Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

high school" plan, postpones industrial and technical work till the seventh or eighth years. The first six years are given over to books; after the sixth year the child chooses whether he shall go on to academic or manual training. The Gary plan puts all activities on an equal footing. It is held that this school gives greatest opportunities for the wage-earners' education, and equal opportunity for every child.

VOCATIONAL EDUCATION.

By BENJAMIN C. GRUENBERG. After years of discussion of the need for industrial education, the thoughtful educators are coming to realize that what we need is not so much training for efficiency in industry as training for life in an industrial society. In the course of economic evolution the ownership of the land was first placed in the hands of a special class; the Single-taxers recognize this and expect to solve all problems by socializing the land. Then the industrial revolution segregated the tool-owning class--and we all recognize our dependence upon the owners of machinery and other forms of capital. But in the meanwhile a more subtle and insidious form of ownership has developed, incidental to the others—and that is the ownership of the world's technology. Whatever may be said of the foresight of the original fence-builders, in justification of private ownership of land, and whatever may be said in historical justification of the ownership of other forms of capital, it cannot be denied that the scientific and technical principles upon which modern industry rests are the resultants of the efforts and inspirations of millions of men and women, mostly dead--that these are no more the product of the present owners nor of isolated individuals than are language and customs and rituals. Yet the usufruct of this accumulated skill and invention is preempted by the owners of the machinery of production.

The importance of this fact for the workers is seen in connection with the minute subdivision of labor whereby the individual is deprived of the spiritual content of his work, and is at the same time prevented from having the material benefits that would enable him to obtain his spiritual satisfactions outside of his work. Educational organization and effort must take this situation into serious account.

The True Basis of Education. There must be first of all a more general acquaintance with those principles and activities that are at the foundation of all productive effort-handiwork for all children to the end that they become familiar with tools and materials and the principles of human control of force and matter. There

courses

must then be an abundance of natural science for an understanding of the principles that are applied in our common machinery and appliances. In properly organized schools, these studies and activities, correlated with history, literature, art, dramatics, etc., will lead to the emergence of specialized talents that are of vocational significance, thus determining further special training for a certain portion of the children. For the mass of children, those who do not show any talents that are of significance vocationally there will have been laid a foundation of common experience which is essential for social integration in a democracy. Further education of the "masses," as well as of those who require further professional or technical training, should include comprehensive

in economics and other social sciences, instruction in occupational hygiene, in the laws that apply to workers and working conditions, in practical civics and politics, and in the cultivation of special play or leisure interests.

That these principles are not utopian is attested by the experience of those states that have made the most farreaching experiments in readjusting the educational work to meet the new conditions. Wisconsin has found that the continuation classes for young people who have gone to work have little opportunity to give valuable instruction in technical matters to the rank and file of the workers. Whatever need there may be for technically trained workers, the large mass seems doomed to be machine tenders. This doom is not in itself deplorable; it is devastating only because of the conditions of speed, time, sanitary conditions and inadequate return. Investigations have shown that routine work, however monotonous, may be entirely satisfactory to thousands of-healthy and intelligent men and women if the conditions surrounding the work are suitable, and if there is adequate leisure and the opportunity to utilize it properly. In the continuation schools of Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Ohio there is found the need for giving a great deal of “general” instruction in language, mathematics, history and civics, and so on. Industry demands specialized skill and speed in comparatively simple operations; the workers need an opportunity to live a human life and training for more favorable bargaining and for utilizing their slowly growing leisure.

A Warning to Workers. There is some danger that the agitation for vocational education will tend to bring about too early specialization of young children. This should be guarded against most jealously. There is positive danger that certain commercial and industrial interests will seek to control the character of the new education in various communities. This must be strenuously resisted. Wherever the matter of vocational education is brought up the workers should see to it that whatever boards or committees may be established for advisory purposes should be joint boards, containing representatives of the organized workers as well as of the organized employers and of the general public or the educational authorities. The labor unions must be on their guard against the tendency to utilize the new education for the manufacture of cheap hands to replace older and more expensive workers.

COMMUNITY CENTERS IN THE UNITED STATES.

By John COLLIER.

Community centers differ from evening lectures, night schools, supervised recreation centers, and other public activities in school buildings and park houses, in this vital particular; they are, or are in process of becoming, locally self-governed, and in some measure locally self-supporting. This distinction is, of course, a critical one from the standpoint of labor and of the radical movement.

There are not less than several thousand community centers in America. These community centers are not buildings, nor yet are they activities, although buildings and activities are implied. They are organizations of the people -community organizations having a more or less general purpose of co-operation, public service, civic self-education, and fraternity.

The activities which loom lar in these community organizations include the following: maintenance of free forums; civic committees which co-operate with public officials and criticize them; dramatics, public dancing, and other social, recreation and art-activities; summer camps; bureaus for industrial placement. A single community center may include a hundred small groups which pursue their own activities but co-operate toward some object larger than their own.

Such a movement as the above will, as it expands, bring the whole people nearer both to administrative government and to the underlying policies of government, and will bring the governmental specialists back to the people. It will facilitate an interchange of views between groups and classes, through breaking down the innumerable isolations which mark off the intellectual, emotional and social life of one group of people from other groups, the community center will accelerate the contagion of ideas. These facts must be significant to the radical movement.

In this brief statement, certain questions must be answered.

1. Are the community centers actually free? They will be free in proportion as the people take a responsible part. They are not operated, and cannot be, by public authority, but they make use of the facilities of public buildings, and must therefore work under charters or licenses issued by Boards of Education, City Commissions, etc. The policy of government toward community centers is gradually coming to be not a policy of regulation but a policy of encouragement and promotion in over a third of the country today. The community center movement is essentially free to go ahead in its own way, and the great present need is initiative, workers, members and real interests.

2. If labor organizations enter the community center movement, will they jeopardize their own individualities? The community center is not an organization of individuals, but rather an aggregation of groups. It encourages the life of special groups rather than otherwise. It enables these groups to co-operate with each other at points where their common interests drive forward in the same direction. Labor does not need to hold its own through sequestrating its members. The center is the inevitable organizing point for the life of the majority of all the people, and need only become a conscious motive in order to gain power.

The best model for community center development is the Consumer's Co-operative Movement of Europe, which began with co-operation in the realm of material commodities and has evolved (as in Belgium) to a full co-operation in the things of the mind, the spirit, public affairs, etc. This model is consciously in the minds of many of the leaders of the American Community Center movement.

There is now a National Conference of Community Centers, representing 68 cities, which has held one national convention and will publish proceedings. Its headquarters are at 70 Fifth Avenue, New York. A training school exclusively devoted to training organizers for community centers is maintained here.

The necessity of industrial organization knows no law except that of human progress.

The manhood of the striker must take precedence of the comfort of the public.

ACADEMIC FREEDOM.

By Harry W. LAIDLER. On June 17, 1915, Scott Nearing, assistant professor of economics of the Wharton School of Finance, University of Pennsylvania, was refused reappointment to the faculty by the Board of Trustees of that University. This discharge has brought the discussion of Academic Freedom in American Colleges to the very forefront. It also marks a new stage in the fight for free speech in our Universities.

In the latter part of the nineteenth century, many professors, especially in denominational colleges, were discharged for expressing their belief in evolution. During the nineties, “heretical” views on the silver, monopoly and tariff questions caused many resignations. Among the well known professors who lost their positions at that time were:

President E. Benjamin Andrews of Brown University; Edward A. Ross and George E. Howard of Leland Stanford; John R. Commons of Syracuse and the University of Indiana; President Henry Wade Rogers of Northwestern; President Thomas E. Will and E. W. Bemis and Frank Parsons of the Kansas State Agricultural College, President George M. Steele of Laurence University and President H. E. Stockbridge of No. Dakota Agricultural College.

The present fight involves a contest for the privilege of expressing one's convictions regarding the very foundation of the present economic system, not only in the class room but in public. The facts in the Nearing case are briefly as follows:

Dr. Nearing was appointed instructor in economics at the University in the fall of 1906. He proved to be an unusually popular lecturer and rapidly forged ahead as a writer on questions of wages, social reform etc. He also frequently occupied the public rostrum and was vigorously opposed by the Board of Trustees and other conservative elements in Pennsylvania as a result of his keen criticisms of present conditions.

He was repeatedly recommended for promotion to assistant professorship by the economics faculty. For eight years he remained as an instructor and for six his salary continued the same. When this treatment failed to secure Dr. Nearing's resignation, an investigation into the teachings of the members of the economics faculty was conducted by Thomas S. Gates, Chairman of the Wharton School Committee and president of the Philadelphia Trust Company. The committee bemoaned the alleged efforts of some of the teaching force to preach class prejudice, and concluded:

"The committee takes this occasion to place itself on

.

« НазадПродовжити »