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Men of the second and third generations of fortune are not as a rule large givers to public uses of any kind. They maintain establishments, build country seats, play with yachts and automobiles, and in general spend money to satisfy social ambition rather than to further educational interests.
I do not care, however, to pursue this phase of my subject further. I have said this much in order that I may get a hearing for my subject in its broader educational aspects. The educational capital of any community, as of any country, consists of three things.
First, in the amount of knowledge which is available, or which can be made available for the purposes of instruction.
Second, in the amount of money which is available, . or which can be made available for the maintenance of schools.
Third, in the amount of time which is available or which can be made available for attendance at school.
There can be no wise and economical use of educational capital without the full recognition of each of these three sources, and without the constant effort to bring them into the closest working relation with one another. You may have a well ordered supply of knowledge, and the abundant means of distributing it, furnish the proper means of distribution. You may have costly means of distribution running to waste for want of a well ordered supply of knowledge. And worst of all you may have the well ordered supply of knowledge, and the abundant means of distributing it, and both may be relatively useless, for the want in any community of any corresponding sense of the value of knowledge, for the want of the true hunger
and thirst after it, for want of the patience which can alone secure it, for want of the denial and sacrifice of lower and incidental things which are always to be found in competition with it. Or, to put the last point more definitely, I suspect that in many communities it is far easier to raise money for the sufficient maintenance of schools than it is to ensure the time of scholars against the inroads of social life, against the premature allurements of business, or against the growing spirit of impatience with hard and protracted intellectual work. The great danger to economy in the use of educational capital lies, as you will see, in the difficulty of bringing all three parts of it together, and using them to mutual advantage. But there is special danger of waste at each of three sources to which I have referred.
Let us begin with the waste which is going on in the use of that knowledge which forms so large a part of our educational capital. We are now happily free from the great waste which came from the withholding of knowledge, whether it was withheld out of fear for the truth or from distrust of the human mind. Of course the chief illustration of this wasteful economy was to be found in the handling of religious knowledge, but it was practiced in the handling of all knowledge. Many of us can remember how closely the principle was applied in the administration of libraries. I do not know of any better characterization of this old time economy than Mark Twain has given in the aphorism which he puts into the mouth of Puddenhead Wilson, "Truth is precious, let us be saving of it."
We are also in the process of outgrowing that waste which comes from so many misfits in the use of knowl
edge. It is no new fact that men do not think alike, but it is a new discovery that they cannot be made to think alike. The acknowledgment of this fact, the fact that there is a possible and desirable variety in the mind itself is the basis of modern education. Certainly it is the basis of the whole elective system. No one can tell what would have happened if the new subject matter of education, all that lies within the range of modern science, had found only a stereotyped mind to deal with. What did actually happen was the uprising of a new order or type of mind to meet the new knowledge.
We may also fairly say that we have averted a vast deal of waste through changes in the methods of teaching. Doubtless every change is attended with a certain waste, especially if there is a long stage of experimentation. But the net result of the changes in method has been an actual saving of time to both teacher and scholar, the vivifying and stimulating of each alike, and a general quickening of the educational pace.
The present waste in the use of knowledge for the purposes of instruction is due chiefly to the overwhelming amount of knowledge. We have not yet learned how to organize the mass of material at hand so that we can distribute it with a wise economy. I think that the demand just now is not so much for the teacher as for the organizer, the man who can bring simplicity and order out of this confusing abundance. At present we have hardly more than the option of giving a student fragmentary and unrelated subjects of study, or of guiding him by some narrow lane through the wide territory of knowledge. We are in
a constant dilemma between thoroughness and breadth, with the danger of reaching variety in the place of breadth, and monotony in place of thoroughness. The difficulty admits of no easy solution. It is not enough to say to an inquiring mind, "you cannot go amiss,” or "take what you like best,” or “fix your object in life and make a straight line toward it." No one of these courses means education. Education, when once it passes beyond the stage of mental discipline, means some true appreciation of the known and knowable world. It means intellectual citizenship in the world.
I pass from the question of economy in the use of educational material to the question of economy in the use of educational property. Any great city is an object lesson pointing to the increased value of the educational plant of the Country. The significant fact is the ratio of increase in the value of the plant to that of the cost of teaching. Boston expends, as I understand, about $2,000,000 annually for teaching. The city is expending at the rate of $1,000,000 annually for the increase of its educational plant. The increase of expenditure for school houses is far more than the increase of expenditure for teaching. This is an example of what is taking place everywhere. The endowed educational institutions of the country are fast becoming great corporations, not only on account of the value of their investmented funds, but also on account of the value of their local property. This vast increase in the value of the educational plant is sure to raise its own question of economy. For considerations affecting the teacher or the scholar the school time is limited to so many hours in the day, so many days in the week, and so many weeks in the
year. It is not the habit of a business plant to fall into idleness for from one-fourth to one-third of every year. I know of no analogy in this limited use of educational property, except in the use of ecclesiastical property. And here it must be remembered that there is a great difference between the Roman Catholic and the Protestant Churches. The former show far more economy than the latter. At this particular point it is the Roman Catholic who is the modern, and the Protestant who is the mediævalist.
The vast increase in the value of our educational plants, public and private, is sure, as I have said, to raise its own question of economy. The Summer School, organized in some Colleges into the curriculum, is a protest against the present situation. The protest takes other forms. In one way or another we are becoming concerned about the larger and continuous use of the property invested in education. The use required of the property of the public school will vary according to the needs of the various communities. In some communities the teaching force will be increased so that the work done in the buildings can be duplicated or diversified. The buildings will be used more hours in the day and more weeks in the year. In other communities, I have no doubt that the high school will be made to satisfy all those educational needs for which local provision can be made. The courses of instruction will be widened, advanced courses will be introduced especially in the sciences, and in some cases one or two years will be formally added to the high school curriculum.
You naturally ask me, as representing the college, what effect this extension of local high school will have