Imagens da página

upon the colleges. My answer is that here and there a man will be by this means diverted from a college course: but that in all probability where one man is thus diverted two will be sent to college in his place. This is the law of educational increase. Any large development of the local educational spirit creates wants which reach beyond the local supply. I do not fear from the point of view of the college, any extension of the high schools to meet to the full local demands. The colleges will reap the ultimate benefit.

Of the three sources of educational capital—knowledge, money, time—the last is by far the most precious, for it represents the human element. It covers that hunger and thirst after knowledge of which I have spoken, the noble ambition to win the high rewards of life by sufficient means, the patience which endures, the courage which overcomes obstacles, and the joy of intellectual discipline. These are the terms in which educational time is to be measured, not days and weeks and years. And it is the proportion in which this element enters into the general capital which determines the profit of the whole business. If this is lacking in any community the profit is small. If it is large the profit is great.

A generation ago, perhaps I had better say, two generations ago, New England was dotted with small academies, whose only riches consisted in the quality of life which they drew to them from their limited areas. The knowledge at their command was scant, though genuine, equipment was practically wanting, and yet the educational profit from these schools was enormous. They filled our colleges with men who straightway took possession of the high places of

Church and State. I know of no way except through such an illustration in which I can impress upon your minds the relative value of time as a part of the educational capital. And yet it is by far the most difficult part to secure and to preserve. There is more waste in the use of it than in the use of knowledge or of property.

What is a true and proper economy in the use of time? Let us answer the question from the point of view of the average family. I do not reckon in this answer the family of extreme poverty, or the family which for any reason is dependent upon the earliest available earning power of children. From the point of view of the average family I should say that, measured by the test of economy, the education of a boy ought to be carried to some reasonable conclusion. It ought not to be left a fragment. Education as a whole can never be finished, but certain parts of it can be so far completed as to be of service. For lack of completion they are comparatively useless. One begins a modern foreign language. The beginning carries with it a certain amount of discipline but if the study is dropped before a reading or speaking knowledge of the language is secured the waste is apparent. One may begin a course of Mathematics, and gain another kind of discipline, but no result is secured until the foundation is well laid upon which one may build in Physics or Engineering. A like continuance, till a definite end is reached, gives value to a science, or to any subject which calls for results. It is uneconomical to the last degree to stop short of an available end.

Further than this I should answer that the truest

[ocr errors]

economy in education fixes an end which measures the full capacity of the boy. It is uneconomical, we shall all agree, for a man to work below his powers, even though this reduced service is necessitated by the failure to train his powers. Economy requires service at full capacity in a man as in a machine. True, it may not be possible to determine in advance just what one's capacity is, but wherever there is promise of the development of personal power of any sort through education, the opportunity for development ought to be seized upon. We have no such surplus of personal power of a high order as to allow any to run to waste.

I have dwelt in some detail upon this final aspect of my subject, because I am sure that the educational capital which is represented in time is at once the most precious part and the part most likely to be abridged and reduced.

The most wasteful result of modern education is the vast and increasing amount of arrested education.

The number falling by the way is too large to be explained by proper reasons—like want of health, or poverty, or mental unifitness for applied courses. These reasons do not explain the great differences between the numbers entering our High Schools and the numbers graduating from them. They do not explain the great differences in the numbers entering our colleges and the numbers graduating from them. The loss here is at least twenty-five per cent., and I think that it is increasing rather than lessening. My impression is, without facts enough, however, at hand to warrant an opinion, that the loss is considerably greater in the men's colleges than in women's col

men are

leges, where the reasons which I have given as proper reasons ought to hold good in larger degree. It is a matter of careful inquiry at present where the reason or fault lies—in the home, in the fitting school, or in the college.

The study of economy in the use of educational capital seems to me to be the essential to further educational progress.

We need to study, as studying everywhere, the ratio of cost to efficiency.

The end is not cheapness. That is a term for which our generation has a proper contempt. We are not careful about cost, if cost bears the right relation to efficiency. The public school system is passing under the test. The higher education in all its departments, technical schools, college, professional school, university, is passing under the test. We have been living for the past twenty-five years, especially for the past decade, in an educational epoch. We, who stand for education, have had the ear of the public. The public has been responsive to our appeals, patient with our experimentation, and generous, in furnishing the means for educational expansion. We cannot expect to hold this relative position indefinitely. Other subjects and other interests will claim the public mind.

Let us justify in every legitimate way our claims to a permanent place in the assured respect and satisfaction of the people. And to this end, let us learn how to get the very best results of knowledge, money, and time, in mental character and power. Our problem is the same with that of men all about us, whatever may be the material in which the work of men lies, namely, the true ratio of cost to efficiency, and in our case the problem is the same whether the final expression of efficiency is culture, or practical power.


CONVENTION, BOSTON, 1903. At the annual meeting of the Board of Councillors of the American Institute of Instruction held January, 1903, it was voted to pass the meeting of 1903 and remit the dues for the current year. The present board of officers was by unanimous vote directed to hold itself responsible for the meeting and program of 1904, and to invite all our members to aid in the support of the Boston meeting of the National Educational Association. This meeting promised to be the largest and, in many ways, the most important and interesting educational gathering ever held in the world.

It seemed especially fitting that the American Institute of Instruction, the oldest educational association in America, and now the distinctively New England body, should take an active part in welcoming and entertaining the National Educational Association, now the greatest educational association of the country.

To this end the whole first floor of the Rogers Building of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was secured for our social and business headquarters. The library and adjoining rooms were accepted as headquarters by the National Educational Association directors of the six New England states. The location could not have been more central, being within five minutes' walk of all National Educational Association meeting places. The headquarters of over thirty states were within the same range.

« AnteriorContinuar »