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tional experiment, and as soon as their utility to i're genendi welfare is demonstrated they are adopted into it? systein of free education supported at public expense,
2. There is a trend away from isolated efforts toword system and supervision. System has this as catege, that it makes supervision possible. It is the object of general superintendence to discover what is fruitful and promising in the work of individuals or localities, and to strengthen the whole system by making the adoption of these improvements universal. Each shall contribute something worth adopting by all, and, in turn, avail himself of their experience. In this lies the great significance of our national trend toward system.
3. There has been a trend in methods. This appears in several particulars, namely, in the adaptation of the matter of instruction to the mind of the child, so that he assimilates relatively more, and memorizes or stores up in an undigested form relatively less. This adaptation appears most noticeably in the instruction of the primary grades, and, next to this, in the advanced instruction in natural history and physics. The pupil is made to conduct his own researches, and is furnished the material for study. The methods also have improved, in the fact that they widen the investigation into collateral branches. Formerly each subject was isolated from its relations; now it is illuminated by light thrown on it from other provinces. The methods of discipline have generally improved. Corporal punishment has been very much diminished. The entire educational idea of the people has progressed in the direction of divine charity. The institutions for the education of women, together with the mentioned supplementary institutions for unfortunates (the deaf and dumb, the blind, the feeble-minded, etc.), and
for the reform of criminals, the múltiplication of means of education for the youngest children--all show this. Again, the opening of free public libraries, museums, and courses of lectures, shows the logical results of the democratic principle in the diffusion of knowledge. Teach the people how to read, and then furnish them what is best to read.
Our national Government bases itself on the ability of the people as people to govern themselves through the ballot-box. The history of education shows how it has seemed fit to make provision for the enlightenment of those citizens. It has grown clear in the process of ages that the only help which may be safely given to individuals or communities is the help that aids and increases self-help. All other help dwarfs the individual and weakens the State. Now, the only infallible aid to self-help that has been found up to this time is education which produces intellectual enlightenment and training in moral habits. This alone is a help that is good alike for sound and perverse. It improves the former and corrects the latter. This view of education has been seen by the fathers of the republic, and preached by the religious founders of our colonies. The conviction has become so generally prevalent that it has produced the joint action-private, national, State, and municipal—looking toward the foundation and encouragement of schools and supplementary institutions, recorded in this book. The patriotic will hope that the results reached are encouraging; at all events, whether gratifying or otherwise, the study of the facts is necessary and salutary to Americans interested in the welfare of their country.
W. T. HARRIS. CONCORD, MASSACHUSETTS, May, 1889.
It is now generally recognized that any complete study of education must include the historical no less than the critical and practical phases. Neither can be left out of account. Wanting the theory, instruction becomes aimless; without knowledge of means, wasteful. But the teacher who presumes to work without an acquaintance with the record of his profession, is like a ship lacking log-book and compass-progress will be only a happening
And yet, of general histories of education, there are, in English, less than half a dozen, only two of which are more than primers. In these two, American schools receive the merest mention-eighteen pages in one, and two in the other. For the only other attempts at a notice of our State and municipal systems, we are indebted to foreign interest. Prominent among these are P. A. Siljeström's “ Educational Institutions of the United States” (1855); Rev. James Fraser's report to the Parliamentary Schools Inquiry Commission, on “ The Common-School System of the United States” (1865); Francis Adams's “ Free Schools of the United States” (1874); and occasional statements drawn from educational exhibits and conferences at international expositions. These are all more or less critical estimates of American schools as seen through foreign eyes; were all made for special purposes; are chief descriptive, and rarely historical Valuable as they are in themselves,
. they are imperfect as setting forth American schools to American teachers. Profit comes always from a close and comparative study of current systems, their general aims, conditions, and accompanying agencies; and the books named can render an incalculable service to American teachers. But so vitally is every present related to its past, that the study of contemporary institutions can be made intelligent only in the light of their origin. Το know along what lines in educational experience have been the great changes, and why, and so what is new and what old, in current doctrine and practice, serves to temper undue enthusiasm over real or supposed new departures, and saves from condemning the worthy only because it chances to be old.
While it can not be claimed that education is more seriously regarded now than by the thinkers of every past generation, it certainly is more widely studied. More is demanded of the body of teachers—more professionally and socially. The inferior teacher has an increasingly smaller hope of public confidence; the well-informed one, more of leadership. This is the meaning of normal schools, institutes, reading-circles, teachers' classes, and professional libraries. It is believed that this history may help along this impulse-make it possible to study intelligently, and as a whole, the particular but complex institution called the American School.
The book lays no claim to completeness. It is meant to be a text-book, suggestive of lines of thought for the teacher, and sources of information. One constant aim has been, avoiding mere description on the one side, and personal criticism on the other, to exhibit faithfully the development of contemporary institutions and educational forces with something of their national setting.
To bring the sketch into a small compass, within reach of the leisure and conditions of the body of teachers, and yet omit no fundamental factor in the educational movement of two centuries and a half, have compelled a frequent readjustment of materials. But it seemed better, all things considered, to cover the whole field of elementary, higher, and special educations, and so give a basis for special studies by individuals. Besides, so interwoven are the interests of the one with those of the others, that no treatment of the common-school system would be complete that ignored the academies and colleges, and vice versa.
The author has been placed under repeated obligations to the librarian, assistants, and other officials of Johns Hopkins University, during some months' residence at which most of the present work took shape; and particularly his indebtedness to Dr. G. Stanley Hall, whose long and varied educational experience, and wide reading, through much counsel and suggestion, have contributed to whatever of value the book may have. The Peabody Library, of ninety thousand volumes, including much valuable literature upon special phases of education and educational institutions, and the Maryland Historical Library, both of Baltimore; the Library of Congress, and the Pedagogical Library of the United States Bureau of Education, at Washington—thanks to Librarian A. R. Spofford and Commissioner Dawson-were both freely anl frequently used.
The great task, of course, was in the gathering and