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to be prepared for humanity, citizenship and productive occupations. Every individual has a right to that education which makes him more human, that develops and trains the powers of observation and imagination, enriches and purifies the emotions, and strengthens and directs aright the will, that brings to him the best that has been done and said in the world. Every individual has a right to be taught and trained in the things pertaining to civic life and citizenship, the duties and responsibilities of which are imposed upon all alike. Every individual has a right to be taught and trained in some trade, industry or profession by which he or she may make an honest living and contribute something to the commonwealth, which should gradually increase from generation to generation. This means vocational education and is not less necessary or valuable than either of the others. Vocational education involves not only or chiefly the giving of skill in manipulation but also the gaining of a comprehensive understanding of fundamental principles.
We cannot afford to overlook the fact that only one person in sixty-seven of our total population graduates from college. There are at present in this country approximately eight million young men and women from eighteen to twenty-two years old. Some two hundred and fifty thousand of these are in college. The remaining seven million seven hundred fifty thousand help to pay the expenses of the colleges and they have a right to expect and demand whatever the colleges can give them in short courses within their walls or elsewhere. Should we complain if some of these should object to paying taxes to support the colleges that neglect them and their interests? The college that would meet fully all its obligations to all who contribute to its support will seek to render them every direct and indirect service possible without serious injury to its more legitimate (?) work for those who can spend longer time within its walls.
Again, before coming to my subject, may I speak briefly of still another matter. I wish to do this because I want your approval if you will give it, and then your co-operation in putting into practice throughout the country a somewhat definite and consistent program of education and in bringing about a corresponding reorganization of our school system. As Commissioner of Education, having no administrative authority, except over the schools for natives in Alaska, I am free to make plans and have them put into operation anywhere and at any time, if I can persuade people of their wisdom and their practicability. This program is based on what I like to call “Democracy in Education,” which means for every child equality of opportunity with every other child for that education which will develop most fully its manhood and womanhood, and prepare it for citizenship and for the intelligent and profitable pursuit of some useful occupation. It is as follows:
(1) For all children in the home and kindergarten, intelligent, loving nurture and care in the first six or seven years before school life begins.
(2) For all children six years of elementary schooling in good, sanitary, comfortable and attractive schoolhouses, with competent teachers and not less than one hundred and eighty days in the school year. With a proper readjustment of studies and a better organization of the schools, as much may, I believe, be accomplished in these six years as is now accomplished in the seven, eight or nine years of the elementary schools. To assist in this greater accomplishment I would promote teachers with their classes from grade to grade instead of stationing teachers in the grades and letting the children
flow by them, changing teachers every year or half year even. There is much complaint that children do not gain the power or habit of thinking. Is it to be wondered at when the teachers, not knowing what lessons the children have had in the lower grades or how they have learned them, teach every lesson as though it were wholly new, giving the children no opportunity to work out the new by means of the old ?
(3) For all children six years of high school. I believe this is not at all visionary or impracticable. I know it is necessary for the continuation of the best and highest attainments of our democracy. Progress already made gives hope, at least. Approximately twenty-five per cent. of all children of this generation enter the high schools after seven, eight or nine years in the elementary schools and nearly ten per cent. of all graduate from the high schools. In some sections these percentages are at least double. There are in the United States now almost fourteen thousand high schools and the number of high school students has increased almost two hundred per cent. in the .last fifteen years. The attendance of all boys and girls at school through the high school period is also economically possible.
The six years of high school will make possible six years of science taught in a natural way, using the children's common sense observations of nature and their every day out-of-school experience, arriving at definite principles through simple but accurate experimentations and the applying of these principles in hundreds of concrete instances in the field, the home and the shop. Such a preparation in elementary physics, chemistry and biology will serve as a basis for more advanced and effective college work in these subjects than the colleges can now do. Six years in languages, ancient and modern, can be had by those who ought to study foreign languages at all, and by beginning at the earlier age of twelve or thirteen, instead of at sixteen or eighteen, the elementary work in languages will be better done. Six years of Latin or Greek, or both, or six years of one or two modern languages in the high school will make it possible for the colleges to confine their work to legitimate college phases of the language study. To make this ideal of six years of high school for all children practicable we shall have to work out some form of co-operation between the school, on the one hand, and the home and the industrial life on the other, which will enable the great majority of boys and girls to make a living, or at least contribute something toward their support during their school years. This may be a large and difficult task, but it is, I believe, quite possible. Once accepted it will solve many problems of education until now unsolved. We sometimes fail to remember that experiences gained in purposeful productive out-of-school work contribute the most important raw material for education, and that this kind of work also offers the best possible opportunity for that practical application of principles learned in school, without which these principles have no real content and may become a source of weakness rather than strength. Teachers still expect children to spin the web of knowledge out of their inner consciousness as spiders spin their webs, remarkable for their fineness of texture and also for their lack of substance. All thoughtful teachers, especially in our city schools, feel the lack of this fundamental experience, which boys and girls of a former generation gained on the farm and in the busy farm or village home. The complaints brought against the schools today are in reality not against the schools but against the homes, which no longer do their part of the work of education. The kind of co-opera
tion between the schools and the home and industries which I am recommending would help much toward vocational education of the best kind, and would make possible the very best kind of vocational guidance. We might arrange for four hours of schooling and four hours of work a day, half the children in school in the morning and the other half in the afternoon, through two hundred and fifty or three hundred days of the year. Or we might arrange for twentyfour weeks of six days of six hours each in school and a like number of weeks, days and hours at work, half the children at work while the other half are at school. Or the schools might provide for both the regular school work and the productive occupations in which the children might produce articles for use in their homes or for sale on the markets. Of course, there will always be some boys and girls preparing for the learned professions or for a life of scholarship who will want to spend all their time in school and who should be permitted to do so. Six years of such half-time work in high school would bring larger results than we now get with our so-called full time in school. In most cities the high schools are in session one hundred and eighty days of five hours each, a total of nine hundred hours in the year. Two hundred and fifty days of four hours each would make a total of one thousand hours a year. Three hundred such days would make a total of twelve hundred hours. Twenty-four weeks of six days of six hours each would make a total of eight hundred and sixty-four hours.
(4) For as many as can be benefited by it, two, four or seven years of college and university life. Of many of our six hundred or more colleges, all trying to give four years of college work on the basis of some kind of standards of admission, I would make junior colleges, colleges requiring for admission the full amount of high school work and then concentrating all their means and energies on doing in a broad and strong way, the work of the first two college years, and no more. Others should continue to do four years of college work but in limited and well defined fields. Only the richer and stronger, probably about three hundred institutions, should continue to attempt to do four years' work in the full list of subjects now entering into the college curricula. The number that should offer graduate and advanced professional work and undertake original work should be much less. For the two years of junior college work, based on such preparation as the reorganization of elementary and high schools would give, I would grant the bachelor's degree; for the full four years' work, the master's degree. Many students would quit college and enter upon the practical duties of life at the end of the junior college years (more than sixty per cent. we have seen now quit at the end of two years or earlier), others would enter upon their professional studies. A good number would continue their academic studies through the senior college and win the master's degree. Of these, some would base their professional studies on this larger preparation. Some would continue their philosophic studies and take the doctor's degree at the end of three years of graduate work.
Pardon these long digressions. I come now to my subject.
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK BETWEEN THE ENGINEERING AND AGRICULTURAL DEPARTMENTS OF THE LAND
HON. P. P. CLAXTON, WASHINGTON, D. C.
The need for college extension work, as we know it now, grows out of the fact that the mass of intelligent and earnest people now doing the work of the world are ignorant of the best methods of doing their work and of the scientific principles on which these methods are based, these being of recent discovery.
In engineering, as in agriculture, there has been great and rapid increase in knowledge of facts and principles, and in the improvement of processes. Processes are much more complex than they were only a few years ago. The agricultural extension work of the Land Grant Colleges attempts to give to people now at work some knowledge of the newly discovered facts and more knowledge of processes newly invented or recently become more complex. It also attempts by personal contact, by exhibitions, and by free discussions, to inspire in the farmers higher ideals and a desire for better things.
In the great manufacturing establishments, in the iron and steel plants, in the shoe and clothing factories, in the cotton mills, the division of labor has been carried to such an extent and machinery has become so nearly automatic that the work of any individual is reduced to one single process or to a very few processes, which may be learned quickly and followed out automatically and without thought. Some years ago, with a friend, I went through the great steel works at Johnstown. Having lost our way we asked a laborer the way out. He said he did not know. Replies to several questions indicated that he knew only the one thing he was doing and did not care to know anything else about the plant or its operations. All about him were people engaged in other similar processes, in a long sequence, determined by the foreman or the directors of the machinery, but they knew only the processes which they were repeating over and over and cared little about their relations to the other processes in the sequence. A group of efficient engineers and directors had worked out every plan so perfectly that if these men did their work each as he was directed and at the proper place and time it would all come out perfectly with the precision of smoothly working machinery, every cog of which fits perfectly in its proper groove.
The unorganized work of the farm and of country life does not lend itself to this machine-like precision. It may not be adjusted to an organization of a few expert farm engineers at the head to plan the work and a large number of unthinking "hands" to carry it out, each working at his own definite process. It may not be arranged so that one workman may plant corn, and nothing more, day after day through the year, while another cultivates the corn plants while they are small, and still another when they grow large, and another still harvests it. No one may give all his time to the planting, cultivating, and harvesting of corn and another give all his time to the like work with wheat, while still another devotes his time to the care of live stock. Farm work cannot yet, even if it ever can be, organized on this basis.
Simple farm implements of a generation ago have given place to complex and costly machinery. Knowledge of the principles of agriculture have increased and some division of labor is possible on large plantations, while every independent farmer must know the whole list of facts and principles and be able to apply them skillfully or else he can only expect failure. The farmer who owns a farm of from one hundred to two hundred acres, and lives on and by it, must himself know and understand every process and every principle involved in its care and cultivation. He must know how to adjust himself and his work to changing condition and to meet all kinds of emergencies. His nearest neighbor may be half a mile away; the nearest veterinary surgeon ten or twelve miles away. There is no specialist in his county who can diagnose and prescribe for the cure of plant diseases. There is no machinist who can be called to repair an impaired piece of delicate machinery. The farmer must combine all these professions or specialties within himself. The millions of farmers living and working under such conditions, unable to go back to boyhood and youth and attend our colleges of agriculture for four years, must, without such prolonged college study and training, do the farming, feed the people of this country and the world, and keep the trade balance of the United States in our favor.
It is a slow process to wait for a generation of men to die that we may fill the places of the uneducated and untrained with those who have been through the colleges. We must help those who are now doing the work to do it more intelligently, skillfully and successfully. What can we do for them? Through the extension work and the short courses, which are also a kind of extension work, the agricultural colleges have undertaken the very high, noble, and worthy task of helping them in every way they can and to the greatest extent possible. Meetings of farmers' institutes and similar organizations have become common and are largely attended. The institute conductor and institute lecturer have been developed as a consequence. Farmers thro gh instructors have learned to talk. They talk better, at least more readily, than engineers. Recently I have been making inquiries to find a man to serve as Specialist in Agricultural Education in the Bureau of Education. Many have been recommended for the reason that they are good talkers, that they can interest audiences. Much of the teaching at these gatherings is not scientific. I attend many of them. Sometimes I have wondered as to just what information the farmers carried away with
Little enough, all too frequently. But as a total result of these institutes and these lectures the farmers cultivate their fields better, care for their wood lots better, understand better how to market their crops. They are building better roads and know more of the value of good roads. They understand better their relation to the economic life of the larger communities of which their smaller communities are constituent parts. They are putting their money in the banks to be loaned to those who may need it when they them
They are learning to borrow money on short time notes when they need it and to take up these notes when they no longer have need for the money borrowed. They are learning to appreciate the importance of knowledge and are breaking away from the traditions of the centuries. They are watching methods and results on demonstration farms and listening to the advice of farm demonstration agents.
The phenomenal success of the corn club boys is revealing to them new possibilities. Willing and even eagerly they are contributing their money to the better support of the departments of agriculture in the colleges and for the further development of their
work. They no longer scoff and sneer at the book farmer. They are gaining respect for scientific principles and their intelligent practical application, and they are resolving that their
selves do not.