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The physical defects found in an examination of onethird of the school enrollment follow: Defective vision
27,534 Defective hearing
1,899 Defective nasal breathing
28,877 Diseased tonsils
36,153 Pulmonary disease
589 Heart disorders
3,980 Nervous affections
,1,970 Orthopedic defects
1,855 Defective nutrition
16,181 Defective teeth ...
.187,545 Thus 71% of those examined are in need of medical treatment.
Of those found defective physically, 81,569, or approximately 23%, are reported to have had the needed attention.
The reason for this small percentage securing treatment may be said to be poverty, ignorance, indifference. These are most frequently interrelated.
For those too poor to go to a private doctor or dentist, there are 9 dentists and 6 eye specialists employed. Naturally these meagre facilities are always overcrowded.
On exactly the same basis that education is free-and attendance at school compulsory—so must health be made free-and its acquisition compulsory, up to the limit of each individual's capacity.
Medical inspection of school children is provided by law in 22 states. In addition, 9 others provide some form of health protection, chiefly in the form of exclusion for contagious disease.
In thirty states instruction in health is required in all public schools; but in 17 of these, the “physiology and hygiene” required is qualified by the clause "in relation to the effects of alcohol and narcotics,” etc. While this aspect of health should be properly presented, experience shows that where this is made the main object, the health instruction is likely to be of very little value. Two states require health instruction only in relation to alcohol and narcotics; and in 16 states no requirements whatever are made. Physical training was prescribed by state law in only four states before this year. No man
can ever gain an understanding of the labor movement as long as he harbors the fallacy that the strike or boycott is a creation of the “labor leader.”
The only entirely reliable "Friend of Labor" is labor itself.
FEDERAL AID FOR THE COMMON SCHOOLS.
BY WILLIAM ENGLISH WALLING. By whatever standard we may judge, the American public schools fall scandalously short of what they should be. Our national educational expenditures,- public and private, from kindergarten to university are only about $800,000,000 a year-a sum that will soon be exceeded by our military budget. The public primary and secondary schools take about $550,000,000. The nation spends $1,200,000,000 on tobacco and nearly $2,000,000,000 on alcohol.
A modern primary and secondary education of the best existing type gives a training in which mere literacy, the ability to read and write, plays a very small part.
Illiteracy. The portion of our population (continental United States) 10 years of age and over unable to read and write, has lily declined since as shown in this table:
20.0 per cent 1880
7.7 The composition of the illiterate group is shown in the following table, for the census-year 1910:
(Ten years and over) Total Illiterate Per cent. Native white
50,989,343 1,535,530 3.0 Foreign born white
12,944,215 1,650,519 12.8 Colored
7,646,712 2,331,559 30.5 Total ....
71,580.270 5,517,608 The illiterates were chiefly divided between the Negroes, and the “poor whites” of undeveloped districts of the South.
In 1910 New York City had 406,000 such persons, 362,000 of these being foreign-born.
The Cost of Schooling. The average amount expended per public school child in the United States in 1914 was $27 a year. The conservative educational authority, Ex-President Charles W. Eliot of Harvard, calculated ten years ago that it ought to be from $60 to $100. (See his book, “More Money for the Public Schools.")
Allowing for the increased cost of living, the expenditure should now be from $100 to $125 a year—the last men
tioned sum being, of course, for the large cities where rents and all other expenses are the highest.
Ex-President Eliot believes that the maximum common school class should have 15 pupils. Other educational authorities place the maximum at 20, 25 and 30. These standards would mean an average class of from 12 to 24 pupils. The typical classes in the great majority of public school systems are now over 40.
In view of the expense of a school teacher's training ample salaries should be paid. From the educator's standpoint a proper standard has nowhere been reached. Perhaps the nearest approach was in New York City when the beginning teacher's salary was fixed at $600. But the cost of living has risen nearly 50 per cent since that time and there has been no substantial salary increase whatever for men, while women secured a moderate advance only through an "equal pay” law. Conditions are as bad, or worse, in the other large cities, and much worse in the country and small towns.
A minimum common school program would require.
(1) That classes should be reduced to one-half of the present size.
(2) That teachers' salaries should be doubled in most places, and largely increased even in the great cities.
This would mean that the cost of these schools would be increased to three or four times the present amount. This would require an additional billion or billion and a half dollars for the nation-which could easily be raised by a national income and inheritance tax heavily graduated against the wealthy classes—and entirely exempting the smaller incomes.
Such a policy, if applied to the secondary schools also, would not only increase the expense per pupil by three or four, but it would also double or treble the number of students who would find it economically worth while to attend these improved schools. For we can assume that the new expenditures in the secondary schools would largely take the form either of a general industrial or of a specialized technical education. The United States now expends only $70,000,000 a year on its public secondary schools. It would then expend from $420,000,000 to $840,000,000_-an outlay that surely ought to appeal to the “patriotic" advocates of national efficiency, since it would add. several times their value to the national product-a large share of which would, of course, go to employers.
Thus the total expenditures for public, primary, and secondary schools together would increase from $600,000,000
to $2,000,000,000 or $3,000,000,000—which corresponds to Eliot's estimate that we should and could spend four or five times as much as we do on public schools.
It will be some time before the majority of mere reformers gain the courage of their convictions and demand such expenditures—though these 'expenditures would be for the most important of all objects and would total less than our tobacco and alcohol bill.,
A national organization for federal aid to education has already been launched, and seems ready to go as far as public opinion will justify. The new movement has received the endorsement of such leading educators' as Professors Dewey, Monroe, and Kilpatrick of Columbia, Presidents Mezes of the College of the City of New York, Brown of New York University, and Edmund J. James of Illinois, and Dr. John H. Finley, Dr. Felix Adler, Mrs. Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Mrs. Florence Kelley. The movement is too new to have reached far from New York, where it was launched this May. But there is no doubt that it will secure the support of nearly all leading educators and reformers—and of all radicals.
DEMOCRATIZING THE SCHOOLS.
By RANDOLPH BOURNE. Democratic education is not simply a matter of providing common schooling for all children. It is not a matter of providing a uniform schooling for all children. A democratic school is one wherein children have equal opportunity to make what they can of themselves, and where each child has a chance to get what it needs. The American public school has been democratic in the sense that it has provided free schooling for all children. But in the other sense it has only begun to enter on the democratic stage.
The school has been primarily a bookish school. Its aim has been to teach the three R's, historical and geographical information, and perhaps' a little drawing. In the higher grades it has shaped its work in mathematics and language and literature to prepare children for the college. It has sought to give this education uniformly to all, whatever the future vocation of the children taught. The result has been to ignore the differences in capacity and interests and to make the school really a vocational school for a restricted class, that is, the intellectually inclined. The children of the wage-earners too often had to leave school early and go into unskilled work or pick up their training as best they could outside the school. The school was free, but the opportunities were not really equal, for the school discriminated in practice against the motor and manually-minded children.
The “Gary Plan.” The progressive educational effort of today is directed toward repairing this inequality of opportunity, and providing a kind of school where the future wage-earner will have the same chance of training as the future professional man or woman of leisure. This is the purpose of the industrial training movement and of the introduction of commercial and industrial and domestic science courses in the high schools. But a more fundamental reorganization is needed. The roots must be laid in the elementary school before the child's interests have been dulled. An interesting attempt to reorganize the public school to meet the new demand is that made by Supt. William Wirt in the schools of Gary, Indiana. The "Gary plan" has aroused the widest public interest, and has been extensively experimented with in other cities, notably New York, where over fifty schools are in process of reorganization. The essence of the Gary plan is to provide the school with a great variety of activities-in play-grounds, gymnasiums, science laboratories, industrial and manual training shops, kitchens, sewing-rooms, gardens, school theatre, etc.-covering all the wholesome interests of children. The school day is lengthened to seven or eight hours, and the children are kept busy at work, study and play in the school instead of being turned out on the streets after a few hours of study. The regular studies are not neglected, but each child has a chance to try his hand at the activities that interest him. The younger child goes into shop or laboratory as observer or helper to the older child who is working there. He thus gets practical contact with tools and processes. He can sift out what he does not like, and discover what his real capacities are. If he wants to lay the foundation of a trade he can get the training there in the school shops. The shops are in charge of trained union mechanics who work on the school plant. The children learn by helping them on repairs and maintenance. Each child in such a school has a chance to get exactly the training which will be beneficial to him. The whole child is educated, mentally, manually, physically. There is no classdistinction between the intellectually-minded and the manually-minded. All have equal opportunity to develop in whatever direction they can.
The Gary plan widens the school opportunities in that it makes the school a wholesome environment of work, study and play from the child's earliest years. The more usual form of school reorganization, involving the so-called "junior