Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/251

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City High-School. The account given of it by the World is mainly as follows:

"The course of study is of a high grade, and is arranged in three divisions—a commercial, a modern English, and a classical course. The English course comprises algebra, natural philosophy, geometry, trigonometry, physiology, chemistry, geology, astronomy, surveying, botany, languages, English literature, civil government, history, mental philosophy, and theory and practice of teaching. The classical course is made up of algebra, geometry, Latin (Cæsar, Cicero, and Virgil), Greek (Anabasis, Homer), Roman and Grecian history, Latin composition, and outlines of history. During each term the students are required to study three of the above subjects. The courses are otherwise optional, and many of the students study five subjects. The course extends over three years, and, in order to complete their studies in that period, the young women who are in the higher classes have to devote close attention to their work. In 1876, at the close of the first course of the institution, the graduating class consisted of twenty-two young women and two young men. The excitement of the closing examination, which was very strict, and the fatigue attending the prolonged course of study, left many of the young women, it is said, with impaired health, but except in a few instances there were no serious results. Fourteen of the young women began to teach in the public schools after graduation, and, in addition to this, they were compelled to prepare for a second examination to enable them to pass the Saturday Normal School, which they were obliged to do before they could obtain a diploma that would make them eligible as teachers in the grammar and higher grade schools. This necessitated close study, and left them comparatively little time for recreation. All, however, except three, pulled through successfully, without any material injury to their health. The additional study was not forced upon them, but they were ambitious and anxious to attain the highest possible position in their profession.

"Of these female graduates, two bright and promising young women died in early womanhood, one is now an inmate of an insane asylum, and two or three others are said to be in delicate health."

When the principal of the high school was seen and questioned by the reporter, he denied that the course of studies was too severe for female students, and remarked: "I have been teaching for eighteen years, and my experience is that girls are more studious and more ready to learn than boys. They can master the higher branches of education far more readily than boys." From which the obvious inference is, that they will be readier victims of a forcing system, administered under the competitions and rivalries of such institutions. All the pressures of our educational system are for conspicuous and telling results which will make the best show at examinations. The teacher takes his rank and holds his position, and calculates upon compensation and promotion, by attaining these striking results. His interest is therefore to drive, to overload, and to stuff and cram the memory of pupils with verbal acquisitions that may be flaunted on parade. School-work becomes a steady pull in these directions, with no time for reflection or observation or independent exercise of thought upon the subjects chosen. The system affords no check against overdoing. The teachers push on those who should be held back, and, if they do not break down and die outright, no harm is recognized. The idea that pupils, girls especially, can be sustained by excitement and carry off the honors in apparent health, while their constitutions are undermined, ill health entailed, and the power of vigorous accomplishment through life destroyed, seems hardly to enter into the minds of educators. It is one of the