Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/516

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

idea of the pension will induce some men to surrender work at an earlier age than they ought. It is impossible to offer to men an advantage such as that which flows from a pension system of any sort without arousing in some minds the question—How can I get the most out of it? But the number of such individuals amongst college teachers is small and will become smaller as the standards of college life rise.

Nor can one shut one's eyes to the fact that the colleges themselves may, by reason of the pensions of the foundation, neglect their own duty in taking care of their old teachers. The officers of the foundation have done all in their power to make it clear to the colleges that the funds at their command and likely in the future to be at their command could care for only a limited number of colleges. Nevertheless, in spite of this effort, it has been tacitly assumed by many colleges, and generally by those of the lowest standards in scholarship, that any obligation on their part to care for their old teachers had vanished with the inauguration of the foundation. This phase of the situation is also, I believe, a temporary one.

One other feature of the Carnegie Foundation pensions has aroused criticism. This is the plan of a centralized pension fund and the fact that this agency deals in its publications with general educational questions which touch directly university interests and educational policies.

The dread of a centralized agency in any field of social activity is one which depends largely on the point of view of the individual. The idea that such an agency as the Carnegie Foundation will exert arbitrary pressure upon those colleges which choose to accept its pensions seems to me improbable. Such agencies, like universities themselves, are in the end molded by public opinion. There is, however, no method by which this can be proved to one who sees in the existence of such an agency unfortunate influences upon the colleges and universities. The two opinions result from differences in the point of view, not from differences in intellectual honesty and sincerity, and such differences of view only time and experience can bring together.

It seems to me, however, that the argument that a central educational agency may exert arbitrary and unwise influence over the universities may be very fairly compared with a similar arraignment of the universities themselves which, by a somewhat singular coincidence, was put forward at a meeting of teachers simultaneously with the one just alluded to.

This complaint came from the secondary school men. They argued that the universities are outside corporations having little sympathy and knowledge of secondary school work and yet not only ready to exert over the high school an arbitrary power, but actually in a number of cases exerting this power to the harm of the secondary schools. These secondary school teachers protested most strongly against the domination of any such outside irresponsible agency.