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determining the validity of the claim of the local authority for state support, many of the more capable inspectors have conceived their work as constructive in character, rather than merely inspectorial. Supervision has often been developt under the name of inspection.
We may confidently look forward to the further development of the work of the state office along supervisory lines. In one state a whole county was carefully surveyed by the state office in cooperation with a university department of education to the end that the local school system might be improved. The same state department has undertaken thorogoing surveys in several of its cities. It seems probable that state officers will in increasing number develop a type of supervisory activity which will be of first-rate importance to all communities unable to employ an adequate administrative staff, and in many cases to supply special service, even in those communities whose schools are most adequately staft.
There are special problems of administration and supervision which may be more adequately dealt with by a highly specialized member of the state-department staff than by any local officer having a general responsibility. The development of a school-building program, the reorganization of local school records, and a study of the financing of education in the local community might, it seems to the writer, on occasion be undertaken by specialists from the state office, with the expectation of enlightening the local community and stimulating local initiative to a degree that would not easily be possible by local officers.
One of the most significant and outstanding features of the development of our school systems is the tendency to centralize administration. Our state departments are growing more and more important in the development of our public-school system. This development in education will be unfortunate if conceived in a narrow spirit of exercising authority and of securing control to the end that a dead level of uniformity may be maintained. If, on the other hand, the state officers seek to capitalize the success of their most adequately administered local school systems, and if they seek, thru the supervision which they exercise, to stimulate the local administrative authorities, much will be accomplisht for the improvement of our schools. The evidence which the writer has been able to assemble seems to him to establish the fact that our state departments are conscious of the obligation to stimulate local initiative as a means for increasing efficiency.
C. P. Cary, state superintendent of schools, Madison, Wis.—The general topic this morning is “Centralizing Tendencies in Educational Administration.” The speakers have discust ably and well the township, the county, and the state as units. Nothing has been said, however, about the nation as the unit. It would seem that the logic of the argument for larger and larger units and greater and greater centralization would point to the nation as the final unit. So far as finances are concerned, some school districts in the county are poor, some rich; some counties in the state are poor, some rich; some states are poor, some rich. Why not tax the nation as a whole for school purposes ? Again, some communities are educationally alive and progressive, while some are indifferent and non-progressive. The same may be said of some states as compared with others. Then why not have power in Washington to compel all states to come up to the standard of the best, and to give them, if need be, the money to do it? Why not have a powerful educational organization at the capital of the nation, with a minister of education, who could say, as the French minister of education might say: At this particular moment, thruout the whole area governed by eastern time, every child is having a lesson in civics, while in the central division every child is having a lesson in geography, and every child in the western division is having a lesson in manual training or domestic science ? Why not have someone to organize courses and see to it that they are adopted and carried out? Yes, police the states to see that the educational laws are obeyed. Is this not in the interest of efficiency?
Is it not a prerogative of government to say what its citizens shall be taught in their youth, and to see to it that they are thus taught? Why not have the general government say what the teachers shall be taught, how they shall be taught, and who shall teach them? Is there any flaw in the logic? Are we not swept on, whether we will or no, to the conclusion that the framers of the Constitution made a blunder in not, in the very beginning, kaiserizing the schools of the nation? See what a happy-go-lucky educational procedure we have been following all these years as a consequence. We who have been here all this week have heard addresses that go, in their logic at least, straight to this mark and are keyed to this tune. Do I hear someone say, “This nation will never kaiserize its education; it's all nonsense to talk about it"? I am not so sure as to that. There is danger here, I fully believe, and there is also danger in the political possibilities, not to say actualities, in some of the national laws that have already been enacted by Congress. I have great faith, however, in the ultimate common sense and democratic instincts and feelings of our citizens, notwithstanding the fact that some of us are today giddy or dizzy over the nationalizing idea, and unless we stop to consider very thoughtfully what can be properly nationalized and standardized, and possibly even crystallized, we shall have some day to retrace painfully our path—that is to say, if America is really to remain a democracy. If we are to have democracy, democracy must not be eliminated from the schools. Autocracy, if it were eliminated from the schools of Germany, would die, and democracy if eliminated from our schools and our school system would die, for death would then be at its root.
Nationalizing education means for us red tape, politics, compulsion, loss of public interest; it means a handed-down-from-above type of education. The adult citizens would then be called upon to acquiesce, to obey the law, to take what is given them. Democracy is a moving affair, a going concern, a growing concern, a matter of personal interest and intelligence on the part of the citizen. Democracy in itself is a means and an opportunity for education. We are today in all progressive states trying almost as strenuously to educate our adults as to educate our children, but if we were to enter upon a system that is handed down from those who are remote—if the thinking is to be done for the people by their officers—then it will not matter much whether our people are educated or not, except in such ways as may make them efficient producers, and loyal supporters of the government. I am of the opinion that our boasted democracy will have to fight for its very life after this war is over. The world has had a tremendous lesson in the efficiency possible in an autocracy. Many of our citizens and some of our educators before we entered the war were saying, “Give us some of this autocratic efficiency.” They would be saying it now if it were not taboo for the moment. There were even members of this body, arguing, I am told, for the elimination of the schoolmaster from the control of certain kinds of education. It was asserted that the commercial interests could better guide in such matters. We shall have a revival of it when the war is over. The man who is interested merely in the welfare of boys and girls will be lookt upon as a narrow visionary incapable of thinking in national terms. It will be held that each child must be made to fit and fill his niche in the great machine called “The Great State." All this will happen, I am prepared to assert, unless the school men themselves prevent it.
I, for one, believe that the efficiency of Germany is not worth what it costs; let America not follow in her footsteps, at least not in the spiritual aspects of our educational affairs. This is not to be construed to mean that the national government may not require the states to have certain minimum standards of a fundamental sort. Let us preserve democracy by keeping the schools close to the people and at the same time educating our people in all that pertains to the high spiritual ideals that we love and strive to live. There are essentially three ways in which people may be nfluenst to act in educational matters: they may be forst to do so, first, by stringent laws with certain penalties for failure; secondly, by dangling the dollar before their noses and appealing to their cupidity; that motive is very strong and I have heard it used effectively here this week. The third way is to enlighten the people-convince them of the needs of their children, and of their duty to society. This last-mentioned way is the way of democracy, the safe road, tho it may be longer than the autocratic way or the appeal to ignorance and cupidity. Let us spend millions, if need be, to educate our adults, let us aid by state or national money those who cannot help themselves, but only so far or so long as it may be necessary, and let us not be in a hurry to set up a little tin educational god or king log to rule over us from Washington.
J. Y. JOYNER, state superintendent of public instruction, Raleigh, N.C.--Centralizing tendencies in educational administration are the logical evolution of an expanding civilization and an enlarged conception of democratic obligation.
The district or community unit of taxation and administration for education recognizes education as an obligation only of the community to the community's children, and limits educational opportunity to the ability and willingness of each community to provide it. The township unit recognizes education as an obligation only of the township to the township's children, and limits educational opportunity to the ability and willingness of each township to provide it. The county unit recognizes education as an obligation only of the county to the county's children, and limits educational opportunity to the ability and willingness of each county to provide it. The state unit recognizes education as an obligation of the state to the state's children, and limits educational opportunity to the ability and willingness of each state to provide it. The national unit recognizes education as an obligation of the nation to the nation's children, and limits educational opportunity only to the ability and willingness of the nation to provide it.
It follows, therefore, that as the conception of democratic obligation broadens from community to nation the units of taxation and administration for education must be correspondingly enlarged. It follows also that if there is to be equalization of educational opportunity in county, state, and nation according to the educational needs of each community there must be recognition of county, state, and nation as units of taxation, distribution, and administration.
Equality of opportunity is a fundamental principle of democracy. Equality of opportunity is an impossibility without equality of educational opportunity. On account of inequality of distribution of wealth, population, and intelligence, equality of educational opportunity is an impossibility without these larger taxing and administrative units making it possible to raise and apportion school funds and administer school systems according to the educational needs of each community rather than according to its ability and willingness to provide them.
Mutuality of obligation growing out of the recognition of common brotherhood is the bond of democracy. The chain of democracy is no stronger than its weakest link. The democratic nation is no stronger than its weakest state. The democratic state is no stronger than its weakest county. The democratic county is no stronger than its weakest neighborhood or school district.
Democracy can perform its task only thru cooperation. The task of giving equality of educational opportunity to all the children of all the people is too big to be adequately performed by any part of the people. Therefore the proper education of all the children of all the people is an obligation of the nation, of the state, of the county, and of the community, and is a task that can be successfully performed only thru the cooperation of all in recognition of the obligation of each to all and of all to each.
The centralized authority must be exercised for equalization, not for domination; for supplement, not for substitution; for stimulation, not for suppression of local county and state effort-pride and self-respect-exercised as a democratic obligation and not as a pauperizing charity. It can be and will be so exercised.
EDITH K. O. CLARK, state superintendent of public instruction, Cheyenne, Wyo.I am somewhat at a loss to understand the exact part I am to play in this discussion. When Dr. Finegan askt me to accept a place on the program he said that he was requesting every speaker upon this morning's subject to send me a copy of his paper or an outline of its principal points at least two weeks before the date of the meeting. Not one was received by me, so I supposed that they were all going to make extemporaneous addresses and I would have to pick up my points as they happened to fall. The prospect was a bit dismaying, because I have had very little experience in appearing before audiences, but I thought I would have to take my chance with the others. But behold, every man on the program,
including the two preceding me in the discussion, had a carefully prepared paper, except Dr. Strayer, and he had forty-eight of them!
The general subject under discussion is one which should interest us all, and I think that it does. People are beginning to realize that it is time to Break away from the old systems of school administration if public education is really to meet the needs of the day. Mr. Cook has presented the plan of operation of the county unit very clearly and forcefully. There is no doubt of its effectiveness and practicability in many localities. The, same is true of the report Mr. Teitrick has given of the township as a unit for school administration. Both men believe in their systems, and rightly so. As we listened to each, we were converted absolutely to his idea. But I know of places where it is impossible as yet to adopt either one of these solutions to the rural-school problems of today, places in the wide, sparsely settled West where counties embrace areas larger than some of your eastern states, and where whole townships have no other inhabitants than a few coyotes and prairie dogs. We won't match their intelligence with that of some rural district school boards.
You see we must consider facts as they are, in endorsing for adoption any plan of reorganization. One thing we can say, that the old district system is wrong. School standards should be fixt and maintained by higher authority than the local district board. If the public school is an institution of the state, the opportunities which it offers should be uniform thruout the state. So in communities where the county is too large and the township is too small, supervisory districts under efficient directors should be establisht, including a reasonable amount of territory and a reasonable number of schools, thereby assuring the maintenance of universally high standards thruout the neglected rural districts.
I am glad that Dr. Strayer reported that all of the forty-eight state departments of education had replied to his inquiries. That is a fine tribute to the business-like cooperation of school administrators. Some of the facts brought out conce
ncerning the ways in which state departments stimulate local initiative and increase efficiency deserve special commendation and emulation. I wish he had named the states in which these things are practist.
On the whole, the thoughts are typical of the tone of this whole convention—that we must think in terms of the new needs and responsibilities brought about by the war, that school people must reach the parents thru the children and impress upon them, one and all, that everyone here at home has a duty which he dare not shirk. As someone put it, “Everyone who cannot go across, must come across.”
TOPIC: OPPORTUNITY AND LEADERSHIP IN AMERICAN
BENJAMIN IDE WHEELER, PRESIDENT, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA,
BERKELEY, CALIF. The state university as an educational product is a crude triple blend. It had its beginning in the American small college. From that it drew its ideas of schedules, procedures, and courses. There was nothing else to look to. Probably that was fortunate. The small college was a unique American creation, and the acceptance of its type spared us a sudden and wholesale adoption of a foreign system.
The second element was involved in the features we were supposed to have borrowed from the state universities of Europe-such things as the much lecturing whereof betimes the flesh grew weary, and the much liberty in attendance which too often degenerated into the much liberty in absence.
The third element is most important of all. It involves the progressive adjustments made to satisfy the needs and desires of the people in the several states. This was a people who did not hesitate to say what they wanted—who, having paid for the support of the university, wanted their money's worth, and who, being relatively free from slavish regard to the academic tradition, would not easily be brought to believe that anything which the plain use and need of everyday humanity had once proved sacred was ever to be branded common or unclean.
But whatever the ingredients assembled to produce the type and whatever their proportions, certain it is that the American state university both as to form and spirit, is a type distinct and separate from that of the French, the German, or the British. It is furthermore the last three decades which have established our separateness by cutting free from continued imitation of the German type and by declaring an educational independence based upon a fundamental difference in social and political need. The European university banishes the technical schools from its midst, but the American definitely encourages the vocational type of instruction for mature students approaching the realization of life-work, and it welcomes the students of engineering, business, medicine, agriculture, and the like as stirring the academic blood to real life in the face of real problems rather than making the university a mere place of learned rendezvous.
As regards the older type of privately endowed universities, it cannot be denied that they also, as well as the state universities, are thoroly American. These institutions have had indeed their roots longer in American soil. They have shared longer the vicissitudes of American life and history; they have longer memories. Their studies, their policy, and their methods are less likely to correspond to the temporary enthusiasms of this