Popular Science Monthly/Volume 46/November 1894/Preparation for College by English High Schools
|PREPARATION FOR COLLEGE BY ENGLISH HIGH SCHOOLS.|
By JOHN F. CASEY,
MASTER IN ENGLISH HIGH SCHOOL, BOSTON, MASS.
THE times in which we live are in many respects unlike any which have preceded them. New professions have arisen, old ones have lost their prominence; we live more in the present and less in the past. Recent investigations and discoveries in pathology and bacteriology have done much to increase the respect for and confidence in the practitioners of modern medicine, and have made of modern surgery almost a new science. Quacks may be as numerous as ever, but they rely for patronage upon the ignorant and credulous. The legal profession has taken no backward steps. But with those who undertake the formation of opinions, both spiritual and temporal, the condition of affairs is in many respects different. All the great questions relating to the welfare of the modern intellectual, social, and political world are now being brought up for discussion, and the traditional answers to them are no longer convincing or satisfactory. In the lack of respect for authority, which is so marked a characteristic of the present time, no person's mere dictum is obeyed, or accepted as true, unless he has the power to enforce or the ability, through knowledge, to establish the truth of his statements.
Journalism to-day does much of what was wont to be done by the clergyman and the schoolmaster. While there is no diminution in the respect paid to the sacred office of the preacher, his teachings upon doctrinal points are received cum grano, and each one for himself modifies pulpit teachings according to his own views. The world has become more liberal and tolerant. Material of which martyrs were wont to be made is becoming less and less abundant. The parson is no longer the chief source of supply of ideas, social, moral, and political, and is no longer ex officio chief man of the parish.
So, while the teacher of secular learning holds as teacher a higher place than ever before, yet, when he undertakes to act as adviser and tries, to lay out a course of studies, his dictum does not obtain that confidence which it used to obtain. There arise doubts as to the soundness of the advice given, and suspicions that time and labor may be wasted through misdirection.
In elementary schools, and in technical and professional schools, the ends to be attained and the methods of attainment i6 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
are comparatively clear and well defined. But the higher institu- tions of learning, which claim to train youth to engage to ad- vantage in the struggle of life, to compete with their associates, and not only to carry off the prizes, but also to be examples of in- telligence and refinement these institutions, which claim to give what is expressed by the terms culture or a liberal education, find to-day a by no means unanimous agreement as to the best method of producing these results. Many a graduate, while thoroughly loyal to his alma mater, in looking back upon his college studies and considering their effect upon himself, has doubts as to the efficacy of some of his courses there, and questions with himself whether, were he to begin life again, he would, could he mold fate to suit himself, go over the same courses again. The ad- vanced student of to-day knows pretty well what kind of instruc- tion he wants, and will go where he can get it. The old, well- worn, and somewhat narrow path trod by his fathers does not satisfy him, and his demand for a change has brought about dis- cussions which, if they have not yet found any practical solution, have at least changed and enlarged the prevailing view of the meaning and aim of a liberal education.
In the attempts at readjustment of the traditional college cur- riculum the principal attacks have been made, and it seems to me wisely, against the position of Greek in that curriculum. Indi- vidually, I have no feeling against Greek in its proper place. I suppose I do not know very much about the language, having like most graduates dropped the study as soon as possible in the college course, and having had little to do with it since. But for that very reason probably I prize what little knowledge I may possess of the subject in inverse ratio to the amount I have. And yet I can not but feel that if one half of the time I spent in studying Greek had been devoted to the study of vny own lan- guage and the other half to physical labor, sawing wood, for ex- ample, I should have been happier at the time, should have had a better physical development, and very probably should never myself have realized the deficiency in my mental equipment.
Greek and Latin were prominent studies in the early Euro- pean universities because these universities were ecclesiastical corporations ; and when Christianity was first established by law the services of the Church were conducted throughout the west- ern part of Europe in the language of those countries at the time, which was a corrupted Latin. After the Roman Empire was overthrown and Latin had ceased to be the language of any part of Europe, the reverence of the people still preserved the estab- lished forms and ceremonies, and the church services were still conducted in Latin. This necessitated the study of that language by the priests, so that, from the beginning, Latin made an essen-
�� � PREPARATION FOR COLLEGE. 17
tial part of a university education. Both Greek and Hebrew were introduced later, when the Reformers found the original text more favorable to them than the Latin translations.
Greek and Latin thus introduced into the college course have maintained their prestige unshaken almost to the present time, and, having taken such high rank in the college course, the fitting schools have been compelled to arrange their courses to meet the demands of the colleges ; so that till quite recently the curricu- lum of most secondary schools was composed mainly of three studies, Latin, Greek, and mathematics. An English teacher of classics of the present time, speaking of the head master of the school which he attended as a boy, says : " The doctor was a noble type of the old-fashioned English head master. He had a loath- ing for all scientific study, was utterly ignorant of modern lan- guages, English literature of the day to him was non-existent, his lectures smacked of the last century with their long modulating periods and pauses Ciceronian. All information, historical, anti- quarian, geographical, or philosophic, as connected with the classics, he regarded with contempt ; any dunderhead, he consid- ered, might cram that at his leisure; but it pained him to the quick if a senior pupil violated the Porsonian pause or trifled with a subjunctive. 'A word in your ear, doctor,' said an Ox- ford examiner once to him, 'your captain, yesterday, could not tell me where Elis was.' ' I looked horrified,' said the doctor in repeating the circumstance. ' I looked horrified, of course, but on my word I did not know it myself.' From his point of view a boy's chief aim in life was evidently to spend years in studying etymology, syntax, and prosody, and still other years in trying to write Latin verses, a thing which Cicero himself could not have done well."
The classical craze never obtained so strong a foothold in this country as in England, and it might be difficult to find, especially at the present time, any head master in America to whom the above description would apply, and yet I have known some, a composite photograph of whom would show many of the old doc- tor's prominent characteristics. Dr. Gardner, for many years the head master of the Boston Latin School, one of the largest and best fitting schools /n this country, was not a mathematician, and whether or not well versed in modern languages, including Eng- lish, he never wasted much time in teaching those subjects to the boys. But woe to the boy who did not know his Latin grammar from cover to cover ; who could not write his Greek accents as readily as cross his t's in English ; who had forgotten one of the irregular verbs ; or who could not detect an Ionic or Doric form long before he knew why it was used, or whether or not anybody ever used it except on special occasions for special purposes!
VOL. XLVI. 2
�� � i8 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
As to science, our knowledge of that was only in its special application to the manly art of boxing, and we always supposed that, athlete as he was, he had enough of that to meet all the re- quirements of his position.
The author just quoted further says, "Be the condition of other branches what you please, the melancholy fact stands that the classics are taught in such a way as to benefit only those who by superior talents or inordinately long continuance at school eventually emerge from the darkness overhanging their element- ary training." Of his own class he says : " Of one entire half of their long school probation the majority carried away no intel- lectual memento. Upon that half had been brought to bear the most expensive part of the educational machinery; masters of arts instead of ushers ; clergymen instead of laymen ; dictionaries and lexicons instead of copy books and slates. There had been no lack of sowing, but there had been no reaping ; the ground had been well harrowed and the seed had been watered plenti- fully and with tears. Many of his associates who had no special calling for a sailor's life had entered the Naval School, with the mere view of escaping a life of Latin and Greek drudgery on land."
The original design of the colleges in America was the train- ing of a learned clergy, and the ancient languages naturally and properly constituted a main feature of the college curriculum. The best secondary schools naturally were classical schools. The heads of these schools were chosen on account of their classical ability, and in these schools the ancient languages were taught by the ablest and best paid instructors, while the teaching of modern languages, mathematics, and science was generally intrusted to subordinates. From these conditions it is easy to see the evolu- tion of the belief that a liberal education meant a classical educa- tion, a knowledge of ancient languages and literatures.
The college requirements for admission, the traditions or su- perstitions of the past, and the inclinations of those in charge of secondary schools have all tended to maintain and strengthen this view. At a time when the only opportunity for advanced study was offered by institutions which made the classics the principal feature of their instruction, it was natural to measure all learning by the classical standard. To do so to-day is pedantic if not fool- ish. And yet with the prestige of age and tradition, aided per- haps by the somewhat different class of pupils who attend the strictly classical schools, there pervades these schools a sentiment of superiority which possibly enhances the dignity and honor of the instructors therein.
Now, if there is any such thing as a pedagogical hierarchy, at the very head should be placed the successful teacher of English ;
�� � PREPARATION FOR COLLEGE. ig
that teacher who, combined with the requisite knowledge, has the ability and inclination to endure hard work and drudgery ; who has, in short, the many and rare qualities necessary to give to pupils a good knowledge of their own language, so that they can speak and write it readily, forcibly, and correctly.
One of the principal arguments in justification of the promi- nence given classical studies is their efficiency in inculcating cor- rect theories of the general principles of language, with the ulti- mate object, of course, that the student be well versed in his own language, as he never expects to speak or write Greek or Latin. Now, if the study of Greek and Latin does give to the student ability to speak and write his own language readily and correctly, all honor to them. If as good results may be obtained by the direct teaching of English, or indirectly by means of the modern languages, then this chief argument in favor of Greek and Latin loses much of its force. I am inclined to the opinion that good results in English may be obtained by a capable in- structor through the medium of almost any subject, and that more depends upon the teacher than upon the subject. Even mathe- matics, which is not generally taught with special reference to English, may be made to have much influence upon that branch. It is beyond question that where there is not clear, logical think- ing, there can not be good speaking or writing, and I have found that apparent deficiency in mathematics is often due to the pupil's inability properly to express mathematical facts which his mind clearly comprehends.
Good teachers of English are not easily found, and as to the practical effect of classical studies upon the student's English, the Board of Examiners of Harvard College, who last year made a careful examination in English of one of the classes, say in their report that "the reflex influence on the student's English of translating Greek and Latin into the mother tongue seems, when subjected to a practical test, to amount to nothing."
Till very recently but little preparation in English was re- quired to pass the college entrance examinations, and consequently preparatory schools neglected that subject ; but of late, to meet special requirements in it, the fitting schools have been obliged to give more attention- to English. And yet the board of visitors re- port that of the present Sophomore class of Harvard College, on the entrance examinations only two per cent passed with credit in English, forty-seven per cent were conditioned, and twenty per cent failed to pass the examination. The causes of this may be that the college examinations are not in harmony with the teaching in the preparatory schools, or that the teaching in the fitting schools is not good or is neglected for want of time. In the leading school in Boston for teaching shorthand
�� � 20 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
writing the pupils are mostly graduates of higli schools. The principal of that school tells me that the most serious obstacles which these pupils meet in their study of shorthand is their ina- bility to spell correctly. The condition of affairs is well expressed by a parent who, having seen on his son's school report eighty per cent in French and forty per cent in English, wrote on the back of the report for the teacher's inspection, " This seems to indicate that, in addition to any blame to be attributed to the boy, there is something wrong elsewhere."
Is it well to fit boys for college so that they may pass the en- trance examination with honors in Greek and Latin, and get con- ditions in English ? Would these boys of their own free will, if competent to judge, desire to offer the maximum requirements in Greek and Latin and the minimum in English, modern languages, mathematics, and science ? Have not pedagogues, as a class, ex- posed themselves to the just criticism of being pedantic, dog- matic, and influenced too much by the example and traditions of the past, and possibly also by their own personal tastes and abili- ties ? Are they at present fully in sympathy with the demand of the American civilization of to-day ?
It is foolish to deny that there is much that is instructive and ennobling in Greek literature, or that the study of the Greek lan- guage is beneficial to such as desire to study it. Greek grammar is the delight of grammarians, whatever it may be to others. Few or no valid objections can be raised against the study of Greek in itself, and all objections to it are made simply against its being an essential for admission to college. The following are some of these :
1. It is in a majority of cases studied merely in order to pass the entrance examinations, and it is therefore an artificial and for such cases almost useless barrier. Tom Brown of Rugby, who was a typical English boy of the upper middle class, says, " I went to school to get, among other things, enough Latin and Greek to take me through Oxford respectably " ; and Tom's father says of him : " I do not send him to school mainly to make him a good scholar. Neither his mother nor I care a straw for the digamma or the Greek particles. If he will only turn out a brave, truth- telling Englishman and a gentleman, that's all I want." Mr. Taine says, " Remarkable words these, and well summarizing the ordinary sentiments of an English " (and he might have added of an American) " father and child."
2. There seems to be no necessity for both Greek and Latin where one will answer every purpose, except where extreme ver- bal subtlety is required. As a means of inculcating clear and exact views on the philosophy of language Latin is nearly the equal of Greek, and there seems to be no need of both except in
�� � PREPARATION FOR COLLEGE.
��special cases for special purposes; and as between Latin and Greek the least deserving should be dropped. Latin is the mother tongue of so many modern European languages that it has its proper place antecedent to those languages.
3. Making Greek a sine qua non has debarred many from en- tering college who, through inaptitude or inability to procure good teaching, have been unable to pass their entrance examina- tions in that subject.
4. The time required for Greek has acted as a prohibition on many other studies.
5. Greek being a difficult language, not enough of it is learned to be of much practical service to the student. Huxley says : " It is only a very strong man who can appreciate the charms of a landscape as he is toiling up a very steep hill along a very bad road. The ordinary schoolboy is peculiarly in this case. He finds Parnassus uncommonly steep, and there is no chance of his hav- ing much time or inclination to look about him till he gets to the top, and nine times out of ten he never gets to the top." As to the disciplinary drill in Greek, it is by no means certain that it possesses any advantages over many other studies pursued with as much care and hard work.
Says Grant Allen : " Do you think that a man can not learn just as much about the Athens of Pericles from the Elgin mar- bles as from a classical dictionary or a dog-eared Thucydides ? Do you suppose that to have worked up the first six Iliads with a Liddell and Scott brings you in the end very much nearer the heart and soul of the primitive Achseans than to have studied with loving care the vases in the British Museum, or even to have followed with a sculptor's eye the exquisite imaginings of divine John Flaxman ? Do you really suppose there is no under- standing the many-sided, essentially artistic Greek idiosyncrasy except through the medium of the twenty-four written signs from alpha to omega ? "
The old-fashioned classical education is an excellent and pos- sibly necessary preparation for the legal, clerical, and pedagogic professions. It furnishes a capital training in words ; it does not reach the facts behind the words ; it is only plowing over again the old ground ; it leaves each generation just where its prede- cessor was. It does not furnish either the methods or the mate- rial for originality. In the whole domain of science the classics afford a convenient terminology. That they give any useful fun- damental preparatory training can not be demonstrated, and their study with this end in view is time wasted.
Greek history, mythology, philosophy, and poetry all together have less influence upon the civilization of to-day, less effect upon the prosperity, happiness, and general welfare of mankind than
�� � 22 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
the discoveries and inventions of a few modern scientific investi- gators. The world to-day is looking more to the future than to the past, and its great and successful men are those who know the laws which govern men and things and obey them. The direct loss to the silk industries of France in a few years was two hun- dred and fifty million dollars, and would have increased had not Pasteur studied the nature of the minute organism which caused the trouble, and found a means of relieving the silkworm of its presence. Had the antiseptic treatment of wounds been known thirty years ago, at least one hundred thousand lives might have been saved during the war of the rebellion. Nature punishes ignorance as sharply as willful disobedience. Incapacity and crime receive the same punishment. Certainly he who knows her laws and can add to our rapidly increasing amount of knowl- edge of the mysterious ways in which Nature works, is as liber- ally educated a person as the pedant who has had his memory trained by years of classical study.
In general, I object to that complete begging of the question which assumes that an education to be called liberal must be ob- tained by a course of studies comprised within any hard-and-fast lines. Recognizing the demand for a more extended and broader curriculum, the colleges have enlarged their courses, and some of them have recently changed their requirements for admission. This change must have come sooner or later. I wish to show that this change was a wise one, and also to make this suggestion, that other colleges, in addition to the privilege given the candidate of offering either Greek or a substitute, should follow the ex- ample of the few who have established an elementary course in Greek for undergraduates.
There is no substantial reason why the secondary schools should teach the elements of all the studies pursued in the col- leges, and that has never been attempted or suggested for all the college courses. The colleges have always offered elementary courses in some subjects, and one course more or less would not materially affect the grade of the college. Why not offer an ele- mentary course in Greek as well as in Hebrew or Sanskrit or modern languages ? The colleges themselves complain that they are now forced to give elementary instruction in English and no instruction in several important European languages.
This would enable those who are uncertain as to their future to defer making their decision until later in life, when, if they chose to select Greek, they could bring to the study more mature judgment and the advantage of training in other subjects, and for such students Greek would no longer be a school study, but a learned study worthy of the college. Also, students who came from schools where Greek is not taught would be debarred neither
�� � PREPARATION FOR COLLEGE. 23
from entering college nor from pursuing that study. Since the extension of the elective system at Harvard neither Greek nor Latin studies are pursued by so large a proportion of the students as formerly, and yet a greater proficiency in classics is obtained. By this plan the graduates of our best English high schools could postpone until after graduation the choice of a career. They would then be in a fair condition to make a proper estimate of their ability, their special capacities and leanings, and their prob- able fitness for a commercial or a professional life.
It has been said that the recent changes in the requirements for admission to college have operated only for the benefit of infe- rior scholars who would not otherwise have been able to enter college. If we admit for a moment the truth of this statement, the change has some merits even on these grounds. So-called dunces are often only so many visible evidences of an imperfect and too narrow educational system. They are the results of at- tempting to fill square holes with round pegs, to mold and develop the manifold and diverse characteristics of human nature of both sexes by the same method and with the same appliances, in con- formity with a prearranged, harmonious, and symmetrical system, just as blocks of wood are run through a machine. Many dimces at school often become distinguished in social, business, and polit- ical life, and, even in school, show ability in subjects congenial to them. Conscious of their skill in art, in music, or of their ability to do many things outside the routine of school duties better than the ordinary not specially gifted pedagogue, they feel justified from their point of view in believing that, as between themselves and their instructor, if there really be a dunce, the question is certainly debatable as to who best answers the description.
But the youth who enters college without Greek is by no means inferior in mental equipment to him who enters under the old system. From what I have seen of both methods I should advise plodding mediocrity to stick to the old lines. Hard work and good teaching have always enabled this class of pupils to pass the entrance examinations, and even sometimes to distinguish them- selves. But distinction in science and mathematics is only ob- tained by industry plus something very closely allied to genius. In fact, at Harvard it seems to me that the new method has been handicapped by requiring too much in mathematics. Boys m secondary schools can learn and assimilate their elementary alge- bra, their geometry, plane, solid, and analytic, and their trigonom- etry, but they are not mature enough to undertake the study of
The present scheme of requirements for admission to Harvard College was adopted in 1886. Since that time one hundred and forty-eight persons have entered Harvard without Greek. Thirty-
�� � 24 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
five of these have graduated, seventeen of them with honors, two receiving the A. B. and the A. M. degrees simultaneously. Of the ninety-one men who have not graduated, but have been in college long enough to make a record, a little more than half have a record above " C." President Eliot says in his annual report, " This record is a very creditable one, and shows conclusively that the persons who have thus far entered college without Greek are abundantly able to profit by their college life and to win a stand- ing, which is, on the average, above that of those who entered with Greek."
At the time I made inquiries (one year ago) there were in Harvard University forty-eight graduates of the Boston English High School, divided as follows : undergraduates, thirty ; gradu- ate students, two ; special students, six ; scientific school, one ; medical school, eigh' ; law school, one. Seven graduates of the Boston English High School took their degrees at Harvard the preceding June (1891). Some idea of the rank of these seven may be obtained from the fact that they received the fourth, sixth, eleventh, thirteenth, fifteenth, and twenty-first scholarships. The seventh did not take a scholarship, as he did not need it, but he received honorable mention in natural history, and was assigned a commencement part. Of the other six, three graduated magna cum laude and two cum laude. Eight English High graduates received their diplomas at Harvard last June. Of these, one re- ceived the degree summa cum laude, three magna cum laude, two cum laude, and two without distinction. One of these, Lovett, led his class, was editor in chief of the Harvard Monthly, was the class-day poet, and was the best-known literary man in college. He is at present instructor in English at Harvard. Under date of September 36, 1892, President Eliot wrote me the following letter :
" Harvard Unitersity, Cambridge, September S6, 1892.
" My dear Sir : The standing in college of the young men who have entered Harvard College from the English High School of Boston without Greek has been remarkably high. Speaking from my general knowledge of the college standing of boys from different schools, I should say that the standing of these high- school graduates has been, on the average, higher than the aver- age standing of the graduates of any other school in the country. I have not yet made an actual comparison with figures ; but I propose to do so, and to state the result in my next annual report. I suppose, however, that it would be just to state that the boys who have come from the English High School to Harvard College are picked boys ; they do not represent the average of the school. I had some conversation with Mr. Waterhouse on this subject last July at Saratoga, and I wrote him a note giving the standing PREPARATION FOR COLLEGE. 25
of a certain number of graduates of the English High School at graduation at Harvard College. This was not a comparative statement ; but any schoolmaster who is in the habit of sending pupils to Harvard College would know at sight that it was a very- remarkable exhibit. Very truly yours,
(Signed) " Chaeles W. Eliot.
" Mr. John F. Casey."
During the year immediately preceding the time when I made my inquirj^, in the class of '92, two English High boys were the only ones who received "A" in all their examinations in their regular work of the year. During the same year, in the class of '93, an English High graduate and a young man from Chicago were the only ones to receive " A " in all their examinations in their regular work of the year, and at the same time two English High boys outranked all others in college in English composition. During that year, of seven honors in mathematics given to all the classes, three were taken by graduates of the English High School. Of 'three theses selected by President Eliot as especially meritorious, two were written by boys from our school.
As might be expected, the subjects in which English High School graduates receive distinction are different from those in which classical school graduates would seek honors. The sub- jects in which our boys have obtained distinction are English, French, history, political economy, mathematics, natural history, chemistry, botany, and meteorology. S. M. Ballon, in his special work in meteorology, wrote an article opposing the cold-wave theory held by the Weather Bureau at Washington. This essay was translated and published in Europe, and Ballon received quite flattering letters in regard to it from eminent scientists one espe- cially from Mr. Woeckoff, head of the Russian Meteorological Department, in which he said that Ballou's article completely dis- proved the theory held by the authorities in this country. Young Ballon afterward met Prof. Russell, head of the Meteorological Department at Washington, and, having previously sent in his card, when ushered into Prof. Russell's presence, was greeted with, "I suppose you are Mr. Ballou's son." He failed to recog- nize in the stripping a scientific opponent. In English " B " course, which all sophomores are obliged to take, in 1888 Parker was one of four to receive "A"; in 1889 Lovett was one of ten; and in 1890 Ballon was one of three.
Among the list of instructors I find in the catalogue of Har- vard College the names of four graduates of the English High School. Two English High School graduates, while undergradu- ates in Harvard, have been one an assistant instructor in botany and one in the fine. arts. That reminds me that ^ drawing, once
�� � 26 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
considered rather as an accomplisliment than as having much practical use or educational value, is one of the studies which in many classical schools Greek has crowded to the wall.
I wish to add just a word in regard to the statement in Presi- dent Eliot's letter that our boys were picked boys. In one sense they are and in another they are far from it. They have un- doubtedly been above the average of the school ; so are the boys from any secondary school, because at most schools the poor scholars are dropped and made to repeat and refused promotion till they have come up to a high standard. We have practically nothing of this. After graduation such boys as choose return for another year's study. During this year they are allowed within certain limits to choose their course of study, and at the end of the year they are prepared to enter the medical, law, or under- graduate department of Harvard University. One of our boys who went directly from this class to the Law School of Boston University graduated there last June summa cum laude at the head of his class. Most of our graduates go directly into busi- ness or to the Institute of Technology, so that we have to take the small percentage who return as they come and make the best of them. Thus they do not represent what is understood by picked boys that is, a few of the best selected. Neither do they represent by any means in point of numbers or ability what might be sent to represent the school could the teachers exercise the right of selection from the graduating class.
I heard Mr. Bradbury, of the Cambridge Latin School, a year ago say that he had asked permission of Mr. Hill, of the Cam- bridge English High School, to talk to the pupils of the English High in the hope of inducing some of them to change their course and join the Latin School. It seemed to me that there was a principle involved behind this request. Boys ought to hear both sides of the question, and doubtless there are many boys in the High School who would be better off in the Latin School. And this carries with it the truth of the converse also, that there are boys in the Latin School who would be more in accord with their surroundings were they to change. Were Mr. Bradbury to obtain the required permission of Mr. Hill and also grant Mr. Hill the same privilege, some of the pupils and both schools would be benefited by the change. And were both head masters to hold out the same inducements to the pupils viz., successful preparation for Harvard I do not think the High School would in the end be the loser in point of numbers.
It seems to me the duty of a teacher to advise a change when he finds a pupil out of step with his class and manifestly unsuited for the course he is trying to pursue. It may be that the ideal preparatory school is one which under one head combines both
�� � PREPARATION FOR COLLEGE. 27
courses ; then, as occasion required, pupils could be readily trans- ferred from one course to the other; and even the senior who found his Greek too much for him could drop it and take up the alternatives of science and mathematics, pursuing more than one branch of these at the same time and reciting with more than one class if necessary. The plan is perfectly feasible, just as at Harvard we find members of different classes taking the same courses together. In the English High School we have members of the advanced class studying several branches of mathematics at once, and reciting with different classes. There is no dijOQculty or trouble about it. The member of the advanced class who wishes to review a certain study simply finds a class which is re- citing in that study at an hour when he is disengaged and puts in an appearance to recite with this class. The only objection that I see to this would arise from the conservatism of professional educators as being inconsistent with custom and tradition. The tendency has been to separate the courses rather than unite them, but the conditions have always been quite different.
I have made special reference to Harvard College rather than to any other, because the new scheme of requirements for admis- sion has been tried there sufficiently long to observe how it works, and these results have been made public. Boys who have succeeded at Harvard under the new regulations would have been equally successful at any other college under the same conditions. I have also cited as special examples graduates of the Boston English High School, because this school has probably sent more boys to college under the new system than any other school, and also because I have had an opportunity, through acquaintance with these young men, of knowing how they have succeeded and what they themselves have thought about their ability to get the most possible benefit from their college course.
The English High School of Boston is not a fitting school ; its original design was that it should be a finishing school, and this plan has never been changed. Its course of studies covers a period of three years, and is the usual high-school course. To this is added a post-graduate course of one year, during which the student has great freedom in his choice of studies. The three- years' course is -^ell arranged to meet the requirements of those who have no definite intention of pursuing their studies fur- ther, and the fourth year meets the demand of those who de- sire to do special work. A very few of the graduates of this school from choice studied Greek under a tutor during their advanced year in school, and a few more from necessity did the same thing, as they found the alternatives for Greek too difficult for them. This Greek was in most of these cases cramnied" for the special purpose of passing the entrance examinations,
- An address delivered before the Massachusetts Association of High and Classical School Teachers.