Page images
PDF
EPUB

adherents of the mother-country called themselves loyalists. This distinction no longer exists. One hundred years of peace along our Canadian border have done much to obliterate the animosities of former days, and the present war has ended the antagonism between the mother-country and her offspring, as well as between France and England, which had been enemies for centuries. Today the French and the English, the Canadians and our own soldiers, are fighting side by side in the same great cause.

And yet the words patriotism and loyalty are not synonymous terms. You will recall that the lexicographer, Dr. Samuel Johnson, defined patriotism as the last refuge of a scoundrel. “But, let it be considered," adds his biographer, “that he did not mean a real and genuine love of our country but that pretended patriotism which so many in all ages and countries have made a cloak for self-interest.” The counterfeit always presupposes the genuine coin. It is the duty as well as the privilege of the National Education Association to expose the counterfeit and to circulate the genuine coin. True patriotism expels selfishness. It is a law of the human heart that the nobler affections expel the baser passions, that love banishes hate, that love of home and kindred and friends and country displaces traits like greed and selfishness and makes treason and treachery impossible.

We have two types of teachers' meetings. The one type discusses tenure of office, schemes of retirement, higher salaries, and the effectiveness of strikes when seemingly just demands are not granted. At such meetings one hears much of loyalty to the profession, but seldom a word about better schools and the educational welfare of the children. The other type of meetings inaugurates discussions in which the self-interest of the teachers is forgotten or at least subordinated to higher motives. Genuine patriotism banishes the idea of strikes by the teachers in our public schools. The French speak of the army and the navy as the first line of defense and of the children in the schools as the second line of defense. True patriotism stresses the second line of defense as of equal importance with the army and the navy in promoting the future reign of law and liberty.

Can the National Education Association not cause the distinction between the two types of teachers' organizations to vanish by showing how wise a system of pensions, of tenure of office, of just taxation and compensation, can be made to give us better teachers, better schools, happier children, and greater efficiency in all our educational activities? Such an ideal is worthy of the best efforts of its officers and active members.

Unselfishness lies at the foundation of genuine patriotism and wholehearted loyalty. Patriotism is devotion to one's native or adopted country. The patriot is defined as one who loves his country and zealously supports and upholds its institutions and interests. It fills me with a thrill of joy to think that history and civics have been so taught in recent years that the boy by the time he reaches the high school says to himself: "I will live for my country, I will fight for it and, if need be, die in its defense.” A million of Uncle Sam's boys are now making the supreme exhibition of their patriotism upon the high seas and upon the soil of France.

Loyalty signifies a broader, tho not a more intense, devotion than patriotism. To be loyal is to be constant and faithful in any relation implying trust or confidence, as wife to husband, friend to friend, subject to ruler, etc. The loyalist is one who bears or claims to bear true allegiance to constituted authority. In time of rebellion or revolution loyalty means adherence to the constituted government. We speak of loyalty to truth, loyalty to the flag, loyalty to the school, even of loyalty to the National Education Association.

When loyalty roots itself in love of one's native land it intensifies the virtue of patriotism, a virtue that never was more genuine than at this time, and never put to severer tests than when the call came to cross the ocean and fight on foreign soil. For us who remain on this side of the ocean a severe test of patriotism is found in willingness to pay a just share of tax for the support of the government and the education of the people. The, schools are facing a shortage of teachers, of funds, and of fuel. Can the National Education Association contribute toward the removal of these difficulties?

It is proposed that thru affiliation with the state associations we increase membership to 250,000 and inaugurate a lobby to secure a secretary of education in the cabinet and a federal appropriation of one hundred million dollars to be distributed among the states for school purposes. It would be easy to plan a scheme of school organization that would give our Association a membership of half a million or more. I wish to raise in your minds the question whether such a scheme of centralization would be desirable in the United States.

The National Education Association has always been a forum for the free discussion of conflicting views and theories in education, and I need not apologize for expressing my views on the future policy of the Association. I was an enthusiast for a secretary of education in the President's cabinet until my friends drew my attention to the probability of plunging the schools into the maelstrom of politics every four years, or at least with every exciting presidential election. It was further pointed out that a career of service such as Harris and Claxton have given would be impossible if the head of the nation's schools changed with every national administration. Our need of money for school purposes is so great that I am willing to accept federal aid with or without a secretary of education in the President's cabinet.

A professor in the University of Pennsylvania used to say that for solid achievement one year in the sixties is worth three in the thirties. The man of sixty no longer cherishes the visions and the day dreams of the man of thirty. He has come down out of the clouds and concentrates his energies upon things that he sees can be achieved. To a school man high in

the sixties the problem of prime importance in his line is how to keep the schools in operation during the coming year and how to maintain their efficiency in spite of the shortage of teachers and public funds. He is not. speculating on what the education of America will be after the war. That sort of prophecy can well be left to university professors, who are not expected to carry out the theories which they consign to print. Every official who is responsible for the efficient administration of a system of schools is today asking, Whence shall we get money and teachers enough to have good schools? How can good schools be made better when the government is taking into its military and civil service the best young men and women, who would otherwise give their lives to teaching school ? In the vicinity of munition plants and ship-building yards there are more children than seats at school. New schoolhouses are needed, and the question is how can we build new school buildings without issuing bonds, the issue of bonds being forbidden by Secretary McAdoo, who needs all our money for Thrift stamps and Liberty bonds. In my opinion the schools under state jurisdiction will be driven to accept money from the federal government, with or without a secretary of education in the cabinet, and on such other terms as the authorities at Washington choose to dictate. One hundred millions distributed among the states will be a help, but it will not suffice to make the needed increase of salaries and school accommodations.

I have been discussing with my friend the proposed affiliation of the Pennsylvania State Education Association with the National Education Association. At present the relation of the states to the federal government, and not the highly centralized government of France, typifies the relation of the state associations to this Association, and we have been living together in peace and harmony. Tie them together and see how they will fight. I prefer the present organization of the National Education Association because it gives the franchise at our business meetings to all active members and does not offer a select few the chance to play politics the entire year.

In my opinion the proposed house of delegates will give us a most cumbersome system of elections, diminish the interest in our midsummer meetings, furnish a splendid specimen of overorganization, and make room for endless friction over state rights and centralized power. At a time when teachers in their patriotic zeal have subscribed toward War Savings stamps and Liberty bonds until some can hardly pay their board bills, and when new drives call for still greater sacrifices, the drive for increast membership can be justified only in so far as this Association helps to solve the problems engendered by the war and banishes the demon of selfishness by stressing the virtues of loyalty and patriotism.

With traditions stretching back over half a century, with a treasury that has accumulated several hundred thousand dollars, with a membership comprising the educational leaders of every state, with a program based upon the welfare of the child as its chief cornerstone, and with problems innumerable calling for solution, I look into the future with hope and with conviction that the National Education Association will continue to be the greatest educational organization in the world, and that it will continue to be a clearing-house for the best thought and the best efforts of its members both during the war and after.

THE LIFE-CAREER MOTIVE IN EDUCATION

WILLIAM L. ETTINGER, SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS, NEW YORK, N.Y.

Since one of the most inspiring addresses delivered at the meeting of your Association in Boston in 1910 was a discussion of "The Life-Career Motive in Education" by the revered dean of American education, President Emeritus Charles W. Eliot, of Harvard University, I have undertaken to indicate somewhat briefly the content that might be appropriate to that title in terms of present-day school administration.

I am inclined to take as the expansion of my text John Milton's splendid definition of a complete education as one which "fits a man to perform justly, skillfully, and magnanimously all offices, both public and private, of both peace and war.” Properly interpreted, Milton's words suggest a thoro, practical, honest, forward-looking type of education, in which the sordid standards of the slacker and the profiteer would have no place, because its whole spirit would be that of energetic, unselfish, skilful social service, sufficient not only to insure successful endeavor in the piping times of peace, but also to battle valiantly in the present moment for those excelling ideals of democracy which a brutal, rapacious militarism has placed in fearful jeopardy. The insistent demand of our people for an educational scheme coextensive with their whole life, generous in amount, and adequate in kind, is in harmony with the demand of our government that both in public and in private life its citizens ungrudgingly sacrifice their inclinations, their property, nay, even their lives, for the maintenance of American ideals.

The thrilling events of the last few years have tremendously accelerated changes in our political and social life. State rights have given way to federalized, socialized control; labor has asserted and maintained its equal footing with capital, and a widespread spirit of degrading mammon worship has been succeeded by a rebirth of idealistic patriotism such as the world has seldom, if ever before, witnest.

As might be expected, the most efficient instrumentality of democracy, the public school, has not escaped the social pressure, but we are so immerst in absorbing tasks that we often fail to recognize the kaleidoscopic changes going on about us. Only a few years ago, because of our naïve assumption that all our pupils were destined to be bookkeepers, teachers, or presidents of the United States, prevocational education along industrial lines was unknown. The little vocational education that existed was on the defensive, our secondary-school work was separated from the business and industrial world by a yawning chasm, the adult worker was considered beyond the pale of our educational program, and the illiterate foreigner was a clannish pariah whose Americanization was left to chance.

Time will permit me to refer briefly to only a few of the educational changes in New York City made in response to the demand that the individual, of whatever age or status, may be free to fashion his career to meet both his own ideals and the demands of his country.

At a recent convention of vocational educators in New York City, Dr. Philander P. Claxton, United States Commissioner of Education, in a spirit of prophetic aspiration, stated that a time would come in the history of education, when elementary-school pupils would be brought into contact with the realities that form the bases of our industrial and commercial life; and that the day would come when school children would alternate between school and industry, so that theory taught in school would be put into practice in industry, and the pupils would return to school enricht with concrete examples of practice by which theory may be illumined. Dr. Claxton also exprest the hope that the time would come when boards of education would not only open the school buildings to wage-earners after school hours, but would open classes in stores and factories for those whose interest might best be served thereby.

Three years ago the elimination of pupils from the upper grades of our elementary schools and the demands of industry led us to experiment with industrial education in the grades, as a contrast experiment to numerous schools organized on a fraudulent Gary plan. Our controlling idea was that adolescent boys and girls, standing on the threshold of industrial life, should be groupt in prevocational schools in which they would receive, in addition to instruction in formal subjects, such instruction and training in constructive activities as would develop aptitudes and abilities of distinct economic value.

There are ten selected high schools in New York City that offer cooperative courses, in which 650 students of both sexes alternate weekly between high school and industry. A high-school teacher, called coordinator, is selected by the high-school principal to correlate or link up the work of the school and the industry. Special progressive courses based upon the charting of the business of the cooperating firm have been arranged for each type of industry. These 650 students are in employment with 170 firms of the highest standing in various subdivisions of manufacturing, commerce, and transportation, which offer our high-school students an opportunity to secure a combination of practical training and business or industrial experience.

« PreviousContinue »