School Attendance in 1920: An Analysis of School Attendance in the United States and in the Several States, with a Discussion of the Factors Involved

School Attendance in 1920: An Analysis of School Attendance in the United States and in the Several States, with a Discussion of the Factors Involved

School Attendance in 1920: An Analysis of School Attendance in the United States and in the Several States, with a Discussion of the Factors Involved

School Attendance in 1920: An Analysis of School Attendance in the United States and in the Several States, with a Discussion of the Factors Involved

Excerpt

With the developing complexity of the social, political, and economic life of the United States, many problems have arisen which demand careful study. As a basis for such study the masses of data gathered, compiled, and published by the Bureau of the Census are excellent.

Much of this large body of information is little used, owing to the lack of knowledge of what data are available and how they may be utilized. This is particularly true of data on education. Much important research can be pursued, using the data for the past several decades, which will throw light on the development and incidence of education in the Nation as a whole and in its subdivisions. As a means of educational inventory the material is excellent. And, as is true with other social movements, check- up of the educational system is essential if development is to come in the wisest direction, and if the national problem is to be seen. Yet this large compilation of information is left untouched, decade after decade, save for the most general and superficial scanning. The reasons are not far to seek. They lie in the complexity of the material, in distrust of its accuracy, and in unfamiliarity with the technique for handling such information.

The purpose of the chapters which follow is not to discover ultimate truths or general laws. The aim is rather, first, to bring before educators and those concerned with research in education the material, indexed and ready for use; second, to disperse the distrust which surrounds the data; third, to arrive at some of the primary factors involved in the problem; and fourth, to exemplify the methods which may be applied to the data in further, more careful and more intensive analysis--in true research. Incident to these aims and to the analysis as pursued, certain generalizations have been made--might almost be said to have made themselves. Many of these, perhaps, will seem mere platitudes to those who have had opportunity to view education in its most general aspects. Some will seem counter to experience. The conclusions should be considered as by- product rather than prime object, and as substantiation or challenge, as the case may be. They constitute but a small part of the large body of generalizations that could be extracted from the rich "pay dirt" of the census material.

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