« PreviousContinue »
instruction given must come up to the proper standard; (d) the children of the poor are to be received gratuitously; and (e) the school is subject to Government inspection. The defect, lowover, seems to be the nonprovision for a minority of less than twenty fathers.
“The effect will probably be that there will be in towns as many undenominational schools as ever, but that in the rural districts, where the Roman Catholic clergy have greater influence than in many of the towns, there will be great changes and the peasantry will be relieved from tho serious hardship of paying for schools which they do not use. The law, as regards State schools, still remains intact in respect of its secular character and in respect of the provisions for religious teaching, but the main amendment promotes the support of schools where such religious doctrines and formularies, be they Roman Catholic or otherwise, as the managers of the school think proper, form a portion of the ordinary plan of study.
“Ilowever, until such measures be introduced as provide that consideration be shown toward all, one can scarcely expect to find that tho Belgian educational system will be devoid of that frietion which would alone prevent the perfecting of details apart from those relating to religious teaching.
“ The United States of America.—Tho range of country is so immense and the social conditions so diverse that it is difficult to make general statements applicable to the States as a whole. The condition of education in each State or Territory must be judged on its merits.
“Very great allowanco must be made in view of (a) the colored race element, a result of the abolition of slavery, whereby some additional millions became entitled to claim Stato rights, and (b) of the vast number of immigrants of various nationalities continually pouring in, to whom the system of the majority has to be adapted.
“Sectarian instruction is not given in the public schools. It is quite a common practice to open or close the public schools with Bible reading and prayer. Singing of religious hymns by tho entire school is still moro common.
“ The influence of the schools is wholly on the side of morality and religion. Religious teaching, however, is entirely intrusted to church and family agencies.
" In truth, arrangements for religious teachings are a source of discontent in the United States, especially to tho Roman Catholics. They are not upon a basis which satisfies all, or virtually all, and can not be deemed permanent."
Mr. Laishley presents a tabular contrast of all the countries under discussion, from which the following is a condensation, to show the extent of religious instruction in public schools and supervision of private schools. He has rated the prevalence of religious instruction in public schools of the United States too high.
As directed by boards and volun. None, except that the board must tary school managers.
be satisfied "a child is under efli.
cient instruction." Irance None
Yes; teachers inust have certifi
Yes; teachers must have diplo-
No, if wholly private; yes, if re
ceiving State aid. United States of America... No universal rule; in most places No.
a certain amount; the system
In Belgium to 1879 religious instruction was regularly given in public schools. In that year the schools were completely secularized. The reaction of 1884 restored. religious instruction, with some modification, as before the act of 1879.
The law of September 20, 1884, however, left religious instruction optional with the communes. In 1895 only 153 out of 5,778 schools did not have daily religions instruction on their programmes. By a law of that year (1895) religious instruction onehalf hour daily was made obligatory, except for children whose parents ask that they be excused. The instruction is to be given by the ministers of the several denominations, or, under their supervision, either by the teacher, if he consents, or by another person approved by the communal council. The inspection of the religious instruction is by the “chief of the confessions” through their delegates, and not as part of the State inspection.
Teachers must abstain from any attack on the religious belief of the families whose children are intrusted to them.
In brief, tho pupils are to have religious instruction in the schools, under tho faith of their parents, or to be excused from religious exercises so far as parents ask it.
France is the only European country at this time whose schools are rigidly secularized, and there Thursday is kept as a holiday to give opportunity for religious instruction elsewhere.
These glimpses at conditions in the countries where parents were born will be suggestive as to the views of public education, especially as related to religion, to which a large part of our people are accustomed. This statement is only suggestive, and therefore only the States are named in the following paragraphs in which the descendants of any nationality specified form a prominent fraction. It will be evident that tho influences of a given nationality are quite local, and that their diversity tends to maintain the specialization of our State systems.
HIGH RATIOS OF FOREIGN PARENTAGE.
In North Dakota and Minnesota more than three-fourths of the population is of foreign parentage; in Wisconsin almost three-fourths; in Utah close to two-thirds; in South Dakota near three-fifths; in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Michigan, Montana, Arizona, Nevada, and California just over one-half; in New Jersey, Illinois, and Wyoming just below one-half; in Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Idaho, and Washington over two-fifths; in Pennsylvania and Ohio just above one-third; in Oregon not quite one-third; in Kansas and Missouri just over one-fourth, and in Maryland just below one-fourth.
The localization of the principal elements of foreign parentage—from Ireland, Germany, Great Britain, Canada, and Scandinavia-appears in the following paragraphs.
Ireland.-Persons of Irish parentage form just above one-fourth of the whole population in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut; barely under one-fifth in New York; just below one-sixth in New Jersey; barely over one-seventh in Nevada; close to one-eighth in California, Pennsylvania, and Montana.
Germany. -Persons of German parentage are much above a third of the whole population in Wisconsin; above one-fifth in Illinois and Minnesota; a little below one-fifth in New York; close to one-sixth in Ohio; more than one-seventh in New Jersey, Nebraska, Iowa, and Michigan; just below one-seventh in Missouri, South Dakota, Maryland, and Indiana; barely short of one-ninth in Pennsylvania; and a little more than one-tenth in North Dakota and California.
Great Britain.-Persons whose parents were born in Great Britain form more than one-third of the population in Utah; more than one-seventh in Idaho; close to onesixth in Wyoming; one-eighth in Nevada, and nearly one-eighth in Montana and Rhode Island. The United States is so closely allied to Great Britain by early settlement, colonial government, habits of thought, community of language, and ready intercourse that the figures which show persons not more than one generation re. moved from foreign birth do not adequately represent the ratio of British influence on our social condition. As illustrating indirect ways by which British methods touch public sentiment with us, attention may be directed to the assistance missionaries from this country receive from British colonial governments for their schools. When a Congregational missionary from Bombay, India, for example, reports to his friends in this country, his balance sheets are likely to show a Government grant of one-half the cost of his manual training school shop, one-fourth the cost of the teacher's residence, and an allowance, according to results shown upon examination by the Government inspector, not exceeding one-third the current expenses. This same missionary will state that the Government pays no attention to the religious teaching and stands ready to make kindred grants to schools of any religion, or of no religion, that put themselves under its inspection and produce like results in so-called secular education. This is in sharp contrast with recent denominational action in this country where several religious bodies relinquished government contracts for Indian schools in the movement to separate Government action from any relation to sectarianism. Ono can hardly help inquiring whether the present current of senti. ment in the United States will lead to instructions from mission boards here to their missionaries in the British dominions to refuse Government aid, or whether the experience of the missionaries will tend to modify the current feeling at home.
Canada.- Persons of Canadian parentage are more than one sixth the entire population of New Hampshire and Vermont; just over one-eighth of the population of Massachusetts and Maine, and just below one-eighth in Michigan and Rhode Island.
Scandinavia.- Persons of Scandinavian parentage form close to one-third the whole population of North Dakota; over one-fourth in Minnesota; just abovo one-sixth in South Dakota; just below one-sixth in Utah, and almost one-ninth in Wisconsin.
European conditions summarized.—The people of Continental Europe, the Germans and the Scandinavians, have been accustomed to a state church, to compulsory education, to religious teaching based upon the Bible, but accommodated in a catechetical form to certain faiths, in the state schools, and to tuition fees above the elementary schools. The exceptional conditions of France, are recent (schools secularized by laws of 1882 and 1886), and affect us little, except through their example in the great movement of cosmopolitan public opinion, that country furnishing as yet few immigrants, and those hardly grown used to the new conditions of their own country.
CURRENT DISCUSSION IN ENGLAND.
The English, although having a state church, are like ourselves in some aspects of their experience with religious teaching. They have a recent public-school system, but questions of religious instruction are subject to local views of policy. Protestant dissenters or nonconformists appear among the active opponents of religious instruction in the public schools. The English have not even now a school system for general education, like that of Massachusetts, for example. They have been accustomed since 1839 to a “grant in aid” system, by which the Government has aided schools of any or no faith, according to results in secular education and the conditions of the schools. Not half the pupils are in schools under charge of public-school boards.
The English people have now two prominent types of procedure as to religion in public schools. One is illustrated in schools of the London school board, where religious instruction, called unsectarian, is made prominent. The Bible is studied, not merely read. The other type is known to some under the name of the Birmingham method, because adopted by the Birmingham school board, in whose schools only secular instruction is given. Permission is given for the children whose parents so desire to attend religious instruction under forms which they select during certain school hours. The London type reaches all pupils except those specifically excused on their parents' request. The Birmingbam method leaves all who do not distinctly select religious instruction wholly without it.
The public schools of England are in a transition state, with legislation pending of sufficien importance to affect party issues and the stability of the ministry. The public interest hinges mainly upon the proposed treatment of religious instruction, which the opposition interpret as too favorable to the Catholic and the Anglican (Episcopa churches.
The following paragraph is in the pending educational bill for England and Wales:
"27. (1) One of the regulations in accordance with which a public elementary school is required to be conducted shall be that if the parents of a reasonable number of the scholars attending the school require that separate religious instruction be given to their children, the managers shall, so far as practicable, whether the religious instruction in the school is regulated by any trust deed, scheme, or other instrument or not, permit reasonable arrangements to be made for allowing such religious instruction to be given, and shall not be precluded from doing so by the provisions of any such deed, scheme, or instrument.
“(2) Any question which may arise under this section as to what is reasonable or practicable shall be determined by the education department, whose decision shall be final."
Sir John Gorst, in asking leave to introduce the bill, said: “Last year the voluntary schools educated 2,445,812 children, as against 1,879,218 educated in the board schools; or, to put the matter in a more popular form, of every seven children educated by the State, three were educated in board schools and four in the voluntary schools.
“The Roman Catholics and a very large part of the members of the Church of England make it a point of conscience that their children should be educated by teachers of their own denominations, and it would be impossible to force those children out of their own schools into the board schools without being guilty of a piece of religious intolerance which the people of England in these enlightened days would never consent to."
On the second reading of the bill Mr. Gorst said:
“In our country, where we quarrel so much about religious inatters, there is only one principle by which we can obtain peace in our schools, and that is by the recognition of the right of the parent to have his child brought up in the religion which he selects.
“In the east end of London the London school board has most properly established Jewish schools, where the Jewish religion is taught by persons approved by the rabbi.”
The bill represents the views of the party in power, but it is strongly opposed. In debate Mr. Asquith said of section 27, quoted above:
“I do not hesitate to describe that scheme as an endowment on a vast and unprecedented scale, out of public money, of a system of denominational teaching. The principle which has governed us hitherto in this matter has been this: Wo have two sets of schools. First, the board schools, entirely supported out of public resources, imperial and local. In those schools the teaching of any religious formulary or catechism is absolutely prohibited. We have another class of schools-denominational schools—which are largely supported out of the public funds. Yet, as in the view of the framers of the act of 1870, they were to continue to make substantial contributions of their own, they have given to them the power, while subject to a conscience clause, to teach any religious formulary they please. That is the compromise that was worked for twenty-five years. What occasion is there to disturb it?"
The education grants were introduced in England in 1839. The following table shows, by denominations, the entire amounts granted to schools and the amount for 1895, as given in The School Master (England), April 18, 1896, in pounds,' disregarding shillings and pence for the last column:
£43, 372 290
Church of England....
£2, 785, 522
} 10, 806, 172
4, 331, 773 25, 161.866
83, 675, 101
2 Since 1870.
1 The pound is nearly equivalent to $5 of our money. ED 95- -52
CURRENT DISCUSSION IN CANADA,
In Canada school questions aro deeply stirring the people. It has long been the practice in Lower Canada, or Quebec, strongly Catholic, and furnishing most of the French-Canadian immigrants for New England, to have separate public schools for Protestants. In Upper Canada, or Ontario, Protestants are in the majority, and separate schools for Catholics or for Protestants have been allowed since 1863. In Manitoba the act of 1871 established separate schools. In 1890 the provincial legislature of Manitoba abolished separate schools, and there has been an active contest between the provincial and the Dominion authorities regarding their restoration. The Canadians expect some religious exercise in school, and “in part of Canada there is a Stato concession that any person liable to bo taxed may, if he please, havo the right to elect to support a denominational school, and be thereupon to a certain extent exempt from public rates.".
Tho details of administration differ greatly in Great Britain, Canada, and the United States, but thero is a coincidence of present agitation in all upon the relation of the state to religious instruction in general education.
CURRENT CONDITIONS IN THE UNITED STATES.
Matthew Arnold suggests an explanation why popular education in England was not equal to that of Germany and Holland :
“ Perhaps ono reason why in England our schools have not had the life and growth of the schools of Germany and Holland is to be found in the separation with us of the power of the Reformation and the power of the Renaissance. With us, too, the Reformation triumphed and got possession of our schools, but our leading reformers were not at the same time like those of Germany; the nation's leading spirits were there—the reformers; in England our best spirits-Shakespeare, Bacon, Spenser-were men of the Renaissance, not men of the Reformation, and our reformers were men of the second order. The reformation, therefore, getting hold of the schools in England was a very different force, a force far inferior in light, resources, and prospects to the reformation getting hold of the schools in Germany." 2
Would Matthew Arnold look upon the conditions in the United States as a natural perpetuation of English conditions? Horace Mann's comment on teachers in English schools of 1843, as to each following his own course, applies, more than most persons are aware, to our States and communities.
It must be observed that the United States as such has no general school system. There are certain features of public-school administration in which different States or different cities resemble one another, but one can not be too careful in stating the geographical limitations of his facts. Foreign and native educators have fallen into the way of taking the schools of Massachusetts as the type of schools in the United States without recognizing the differences that begin as soon as one crosses the State line.
The Government of the United States maintains special isolated schools, as the Military Academy, the Naval Academy, and the schools on Indian reservations, but the only geographical areas on which the nation takes charge of education are, directly, Alaska, where some 2,000 pupils are in schools administered, according to their varying conditions, by the Bureau of Education, and, indirectly, the District of Columbia, whose municipal laws are made by Congress. It is noteworthy that while many are denouncing as impracticable any plan for public schools of different sects or classes the District of Columbia, in common with all the States where tho African race is prominent, has separate schools for whites and blacks, and even has a separate superintendent for the schools of each race, although all the schools are under the charge of one board and are supported without discrimination of funds.
1 Laishley, note. 2 Schools and Universities on the Continent, p. 153.