« ForrigeFortsett »
The Relation of the Public Schools to the Social | tue. But in its practical workings, perand Xoral Well-being of Society.
meated with the greed of trade, it can no [A Paper read before Wisconsin Teachers' Associ- more be said to deserve this character ation, Dec. 30, 1873, by OLIVER AREY, President than the unruly cow that breaks into a Whitewater Normal School.)
cornfield can be said to be the herald of That the influence and position of public schools may be seen, I will pass in
the lady who has occasion to pass through
the breach into the field. rapid review the educational forces of the state. These forces may be divided The pulpit, as founded by the Great into two classes——the direct and indirect. Teacher, comprehended, in their fullest The indirect manifest themselves in the sense, the emergencies of humanity. Its family, in incidental observation, com. principles were broad enough to give merce, the pulpit, the press, in its partisan opportunity to all to work out life's proband sectarian character, and in its pan- lem without other conflict than that derings to vulgar tastes. I also class un- which is necessary in the outgoings of der this head our punitive and charitable constitutional nature, and was thus or. institutions.
dained by its Originator a potential and The family has its origin in constitu- direct educator. But when the truths tional nature, and has for its object the upon which the pulpit rests were proconservation of the race. On its altars claimed by other minds than that of its should blaze in their purity fires of the Founder, the perverseness and narrowintellect, that the feelings and the will ness of many of its leading men wrested may perform their proper functions; for these foundation principles from their 33 is the family, so will be the other in high mission of universal good to man, stitutions of the state.
and brought them to the furtherance of Incidental observation is an educator selfishness, non-essential interpretations, of no inferior power.
The instructor political preferences and claims of infal. will do well to bring its influence within libility; then it fell from its high estate, the scope of his labors, for it elevates or and its march towards ultimate truth bedegrades in accordance with the aim of came indirect, its conquests over ignor. the observer, the objects brought before ance and wrong action less frequent and his consciousness and the time, place and enduring. The pulpit should meet with manner of observing them.
ready discussion whatever the progress Commerce springs from the necessities of the age brings in its way, and should of the family and in its origin and just permit greater growth of thought from possibilities, it is the hand maiden or within, or it will be overborne by a freer rather the herald of intelligence and vir- and healthier growth from without.
The press should be an efficient and or private good. 2. Those which have direct educator, as its possibilities are for their object disinterestedness or pub. almost boundless. In some of its teach. lic good. ings it is. It sends to our school rooms Under the first head we find select or and to our homes thought vitalized with boarding schools, ladies' seminaries, the most recent revelations of masters in academies, parochial schools, denominalanguage, mathematics, the natural sci- tional colleges or colleges limited by ences, and in morals and religion,-thus charter or otherwise, and professional quickening our educational impulses, schools. invigorating our powers and giving us Select or boarding schools generally all a better insight into the problems of find their ends accomplished when the the future. It takes fearless stands for instructors of them have secured a com. progress and right, and is powerful in its petence, or have learned from biting exefforts to liberate thought from the super-perience that there is no money in them. stitions of the past. The press which has I am not sure but they ought to be for its object the exposure of error and classed among the indirect educational the defence of right bears the same rela- forces, as my experience has failed to tion to the well being of society as the convince me that they have other ends judge who impartially holds in his hand than those terminating in self. the sword of justice. But when it caters Ladies' seminaries are based on the for vulgar tastes, stoops to partisanship supposed izferiority of woman and the in politics, to the upbuilding of sects in oriental idea of seclusion. Their course religious matters, uttering half truths in of study, modes of discipline, their susome cases in place of truth itself, in perficial management justify this stateothers overstating it, causing mildew to ment. They have helped woman develop fall on the public mind, thus destroying artificial life, and have given her a passthe political, social and religious life of port into fashionable society and have the nation,—when the press accomplishes accomplished in the past something for such results, then it is not a blessing to her. In the present, however, they are society, for it is better that men should without sufficient purpose and must soon be ignorant than live the life of educated acknowledge their work accomplished. villains.
The academy had its origin in the in. The punitive and charitable institu. terest of the rich, and for this class it has tions have for their object the vindication done much. The poor have hardly found of law and the relief of the unfortunate. a foothold within its walls. When the The punitive are created to secure us public graded high school was organized from the direct effects of vice. Inciden. the academy began to decline. The detally they may educate and reform those cline has been gradual and general. who may fall into their hands, but their Throughout the eastern states where it first duty is to restrain evil doers by the has had the strongest hold on the hearts strong arm of force. The charitable in. of the people, to my knowledge, there stitutions are created to give such supple- has been no exception to the law of mentary aid as the necessities of the gradual extinction. As the public high unfortunate may demand. If more than school has been made efficient, so has supplementary aid is afforded, then that the academy declined and fallen from its institution fails to bless society and can former high position, and it will continue have no warrant for its act in well order to do so until it takes its place among ed social life, for no man is the better for those institutions which have outlived having that done for him which his duty their usefulness. demands that he should do for himself. Denominational colleges, or colleges
The direct educational forces manifest otherwise limited, are doing a good work themselves under two heads: 1. Those for the state in the exact ratio which these which have for their object self-interested institutions bear to free thought. As dogmas, blind obedience, sectarian ideas in these institutions are the limitations and party interests creep into them, so created by the necessities of the people will their power and usefulness be cir. and the capacity of these institutions to cumscribed and the time of their contin. satisfy these necessities. More or less uance limited. As they open wide their than this is ousting man from his birthdoors to the culture demanded by modern right and erecting in its place a despottimes, so will they secure for themselves ism by which he is to be oppressed. Let a right to exist, for the state will find in all possibilities within their scope which them a necessity which its perpetuity have for their object the welfare of sorequires.
ciety be developed in them, and brought Of parochial or church schools I hard within the reach of all; for on universal ly need speak. They had their origin good must public educational institutions when the intellect was enslaved, when rest, and man's inherent rights must find obedience was unquestioned, and when a welcome in them and not a forced endespotism ruled with a mailed hand. In trance, since his will is his own and its connection with these ideas, or a modifi. subjective behest above all earthly criti. cation of them, they flourish now, and cism. Therefore we cannot lodge conno where else. They have been weighed victions in his mind through force, nor in the balance of progress and found make him virtuous by legislation. All wanting,and they must be classed amongst that can be done is to make them free the educational debris of the times. and worthy, and invite students from the
Under the second head of direct edu- high ways, the lovels of the poor, and cational institutions I class the district the halls of the rich, but force no one to school, graded school, normal school and enter and partake, lest we wrong our the state colleges or universities. In brother. these institutions I find the only oppor- The question now arises, how well have tunity for the proper development of the these institutions answered the ends for principle of disinterestedness, or that which they were designed? I answer public good in which every man has a briefly: 1. That the district school has common and inherent interest, and which done much for the rural population. It is developed in each individual when all has made life tolerable among those who have the right to seek their own highest are without the immediate influence of welfare without molestation. And it is the cities and villages, giving them ele. that good which the Greatest of all mentary ideas, and thus enlarging the Teachers commanded to be preached to possibilities of culture by planting germs the world 1800 years ago, and which is of thought in the minds of many a youth, recorded on the earth, in the heavens and which may be developed into a noble in the hearts of men, as well as in the manhood that otherwise could not have written word.
been attained. It has broadened and These institutions are the outgrowth of deepened the principle of patriotism, man's necessities, and are his birthright; thereby giving the best guarantee of that right which God ordained for him power and perpetuity to our government. when he was created, and which his It has done much to overthrow the priestbrother man wrested from him in his craft of the European world, by bringing greed for power; that right which every foreign youth in direct contact with free man possesses to investigate whatever thought and individual responsibility. fact or principle he may choose, limited It is the means which annihilates armies only by the nature of things or rather in times of peace, and creates them in the conditions of the universe which times of war. It is the outmost picket makes our existence what it is.
line of the American birthright and civil. Man's dictum is impertinent here. No ization. 2. What is the present condition man may declare what shall not be inves- of the district school? That I might an. tigated. The only dicta to be tolerated swer this question I have made many
enquiries, and I have found that well | life purpose. Away with all steppingorganized district schools are very rare. stone work in teaching if ever the calling For the most part the buildings are is to command the respect of men. Let turned into the high ways. The out only those enter the school room who buildings in many cases are out of repair find in it ends sufficient to satisfy their and quite inadequate for the needs of the highest ambition. school. In others there are none at all. 6. By levying a sufficient tax on the The grounds are uncared for. Frequently property in the district to provide books, they are covered with knots, crooked maps, apparatus and other fixtures. When sticks, and such rubbish as would dese. provided, charge the pupils a sufficient crate a wood yard. The building is not rental to keep this property in repair. sufficiently commodious nor is it prop- 7. Let the district clerk, the inhabitants erly heated, seated, ventilated or planned. of the district and the pupils render corThe necessary apparatus for the simplest dial aid in the support of the teacher and illustration is almost always wanting. his work and not oppose them or it. Either text or reference books are gener
8. Scout the idea that instructors in any ally insufficient for effective classification. institution can stand on any other grounds And worst of all, in the teacher's place than those of a common purpose and good is installed incompetency. In the main, fellowship. some cousin, brother, daughter or friend These ideas, I think, are entirely pracof the district clerk, because he or she is ticable if the instructors and state author. poor, or in want of pin money, holds the ities co-operate harmoniously to this end. place of instructor and hears lessons and The other state institutions do not “keeps school," but never teaches. differ in kind from the district school,
I have sometimes thought such schools but only in degree. I leave them for had better be closed by state authority, future discussion. but the more I know of their ultimate results, the more I am convinced that Sanitary Regulations of the School Room and
Number of School Hours. - No. II. poor as they may be, they are the begin. nings of a good work.
(Extracts from a Paper read before the State
Teachers' Association, at Madison, Dec. 31, How shall we improve them ? or rather 1873, by JOSEPH HOBBINS, M. D.) bring them out of the depths of the intel. In close relationship to the subject of lectual poverty amidst which they are impurity of the air, comes the consideracalling to us for the means of a more tion of the temperature of the school useful and nobler life?
room - a matter at once so vital, and 1. By securing an eligible lot and ap- practically speaking so seemingly diffi. propriately improving it.
cult to control. I have known one of the 2. By putting thereon suitable out- best public schools in this city to have a buildings.
temperature at one time of 54°, and I have 3. By constructing a school room with visited it at another time in a temperain the walls of which incompetent per. ture of 72o. And I have found all the sons cannot keep school.
varieties in degrees between these two 4. By securing in the school building extremes. thorough ventilation that the brains of Now while it is true that the temperaboth teacher and pupils may be supplied ture of the children at the age of those with fresh blood; for growth of mind who attend school varies but very little cannot be produced without it.
during the day — the fluctuations being 5. By securing the services of an intel- most frequent in the evening and night ligent, teachable, and moral teacher,--still it is not the less true — that chil. one whose body and mind are self-con- dren like old people, having less power trolled and self-cultured, and one who of generating vital heat, are particularly enters upon the work of instruction be prone to the injurious influences of low cause he loves it and chooses it for his temperature. But as a very ancient phy
sician remarks, “the terms hot, warm, and so similar are they in character. In cool, cold, as applied to the surrounding attending the public schools of this city air, are regulated by the sensations it pro- for instance, it is impossible but that one duces upon the average of persons. "If should notice, in the rapidity and multithe heat be carried off as fast as it is gen. plicity of exercises or studies, an undue erated, and no faster, no particular sensa. amount of excited attention, eager intertion is felt, and the bodily powers are cst and mental tension, that must be fol. neither stimulated nor exhausted. This lowed by a corresponding amount, esequilibrium is maintained (supposing pecially noticeable towards the end of that no extraordinary exertions are made) the term of physical exhaustion. I when the thermometer stands at 62°, or would not be understood to say that all thereabouts. We call that point in the children suffer alike, but I must main. scale temperate. * I am speak. tain that the instances common ing of the average of healthy persons; enough to make me feel it to be a duty for remarkable diversities occur among to call your attention to what is undoubtindividuals in respect to the epithets edly an evil. It is easy to reconize the which they assign, under the guidance injured, and this is best done at home, of their sensations, to the particular de- in the evening, when the day's excitegrees of the thermometric scale; their ment is over. The effects run thus: a sensations differing according to the pale face, an air of lassitude, a variable power which their constitutions respec. appetite, an irritable temper, disturbed tively possess of evolving heat. Now, sleep; and by and by comes a dulness in if this power of evolving heat be entire, the intellect — with an indisposition or and active and persistent, no peril need aversion to learning, resulting at last, in attend even violent alternations of ex. comparative inability to learn; and end. ternal temperature. But if it be weakened, ing, as I have seen, if the pupil is pushed as for instance — by impure air, by long to extremity, in serious and more or less confinement, by over study, by loss of prolonged injury to the mind — in one sleep, all of which causes are in operation instance, in idiocy. These evil effects, among our school children; or, if the with the consequent interference in other health is already deranged, or the nervous functions of the body, will in the end system in any way exhausted; or if the break down the child's health. It is perskin be perspiring, or has already thrown haps worthy of remark, that the girls off its excess of heat; or, if children re- suffer more frequently than do the boys, main at rest immediately after and during and I make this remark for the particular the application of cold; then it becomes consideration both of teachers and highly perilous and likely to produce in. parents. ternal mischief. If we need proof of the Where there is so much waste as there truth of all this we find it in the fact is in the animal economy of young that “one-sixth of the deaths of young children, there must be ample time for children result from cold.”
renovation; and where this time is not To pass on - you will see by your pro- given, but the child is required to study gramme, that I am expected to say some both at school and at home, to a degree thing about the number of school hours. affecting even its sleep, which becomes
Our hours of attendance are to but a continuance of enduring thought, day more than children can bear without then the mind, sympathizing as it does risk to health, and the number of studies with the exhausted state of the body, more than the children can sustain with. can not develop and is not benefited by out passiing or permanent injury from ex- its exertions. haustion. I speak of these two evils in Will you allow me, Mr. President, to one sentence, for the reason that it is not suggest a remedy for the evil I have easy to distinguish their individual con- pointed out? I would begin, then, bv sequences - $0 closely are they allied curtailing the hours of study. “It