« AnteriorContinuar »
REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE OF TEN ON SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDIES, WITH PAPERS RELATING THERETO.
CONTENTS: 1.-Reprint of the Report: 11.-The Reform of Secondary Education in
the United States, by Nicholas Murray Butler. III.--The Curriculum for Secondary Schools, by William T. Harris. IV.--The Unity of Educational Reform, by Charles JF. Eliot. V.-Report of the Committee of Ten, by James A. Baker. VI.-The Report of the Conference on English, by A. F. Nightingale. VII.-The Report from the Point of View of the Large Mired High School, by 0. D. Robinson. VIII.-Bibliography.
REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE OF TEX.
To the National Council of Education:
The committee of ten appointed at the meeting of the National Educational Association at Saratoga on the 9th of July, 1892, have the houor to present the following report:
At the meeting of the National Council of Education in 1891 a committee appointed at a previous meeting madlo a valuable report through their chairman, Mr. James H. Baker, then principal of the Denver high school, on the general subject of uniformity in school programmes and in requirements for admission to college. The committee was continued, and was authorized to procure a conference on the subject of uniformity during the meeting of the National Council in 1892, the conference to consist of representatives of leading colleges and secondary schools in different parts of the country. This conference was duly summoned, and held meetings at Saratoga on July 7, 8, and 9, 1892. There were present between twenty and thirty delegates. Their discussions took a wide range, but resulted in the following specific recommendations, which the conference sent to the National Council of Education then in session:
(1) That it is expedient to hold a conference of school and college teachers of each principal subject which enters into the programmes of secondary schools in the United States and into the requirements for admission to college-as for example, of Latin, of geometry, or of American history-each conference to consider the proper limits of its subject, the best methods of instruction, the most desirable allotment of time for the subject, and the best methods for testing the pupils' attainments therein, and each conference to represent fairly the different parts of the country.
(2) That a committee be appointed with authority to select the members of these conferences and to arrange their meetings, the results of all the conferences to be reported to this committee for such action as it may deem appropriate, and to form the basis of a report to be presented to the council by this committee.
(3) That this committeo consist of the following gentlemen:
Charles W. Eliot, president of Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. chair.
William T. Harris, Commissioner of Education, Washington, D. C.
Henry C. King, professor in Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio. These recommendations of the conference were adopted by the National Council of Education on the 9th of July, and the council communicated the recommendations to the directors of the National Educational Association, with the further recommendation that an appropriation not exceeding $2,500 be made by the association toward the expenses of these conferences. On the 12th of July the directors adopted a series of resolutions under which a sum not exceeding $2,500 was made available for this undertaking during the academic year 1892-93.
Every gentleman namod on the above committee of ten accepted his appointment; and the committee met, with every member present, at Columbia College, New York City, from the 9th to the 11th of November, 1892, inclusive.
In preparation for this meeting a tablo had been prepared by means of a prolonged correspondence with the principals of selected secondary schools in various parts of the country, which showed the subjects taught in 40 leading secondary schools in the United States, and the total number of recitations, or exercises, allotted to each subject. Nearly 200 schools were applied to for this information; but it did not prove practicable to obtain within three months verified statements from more than 40 schools. This tablo proved conclusively, first, that the total number of subjects tanght in these secondary schools was nearly 40, 13 of which, however, were found in only a few schools; secondly, that many of these subjects were taught for such short periods that little training could be derived from them; and thirdly, that the time allotted to the same subject in the different schools varied widely. Even for the older subjects, like Latin and algebra, there appeared to be a wide diversity of practice with regard to the time allotted to them. Since this tablo was comparative in its nature—that is, permitted comparisons to be made between different schools-and could be easily misunderstood and misapplied by persons who had small acquaintance with school programmes, it was treated as a confidential document; and was issued at first only to members of the committeo of ten and the principals of the schools mentioned in the table. Later, it was sent-still as a confidential paper-to the members of the several conferences organized by the committee of ten.
The committee of ten, after a preliminary discussion on November 9, decided on November 10 to organize conferences on the following subjects: (1) Latin; (2) Greek; (3) English; (4) other modern languages; (5) mathematics; (6) physics, astronomy, and chemistry; (7) natural history (biology, including botany, zoology, and physiology); (8) history, civil government, and political economy; (9) geography (rhysical geography, geology, and meteorology). They also decided that each conference should consist of ten members. They then proceeded to select the members of each of these conferences, baving regard in the selection to the scholarship and experience of the gentlemen named, to the fair division of the members between colleges on the one hand and schools on the other, and to the proper geographical distribution of the total membership. After selecting 90 members for the nine conferences, the committee decided on an additional number of names to be used as substitutes for persons originally chosen who should decline to serve, from two to four substitutes being selected for each conference. In the selection of substitutes the committee found it difficult to regard the geographical distribution of the persons selected with as much strictness as in the original selection; and, accordingly, when it becamo necessary to call on a considerable number of substitutes, the accurate geographical distribution of membership was somewhat impaired. The lists of the members of the several conferences were finally adopted at a meeting of the committeo on November 11; and the chairman and secretary of a committee were then empowered to fill any vacancies which might occur.
The committeo next adopted the following list of questions as a guide for the discussions of all the conferences, and directed that the conforences be called together on the 28th of December:
“(1) In the school course of study extending approximately from the age of 6 to 18 years—a course including the periods of both elementary and secondary instructionat what age should the study which is the subject of the conference be first introduced ?
“(2) After it is introduced, how many hours a week for how many years should be devoted to it!
.“(3) How many hours a week for how many years should be devoted to it during the last four years of the completo course; that is, during the ordinary high school period?
“(4) What topics, or parts, of the subject may reasonably be covered during the whole course ?
“(5) What topics, or parts, of the subject may best be reserved for the last four years?
“(6) In what form and to what extent should tho subject enter into college requirements for admission? Such questions as the sufficiency of translation at sight as a test of knowledge of a language, or the superiority of a laboratory examination in a scientific subject to a written examination on a text-book, are intended to be suggested under this head by the phrase 'in what form.'
“(7) Should tho subject be treated differently for pupils who are going to college, for those who are going to a scientific school, and for those who, presumably, are going to neither?
“(8) At what stage should this differentiation begin, if any be recommended ?
"(9) Can any description be given of the best method of teaching this subject thronghout tho school course?
"(10) Can any description be given of the best modo of testing attainments in this subject at collego admission examinations?
“(11) For those cases in which colleges and universities permit a division of the admission examination into a preliminary and a final examination, separated by at least a year, can the best limit between the preliminary and final examinations be approximately defined?"
The committee further voted that it was expedient that the conferences on Latin and Greek meet at the samo place. Finally, all further questions of detail with regard to the calling aud the instruction of the conferences were referred to the chairman with full power.
During the ensuing six weeks, the composition of the nine conferences was determined in accordance with the measures adopted by the committee of ten. Seventy persons originally selected by the comunittee accepted the invitation of the committee, and 69 of these persons were present at the meetings of their respective conferences on the 28th of December. Twenty substitutes accepted service, of whom 12 were persons selected by the committee of ten, and 8 were selected under the authority granted to the chairman and secretary of the committee in emergencies. One of these 8 gentlemen was selected by a conference at its first meeting. Two gentlemen who accepted service-one of the original members and one substitute-absented themselves from the meetings of their respective conferences without giving any
notice to the chairman of the committee of ten, who was therefore unable to fill their places. With these two exceptions, all the conferences met on December 28 with full membership.
The places of meeting were as follows: For the Latin and Greek conferences, the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.; for the English conferenco, Vassar College, Poughkcepsie, N. Y.; for the conference on other modern languages, the Bureau of Education, Washington, D. C.; for the conference on mathematics, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.; for the conference on physics, astronomy, and chemistry, and on natural history, the University of Chicago, Chicago, Ill.; for the conference on history, civil government, and political economy, the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis.; for the conference on geography, the Cook County normal school, Englewood, Ill. The committee of ten and all the conferences enjoyed the hospitality of the several institutions at which they met, and the members were made wel. como at private houses during the sessions. Through tho cxertions of Mr. N. A. Calkins, chairman of the trustees of the National Educational Association, important reductions of railroad fares were procured for some members of the committee and of the conferences; but tho reductions obtainable were less numerous and considerable than the National Council of Education had hoped. In filling a few vacancies of which notice was received shortly before December 28, it was necessary to regard as one qualification nearness of residence to the appointed places of meeting; but on the whole tho weight and effectiveness of the several conferences were not impaired by the necessary replacement of 20 of the members originally selected by the committee of ten. The list of the inembers of the conferences on the 28th of December was as follows:
Prof. Charles E. Bennett, Cornell University, Ithaca, N. Y.
street, New York City.
E. W. ('oy, principal of the Hughes high school, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Prof. Edward A. Allen, University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo.
Prof. Edward E. Hale, jr., University of Iowa, Iowa C'ity, Iowa.
4. OTHER MODERN LANGUAGES.
Prof. Joseph L. Armstrong, Trinity College, Durham, N. C.
schools, Boston, Mass.
Prof. William E. Byerly, Harvard l'niversity, Cambridge, Mass.
6. PHYSICS, ASTRONOMY, AND CHEMISTRY.
Prof. Brown Ayers, Tulane University, New Orleans, La.
7. NATURAL HISTORY (BIOLOGY, INCLUDING BOTANY, ZOOLOGY, AND
Prof. Charles E. Bessey, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebr.