Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 74.djvu/306

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A man's real success in life is determined by two things: the degree of development of his faculties and his conduct as a member of society. It follows, therefore, that the two main ends to be sought by a public school are to give the boy command over himself and to teach him how to be a useful citizen. That is to say, public education exists in order to develop human power, and the kinds to be developed by a school are two: social power and personal power. The school must do the most it can to perfect every one of its pupils in the ability to play the largest part possible to him in the life of the community; it must help him, also, to make the most of himself. Of course these two ends of education intertwine; one can not make a boy a good citizen without making him, at the same time, a better man; neither can one make him a good man without producing, concurrently, a better citizen. To make a boy perform his due part in society he must be taught the arts of social life: how to read, write and cipher, how to comport himself, how to maintain pleasant relations with his kind. Moreover, this body of upgrowing youths must be trained and accustomed to act together, to feel their interdependence, to see the interrelations of the vast social structure perfection in which has made modern civilization possible. But, more than this, the school must, so far as it can, train, foster and direct the physical and moral forces of every individual child towards his highest individual development.

The boys who enter a counting-house or factory, the girls who take service in a shop or kitchen, the citizens who, in uncounted ways, maintain their communities and support the sovereign state, must, as a rule, know how to read, write and cipher. To do these things well counts greatly in their favor. That so many do not do them well is a serious charge against the public school. These, however, are not the fundamental qualities which employers seek and which communities require. They demand health, character, honesty, truth-telling, clean living; they demand willingness to work, readiness to comprehend, quickness of adaptation, fertility of resource, vision; they demand alertness, vigor, self-command, dexterity and muscular control. These things which result, not from set lessons, but from self-discipline, self-reliance, self-knowledge, determine the success of a boy or girl in life, and these qualities the public school must seek to develop through every means and every force at its command.

Looked at from any point of view, economic or moral, physical health is the fundamental material good of mankind. Yet what contribution does the ordinary public school make towards hygiene? As a rule it crowds fifty or sixty children into a room that, under the most favorable conditions, has fresh air enough for only thirty. It places no bar against the unwashed child, gives him no incentive or opportunity to be clean; therefore most schools contain enough of these effectually