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middle, but one seldom, or never, speaks of the middle of a sum of money or the middle of a series of expenditures,
It is rather to be regretted that Pearson's Coefficient, which in some way is made to do considerable duty as an agency, was lugged into a discussion when it was unnecessary either to elucidate the subject-matter or to assist in making plain what was almost self-evident. If there is found a mean average value for the expenditure of the same department, in a number of cities, then it is a very simple matter to compare each of the same kind with it. Beginning with page 56 and continuing to Table No. 16, page 81, is the most unintelligible portion for the ordinary reader. The author leveled his gun entirely too high except for the expert.
Table No. 17, page 82, is an exceedingly valuable one for comparative purposes. The mean average value for each item that goes into the municipal budget is given in the first column reading across the page, and each item of expenditure of the seventy-eight different cities can be compared with the equated value. Municipalities need to be furnished with a standard, or a set of equations, which will show about what per cent. of the public revenue should be appropriated to each department annually to secure efficient public service, and to prevent waste or parsimony. This is one of the special problems that the Committee on Taxation as Related to Public Education emphasized, and Mr. Elliott gives it a wider sweep.
As a whole, the report is an exceedingly suggestive one. It bears evidence of a vast amount of labor on tables profitable, and on others again that lead nowhere. It should be bound up in a volume with President Wright's Report on Salaries, Tenure and Pensions, and with the Report of the Committee as Related to Public Education and thus preserved in permanent form.
Mr. Elliott deserves the very highest credit for the painstaking faithfulness with which he has carried forward his investigations, and the significant interpretations he has given to the statistical tables published by the Government.
J. M. GREENWOOD KANSAS City, Mo.
The elements of rhetoric and composition-By Ashley H. THORNDIKE,
Ph. D., Professor of English Literature in Northwestern University. New York : The Century Company, 1905. P. x+340. Appendix on punctuation. Price, $1.00 net.
The external clearness of this book, in open page, large type, and plain headings, reflects an unusual clearness of treatment. The plan is practically inductive and simple. To these qualities scientific division has been consistently subordinated. The obstacles to bringing all four kinds of composition into a single scheme have been surmounted very skillfully. Chief among these, of course, is the difference between the progressive plan to be inculcated for exposition and that other progressive plan which is proper to narration. A narrative paragraph has no such unity as an expository paragraph because it is not a logical stage. And the attempt to handle indiscriminately as paragraphs all groups for any reason spaced off sends boys and girls to college with notions of the paragraph that are at once mechanical and vague. But Professor Thorndike has managed to distinguish the kinds without complicating the treatment. Tho some sacrifice is involved in subordinating or frankly suppressing all cross-divisions and all minor categories, the gain in simplicity commends itself as a practical solution. A high-school rhetoric should be measured, not by its theoretical comprehensiveness, but by its practical efficiency. The approach to a subject, the development of paragraphs, the plan and development of longer themes, the management of sentences, vocabulary, usage,—this is the single line. It is a very effective presentation that thus brings the necessary topics of theory into the order of actual teaching.
What might otherwise be regarded as faults of detail should therefore be viewed in relation to the plan of the whole. The title of Chapter XII, “ The division of the theme into paragraphs,” taken by itself might seem antiquated and misleading; but, since four earlier chapters have presented the paragraph soundly and clearly as a logical unit, the pupil will hardly have failed to comprehend that a theme is divided into paragraphs only in the sense of being developed by paragraphs. Again, the outlines, in this chapter, of narrative passages from Macaulay and Stevenson may seem to direct too much attention to that sequence which is merely chronological; but the simplicity of including different kinds of sequence in one general conception has been guarded by the earlier chapters on the paragraph from misapplication. The details of the book justify themselves by fitting into a practical plan.
And the parts that might arouse question if detached from their places are very few in comparison with those that instantly appeal to a teacher. That the book has been worked out by an active teacher for actual students is evident in the exercises, prospective as well as retrospective, in the linking summaries and the apt examples,-in short, in the reality of the whole apparatus. For this is not merely one more acceptable school rhetoric; it deserves to stand out.
CHARLES SEARS BALDWIN YALE UNIVERSITY
NOTES AND NEWS
Commissioner Draper has issued a pamphlet Illiteracy in the State of New on illiteracy in the State of New York which York
reveals some facts that are new and many that are startling. To begin with, New York has not reduced the percentage of her illiteracy in the last thirty years, tho in the country as a whole that percentage has been very much reduced. The figures for New York are 7.1 per cent. in 1870, excluding illiterates under ten years of age, and 5.5 per cent. in 1880, 1890 and 1900. The figures for the whole country are 20 per cent. in 1870, 17 per cent. in 1880, 13.3 per cent, in 1890 and 10.7 per cent. in 1900. A most discouraging fact is that the percentage of foreign born white illiterates has not changed very much either in the state or in the nation in 40 years.
The worst spot in the state, and one of the worst in the United States, is to be found in the Adirondack region. The counties of Essex, St. Lawrence, Franklin and Clinton have 71, 72, 146 and 179 illiterates per 1000, respectively. Of the voting population of these four counties the percentage of illiterates is 10, 10, 11 and 24, respectively. There are a dozen strictly rural counties in which the population of illiterates is. greater than in the counties which constitute New York City.
Moreover, it would appear that the foreign born appreciate the privileges offered by the public schools more highly than do the native born; for the percentage of illiterates born in this country of foreign born parents 5.7 per cent.) is only about one-half the percentage (9.2 per cent.) of illiterate children of native born parents. These illiterate children of native born parents are almost all in the rural counties. The borough of Manhattan in the City of New York has a lower percentage of these than any other county in the state.
Commissioner Draper takes justifiable satisfaction in pointing out that notwithstanding its great port of entry and its widely exposed and attractive northern frontier, the percentage of illiteracy in New York is less than in eighteen other states, including every one of the New England States but Maine, which ranks next above New York. The Commissioner adds:
“ The data for determining our relative standing in this matter with that of the best educated foreign nations are lacking, but such as we have are more illuminating than comforting. The Imperial Bureau of Statistics, Berlin, informs us that of all the recruits in the army in 1903 for the whole German Empire, but I in 2500 was illiterate, and in more than half of the states or provinces there was no illiterate at all. In Denmark it was but i in 500, in Sweden and Norway I in 1250, in Switzerland 1 in 166, in the Netherlands I in 40, in France 1 in 16. In England and Scotland in 1902, i man and I woman in about 80 were unable to sign the certificate when married, the illiterate women slightly outnumbering the illiterate men.
The fairest comparison we can make with these figures is by using our census statistics concerning voters, i. e., men 21 years of age and older. We have about 1 illiterate in 9 voters in the United States, and I in 18 in the State of New York.
“Altho these figures are from as reliable official sources as are open to us, it is quite possible that the comparison may not be in all regards just, but it clearly shows that we are far behind the leading nations of Europe in the uniformity of ability to read and write. The fact is that those nations undertake to do a little for all of their children and come pretty near doing it: we offer everything in the way of instruction for all of our children and do not come so near requiring them to do anything. The great nations which rival us in intellectual progress and in industrial productivity compel all to take advantage of the schools, and the habit of going to school is inbred and universal: we are loath to compel, and indifference about school attendance is altogether too common an American evil.
“New York may have the brunt of this difficult problem in the United States, but she has no right to make excuses or whimper about it. Her security, the logic of her commercial