Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/721

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EDITOR'S TABLE.

and runs of luck at the gaming-table. In this aspect of its influence the school of politics is thoroughly demoralizing. Nothing is better calculated to subvert all manliness and independence of character than the habit, now become so general in this country, of making politics a business, and depending upon the bounties of government as if it were a kind of earthly providence. It is in the wise order of things that people shall depend upon their own efforts, and prosper through the virtues of industry, frugality, and self-denial. There will be misfortune, and there is a function for discriminating charity; but no teaching is more unwholesome than that which encourages people to count upon the generosity of the rich, government, favor, or something to turn up. Miss Dodge's view of life does not correspond to the realities of life, and is, therefore, a bad preparation for the experiences of life. Quite other views must prevail before we shall see the last of such pitiable experiments as that of the Ladies' Deposit.

 

 

STATE EDUCATION.

We last year republished an article by Sir Auberon Herbert, questioning on various grounds the policy of state education. We received several answers to it of various merit, and still more various logic, but they all agreed upon one thing—that state education is indispensable to the preservation of the republic.

We print this month an answer to Mr. Herbert, which is as able as any that have reached us, and has a kind of tacit authority as coming from a public official engaged in the special work of organizing and consolidating a state school system. The writer, Mr. Charles S. Bryant, is Secretary of the High School Board of the State of Minnesota, which is charged with the duty of prescribing and adjusting the courses of study to be pursued in a concatenated or unified system of state schools, from the primary to the university. Mr. Bryant is an advocate of state education in its most comprehensive form, and he also maintains that the right of the state to take charge of this great work is necessary to its self-preservation.

We are abundantly told that this is, to all intents and purposes, a settled question; that government education is nothing less than manifest destiny, and the most foregone of all American conclusions. And we have just here already one of the fruits of the experiment—the borrowing of the political method of buncombe and bullying to force the acceptance of a desired measure, and stave off criticism as a matter of no account. But it is necessary that the subject should be freely discussed, and the more necessary that the principles involved should be thoroughly canvassed, and the objections to the policy fully pointed out, because of the great popularity of the policy and the disposition to push it to its utmost extremes. The question is no longer of the expediency of giving state aid for the primary instruction of the children of the indigent classes who claim to need assistance; but it is whether the government shall undertake this work in all its grades, and take the property of the people to make this whole service a gratuity.

The advocates of government education are given to representing it as an issue between state education and no education at all; and the opponents of the measure are often stigmatized as being in favor of illiteracy and ignorance. But this is a profound mistake. State education is intelligently and earnestly opposed in the highest interest of education. The intervention of the state is resisted because it can not do in the best manner what it undertakes to do—because education by authority and political machinery must fall to a lower standard than that which