Individual Training in Our Colleges

By Clarence F. Birdseye | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVIII
OUR SECONDARY SCHOOLS: CHANGES IN THEIR OBJECTS AND AIMS AND IN THEIR COURSES OF STUDY

ALL the earlier types of secondary schools were designed almost exclusively to fit boys for college. Therefore all secondary students, whether they were going to college or not, learned only Greek and Latin and the few other studies required for college entrance and not particularly adapted for anything else.

One out of ten high school students for college.

Now, however, the secondary schools, whether private or public, have become many and large, handicapping the college boy because they do away with the former Individual Training in his preparatory work, and because only a constantly decreasing proportion of his fellow-pupils now prepare for either the classical or scientific courses, and many so prepared do not go to college. In 1892-1893, 18.12 per cent of the high school students were preparing for college, but in 1905-1906 only 9.11 per cent, or less than one in ten; a decrease in thirteen years of about 50 per cent, while the total number of secondary pupils increased 131 per cent. Thus while in former days all grammar schools, academies and high schools practically taught only the studies needed for college entrance, and their courses were thus dominated by those requirements, now the proportion of their students preparing for college is so small (9.11 per cent) that, wisely, the secondary schools decidedly favor the non-college boy or girl, and shape their courses to benefit especially the 90.89 per cent and fit them for their life duties.

Secondary course now prepares for life rather than college.

This is clearly set forth in the U. S. Commissioner's Report of 1903, p. 576, in the following words: --

"It has come to be our working hypothesis that, so far as preliminary training of a general character is concerned, 'preparation for college' and 'preparation for life' should coincide.

-118-

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