Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/314

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that they went out of their way to declare that a study of Latin and Greek is absolutely essential to high excellence in any department of intellectual effort!

All these reports, both those of 1869 and those of later years, so far as they were made by the faculties, were as a rule drafted by volunteers in the faculty, and some rabidly classical man generally offered to do the work. When his report was laid before the faculty, many voted for it, or refrained from voting against it, for the simple reason that they did not have time to offer such modifications as they would like to have seen made in the language or matter of the report. Thus, the writer was told by one professor in a university which sent in a very strong report in favor of the gymnasiasts as against the real-school graduates: "Professor So-and-so" (mentioning his name—one well known in Germany) "drew up our report. He is perfectly crazy on the subject, but there was no one else to do it, and after he submitted it we did not want to do such an ungracious thing as reject a service which nobody else would undertake. I voted for his report, though I should have been glad to have a much more moderate and judicial report than the one we sent in." It thus appears that these reports were prepared by men who were not only graduates of the gymnasium, but who were also, in some cases at least, regarded by their own friends as extremists. Add to this the fact that there were no representatives of the real schools in the reporting board who might have called attention to exaggerations or misstatements, whether intentional or unintentional, and it is pretty clear that these reports can not be called judicial, either in their form or spirit, but partake largely of the character of advocates' pleas.

It would be fair to suppose, however, that these men would at least examine the facts in the case as to how these real-school graduates turned out in after-life, before making a report on their comparative ability. But even this supposition turns out to be an unfounded one. As is well known, there is no general system of recitation and record-keeping in German universities, such as we have in our American colleges. The professor has, therefore, as a rule, no means of judging of a student's attainments. There are no examinations except the final one for a doctor's degree. The only institution bearing a resemblance to our recitation is the Seminar, a voluntary organization which many students never enter, and which varies greatly in character, according to the temperament of the professor in charge or to the subject-matter discussed. Being at times a society for the training of the members in the power of independent investigation and research, it becomes often a mere "quiz," or indeed but little more than a two hours' lecture on the part of the leader. With the exception of those students who enter the Seminar, the professor has no means of judging of the ability or training of the university students. The only test, therefore, is the record of such students in the final