« PreviousContinue »
DEPARTMENT OF SECONDARY INSTRUCTION.
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, July 13, 1887. The department was called to order by Vice-President Henry L. Boltwood, who reminded those present that the department was founded a year ago, and was accordingly now holding its first formal session. He further emphasized the fact that the scope of this departinent is the work of the high school and of the academy, as distinct from the grammar school on the one hand and the college on the other.
Mr. A. F. Nightingale, of Lake View, Illinois, then presented a paper, entitled “A Plea for the Classics.” Upon motion, it was decided to postpone discussion until after the presentation of Miss Clark's paper. Miss Minne C. Clark, of Somerville, Massachusetts, then read a paper on “Some Thoughts on English.” There was an animated discussion of the foregoing papers by Messrs. Winship, of Boston, Lewis, of Lockport, Sprague, of Racine, Jones, of Memphis, E. W. Coy, of Cincinnati, Greenwood, of Kansas City, Riley, of Aurora, Smith, of Rockford, Montgomery, of Mississippi.
The following resolution was then offered by Mr. A. R. Sprague, of Racine:
Resolved, That in the opinion of this department, the English language should be given at least an equal place with that of the classics and science, in high school courses of study. The resolution was unanimously adopted. Department adjourned.
PAUL H. HANUS,
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, July 14, 1887. Department called to order by Vice-President Boltwood, at 2.30 P. M. Minutes of the preceding day's session read and approved. President Boltwood then announced the nominating committee, consisting of Mr. Charles A. Smith, of Rockford, Illinois, Miss Minne C. Clark, of Somerville, Massachusetts, and Mr. E. W. Wright.
Mr. Samuel Thurber, of Roxbury, Massachusetts, then read a paper on “ The Order and Relation of Studies in the High-School Course.” The reading of this paper was followed by a long and interesting discussion,
by Messrs. James H. Baker, of Denver, Colorado, James M. Greenwood, of Kansas City, Missouri, A. R. Sprague, of Racine, Wisconsin, Cope, of Hamilton, Ohio, Stratton, of Davenport, Iowa, Miss Judd, of Chicago, Lewis, of Lockport, New York, Miss Margaret Sutherland, of Ohio, Wooster, of Kansas, H. L. Boltwood, of Evanston, Illinois, Miss Minne C. Clark, of Somerville, Massachusetts, A. E. Curtis, of Adrian, Michigan, and Cox, of Michigan.
The following resolution was then offered by Mr. Curtis, and Mr. Cox, of Michigan :
Resolved, That the executive committee be requested to invite a committee to report a general course of study for high schools, at the next annual meeting of this Department. Said course of study is to express the complete function of the high school.
Mr. A. F. Nightingale, of Lake View, Illinois, then offered the following resolution which was unanimously adopted :
Resolved, that the thanks of the Department of Secondary Instruction be extended to Vice-President Boltwood, for the pleasing and agreeable manner in which he has presided over its deliberations.
The committee on nomination of officers then reported as follows:
CHARLES A. SMITH,
E. W. WRIGHT,
PAUL H. HANUS,
THE CLAIMS OF THE CLASSICS.
A. F. NIGHTINGALE, LAKE VIEW, ILLINOIS.
I approach the treatment of this much-discussed question with a feeling akin to that which one has when he stubbornly defends a principle which he knows to be right, but which policy and the spirit of utilitarianism warns him to abandon. I approach it with pride, because no part of my life since boyhood has been estranged from these studies, and because it has been my leading ambition, as a teacher, to inspire boys and girls with a love for the classics, as the first and greatest factor in that education which I believe to be at once the most practical, the most useful, and the most pleasurable.
In this paper I shall enter into no controversy with that fetich, the Honorable Charles Francis Adams, Jr., whose words with many are apparently so oracular, and yet whose arguments, were it not for his name and fame, would fall unnoticed among the debris of still-born literature; nor shall I assume to mitigate the electric shock produced by the fulminations of President Eliot, of Harvard, who has succeeded in leaving one small back-door ajar, through which a pupil may, after wearisome meanderings, enter that university without either Latin or Greek. Neither shall I at tempt the fruitless effort to apologize for the great city of Chicago, which would do little for the classics, and which has excluded Greek entirely from her public school system.
I know that Latin and Greek are now placed upon the defensive. No less a writer than John Stuart Blackie has said, “ Greek is to be extruded from the English universities; at least, that badge of privilege is to be torn from its breast which has for so many years given it a secure position in the palæstra where the youth of Great Britain have been trained to the highest functions of intellectual manhood; times are changed, and we must change with them; new circumstances have arisen ; new tasks are to be performed; new tools are to be provided ; new training is necessary.” In our American colleges, per force of public opinion, Greek, fighting with tenacity every inch of its retreat, has been compelled to take a subordinate position. Harvard, Cornell, and Michigan universities are offering such courses of study as not only tend to multiply their students, but which will, we fear, give renewed force to the modern idea of belittling the claims of the classics. Once the question was one-sided, and no one pretended that Latin and Greek could be eliminated from true