheeded by this great body.

The sense of unity between the members of the teaching profession of the several states and the National Education Association has been extended


and quickened during the past year. Even in the remote places of our land the teachers have come to feel that there is a body thru which they can speak, in which they can function, by which they may make their needs known, and to which they can offer service and thereby extend their patriotic effort for the welfare of the nation.

Peace must be won from under the shadow of victorious swords. It can come only thru the triumph of the armies of the free nations on the battlefield. It can be retained only by a war-modified education which will be able to contribute to the majestic structure of the new civilization. Thru education must be developt the qualities that make for the immortality of nations. By education must be safeguarded the fruits of a righteous

For education the nation must give and sacrifice, and to it it must pay homage.

As supreme builders of the new civilization I greet you. From the Mount of Vision, to which this Association has climbed, it can see the Promist Land of fruitful service. Enter in and possess it in the name of the childhood of the world, that the new civilization may be born of an impulse and developt thru a process that will guarantee its immortality.

As the bloody flower of war becomes transmuted into the rose of the dawn of a new day, let us fit ourselves to live worthily under the sunlight of the transformed era. Let the heralds of the dawn be the teachers of the world. Let us prepare ourselves for the triumph of a nobler citizenship. Let us know that the creation of such a citizenship is our task, our privilege, our coronation.





Those who have made a careful study of the pupils in our public schools claim to have discovered that the two most common characteristics of highschool pupils are loyalty and patriotism. What I have to say on the new program of the National Education Association can best be said in a discussion of loyalty and patriotism as parts of the said program. Ordinarily these are thought of as emotions or affections, but when the will enters into them and makes them the law of life, they become virtues of the greatest value in the formation of character.

There was a time when our instruction in history, in so far as it had any bearing upon patriotism, consisted in teaching hatred of kings and of redcoats, as the British soldiers were nicknamed in our wars for independence. The followers of George Washington were called patriots. The

« PreviousContinue »