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The Western Journal of Education

JANUARY, 1905

EDITORIAL

Christmas is always a joyous season, but the end of the year, which follows it so closely, is apt to bring some measure of regret,

for no matter how thoughtless one may be he is sure

to be a little startled to find that another year has The

run away and that he has so much less to show for Nəw Year

it than at first he planned. But this annual sober

ing is not without its uses. The division of time into portions is not merely a social device to help one: to regulate his meals, meet his engagements and make trains. It has also an individual reference. It is a foot-rule with which to nieasure personal accomplishment. The approach of the New Year reminds the merchant to balance his books and the reflective ñån to take account of his gains. The years are mile-posts to tell us how: far we have gone.

Seize the end, and you will hold the middles," says a Greek proverb. The past cannot be the object of action. One cannot hold time except by seizing it in advance. : Those who would make sure of their object must have high aspirations. Weak aspirations will not do. They amuse the paragraphers and humiliate those who boast of them. And because weak 'aspirations are so generally confessed at this season, aspiring of any sort seems in danger of going out of fashion. Perhaps a million people will resolve to keep diaries on New Year's Day and hardly more than ten thousand persist in keeping them, and perhaps, the same number will resolve in a faint way to leave off some vice or take on some virtue, with even less success. It is not the making of resolutions but the people who make them so indifferently, that must be condemned. Nothing is accomplished without a resolution. The sobering influence of the New Year makes it the best of all

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times for forming them. The indifferent may make and break them, or not form them at all, but thoughtful people are not so. Nothing can be more harmful to education than the feeling that what we now do is the best we can do, and so nearly perfect that we need not worry much about improving it. He is a very ignorant man who is not proud of the schools of the United States, but he is an ignorant man who is satisfied with them. We may be proud of them but can we be satisfied with the physical, mental and moral results which they produce? Is it not possible by attending to the matter a little more carefully to make the children a little more robust and healthful? Is it not possible to give them a better grasp on real knowledge and a greater liking for it? Is it not possible to make them think better of themselves and like the yourlg knights of old, to have more of a passion for being like the samples of lives that are presented to them? These are the never-ending problems of education. The years go by, leaving a larger arid: still larger deposit or experience which may be organized for their better solution. But the better answering of them depends..alinost entirely upon the attitude of the teacher. Like the Master:af Life he must will to gather the children.

There are many other matters which should claim a resolute attention; also::. One of them is a clearer comprehension of the subjest matter of: instruction. We do not yet get the best results out it the teaching of any of the subjects. We can get better resulfs by aşkang. the question of each one of them, What is it for? As ä body of teachers we should resolve to work without ceasing for a more.careful selection of teachers, better professional conducts anü:higher standards for admission to our calling. We can take the schools out of “politics.” We can preach the gospel of the schools to the people, and inform the taxpayers as to what is being done in the best schools elsewhere. We can organize and campaign for the good of the cause as well as of ourselves, and we should do it.

What have we gained or lost this year? As a State we have a higher standard, a better professional attitude, and a more ener

getic spirit in education than we had a year ago.

The children in the schools are supplied with better A Year in

text-books, far better ones, imperfect though they the Schools

still are, than they have ever had before. Many new

school buildings have been built and plans have been made for others which shall not be inferior in construction to any now in existence. The compulsory education law has been enforced, thanks to the righteous zeal of a few of our more energetic superintendents and boards of trustees. But what is more important, interest in this law has become so general, and its provisions are now so widely approved that the time seems ripe for making it mandatory by pronouncing severe penalties for its nonobservance. At the same time a strong sentiment has sprung up in favor of legislation to protect children in their right to an education by forbidding their employment in factories until they pass the age of childhhood. We have not secured State aid, such as they should receive, for the struggling country high schools, but, perhaps, we are more alive to the need for such a provision than we were a year ago.

The
very

successful sessions at San Jose and at Berkeley must be put down to the credit of the year also. From the standpoint of education in general the visit of Professor Frank McMurry was the most notable event of the year. The State of California has ben peculiarly fortunate in having for its Governor a man who has always been a champion of education and who has interested himself in a remarkable degree in the school interests of the State. Taking all these facts together we have good reason to rejoice over the year's results.

*

By far the best evidence of educational progress during the year was the splendid meeting of the State Teachers' Association

at San Jose, which closed on December 30th. The State

Friends and well wishers of the Association are Teachers' prone to regard each of its meetings as the Meeting

They come as the best in its history, The program

best.

but this one was really remarkable for many reasons. The Normal School Building is the best meeting

was

place which we have ever had. The people of San Jose were fine hosts.

excellent and was well arranged and the spirit of good feeling and co-operation could not have been more marked than it was in all departments of the Association. The Journal begs to congratulate the Association upon its freedom from petty politics. Indeed, “politics ” were eliminated entirely from it. No one solicited votes.

No one worked for his friends. There were no secret conferences and no whispering groups in the corridors, no bickering and no suspicions. Everybody noted a great difference in the tone of the gathering, and what a heart-warming difference it was ! Instead of soliciting votes, people went about asking, Who is the best man to administer the affairs of the association next year? It would be hard to estimate the importance of this change. The best man theory has triumphed. We are all committed to it now, and no one who was there will ever want to go back to any other method of handling educational affairs.

The sessions began with a meeting of the Council of Education Monday morning, with a large audience and good discussions. By Tuesday afternoon the audience had become so large that new quarters had to be found for it. The committees which have been engaged in preparing manuals in the teaching of Geography and History presented such valuable reports that the Association instructed its treasurer to print them forthwith. The subject which was most debated during the meeting was the proposal to redistribute the State school fund and increase the rate of taxation for school purposes. All were agreed that the rate must be increased, and all were equally agreed that the present method of distributing the fund is unjust, but the school officers of the larger cities objected to any plan for redistribution, as inexpedient on the ground that it would interfere radically with vested interests. This whole subject was referred to a committee of seven with power to act in behalf of the Association. The Council unanimously endorsed the present method of conducting County Institutes, and recommended that more money should be appropriated to this purpose, and that the law should be changed to enable County Superintendents to join in holding them.

The High School Association meeting was better attended than ever before and its discussions were of their usual high order of ex

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cellence. This Association has a larger membership, relative to the whole number who are eligible to belong to it, than any other department of the General Association. If it goes on as it has begun it will soon include every High School teacher in the State. Already it has been of incalculable value to secondary education.

The Elementary School Association was just as enthusiastic and had a larger audience, with a very profitable program, and the Music Section is reported as the most interesting of all. The general sessions set a new standard for future meetings. They were not confined to pedagogical matters, but were given up for the most part to cognate subjects. Governor George C. Pardee spoke on School Funds. Mr. W. H. Mills lectured on Our Prison Schools, and Mr. Jacob Riis upon The Battle with the Slum and The Making of True Americans. He will not soon be forgotten, and his words and example will effect more, far more, than we can say. The thanks of every member are due to President Biedenbach for inviting him to speak to us. And not only for that, but for the tact, foresight and indefatigable work which made the meeting a treat for every one. There was one other event which was not on the program, but which became an integral part of the meeting, for we went en masse to hear Paderewski play on Thursday afternoon.

The next meeting will be held in Berkeley, with James A. Barr of Stockton as President.

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The Council of Education reported through Secretary McClymonds. It recommended that a constitutional amendment be sub

mitted to the people making it possible to elect memSome Items bers of the boards of education and trustees for six from the Report of years, and also the enactment of legislation so that the Council

not more than one-half the terms of the members of Education

shall expire in any one year. If teachers have not been notified before May that their services are terminated they should be considered elected for another year.

"Resolved, That legislation be had that will make it possible for each County Superintendent in the State, in counties having

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