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young men who were the school children of yesterday. What was the matter with the schools of yesterday which took them in and returned to us only two-thirds as able-bodied citizens ? The answer is found in the schools of today.
Authorities show us that there are physical defects in 75 per cent of the 20,000,000 school children of today, most of them preventable and remediable, heart and lung diseases, disorders of hearing and vision, malnutrition, diseased adenoids and tonsils, flatfoot, weak spines, imperfect teeth-and among them i per cent of mental defect. The children in country schools are worse off than those in city schools. We are sending the best we have to foreign battlefields. We are retaining the 30 per cent of imperfect citizens to leaven the race of tomorrow. There is such a thing as the prepotence of inferiority. It is often said that we get what we deserve in the way of government, laws, and institutions. Since it is possible in our democracy for a moron to be elected mayor of a city, and an imbecile to be made governor of a vast state, it may easily be imagined how the smaller offices in our legislatures, county boards, and city councils overflow with the inferior and the unfit.
We have spent millions of dollars on swine plague, foot and mouth disease of cattle, pine blister, chestnut blight, gypsy moth, chicken cholera, and we have the annual “pork barrel" of millions upon millions of dollars devoted to all sorts of trivial and foolish exploitations of rural creeks and hamlets, but what have we spent upon our greatest national asset, health of body in our school children ? Body is the foundation upon which mental structure must rise. It is of first importance that the physical foundation be made and kept sound and strong. The mental structure is secondary to that. We are spending enormous sums upon the medical care of our insane and other defectives in institutions all over the country, and rightly so, to do what we can to repair our broken adults. This is relief work, but what we spend on preventive measures, on health education, for our growing children is small by comparison.
The children are the state's best property, out-ranking lands, produce, mines, water power, live stock, forests, and railways. Think of the billions of dollars spent upon these secondary interests! Think of the indifference and opposition to the care of children, to two-cent lunches to be paid for by the children themselves, to doing away with child labor in factory and mine, to the smallest health measures demanded for their welfare! It needs indeed an alienist to direct attention to these facts.
Compulsory education we have, compulsory feeding and training of the mind. Compulsory health we must have, compulsory feeding and training of the body.
In the war against ignorance we have conscripted the school children. They are the vast draft army of our second line of defense. But in what sort of cantonments do we house them? What physical drill do we give them, what medical inspection and care, what sanitation, what remedial steps do we take to restore them quickly to the ranks when they are ill ?
But enough of destructive criticism. Let us turn to the idea of a reconstruction of the race. Let us read the old books with new comprehension. It is almost a hundred generations ago that a teacher (Mencius) wrote: “The root of the Empire is in the State. The root of the State is in the family. The root of the family is in the individual. So for the people encourage them; lead them on; rectify them; straighten them; help them; give them wings!”
We must set a standard. It might be that of Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, "to begin the education of the child a hundred years before it is born." That can be attained in a few generations. To accomplish it we must coordinate all the organizations now at work for the conservation of our citizenry—the maternity classes, the baby-saving societies, the mothers' committees, the kindergartens, the child-welfare and physical-training bodies, the seaside, the countryside, and sunshine associations, all that have to do with preschool welfare, the public and private schools, the Child Labor Committee, the Mental Hygiene Association, the boards of education, and the boards of health. The presidents of boards of health and boards of education should be ex officio members of these coordinated boards. This is a great undertaking, but we can begin by breaking into the curriculum of the public schools and establishing education in health, especially in food knowledge and food habits as a vital and essential part of the teaching. From the schools the health instruction will be carried home to the parents and younger children, and soon the whole movement of reconstruction will permeate the state.
The program is a large one and requires:
1. That the teachers themselves be given better conditions for their own health and fuller instruction in all that has to do with the laws of health.
2. That every city and country school should be made sanitary and kept so, and the school and its grounds should be as beautiful as possible, not only for the benefit of the teachers and the pupils, but as an example to all other citizens, who are beginning to use the school more and more as a community center.
3. That every child should be regularly weighed, measured, and examined and a health record should be kept, which should accompany him thruout his school life. It should be the duty of the authorities to see that the defects of our young citizens are corrected, and disorders of growth and nutrition remedied. As malnutrition is one of the most serious conditions, a hot luncheon should be made available for every child and every teacher. The health examination should include dental inspection and treatment.
4. That each school should have adequate provision for physical training, gymnasiums, athletic fields, playgrounds, gardens, and shops, together with especially qualified instructors in physical training and vocational fields.
5. And finally, with the above foundations, that a thoro system of instruction should be given in all matters pertaining to health, with special emphasis upon health-problems rather than upon disease, in physical and mental habits, in personal hygiene, in public health and sanitation, in methods to avoid communicable diseases, in the responsibilities of parenthood, and in all that relates to nutrition and growth, including foods and food values and food habits.
This is a large program, too large for the inequalities of conscience and consciousness of our multitudinous states. It might be carried out in a few states soon and in others only after generations.
This is a scheme for the reconstruction of the whole people. It is a federal program. It is an emergency program. It should have the immediate attention of our foremost teacher in the presidential chair. We need a Hoover for the children, a children's health administrator.
With all this in view and after months of careful planning the National Child Health Organization has been formed, whose literature is being now distributed to you. Do the first practical thing for a beginning. The teachers can place scales and a measuring rod at once in every school, and with the height and weight and age charts that will be sent you on request you can immediately start the campaign against one of the chief evils, viz., malnutrition. The Child Health Organization has some of the best teachers and educators in the country as members, and counts on its Board the foremost medical specialists on children and public health. Its publications will be supplied on request to all who desire them.
WHY SHOULD THE GOVERNMENT TRAIN FOR FOREIGN
GLEN LEVIN SWIGGETT, BUREAU OF EDUCATION, CHAIRMAN, COMMITTEE OF FIFTEEN ON EDUCATIONAL PREPARATION FOR FOREIGN SERVICE,
WASHINGTON, D.C. Our beloved country is now at war. As the inner meaning of this conflict becomes clearer with the passing days, the responsibility of organized education in any program for the successful prosecution of the war becomes more and more apparent. Concurrent with the course of military events, coordinating measures, corrective, regulatory, and prohibitive in turn, are planned by the nation's authorized agents, governmental and otherwise, and are swiftly accepted and executed with the praiseworthy and unstinted cooperation of the people of this nation.
These measures are of two kinds, namely, those that relate directly to winning the war and those that relate directly to reaping the benefits of victory. Chief among the latter are economic measures and provisions to insure their successful issue. And of primary importance in this catalog is the foreign trade of the nation.
Training for foreign service meant until quite recently only preparation for the diplomatic and consular service. And the training for this specific career varied with, and was determined somewhat by, the political principles and social bases of each government and nation. But that time has past. Overstimulus of production in some quarters of the world and overpopulation in others and the respiritualization of society due to the internationalizing of all national social and religious welfare work, have led to the creation of a new scale of comparative values by the commercial nations of the world. No longer, as in the past, are international friendships to be determined solely by the strength or weakness of diplomatic conferences, conventions, treaties carried on, or drafted thru, the political channels created for that purpose.
Trade laws and political rights of nations are therefore profitable fields of study just now. And these laws and rights are quite closely related, even at times imperceptibly confused. For example, shall one politically friendly nation be allowed practically to create an embargo on one or more of the products of another nation thru a trade convention with a third nation, even tho there may be no real basis for the interpretation of an unfriendly act? Such questions require quite new solutions, and I believe permanent ones, with the enlarging international responsibility that all nations have assumed with their entry into world-commerce, and which responsibility is deepened and sobered by the righteous ideals of this war. The answer to them, as to many similar questions, cannot be given by their Platonic discussion in unrelated college courses on international law or foreign trade. For their solution we need loyal men, trained to an abiding conviction in the permanency of the principles of this government, to that fine degree of spiritual vision characteristic of the international mind, and possessing that body of knowledge and skill which shall be required henceforth in the conduct of all international economic and social relations,
In training for foreign service we must keep constantly in mind the distinctive character of service to be rendered and the consequent difference in the character of training demanded for that service. We have endangered somewhat the success of our venture into foreign fields by the complacent belief of business and government that this training can be acquired in the actual conduct of foreign trade and foreign-relations missions and by the insistence of schools and colleges that general education is the best preparation for the successful pursuit of these careers.
We need, first of all, in every manufacturing city opportunity in the schools for thoro instruction in commercial branches. We need to have free and unrestricted opportunity given to every boy and girl to receive as much skill in the vocational-commercial subjects and as much knowledge of the technique of distribution as their circumstances permit and the character and the diversity of the manufacturing production of their city warrant. We need to have our schools function more naturally in the industrial and commercial life of the city, affording, without stint or hindrance, ample opportunities for continuation and part-time instruction for those actually engaged in commerce. There must be a larger sympathy between business and the schools and a larger and more intimate understanding of their respective problems. Business men must give their time and money for the support of these schools, for they need, not only a type of teacher that is able to command a higher salary thru his knowledge of business, but the cooperative teaching of these business men themselves.
For the study of commerce, domestic or foreign, we have as yet neither a definite program nor a definite policy. The latter is still quite vague. Even business itself in certain quarters insists upon training for its pursuit in actual employment, an attitude that may be paralleled in the early days of shaping programs of study for law, medicine, engineering, etc. The rapid development of this country may have encouraged preparation outside of the schools, and our marvelous prosperity may have blinded us to the inefficiency of our individual training. Nevertheless there has been much waste of effort and economic loss to the nation.
If now, thru lack of centralizing authority, after the manner of the French and Italian, or thru failure to appreciate the need of our country for an unfailing, favorable trade balance, a definite trade policy, and a definite, nay, uniform, course of training for foreign trade, as Germany has done and Great Britain is now doing, our schools continue to function in response to purely local needs and the delicate machinery of inner relationships that have been built within the school hierarchy by committees on prescribed studies, entrance and graduate requirements, etc., it shall then be our national task to make training for foreign service the nation's business, and ways and means shall be found to perform this educational service, either in federal academies establisht for that purpose, or in subsidized institutions, strategically situated and favorably disposed to train for the nation's need.
Let us see first if we can build for our purpose on our present educational system. Ways and means must be found, however, for the immediate introduction of new subjects and the modification in presentation of those already offered in all cities that possess actual or potential export trade. Direct response must be given by the schools and colleges to the requests of duly accredited federal agencies that may be empowered to advise and direct instruction for foreign service, to distribute federal money appropriated for the support of this instruction, and to render cooperative teaching service at such times and in such schools as the subject may demand and the program of cooperation permit. Only in this manner can our schools and colleges meet the responsibility vested in them as the training factor of the nation; only thus can they be induced to offer and adequately teach at once