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But how can this difficulty be avoided in a graded system of instruction? How can requisite uniformity be secured and, at the same time, the teacher have necessary professional freedom? I do not assume to be able fully to answer these questions.
My first suggestion is that a sharp discrimination must be made between results and methods. The essential thing in a graded system is that there be necessary uniformity in results at stated periods, and this can be attained without denying the teacher freedom in his methods, This teacher will succeed best by one method and that teacher by another, and each should be left free to use his best power.
Another suggestion may be important. A course of study may prescribe a minimum amount of work for each school term or year, or as a condition of promotion, but the stated order and time of the subdivisions should be merely suggestive. Uniformity should be required only so far as it may be important or necessary. The essential result in a graded system is that the several classes of the same grade come to the examination for promotion with like attainments. It is not important that the several teachers accomplish the same result day by day or week by week. Nothing is more ridiculous than the attempt to parcel out primary instruction and tie it up in daily or weekly prescriptions, like a doctor's doses. This week the class is to take certain facts in geography; to count by twos to fifty (to sixty would be a fearful sin!); to draw the vertical lines of a cube; to learn to respect the aged, etc. This also suggests the folly of restricting teachers to the work laid down in the course. One teacher can accomplish more than another in the same time, and, if forbidden to widen his instruction, to turn into new fields, the surplus time will be wasted in useless repetition. A scheme of study can only prescribe the minimum, the essential course. Parallel with this and diverging from it are lines of important knowledge, which the teachers should be free to explore. Moreover, it is in these very diversions from the beaten path that the most valuable instruction is often imparted. The teacher carries into them an unusual zeal and interest, and his pupils are thus quickened with a new inspiration. It is taken for granted in this suggestion that the schools are supplied with well qualified teachers, and this presupposes that they have received necessary professional preparation. We are beginning to recognize the fact that the essential condition of the highest success of American schools is the thorough normal training of our teachers.
But the great remedy for the particular evil under consideration is intelligent, flexible supervision. Supervision is of doubtful worth when it exhausts itself on the mere mechanism of a school system. It must, of course, secure uniformity and system, but these may be attained without grooving the teachers' instruction or sacrificing their professional freedom and progress. An experienced superintendent once remarked that his chief business was to keep his teachers out of the ruts. To this end the superintendent must be qualified to instruct, inspire, and lead teachers in the work of professional improvement, and his supervision must be flexible enough to allow free investigation and experiment. It is true that a corps of teachers, imbued with such an earnest spirit of inquiry and progress, will run in no one's groove, but what is thus lost in uniformity will be more than made up in vital teaching.
IV. A fourth problem in graded-school management is the proper adaptation of the system to the needs of those pupils who can give only a part of their time to school duties. " The schools," says a leading paper, “allow no divided allegiance. If the boy goes to school, he must go steadily, and give it the heart of the working day. No provision is made for children who must devote a part of each day to labor. Hence young children are taken out of school to assist in household duties, to sell papers or do errands, or to render other assistance, really demanding but a portion of their time. Many pupils are withdrawn from school at a
very early age to learn trades. They are too young to work more than the half of each day, and would make even more rapid progress in manual labor if they could spend the other half in school. But the doors of the public schools are closed against them. They must choose between the shop and the school, and the necessity of earning a living as early as possible scarcely permits, in many instances, a choice.
The failure of the public schools to accommodate this class of pupils, the very class which, above all others, needs their advantages, has been too generally accepted as unavoidable. Whenever the necessities of the family have demanded any portion of the regular school hours, children have quietly dropped out of their classes and the schools have gone on apparently unconscious of their absence. But the proposition to enact laws compelling parents to send their chiidren to school has raised the inquiry whether the schools are not responsible for some of the absenteeism to be thus corrected. It is urged that the first step is to adapt the schools to the necessities of all classes.
As a ineans to this end it has been suggested that the public schools should be organized on what is known as the half-time system- a system tried with encouraging results in Europe and also in the primary schools of several cities in this country. It is urged that the uniting of labor and schooling is the true idea, that children who devote their whole time for eight to ten years to schooling are not then likely to enter on manual labor with much enjoyment, and, besides, that labor and schooling, when united, assist each other. The half-time pupils prove, as a rule, as apt scholars as their full-time classmates, and, at the same time, more skilled workers than their unschooled workfellows.
These considerations have certainly great weight, but I am not convinced that the adoption of the half-time system in the upper grades of our schools is necessary to secure the desired end. A great many of the pupils in city schools would not engage in manual labor the half of each day were the half-time system adopted. If in school only half of the day, they would spend the other half in idleness or on the streets, and some in worse places. When no home study is required, the present system allows some six hours a day and every Saturday for labor and recreation. This is found to be time enough for many childrer to do all the work that is provided for them. It is possible that it would be better if all our youth had regular work the half of each day, but the public schools can not change the usages of society in this respect. They must conform to what is, rather than to what should be.
It has also been suggested that half-time schools might be organized for working children, and that the present system be continued for others. This involves not only a classification but a separation of children on the basis of manual labor, and we have already quite enough of this class principle in the organization of our schools. It is believed that the difficulty under consideration can be successfully met without organizing separate schools for working children.
What is needed is to make the course of study and requirements of our schools flexible enough to accommodate this class of pupils. Instead of half-time schools, I would suggest a half-time course of study in all grades above the primary. It is not necessary to require all the pupils in our public schools to take the same number of studies and advance with even step through the course. crustean device must be given up, if the public school system is to do its full legitimate work as an agency for the education of the whole people. Instead of excluding pupils who can not meet all the conditions of a complete and thorough course of elementary education, it must provide for such pupils the best education possible under the circumstances. This may involve some loss in uniformity and system, but there will be a gain in usefulness-a result more important than mechanical perfection in classification.
The four great problems which we have thus imperfectly considered, are preeminently graded-school problems, having their origin, so to speak, in the element of gradation. Other educational problems, as the teacher problem, the study problem, the sex problem, etc., relate alike to both graded and ungraded schools.
It is hoped that I am not understood to condemn the graded system, for the very aim of this paper is to assist in making the system more efficient and useful. It is also hoped that I am not understood to intimate that the defects pointed out exist in equal degree in all graded schools. I bear cheerful testimony to the fact that the gravity of these problems is appreciated by scores of superintendents in my acquaintance, and encouraging progress has been made in their practical solution.
It may also be remarked, in conclusion, that I have aimed more to state guiding principles than to solve these problems in detail. The one principle I desire specially to impress is, that the solution of each of these four problems is found in the proper subordination of the demands of the graded system as a mechanism to its great purpose as an agency for the education of the people—for furnishing every child with the best possible education it is capable of receiving in the actual circumstances which surround it; in the proper subordination of uniformity and system, which are but means to the sublime end of unfolding, enriching, and beautifying the human soul--of touching human life in ail conditions with elevating and beneficent power.
II.--EDUCATION IN HAWAII FOR 1896.
By Gen. Johx EATON. The Hawaiian reports of education are biennial. A census is taken once in sis years. These two reports coming the same year (1896) may well be considered together. They present an exceedingly interesting story of the education of the several races represented in these islands. Of the Archipelago known as the Sandwich Islands, or Hawaii, only eight, Ha-wai-i, Mau-i, O-a-hu, Kau-ai, Mo-lo-kai, La-nai, Ka-hoo-la-we, and Nii-hau, of the principal islands extending over 300 miles at the eastern end of the group are inhabited. These have a total approximate area of 7,000 square miles, or 4.480,000 acres; and a total population, according to the last census, of 109.020, and distributed as to sex and nationality as follows:
The marked disparity between the sexes will be noted. The total number of males, 72,517, in the country is nearly double the total number of females (36,503). It will be observed that next to the total of native Hawaiians, 31,019, is the total of the Japanese population, 24,191. It appears that the Japanese have recently come in with great rapidity, as many as 2,000 arriving in a month. The Chinese (nest in number to the Japanese) reached 21,616, making a total from Asia of 46,023, or nearly half (42 per cent) of the total, that is the Asiatics nearly equal in number all other nationalities.
The total increase during the six years which elapsed since the previous census is 19,030, or 21.1 per cent. The diminution of the native Hawaiian population, which has been long progressing, it appears, continues. In 1890 there were 31, 133 native Hawaiians; in 1896, 31,019, or a decrease of 9.9 per cent; from 1884 to 1890 the loss was reported at 13.09 per cent. This reduction in the per cent of nativo Hawaiian loss is in part accounted for by the greater care bestowed upon the younger generation, especially since the establishment of the Republic.
Turning to the legal school population, ages 6 to 15, inclusive, we find the following:
The nationality of teachers in all schools on the islands in 1896 is as follows:
68 Hawaiian Part Hawaiian
177 American British
6 French. Belgian
5 Dutch Portuguese
2 Japanese Chinese
The number of pupils in the independent or private schools is 3,464, and the number of teachers, 169 (male, 69; female, 100); the number of independent
During the two years covered by this report there were three Government schools, with a total of 39 pupils, taught in native Hawaiian. For the future it
appears that no schools will be taught in Hawaiian, and that all instruction at Government expense will be in English.
The school attendance in the islands in 1854 was 12,432; in 1878, it had run down to 6,232; as seen above, it has risen again to 12,616. In the last two years the increase has been specially rapid.
The attendance of pupils in Government schools is as follows: Hawaii....
2,740 Maui and Lanai
3,027 Kauai and Niihau
The attendance in independent or private schools, by islands, is as follows: Hawaii..
614 Maui and Lanai
438 Molokai Oahu.
2, 185 Kauai and Niihau.
86.4 88.9 86.4 88.3 90.7
The average for the whole group is 88,2 per cent. Honolulu has an average attendance of 88.6 per cent. The report adds the remark: “New York has an average of 76 per cent; Columbus, Ohio, 80 per cent; San Francisco, 67 per cent; Los Angeles, which, because of its enrollment of 12,191, is practically the same as ours, has 73 per cent. If the comparison is made with the States instead of the cities the percentage of the Hawaiian group shows still more favorably. The State of New York has an average school attendance of 64 per cent, Ohio, of 72 per cent, and California 76 per cent. To enforce this attendance the board employs fifty truant officers, and it is very evident that the money spent in this direction has been well expended."
The need of increased school accommodations is emphasized. “ In Honolulu every school is overflowing, and there are yet children who might be brought into school if we only had rooin for them."
The course of study resembles very much the courses in the several States of our Union. Sewing is taught the girls according to a carefully prepared plan of work. Nine establishments have been equipped for the manual training of boys. A young lady, native of the islands, educated at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, N. Y., teaches drawing. More than half of the pupils are instructed in music. Under the inspiration of Mrs. S. B. Cooper, of the Golden Gate Free Kindergarten Association, of San Francisco, a free kindergarten school was opened in Honolulu in March, 1894. Since then considerable progress has been made. A training class has been organized, and it is believed that the system is well grounded.
Night-school work is favorably reported.
A regular normal class has been attached to the high school. Of its members, 8 are part Hawaiians, 8 Americans, 3 are British, 1 Hawaiian, and 1 Spanish.