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ing to be the creative agents of democracy and may become the agents of class and station. Both the program of American education and the philosophy of the American people have been opposed to anything savoring of this. While the principles of American education are clear and bold and deep seated in the hearts and affections of the people, there are certain important relationships between the universities and the high schools that may be worked out to the mutual advantage of both. One of these involves a clearer definition of the function of each. No adequate attempt has been made to do this. The
universities years ago, when they were
young and small and ambitious, did a lot of elementary and high school work. They taught arithmetic, grammar, spelling and penmanship. These subjects have disappeared, but the high school subjects still remain. They were introduced to attract students. This is no longer necessary. Many of the universities are devoting a large share of their time and attention to instruction in subjects of the secondary level. Desirable as this may have been once, it is no longer, or will soon no longer be necessary. Courses in beginning English, beginning Latin, and elementary mathematics will soon disappear from university bulletins. The situation at the University of Minnesota is fairly typical. Last year there were eighty sections in
beginning English and more sections in beginning French than there were in
the entire law school. The practical question arises, “What is to be done about the matter?” At once several answers suggests themselves. I am assuming, of course, that no one, or practically no one, will question the desirability of universities freeing themselves from all work that is not strictly of university grade. One simple expedient would be for universities to
LOTUS D. COFFMAN
provide this work for a limited number of years in their extension departments, the students paying fees sufficient to support the courses. This would mean that when students come to the university without elementary German and finding it a prerequisite to the curriculum of the professional school they desired to enter they would register for it in the extension department.
This step would be purely temporary. In the course of a few years, as students receive better advice on vocations in the high schools this arrangement should cease. There is another plan which is worthy of more serious consideration and this is actually giving credit toward a degree for approved high school work. This suggestion may seem revolutionary, but let us see what the facts are. The University of Chicago and the University of Minnesota have been experimenting with it for some time. Students who have carried certain work in the university high school at Chicago may enter junior mathematics in the university; others may enter sophomore courses in the modern languages. Students who have completed the regular course in the university high school at Minnesota may enter advanced courses in mathematics in the university. And the interesting fact is that the students carry their university work with credit to themselves and to the university. Why should they not? They are taught by teachers who in most cases are fully the equal and frequently superior to those that they would have in small colleges or in the university. Should this plan be extended, and this is conceivable, it should be made to apply only to approved or standard schools. The questions will naturally arise as to who will approve the schools. Shall it be done by the university or by the state department of public instruction? It is clear to every one who is conversant with the drift of the times that inspection of high schools by state departments of public instruction is steadily increasing, and that inspection by universities is steadily decreasing; but if the university is to give credit for a degree for work carried in high school, then there must be a more intimate contact between the university and the state department in this matter of inspection as well as in determining the standards for the certification of teachers.
For those who insist that this scheme is theoretical, idealistic and impractical, let me remind them again that every state university is graduating students, one-fourth of whose collegiate work is on the secondary level. I have not said that the adoption of this plan would shorten the student’s educational career, but even that could be done. Suppose, for example, that thirty-two semester credits are required for graduation from high school, and thirty-two from college. Suppose that the gifted student comes to college with thirty-six semester credits. Is there any good reason, pro
viding the extra credits earned in high school will fit into his college program, why he should earn more than twentyeight college credits for graduation? But the question is not a mere matter of credits. It is a matter of attainment and ability to achieve. To be classified on this basis would place a premium upon achievement, an end highly desirable in these days of loose thinking, and superficial ambitions. There is another practical suggestion that I should like to make, and that is as the freshman and sophomore years disappear from the universities, as I feel certain they will in the next twentyfive years exactly as the academies did during the last twenty-five, there must follow a complete and genuine reorganization of the whole public school program below the university. Instead of the public schools adding the freshman and sophomore years, adding them as thirteenth and fourteenth years, they can, through an effective reorganization of the materials of instruction and forms of administration, accomplish for the bright student in twelve years what he is now spending fourteen years upon, and do it better than it is now being done. This also is an end devoutly to be wished, not merely in the interest of economy, but in the interest of better education. Should these changes come to pass, universities will be in a position to function more nearly as true universities. Their courses will be mapped out with definite objectives in view, and they will co-operate with the other units in mapping out these courses. They will be places for research, free discussion, and independent study. It may be asked what the changes that have been suggested in this paper have to do with the program of American education. The answer is everything. They are at the very center of the pro
gram. I have assumed the generally accepted aims—free universal education, removal of illiteracy, physical training, a competent teacher in every school, training in citizenship—these aims are not likely to be modified in our time. But the means for realizing them will be the subject of continued discussion. The necessity for them will be accentuated by the growing size and growing cost of the present cumbersome and outworn system. The principles upon which a sound program of American education should be based are clearly understood and accepted. They call for two things: training in intelligent followership and training in intelligent leadership. The whole system of American education must be organized so as to insure both of these. If the general plan suggested here were followed, the university would still train for leadership. Unless some such plan is introduced the state universities will soon cease to be places where leadership is trained. As it is they are rapidly becoming institutions for mass education. They help to raise the general level of trained intelligence within the state, but men who desire to be trained for distinctive leadership in the respective professions are likely to seek that training in other institutions. State universities, unless conditions are changed, will train many good doctors, but few distinguished surgeons, many good lawyers, but few real students of jurisprudence, many engineers but few professional engineers. Perhaps they cannot in the long run, be made up of persons of mediocrity. That will be a misfortune, not merely for the institutions, but for the students who come to them to be trained for service within the state.
There is current a gross misconception concerning the theory of American education. Many believe that equality
of opportunity means equal ability and unvarying opportunity. There is a sense in which education is democratic only at the beginning. All children enter the doors of the public schools, so far as the schools are concerned, with an even chance, but the upper reaches and stretches of education must be and should be earned. The only point that we should keep in mind is that the differences that are emphasized are not due to adventitious circumstances, but to differences in intellect and in achievement and in ability. A state university should emphasize differences as well as likenesses, incolualities as well as equalities; it should select for opportunity as well as provide an opportunity for all. These purposes can be achieved only by a thorough reorganization. Most of us are too timid to attempt that reorganization. Consequently I fear we shall continue to temporize and compromise with the situation, and to move on year after year, with the registration growing in size and the machinery of administration becoming more complex. But that does not alter the situation nor does it change the facts.
The entire program of American education is on trial. It is being tested and criticised in new and untried ways. Its purposes and aims are worthy of our most ardent defense. Its organization is crippled by attempts to preserve traditional distinctions, historical anomalies, and a blind faith in the boundaries of the various administrative units. Shall the schoolmasters of America wait for outside forces and pressure to bring changes—changes which may be hurtful—or will they assume some leadership in the matter? That is the challenge of the day ! Refuse it and we become the unthinking adherents of faith and tradition; accept it and we become the leaders of a new day, the true exponents of a great profession.
The High School History Library
By A. CURTIS WILGUS, M.A., Teaching Fellow in History, University of California
Not long ago in an article entitled the “Laboratory Method in the Teaching and Studying of History’” the present writer described very briefly the characteristics of the high school history library. It is the purpose of this article to set forth in greater detail just what such an aid in the teaching of history should contain, and and how it should be made efficient use of by both teacher and pupil.
In the afore-mentioned article the library was located in the history recitation room, for here it is most easily accessible to those who most need it, and here too, rather than in the main school library, it may be more easily supervised by the teacher who is its guardian. Moreover, being located in the history room, there is not the confusion in its use which would result if it were connected with the school library.
With the coöperation of the manual training department, especially if there are students taking both history and manual training, shelves or bookcases may be built and placed in the history recitation room, preferably behind the teacher's desk. This may all be done at very little expense—far less than would be required to buy sectional bookcases— for there are to be no glass doors attached to the shelves, and the finished product should be very plain but substantial. The shelves should be so made that they may be adjusted to fit the size of the books and filing boxes that are to be placed thereon.
After the bookcases have been installed in the recitation room, the next task is to fill them. It is not the duty of this paper to suggest here any definite text-books to be used in the class work,
but only to suggest the type of books to be placed upon the shelves. In the first place there must be of course, supposing this to be the American as well as the Ancient, Medieval, Modern and English history class room, text-books to parallel those used in each class. That is, there should be several text-books by different authors upon the various history fields covered in this particular recitation room. In most high school libraries there are at least a few reference books, and all that needs to be done is to take them from the shelves of the school library and place them in the history recitation room. Besides such text-books there should be found, if the school can afford them, several books classed as historical fiction and true historical prose tales. These, while having their place in the studying and teaching of history, should not be too numerous, and should be, if necessary, sacrificed for books of a more useful character. In the same class as the books just mentioned are those dealing with historical poetry and drama. Of course, the ideal condition would be to have a collection of these also, but likewise they should be sacrificed for more important works if it is found necessary.
In some schools the trend is now more and more to teach history by the biographical method. Biographies, and especially autobiographies, are extremely good to illustrate points of view of the characters they portray. But in the average high school history class the time is generally too short to give much consideration to such books. Still, in such a scheme as this is, they are entirely in place and may be used to great advantage by both teacher and pupils. It goes without saying that there Ought to be an encyclopedia of history together with a dictionary and the Encyclopedia Britannica, if such can be spared from the main school library or be purchased especially for the use of the history classes. Besides, there should be source books such as compilations of documents, etc., prepared to supplement the material in the various texts used. If possible a set of some history of the world should be placed upon the library shelves. However it is realized that in many schools, where the purchasing fund for books is limited, many of these suggestions will not be carried out, but with coöperation between the history teacher and the principal and a judicious use of the funds on hand some of these difficulties may be Overcome."
1 The Historical Outlook, January 21, Vol. XII, No. 1.
If, however, it is found possible to collect enough books to fill one case, another set of shelves should be built as the library is still by no means complete, for among other things a periodical clippings file should be added. Here an expense is involved to which it is hoped the school authohrities will not be hostile. The ordinary shelves which have been built may be used, but the expense incurred is in purchasing, from some sectional bookcase, heavy card-board filing boxes, the outside dimensions of which are 1014 by 5% by 12% inches. This size will be found to be the most convenient and the most efficient in use. Each box is furnished with a small handle and a holder for the label. After these have been purchased—only three or four at a time should be bought—the teacher must determine what is to be placed in them and how it may be classified. Since this is the periodical clippings file it should be limited to news
paper and magazine clippings. Obviously it would be impossible for the teacher to do all of the marking and clipping of the material. Consequently the pupils should be encouraged to bring in, after they have judiciously used scissors at home, and this the teacher must explaim to them, such items as will be of value in the class work and pertinent to the subjects which have been or are to be studied. The pupils of the American history class, for example, should not only be encouraged to clip things of importance for their work, but also such matters of interest which they may find of importance to the pupils of the other history fields. After the material for the file is collected, or preferably before much has been accumulated, the teacher with the aid of the pupils, for just to the extent in which the pupils assist the teacher in this work, just so far will they be benefited, should decide upon some method of classification. Perhaps the regular Dewey-decimal system will be found of most benefit, but more probably some other method worked out by the teacher to suit the immediate needs will work more effectively. But whatever the method adopted for filing and classifying, it should be consistently adhered to and not changed as the material accumulates. The teacher should always supervise the filing and must impress upon the pupils’ minds the exact type of historical material which should be brought to class. They must be shown that when an article is clipped from a newspaper or magazine it is imperative to attach to the article so clipped the name of the periodical from which it is taken and the date. This, it must be understood, should be accurately done or the clipping will be of no value. In
1 For lists of suitable books for the history library see the Historical Outlook for October
1921, Vol. xii, No. 7, pp. 242-7. Valley Historical Association.
These are suggested by a committee of the Mississippi