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Οὐ γὰρ ἔστι περὶ ὅτου θειοτέρου ἄνθρωπος ἂν βουλεύσαιτο, ἢ περὶ παιδείας καὶ τῶν αὑτοῦ και τῶν οἰκείων. Plato in initio Theagis (p. 122 B).
Socrates saith plainlie, that "no man goeth about a more godlie purpose, than he that is mindfull of the good bringing up both of hys owne and other men's children."—Ascham's Scholemaster. Preface.
Fundamentum totius reipublicæ est recta juventutis educatio.
The very foundation of the whole commonwealth is the proper bringing up of the young.-Cic.
MANY years ago I proposed to my friend Mr. Quick to rewrite his Educational Reformers, making some additions (Sturm and Froebel, for example), and allow me to place it in this series of educational works. I had read his essays when they first appeared, and noted their great value as a contribution to the right kind of educational literature. They showed admirable tact in the selection of the materials; the "epoch-making " writers were chosen and the things that had been said and done of permanent value were brought forward. Better than all was the running commentary on these materials by Mr. Quick himself. His style was popular, taking the reader, as it were, into confidential relations with him from the start, and offering now and then a word of criticism in the most judicial spirit, leaning neither to the extreme of destructive radicalism, which seeks revolution rather than reform, nor, on the other hand, to the extreme of blind conservatism, which wishes to preserve the vesture of the past rather than its wisdom.
I have called this book of Mr. Quick the most valuable history of education in our mother-tongue, fit only to be compared with Karl von Raumer's Geschichte der Pädagogik for its presentation of essentials and for the sanity of its verdicts.
I made my proposal that he "rewrite" his book because I knew that he considered his first edition hastily written and, in many respects, not adequate to the ideal he had conceived of the book. I knew, moreover, that years of continued thinking on a theme necessarily modifies one's views. He would wish to make some changes in inatter presented, some in judgments rendered, and many more in style of presentation.
Hence it has come about that after this lapse of time Mr. Quick has produced a substantially new book, which, retaining all or nearly all of the admirable features of the first edition, has brought up to their standard of excellence many others.
The history of education is a vast field, and we are accustomed to demand bulky treatises as the only adequate ones. But the obvious disadvantage of such works has led to the clearly defined ideal of a book like Mr. Quick's, which separates the gold from the dross, and offers it small in bulk but precious in value.
The educational reformers are the men above all others who stimulate us to think about education. Every one of these was an extremist, and erred in his judgment as to the value of the methods which prevailed in his time, and also overestimated the effects of the new education that he proposed in the place of the old. But thought begins with negations, and originality shows itself first not in creating something new, but in removing the fettering limitations of its existing environment. The old is attacked-its good and its bad are condemned alike. It has been imposed on us by authority, and we have not been allowed to summon it before the bar of our reason and ask of it its credentials. It informs us that it presented these credentials ages ago to our ancestors-men
older and wiser than we are. Such imposition of authority leaves us no choice but to revolt. We, too, have a right to think as well as our ancestors; we, too, must clear up the ground of our belief and substitute insight for blind faith in tradition.
These educational reformers are prophets of the clearing-up period (Aufklärung) of revolution against mere authority.
While we are inspired to think for ourselves, however, we must not neglect that more important matter of thinking the truth. Free-thinking, if it does not reach the truth, is not of great value. It sets itself as puny individual against the might of the race, which preserves its experience in the forms of institutions-the family, the social organism, the state, the Church.
Hence our wiser and more scientific method studies everything that is, or exists, in its history, and endeavors to discover how it came to be what it is. It inquires into its evolution. The essential truth is not the present fact, but the entire process by which the present fact grew to be what it is. For the living force that made the present fact made also the past facts antecedent to the present, and it will go on making subsequent facts. The revelation of the living forces which make the facts of existence is the object of science. It takes all these facts to reveal the living force that is acting and producing them.
Hence the scientific attitude is superior to the attitude of these educational reformers, and we shall in our own minds weigh these men in our scales, asking first of all: What is their view of the world? How much do they value human institutions? How much do they know of the substantial good that is wrought by those institutions? If they know nothing of these things, if they see only in
cumbrance in these institutions, if to them the individual is the measure of all things, we can not do reverence to their proposed remedies, but must account their value to us chiefly this, that they have stimulated us to thinking, and helped us to discover what they have not discovered —namely, the positive value of institutions.
All education deals with the boundary between ignorance and knowledge and between bad habits and good The pupil as pupil brings with him the ignorance and the bad habits, and is engaged in acquiring good habits and correct knowledge.
This situation gives us a general recipe for a frequently recurring type of educational reformer. Any would-be reformer may take his stand on the boundary mentioned, and, casting an angry look at the realm of ignorance and bad habit not yet conquered, condemn in wholesale terms the system of education that has not been efficient in removing this mental and moral darkness.
Such a reformer selects an examination paper written by a pupil whose ignorance is not yet vanquished, and parades the same as a product of the work of the school, taking great pains to avoid an accurate and just admeasurement of the actual work done by the school. The reformer critic assumes that there is one factor here, whereas there are three factors-namely, (a) the pupil's native and acquired powers of learning, (b) his actual knowledge acquired, and (c) the instruction given by the school. The school is not responsible for the first and second of these factors, but it is responsible only for what increment has grown under its tutelage. How much and what has the pupil increased his knowledge, and how much his power of acquiring knowledge and of doing?
The educational reformer is always telling us to leave