Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 72.djvu/555

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

ments of children, living in a crowded city, with little opportunity for constructive work or healthful recreation. Some progress has been made in this direction; but there is still great need of further improvement. On the other hand, the rural school has assisted in augmenting the growth of the cities and in encouraging the drift away from the farm. Its curriculum has absolutely ignored, with a few very recent exceptions, the fact that the farm presents problems which require education and training to solve. "Every book they [the country children] study leads to the city; every ambition they receive inspires them to run away from the country; the things they read about are city things; the greatness they dream about is city greatness." The problems connected with the city, those relating to labor, and all our great industrial and social questions, are at the root questions of education.

However, after the faults of the city have been examined and laid bare, it is but just to recall that the cities have ever stood in the forefront of the educational advance and in the development of labor organizations. Our free tax-supported schools, for example, originated in the cities. A striking illustration of the position of the cities is found in the result of the referendum of 1849, which established free schools throughout the state of New York. Forty-two out of a total of fifty-nine counties favored the repeal. Of the seventeen counties which stood firm and won a victory for the tax-supported public school, four were included in, or were directly adjacent to, New York City, eight bordered the Hudson between Albany and New York, and three others contained the important cities of Buffalo, Syracuse and Schenectady. The vote revealed a sharp division of urban against rural counties; and the former stood for progress and for better educational facilities. Without entering exhaustively into an analysis of the situation, five reasons may be assigned for this phenomenon which is by no means confined to the Empire State: (a) A large percentage of our city population are industrial workers who are small or non-taxpayers. (b) In the large cities are found great masses of accumulated wealth which can be taxed. (c) Here the home first lost its industrial character and its surrounding playground, and as a result much of its educational possibilities. (d) People are crowded closely together in cities, evils and needs are more in evidence than in rural districts. Also, the opportunities for agitation and propaganda are more numerous. (e) Pauperism and juvenile crime are more prevalent and disturbing in cities than in the country.

Industrial progress has brought about the separation of the workers into distinct, well-defined classes; particularly marked is the division between the manual workers and the brain workers or the managers of the business. Professor Veblen remarks that the progress of in-