obtained is useful as illustrating the vigorous action of our educational machinery upon one hundred and twenty-five thousand pupils. The Superintendent of the Schools of New York said to the reporter:
"My assistants are instructed to visit the schools, and in their examinations to find out what the children know and how well they know it. They examine in nothing but the branches prescribed by law to be taught, and in each grade only in the work allotted by law to that grade." Again he says: "In my last annual report you will find that, out of twenty-six hundred and ninety classes examined, eighteen hundred and twenty-seven were marked 'Excellent,' and eight hundred and nineteen 'Good,' and only forty-four as 'Not commendable.'" This is of course the kind of result that officials are interested in making, as it naturally brings public commendation, more ample appropriations, and larger salaries. By the very nature of the case, therefore, they will be disposed to favor all those injurious agencies which co-operate to heighten the effect. To illustrate how despotically this bad system works, and how completely all who act under it are but parts of it, listen again to the New York Superintendent: "It is my business to stand between teacher and examiner, principal and teacher, teacher and scholar, parent and teacher, and protect all in their rights. But as to permitting teachers or principals to dictate what questions shall be asked or how they shall be asked, and what marks shall be given—that would be equivalent to resigning my office and handing over the direction of the schools to them, something which I do not propose to do." Thus in machine education the dictation is of course official—those who are in closest relation with individual requirements being allowed no discretion.
President Hunter, of the Normal College, applauds the subjects and courses of study which lend themselves to the smooth working of the machinery by numerical percentage scales of proficiency, on which pupils are promoted from grade to grade, and from lower to higher institutions; but he does not deny that the marking system has some faults; he says: "That some of the pupils of the higher grammar-grades are overworked in preparing for the college, is undeniable; but the fault lies not in the course of study which the board has prescribed, nor in the methods pursued in working out that course, but in the ambition of parents to have their children rapidly advanced, and in the desire of the pupils themselves to obtain high marks."
But where, by the working of the great machine itself, the pupils are set to racing for the Normal College, and to racing for the College of the City of New York, what else can be expected? The honors are but a premium for overdriving in the direction of such acquisitions as make the best show in examination, and win the highest percentage of marks.
President Hunter also naively observes: "Many of the evils complained of in the present system would be remedied by allowing each teacher half an hour a day to show the pupils how to study." Verily, verily, the machine must be in perfection where this is impossible.
Mr. Commissioner Crawford admits that the New York schools were once quite imperfect, but that "now there are, generally speaking, no poor schools. There is a general uniformity of excellence. There is a greater unity, greater harmony, a higher level in teaching power. Then supervision was not so minute as at present. Now we have, perhaps, too much supervision, but the committee have endeavored in this report, and the superintendent is all the while trying, to ease up the machine." The ideal of education here implied, that of unity, uniformity, and harmony