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3. What would happen if a man should seek to build a house without deciding what sort of a house he would build ?
4. Do you think that results of the same sort are the consequence of attempting to teach without having clear ideas of what we wish to accomplish?
5. Who wrote the Report of the Committee of Fifteen?
6. Give examples from your own observation to show the necessity of educational statesmanship.
7. How did the superintendent of schools in the neighboring town decide upon a course of study ?
8. Can there be any intelligent consideration of such a question that is not based on a clear perception of the end of education ?
9. What is meant by educational values ? 10. Can you determine the educational value of a subject if you have not determined the end of education ?
11. What is a good school?
12. Can you answer that question if you do not know what the end of education is ?
THE END OF EDUCATION AS CONCEIVED BY
MR. HERBERT SPENCER AND DR. DEWEY.
Education Preparation for Rational Living. The end of education may be provisionally stated as preparation for rational living. This statement ought to be acceptable to all parties. For whatever the ends you have in view, you cannot reach them without the employment of reason. If you say with Plato that the nature of the vast majority of men makes it their duty to submit absolutely to the guidance and direction of a few highly trained minds, then such submission is rational, and the education that determines who the highly gifted few are and that disposes the many to submit to the few is preparation for rational living. If with Aristotle you hold that the incapacity of the majority makes it their duty either to be slaves of individuals or the servants of a community, then submission to such service is the rational thing for those who ought to submit to it. If with the same philosopher you maintain that contemplation, thought, reflection, is the highest thing in life, then you will hold that the training for this activity of those who are qualified for it is training which prepares for rational living. If with the Stoics you believe that the wise man is he who concentrates his attention upon himself, on his own moral development, then you will believe that a life in harmony with this conception is a rational life. If with Epicurus you contend that individual happiness is the true end of life, then you will contend that rational living is living intelligently devoted to its realization.
If, with what seems to be the public opinion of our time, you hold that he succeeds best who accumulates most wealth, then you will hold that the education that best prepares men to make money is preparation for rational living. If with some society people you believe that "cutting a dash ” — giving the finest dinners and the smartest receptions, wearing the costliest diamonds and the handsomest gowns — is the most desirable thing in the world, then you will believe that the education that makes this possible is preparation for rational living.
But if people of the most widely divergent ideas of education can agree in regarding it as preparation for rational living, it is evident that such a description has no value for science. Granting that the thing to do is to live a rational life, and the proper education that which prepares us for it, the question at once arises : What ends shall rational living seek to realize, and what is the education that will enable us to do it ?
Mr. Spencer's Description of Complete Living.- Herbert Spencer has attempted to answer these questions in language which seems at first sight transparently clear. Education, he says, is preparation for complete living, and complete living consists in dealing wisely with one's mind and body, in training one's children and earning a livelihood intelligently, in performing one's duty to his family and society, and in making a wise use of one's leisure time. Now, satisfactory as this may seem to the casual reader, it really hides a host of difficulties. In the first place, a number of the constituents of complete living, to use Mr. Spencer's phrase, mean absolutely nothing until we know the very thing which they profess to tell us. The end of education is complete living, we are told, and one of the things we must do in order to live completely is to train our children wisely. But how can you train your children wisely unless you have a true ideal of life, a true conception of that which really makes it worth the living? Do you think that intelligent selfishness is the only wise thing in life? Then you will train your children wisely, from your point of view, when you have done all you can to discourage any altruistic “nonsense." If you think that the making of money is the fundamental matter, then you will regard the training which disposes them to make everything subordinate to it and employ successful means in acquiring it as the wisest possible training. In order to live completely, also, we must earn a livelihood. But by what principles are we to be guided in doing it ? Shall we adopt the code of many business men and say that any method is good which accomplishes its purpose and enables us to avoid the clutches of the law ? Shall we in earning a livelihood seek to concentrate our attention on the service we are trying to render to society, or shall we regard our business as a sort of economic prize-fight in which our duty to ourselves obliges us to knock out our competitors without regard to the consequences to themselves and their families ?
I must also perform my duty as a citizen in order to live completely. But that, again, is a phrase that does not mean very much until one knows what his duty to his country requires. Shall I say, “My country right or wrong”? And if you tell me that I am only to uphold my country when it is right, that an important part of my duty as a citizen consists in the supervision of my country's conduct so that I may by my vote call to account those who are responsible when it goes astray, I need to know the standard which you would have me apply when I am dealing with my country. Is the golden rule for individuals, not for nations? Is it right to bully a weak nation like Mexico, and goad it to war, if the weaker nation has a lower civilization than the stronger, and if the result of the war will enable the powerful nation to enforce its civilization on a part of the territory of the weak one? Is it the duty of civilized nations to extend their civilization over less civilized countries, even at the cost of war, as Aristotle contended that it might be their duty to go to war in order to compel the citizens of less civilized countries to occupy their proper positions as slaves ? Is it the first duty of a man in office to promote the interests of himself, then of his personal friends, then of his party, then of his State, then of his section, and last of all, if he has any energy left over, of his country as a whole ?
Conflict of Duties. — Let us waive these difficulties, let us suppose that we know what principles should guide us in training our children and earning a livelihood, and in our work as citizens; there yet remain other questions which must be answered before one is in a position to live his life according to knowledge. I am not earning a livelihood when I am training my children, nor am I, except in an indirect way, performing my duty as a citizen. When these duties conflict, by what principle am I guided ? Manifestly this question cannot be answered precisely. We feel that the street-car conductor who was obliged to work such long hours that his children scarcely knew him