This page of the book is from "The New Student's Reference Work: Volume 3" by Chandler B. Beach, Frank Morton McMurry and others.
SCHOOLS, ELEMENTARY 1696 SCHOOLS, ELEMENTARY
tion is essentially the achievement of the 19th century. It rests on the notion that education should be universal, that its aim is not merely religious, but rather to prepare for intelligent political activity, a purpose especially emphasized in the United States by Horace Mann, and that the emancipation of the mass of mankind demands not merely power to read and write and some knowledge of politics, but such training as shall insure to each the power to make a respectable if not comfortable living. The last idea may be said to be the special contribution of Pestalozzi, the Swiss reformer, to modern educational doctrine. He perhaps was the most influential man in determining the aims and methods that prevailed in the reconstruction of the system of education in Prussia and other German states in the early part of the 19th century. This movement involved the expansion of the curriculum to include arithmetic, geometry, geography, nature-study, literature, history, drawing, music and, especially, such manual and technical training as seems best adapted to prepare for the vocations of the people of the neighborhood. The eight or nine years' course in the German folk-school may now be supplemented by a course in the continuation-schools, held usually in the evenings or on Sundays and especially offering vocational instruction, or in technical or trade-schools which everywhere abound. Elementary teachers are usually well-trained in the normal schools. All schools have now become state institutions. No one can open a school without official sanction. Practically all elementary instruction is still supported and controlled by public authorities. Careful supervision and inspection exist. Teachers are pensioned on retirement from active service. Compulsory-attendance laws are strictly enforced. Illiteracy has practically disappeared, and efficiency in the various vocations has enormously increased through this system. In France the foundations of the present system were laid by the law of 183 3, but it was not until after the Franco-Prussian War that it became highly efficient. The same features exist as in Germany, except that control and support are more highly centralized. The administration at Paris through its officials appoints the elementary teachers, provides their salaries as well as liberal contributions for buildings etc., and inspects the schools. During the last decade nearly all the schools maintained by Roman Catholic teaching-orders have been suppressed, so that elementary education, as in Germany, is practically in the hands of the state. At the same time the French schools, unlike the German ones, pay little attention to religion. In England, also, elementary education has become free and compulsory, supported largely by
public funds, inspected and to a great extent controlled by state officials. The religious societies still control the training schools for teachers and many of the elementary schools. The dominance of the Anglican church in elementary education is a source of bitter contention to-day in British politics. As in other European schools, vocational efficiency has come to be a leading object in English popular education.
In the United States the tree schools, at the time when Horace Mann undertook their reform (about 1835) were poorly supported and taught and not patronized by those who could afford to pay tuition. As a result of the agitation that he began, the public elementary schools of Massachusetts, hitherto supported solely by the localities, received state aid normal schools (a. v.) were established for tiaimiig teachers, better inspection was provided, the school-year lengthened, the curriculum enriched, and in general the aim that the public school should be made so good that no one would resort to private instruction on account of their inefficiency was realized. Other states quickly followed Massachusetts, and to-day the opportunity to receive an elementary education is practically universal throughout the nation. In general it may be said that about 18 per cent, ot the fund for the support of schools comes from the states, while about 68 per cent, comes from local taxes. The state-fund is especially important in sparsely inhabited regions. In New England the unit for the organization and control of schools is the township. In the south it is the county. Elsewhere in the nation the district as a rule is the unit, but a combination of district, county and .state control and support exists.
In comparing elementary education in the United States with that in Europe, we notice that it is inferior in completeness of organization, in carefulness of inspection, in compelling attendance, in pensioning teachers and especially in offering technical and trade education. On the other hand American education offers more opportunity for originality and independence both in teachers and in pupils. The elementary school in the United States is not for one class in society but for all. It is not differentiated from the secondary school, but prepares for it as well as for life. Herein is to be found doubtless the reason for the slowness with which elementary technical education has developed. Such training prepares for a special vocation; but our system tends to hand that over to the secondary school, reserving for the elementary school only that preparatory and liberal training that enables one to get some appreciation of the various lines of human culture before entering upon a