Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/431

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

she ought to be adequately compensated. Salaries now paid should in most cases be increased 50 to 100 per cent. Such a rate in every locality would command the service of the brightest and most attractive women, who are usually the most intelligent and the healthiest. There would thus be a union of the highest qualities of character, intellect and physique. The objection of cost comes to nothing when the sacredest and most important concerns of life are involved. Of course, the women now in the service should be retained unless they would voluntarily take the higher rate for the limited time. The next question of age can be easily avoided by placing the limit eight years after high school graduation and five or six after collegiate. There would at the same time be a splendid example to the girls as most of these teachers would marry before the term expired or shortly afterwards. The girls would thus be learning something about the highest duty of life, a kind of inspiration that is given nowhere in our schools now except by fitful instances. It must be remembered that there is a more solemn obligation of marriage than ever before if racial suicide is to be stayed. Fashion and the social system are insistent upon small families, and it is only by universal marriage that the native stock will reproduce itself. It does not do so already in some sections, and it is significant that in those places the spinsters flourish. Our highest institutions, the state and the school, should not encourage the increase of old maids, as their multiplication spells death to mankind. Vestal virgins are a luxury that prosaic America can not afford.

As a corollary with the limitation upon the age of women teachers there would need to be a certain number of men, not over one fourth of the total, to serve as permanent directing heads. This ratio of the sexes is entirely in keeping with the teachings of evolution. Two principles of sex relations seem to be established in these cycles of experience: (1) That both boys and girls are almost wholly controlled by the mother up to the age of twelve or fourteen, with the father's influence becoming more pointed after that on the boys and the mother's continuing over the girls; (2) that all pioneering initiative work, executive management, should be by men. With the men as principals and assistant principals in every schoolhouse, with them as directors of special studies and heads of departments in the higher grades, there would be a solid core for the flitting women teachers to group around and get inspiration from.

These men could be employed on a scale suitable for attracting native strength and ability. They would be sure of a life career in this calling after once having proved their fitness. In order that they should be examples for the youth it should be stipulated that when their usefulness ended their connection with the system would also cease. Without any pension or dole of charity they would be a stand-