The expenditure for education has been an important item in all countries, and in the different political divisions of the United States. At present the actual expenditures of the Federal government for this item is only sixth in importance, excluding interest and outlay charges. This may be seen by referring to the table on page 31, showing the expenditures of the Federal government. This does not represent, however, the importance of what this branch of the government has done. Public lands, whose value would run into millions of dollars, have been given to develop and maintain educational institutions. These do not show on the expenditure account from year to year.
Education in States and Cities. - The expenses of education take a much more important place in the annual accounts of our states and cities. In both units it is the item of greatest importance. It has been a rapidly increasing expense because of the extension of the service and the elimination of any individual cost. The public school services are considered of such importance that children are compelled to avail themselves of them. To make it easier for the poor classes, moreover, books and supplies are often furnished to the pupils, while in a number of places noon luncheons are served. Although the high school service is usually not compulsory, it is being made more and more attractive by free tuition, and free textbooks and equipment. This compelling and inducing more individuals to take advantage of a service has been reflected in the huge sums spent in giving the service. The demand is growing that the state provide forms of technical education, since the old apprenticeship methods of learning trades are no longer available. Many European political units are emphasizing this part of the educational program, and its influence is being seen here in the development of manual training departments in our public and high schools. We can expect a much greater expenditure along this line of development in the future.
Importance of Leadership. - Trained leadership is essential in every line of activity, and this can best be obtained through educational institutions giving advanced instruction. Many of our commonwealths have established such institutions in the form of state universities. It has not been the practice, however, to treat this form of education on the basis of common benefit, as some charge is made to the student. The charge is usually so small, however, that practically the whole expense is borne by the public. The annual fees paid by students in state universities are usually not more than $50 per year, while the per capita student cost to the state runs between $500 and $700. The cost of the service, then, is largely met from common funds. The returns to the public have been largely in the increased agricultural, industrial, commercial, and general business productiveness which has come from this citizenship with higher educational training.
It has been suggested that the state has not gone far.
enough in supplying this service - that it should undertake it entirely as a common benefit, not only give the service, but grant to each student a scholarship fund of sufficient size to meet incidental expenses. If, among the added thousands who could then avail themselves of this higher training, there should be developed an Edison, Marconi, or Pasteur, it is contended the expenditure would be well worth while. Such a broad educational expenditure for the common benefit may never be reached, yet there are indications of it in the numerous scholarships and fellowships which are given to induce advanced work in various lines.
Expenditures of Individuals. - The enormous expenditures of Federal, state, and local governments for education do not tell the whole story. To get the real importance which is attached to education, the expenditures of individuals and organizations must be added. Public education is supplemented to a large extent by religious and private schools, while many of our larger universities and colleges are privately endowed and receive no public funds. The private cost of education added to the public cost - the item of first importance in the public expense account - will show to how great an extent education is considered the need of first importance to the citizenship of a state.
Experiment Stations. - An item closely connected with education is the maintenance of experiment stations and laboratories, and advisory bureaus of various sorts by the different political units. Everyone is familiar with the extent to which this is carried in agriculture. Similar services are given in many other lines, as in mining and forestry. The meeting of the cost from the common fund has been more than justified by the increased production at lower cost in these various industries.