Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/413

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
399
THE SACRIFICE OF EDUCATION.

as the still surviving associate in that great achievement. At the same time it expresses renewed homage for Gauss, who at that period, in conjunction with you at Göttingen, achieved so great a result, and at the same time clearly recognized the future of this creation."

 

THE SACRIFICE OF EDUCATION.

A PROTEST.

AS an indication of the present state of feeling in England toward the system of public education in that country, and especially toward the abuse of examinations, we reprint the following vigorous protest, which is signed by over a hundred professors and teachers, about seventy members of Parliament, and by members of the nobility, clergymen, and others, to the total number of four hundred. We omit the names for lack of space. The sentiments expressed in the protest are enforced in appended communications from Prof. Max Müller, Mr. E. A. Freeman, and Mr. Frederic Harrison, which it is our purpose to print next month:

 

We, the undersigned, wish to record our strong protest against the dangerous mental pressure and misdirection of energies and aims which are to be found in nearly all parts of our educational system. Alike in public elementary schools, in schools of all grades and for all classes, and at the universities, the same dangers are too often showing themselves under different forms. Children—as is so frequently insisted on—are treated by a public department, by managers and schoolmasters, as suitable instruments for earning Government money; young boys of the middle and richer classes are often trained for scholarships, with as little regard for the future as two-year-old horses are trained for races; and young men of real capability at the universities are led to believe that the main purpose of education is to enable them to win some great money prize, or take some distinguished place in an examination.

We protest emphatically against such a misdirection of education, and against the evils that necessarily arise from it.

We wish at the outset to call the attention of parents and teachers to the resulting physical mischief. One of the first duties of a child or young person is to grow well. In the rapid formation of new bone, muscle, and tissue of all kinds, Nature lays on a child a very heavy tax—a tax that should absorb the larger part of its surplus energy. It is probable that in the course of every year some valuable young lives are lost, in cases where this energy has been drawn away by mental overstrain