Scientists agree that the human brain is superior to the animal brain, not because it is heavier, but because it is finer and better supplied with nerves. As one writer has said, the human brain is better "wired," has better organized "centrals." A poor system of centrals will spoil a telephone service, no matter how many wires it provides. An independent wire is of little use, because it will not reach the person desired at the other end. The ideal system is that which almost instantly connects two persons, no matter how far away or how many other people are talking at the same time on other wires.

Adequate Relief Recognizes The Family As The Unit

The school that tries to do everything for its pupils without using other existing agencies for helping children[10] will be like the man who refuses to connect his telephone with a central switch board, or like a bank that will not use the central clearing house. As one telephone center can enable scores of people to talk at once, and as one clearing house can make one check pay fifty debts, so hospital and relief agencies enable a teacher who employs "central" to help several times as many children as she alone can help.

[10] The importance of recognizing the family as the unit of social treatment is presented in Edward T. Devine's Principles of Relief, and in Homer Folks's Care of Dependent, Defective, and Delinquent Children.

It seems easier for a teacher to give twenty-five cents to a child in distress than to see that the cause of the misery is removed. In New York City there are over five hundred school principals, under them are over fifteen thousand teachers, and the average attendance of children is about six hundred thousand, representing one hundred and fifty thousand homes. If teachers give only to those children who ask for help, many will be neglected. In certain sections of the city principals have combined to establish a relief fund to be given out to children who need food, clothes, shoes, etc. One principal had to stop replacing stolen overcoats because, when it was known that he had a fund, an astonishingly large number of overcoats disappeared. At Poughkeepsie school children get up parties, amateur vaudeville, minstrel shows, basket picnics, to obtain food and clothing for children in distress. They are, of course, unable to help parents or children not in school. Of this method a district superintendent in New York said to his teachers and principals: "For thirty-two years I have been working in the schools of this district. I have given food and shoes to thousands of children. I know that however great our interest in a particular child when it comes to us with trouble at home, our duty as teachers prevents us from following our gift into the home and learning the cause of the child's trouble. This last winter we have made an experiment in using a central society, which makes it a business to find out what the family needs, to supply necessaries, country board, medicine, etc. We now know that we can put a slip of paper with the name and address of the child into a general hopper and it will come out eyeglasses, food, rent, vacation parties, as the need may be."

Relief at home through existing agencies was brought about by the distribution of cards like those on opposite page, which offer winter and summer cooperation.

Fresh-Air Agencies Like Sea Breeze Prefer To Aid Children In Order Of Need

When these cards were first distributed several teachers went from room to room, asking children who needed help to raise the hand. In many cases parents were very angry that their children should have asked for help. But help given in instances like the following soon proved to teachers that they could afford the time necessary to notice children who appeared neglected, when so much good would ensue:

The father is sick and unable to work. They cannot get clothes for the children, who are not attending school on that account. Children were provided with shoes and clothes.

November 30, 1907, a school principal reported that six children in one family needed underwear. A visitor discovered that one of the boys who had the reputation of being unruly and light-fingered also had adenoids. He was taken to a hospital for operation, and was later interested in his school work.

A little girl was unruly and truant. No attempt was made to keep her at school, but she was reported to the Committee on the Physical Welfare of School Children. The parents could not control her. The girl was taken for examination by a specialist and found to be feeble-minded. Later she was sent to a custodial institute.