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The moral training of children was formerly provided for by the home and the church. In many communities to-day the school has had to accept an ever-increasing responsibility for the moral development of children. Indeed, one of the problems uppermost in the minds of those who are most thoughtful with respect to our modern social life is the problem of providing adequate moral training in connection with public education. Experiments have been conducted by offering special courses in morals and in civics; schools have organized children to participate in their own government and control, and in some few cases religious bodies have offered instruction in religion during the regular school hours. It is impossible at this time to predict the development in the field of moral education, but probably it is safe to say that such training will eventually be provided as a regular part of the work of our public-school system.
The moral social training of those who have passed beyond the period of regular school attendance is receiving some consideration in our public schools. The establishment of civic and social centers which have involved the discussion of community problems, as well as a better use of leisure time, promises much for the moral development of youth and adults. It is not strange that we have come to realize that in our country, with its constant stream of immigration, the problem of education, whether intellectual, physical, or moral, is quite as much the problem of education of adults as it is the problem of training children.
Through the establishment of continuation schools, with sessions held both at night and during the daylight hours, the public education service had been greatly enlarged. Especially by the establishment of vocational and prevocational schools has the number of those who may profit by public education beyond the compulsory school age been increased. Along with this provision for education beyond the elementary school field, there is developing an increased requirement of school attendance, which may be expected in the near future to raise the age of compulsory school attendance to 16 or even higher.
The extension of the scope of public education to the whole population, and the development of the greater variety of activity upon the part of schools dealing with different groups, lead one to ask whither we are tending. There are those who believe that the efficiency of our public-school system as an agency for promoting social solidarity and social progress will be, and even has already been, interfered with by adding so greatly to the school's responsibility. When we face the issue, however, with respect to any group who need education, the answer seems inevitably to be that the school should provide for them. Our school plants were formerly in use during a very small fraction of the time. We have discovered that it is possible so to furnish them that they may be made available during three times as many hours as formerly. Our communities can not afford to invest in buildings and equipment for social and recreational purposes while our school plants lie idle.
In like manner, when we ask concerning the greater variety of educational activity engaged in by our modern schools, efficiency in administration demands that the several types of education-physical, intellectual, moral, and vocational--be undertaken by a single institution. It would be unfortunate were we to develop a dual system of education-one to correspond with past educational development, a system of schools preparing people for college in order that they might enter the professions, and another organized for those whose vocational training must follow immediately the fundamental training given in the elementary school. The children, youth, or adults in our school system furnish the only satisfactory unit of administration. Children who are in school must be examined by physicians and dentists, and given such treatment as is necessary. To divide the responsibility for these children by giving the schools charge of their intellectual growth and the board of health charge of their physical welfare is to suggest a duality that does not exist and to open the way for interference and maladjustment in administration.
We have accepted in this country an ideal of public education broad enough to include physical education, moral education, intellectual education, and vocational education. These several types of training are to be made available for all of our people. We may confidently expect, along with the development of greater variety of opportunity for little children and youth, an ever-increasing provision for those who have recently left school to engage in gainful employment, as well as for those adults in the community who may seek special training, or who may meet profitably for the discussion and solution of community problems. Public education is already our greatest single social enterprise. We may expect that it will increase in scope and in significance, even though we may not certainly predict all of the lines along which this development is to come.
ADAPTATION OF SCHOOLS TO THE VARYING CAPACITIES AND NEEDS
OF THE SCHOOL POPULATION.
One of the chief problems in administration has always been to make provision for those who vary from the type. Strangely enough, we have in the past been concerned mainly with making a provision that would enable children to move forward in the system a little more slowly or to attempt to master a little less of a common type of education. The equality offered by the school system has, for the most part, been an equal opportunity to take the kind of an elementary school course that led to a high-school course, which in turn prepared for college and for later professional activity. In recent years our studies in retardation and elimination have led us to consider more carefully than heretofore the problem of adjustment in terms of different types of education, rather than with respect to the time involved in completing a uniform course. There is, of course, a significant adjustment to ability made when group teaching or individual instruction or flexible grading has made possible greater success by individual children. We are facing to-day, however, a much more intricate problem, and all over the country we are experimenting in our elementary schools with classes in which the education given is specialized to meet the demands of varying groups of children.
We no longer think of our work as satisfactory for defective children when we provide for a very slow rate of progress and a minimum of accomplishment. Rather, we have come to accept the fact that these children need most of all a kind of training which will render them productive members of society. We are providing as well against a possible danger to the larger social group by arranging for custodial care, or for the sterilization of the mentally defective. In most of our larger cities some provision for slow and for defective children has already been instituted. In some of the States the problem has been attacked. In New Jersey, for example, a State law requires that provision be made for children who are three or more years behind the grade for their age.
In many school systems classes have been organized for those who are anemic or tubercular. These open-air or open-window classes involve a régime which plans definitely not simply to correct an unfortunate adjustment in the ordinary class, but also to provide for definite physical growth and development for a group of children who are particularly in need of special treatment. Stress is laid in this case upon the physical aspect of education. A different type of special adjustment is found in the schools for the deaf and for the crippled. For these children differences in method, in equipment, and in courses of study provide opportunities that may be significant to them while in school and give them a kind of training that will make them self-supporting in later life. A special adjustment with respect to moral social training is provided in day truant schools and in parental schools. We are no longer satisfied with a scheme of administration which removes from the school system the truant or incorrigible child. We are concerned, rather, with providing such education as will bring the child back into the school system better educated with respect to the field of his particular deficiency.
These attempts to adjust our school systems to the varying capacities and needs of children are relatively more simple for the larger cities than for smaller communities or for more sparsely settled parts of our country. In the small city the problem of adjusting the school system to the varying groups of children has not infrequently been solved by organizing an ungraded class in which individual instruction is given. In a single group of 10 or 12 children there may be found those who are backward or mentally defective, those who need special treatment on account of physical defect, together with a boy or girl who may need special disciplinary treatment. For the rural school situation State institutions have in some measure taken care of particularly aggravated cases. With the development of the county as a unit for the administration of public education we may expect special schools, either day or boarding, to be provided for special groups of children. The problem of transportation to county day schools is somewhat more difficult to meet than the corresponding problem in cities. It is well, however, to note the fact that our city school systems have had to face the problem of transportation and of custodial care for children in order to provide these special opportunities.
Throughout the United States more care has been taken to provide special classes for the defective or delinquent than for especially capable children. A few experiments have been made which go to show that bright children can, when the opportunity is offered, not only save time but also do more significient work when special provision is made for them. Experiments in Baltimore, Indianapolis, and Worcester seem to confirm this statement. Many children of more than usual ability become inefficient by virtue of the fact that they are placed in classes with children of much less intellectual capacity. Any adequate adjustment of our school system to the varying capacities of children, or any claim to equality of opportunity, can be justified only when children of unusual capacity are segregated, especially beyond 12 or 13 years of age.
One of the most significant outcomes of the present movement for junior high schools may be found in the possible adjustment which can be made in this type of institution to the several groups of children who complete the first six grades of the elementary school course. A junior high school which offers the traditional course in preparation for later high-school work and for college might very properly segregate the capable children who desire to undertake this kind of work. In any such school provision for those who are to enter the commercial field can very properly place emphasis upon studies that have direct application in this field. Indeed, in the latter part of such a three-year course considerable skill in bookkeeping, penmanship, rapid calculations, stenography, and typewriting may be required. For another group of pupils the prevocational training in the industrial or household arts will take account of natural aptitude and ability, as well as possible future vocation. It is not necessary to assume in such a course that a boy or girl will remain interested in the field first chosen, or that he is placed for life by choosing any one course that may be offered. It should be possible to shift from one course to the other, and with the three-year senior high school following the first period of three years it should be easily possible for any pupil showing unusual ability to take the more extended training which will lead to college, or to positions of greater responsibility, by virtue of a larger outlook and more significant technical training, in the fields of commerce and industry. In rural high schools, and in some city schools, one of the options both for the junior and senior high-school course will be in the field of agriculture. It would be unfortunate, however, to confine the rural high school to agriculture, just as it would be to confine the city high school to the demand for such labor as might be found in the immediate vicinity of the high-school plant. A primary function of secondary education is the discovery of particular capacity or ability, and it has never been seriously argued that these capacities or abilities upon the part of children are directly related to the environment into which they chance to be born.
Along with the development of the newer type of high school, excellent examples of which may be found in Los Angeles and Grand Rapids and in the secondary vocational agricultural schools of Massachusetts, there have grown up in many places special types of schools that are called prevocational and vocational schools, continuation schools, and trade schools. All of these schools belong in a very significant way to the secondary school group, since they assume as a foundation a definite preliminary fundamental training such as is ordinarily provided in the first six years of our elementary school
Prevocational schools, which look toward preparation for work in the industries, have been established in many of our cities. The best examples are probably to be found in Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey, although individual schools of excellence may be found in many communities in other States. Continuation schools have been established in many communities, and have been known over a long period of years as night schools. These schools have, for the most part, been concerned with a type of training comparable to the regular elementary or high-school course. More recently continuation schools have undertaken prevocational training, or a kind of vocational training which supplements the work done in the industries. Provision has been made in a number of communities for day work in these schools. One of the first examples was the continuation schools of Cincinnati, in which the employers not only allowed the pupils to be absent from the shops, but also paid for the time taken up by school work. We may confidently expect an increase in the pro