Page images
PDF
EPUB

studying algebra or geometry. If I had my way I would have every girl in every high school every day study the science and art of housekeeping and home making

I do not see how the high school can prepare for industrial life in any other way so effective as industrial training that leads directly toward skilled workmanship and a trade. I quite agree with those who think that the manual training in our high schools must be more definite, that it must get somewhere, that it must add to the earning power, that it must at least point toward a trade. I fear that the whole manual training movement will come into disrepute unless it becomes more practical and more definite. And domestic science which does not center in home making and home management, or lead through the industries to the home, is not worth while.

I would keep the shops, the kitchens and the hand-working rooms and the laboratories open all day and every day but Sunday and for twelve months of the year; book study and recitations in the early part of the day, and shop work in the afternoon. I would have summer sessions largely industrial and vocational. The rural schools must keep going in the summer if they are to teach any real agriculture. Four terms in the year of twelve weeks each; children under fourteen years of age to be allowed to attend only three of these terms; and a voluntary attendance for those above that age, and especially those who are learning a trade, those to whom time is of great importance, those who are physically strong, and those who are preparing for any specific kind of work.

I have not discussed the matter of high school expense. It is great. The per capita cost is not far from three times the per capita cost in the grades. I would not have any less money appropriated for the high school. Indeed, I would have more, but I would distribute it differently,-more for the shops, laboratories and kitchens, even if I had to offer fewer academic subjects.

The university must be given undivided support, for it creates leaders of thought. Leadership is essential. There must be opportunity for investigation and research. The idealist must point the way for the realist, even though the idealist be a rare and costly species. The discovery of the diphtheria antitoxine, antiseptic surgery or any similar discovery once a century justifies the existence of the university. But conditions change for the university as well as for the high school. The university is becoming more and more a professional school and its efforts are along practical lines. It has adjusted itself. It ought to help the high school to adjust itself, and it is a matter of pride that our university in its requirements for admission has recognized the practical work that many high schools are doing. I think it ought to go farther and admit to the arts department a graduate of any high school in Michigan whose superintendent or principal will certify that this graduate is intellectually and morally fit to undertake the work of the University.

Some of the things which, in my judgment, ought to be readjusted, are:

First. Course of study, one route to point toward the university for the few and another route towards industrials for the many. In the college preparatory courses, much of the work now offered beyond the fifteen units should be eliminated; foreign language offered only for those preparing for college, and that simply because the college requires it.

Second. Have fewer academic subjects, fewer sciences, but take these for a longer time.

Third. Do away with the idea that a student, especially a girl, must take subjects for which the student has no aptitude.

Fourth. Provide industrial training for everybody, every day, every boy in the shop and every girl in the kitchen; at least until a pupil is certain that he is to follow the route toward the college, this training to head straight toward a life work.

Fifth. Special trade or continuation schools for those who want a trade, the trades to be taught by a master workman and not by a school teacher.

Sixth. Break the lock-step of graduation. The high school is run on the plan that everybody may or will graduate. For the student who can remain only a year or so the present high school has little to offer. Give any one who is willing to work an opportunity to fit himself for a livelihood in the shortest time possible. This means special classes, graduation in less than four years. It means, perhaps, classes started at irregular times. It means teachers who appreciate the situation.

Seventh. Lengthen school day and week and year. High school students are capable of much work. The long vacation and the short school day tend to create a habit of laziness. The great asset that a young man may bring to his life job is the habit of work. The Russell Sage Foundation has recently published a Comparative Study of Public School Systems in the Forty-eight States. On page 11 you will find this sentence, “As a nation the United States has a shorter school day, a shorter school week, and a shorter school year than any other highly civilized country in the world." But there must be a diversity of work, work for the hand and the mind, so that work will be less like drudgery than now. We must hustle more and hurry less.

Eighth. Fewer books, more laboratories, shops and study of things, and greater emphasis on the constructive side.

Ninth. Less written work, more oral, more public speaking ; much less of written work intended for the waste basket.

Tenth. Study of modern English classics as well as of ancient English classics.

Eleventh. Run the school primarily for the great majority who can never go to college. Give the others their fair share of attention, but do not, as now, let their interest dominate the school.

Twelfth. Bear in mind that different types of education are required for boys and for girls.

Thirteenth. Make the school to fit the community and the course of study to fit the pupil,

Fourteenth. Emphasize the idea that the school is a work shop and that there is no substitute for work.

THE PRODUCT OF THE HIGH SCHOOL.

PROFESSOR J. L. MARKLEY, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN.

The Secondary Schools of this country are rapidly undergoing a process of transformation. In fact the change is so great and marked that one might be justified in calling it a process of re-formation. An indication of this change, which is merely a partial illustration, is found in a comparison of the requirements for entrance to the Department of Literature, Science, and the Arts of this University with those of fifty years ago. In 1863, the admission requirements were as follows:

Classical Course. Arithmetic; Algebra through quadratic equations; English Grammar; Ancient and Modern Geography; Latin Grammar and Exercises ; Caesar, Cicero, Six Books of the Aeneid; Greek Grammar and Anabasis.

Scientific Course.-Instead of the Classics, were required ist, 3rd and 6th Books of Davies' Legendre, and Physics.

The present requirements which went into effect in September, 1912, are as follows:

Applicants for admission as undergraduates must be at least sixteen years of age, and must have completed the requirements for admission as here described. These requirements are stated in units, a unit meaning the equivalent of five recitations a week in one branch of study for one year, amounting in the aggregate to not less than one hundred twenty sixty-minute hours in the clear. Two to three hours of laboratory, drawing, or shopwork will be counted as equivalent to one of recitation.

A. Fifteen units are required for admission. These fifteen units must include three units of English Composition and Literature, two units of a Foreign Language, one unit of Algebra and one of Geometry, and one unit of one of the sciences, Physics, Chemistry, Botany, or Zoology; and may include not more than three units from Group II. They must embrace two subjects of three units each from Group I. It is however, strongly recommended that one or more studies be pursued throughout the four years of the high school course.

The subjects from which choice may be made, and the number of units which will be acepted in each subject, are as follows:

GROUP I. English Composition and Literature, Geometry, 11/2 units, or 1 unit. 4 or 3 units.

Trigonometry, 12 unit. Greek, 3 or 2 units.

Physics, I unit. Latin, 4, 3 or 2 units.

Chemistry, I unit. French, 4, 3 or 2 units.

Botany, 1 or 12 unit. German, 4, 3 or 2 units.

Zoology, I or 12 unit.
Spanish, 4, 3 or 2 units.

Physiology, 12 unit.
History, 3 or 2 units, or i unit. Geology, 12 unit.
Algebra, 2 or 112 units, or i unit. Physiography, 1 or 1/2 unit.

Three units of science may be offered as a three-unit subject.

In order that a half unit in science may be accepted it must be supplemented by a second half unit in science. For this purpose the only groupings permitted are the following: (a) Botany and Zoology; (b) Zoology (or Botany) and Physiology ; (e) Physiography and Geology; (d) Physiography and Botany.

Two units of mathematics and one unit of physics may be offered as a three-unit subject, in which case a second unit of science must be presented.

GROUP II. Agriculture, 2 units, or 1 unit. Manual Training, 2 units, or i unit. Domestic Science, 2 units, or I unit. Commercial Branches, 2 units, or i Drawing, 1 or 1/2 unit.

unit. Subjects from Group II will not be accepted for admission on examination.

B. Graduates of schools on the approved list of the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools will be admitted upon the presentation of an unqualified recommendation covering not less than fifteen units, of which at least twelve must be from Group I. Admission on this basis of recommendation may be granted also to the graduates of other especially approved schools. Applications for this privilege must be made by the superintendent or principal on special blanks which may be obtained from the Dean of the Department of Literature, Science, and the Arts.

CONDITIONAL ADMISSION. No applicant will be admitted who presents less than fifteen units. An applicant for admission, either on examination or certificate, who presents fifteen units given in the foregoing lists, but who is deficient in not more than two units in subjects there specified as mandatory, may be admitted conditionally; but any condition thus incurred must be removed at one of the next two regular examinations for admission. No student who has an admission condition outstanding at the beginning of his second year of residence will be allowed to enter his classes until such condition is removed.

I have said that the comparison is only an indication of the change; for while the main purpose of the Secondary School of fifty years ago was the preparation of boys for college, this phase of the work is but one of the many avowed purposes of the high school of today. In fact, the administrators and supporters of the Secondary Schools long ago reached the point of strenuously and sometimes even bitterly resenting the so-called "domination" of the college over the high school curriculum. I may remark, by way of parenthesis, that I think this feature of the relationship of school and college has been greatly exaggerated, but since it has existed, discussion of the problem must take it into account. And problem it is, whose conditions are becoming ever increasingly more complex, and whose adequate solution seems farther remote than ever before.

The fact that a large number of persons in the country believe that the schools are failing in one respect or another is brought to light by the wide-spread discussion of the inability of our boys and girls, our young men and young women, to do effectively the work which naturally falls to them in the work-a-day world in which they find themselves constituting a part. It may be said, with a considerable degree of justice, that a large part of this discussion is sensational, but one has only to observe his own little field of activity to discover evidences of a real cause for the interest, hostile though it be, in the matter.

It is my purpose to confine myself to my own little field of observation and leave certain aspects of the matter to others who are more competent to discuss it. It will be readily admitted that one legitimate test of a system of education is the measure of its success in fitting its recipients to do their part of the world's work in an effective manner. My subject concerns the ability of the high school graduate to do the work of the college which naturally falls to his lot. I do not come to you with logical proofs, but with impressions which have been formed during twenty-three years of experience in teaching, observing, and advising young men and women, entering for the first time upon college work. During many years of that period, I have been member or chairman of the Committee on Elections whose duty it is to supervise the elections of first-year students.

My impression is, that the average freshman of today is not as well fitted and able to do the work assigned to him and chosen by him, as was the representative of his class twenty or twenty-five years ago. Granting, for the sake of argument, that I am justified in voicing my impression, it may rightly be asserted, by way of accounting for this condition, that there are factors, extraneous to the system of education, which produce this deterioration. Attendance upon high school and college is much more common today than it was twenty-five years ago. Those who attended secondary schools then formed a picked class, made up of sons and daugh

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »