Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/149

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141
POPULAR MISCELLANY.

of permanent consequence, or as such as can not be offset by things unfavorable; and he mentions as an opposing condition of great magnitude the enervating effect of the Southern climate. He points to the region within the limits of the Appalachian Mountain system, where the climate partakes to a greater or less degree of the characteristics of that of the Northern States, as the most propitious region for the establishment of the cotton manufacture of the South. The Record expresses the belief that the delightful and salubrious climate of the Piedmont region of the Carolinas lacks nothing needful for successful manufacturing operations.

 

German Schools.—According to a summary of the German school system by Principal Ernest Richard, of the Hoboken Academy, the people's school (Volksschule) comprises a course of eight years in the common branches, with natural history, geography, history, and religion, from which everything that belongs properly to the competency of special schools is carefully kept out. The spirit of these schools, however, changes, according to the relative strength of liberal or reactionary tendencies in the spirit of the times. In many States a compulsory course in the Fortbildungsschule, or continuation school, has been introduced, to attend which employers are obliged to give all their employed below a certain age leave of absence. The course in these schools is generally an enlargement of the subjects taught in the people's schools, with a view to the future occupation of the pupils. In the city they try to give instruction most useful for the prospective mechanic, while in agricultural districts the future needs of the farmer are of leading influence in shaping the course of study. Girls are trained in domestic economy and prepared for their future position of wives and mothers. Special trade schools, or industrial or commercial schools, adapted to the special occupations of the place, are also open to the boy who has completed his people's school course. From these elementary schools, with a variety of other schools which one may attend, the pupil passes to the secondary schools—the Ober-Realschule the Realgymnasium, and the Gymnasium; or the schools of science and modern languages; of these with Latin added; and the humanistic school. These schools are in nine grades, which all have Latin names, from Prima superior (the highest) to Sexta (the lowest). At the close of the complete secondary course the Abiturienten Examen takes place, an examination of maturity for work in the university and the highest technical schools of university rank. The university is considered the soul, the life-giving element of education. Its proper province, even more than preparation for a profession, is, as Prof. Virchow has shown in his rectoral address published in the August Monthly, the search for truth for the sake of truth, the production of new knowledge, the providing of material for the progress of civilization in all its branches. No matter what the political constitution of the State may be, it is free; and the professor's right to teach what in his conviction is the truth is not limited.

 

Accuracy of American School Books.—The results of an offer recently sent out by the manufacturers of an article of popular use of a prize for the detection of errors in school books are very creditable to the accuracy and thoroughness of American textbooks. The conditions of the offer required that the book be in the English language and actually used in some school, and the error one susceptible of proof, and taught in lectures or lessons, and not merely a typographical mistake, or an error inadvertently made in spelling or grammar; it should not be one that had already been corrected in later editions; it should not be a disputed question of history or opinion; and should be usually recognized by the publisher of the book on submission to him as an error. Two hundred and thirty-five answers were received to the offer, representing one hundred and sixty-eight alleged errors. The greatest number of errors—thirty-eight—were alleged to appear in geographies; next wei'e histories, twenty-one; arithmetics, nineteen; grammars, sixteen; natural history, twelve; readers, ten; chemistries, eight; languages, etymology, civil government, seven each; geometries, four; geologies and miscellaneous criticisms, two each; definitions, zoölogies, books on English, anatomies, astronomies, botanies, drawing-books, trigonometries, and political economies, one each.