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Most important of all just now is the fact that an illiterate man does not make a good soldier. We are drafting into our Army men who cannot understand the orders that are given them to read, and our officers say that our man power is deficient because our education is inefficient. Until last April the regular Army would not enlist illiterates, yet in the first draft between thirty and forty thousand illiterates were brought into the Army, and approximately as many near-illiterates. It takes much more time to train them, and in many things they are permanently deficient. If their inefficiency amounts to only 25 per cent, then the United States Army raised by this draft is weakened by the equivalent of the loss of ten thousand effective men. The additional cost of training these men must be many hundreds of thousands of dollars, and their lack of efficiency in the battle line is incalculable. In 1904 among
the army recruits of Great Britain there was i per cent who could not read or write. Among the army recruits of France there were 14.7 per cent, while among the army recruits of Germany there were only 0.04 of 1 per cent who were illiterate. Among the men in America first drafted for this war there were between thirty and forty thousand illiterates.
It has been said that Pestalozzi, the great German educator, won the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. Today it may be claimed that the schoolmasters of Germany are responsible for whatever success has been accorded the German arms. The war has caused an immense awakening among the allied nations. President Wilson has said “that next to caring for the soldiers in the trenches we must care for the children at home. If we are to win this war and look out for the after-results, we must maintain our schools at their very highest efficiency.” The war has aroused England, France, and America to a consciousness of the deficiency in their educational systems, as compared with that of Germany. In the summer of 1916 it was declared in the English House of Lords that a “living national system of education must be organized if the nation is to maintain its position.” The people of England are thoroly alive to the absolute necessity of better educational training for the youth of their country. And today, in England and Scotland, bills are pending for the continuation system of education, or the requirement on the part of every employer to compel his employes to go to school a part of the time until they are eighteen years of age. In spite of her limited finances, England is showing her desire for better schools, and superior teachers by appropriating more money for education this year than ever before.
Boards of education should see to it that our children receive cultivation of the hand and the eye, together with the improvement of the mind. By industrial education we are fitting the child for practical duties, drawing to the surface some latent talent, or forming his taste for that which may prove to be his life-work.
In our schools thousands of children leave at the end of the fifth grade, and, of those who continue, 50 per cent never graduate from the high school. The majority of those who leave go to work, but not in a way or along lines for which they have received any special training. If they could have obtained such training, then their wage-earning capacity would have been greatly increast. One cause of Germany's great material advance during the last quarter of a century has been because of her trade schools, which dot the country. Before the war in Bavaria alone there were more trade schools than in all the United States. In the German Empire, where a boy is obliged to attend school until he is fifteen years of age, provision is made for the vocational training of every child who desires it. They have a system that has made for efficiency among that people and has provided an army of trained workmen who have flooded the markets of the world with German-made articles. We are not, however, going to be dependent upon German workmen, or German wares. We want American chemists, engineers, and workmen who will show sufficient skill and research ability to submerge or put down and out of sight forever the "made in Germany" slogan that has obsest the world for the last decade. And in order to do this our boards of education must see to it that we have schools which will
produce these artisans and skilled mechanics.
The full efficiency of the human mechanism cannot be obtained unless all the parts are in good working order. More and more are school boards everywhere giving the child's body the first consideration instead of the last. According to Provost Marshal General Crowder a majority of the physical disabilities of the 29 per cent of men rejected in the selective draft could have been prevented in childhood. Do you think that our school children do not need some kind of medical inspection, with followup care by nurses, to prevent epidemics of scarlet fever and other juvenile diseases ?
Boards of Education should try to obtain practical, well-trained teachers, and should then be willing to give them due compensation. The present times require practical, trained men and women. The ideal of education demanded today is a scheme of study which shall help us win the war, fit the youth of this land for the changed condition after peace comes, and prepare them for the responsibilities of life—and the day of attaining this largely devolves upon boards of education.
DEPARTMENT OF CLASSROOM TEACHERS
President—SARA H. FAHEY, teacher of English, Seward Park School.
.New York, N.Y. ..Portland, Ore. .... Chicago, Ill.
FIRST SESSION–TUESDAY AFTERNOON, JULY 2 The meeting was called to order by President Sara H. Fahey at two o'clock in the Oakland M.E. Church auditorium.
After singing patriotic songs, led by Bertha Baker, South Hills High School, Pittsburgh, Pa., the following program was presented on the topic “Relation of Democracy in Education to Democracy in Government":
“The Training of Teachers as a factor in Establishing Professional Standards”Sara H. Fahey, New York, N.Y.
"The Status of the Classroom Teacher"-W. C. Bagley, professor of education, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, N.Y.
SECOND SESSION-WEDNESDAY FORENOON, JULY 3 The following program was presented:
'Department Problems of the Immediate Present-A Look Ahead”-Wm. M. Davidson, superintendent of schools, Pittsburgh, Pa.
'Causes of the Present Shortage of Teachers”—Isabel A. Ennis, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Claire McWilliams, Pittsburgh, Pa.; Viola Ortschild, Portland, Ore.
The following resolutions were offered by Sara H. Fahey, of New York City, seconded by J. T. Rorer, of Philadelphia, and unanimously past:
Resolved, That the Department of Classroom Teachers, National Education Association, undertake at once a nation-wide campaign for increast salaries for teachers, in order to avert the most serious menace that public education in the United States has ever had to meet, namely, an alarming shortage in the teaching force.
Resolved, That the Department of Classroom Teachers appeal to the federal government to appropriate sufficient funds to provide such salaries for teachers as will enable boards of education to retain able teachers who are daily being withdrawn from the profession for more lucrative positions in the business world.
PAPERS AND DISCUSSIONS
THE TRAINING OF TEACHERS AS A FACTOR IN
ESTABLISHING PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS
SARA H. FAHEY, PRESIDENT, DEPARTMENT OF CLASSROOM TEACHERS,
NEW YORK, N.Y. Two words of highest importance in our speech of today are "conservation" and "cooperation,” for they express the new spirit of progress that is actuating modern life. We are beginning to realiz: too that in the last analysis the real wealth of the nation, the hope of democracy, lies in what the people are able to make of themselves. Just to that degree to which their strength of body and of character is increast is the productive efficiency of the nation increast.
In times gone by education had to do with conserving the storehouse of knowledge from past ages. Today it has to do more largely with developing and conserving the powers of the individual child. If in the process of training a child loses his eyesight or his hearing we denounce the system that destroyed those functions. Yet year after year we tolerate, with provoking calmness, teaching conditions and systems of teaching that result in shattered nerves for both teacher and child.
Patriotism demands today that we rid ourselves of the uselessly burdensome in teaching, particularly when so many cities and states are deploring the lack of funds with which properly to remunerate their teachers. One way to increase salaries is to make more pleasurable the conditions under which work is done.
We look to the training school to help establish professional standards. It must not be satisfied to hold an insignificant place in the educational world. The teacher must get from it a vision of the power and efficiency that constitute enlightened manhood and womanhood.
During the last two decades a notable advance has been made in pedagogic methods along scientific and industrial lines, but in the fundamentals we are still teaching largely thru the printed page. We have made a fetish of books. We have become a reading rather than a thinking people. This worship of the printed page develops certain tendencies in teachers which hamper their efficiency and destroy the esprit de corps that ought to obtain among professional workers.
There is the habit of undue respect for unreasoned authority in intellectual matters. Teachers form the habit of constantly quoting people or books as authority for what they think. They lack confidence in their own ability to think. In a democracy this is not a desirable state of mind for those who are to train the youth of the land. Another weakness is shown in the attitude toward the field of knowledge. Altho today every scholar knows that the field is limitless, the teacher feels embarrast, ashamed, to find herself lacking in any line. She must give the appearance of knowing, which leads to "bluffing." This tendency to be authoritative in matters of which we know little breeds camouflage and intellectual dishonesty. Other people in the educational system may, with impunity, confess their ignorance, nay, even wax jocose over their errors, but the conventional attitude of school officials toward the teacher is such that she assumes that she is to be a lexicon. Again, these are not desirable traits for a teacher of the young people who are to be the citizens of the democracy of the future. Intellectual trickery, the ability to pass examinations rather than to master the subject in hand, becomes the goal to be attained.
The lack of professional standards, the lack of esprit de corps, is more exhausting to the true teacher than even the conflict between her small salary and the high cost of living.
Among teachers as a body there is a notable lack of knowledge of their own legal rights. They will endure the domineering of a certain type of school official, or of parents, without so much as a protest, yet their spirits are crusht by this sort of thing, and the happiness is taken out of their work. Anyone in authority who needlessly adds to the burdens of teachers in this year of overwork and underpayment ought to be tabooed as flagrantly unpatriotic.
War forces people to solve problems that in time of peace drag on from generation to generation. Now, as never before, teachers are beginning to see that patriotism is not blind subserviency but discriminating loyalty, and they are glad to do battle for the flag of America, because it stands for ideals the maintenance of which is essential for the freedom of the world.
THE STATUS OF THE CLASSROOM TEACHER
W. C. BAGLEY, PROFESSOR OF EDUCATION, TEACHERS COLLEGE,
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, NEW YORK, N.Y. From the point of view of the internal organization of the American educational system the most unsatisfactory situation today is that which is represented by the anomalous status or perhaps better, the lack of status of the classroom teacher. In spite of the fundamental educational axiom that the critical and vital element in every school is the teacher, in spite of the unction with which the work of the teacher is lauded and the tremendous responsibility of the teacher emphasized, it still remains true that the actual work of teaching in this country neither offers the opportunities nor provides the conditions of a real career. Educational work, it is true, affords opportunities for careers of various types—for careers in administration, careers in scholarship, careers even in politics--but the basic act of education which is represented by the work of the classroom teacher affords