Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 28.djvu/93

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THE PROBLEM OF HIGHER EDUCATION.

eration, it may be expected to prove of interest at least to those who, as parents, desire for their children such an education as will make them cflicient and hap]»y members of the nation into which they were born. The higliest possible intellectual efficiency and individual hap- piness, based on a harmonious development of the various faculties of mind and body, are the two principal aims of all education. There is a strong and intelligent party who sincerely believe that these aims are best attained by the college training such as it has been, and who, therefore, wish that this training shall continue for all time. There is another party, not a whit less intelligent, and probably far more numerous, M'ho maintain that the highest and best education is not necessarily of one type ; that it may differ as individuals differ ; that the college itself has changed in the past, is changing now, and is quite certain to change in the future in accordance with a well- known law of human life, and that, therefore, it is neither logical nor fair to require every young person of the present time to follow the example of older persons, in the kind and manner of education which passed as the best when these older persons were young. This party further insist on its being unfair to shut the doors of the only schools in which, according to the view of their opponents themselves, the best education should be given, against those who honestly enter- tain different views of education, and they ask : Why should you who control these schools deny to us and our children a right which we, on our part, are willing to grant to you ? Who is to be the judge be- tween us ? Is the college to be forever the school only of one set of believers ?

Questions like these, coming as they do from people who are neither superficial nor ultra-radical, can not be turned off by generalities and commonplaces. To argue as though Greek and thoroughness are con- vertible terms is begging the question. No one denies that Greek studies may be thorough, and that those who are engaged in them may, if they choose, regai'd them as superior to any other. It is only when tliey wish to force their own conviction on those who differ with them that their claims will meet with opposition. There is a super- stitious belief in the efficacy and superiority of Greek that makes one think of the fabled tanner, who, when asked M'hat material he con- sidered best for fortifying a city, unhesitatingly answered : " Leather ! there is nothing like leather ! " Arguments of this kind are difficult to answer, mainly for the reason that one can not and will not deny that leather is a superior article. There is much that can be said in favor of the study of Greek, and if it could be shown that it is neces- sarily the business of the college to teach Latin and Greek as spe- cialties, in the same sense that medical schools teach medicine, noth- ing would be more absurd than a course of college education with one of these languages entirely omitted.

It can not be denied that for a long time the idea of college educa-