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This book is constructed on the principles that have been applied in the making of some recent textbooks in history, such as Robinson's "History of Western Europe." These principles involve (1) the intensive treatment of a limited field; (2) emphasis on a relatively few selected movements, institutions, or individuals in this field as typical; (3) the discussion of the chosen topics in such a concrete way as to help the student to appreciate the reality of the historical development. These three principles are opposed to the sketchy encyclopedism that formerly prevailed in the construction of historical textbooks.
By confining the discussion to the history of modern elementary education it is possible to present a relatively continuous, connected narrative of institutional development that will contribute directly to the student's understanding of the problem of the elementary school. In carrying out this plan the author has endeavored to trace the development from the first city elementary vernacular schools of the Middle Ages down to the present time.
A definite attempt has been made to maintain a proper ratio between the three following elements: (1) descriptions of social conditions; (2) statements of educational theory; and (3) descriptions of school practice. The relations which have existed between these factors in the historical development have been demonstrated as far as possible.
In describing changes in social conditions, those have been selected concerning which the ordinary normal-school
or college student may be expected to have an elementary knowledge. Hence such concrete matters are presented as the growth of English cities and of town life in New England, the development of natural science, of religious toleration, of national governments, and of democracy, which the student's high-school courses in general history and in science prepare him to understand.
Changes in educational theories are traced in connection with social changes and with those educational movements and educational reformers that have directly modified elementaryschool practice. Consequently many theoretical writers who have exerted little or no direct influence on practice are omitted from the discussion.
The developments in actual school practice—that is, the changes in the curricula and methods of school systems are especially emphasized. These are not presented in an isolated way, however, but as definitely related to changes in social conditions and fundamental theory. Whenever a given movement can be typified by describing English or American conditions, this has been done. In some cases, however, such as the Rousseau movement or the secularizing of the Prussian school system, the importance of the continental European situation necessitates a lengthy description of it without special reference to its relation to the American development. About two thirds of the book is devoted to changes in elementary education since the publication of Rousseau's "Émile" in 1762. This emphasis on later developments is justified by the fact that relatively little change occurred in elementary education from 1500 to 1800, as compared with the revolutionary developments of the nineteenth century.
The emphasis on the secularizing of elementary education which occurs in the middle part of the book is intended simply as a statement of historical fact, not as discrediting the
importance of religion in public education. Personally I believe it is unfortunate that the historical development has tended to eliminate religious instruction from public elementary schools. I think Germany has been fortunate in having an administrative arrangement which permitted regular religious instruction in the secularized schools. But this belief in religious instruction does not alter the historical fact that perhaps the most important phase of the reform and improvement of elementary education during the later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries was the liberation of such education from the control of ecclesiastics and its transference to the control of secular authorities.
The factors which have influenced the author in preparing this material include two years of graduate study under Professor Paul Monroe of Teachers College; five years' experience in teaching the history of education to normalschool and college students at Miami University in Ohio; and three years' experience in teaching the same to graduate students in The University of Chicago. Professor Monroe's course in the history of education in the United States, and Professor Cubberley's "Syllabus of the History of Education " have been very influential in developing the point of view described in this Preface. Professor Paulsen's little history of the German school system, entitled "German Education," which is almost an ideal example (for mature students) of the proper relating of social conditions, educational theory, and school practice, has been influential also in determining the selection of subject matter. Professor C. H. Judd stimulated the author to formulate some of the material in tentative form for publication in the Elementary School Teacher, and to undertake the preparation of the text. I am indebted to each of the following gentlemen for reading and criticizing some of the chapters: Mr. John F. Scott and Dr. M. W. Jernegan
of The University of Chicago, and Dr. I. L. Kandel and Professor W. H. Kilpatrick of Columbia University. Professor F. P. Graves of Ohio State University has very kindly read all the galleys and suggested many corrections and improvements. I have profited by the labors of some of my graduate students, who have located material relative to the development of the teaching of special subjects.
In spite of the great care which I have endeavored to exercise at all times, it is possible that erroneous statements may occur in the text. I shall be very glad to have reviewers, teachers, and students bring these to my attention.
S. C. PARKER