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VERMONT

SCHOOL JOURNAL,

Devoted to the Educational Interests of the State,

AND

Published under the Sanction of the Vermont State Teachers' Association.

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Mr. Leavenworth was Associate Editor one half of the year.

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THE COLLEGE AND COMMON SCHOOLS.

The college lies at the bottom. It is the source of the other and lower grades, and demands the most careful cherishing, even when we extend our views no farther than the common schools. They never have flourished, they never will flourish, they cannot flourish, without the college; because without that their root is cut off, and they must die, as soon as the vitality they have already derived from it is exhausted.

To see the reason of this, it is only necessary to consider that the hearty fostering and support of the common schools, like all other similar interests, depend upon the moral and intellectual tone of the community i. e. ; upon the cultivation of the community. And we need not take time to illustrate the fact that cultivating and elevating influences descend from the higher upon the lower; they do not ascend from the lower into the higher. It is the cultivating power of the higher and profounder learning of the college that communicates the tone and sentiment, that appreciate rightly the common school. In the order of influence and power the college stands first, and is the condition without which the other would not exist. Our boys, it is true, begin their education in the common school, and go through the grades above until they reach the college. But it is the college that draws them up and allures them forward, and helps them onward. It is the college that develops and matures the science, the elements of which are learned in the

common school. It is the college that educates the men who make the books learned in the common school. "Webster's Spelling Book, from which millions of our countrymen obtain the first elements of learning, required all the learning of a Webster to compose and adapt it to its important use. And there is no service his learning has done his countrymen, so great as that which it has wrought in the production of the Elementary Spelling Book. It is the product of the college. Is it to be supposed that every teacher in the common school is able to construct the Maps and Charts which he uses in his daily lessons in Geography? Not one of them, probably, could do it. They are the result of the highest Mathematical knowledge and skill. They are the product of the college. And so of the rest. They are the fruits of a learning which knows how to adapt the elements of knowledge in such a way as to lead best and most easily to that which awaits the boy in a higher sphere. So that the whole community, both men and women, are, in an important sense, college educated. The learning, more or less. which we have derived from books is college learning. One may have followed up the stream no higher than to the common school; another may have stopped half way at the academy; another may have gone farther and drank at the collegiate spring, but whatever the amount and extent of our school education, it is collegiate education after all, as far as it goes.

The idea, therefore, that the mass of the people have no concern in the college, can arise only from want of reflection. The man who will give himself the trouble to look at the subject, will perceive that the influence of the college is not limited to those who enter its walls. Indeed some who have not even stepped within its halls, often de rive more benefit from it, indirectly, than some others who have had access to all its privileges. A man might AS well say that he was not indebted to the ocean and sky for the mountain spring at which he drinks, because he

As

never filled his dish from the sea; or for the rains that water his field, or the river that floats his merchandise, because he does not engage in foreign commerce. the ocean is the source from which the clouds derive the rains which water and refresh the earth, so the higher institutions of learning are the chief sources of the good culture which pervades society. There is not one of us who can say: "The college is not for me." It is absurd to say: "I am satisfied with humbler and less remote sources of knowledge. So far as it concerns me, I am content even if their doors should be closed and their halls deserted." That would Le as if a man should say: "The sun in the heavens is too high and remote a luminary for my use. I have no interest in it. For my humble wants, I am content with the light that discloses to my view the common objects of use or beauty which lie about me. Extinguish the sun and it concerns not me."

In fact, there is not a tool or implement in common use whose construction does not involve an amount of scientific knowledge quite beyond the thought of those who use it. A good plow is the slow and cautious result of scientific principles, whereby the greatest effect in pulverizing and loosening the soil could be secured; the greatest strength combined with the least weight; and the draught so applied as to exert the greatest power with the smallest strain; questions whose solution involves the most intimate acquaintance with mechanical laws and their applications. Mere experience and ingenuity never made the discovery. The ancients were as observing and ingenious as the men of our day, and we are astonished at the rudeness and inconvenience of their implements. And a farmer of the present day would be regarded almost a barbarian, who should be seen using the heavy, awkward plows, which we can well remember as the best in use, and with no thought of better-less than a generation back. So simple a tool as an axe or a knite, in the perfect form in which we now have them, involves

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