It is evident that the world is to make a trial of democracy. Whatever one may think about it, the sensible course must be to work with it sympathetically in order that we may learn as much as possible about it, realize the best there is in it, and overcome the weaknesses as far as possible. The largest experiment so far has been in the United States. The schools of this country should not be backward in taking their share of the experiment. The more participation young persons have in organization work while they are in school, the more efficiently they will take up the work of the body politic when they come of age.

The school with which I am connected has had a system of self-government since 1896. It was started by a teacher who is now president of a state university. It has been through many vicissitudes but has remained unchanged in essential character. There is, however, nothing distinctive about it; it is probably no better, or worse, than the many other systems in existence. It is often pronounced a failure by members of the school, but it has justified its existence simply as an object lesson in government. I have learned more from it about what democracy is than from all the reading I have ever done. In my classes in history and sociology it often happens that we do not seem to get to the meat of the subject till we find an illustration for it in our own school experience.

. . . The sobering influence of responsibility naturally fosters true manliness and reduces cases of petty discipline to the minimum. The fact that the boys themselves are the government takes away all the attractiveness of lawlessness and makes it unpopular. . . . The only effective punishment is ostracism by one's fellows; or, as Professor Scott says, "the disapproval and repression of the group one feels he belongs to. Nothing else is punishment." Any other punishment may be turned into the glory of martyrdom; this cannot. Real social loss is loss of caste with one's cherished comrades. - Fiske, Boy Life and Self-Government, pp. 215, 216.

... A case of discipline had arisen, and the teacher said to a certain boy, "Well, there is no doubt that I shall have to punish you." The boy replied in the presence of the class, "O, yes, punish me; you're always down on me." This touched the teacher, and, being human enough to flare up, he said impulsively: "I'll leave it to the rest if you don't deserve it. More than that, I'll turn my face to the wall, and they can vote without my seeing them, and I'll never ask a boy how he has voted." The vote was reported to the teacher as unanimously in favor of the boy's being punished. At this point the boy broke down completely, and through his tears said, "Well, it must be right, since everybody says so." - Scott, Social Education, pp. 96, 97.

At the election of representatives of the Junior class for the oratorical contest at S. the time was short and four tellers were appointed. When we came to count the ballots we found that there were about a third more than there should have been. The tellers had hurried so that one voter could hand in several ballots if he wished. The result was that we had to hold another election.

The two examples which follow show how the "consent of the governed" is enlisted in keeping order in schools where the coercive method had formerly prevailed. The third exhibits the application of the same method to persons who are not members of the school.

The discipline of the school had been a troublesome feature, especially the year before me. The boys had always been governed by force and seemed desirous that I should use the same method. This I did not do, excepting one or two cases. I put them on their honor. When there was a disturbance I did not pry into the affair but told the boys that I naturally expected they would be "on the square" and if they were at all guilty they would come and see me about it. At first this was not very successful, but after a time they learned that I was a friend instead of an enemy. Later in the year the boys considered how I'd feel about it before pulling off any stunt. I could, and often did, leave the room in examination time and not have a single bit of cheating going on. One time two boys cheated, and they were made to feel ashamed of themselves so that they confessed to me without my ever saying anything to them.

When I was eight years old I attended a parochial school taught by Sisters of Charity. The teacher had had a great deal of trouble in discipline. One day she said, "lam going to try a new plan. I am going to put you on your honor for to-day. Do just as you think best in everything. I shall not watch you." We thought this very strange - something we could not understand. At first we felt free and for the first five minutes chaos reigned. But the Sister did not say a word - she sat and read a book. Then slowly we began to realize what her words meant. Everyone by common consent settled down to work. The order during that day was perfect.

Mischievous small boys were a "campus pest" at the university. . . . They were especially bothersome on the athletic field until Carl May, its director, conceived the idea of bargaining with them. He promised that if they would live up to certain rules the university would allow them to come into the games free and provide them with equipment to use when the varsity men were not on the field. The organization of the "gang" of fifty boys into a "junior university" was the result. The boys fell into line with a rush, elected officers including a judge, chief of police and four "cops," and a yell leader, and were given regular hours for gymnasium classes and for practice on the field. But when not wanted, the members of the new organization strictly observed the rules and kept away.

Several football players teach the urchins the points of the game in these practice hours and the director of the gymnasium gives one night each week to drill, after which the business meeting of the club is held, followed by a lunch. The four special boy policemen are "on the job" during games keeping "outlaw kids" from jumping the fence. Formerly the boys called the players insulting names. Now they yell themselves hoarse for the men of the team. Before the big games, small armies of "stone pickers" from the club systematically clear all rocks from the field, and after the games hunt for lost articles under the bleachers. At one game, the boys turned in season tickets, endorsed checks amounting to $41, and other things of value. One of the local sporting goods houses has come to the aid of the university authorities by furnishing buttons for the members of the junior university. - The Survey, Vol. 31, p. 778.

The important thing in self-government is the spirit of the school, the attitude of teachers and pupils toward each other.

But mechanisms count for something. A good mechanism is one which enables the public opinion of the many, timid though they may be individually in the presence of disorder, to pass over into effective public will.

Every morning in the Second Primary of this school there is a pennant pinned on the blackboard in front of each class as they are seated in the main room. Whenever any one of the children is disorderly in the main room, in passing to or from classes, or is reported by a practice teacher during the recitation period, he causes the pennant to be taken down from in front of his class. The class maintaining the best order during the day leads the room of children to the gymnasium. This is considered a great honor by all. The one who causes the class to lose the pennant is generally reproved by the other members. The critic teacher often leaves the class alone for a few minutes with one of the children in charge to act as teacher until she returns.

Every Friday the teacher in the sixth grade appointed some child to be "housekeeper" for the following week. This officer's duty was to see that all the other officials performed their duties. It was also his duty to keep the magazine stands in order, the bookcases as well, to water the plants and ring the bell at the beginning of the sessions. He could appoint others to help him in his work. Then on the discipline side there were tribunes from each class. Some child was chosen by each class to be the tribune for the following week. His duty was to keep order and this he did by reporting all disorder during study periods and recitations. There were no practice teachers to observe the study periods as there are now, and I know we did just as much work. If a child was reported for a misconduct he stayed after school. In due time each child had his turn being tribune. Then he realized how much trouble a disorderly child could cause. I remember distinctly one boy who was unusually mischievous. It was several weeks before he became tribune, but after that he became one of the best helpers in the class instead of a hindrance.

At the head of our system there is a president, whose duty it is to appoint an efficient corps of reporters, and tabulate the records of these reporters. Moreover, he presides over a council of representatives from all the classes. The duties of this council are to assist the president and sentence offenders.

The reporters appointed by the president have charge of the study rooms and library. It is their duty, not to keep order, but to report disorder. Each reporter keeps a daily itemized record of the most serious disturbances during his period - all such reports to be handed to the president for tabulation at the end of the week. If at any time better order is desired, the president may upon his own initiative, or at the request of the council, or at the written request of three or more students in any study room, call a meeting of the students in that room, and refer to them the question as to whether or not better order is desired. If the result is an affirmative vote, the council shall examine the records of the reporters of that room and try the persons found to be the most frequent offenders.