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instead. In respect to beginning Latin or a modern language in the grades the responses were about equally divided between those who considered language study profitable and those who hold that the mind is not "mature enough to profit by classical training, as now pursued, until high-school age."1 The question whether or not a subject should be treated differently for jiupils having different objectives was answered almost unanimously in the negative. The tenor of the replies was that "the high school must be made to fit the boy; the boy should not be made to fit the high school."2 In the replies to the question relating to departmental teaching, no enthusiastic proponents were developed, but on the contrary some expressed strong opposition.
The subcommittee reflected, in its report, the same hesitancy and conservatism. In referring to the questions relating to shortening the elementary course to six years and the earlier introduction of secondary studies, the committee reported as follows:
Your committee Is agreed that the time devoted to the elementary school work should not be reduced from eight years, but they have recommended, as hereinbefore stated, that in the seventh and eighth years a modified form of algebra be introduced in place of advanced arithmetic and that in the eighth year English grammar yield place to Latin. This makes, in their opinion, a proper transition to the studies of the secondary school and is calculated to assist the pupil materially in his preparation for that work. Hitherto the change from the work of the elementary school has been too abrupt, the pupil beginning three formal studies at once, namely, algebra, physical geography, and Latin."
In recommending this earlier introduction of algebra and Latin the committee was brought face to face with the question of the difference between elementary and secondary subjects. The committee pointed out that whereas those subjects which current practice has assigned to the secondary division of study have been so assigned partly because of tradition, partly because of admission requirements of higher institutions, and partly because of the intrinsic difficulties of the several subjects, yet there is a psychological factor which should determine the division in which a given subject is classed, namely, that whatever deals with the particular instance is relatively elementary, whatever deals with the general form is relatively secondary, and whatever has to do with the higher correlations of the facts and relations of natural and spiritual phenomena belongs to the division of higher education.4
As to the question whether or not pupils who leave school early should have a course of study different from the course of those who are to continue on into secondary and higher work, the committee was not able to agree. Some contended that those who leave early should have a more practical course, and that they should dispense with studies of a preparatory character, while others held that it was best to have one course in the elementary schools for all. This position was urged on the grounds that any school education is at best but an initiation into the art of learning, and that, wherever the pupil leaves off in his school course, he should continue his studies in the public library and at home; and, furthermore, that a brief course in higher studies, such as Latin and algebra, instead of being useless, is of more value than any elementary studies that might replace them.1
1 Report of Committee of Fifteen on Elementary Education, p. 196.
'Ibid., p. 173.
3 Ibid., p. 95.
* Ibid., pp. 73-84.
In its discussion of the question respecting the introduction of departmental work in the elementary school the committee, while not enthusiastic in its favor, went further than did the majority replying to the committee's questionnaire, and recommended that specialization of the teacher's work should not be attempted before the seventh or eighth year, and then in not more than one or two studies.2
The third important study under the auspices of the National Education Association during the nineties was made by the Committee , on College Entrance Requirements, and bore directly on the articulation of the secondary division with that of higher education. This committee was appointed by the Department of Secondary Education in 1895, and submitted its final report at the Los Angeles meeting in 1899. The committee consisted of five from the Department of Secondary Education and five from the Department of Higher Education, increased at a later time by two from each department; and it called in for cooperation four committees of three each, appointed respectively from the New England Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, the Association of the Middle States and Maryland, the Southern Association, and the North Central Association. At a later date, the national committee called upon the Philological Association for a report on Latin and Greek; upon the American, Historical Association to prepare a report on the scope and place of history in the secondary schools; upon the Modern Language Association of America for a report on German and French, with model courses of study for secondary schools; and upon the American Mathematical Association for a report on the subjects in which it was interested.3
The report submitted by the committee is positive in general tone: it expresses convictions rather than doubts. In respect to the length of the elementary and secondary periods, the committee makes the following recommendation:
i Report of the Committee of Fifteen, p. 87.
3 Ibid., p. 95.
'Report of the Committee on College Entrance Requirements, pp. 5-12.
In our opinion it is important that the last two grades that now precede the high-school course should be incorporated in it, and, wherever practicable, the instruction in those two grades should be given under the supervision of the high-school teacher.1
Again, concerning the high-school course, the committee recommended a six-year course, beginning with the seventh year, on the. grounds that the seventh grade, rather than the ninth, is the natural turning point in the pupil's life; that an easier transition can thereby be made from the one-teacher regimen to the system of special teachers; that a larger percentage of students would, through this arrangement, be retained in school; and that the final result would be a more closety articulated system, with a larger percentage of graduates from the high school.2
On this plan the advisory committee on modern languages reported as follows:
There appears to be strong argument in favor of this plan. It is urged by thoughtful schoolmen that our American high school has become congested; that the increased requirements of the colleges and the pressing demands of new subjects for " recognition" have given to the secondary school more work than it can do thoroughly in the traditional allotment of time. When, as sometimes happens, the colleges are blamed for this state of affairs, and it is suggested that they reduce their requirements for admission, they are able to reply with much force that present requirements, even where they are highest, are none too high, unless we are willing to fall far below the standard of the Old World. The average graduate of an American high school is of about the same age as the average graduate of a German gymnasium, but the latter is further along in his studies and better prepared for higher work. We have therefore to consider the problem of strengthening the preparatory course, while recognizing that the ordinary four-year curriculum can bear no further burdens, and should, if anything, be simplified. Of this problem the obvious solution is to begin the proper work of the high school at an earlier date. Instead of dividing our educational years into eight primary, four secondary, and seven or eight higher, we should divide them into six primary, six secondary, and six higher.'
Regarding the function of the secondary school in relation to the college period the committee expresses its position clearly and forcibly in the semiofficial preliminary report of the chairman, Dr. A. F. Nightingale. He says:
Throughout the course of secondary instruction, surely, there must be no Procrustean bed which every pupil by some process of dwarfing or stretching must be made to fit; but natural endowments, as soon as discovered, should have full scope, within certain limitations. College courses ought to be so adjusted that every pupil at the end of a secondary course recognized as ex
1 Report of the Committee on College Entrance Requirements, p. 23.
cellent, both hi the quality and quantity of its work, may find the doors of every college swing wide to receive him into an atmosphere of deeper research and higher culture along the lines of his mental aptitudes.1
Again, Dr. Nightingale says:
The public high school can become a link in the golden chain of our American system of education only when the colleges begin where the best high schools leave off; otherwise the gap between the common school and the college must be filled by the private schools, patronized by the children of the rich, and the sons and daughters of the great middle class must be deprived of the benefits of a higher education, because, forsooth, they have failed to fulfill some specific requirement of the college they would otherwise enter. I have faith, however, that the conflicting requirements will be harmonized, their incongruities removed, so that we may in the near future have a unified system of education, from the kindergarten to the graduate school of the university, which will give to every child, without let or hindrance, the right of way for such an education as will best develop the power with which, in a plastic state, he has been endowed by the Infinite Architect.1
Besides the discussions carried on during this period, under the auspices of the various educational organizations, many individuals of prominence added materially to the growing interest which the movement aroused. Chief among these, in prestige and personal force, was Nicholas Murray Butler, president of Columbia University, who very early in the decade energetically championed the. cause, and through the press and from the platform unremittingly urged a functional reorganization of our school system. Near the end of the decade (1898), in a notable address relating to the scope and function of secondary education,3 President Butler, in seeking to define the scope of secondary education and its purpose, gave an illuminating characterization of both the elementary and secondary periods of school life. This characterization, in part, follows:
Elementary education I define as that general training in the elements of knowledge that is suitable for a pupil from the age of 6 or 1 to the period of adolescence. It is ordinarily organized in eight or nine grades, each occupying an academic year. Nine grades are too many and are distinctly wasteful.. To spend so much time on these simple studies leads to that arrested development which is so often the bane of the elementary school period. I have never known a child who needed more than six years' time in which to complete the elementary course, and I have known but few who have, as an actual fact, ever taken longer than that. * * *
The secondary school period is essentially the period of adolescence, of what may be called active adolescence as distinguished from the later and less violent manifestations of physical and mental change that are now usually included under the term. The normal years are, with us, from 12 to 16, or from 13 to 17. The normal boy or girl who is going to college ought to enter at 17 at the latest. * * * It is in the elimination of elementary studies from the
* Report of the Committee on College Entrance Requirements, p. 7.
2 Ilud., p. 8.
3 Educ. Rev., June, 1898.
secondary school and the frank recognition of the paramount advantage of the elective system that I see the way of highest usefulness opening before the secondary school. <
This address by President Butler and the report of the Committee on College Entrance Requirements, with the debate which the positive recommendations of the latter aroused, closed the first decade of the discussion looking toward a functional articulation of the parts of the school system. The searching analysis and keen criticism which the decade brought to bear on the Harvard proposals and the National Education Association's recommendations served to set in clearer light than ever before the several parts of our school system in respect to function and relationship. Inasmuch as the reports and recommendations dealt primarily with the field of secondary education, the discussions which these precipitated centered about the high school, and for the first time in the history of the rise of this distinctively American institution, we find a body of discussion directed to the internal economy of the high school, to its proper place as an institution in our school system, and to its relation to the social and civic needs of the people. Prior to the address of President Eliot (1888), already cited, as marking, roughly, the beginning of this period of sharp examination to which the school system was subjected, the high school was almost wholly occupied with a struggle for existence. In every community the fight between the progressive and the conservative forces, in respect to supplying at public expense an education of secondary grade, was keen, and in many communities a long and bitter contest was waged before the high-school idea was generally accepted. Even as late as the early eighties the educational literature dealing with the high school is filled with discussions relating to the question, whether or not the high school, as an institution, should be supported by public tax. By 1888, however, the fight was won, and the question of the right of these schools to exist at all had pretty nearly disappeared from view.1 Self-preservation had ceased to become the all-absorbing issue and, in consequence, the proponents of the high school could turn from an attitude of defense to one of constructive criticism. President Eliot's proposal to shorten and enrich our school courses, and the illuminating suggestions contained in the reports of the committees working under the auspices of the National Education Association, therefore, served to accelerate the process of adjustment and of reconstruction from which our high school has not yet \J emerged.
'Thurbcr, Nat Educ. Assoc, 1887, p. 428.