« AnteriorContinuar »
ship is not our chief business. Training all the children of all the people is. We have no fixed standard for our young people, except, for almost every one, a higher grade than she is at the moment occupying. We are trying to dismiss from our own minds the old belief that high school is a privilege. It is the right of all. If our
service were what it should be, every girl SCIENCE FOR USE AT HOME
of thirteen and upward should be getting A COURSE IN COOKING AND DIET THAT BRINGS CHEMISTRY AND HYGIENE INTO THEIR RELATION
it. We lose large numbers of girls. Every TO THE NEEDS OF DAILY LIFE
one who leaves before graduation is a failure
of the American purpose of universal educapercentage of our passing marks for a tion. We are participants in that failure. few to the point that our general average We are trying to discover and apply the is the highest in the world. We are for forces by which girls are awakened, engirls first and for high averages, too, but couraged, and inspired to persevere. We not at the expense of health, and happiness, are attempting to discard the unsuccessful and human interest. In this we recognize spirit of criticism, correction, and blame that we must constantly run the risk of which has become associated with our busicondemnation by earnest educators who ness. We would rather not appear as “corregard high schools as institutions only rectors of youth.” Success is positive, not for the intellectually elect. We feel that negative. Reprimand, when overdone, dea mother's love for her less gifted child is featsits own purpose. Expectation of sucas noble as it is natural.
cess is success. We select every day some We know that there is no provision for piece of work which has been well done, the training of girls above thirteen who are some improvement that has been made, slow, stupid, indolent, disrespectful, and and send the girl responsible for it to her untrained. Such need us more than the grade adviser. It breaks the tradition kind of girl which high school has often that a school girl reporting to someone claimed as its only charge. High scholar- must have been guilty of a fault. We
A GIRL LEARNING HOW TO PASTEURIZE MILK FOR
THE HARM THEY DO
try to catch girls doing right and to recognize it. Too much alertness in a teacher for detection of wrong results in emphasis upon evil. In time it reacts upon the detective and contaminates her nature. There is no proof that teachers are morally superior to girls of thirteen to eighteen. To keep a school atmosphere fresh and sweet, it does not seem necessary to lecture a group of girls upon the fault of one. We
CHEMISTRY THAT COUNTS have no general reprimands, no public
A BABY'S USE AS WELL AS WHAT GERMS ARE AND apologies. We have no rules, no system of discipline. Our weak teachers can get help from our strong ones and eventually as knowledge, a purpose which all now secure complete control by capitalizing declare is not the aim of education. The the respect of a class and recognizing that first thing with us in devising any new set the average tendency of any thirty girls of exercises is to formulate as well as we is toward decency and gentle breeding. can what characteristics of a first-rate girl We failed when we ruled by fear and mili- should be desired as a result of the time tary methods; we succeeded when we ban- to be filled. ished suspicion, mistrust, and desire to Take civics, for example. Thirty-eight show our authority. Whenever our in- lessons are allotted by the powers that be stitution has used in full measure the dem- for us to fill under this head. What should ocratic idea of coöperation we have you wish a girl to be after a year of thinking seemed to ourselves to go ahead.
about the questions that the authorities Such courses as were not prescribed would permit you to assemble under the by higher authority have been prepared name of civics? We conceived that a collectively. The tendency to imitate some young woman of eighteen should feel a good course in some other school is no doubt personal obligation to serve the common as strong here as elsewhere. But that good. In so far as possible her habit produces only a list of subjects to be learned of mind should be inspired with a lively
and what they mean for everyone. Why of habit incline us to judge of school service is the family the unit of government? in terms not of personal value but of What holds the family together? What school usage. So when we added to the threatens it? What do you owe your exercises of school girls seven years ago mother? How would you assist a younger the dressing and undressing of babies, sister who was growing away from her school folks shook their heads. Every parents? What is the limit of parental change must always bring its head-shake. absorption of the lives of daughters? Dancing came into New York schools as All the course in civics is personal. It regular instruction through our classes is for use.
ten years ago. Official suspicion required The business girl, about to seek employ- its modification and concealment under ment in some sort of office, needs and should the head of "esthetics." have enlightenment and she should have it The forms of good breeding are admittedfrom business women who know what ly of such necessity to a woman and conoffices are. This is social service. This is fessedly so impossible of satisfactory acquisition at home, that they must find a civic crime. We have seen high school girls regular place in a course of study with a grow into old women in four years. We hand book and a teacher. Yet such is had rather help an adolescent girl to find the force of tradition that, although every encouragement for a robust motherhood man on a board of education believes this, and promise of a virile race. no one dares act accordingly and authorize We are trying tò capitalize for their own in our school the study and practice of instruction the talents of all the girls inetiquette with full recognition of credits for stead of imposing upon them all the time promotion and graduation. We are trying our own conceptions. Every day the to maintain that the mother and father's girls assemble as a public forum. Every ideals for the daughter are a real and vital gathering has its own girl chairman, secpurpose and must be ours. The changed retary, and programme committee. They conditions of the city-bred girl demand change daily. Every girl gets some trainadaptive teachers and not defenders of a
ing in courage, self-possession, and service form which never was designed for our for the common good. It is part of the girls and which never has been proved day's business to inform others what the good for any girl at all.
world is doing and discussing. The One irreconcilable difficulty of running World's Work is reproduced by girls a girl-centred school upon the study- who study it. All notices, announcements, centred organization arises from the matter and sermonizing which school men ordinarof health. The father and mother, 'whom ily furnish to assemblies of pupils are done theoretically we should stand for, want by girls. Part of it is spontaneous; much more than anything else a healthy, beau- of it is at the suggestion of teachers. Steretiful, happy daughter. The typical high opticon exhibitions are chiefly in the hands school, on the other hand, does not put of girls. Addresses made by adult visitors health, beauty, or happiness first, nor even are at once summarized by girls called at second. The prime consideration which random from the audience. It delights general usage urges upon us is to cover a speaker mightily to hear himself reviewed the course of study. The main duty which by attentive listeners. The instincts of you remember as emphasized by your all normal young persons for fun are not high school teachers was not health, beauty, suppressed but fostered. nor happiness, but hard work. There English classics get themselves presented is so general a fear of departure from this in the school theatre, which has footlights, model that we have to keep ourselves from scenery,
asbestos drop. The loading down growing girls with night girls write and Igive their own plays. tasks that whiten their cheeks, blear their The sentiment is clean and healthy. eyes, and taint their breath. Instinctively Every year the entire company of more than every teacher, following her mother heart, five thousand build a play together. First wants to keep, day by day, the radiant every girl writes as a composition exercise freshness of youth in her children. We her version of the coming play. It has no who are attempting to write this account central motive. It is unconnected atoms. have once and forever renounced the fallacy From the thousands of conceptions, comthat success or advantage to Society comes mittees select the newest and most suitable. from the kind of hard work which high A central committee strings them into line. schools glorify. That which moves the Assembly discussions engender a connected world forward is youth. We would send motive. This purpose of the play, once up women charged with it, not because voted on, makes the elaboration and arit is a sweet thing, a pretty conceit, but rangement of the parts inevitable. You because it is the only potency that can save have the Conflict of Work and Play appearthe world. It is a force, a physical fact, an ing in “Rip Van Winkle's Dream.” You essence of progress, really progress itself. have the Choice of Things Worth While When you lose it, at eighty or ninety, you growing into “The Vision of Youth." are thereafter a dead weight. An institu- Class by class, the groups select their tion that destroys it at twenty commits a portions. There are no stars, no risk of
failure from the absence of any one, be- her heart out with your high standards cause every development of the story is and solemn praise of drudgery. You can entrusted to thirty or sixty girls. Their drive her out of school, away from the rehearsal comes in school hours as a part of cleanest associations she has, and then music, or of declamation, or of practice God help her! No conscientious systemwith the teacher of calisthenics. The class- soaked teacher can. es in costume design sketch the dresses; We are trying to put the brightest side the sewing classes make them. The man- of every school subject forward, to subagement committee gets an armory and stitute artistry for drudgery, to eliminate invites Mrs. Roosevelt or Mrs. Hughes or the disagreeable, and to make work what Mrs. Dix or Mrs. Gaynor to be the guest of every expert authority who ever analyzed honor. All the teachers of the schools and wrote upon it says it ought to be: from which the girls came into high school sit the greatest joy in the world which always as guests in the capacious galleries. “Papa" blesses him who finds it. Mc Gowan, the school's chief sponsor in the For the accomplishment of our purpose we Board of Education, circulates among the have come into as beautiful and completely guests, insisting that what they shall see appointed a building as was ever furnished has taken not an instant from "regular" by any city for the training of its daughters. school work. And then the wonderful mass The Board of Education encouraged us of beautiful young girlhood, to the music of to plan it. Every teacher had a hand in it. the regimental band, shows you for two We studied schools all over America and hours how Right, in spite of Error and Europe. We drew the plans and specified Despair, always triumphs in the end.
the equipment. The board's architect If you frankly endeavor to show the made our suggestions workable. We have, educational significance of school enter- in one great company, girls pursuing every tainments, express the belief that the pleas- kind of work they want to the extent that ure of them is sufficient in a girls' school, the Board of Education will permit. We you are sure to run athwart of fearful have kitchens, bed-rooms, laundries, nureducators who persuade themselves that series, and parlors for the training of every what is pleasant must be naughty. We girl in housewifery. We have banks, stores, are trying as foster-parents to avoid the offices, studios, dressmaking establishments, dreary mistake of those strict fathers who and telephones for the preparation of young have driven their daughters into evil because business women. We have book collections of the utter lack of merriment at home. for the training of library keepers. We For the last twenty years the amusements have the staples of culture: the languages, of New York have been growing more literature, sciences, and mathematics for the salacious, more immoral, more clever, more training of the minds, preparing for teachers' witty, more alluring. Almost every kind schools and colleges. We have the limitaof thing that is attractive to young folks: tions of strict courses and restrictive examinmusic, sociability, politeness, variety, beauty, tions to keep us within the bounds which an color, interest, noise, vivacity, and wit, organized system deems necessary. has been taken by the devil to lure girls What we are trying to do is to move and away from us. We are trying not to not to stagnate; to catch the best spirit of wince when dear old blunderers conclude the time and not to assume that we rewe must be slighting "regular" work when ceived it by bequest from some legal poswe encourage our children to gratify their sessor of it. We are trying to work toGod-given appetites for fun and happiness. gether instead of following a leader. We This is Nature's spring-time for a girl. are trying to conceive what the better generaHer little head is whirling with romance: tion is which the Fathers of this Republic her little heart is bursting with sympathy. expected from free public schools. In Soul-sunshine is as vital to her healthy so far as the limitation of system and our growth and to her moral strength in days own inexpertness permit, we are trying to to come as food and drink are to her body. help the intelligent parents of New York You can starve her sympathies and grind to furnish the girl part of that generation.