Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 67.djvu/369

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363
EDUCATION FOR EFFICIENCY.

EDUCATION FOR EFFICIENCY.[1]
By Dr. W. H. MAXWELL,

SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK.

THE National Educational Association meets in its forty-fourth annual convention at the moment when Japan has given the world another great object lesson in the value of education. Ever since Napoleon's retreat from Moscow, the world has stood in awe of that massive and mysterious power which we call Russia. In that fateful campaign it was not the skill of the Russian commanders or the bravery of the Russian soldiers that wrought the catastrophe; it was the snowflakes—the arrows from the quiver of God—that overwhelmed the might of the invader. Ever since, Russia has gloried in a victory that was not of her own achieving. The world accepted her at her own valuation, and stood in awe. Wrapt in the glamor of an unearned renown, Russia pursued her aggressions practically unopposed, until her empire stretched from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific Ocean. There her career of conquest has ended. There, once again, has broken out the irrepressible conflict between ignorance and enlightenment. On the one side stand a people, almost countless in number and rich beyond knowledge in all natural wealth, but ignorant, devoid of initiative, and alienated from their rulers by despotism and cruelty. On the other side stand the Japanese, a people limited in numbers and confined in territory, but born again through the diffusion of knowledge and through the universal training for efficiency which has made their inherited patriotism invincible.

Japan has but repeated at Port Arthur and at Mukden and on the Yellow Sea the lesson of history—the lesson of Marathon, of Zama, of the Invincible Armada, of the Heights of Abraham, of Waterloo, and of Sedan—the lesson that the race which gives its children the most effective training for life, sooner or later becomes a dominant race. Borrowing eagerly from western civilizations, Japan has adopted for her own whatever school exercise or method of teaching gives promise of training for efficiency. Nobly has she repaid her debt to Europe and America. She has demonstrated to the world that the training of the young to skill of hand, to accuracy of vision, to high physical development, to scientific knowledge, to accurate reasoning and to practical patriotism—for these are the staples of Japanese education—is the best and cheapest defense of nations.


  1. Address of the President of the National Educational Association, Asbury Park and Ocean Grove, July 3, 1905.