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What City Schools Can Do to Aid Rural Schools*

Equalization of
of opportunity, a goal toward
which we are all striving, will never be achieved
until all school units work in co-operation

BY MILTON C. POTTER, SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS, MILWAUKEE, WIS.

ONSIDERING society as an organism, it is meet we should consider the entire organism's needs and behavior, the interdependence and inter-relation of its parts. In looking at the educational organism it is proper that the needs and behavior of all its parts and specialized structures shall be considered with a view to securing the best possible inter-relation between those parts.

What the city unit can or does contribute to the country unit in no wise outweighs the country's contribution to the city. When welldirected, steadily supported, thoroughly modernized, and socially accepted, the country unit has every advantage over its city sister. Only as city-school conditions approach country-school possibilities can they become what all schools should be in a freedom loving land, where "equality of opportunity" is a slogan, if not a catch word. Given a garden, ample play space, a shelter-house, suitable work tools, and some of the play equipment a normal child demands, with a wise, kindly, cultivated, happy-hearted teacher, a school on a city square surrounded by high walls and busy streets of trade offers only a little of the blessedness of the country school.

Facilities in Cities

But the cities have the facilities for developing new methods, for building new courses of study. City developed methods and courses of study cannot be carried over into the rural schools in toto. Many of the ideas contained in them are applicable outside. To develop a new method of teaching or to construct courses of study as our best city schools are now doing is by no means a simple task. But city teachers, by pooling their efforts, one contributing a suggestion here, another there, have developed some rather remarkable curricula in recent years. These courses have not only been made but tried out in the class

*Read before a meeting of the Department of Superintendence of the National Education Association, July 3, 1928, at Minneapolis.

room. A teacher working by herself for a lifetime could not develop all of the course of study material her school could well use, nor has she the opportunity for ample experimentation. Here is where she should be able to call upon the city for help, either directly as in the joint suburban conferences of Greater Detroit, or through her county superintendent, or through the office of the state superintendent, or the college of education of the university.

Country Will Pay for Education

The city unit to-day offers the country unit the service of a laboratory and experimental station. Urban communities have gradually come to believe in the efficacy of education, its value in habits and aptitudes, and are gradually reaching the point where they are willing to pay for it in dollars and cents. Society recognizes that its strength lies in well-trained, intelligent citizens. For this reason universal educational opportunity is provided at the expense of the whole community. Citizens face the fact that this is the only way they can contribute to the common good. There can be no isolation; standards of the metropolis must be met or outstripped by the environing groups. In view of current and probable annexations the metropolis should rejoice in the educational triumphs of its immediate hinterland.

This great middle west, and particularly the five states of the Northwest Territory, have embodied the thought of educational equalization in every enactment pertaining to public welfare. "Tithes of all we possess" have been given to education by our fathers. Education has been the one form of social service in which the pioneer farmers, the great railroad builders, the mighty lumber kings, and the hardy miners have stood together. As Minnesota's great university president declared last March at the Boston meeting:

"The state universities represent the culmination of democracy's effort to advance itself by

education. They have thrived and flourished where democracy has thrived and flourished. Wholly unsympathetic with every attempt to transplant an alien university system to American soil, the great body of citizens in the Mississippi Valley, and later to the South and West, sought the establishment of institutions of higher learning, open to all, sensitive to public need, supported largely by taxes levied upon all, and designed and administered to promote the public welfare. The state universities and the public schools evolved out of the same set of conditions. The arguments for the establishment of the universities were essentially the same as those for the establishment of the public schools, only raised to a higher power. The public schools were intended to be free schools; the state universities were intended to be as nearly free as possible. The doors of the public schools were to be wide open; likewise the state universities were expected to admit those who had completed the work of the next lower unit of the public schools. The public schools were maintained to provide for each individual that training by which he could profit most; the state universities offered additional training for those who were capable of pursuing their studies into still higher realms. Both the public schools and the state universities were founded on the assumption that society's welfare is best promoted by providing as nearly free and equal educational opportunities and privileges as possible. Indeed from early colonial times this conception has been assumed to be one of the surest guarantees of civil liberty."

City Schools Are Prepared to Aid

It would seem that in the great growth of American cities, with even a share of the enormous funds required to carry on the work of government, our urban systems of education are prepared to serve as laboratory and experimental stations. They may and do demand the best of teachers, fitted by travel and other contacts to become exemplars of teacher craft. The city teacher's opportunities for organization, for training in service, and for increased participation in the work of the schools will make her competent. That the city may and does provide music and art, health and medical inspection, libraries and museums, Americanization and extension activities, and the increasingly important centers for the teaching of industrial crafts and homemaking are all worthy of rural and suburban study and emulation. County- and city-school fellowship should be cordial and two-sided. In Greater Milwaukee it is a normal-school supervisor who says:

"Our city school really helps the rural school with museum and library facilities. The supervisors of the city give a certain amount of expert advice to the country schools and occasionally give model lessons, not necessarily as they should be given in the rural schools but as inspiration or entertainment for rural-school teachers. When a boy, I remember the entire rural school that I attended visited a city school. My impressions. of that visit still remain. Such visits might be an educational inspiration for rural-school pupils. There is also here rather a close touch between rural and city schools through committee conferences for working out co-operative projects, giving a better understanding of the environment of each."

Education Must Be Universal

We all profess to believe in democracy, equality of opportunity, the right of self-expression, the debt we owe to our forefathers, and the obligations that rest upon us as citizens and as members of present-day society. We are the fathers, the managers, the law-makers, the budget-makers, and the taxpayers of our time. Ours is the task so to train all the children of to-day that our beloved heritage may be safe in their hands a score or two of years from now. To that end there can be no difference made between rich or poor, black or white, the children whose playgrounds are city streets or those who live on country lanes. Education must be universal. To help make it more nearly so is the immediate task of the American city, for its own sake no less than the country's.

Opening to the children of the country all facilities of the municipality is one step in that project. Library, museum, parks, art galleries, and the concert hall are his now. Ease of travel makes these easily available. The radio and Uncle Sam's winged messengers keep him in touch with affairs. The city has a special duty toward the schools near her confines. She must accept cheerfully and freely their boys and girls into high and technical schools, thus making possible their entrance into college and universities. She must provide means by which their teachers may secure contacts with their professional city comrades.

The city terms should synchronize with country terms, with rural demands for the assistance of young people in farm house and field. The city can no better serve than to facilitate access of country youth to its own institutions, while health-giving labor out in the open might well claim many a city bred youngster and his carefrazzled mentor during the free term or "vaca

tion." Country young people must be trained in the cities to go back into their communities with new respect for out-door toil, with added reverence for the men and women who till the soil, who win from Nature the life-giving fruits of strength and effort that come from Mother Earth. We will induce our city boys and girls to go out into the country from our teachertraining institutions for health and vigor, for release from distraction and nerve destroying amusements, that they may learn something in the country and later be able to teach something in the city.

Finally, urban communities owe financial aid to the country schools. But heretofore it has been generally assumed that help should come as a result of depriving city schools of money they need for themselves. A fundamental fallacy that has been current in educational and legislative administrative thinking is that the way to help the rural schools is to take money away from the city and give it to them. The fallacy lies in the assumption that city schools have more money than they need. Yet they challenge us to point out a cityschool system that is really getting more money than it needs to operate good schools.

Cities everywhere are bemoaning the shortage of funds. In our own city of Milwaukee it has been a constant struggle to find means with which to keep a roof over the heads of our children. For a number of years we have had between three and four thousand children in barracks, with several thousand children on halftime and classes running with forty-five pupils per teacher. Yet the last Wisconsin legislature saw fit to enact legislation depriving Milwaukee children of $460,000 annually in order that the poorer districts of the state might be aided. Much of this will go to small schools with an average attendance of less than ten children per teacher as against our own average of forty-five.

Suggested Means of Assistance

By legislative fiat we are told that as a penalty for economy and efficiency we must give a halfmillion of our insufficient funds each year in the future to rural schools that have been so poorly managed as to permit schools to operate oftentimes with less than a half-dozen pupils. I do not mean to say that the rural districts do not need help; they do. Some of that assistance must come through greater efficiency in organization, to bring children together into more economical units and at the same time attract a higher class of teachers to the rural community.

But financial assistance must come in other ways than those proposed. If the great centers

of wealth are to be taxed to support rural schools, tax those centers of wealth but do not take the revenue from the schools that happen to be located in those centers of wealth. The trouble with relief measures has been that they have proposed taking the monies away from our city schools. Why take from school revenues alone? Why not share the burden with roads, parks, streets, and other forms of municipal improvements? The immediate effect of the recent Wisconsin law is to decrease the millage for city schools. There is no increased burden on the taxpayer nor does any other governmental unit suffer except the public schools. If rural schools must be helped, why not propose a tax for that purpose specifically levied on all property of the state, in no wise affecting the present net income of the city schools? Let that issue be settled on its merits but do not attack the city-school funds.

The Superintendent's Tenure
of Office

Only about fifty-three per cent of the cities haying a population of 2,500 and over had the same superintendent of schools in 1927-28 as they had in 1922-23, according to W. S. Deffenbaugh. In some cities more than one change in superintendents occurred within the five-year period. Very rarely does a superintendent remain in the same position more than fifteen or twenty years.

Frequent changes in superintendents no doubt tend to lower the efficiency of a school system, since the superintendent who remains in a position but a few years cannot very well carry out any progressive program. He may get such a program started, but in case of change, the superintendent who succeeds him may not be able to take it up immediately. Before making any recommendations to the board of education, the new superintendent will find it necessary to make a careful study of conditions and to ascertain the policies of his predecessor to see whether such policies are sound and how they may best be carried out without making too many changes in them, all of which will mean delay.

From 1890 to 1926 enrollments in collegiate departments of colleges and universities increased 529 per cent. College enrollments have increased rather uniformly, excepting during the war period. In 1918 college enrollments suffered a material decrease. Increases in enrollments in teacher-training institutions show more fluctuation than in any other type of school. Part of this fluctuation may be charged to a reclassification of normal schools at different times.

The NATION'S

SCHOOLS

Editor in Chief PROFESSOR M. V. O'SHEA

The University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis.

Executive Editor JOHN A. MCNAMARA

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EDITORIAL CONSULTANT BOARD
CORNELIA S. ADAIR

Ex-president, N. E. A., Richmond, Va.
HON. FRANCIS G. BLAIR

State Supt. of Public Instruction, Springfield, Ill.
DEAN FREDERICK E. BOLTON
University of Washington, Seattle, Wash.

PROF. J. E. BUTTERWORTH
Cornell University, Ithaca, N. Y.
DEAN CHARLES E. CHADSEY
University of Illinois, Urbana, Ill.
A. R. CLIFTON

Supt. of Schools, Monrovia, Cal.
HON. WILLIAM JOHN COOPER
Supt. of Public Instruction, Sacramento, Cal.
PRESIDENT JOHN H. DILLARD
Jeannes and Slater Funds, Charlottesville, Va.
PROF. FLETCHER B. DRESSLAR
School of Hygiene, Peabody College, Nashville, Tenn.
DR. SAMUEL DRURY

Headmaster St. Paul's School, Concord, N. H.
DEAN EDWARD A. FITZPATRICK
Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wis.
PROF. JOHN G. FOWLKES

Dept. of Educational Administration, University of Wis.
DR. ARNOLD GESELL

Yale Psycho-Clinic, New Haven, Conn.
GENERAL LEIGH R. GIGNILLIAT
Supt., Culver Military Academy, Culver, Ind.
PROF. HENRY H. GODDARD
Ohio State University, Columbus, O.
HON. FRANK PIERREPONT GRAVES
Commissioner of Education, New York State
PRESIDENT P. W. HORN
Texas Technological College, Lubbock, Texas.
JEROME HULL

County Supt. of Schools, Youngstown, O.
PRESIDENT CHARLES MCKENNY
State Teachers College, Ypsilanti, Mich.
CHAS. S. MEEK

Supt. of Schools, Toledo, O.

DR. W. A. MOWRY

Wisconsin General Hospital, Madison, Wis.

DEAN N. M. SALLEY

Florida State College for Women, Tallahassee, Fla.
HON. PAYSON SMITH

Commissioner of Education, Boston, Mass.
PROF. WM. R. SMITHEY

University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.
ALFRED E. STEARNS

Principal, Phillips Academy, Andover, Mass.

PAUL C. STETSON

Supt. of Schools, Dayton, O.

WILLIS A. SUTTON
Supt. of Schools, Atlanta, Ga.
PROF. LEWIS M. TERMAN

Dept. of Psychology, Stanford University, Cal.
PROF. R. B. THIEL

Lawrence College, Appleton, Wis.
EDWARD J. TOBIN

County Supt. of Schools, Chicago, Ill.

PROF. M. R. TRABUE

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, N. C.
CARLETON WASHBURNE
Supt. of Schools, Winnetka, Ill.
DR. C.-E. A. WINSLOW
Yale University, New Haven, Conn.

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Editorials

Educational Jurisprudence

IN OUR modern school of commerce careful attention is given to a comprehensive study of commercial law and the use of the case method is almost universal. In the medical colleges courses in medical jurisprudence are common. The training of the agricultural expert, or of the engineer, is not considered complete without some organized instruction in law with especial emphasis upon contracts and statutory specifications regarding construction work. Yet how many of our colleges and schools of education offer courses dealing with principles of school law?

It certainly cannot be argued that such courses are unnecessary. As long as teachers, principals, and superintendents continue to have contracts with the majority of the nation's population in the administration of the nation's schools, it will certainly be advisable for them to understand the legal basis upon which their relations to the public must rest. When one considers that more than $6,000,000,000 is invested in property in the custody of school officials and that contracts of various kinds involving hundreds of millions of dollars are entered into annually, it becomes apparent that some systematic knowledge of the laws of contracts and property is desirable. This is particularly true in the case of those occupied with problems of school administration and school finance, which are becoming increasingly important duties of the city superintendent.

Legal Knowledge Necessary

There should also be some organized effort to provide more adequate information for those who deal with pupils and parents at first hand. As Judge Lyon has so aptly said in a well-known Wisconsin case: "Our system of public schools necessarily involves the most delicate relations between parents and children on the one hand and the school authorities on the other, and controversies growing out of the enforcement of school discipline must frequently arise." He adds that there is cause for congratulation that the number of such controversies is no larger than it is.

During the calendar year of 1927, fully 250 cases listed under school legislation involving more than double this number of separate points of law were passed upon by courts of last resort in our forty-eight states. This does not include the hundreds of cases in the lower courts. No one

will contend that a proper understanding of the rights of teachers, pupils, and parents, and the powers and duties of school officials, would not have greatly reduced the number.

It is true that in many states instruction in matters of statutory school law is given at teachers' meetings and in teacher-training institutions, but that is not sufficient. More emphasis should be placed upon the study of the fundamental principles of school law dealing specifically with the rights of teachers, pupils, and parents and with the law of property and contracts. That is essentially what is meant by educational jurisprudence. With this as a background, the more detailed points of the local state law of the public schools take on such additional meaning as will enable them to be understood and applied more intelligently.-R. B. T.

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Mental Hygiene for the Teacher

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URING the last ten years, interest in mental hygiene for the young has increased amazingly. We are rapidly reaching the place where we will not explain a child's conduct as due to a perverted will. We are beginning to understand that causes of a physical or mental nature lie at the bottom of misbehavior of any sort. The treatment of problem children is different to-day from what it was two decades ago, when it was generally believed that the rod was a specific for all ills of temper or of character.

Most of the current discussion of mental hygiene relates to ways and means of preserving intellectual and emotional stability in childhood and youth. Not much has been said concerning mental hygiene for the teacher. But something needs to be said. Dr. Sadler pointed out recently that an unduly large proportion of the patients who came to him for restoration of nervous health are teachers. Why should the members of our profession become afflicted in larger proportion than the members of other professions with nervous and mental irregularity? First, because we worry more than they do. Our tenure of office is uncertain. Boards of education have a strangle hold on us. Our destiny is often determined by those who do not know much about us and who may be stacking the cards against us without our knowing it.

We have more critics than lawyers, doctors, engineers, chauffeurs, or clerks do. We serve a class of persons who find fault with us on slight pretext and who are inclined to take sides against us when a case of discipline arises. Anyone who has charge of children is certain to be scrutinized critically by the parents. Faults in the teacher

are almost certain to be magnified greatly or even conceived de novo by the angered parent of a chastised pupil.

The public expects us to be models in appearance, propriety, and morals for the young people of the community. We can never quite forget that we are teachers. We cannot let down as other people do. We cannot laugh as boisterously, or play games as readily, or attend the theatre as unconcernedly, or dance as freely, or go automobiling as frequently or for the same purposes as other people do. This restriction in freedom of behavior causes many of us to retain outside of the schoolroom the tensions and repressions that life within the schoolroom develops in us.

Most of us suffer from an inferiority complex. We have heard that teaching is not on a par with other professions and we act the part. We have heard that people generally think that a teacher does not occupy an exalted position in comparison with the members of other professions. We take the matter to heart and this prevents us from relaxing when we are in the presence of our selfappraised superiors.

Any experience that leads one to become introverted or constrained, or self-conscious, or selfdepreciative, will prove to be harmful mentally. In order that we as teachers may improve our mental hygiene, we must get rid of our worries, our tensions, our introversions, and our inferiority complexes. We cannot go on indefinitely maintaining a rigid, repressed, apprehensive attitude without coming to the end of the rope sooner or later.

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Noise Slows Down Mental Work CERTAIN business establishment requiring the services of over a hundred clerks and stenographers has been investigating the effect of noise upon the accuracy and speed of their work. They have all been working in one large room. Sometimes there would be upwards of a hundred typewriters in action. Four years ago it was suggested to the manager that he would get better work from every employee if he would arrange it so that there would not be so much noise in the big room. He replied in substance, "It is a good thing for a girl to learn to concentrate. Anyone who can't come in here and do her work without paying attention to what others are doing isn't worth having. It is a good thing for anyone to have to cultivate concentration; he can work better when he is surrounded by noise if he learns to keep his attention on what he is doing than when he is in a quiet room."

The manager was dead wrong; and he has

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