Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/389

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385
AGRICULTURE IN THE HIGH SCHOOL

AGRICULTURE IN THE HIGH SCHOOL
By JOSHIA MAIN

WESTERN KANSAS STATE NORMAL SCHOOL, HAYS, KANS.

THE proposition to put agricultural courses into the existing high schools may seem, at first thought, to be merely one of adding another subject to the curriculum. But experience shows that a curriculum may not be dealt with arbitrarily. To successfully inaugurate this subject it is necessary that study be made of its purposes and, more especially, of the adjustment of this to other high-school subjects.[1]

The subjects of the present curriculum most concerned in this adjustment are the sciences. These, "the most precious achievement of the race," are themselves comparatively new to the curriculum and the promise with which their introduction into the school was made has fallen far short of fulfillment, so that their status is at present far from a final adjustment.[2] And their close relation to the new subject, agriculture, makes the problem of the adjustment of all a single problem.

  1. "No study is worthy of a place in our program which has not commanded the full devotion of some master mind. All students must be introduced to the same civilization, and since all are human their several ways of approaching it will not be fundamentally different."—Brown, "The Making of Our Middle Schools," p. 440.
     
  2. "Science is the most precious achievement of the race thus far. It has made nature speak to man with the voice of God, has given man prevision so that he knows what to expect in the world, has eliminated shock, and above all, has made the world a universe coherent and consistent throughout."—Hall, "Adolescence,"Vol. II., p. 544.
     
    "This recognition of science as pure knowledge, and of the scientific method as the universal method of inquiry, is the great addition made by the nineteenth century to the idea of culture. I need not say that within that century what we call science, pure and applied, has transformed the world as the scene of the human drama; and that it is this transformation that has compelled the recognition of natural science as a fundamental necessity in liberal education."—Eliot, "Education for Efficiency," p. 37.
     
    "I can not help feeling. . . that we have not yet succeeded in so organizing the sciences as instruments of general education as to fulfill the high expectations which some of us formed for them nearly a quarter of a century ago. There can be little doubt that the sciences of nature and of man, properly organized and presented as educational instruments, are destined to be classified as true humanities."—Butler, Address of Welcome, A. A. A. S., 1906.
     
    "It seems to be a fact that the sciences, although dealing in knowledge of matters of the greatest immediate interest, and although concerned with the most elemental of all trainings. . . are still of mediocre efficiency as factors in general education."—Ganong, "Botanical Education in America," A. A. A. S., 1909.