Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/427

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EDITOR'S TABLE. 413

runs very high in Germany, and that the reports against the real schools were all written by prejudiced classical extremists. It turns out, moreover, that the whole question was decided upon in advance, and with the greatest emphasis, before the experiment had been tried to test the preparation of the real-school graduates, and that from the outset the problem was not that of the progressive principles of higher education, as we understand it in this country, but a question of national politics in relation to the policy of the universities. The historic ascendency of dead languages, as against the rising claims of science, is to be maintained in Germany for state reasons. This is no mere inference, but the bluntly declared position. When the matter was first broached, in 1869, of admitting the real-school graduates to the universities, the Philosophical Faculty of the Berlin University protested vehemently against the contemplated action on the grounds here stated. They said: "While the university has no reason to withhold its advantages, it must not, in its desire to make the higher education accessible to the greatest possible number, forget its peculiar purpose and its historical task. Its duty is to fit the youth for the service of state and church." Again: "The faculty are compelled... to utter a warning against the surrender of that which has been till now the common basis of training of all the higher public functionaries, and which, if it be once given up, can never be regained." And still further: "The Philosophical Faculty can not give their consent to such a movement. They are convinced that no sufficient compensation is given in the real-schule for the lack of classical education. They fear that so decided a lowering of standards would be accompanied by weighty consequences, especially in such a state as Prussia." And finally, "The faculty, therefore, believe they owe it to the university and to the state to declare themselves in the most positive manner against a more extensive admission of Realschüler."

These statements give us the key of the celebrated "Berlin Report." A despotic paternal government has church- and-state reasons for maintaining a dead-language culture as a national policy. The whole vast machinery of education in that empire is run in subordination to the ideal of government—a military despotism, and, to discipline a community into thorough subjection to this ideal, centuries of history prove that there is nothing equal to the dead languages and classical studies. Hence the traditions must be maintained in their full rigor, the existing faculties must not be divided, science must not be suffered to take a coequal place with the other faculties, or to become an independent power in the universities; in short, no rival system of organized higher education, based upon modern ideas, must be tolerated.

The whole question was thus prejudged and predetermined, and no experiment that could possibly be made under the Bismarckian régime would be allowed to disturb the foregone church-and-state conclusion of the Berlin Philosophical Faculty. The real-school graduates were, however, admitted to the university, and after ten years it was, of course, reported by the same faculty that the policy pronounced bad at the outset was bad at the end. The real-school graduates were declared failures, as they must have been failures by the church-and-state standards assumed, whatever their proficiency. That the teaching in the real schools was inferior to that in the gymnasiums was allowed no weight; that the gymnasiums were pets of the Government and the real schools neglected was of no importance, that the brightest youths and the best stock of Germany crowded into the gymnasiums, leaving the lower grades to the real schools, amounted to nothing; and that the system of study in the real schools had not been shaped as a preparation for higher university work,