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Saginaw (East Side), Mich., courses of study-
JAN 24 3
A little more than two decades ago Charles W. Eliot, convinced that the age at which the college graduate completes his course and begins supporting himself was too high, put the question, Can school programs be shortened and enriched ? This query precipitated a discussion which, while ranging over the entire field of educational theory and practice, centered particularly upon the purpose and place of the common school, the high school, and the institutions of higher learning. This critical examination of the principal parts of the system has set in clearer light their characteristics and has led to the belief that a proper regard for the distinctive functions of each makes imperative a reorganization, or at least a readjustment, of the chief divisions of the system with respect to articulation, to internal organization, to grade span, and to defined purpose.
Though the discussion started with a specific problem—the need of reducing the age of college graduates—the original question was quickly forgotten, and the discussion became wholly academic and so remained throughout the first decade. The opening of the second decade saw the discussion brought back to earth again by practicalminded administrators who sought a program of reorganization or of readjustment that gave reasonable promise of success. In consequence of this effort, plans for action emerged which are now being put to the test of practice. Thus the movement toward a functional reorganization of the school system may properly be said to have survived two of the stages through which every project, on its way from inception to practice, must necessarily pass: That of academic discussion, and that of a consideration of working plans. It is now entering the final stage, that of adoption and trial.
The following is an attempt to set forth in orderly manner the progress of the movement as it has developed from its beginning to the present time. There is also an attempt to show, in some detail, how a regrouping of the grades of the system lends itself to changes in the elementary and secondary curricula that seem to be demanded.
In treating the attempts which have been made to bring about this reorganization and the attendant effect upon courses of study, two alternatives were open: To describe, in as great detail as space would permit, a number of such efforts or to give a brief summary of the essential features of each, with a more detailed description of some
one experience. The latter alternative has been adopted, on the theory that a portrayal of the difficulties encountered in putting into operation a given plan, and a description of the effect upon the organization and curriculum of a single school department, even though such results fall short of the ideal, would prove more helpful.
Among those who have rendered material assistance in the task of organizing the materials for this study it is a pleasure to make special mention of Dr. Richard Gauss Boone, professor of education at the University of California. The study was begun in his seminar and progressed for a considerable time under his stimulating direction. Special thanks are also due to Profs. Thomas M. Balliet, Herman H. Horne, Robert MacDougall, James E. Lough, and Paul R. Radosavljevich, of New York University.