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10. Rural life.
SURVEY OF VOCATIONS.
The second part of the first unit is a survey of vocations. The following statement, prepared by Mr. William A. Wheatley, a member of this committee, describes his experience with such a course under his supervision:
While the English, biology, and possibly physiography can and should contribute to a knowledge of vocations, a survey can be adequately accomplished only by making it a distinct subject.
In the half-year course in vocations in the Middletown (Conn.) High School there are studied by the boys 50 of the common vocations, including professions, trades, and other life occupations. A similar course, but somewhat briefer, is being organized for the girls.
In studying each of the vocations we touch upon its healthfulness, remuneration, value to society, and social standing, as well as upon natural qualifications, general education, and special preparation necessary for success. Naturally we investigate at first hand as many as possible of the vocations found in our city and vicinity. We have each pupil bring from home first-hand and, as far as practicable, “inside” facts concerning his father's occupation. We also invite local professional men, engineers, business men, manufacturers, mechanics, and agriculturists to present informally and quite personally the salient features of their various vocations. However, strange as it has seemed to us, these experts, not being teachers, often miss the mark completely and present phases of their work of little interest or value to the pupils, although each speaker bas had explained to him carefully beforehand the purpose of the course in vocations and specifically just what is desired in his particular address.
We have found the following works of most value in our work: “What Shall Our Boys Do for a Living?" by Chas. F. Wingate; Doubleday, Page & Co.; “Careers for the Coming Men,” a collection of articles, the Sallsfield Publishing Co.; “What Shall I Do?" by J. S. Stoddard ; Hinds, Noble & Eldridge; and the general catalogue of the International Correspondence Schools, of Scranton, Pa.
We are confident that this course, besides being intrinsically interesting to the pupils, actually gives them greater respect for all kinds of honorable work. helps them later to choose more wisely their life work, convinces them of the absolute necessity for a thorough preparation before entering any vocation, and holds to the end of the high school many who otherwise would have dropped out early in the race. These results have actually been realized in our practice. Should we then apologize when we ask that this branch be . given as much time as commercial arithmetic or commercial geography, or one-half the time given to algebra, or one-sixth the time given to German or French, or finally one-eighth the time given to a course in Latin? A place for it must be found in all our high schools, which are the people's elementary colleges.
The committee is now prepared to submit only two provisional suggestions on history, namely, first, the conception of history according to which pupils should be instructed; and second, the division of the field of history into three unit courses. This conception of history is so well stated by Prof. James Harvey Robinson, a member of this committee, that we quote from his article in the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, May-June, 1911.
The older traditional type of historical writing was narrative in character. Its chief aim was to tell a tale or story by setting forth a succession of events and introducing the prominent actors who participated in them. It was a branch of polite literature, competing with the drama and fiction, from which, indeed, it differed often only in the limitations which the writer was supposed to place upon his fancy.
In order to appreciate the arbitrary nature of the selection of historic facts offered in these standard textbooks and treatises, let us suppose that a half dozen alert and well-trained minds had never happened to be biased by the study of any outline of history and had, by some happy and incredible fortune, never perused a “standard” historical work. Let us suppose that they had nevertheless learned a good deal about the past of mankind directly from the vast range of sources that we now possess, both literary and archaeological. Lastly, let us assume that they were all called upon to prepare independently a so-called general history, suitable for use in the higher schools. They would speedily discover that there was no single obvious rule for determining what should be included in their review of the past. Having no tradition to guide them, each would select what he deemed most important for the young to know of the past. Writing in the twentieth century, they would all be deeply influenced by the interests and problems of the day. Battles and sieges and the courts of kings would scarcely appeal to them. Probably it would occur to none of them to mention the battle of Issus, the Samnite wars, the siege of Numantia by the Romans, the advent of Hadrian, the Italian enterprises of Otto I, the six wives of Henry VIII, or the invasion of Holland by Louis XIV. It is tolerably safe to assume that none of these events, which are recorded in practically all of our manuals to-day, would be considered by any one of our writers as he thought over all that men had done, and thought, and suffered, and dreamed through thousands of years. All of them would agree that what men had known of the world in which they lived, or had thought to be their duty, or what they made with their hands, or the nature and style of their buildings, public and private, would any of them be far more valuable to rehearse than the names of their rulers and the conflicts in which they engaged. Each writer would accordingly go his own way. He would look back on the past for explanations of what he found most interesting in the present and would endeavor to place his readers in a position to participate intelligently in the life of their own time. The six manuals, when completed, would not only differ greatly from one another, but would have little resemblance to the fable convenue which is currently accepted as embodying the elements of history.
Obviously history must be rewritten, or, rather, innumerable current issues must be given their neglected historic background. Our present so-called histories do not ordinarily answer the questions we would naturally and insistently
put to them. When we contemplate the strong demand that women are making for the right to vote we ask ourselves, “How did the men win the vote?” The historians we consult have scarcely asked themselves that question, and so do not answer it. We ask, “How did our courts come to control legislation in the exceptional and extraordinary manner they do?” We look in vain in most histories for a reply. No one questions the inalienable right of the historian to interest himself in any phase of the past that he chooses. It is only to be wished that a greater number of historians had greater skill in hitting upon those phases of the past which serve us best in understanding the most vital problems of the present.
The three unit courses in history that the committee intends to outline are as follows:
(1) European history to 1600 or 1700 (including English history and colonial American history).
(2) European history since 1600 or 1700 (including contemporary civilizations).
(3) United States history since 1760 (including current events).
The best method of abbreviating the work in history to two units, when such abbreviation is necessary, is still an open question.
The plan of the committee is to refer each period to some historian who has given evidence of “ skill in hitting upon those phases of the past which serve us best in understanding the most vital problems of the present,” with the request that he give us a statement of such phases as are useful to the high-school boy and girl. This material will then be assembled, reviewed, and referred to high-school teachers of history for trial.
[Statement prepared by Dr. Henry R. Burch, a member of this committee. )
The study of that part of economics usually referred to as production and consumption should constitute the major part of the course in economics for high-school students. While the subjects of exchange, distribution, and economic programs should each be given proper emphasis, it is clear that, because of its essentially concrete and objective character, the study of production and consumption forms the natural basis of an introductory course in economics. It is equally obvious that distribution, because so theoretical and abstract, is the most difficult phase of economics for high-school students to grasp.
The concepts of land, labor, and capital should be vitalized by constant reference to the part they play in national life. Under “land” should be treated such topics as the agricultural, mineral, and water resources of the United States, while proper references should be made at appropriate points to the problems of conservation, irrigation, and reclamation. Similarly, under “ labor," such concrete topics as immigration, child labor, women workers, and
industrial risks and accidents should be treated. Under “capital” should be included, in addition to the necessary theoretical discussion on the subject, related concrete problems regarding banks, corporations, trusts, and the effects of increased capital on social happiness.
This study of land, labor, and capital should be followed by an analysis of the productive system of the United States. Here we may trace the development of American civilization along agricultural, industrial, and commercial lines. The present status of American agriculture, with its remarkable possibilities for future development through soil conservation and agricultural science, should be grasped by the pupil. The great industrial structure that has been built up by means of inventions, large-scale production, trust organization. and labor cooperation should be outlined. Finally, the pupil should be led to appreciate the wonderful advance in transportation facilities and the attempts to keep the activities of corporations within the control of the Government.
Concrete economic problems should be taken up wherever possible in connection with that factor of production to which it is most closely related. A subject like trusts, for example, may be treated under the caption of “ business organization.” The development of the trust from the early forms of business organization through the corporation to the holding company may be described and followed by a more careful study of the details of trust organization. Its advantages and disadvantages may be pointed out and the efforts of the Government to regulate its activities described. If time permits (as in a commercial course, where a year instead of a term is often devoted to the study of economics), the problem may be studied more thoroughly by investigating the actual workings of some well-known organization, such as the United States Steel Corporation or the Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey.
In presenting other phases of economics, the same general treatment should be observed. Every effort should be made to have the pupil realize the importance of investigation and comprehension of the industrial world of which he is a part. For example, under “ exchange,” it is not so important that the high-school pupil understand the laws of value and price as that he shall know the effect of monopoly on price, the actual functions of money and credit, or the operations of the modern promoter and financier.
In discussing the distribution of wealth, theory necessarily plays an important part. Even here, however, theories may be made real. Constant applications of the theories of rent, interest, profit, and wages are essential to their comprehension by the pupil of highschool age. Diagrams and illustrations from everyday life should be employed. The statement of those theories should be so simple and
their application so frequent as to dispel the atmosphere of mere theory.
In concluding a study of elementary economics, the pupil should be acquainted with some of the more important programs of economic reform at present engaging the attention of social workers. The student should, at the end of the course, be in a position to see just what social workers, single taxers, socialists, organized-labor advocates, and government-regulation enthusiasts are trying to accomplish. The ideal of individual and social welfare will in this manner be impressed upon his mind and serve as an inspiration for his life work.
CIVIC THEORY AND PRACTICE.
In comparison with community civics, this course stresses the formal elements of civic thought. One of the main purposes here is to help the pupil determine the mutual relation of the forces and events which he has been observing and studying throughout his school days. Such works as Wilson's “ State,” Bryce's “American Commonwealth,” and Beard's “American Governnient and Politics” will give the pupil a deeper insight into the social actions of mankind. A few titles from two of these books indicate the type of knowledge that should be obtained by the pupil:
Wilson's “State." Chapter 1. Early forms of government; government rested first on kinship; early history of the family; kinship and religion; reign of custom; competition of customs; individual iniative and imitation. Chapter XIII. The nature and forms of government; government rests on authority and force; true nature of government; new character of society. Chapter XIV. Law; its nature and development. Chapter XVI. The objects of government; society greater than government; the state and education.
Bryce's “American Commonwealth." Chapter 4. Nature of the Federal Government; the House at work. Chapter 5. The committees of the House. Chapter 9. General observations on Congress. Chapter 29. Direct legislation by the people. Chapter 39. The working of city government. Chapter 54. Composition of political parties; appendix, the lobby. Chapter 62. How the machine works. Chapter 68. The war against bossdom. Chapter 74. Types of American statesmen. Chapter 78. How public opinion rules. Chapter 84. The tyranny of the majority. Chapter 97. Woman suffrage. Chapters 98-99. The fault and strength of American democracy.
Frequent use will be made of well-written reports published by public and private organizations on such topics as sanitation, housing, pure food, child labor, recreation, and social education. Emphasis on the formal study must not be permitted to crowd out the observation of actual conditions nor such experience in social service as the time will permit.
The following tentative outline is offered only as indicating the points of emphasis. It is given also in response to demands for