« PreviousContinue »
In the compilation of this work, certain matter from “The Community
The justification and aim of the present book may be stated in the following words from Professor Dewey's “ Ethical Principles Underlying Education”: “The social work of the school is often limited to training for citizenship, and citizenship is then interpreted in a narrow sense as meaning capacity to vote intelligently, a disposition to obey laws, etc. The child is to be not only a voter and a subject of law; he is also to be a member of a family. ... He is to be a worker, eng ed in some occupation which will be of use to society and which
will maintain his own independence and self-respect. He is to be a - member of some particular neighborhood and community, and must contribute to the decencies and graces of civilization wherever he is. .
.. that a good citizen is anything more than a thoroughly efficient and serviceable member of society ... is a cramped superstition which it is hoped may soon disappear from educational discussion.
.. Training for citizenship is formal and nominal unless it develops the power of observation, analysis, and inference with respect to what makes up a social situation and the agencies through which it is modified.”
The book is a departure from the traditional methods of presenting the subject of civics to young people. It has not been customary to differentiate between civics and civil government. The writer believes that such a differentiation may be made, and that, moreover, anything like a scientific analysis of the machinery and powers of government can profitably be undertaken not earlier than the last years of the high school, and then it may best be presented in close association with the work in American history. On the other hand, he believes that many elementary ideas regarding community life, the meaning of citizenship, the relations between the citizen and the community, and the services performed for the citizen by the government, not only can, but should, be presented to the pupil at an earlier period in his education.
The function of the public school is to produce a good type of citizenship. There is no other sanction for the existence of the public school.
The entire course of study and the whole round of school life should be directed to this end. Unfortunately, the aim of education in the public school is too often considered from a purely individualistic point of view, as a means of aiding the individual to get a living. It is rare that we find any definite instruction given to arouse the pupil's consciousness of the meaning of community life and of his relations to it. The study of civil government in its usual form fails to accomplish this end.
“Observation, analysis, and inference are the essentials of the pedagogical method adopted in this book. The aim has constantly been to make a vivid impression upon the consciousness of the pupil. The author has been more concerned about the interest that the pupil shall develop in the life of the community and in his relation to that life, than about the amount of systematic knowledge that he shall gain regarding the forms and working of government. The desideratum has been to stimulate a questioning attitude on the part of the pupil, and to leave him with an eager desire to know more.
At the same time, the author has not neglected government. Government is, indeed, introduced in every chapter of the book in its proper relations to the phase of civic life under discussion, and the last few chapters are devoted to the governmental machinery. The endeavor has constantly been to present government in its proper perspective. It must not be supposed, from the use of the word “community,” that the book deals with local government alone. Local, state, and national organization are constantly emphasized throughout the text in such a way that not only is the relation of the citizen to each of them made vivid, but also the relations of the three kinds of government to each other are brought out with distinctness.
A feature of the book is the use made of local history. It is believed that a contribution is made toward the solution of the problem of how to employ local history effectively in the schools. Few local communities have a history that touches the main stream of national history in an intimate way, so that it is difficult to make use of local development in connection with the history of the United States. Still, every community has a history that may be made instructive. It is hoped that the method of handling the subject in this text may be useful, both in stimulating interest in the subject itself and as a means of illustrating the growth of community life and the relation between the community and the individual.
Although conscious of imperfections in the book, the author presents it with some degree of confidence because of the test to which it has already been put, in a preliminary form, by a year's use in the schools of Indianapolis. He has had the benefit of the experience and criticism of thirty or forty practical teachers during this time. He takes this opportunity to thank these teachers for their searching but sympathetic criticism and suggestion. The author is indebted, also, to Professor Henry E. Bourne, of Western Reserve University, and to Dr. Henry Suzzallo, of Leland Stanford Junior University, for most helpful advice. For the suggestion of the method of approaching the subject, acknowledgment is due to Professors Albion W. Small and George E. Vincent, of the University of Chicago.
ARTHUR W. DUNN. INDIANAPOLIS, April 15, 1907.
The State Text-book Committee is under obligations to the following persons for assistance :
Dr. W. F. Snow, Dr. Ernest B. Hoag, Agnes E. Howe, Congressman Jos. R. Knowland, W. F. Brainard, Judge Curtis D. Wilbur, Judge Albert G. Burnett, Judge Robt. M. Clarke, H. C. Dunton, H. A. Adrian, Job Wood, Jr., R. A. Herold, J. K. Beede, Capt. Peter Jensen, W. D. Coates, Jr., J. L. Gillis, D. J. Reese, Nathaniel Ellery, L. E. Chenoweth, Warden John E. Hoyle, Supt. C. L. McLane, Supt. DeWitt Montgomery; also to the Southern Pacific Co., Pacific Electric Railway, Collier's Weekly, Los Angeles Playground Commission, Sacramento Valley Development Association, Light-House Inspector (12th Dist.), Union Iron Works, Pacific Mail Steamship Co., Postal Telegraph-Cable Co., Chamber of Commerce of Oakland and of Berkeley.
Let reverence for law be taught in schools and colleges, be written in spelling books and primers, be published from pulpits, and proclaimed in legislative houses, and enforced in the courts of justice; in short, let it become the political religion of the nation.