« PreviousContinue »
pert opinion contained in its several conference discussions furnishes a basis for study and a guide for action everywhere in the country. Its programs constitute a working theory for the organization of the secondary school and for promoting its right connection with the university. The curricula are to be regarded as "sample programs," and as such essentially practical. I cannot see anything “ideal” in them. They are types, and are capable of many readjustments. They include at least almost all the subjects that profitably fall within the purview of the secondary school. Whether the time allotments are the best need not be at all considered here.
Either independently of the report of the committee of ten, or in discussion and execution of its recommendations, much is being done in various parts of the country to bring about co-operation within limited circles. These efforts have, too, to a greater or less extent, an influence beyond the boundaries of their nominal spheres. The New England Association of Colleges and Preparatory Schools and the Association of Colleges and Preparatory Schools of the Middle States and Maryland have, for instance, furthered greatly the uniformity of relations between college and school. The committee of fifteen of the National Department of Superintendence has contributed to the nationalization of educational thought by its recent admirable report. Two associations whose fields of activity are avowedly within single states may also be specially mentioned, because their example is one worthy of imitation and because they are engaged on lines of work which have a national import. I refer to the Michigan Schoolmasters' Club, whose valuable proceedings have been published in the journals, and the State Educational Conferences held under the auspices of the University of California. In fact, I do not know but that this latter body has done one piece of work which, by further extension, may not be taken as a practical basis for the general readjustment of the relations of university and high school. This particular work is a report made by a committee of the California conference, consisting of Principal W. F. Hall, Principal T. L. Heaton, and Prof. Frederick Slate. The collecting, collating, and digesting of the statistics of this report was done by Mr. Hall. It is an exhaustive examination of the courses of study actually in vogue in nearly all the high schools and in the leading private preparatory schools in California, together with specimen curricula of a representative list of similar schools in the Eastern and Middle States.
Prof. Nicholas Murray Butler has said: “The colleges have been injuring higher education in America by giving their own idiosyncrasies as to admission examinations free scope, instead of agreeing together upon a policy.” In fact, the present chaos of college entrance requirements is the greatest obstacle in the way of giving a national character to our higher education, as well as of bringing about the unification of our educational interest at large. The differences that characterize these entrance requirements are utterly irrational and indefensible. They represent whims and idiosyncrasies, or antiquated theory, or ill-considered radical notions, or unworthy concessions to ignorant demands. They block the road to the improvement of the secondary school. They are a travesty upon our claims to be authorities in matters educational.
In order to rise from the particularistic and provincial self-sufficiency of this condition, we must establish an inter-collegiate policy on the subject of entrance requirements. To effect such a policy I would suggest and recommend that the programs of the commit. tee of ten, in their character of types, and with suitable and various redistribution of subjects be, so far as they go, indorsed by the uni. versities and adopted by the high schools of the country; that the universities hold examinations in, or accredit on, all the subjects included in these programs; that state universities, where such existor other universities, where the state institutions do not existadopt an accrediting system drawn on careful and well-guarded lines; and that a system of reciprocity be established among the larger universities, whereby matriculates in one university may be received into another with full credit so far as valid difference of entrance requirements will allow.
Finally, I wish to recommend that a committee of considerable size, composed of representatives of the larger universities and of typical high schools, with proper regard to geographical distribution, be organized to devise plans for carrying out such suggestions as I have made, or for otherwise promoting a federation of our educational institutions. In the suggestion that the representatives be taken from the larger universities, I am not careless of the interests of the college as distinguished from the university, nor indif. ferent to the sphere and functions of the college. I am not seeking to have it overlooked, displaced, or overwhelmed. But we are in the face of many dangers: dangers of low standards, low ideals; dangers of idiosyncrasy, of aimlessness; dangers of confusionconfusion of college and university, confusion of college and high school; dangers of pernicious rivalry of universities; dangers of excessive increase of entrance requirements to academic work; dangers of low standards in the professional school. Now, it is imperative that the universities—the dozen larger universities of the country-should meet together, through delegates, to discuss these and like questions; to seek to obviate these dangers; to establish a modus vivendi among themselves; to abandon their unessential differences, and yet maintain their inherent and characteristic aims; to fix and regulate the quantum and standard of admission require
ments; in consultation with representatives of the colleges, to come to a common understanding of the sphere of college and university respectively, and the relation between the two; and, in consultation with representatives of the high school, to regulate the relations between secondary school and university.
Without discouraging or disparaging the formation of local associations, whose services in the causes are indispensable, I favor for the purposes here suggested a national congress rather than sectional conferences. The results obtained through the deliberations of such a body are more likely to be of a broader character and stronger foundation. Their recommendations would command greater attention and respect. A little union of a dozen, or even half-dozen, universities, knowing no sectional boundaries, would be a nucleus for the ultimate federation of our educational realm.
Prof. B. A. HINSDALE. --The spirit of our educational organization is quite different from that of Europe. We cannot depend upon any central power. We must resort to persuasion. I should like to ask two questions in regard to Professor Jones' paper. Is it proposed in California that hereafter the examinations are to be made annually? We may perhaps assume that such is the plan of the institution. Is the examining faculty to be permanent or to be changed from time to time? If this faculty is to be a permanent body, is it not to be feared that it may, in some degree, grow out of sympathy with the work that is being done in the university itself, and pass upon the institutions examined from an abstract point of view ?
Let us consider for a moment the real question under discussion. What shall be done towards securing the adoption of the secondary school program of the committee of ten? In urging action along this line Professor Jones has spoken of these programs as types. I do not understand that they were ever intended to be anything else. They are what may perhaps be called norms, that are to be in some degree and in some manner filled out as we advance in the discussion. I do not know that any educational authorities recommend the adoption of these courses as they are formulated. What we should do is to do all we can to secure a movement along these lines, using these courses, not as finalities but as types which can guide us in achieving something better. What can be done? It is certain that we can do nothing at present, working from the legal or state administration standpoint. Our educational foundations are not along these lines. We must seek the accomplishment of our ends by way of discussion and action on the part of universities and colleges in their individual capacity. This is the first step. In regard to the final point of Professor Jones, such an organization as he proposes should, as a matter of course, look towards a national organization of this sort. In the meantime, in my judgment, results that will be wholesome and salutary within certain limits may be achieved by local organizations of this kind; as, for example, one on the Pacific Coast, one in the Mississippi Valley, and one in New England.
PROFESSOR JONES stated, that, in the opinion of the faculty of the University of California, it would be so difficult as to be almost impossible for one man to do the proper supervision, and they therefore preferred a committee. It was their opinion that this committee should be reasonably permanent.
SUPT. A. F. NIGHTINGALE of Chicago, Ill.-Standing in the rarefied atmosphere of the leading silver city of America, I do not know that it would be safe for a Chicago man to present any golden opinions on this subject, even if he were conceited enough to believe that he had any. I am not in sympathy with the charge made, that the colleges of the country are so engaged with their various idiosyncrasies as not to be in sympathy with the work done in our high schools. The best high schools and the best colleges are in very close sympathy, and the poor colleges and the poor high schools are also in harmony. The college-men of this country are too wise to draw far away from the high schools, upon whose success their own longevity and vitality depend; and the high school men are too wise not to so strengthen their courses of study as to prepare amply for any college. Practically, the high schools of this country are all accredited by the colleges of the country. All colleges and universities except Harvard and Yale receive pupils on certificates or their equivalent. We cannot expect that the graduates of our schools can be received into any college unless we do the work that college requires. The high schools are uplifting with much greater rapidity than the colleges of the country are uplifting themselves. The educational progress of this country to-day is such that we must individualize our work in the schools of the country. The time is past when we can take the children and put them all through identically the same course of study. I am proud to have my Lame signed to this protest of the American Philological Association against any course receiving the name of classical which does not provide for at least five recitations a week in Latin through four years and for the study of Greek through three years; but, at the same time, I am persuaded that it is a crime to try to persuade some pupils to study either Latin or Greek and it is a crime to induce others to go into the depths of scientific study. It is our duty to develop mental power along the line indicated by the endowments of the Creator. One course of study in a high school is enough, but it should be so provided with electives that every student can find in it what appeals to his individual powers. There should be, of course, a general admixture of all if the pupil is able to receive something of all. It is the individual that we should study. I am glad that the high schools and the colleges of the country are drawing so closely together. I believe that the colleges are of great inspiration to the high schools. I believe that the high schools are able to occupy the entire field, a large part of which has hitherto been occupied by private and endowed schools. The high schools hold the key to the situation. Let us not throw it away. What the high schools are prepared to do the universities will accept, and what the universities demand the high schools are able to accomplish.
Principal W. F. Hall of California.—The discussion and method of attack, in the article on "Electives by Course or Subjects," does not seem to be quite fair, in that the position of those who advocate election by subjects was not fairly stated. Election by subjects does not mean that the school authorities shall prescribe a list of subjects that shall be pursued without order and sequence of time. It means that there shall be due regard to both order and sequence of time. Those who urge option in courses have never tried option in subjects. Those who urge option by courses are those who always have been bound by the ties of history and tradition. They say that the results obtained by option by courses could not have been secured otherwise. Let us thank God that they could not. I am convinced, that, by the method of option by subjects, I have been able to get stronger personal hold upon my pupils, able to lead them better, and I do not see that any of the evil results in regard to lack of definiteness of purpose which have been urged against this method have resulted.
There are, four good reasons which may be given for options in subjects as against courses:
First-The greater opportunity afforded the student for his adjustment to his civilization and environment through specialization.
Second–The increased strength of character in the student resulting from thus early learning to think out the problems of this adjustment.
Third-The opportunity afforded to thoughtful scientific educators for finding out something practical about relative educational values.
Fourth-- The better opportunity for finding out early the student's line of interest, and then for leading him along the line of these interests from what he is to what he ought to be; and this, it seems to me, is the end of all systems, and of all courses, and of all subjects.
finally, the system of election by courses recognizes only the formative value of subjects; the system of election by subjects mainly their practical value. The ultimate solution must recognize both values, and, while giving an all-round mental development, must, at the same time, give to each individual student the best opportunity for solving the problems growing out of his adjustment to his environment on the practical side.
PRINCIPAL C. M. LACEY SITES, Eastern High School, Washington, D. C.It is too late in the morning of this new day of educational progress for a person to stand upon the platform of such a meeting as this to advocate the strict holding to courses in our high schools. I have heard it stated in the Department of Higher Education that it is a tremendous responsibility to undertake to fix a course for a college student. Do we meet our responsibility by mapping out fixed courses in the secondary school? While our course in the Washington High School is not one that I should care to present as a model, we do have in the third and fourth years a wide range of electives not arranged in courses, and we find the plan productive of earnest interest and substantial results. The greatest gcod of the greatest number is not the true ideal. Our motto ought to be, the highest good of every individual. I have heard it said that a principal ought to be more than a program-maker and a bell-ringer, yet these terms, if understood in the sense of planning the work and inspiring the activity of individual lives, may well imply the highest praise. A program-maker does not simply make a program and turn a pupil loose on it. He sees to it that every individual has opportunity to develop the full possibilities of the capacities within him. We heard this morning discussion of the correlation of studies in the elementary schools. There was a very clear presentation and comparison of two ideals, viz., fitting the program to the demands of the civilization of the day, and fitting the program to the demands of the nature of the child. The latter was set forth as the true ideal. The test of the reality of the success of our work, as secondary teachers, is, that we reach every individual child, and, by studying the individual case, by breaking away from mere facilities of organzation, we give the widest possible range to the development of the powers of the young lives committed to our care.
J. REMSEN BISHOP, Walnut Hills High School, Cincinnati.-I am tired of hearing of the report that worried the superintendent that worried the principal that worried the teacher that worried the pupil. It undoubtedly did a great work, but I should now like to let it go down the avenues of time without interfering with its progress. Now, I hear Professor Jones recommend that the high schools tentatively adopt the courses proposed by the committee of ten. That recommendation is my objection to the admirable paper to which we have been listening. I do not like those courses of study. I have received a great deal of suggestion