Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

" 22

1. They concern a selected group of men all under 31 years of age. No data are included for men over 31 years of age for whom there would have been a higher percentage of rejections.

2. The standards used in the examination were definitely lower than those used in peace time. The "new set of physical standards” formulated for the draft recognized that: “When a necessity exists for great numbers, many minor physical defects must, perforce be waived in order to secure the requisite manpower.'

3. The draft figures give but a partial statement of the defects possessed by those rejected.

A proper interpretation of the draft figures for rejections for physical incompetence, therefore, tends to reveal them as but partial indications of the severe physical deficiencies of our young manhood.

Lest us next consider the specific causes for rejection as revealed by the draft figures, giving particular attention to the physical defects that might have been at least partially prevented by an adequate national physical education program. The reliability of these figures is probably greater than any others as yet compiled.

“Not only do they represent the broadest basis ever available for such an inquiry but they were made under such conditions of fair uniformity, both as to time, as to area, and as to physical standards employed, that their scientific worth is unequaled by any statistics hitherto accessible.'i 23

The accompanying table, tabulating the principal causes for rejection for physical deficiency, is based on the records for 476,694 men who were disqualified for military service. Although this number is not the total number of rejections made in connection with the draft they “are on a large enough scale to justify generalization." 24

25

Defects disqualifying for military service-Based on records of a total of 467,694 rejections

Per cent rejected

for cause given Heart and blood vessels..

13. 07 Bones and joints..

12. 35 Eyes --Tuberculosis (respiratory)

10. 65

8. 67 Development defects (height, weight, chest, muscles).

8. 37 Hernia.

6. 04 Mental deficiency.

5. 24 Nervous disorders.

5. 07 Ears..

4. 38 Flatfoot.

3. 87 Teeth..

3. 16 Skin.--

2. 68 Other defects and causes not given...

16. 45 Total.

100.00 Defects preventable by proper training.--It is the verdict of those qualified to express an opinion that most of the defects listed above as the causes for rejection could have been prevented by adequate physical education programs.

"An analysis in detail of the causes of rejection clearly indicates the preventable nature of these impairments, and also clearly points the way to remedial and preventive work." 26

Another authority makes the following statements with regard to the possibility of preventing the conditions that brought about the high percentage of rejections: 27

1. Heart disease could be prevented by proper strenghtening of the heart through physical activities, by proper removal of physical defects such as bad tonsils, infected teeth, etc.

22 Second Report of the Provost Marshal General, p. 151.
23 Second Report of the Provost Marshal General, p. 165.
24 Quoted froin Second Report of the Provost Marshal General, p. 165.
25 Řeport of Provost Marshal General, pp. 165 and 166.

26 Some Lessons from the Draft Examination, Eugene Lyman Fisk, M. D. This quotation was not made with reference to the table given. It refers to a tabulation of the causes of rejection for a smaller group of men. The causes of rejection prominent in this table, however, are also prominent in the more comprehensive table presented here.

27 These statements were made by Dr. C. H. Keene, director health bureau, department public instruction, Pennsylvania, referring to the rejections in connection with the Army draft examinations.

*

"2. Malformation of the limbs may be prevented to some extent by proper physical activites.

*3. Defective vision ofttimes would be prevented to some extent by proper physical activities.

*4. Undersize may be prevented by proper physical activities, by proper instructions in regard to nutrition

and preparation of food and the like. “5. Hernia undoubtedly in the majority of cases would be prevented by the development of abdominal muscles. This would be accomplished through physical education.

6. Proper physical education and instruction in the care of the feet and selection of shoes, such as we have in our new syllabus in teaching of hygiene, will prevent a large proportion of the flat foot.”

The evidence shows, therefore, that a considerable proportion of the physical defects that resulted in the disqualifications of our young men for general military service would be preventable through a comprehensive national health and physical education program.

Physical deficiencies due to ignorance.--The causes of the physical deficiencies recorded as a basis for rejection do not mean that there is a general decadence of the race from the physical side. They merely indicate ignorance of the simple rules of health and hygiene. “An analysis in detail of the causes of rejection clearly indicates the preventable nature of these impairments.” 28

The revelations of the draft have prompted further studies of the physical condition of the Nation and, fortunately, have resulted in a better public understanding of the seriousness of the economic losses due to the physical deficiencies of our population. We have come to realize that it is a mistake “to regard anything that does not interfere with the immediate ability to earn a livelihood as a negligible defect in its civil influence." 29

Waste in industry from physical deficiencies.-A recent report dealing with Waste in industry” gives considerable attention to losses resulting from ill health and premature death, and reflects a better public realization of the seriousness of the physical deficiencies present in our population. Some of the outstanding findings of the report on “Waste in industry,” by a committee appointed by Herbert Hoover, are summarized below. Under the division of this report devoted to “Sources and causes of waste” the following are found: 30

. "1. The 42,000,000 men and women gainfully employed probably lose on an average more than eight days each annually from illness disabilities, including nonindustrial accidents a total of 350,000,000 days.

“2. Of the 500,000 workers who die each year, it is probable that the death of at least one-half is postponable, by proper medical supervision, periodic medical examination, health education, and community hygiene.

“3. It has been estimated that the economic loss from preventable disease and death is $1,800,000,000 among these classes as gainfully employed, or over $700,000,000 among industrial workers in the more limited meaning of the term

there is experimental basis for the statement that this loss could be materially reduced and leave an economic balance in the working population alone over and above the cost of prevention of at least $1,000,000,000 a year.

“4. The economic loss from tuberculosis death rate as affecting the working population is $500,000,000 annually. 5. Malaria

is responsible for much substandard health, and probably affects 1,500,000 people annually, covering 27,000,000 days' absence.

"6. It is estimated that 25,000,000 workers have defective vision requiring correction. It is the experience of a number of plant executives that the correction of substandard vision brings increased quality and quantity of production, sufficient to pay for the cost.

"7. A very large proportion of workers have defective teeth, and mouth infection, and other serious physical defects which reduces their effectiveness.

“8. The total direct cost of industrial accidents in the United States in 1919, including medical aid and insurance overhead, was not less than $1,014,000,000. Of this $349,000,000 was borne by employers and $665,000,000 by employees and their dependents

*. Experience indicates, and authorities agree, that 75 per cent of these losses could be avoided.

*

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

28 Some lessons from the draft examination, Eugene Lyman Fisk, M. D. This quotation was not made with reference to the table given. It refers to a tabulation of the causes of rejection for a smaller group of men. The causes of rejection prominent in this table, however, are also prominent in the more comprehensive table presented here.

29 Preventable diseases of adult life, Eugene Lyman Fisk, M. D., New York State Journal of Medicine, December, 1921.

30 Waste in industry, pp. 21 to 23 and p. 32.

*

In this same report under the section devoted to “Recommendation for elimination of waste” we find the following significant quotation: 31

“A national policy regarding public health should be accepted and put into effect. The reports dealing with health

declare for an aggressive, continuous, national public health policy."

Such a national policy is contemplated by the Towner-Sterling bill, which authorizes Congress to appropriate annually so much of $20,000,000 as may be necessary “to encourage the States in the promotion of physical education

and instruction in the principles of health and sanitation.” (H. R. 7, 68th Cong., sec. 10.)

State autonomy carefully preserved.-At the same time the initiative of the State is protected in the following provision:

*All funds apportioned to a State for the promotion of physical education shall be distributed and administered in accordance with the laws of said State in like manner as the funds provided by State and local authorities for the same purpose, and the State and local educational authorities of said State shall determine the courses of study, plans, and methods for carrying out the purposes of this section within said State in accordance with the laws thereof." (H. R. 7, 67th Cong., sec. 10.)

The Towner-Sterling bill, therefore, recognizes that the physical well-being of our people is a problem of national importance. It aims to encourage the States to join in a concerted effort to remove the causes back of our physical deficiencies. Such a program will many times pay for itself in reducing the economic losses due to ill health and premature death, without considering dividends in increased happiness and morale among our citizenry.

D. PROVIDING WELL QUALIFIED TEACHERS FOR ALL PUBLIC SCHOOLS

*

There is no disagreement as to the inadequacy of the teaching personnel of the Nation. It has been recognized for years. It has been estimated recently that only one-fifth of the teachers of the Nation have an education equal to the standard of preparation recognized in all civilized countries as constituting the barest minimum for elementary school teaching. 32

Let us consider some of the facts concerning the preparation of the teachers of the Nation. We will first consider conditions as they existed before the war.

Shortage of prepared teachers shown.-One of the best studies of pre-war conditions is that by Coffman made in 1910. This study included data for a random sampling of teachers over the United States as found in the rural, town, and city schools of 22 States in every section of the country. The results of this study need not be given at length. They are well summed up in the following striking statement:

“Imagine the public-school teachers of the country extended in a long line. Allowing 3 feet of space for each individual, this line will extend unbroken for over 300 miles.

“Let the first arrangement follow the order of age or maturity. The youngest teacher is at one end of the line, the oldest teacher at the other; the remaining teachers are arranged in order of age. Starting with the youngest teacher and journeying along the line, one will traverse one-fourth of the entire distance before reaching a teacher who has passed the age of 21. Roughly speaking, onefourth of all of the Nation's children are receiving their education at the hands of these immature teachers. This, however, does not tell the whole story, for one will have passed in all likelihood more than 100,000 teachers before reaching the first of the 20-year-old group, while tens of thousands of those first encountered are only 16, 17, or 18 years old.

"Let the line form again on the basis of educational equipment as shown by the length of time that these teachers have themselves attended school. Now the journey along the line will take one past at least 30,000 teachers before one reaches the first individual who has had any education whatsoever beyond the eighth grade of the common school * Continuing along the line, about 150,000 teachers would be passed before reaching the first individual whose total education amounted to more than two years of high-school work, and 480,000four-fifths of the entire group-would be left behind before one reached the first individual who had met the standard of preparation recognized in all civilized countries as constituting the barest minimum for elementary teaching--two

*

31 The Nation and the Schools, Keith and Bagley, p. 221. 32 Ibid., pp. 219-221, estimates based on The Social Composition of the Teaching Population, Coffman.

*

years of training after high-school graduation, or six years of education in all beyond the eighth grade.

“Forming the line again on the basis of experience in teaching one would pass 150,000 teachers before reaching the first individual who had taught more than two years, while the middle of the line would be reached before one could greet the first experienced teacher-one who had taught at least four years. Onehalf of the Nation's children, then, are being taught by teachers who have not served sufficiently long to let the discipline of experience compensate in any marked degree for the deficiencies in their initial training."'33

Surveys reveal serious conditions.-Other studies give the pre-war situation in more detail as they existed in particular States. In 1913–14 one-third of the 16,000 teachers of Wisconsin had had less academic preparation than the equivalent of high-school graduation, and practically no specific preparation for teaching.33 Less than 40 per cent had had training equivalent to normal-school graduation. These facts are particularly significant since, in comparison with most States, Wisconsin is well provided with standard normal schools.

Conditions found in Maryland were reported by a survey commission in 1915.34 Of the white teachers of the State 12 per cent had had no training but elementary school graduation, and but 1 in 10 had completed a standard normalschool course or better. The training of negro teachers was lower than that of the white. The survey summarizes the situation in the following statement:

“Ten per cent of the elementary teachers of Maryland—not more may be called well-trained;

at least one-third are practically untrained.”35 The surveys of the teachers in city school systems revealed similar data. Springfield, III., showed that 37 per cent of the elementary teachers had had no education beyond the high school, and that 14 per cent had graduated from no school whatsoever.36

In Buffalo, N. Y., the survey conducted in 1915 revealed the fact that less than one-half of the elementary teachers were graduates of either colleges or normal schools, and that 11 per cent had not "graduated from any institution, not even an elementary school."'37

The Portland (Oreg.) survey showed that 12 per cent of the teachers had graduated from no school.38

The conditions found in these States and cities were typical. Some surveys showed better, some worse conditions. That the teaching personnel contained hundreds of thousands of immature, untrained, and inexperienced teachers to whom teaching was but a casual and temporary occupation, was generally recognized.

With the entry of the United States into the war this situation was greatly aggravated. Employment in other fields at reasonable compensation was easily available to all, whether trained or untrained, and as a result thousands of our schools closed their doors, being unable to obtain teachers of any kind.

The resulting conditions in our schools during the war became a matter of national concern. A number of studies were made that clearly revealed the situation existing during the war. The results of some of these are given below.

Statements made by competent authorities gave these facts concerning the 600,000 public-school teachers in service during the war period:3

As to age, 100,000 are 17, 18, and 19 years old; 150,000 are not more than 21 years old; 300,000 are not more than 25 years old.

As to length of service, 150,000 serve in the schools two years or less; 300,000 serve in the schools not more than four or five years.

As to education, 30,000 have had no education beyond the eighth grade of the elementary school; 100,000 have had less than two years' education beyond the eighth grade; 200,000 have had less than four years' education beyond the eighth grade; 300,000 have had no more than four years' education beyond the eighth grade.

As to professional preparation, 300,000 have had no special professional preparation for the work of teaching.

Millions taught by unqualified teachers.—Of the 20,000,000 boys and girls in the public schools during the war, it was conservatively estimated that 1,000,000

33 Conditions and Needs of Wisconsin's Normal Schools, A. N. Farmer, Wisconsin State Board of Public Affairs, December, 1914.

34 Public Education in Maryland, General Education Board, New York.
35 Ibid., p. 60.
36 The Public Schools of Springfield, Ill., L. P. Ayres (report of survey).
37 Examination of the Public School System of the City of Buffalo; Albany, 1916, p. 54.
38 Report of the Survey of the Portland School System, 1913, p. 42.
39 A National Program for Education, commission series No. 3, p. 4, N. E. A., 1918.

are being taught by teachers whose education has been limited to seven or eight years in the elementary schools; 7,000,000 are being taught by teachers who are scarcely more than boys and girls themselves, and whose appreciation of their responsibilities must, in consequence of their youth and inexperience, be extremely slight; 10,000,000 are being taught by teachers who have had no special preparation for their work and whose general education is quite inadequate.40

The seriousness of the shortage of teachers at the opening of the school year 1920 was revealed by investigations of the National Education Association..1

The Bureau of Education also issued a report showing that the shortage of teachers was alarming. On the basis of these studies it was estimated that there were approximately 18,000 classrooms for which teachers could not be found, and that there were 450,000 boys and girls, in one school year, to whom school privileges were denied. So much for conditions existing during the war.

Since the war a number of surveys have been made which furnish data concerning the preparation of teachers. A survey of Kentucky for the year 1921, shows that “only 1 elementary teacher in 10 is satisfactorily prepared to teach in the elementary school

23 per cent have never gone beyond the elementary school." 42

A more comprehensive study, the results of which are given in the table below, gives an estimate of the teacher training situation in 28 of the States in the country:

Preparation of teachers 1

[ocr errors]
[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small]

A few of the outstanding facts brought out by this table follow:

1. Only 9 of the 28 States listed have no teachers who have had less than a high-school education.

2. In eight States of the Union over 50 per cent of the teachers have had less than a high-school education; in Florida 94 per cent have had less than a highschool education.

3. In 18 of the 28 States less than one-half of the teachers have had a normalschool education.

It is not necessary to give further data in support of the generally recognized fact that the composition of the teaching population of the country is below the standard that our Nation should expect as to maturity, experience, and training.

Present indications are not encouraging in indicating any great improvement in the personnel of the teachers of the country in the immediate future. A recent report has shown that in spite of the “large increases in salaries given the teachers in the school years ending 1919 and 1920 that they are in a less advantageous economic position than at any other time since the Civil War period.”

"I 13

40 A National Program for Education, commission series No. 3, p. 7, N. E. A., 1918. 41 See report by Hugh S. Magill in N. E. A. Bulletin, November, 1926, pp. 15–16. ? Public Education in Kentucky, General Education Board, p. 53. 43 Trends of School Costs, Russell Sage Foundation, p. 64.

« ForrigeFortsett »