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On the social side, the members of this school are permitted to share the advantages which are open to the employees of the organization. In this respect they are likewise fortunate, for the social life of the employees presents a solidarity which perhaps is unequalled in this country and which could only be attained by a momentum due to the joint action of thousands of individuals united through a deep seated bond.
Not only are the social arrangements suited to the needs of an employee group consisting almost entirely of men, and of men of great physical activity and aggressive fitness—but they culminate in social events which draws together the families and create a spirit of union and loyalty which dominates not only locally, but whose influence is strongly felt in neighboring communities.
The splendid provision made by the factory for first aid to the injured is open to these school boys in case of accident, and thus relieves the anxiety which is felt for those persons entering upon employment in manipulative trades where there is more or less danger, especially to the new comer. The factory lunch room in which excellent food is served at low cost for the convenience of employees is of special advantage to the pupils who here mix more generally with the employees as a whole, and find the shop flavor as expressed in conversation.
While it is true that the social life blossoms into the most luxuriance on field days and other public demonstrations, yet the influence which shows, exuberance on these days is working more or less actively during all the other days of the
year. Thus we find here the ideal industrial training school; a happy mean between the apprenticeship system and the town industrial school, and as closely linked with the community life as a whole as is possible of attainment in our modern system of life.
The Evolution of the American High School
E. V. LAUGHLIN, HOPKINTON, Iowa.
ammu & HE American high school is distinctly an American
creation. It is an outgrowth of the desire to crys talize the latent forces so manifest in American youth, and to direct them into useful and pro
ductive channels. Unlike its cousins across the muumidONIMIT
water it is founded upon a decidedly utilitarian
basis. The French and German schools are rather numuominium
transition periods between the grades and the university, leaving to the latter the task of shaping vocational ideas. The English school is a rather exclusive affair, patronized very little by the common people, and consequently exercising very little influence in shaping the lives of the mass of the youth.
The old-time Latin school, itself rather exclusive and catering to law and the ministry, was the forerunner of the present high school. In such schools Latin and Greek dominated the curricula. Other subjects, such as science and
mathematics, received little favor and were offered only as incidental electives. The opening up of American resources demanded a training and knowledge in which the dead languages played little part. As a consequence there arose a demand for practical science and mathematics. Mining, railroad building, city construction and the like did not call for men who could read Virgil, but for men who could analyze ores and plan bridges. For awhile private schools took care of this demand, Academies and technical schools became quite numerous. Latin and Greek, while still required, were not so very much in evidence. The Latin schools as a consequence fell into disfavor and many closed their doors.
The academies in nearly all cases were tuition institutions. By the year 1840 many people were beginning to demand that the instruction be free. The result of this clamor was that many districts purchased academies already in their midst or else erected schools similar to them. In order to distinguish between these schools and the academies the name high school gradually came into existence. Its course of study was quite the same as the curriculum of the academy except that denominational subjects were always omitted. By 1860 as many as forty of these public high schools had been established in the United States.
While the people generally approved of the high school the tax payers did not always express much pleasure. It was the old question of the public school over again—the right of one man to be taxed to educate the children of another. In this case, however, the struggle was even more strenuous, many tax payers perfectly reconciled to the grade school declaring that taxation for higher education was confiscation, and therefore illegal. To vote a high school upon the district in the 60's, 70's, and 80's required strenuous fighting on the part of its adherents. Nevertheless the number of schools steadily increased. By 1880 there were over 2500; in 1890 the number had increased to 6005; and at the present time there are more than 11,000 high schools in the United States and its insular possessions.
The attendance in these schools is more than one million, the girls being about one hundred thousand in the lead. The per cent. of attendance compared with population is much higher in the newer portions of the country than in the older, due no doubt, to the rather more democratic conditions prevailing. In such recent cities as Seattle and Los Angeles the attendance averages nearly two per cent. of the population-very high when compared with New York's less than one per cent. This does not mean necessarily that education is not as general in New York as in the western cities, but that the exclusive boarding schools and military academies are drawing their constituents from the high schools.
It was stated above that the academy was created as protest against the strict Latin and Greek program of the Latin Grammar School, and that the high school developed as a result of the general demand to make the instruction free. Strangely, the high school after becoming a fixture, reverted somewhat to the parent stalk and began to lay almost as much emphasis upon the classics as the old Latin School had done. This was due no doubt to the fact that the instructors were nearly all products of the Latin schools. Almost all the best high schools required four years of Latin and some required two years of Greek in addition. The utility phase of education—the thing that gave the high school its
inception was quite lost sight of. The average subject line-up in the high schools of thirty years ago was about as follows: Ancient languages, four years; history; literature, particularly that of mediaeval English times; mathematics for the discipline afforded and general culture; a smattering of science for look's sake, and because it looked well in the courses of study.
About twenty years ago the progressive educators began to question the usefulness of the average high school course. They pointed out that graduates were ill prepared to tackle the tasks of lifethat the four years of training were practically thrown away as far as making the student a bread earner. The advocates of the old regime were vigorous in their defense claiming that the high school in its function was cultural not vocational.
Many things contributed to the success of the progressive element. Chemistry—the science that explains the composition of things and consequently underlies all science was becoming an established fixture in all colleges and universities, and was beginning to ask a place in the high schools. Botany and zoology were being found to be of some real value in their relation to agriculture and stock raising. The great influx of French and Germans, particularly the latter, made a knowledge of those languages useful. The result was that these practical subjects were crowded to the front and took equal rank with the classics. Out of this troubled and uncertain state of affairs the high school has emerged with its course of study pretty well balanced. There is still enough of the cultural to appease the advocates of the old order, and enough of the practical to make the high school seem worth while to the others.
The old Latin school was largely a feeder for the college and divinity school. Its successor, the academy, after the newness of its existence wore off, dropped into the same rut; and the high school, the child of both Latin school and academy, naturally fell heir to the same function. The result is that the high schools today exercise a very large influence in pointing the way to college and university. There has grown up as a consequence a system of standardizing high schools that seeks to put their work on a par. This is known officially as accrediting. Almost every state maintains such a system. A high school visitor or inspector is appointed who periodically inspects the schools and passes upon the quality of the work. All schools that measure up to a fixed standard may admit their graduates at the state university without examination—a consideration much prized by young college aspirants.
Without question the accrediting system has proved a boon to high schools. It has brought the university to every high school town. The teachers are invariably college or university graduates, filled with zeal and possessing high ideals, and in close touch with the latest developments in arts and sciences. That stagnation and lethargy that comes from isolation are thus guarded against. Superintendents and principals realize that there must be continual progress if they are to keep pace with their neighbors. To be stricken from the accredited list is a disgrace little desired by any town, and which, when it happens, almost invariably means a change of teaching force.
There is a growing demand that the high school shall become much more practical in its work and shall include industrial and professional subjects in its curriculum. The advocates of this belief have already greatly increased the range of subjects that may be taught. Manual training, domestic science, agriculture, pedagogy, are established features in many schools. In Iowa, for instance, domestic science and agricluture may be taught and state aid secured. Other states—usually ones in which teachers are scarce-make special provision for work in pedagogy, and recognize, by certificate or otherwise, the work done.
It is a far cry from the high school of fifty years ago to the many sided institution of the present time. Then it was narrow, restricted in its work, looking with disfavor upon things' manual and industrial-in fact reactionary in the extreme. Today it is progressive, commercial, seeking to be a real force in the life of the people, alive to its opportunities.
And the end is not yet.