has been the chief, the one aim of the author of these papers.

Though written for teachers of city graded schools, if of any interest or worth, the principles advanced and advocated are equally fitted for teachers of ungraded and country schools, and for any one interested in the welfare and usefulness of our schools in making happier men and women and more honest, public-spirited, and worthy citizens.

The one great thing needed in our schools, public or private, is that spirit of humanity and culture which shall make their life healthful, happy, and progressive, the wellspring of an upright, true, cultured manhood and womanhood, and a willing, working, watchful, and faithful citizenship.

GEORGE HOWLAND. Chicago, September, 1889.



THERE are currents and tides of thought, as well as of wind and wave-times when certain topics seize upon the public mind, and, whether we will or not, demand a hearing.

The question of the claims and the usefulness of the higher schools is fast passing away with the hard times, in which it had its source, and from the ruins of fortune and reputation it is but natural that men, and thinking men, should turn to search for the springs of this widespread desolation.

And if the decade following that of the rapid development of the high-school system in our land be that when, above all others, integrity is a myth and honor a by-word, is it not fair to dwell there for a little, and examine into the nature and workings of the system, whether there be a deadly taint in the very streams that supply our homes, our counting-rooms, our temples of justice, and from which we fill the baptismal fonts upon our altars ? We need not, then, be surprised or disheartened, when from the occupant of the pulpit, or the platform, or the editor's chair, come complainings, doubts, and questionings as to the moral training of our public schools. We need not be offended, though many an honest and wondering citizen, listening, in ignorance of the cause, to their clamor, like Gilpin's neighbors, thinking they carry weight, cry out, “Well done !” to their unguided and unrestrained career, but rather should we throw wide our gates to let them pass, glad by any means to learn the truth, and apply, if need be, a remedy. For in a land like ours, if the public school has any leave to be, it is from its being a sure and efficient helper in making intelligent, industrious, and upright citizens.

It were easy to show, if such were the purpose of the hour, that much of the apparent dishonesty of the last few years—the unredeemed promise, the broken obligation, the violated trust, the commercial and official degradation—was, in a manner, forced upon unwilling victims by the unyielding laws of value, as estimated by a worthless measure-laws by which the enterprising, the publicspirited, the large-hearted, were not seldom the first and greatest sufferers, rudely awakened from their fevered dreams of uncoined wealth to the reality of want, hopelessness, and dishonor.

That the school, by the quickening of the intellect, and the inspiration of new hopes and higher aims, may have disturbed the rest and content of the lowly, we would not deny ; but rather claim, and glory in the belief, that every child of the school, if not of the soil, whether his inheritance be reached by the course of the National Academy or by the tow-path, is born to a birthright of progress and honor.

The severest censure of our school system often comes from those who, in acknowledged ignorance of the schools of to-day, speak from the memories of their own experience of a generation ago, seemingly all unconscious of

« ElőzőTovább »