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to our happy-go-lucky way of striking out boldly for a grand ideal and omitting to look well to the careful adjustment and perfection of the lesser implications. This characteristic of our ways of doing things is the constant marvel of thoughtful observers. It has upset the world's traditions in more than one department of public endeavor.
That this pioneer spirit is our glory as well as our weakness has been again brought to our consciousness by the recent commission of educational experts deputed by the German Government to report upon noteworthy features of American schools. At a reception given by the Society of Educational Research, at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Isaac L. Rice, to representatives of this commission, it was the substance of the observations made by these distinguished visitors. Dr. Duncker, Counsellor in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, with many years of school supervision behind him, voiced the thought when he said that he was especially impressed with the largeness of view obtaining in everything in the United States. "Kleinlichkeit" is foreign to an American's make-up. The negative side of this largeness Dr. Duncker recognized in the popular impatience with trifles and finical exactitude. Here at the point of greatest strength he saw also the principal source of weakness: Exactness in detail, careful plodding, and the painstaking perfecting processes are wanting. The schools reveal the trait in handling new ideas with old enterprise, but failing to encourage, to any appreciable degree, precision and care in the little things. From this characteristic springs a powerful stimulus to self-reliance, developing on its weak side into an encouragement of extravagant notions on the part of the young of their importance and ability. However, in a young civilization it is well that every citizen should have unbounded faith in himself. What Dr. Duncker wished the future citizens of his fatherland to develop was the American's largeness of view and his strong self-reliance, without losing, in the acquisition of these virtues, the habit of looking well to the details.
Dr. von Seefeld, Privy Counsellor of the Government in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, also praised the fulness of life and free activity encouraged in the schools. He was deeply impressed with the educational enthusiasm evidenced by the people of the United States. With so widespread and pronounced a faith in education and constant self-improvement, the people might well feel safe in spite of the enormity of the immigration problem. Dr. von Seefeld had found the programmes of our common schools largely influenced by the popular determination to Americanize foreigners.
Dr. Kuypers, who is the superintendent of schools of the city of Düsseldorf, spoke more especially concerning the technical preparation of teachers. He had been strengthened by his observations, he said, in his belief that broad scholarship should have first consideration in the preparation for teaching. He had found among American primary teachers many college graduates, who, after completing the general culture courses, had attended technical training colleges or normal schools. The determination on the part of normal schools to require high-school graduation or its equivalent for admission is in the right direction. Here Germany may well learn of America. But there is in America no teachers' profession as in Germany. There is no professional consensus of opinion, and consequently there is not the weight given to the utterances of educational experts as is the case abroad. The fact, too, that there are so few men in teaching he did not consider conducive to the formation of a strong profession on scientific principles. More virility and the choice of teaching as a lifework by larger numbers of well-trained men appeared to Dr. Kuypers to be two things American schools are much in need of.
Dr. Pabst, a distinguished expert in industrial training, whose great work at Leipzig has made his name known to the educational leaders of two continents, made a profound impression by his brief remarks upon the fundamental ideas of American education as he saw them. Our educational principle, he said, is: "Education to work through work.” Honest labor, whatever its sphere may be, is respected. It is part of the American's creed that man is born into the world to work, and work is what he looks forward to as the condition for which the schools must prepare him. The frank recognition of the supereminence of industrial endeavor as a life pursuit lends strength to the American schools as the educating stations of the people. Manual training is not undertaken by tolerance, but occupies the centre of the course of preparation for life. And therewith the right means has been chosen: the gospel of work. This "Education to work through work" constitutes the greatness of American schools.
It is evident that the German visitors ploughed deeper than the Mosely commission. They struck nearer to the fundamentals, and their findings are for that reason all reassuring. Germany believes in expert judgment; here England has much to learn, and we, too, for that matter. The reign of the expert means wise economy. Every large city, and smaller school communities in conjunction, could well afford to maintain a bureau of educational research in charge of a trained investi
gator, to report upon existing conditions and the results obtained in the schools.
The Chicago "Chronicle" seems to regard the development of a bureau of inquiry into educational results as something of a joke. Some pedagogic Balak must have taken advantage of this to ask it for an editorial anathema on the suggestion of such a bureau. The willing editor actually starts out to damn the thing, but, like his illustrious prototype of Pethor, his utterances become praises. No newspaper, so far as I know, has ever presented better arguments for the desirability and economic value of a bureau such as the Society of Educational Research is laboring to get the people to believe in. Making due allowances for editorial spleen and the peculiarities of a style which is apparently intended to be sarcastic, we cannot well ask for a better statement of the good that an efficient bureau of research is bound to do. This is how the "Chronicle" delivers itself under the head of "Standardizing Education":
In establishing this bureau of educational results, which as yet for lack of funds does not exist, Dr. Rice says he wishes to do away with opinion and substitute facts. "Strictly speaking, there are no educational facts in existence to-day," is his testimony. "Educators are groping in the dark and harping on methods. At present there are no educational standards and education is in a state of chaos from the lack of standards."
This being the case, Dr. Rice proposes, in true philanthropic fashion, to establish them. It is intended, as soon as the necessary funds will permit, to put a permanent investigator in the field and to employ a large force of clerks in the office. Since there are "no educational facts in existence to-day," it is supposed this investigator and the clerks will call them into being, keep them on hand in the office, and deal them out as demands may require.
Teachers will be glad to learn that when the bureau is well established they can consult schedules and tables by which they may know just what a class averaging thirteen years of age and numbering twenty-five Americans and seventeen foreigners will be able to do in a given time in English or arithmetic or spelling.
All other questions which are now perplexing educators will be solved mechanically as soon as this marvellous bureau is well under way. The calculating machine will report at once just what branches should be taught in the grades and how much time is to be given to each, just what is to be expected from each pupil, and the amount of power he ought to develop in a given time.
The "touch a button" or "drop a nickel in the slot " cannot compare in efficiency to the proposed machine. Put $5,000 annually into the bureau and out will come the answer to every conceivable question relating to schools and scholarship.
When Dr. Rice went on his famous tour of inspection and marked all the schools and all the classes — some of them very low he did not question the value of his figures. He has the same confidence in his ability to "standardize education" and establish a bureau of educational results. Practical teachers are not so confident.
The last sentence contains the only actual misstatement. Practical teachers are not only confident that the bureau of results will be an
excellent thing, but they are beginning to be enthusiastic at the prospect of it. In ten years there has not been as much concern shown as in the last three months. The membership of the Society of Educational Research is steadily growing. The new idea of educational economics has been discussed in teachers' meetings before large and intensely interested audiences. Educators of large influence have expressed a willingness to lend their support to the movement. In Sweden, England, Germany, and France the working out of different phases of the problem is being taken in hand by professional leaders. The practical teachers everywhere have awakened to the magnitude of the benefits to be derived from the departure for a wiser economy in teaching and the increase of the educational efficiency of the schools.
Chicago has made a beginning with a salaried child study specialist. But the scope of his work ought to be much more specific than it is at present, and ought to bear more upon the actual work of the school, so that the board of education and the superintendent may both be able to consult him in all matters pertaining to educational economy. With a bureau of results established in New York City, the difficulties encountered in the making of the course of study and the determining of the length of a profitable school day would have been far more satisfactorily handled. OSSIAN H. LANG.
THE QUANTITATIVE STUDY OF EDUCATION.
THE study of education is beginning to be quantitative. We are no longer satisfied with vague arguments about what this or that system of administration or method of teaching does, but demand exact measures of the achievement of any system or method or person. We are becoming properly disgusted with the one-sided bookkeeping which only takes account of the dollars spent, and neglects the debit side, the income in knowledge, habits, power, zeal, and ideals.
This ambition toward an exact objective measurement of the results of educational endeavor is a symptom of healthy scientific fervor and also of common-sense wisdom. It is in every respect and for every reason right that the same painstaking precision should be applied to the study of human welfare that is now given to the study of Jupiter's satellites or to the petals of the daisy. It is right, too, that to a general faith in the efficacy of systematic education there should be added a cold-blooded inquiry into just what comes of it all. No one possessed of either science or sense will deny the value of successful quantitative study of school work.
There is, however, a danger that the quantitative studies, which promise to do as much in their way as the philanthropic movement in education has done in its way, may be misled and fall into disrepute by being too hasty. Consequently, it may be useful at this time to summarize a few of the scientific and logical principles of the theory of measurement as applied to the facts of education.
The quantitative study of education implies the measurement of things, changes, and relationships or dependencies. For instance, we need to know the amount of knowledge produced by such and such a form of training, the change in this or that mental power, or the relationship between, say, efficiency in school work and efficiency in the work of life. Peculiar difficulties attend the measurement of each of these three kinds of quantity.
The things or existences of the intellectual and moral life differ from those of physics or chemistry in being extremely variable, extremely