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of importance in the schools; but in college preparatory education, where the tides meet, there is still confusion and uncertainty.
The trouble, I believe, lies very deep. It is not due to any natural perversity in educators, either schoolmasters or college professors, although there are penalties which must be paid, of course, for the wearing of the academic cloth. It is an historic accident, or perhaps a series of historic accidents, which keeps us in confusion. It has come to pass with us, as perhaps nowhere else in the world, that liberal education is divided between two separate and almost discontinuous institutions, the secondary school and the college; and it is the break between school and college, perpetuated and deepened by unfortunate decisions as to entrance requirements, which makes our secondary education so largely abortive and affects adversely our efforts to improve education in the college. This, I believe, is susceptible of demonstration; but it is far easier to point out the difficulty than it is to designate the remedy.
Certainly there are directions in which it would be quite futile to seek the remedy, and one of these is the rejection or repudiation of our widespread effort to provide free schooling. It is always foolish to throw out the baby with the water you wash him in. To make our secondary education less democratic would be to sacrifice its most outstanding virtue. If our education sprawls, it is because we have been trying to meet an unprecedented variety of needs with the minimum penalty for false starts, without much counting of costs, and with steadfast refusal to debar anyone from 'educational advantages.' Our standards have suffered because we have tried educationally to be all things to all men. The American public has demanded the teaching of more and more
subjects, and our educational leadership has not resisted the demand or insisted on concentration and accomplishment.
But in the effort to raise our standards we need not deny the democratic principle. We are rich enough to 'make universal education not only universal, but also education' - which means providing more education for a great many people without reference to their ability to pay, yet making our offering more consistent and definite in its lines of effort. We can and should set up a greater variety of curricula in our schools and see that they lead on to definite ends, many of them vocational, some of them nonvocational. The richness of our offering should not be sacrificed. What we ought to abandon is our willingness to smatter, to dissipate, to make a curriculum a patchwork. Every curriculum beyond the elementary school should have its centre, its essential character, its definite goals. A curriculum may be embroidered with subjects taught for interest, for enjoyment, for appreciation; but its major values should be realized in a small group of related subjects in which achievement of a clearly recognized sort may be expected and demanded. And all curricula that are not wholly and immediately practical ought to have some outlet into higher education, but not necessarily into the traditional college of liberal
We have in one sense too little variety in our colleges as well as in our secondary schools. More colleges of more kinds, more school curricula of more kinds, but clearer definition of the kinds this would be a formula which would at least lead us away from counting up 'units' of this, that, and the other and calling the sum an education. Such a scheme would require guidance for all students from the
junior high school on, and it would mean that false starts would entail some loss, and that a closer selection of students capable of pursuing the more difficult curricula would debar many for the sake of better results for those who remained; but there would be nothing undemocratic in all that. Our present practice seems to imply that taking a little of everything and not learning much of anything is good for us because it makes us all alike. Surely we may develop some community of understanding and some unity of purpose among Americans without making education the same for everybody because it has no distinguishing character for anybody.
To keep the democratic variety of our school offering and yet to crystallize the whole programme into lines of cleavage that will permit the achievement of distinctive and substantial results is a task of the greatest difficulty and complexity. If the realization of our need for concentration is an insight of any value, it must be matched with other insights as it is worked out into its application in the schools; and the undertaking cannot be entrusted to amateurs. The remedy for the present situation does not lie in scorn for the scientific study of education and the professional training of teachers and school officers. The scientific study of education is in its infancy, and it has been largely concerned, so far, with its own tools. To most laymen and to many teachers such technical instruments as psychological examinations, standardized tests of school achievement, and statistical studies of school problems are altogether unimpressive or forbidding. But in fact they constitute one of the surer promises of our educational salvation. Technique alone will not save us, but we cannot move far without it.[It is said of money that there are many things of greater worth,
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but you have to have money to get them; the technical means and methods of educational investigation are in like manner indispensable to other ends. Our directors of educational policy need at least an adequate understanding of what can be done by way of measuring educational accomplishment, analyzing statistically an educational problem, and studying in exact and quantitative fashion the conditions under which an educational enterprise must be pursued. Laymen and the nontechnical among teachers may point out problems and suggest reforms, and the technicians ought to welcome the insights of the intuitive and the experienced; but in most cases the technicians must come into the undertaking before reforms can safely be consummated. Education is no longer a field for the inexpert. If our professionals have not saved us from the awkwardness of our present situation, we must not therefore dismiss the professional attack upon education as of no avail. The study of education should be broadened, rather, and raised to higher levels. Teachers' colleges and university schools of education have suffered from the same superficiality and credit-counting externality as the rest of our educational scheme; but that is no ground for leaving the direction of schools in the hands of those who have given no study to their problems.
If our trouble arises from an unfortunate relationship between schools and colleges, it might seem as if the best chance of improvement would lie in an attack on college entrance requirements and college entrance examinations, or, more generally, on the theory of college education itself as it affects the freedom of the schools. There have been plenty of attacks, in all conscience, on admission regulations and admission procedures, and the last
radical change in entrance policy the New Plan - was unquestionably a change for the better. The New Plan accepts a creditable school record and requires examinations in only four subjects, whereas the Old Plan permits the piling up of entrance 'points' by the taking of examinations in one subject after another: the change from Old to New is obviously in the direction of concentration. Even the New Plan, however, leaves the secondary schools hesitant about simplifying their curricula and distinguishing sharply between them. One can go far, for example, without finding a secondary school that has set up a scientific curriculum, without Latin and without a distracting burden of study in other fields, in which a selected group of pupils is carried well beyond the introductory stage of scientific study. But no renewal of attacks on college requirements, in the old style, is likely to bring about any such result. To decry entrance examinations is futile, for some scheme of examination the colleges must have. Experiment in the form of examinations is desirable and is in rapid progress; but at bottom it is the theory of the relation between school and college that must be reconsidered, and this is not so simple a business as is the study of the relative merits of the various plans of selection for entrance, given the present theory and the present situation. The problem of admission to college involves both the theory of secondary education and the theory of college education. There can be no hope of accomplishing anything of importance by taking the point of view of the school and hurling complaint or defiance at the college, nor by taking the point of view of the college and casting scorn and accusation at the school.
and freedom is a necessity. Schools must have the opportunity to prepare selected pupils for college without denying to them or to the rest of their pupils the opportunity for an education. Concentration, continuity of effort, and excellence of results in a relatively narrow field should be feasible and should be accepted as duly preparatory for college; but along with that it should be possible for schools to do interesting and genuinely educative work in general science, or world history, or even in the much despised study of civics, or in general mathematics, or in the purest informalities of auditorium exercises, club meetings, and 'projects,' without anxiety about success in strictly preparatory studies.
From the point of view of the school, it must be recognized that some scope
On the other hand, the facts as to the progress of college education should be accepted. The college is no longer a continuation of the secondary school. When the programme of the Boston Latin School was redefined in 1798, it consisted of nothing but Latin and Greek, and the programme of Harvard College consisted of little else. There is no such continuity now, and there cannot be. The college has taken up a far-reaching range of studies, of truly university character: philosophy, psychology, economics, government, comparative literature, the sciences, fine arts, the modern languages, higher mathematics, and much besides. The college has also adopted university methods, and is working out a new theory of its aims and procedures. To try to obstruct or reverse this tendency would be like trying to stop a glacier. The junior college can have no meaning or success as a mere effort to do the work of the college in a shorter period, and if it leaves secondary-school work the thing of shreds and patches it now is, adding a smattering of college subjects as a border or headpiece, it will be
a positive influence for evil. The commanding problem of liberal education in America is the problem of unifying secondary education and collegiate education without denying the essential character and the modern development of either.
The need for working out a fundamentally new answer to this problem may best be shown by a closer examination of the kind of secondary education we accept and designate as preparatory. It is in the schools that prepare directly for the college of liberal arts, as now constituted, that we can probably best begin to change our educational chaos into something approaching a cosmos.
The preparatory school is a truncated and impoverished institution. It finishes nothing. The subjects to which it devotes its attention and on which its students spend precious years in the golden period of youth need not be brought to fruition and in fact are largely abandoned at the college gates. The college starts a new and more rewarding type and kind of study, and its requirements have been formulated with very little reference to the completion of what has been begun in school. So far as the college programme has reference to school work, it expresses only lack of confidence in what the schools have done, requiring English composition, for example, because the schools have not taught boys and girls to write effectively. This lack of connection between school and college breeds confusion of thought and ac counts for much of the 'milling around in our educational discussion, which seems never to reach any fundamental and productive conclusions. In the preparatory schools it leads either to slackness of effort or to the kind of
rigidity in routine, without illumination, which appeals to moral principles and conceptions of 'character,' buttressed by marks and punishments and personal pressure, as a substitute for intellectual satisfaction in study. In the college it leads to repetitions of school work and delay in beginning the distinctive business of higher education. It has more to do than has been generally noted or admitted with the perfunctory character of much collegiate study and instruction. Our college students - I borrow the figure of speech from a brilliant woman who knows them well are more interested in the labels on their intellectual luggage than in what it contains; and so far as this is true it is largely because they have been taught at school to look no further than the customs inspection at the collegiate port of entry. Or, to shift the metaphor, school work is only a purgatory which precedes the heaven of college life, and 'getting by' is the rule for both. In spite of all the devoted effort of schoolmasters, their work is often baneful in its results, even when they are highly successful in 'getting their pupils into college.' The institution in which they work is not final and has no true aims of its own; nor is it in any exact sense even preparatory. School work, therefore, cannot be educative, and it will continue to induce wrong habits of mind until the school secures more freedom to aim at end points instead of halfway stations on roads that go no further. The present situation produces no attitudes that are profitable even for the college.
Consider Latin as a preparatory study. It is highly regarded and very widely required; but what do our secondary schools accomplish in the actual realization of the values of classical instruction? The preparatory school cannot make its work in Latin strictly a groundwork for what is to
come in college, for a large proportion of its students will drop Latin on entering college; and besides, the time is too long to keep the students at mere preparatory drill, especially if they start Latin at twelve. Yet the time is not long enough to achieve the higher and more important values of the subject, and the pressure of college requirements in other subjects, together with the general atmosphere of postponement and the pervasive schoolboy spirit of the institution, discourages effort of any genuinely scholarly character. There are very few schools that go beyond Cæsar, Cicero, and Vergil, and of these only the required books and orations. Granted that boys may get valuable linguistic discipline from two years of Latin, why keep them at it longer unless they are to get the more important results that would come if they continued their Latin beyond what the colleges require for entrance, reading Horace, Catullus, and other lyric poets, Terence and Plautus, the historians, Lucretius, more of Vergil, more of Cicero, and securing besides a wide view of Roman civilization? Our boys at entrance to college have no Latinity. Yet they need not get any, for they can drop their Latin, and most of them do. Even if they take Latin in the freshman year they are often so poorly 'prepared' that they get from it less than they should. The whole scheme of our education tends to prevent anything that could by courtesy be called classical scholarship. We cannot be thorough to-day with those who might respond and learn, as once we were thorough unduly, prescribing the classics alone for every type of mind.
In differing degrees this same condition obtains in every subject of the secondary school. The schools send up to college boys who have studied history but who have no historical
sense and no developed interest in historical study; boys who have studied science but who have not grasped the scientific method; boys who have studied foreign languages but who have no Sprachgefühl. The schools can do nothing better, for their work is preparatory only and done in a preparatory spirit. They do not dare to concentrate their programmes into a few consistent and thorough curricula, leaving Latin out of some of them, for Latin is heavily weighted for entrance credit. The New Plan would permit greater consistency and sharper selection of students for specialization, as for example in science; but the schools would be uneasy in the attempt and the colleges do not seem to favor it. There is no chance in our schools to do the type of thoroughly scientific work done in a German Oberrealschule or Realgymnasium, even as far as our schools can go. The break ahead prevents it.
Meanwhile the colleges find it necessary to repeat much that the schools have taught because they have no confidence in the results. Some favored schools can, to be sure, anticipate the English composition of the freshman year, but there is much boredom and perfunctory teaching and learning in college because there is overlapping of subjects, a general ignoring in the college of what has gone before, and a tendency to look upon it, in any case, as a mere set of intellectual exercises preparatory to real work, now that the schoolboy has become the college man.
Is it any wonder that the insidious doctrine of formal discipline flourishes among us? This is the technical name for the belief that such a study as geometry is valuable because it 'trains the reason.' The total value of any programme of studies is covered by the statement that it has 'trained the mind.' Perhaps no doctrine in the history of education has done so much