Page images
PDF
EPUB

college women. It has been bought with a terrible price, but thru this war women have come into their own as citizens pledged and consecrated to democracy of living, democracy of work, and democracy of ideals!

The college war course now being offered our young women augurs much for woman's future training vocationally. That she must of necessity go into many new and untried vocations, taking her place industrially and economically as a wage-earner and contributing agent, no one will deny. The woman of today needs, as never before, the background of a cultural education and, too, she needs to have added to this a preparation and equipment fitting her to do a special piece of work and do it well. In short, our colleges will have to increase, not decrease, vocational courses. Colleges offering such courses are well to the front today, and colleges not offering these courses are, because of the war exigency, changing their policy. It is interesting to note that home economics and business courses are being given in schools which formerly have had no work in these lines. The average war courses are business, hygiene, social science in war times, and home economics. A list of typical war courses in and outside the curriculum, taken from the recent reports of the colleges, is: Land line telegraphy, wireless telegraphy, automobile mechanics, nautical astronomy, navigation, elementary nursing, first aid, principles of war relief, draftsmanship, medical laboratory method, map-drawing, home economics, industrial chemistry, farm management, surgical dressings, office routine, and a course for teachers of occupational therapeutics. Women are being trained as dental hygienists, constructive fecreation is being strest, and the engineering department in several universities shows enrolment of women. In what lines colleges are yet to go is unknown. History is being made too rapidly even to venture a guess. At any rate, judging from the great stride made in coordinating life in academic walls with life outside and "over there," the colleges will not be behind, but rather in the vanguard of real initiativeness and usefulness.

The way in which our educational institutions for women have built on their foundations and met their opportunities for development and leadership makes us sanguine as to the reconstruction period after the war. Then our educational theories and systems are to be tested as they have never before been tested. College life must now and hereafter be a satisfying portion to our young men and women and must wield an influence greater than ever before, because we shall think in terms of world-democracy and internationalism.

May we not count it as one of life's compensations that we bear the name of "teachers" and have a share, small as it may be, in shaping the destiny of college women, who are the potential mothers and leaders-economically, industrially, and politically—in our day and generation ?

C. THE PLACE OF THE EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION

CLYDE FURST, SECRETARY, CARNEGIE FOUNDATION, NEW YORK, N.Y.

The educational foundation is an agency of democracy which finds for its work in each country means growing out of the national civilization and adapted to the national environment. These foundations are the product of large private fortunes which in other countries have been used generally to perpetuate family pride and power. Their extensive use for philanthropic purposes is characteristically American and democratic. The foundations represent a distinctive effort of our people and our time to deal with problems peculiar to our civilization, in the form of a representative organization completely responsible to public opinion.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, which was incorporated by Congress in 1906, administers the income of two endowments. The one, of fifteen million dollars, is devoted to the payment of retiring allowances to college professors and of pensions to their widows in the United States, Canada, and Newfoundland. The other, of a million and a quarter dollars, is devoted to the study of educational problems thruout the United States and Canada and to publishing the results of such inquiries.

The efforts on the part of the foundations along the lines of pensioning teachers and studying educational problems from a national rather than a local standpoint have been more than welcomed by the great majority of schools, colleges, universities, and educational organizations. For example, the Foundation has just completed its fourth report to the Committee on Pensions of the National Education Association, having first presented data concerning all existing systems of pensions for teachers, then a study of these systems, then a summary of pension principles, and finally a definite plan for a teachers' pension system which includes all of the features that have proved to be desirable. On the other hand, it has been suggested occasionally that such agencies are not desirable, that they interfere with the free development of the teaching institutions, that their separation from local interests is harmful rather than helpful.

Those who derive their information concerning the studies of the Carnegie Foundation from the newspapers only naturally desire to know more about it. The Foundation, they say, is an endowed agency conducted by a self-perpetuating board of twenty-five trustees, mostly university and college presidents, who intrust their administration largely to executive officers. They conduct their Foundation under a charter which excludes from participation in its pensions institutions that are controlled by religious bodies. Is it not likely that denominational colleges may be tempted into an insincere position in order to secure the benefit of these pensions ? Is it not possible that the college professor's expectation of a pension may restrict the freedom and independence of his opinions? Will not an agency

[ocr errors]

separated from teaching bodies and out of touch with local needs exercise an undue influence upon colleges and universities? In fact, has not the Carnegie Foundation already undertaken a somewhat arbitrary enforcement of college and university standards? Finally, if there is to be an educational agency which scrutinizes institutions and studies conditions thruout the country and publishes reports concerning them, should not this be a governmental agency, not one conducted by a self-perpetuating board of trustees, which is the holder of an endowment from a single individual ? These are thoughtful questions which deserve adequate answers.

The articles of incorporation and all the reports of the Foundation show clearly that its endowment can provide pensions for only a small minority of the college teachers of the country, and that by the terms of the gift only such colleges can be askt to share in these pensions as apply no test of a religious character in the choice of their trustees, officers, or teachers. Since most of the colleges of the country are related legally to religious denominations in one way or another, it has been clear from the beginning that they cannot expect to share in the financial benefits of this endowment. A few institutions-seven of the seventy-four associated with the Foundation -have changed from denominational to undenominational charters. Most of these changes were in progress when the Foundation came into existence. The form of the Foundation's charter has prevented at least an equal number of colleges from making such changes, thru fear of being considered insincere. The great body of church colleges, both Protestant and Catholic, and the various denominational bodies have expected nothing in the way of pensions and have shown, on the other hand, the greatest readiness to cooperate with the Foundation in its study of educational problems and in its efforts for the improvement of educational conditions. The Foundation, on its side, has made every effort to show that the denominational restriction in its charter relates, not to religious belief, but simply to a form of college government.

The apprehension that the professor might be influenst in his attitude by his expectation of a pension rests upon two misapprehensions: First, as to the method of administration, the teacher in the associated colleges does not deal with the Foundation; he deals entirely with his college and receives his retiring allowance from the college precisely as he receives his salary. The second misconception concerns the character of the American college or university teacher. Nothing would so arouse, and so justly arouse, his opposition as any effort, however indirect, to control his opinions about education, college administration, or any other subject. The sole opportunity that the foundations have of influencing the judgment of teachers is thru their publications, and these have weight only as they are sound and prove in the end to be wise.

When the foundations accept invitations to undertake educational inquiries they associate with them the men whose experience and knowl

edge are believed to be of the greatest value in the particular field of study. Usually these are teachers who are granted leave of absence for the purpose by their universities or school systems. The group thus formed, after extensive studies in the field, together with the small permanent staff of the foundations, sit in conference with college and normal-school faculties, trustees, superintendents of education, state and city officials, denominational boards, professional and business men-in short, with all who can aid in the solution of our complex educational problems. Out of this contact, over studies made on the ground, there come, in the course of weeks or months, conclusions which may not be final, but which probably represent the best consensus of opinion that can be reacht at the time. The local participant in such conferences is aided by the judgment of the man who is free from local traditions and local interests. The man from a distance has his conceptions modified and made practical by his intercourse with the man on the ground. In their patient, sympathetic, and intelligent cooperation lies a large possibility of good.

In addition, there is an advantage both for the local institution and for the country at large in the entrance of agencies which, while they seek to be sympathetic and fair, need not be afraid. Some of the conditions in education in our country have been and still are wretched. Such conditions are often suffered in silence because of the thoro organization of alumni, the rivalry between state and endowed colleges, and the fear of offending local interests. Many of the actual facts concerning education will never be made known until they are brought to light by intelligent, sympathetic, but courageous, outside agencies which have the money to make studies, with the necessary time and care, and which do not fear to publish the results.

It would seem scarcely necessary to speak of the educational foundations in connection with political influence, but this question also has been raised. Those who are familiar with political activities must find considerable humor in the suggestion that a legislature or other representative body may be over-influenst by the ideas of a corporation bearing the name of a prominent philanthropist. The studies made by these foundations can achieve their results only by a slow process of public education.

There is some misapprehension concerning the relation of the Carnegie Foundation to college and university standards—not to those ideals of life and conduct that colleges seek to inspire, but to those objective tests that colleges must maintain in order to carry on their work, such, for example, as the standards of admission, examination, and promotion. With the fixing of such standards the Carnegie Foundation has little to do. They are set up and administered by college faculties and by various boards. The Foundation has never attempted to dictate to any college what its standards should be. It has, however, endeavored by bringing such matters into public discussion to urge that these standards be reasonable and be honestly administered, and it has not hesitated to call attention to the discrepancy that has often existed between the standards announst by a college and those that it has actually used in practice.

There has been some fear lest a central agency dealing with education might interfere with the independent life of other institutions. Such an argument rests upon a failure to distinguish between independence and freedom. Only by placing itself upon an isolated island could an institution like a university have absolute independence; in an American commonwealth its freedom is limited by the rights and the interests of other institutions. As a matter of fact, the college and the university have interfered in very arbitrary fashion with the secondary schools; and it is only within recent years and thru the pressure of public opinion, aided to a considerable extent by the foundations, that they have come to consider seriously their duties toward these schools. In the long run the universities, the colleges, the schools, and the educational foundations will find their true relations, and each will attain the full measure of freedom to which it is entitled. It is in such freedom, not in complete independence, that the problems of a democracy must be wrought out.

There is one other doubt which may remain. The Carnegie Foundation administers at the same time a Pension Fund and a Division of Educational Inquiry. Will it not use the Pension Fund to help out an educational propaganda ? Will it not approach the needy college with a pension in one hand and an educational prescription in the other? It is perhaps true that an exceedingly brief influence might be gained by using pensions as a bolster for an educational program. How small a rôle such a program could play, however, will be realized by recalling that there are a thousand colleges and universities, hundreds of normal schools, and fifty state and provincial systems of education in the United States and Canada. The Carnegie Foundation has some educational relation with most of these. It can pay pensions in a very small minority. For the great number of colleges and for all normal schools and state and provincial systems of education no question of granting pensions arises. The Foundation's contribution to the great army of teachers, so far as pensions go, is in the development of the pension idea. Any funds that the foundations may have to distribute are but a drop when compared with the country's annual expenditure for education. There is an even more conclusive reason why the Carnegie Foundation has not coupled its pensions with educational propaganda. It has no educational propaganda; no educational system to propose; no specific to recommend. It hopes merely to help in the illumination of the complicated problems upon the correct solution of which depends our future welfare and happiness.

Finally, it may be askt, if there are to exist agencies viewing education from the standpoint of the whole nation, dealing with education as one thing and not as a chaos of divided and unrelated things, publishing reports which have to do with the universities and colleges and school systems of the

« PreviousContinue »