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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/15

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expectation is to affiliate the college with a wholly different class of schools, which will send us a wholly different class of students, with wholly different aims, and trained according to a wholly different method. At the outset we shall look to the best of our New England high-schools for a limited supply of scientific students, and hope by constant pressure to improve the methods of teaching in these schools, as our literary colleagues have within ten years vastly improved the methods in the classical schools. In time we hope to bring about the establishment of special academies which will do for science-culture what Exeter and St. Paul's are doing for classical culture. We expect to establish a set of requisitions just as difficult as the classical requisitions—only they will be requisitions which have a different motive, a different spirit, and a different aim; and all we ask is, that they should be regarded as the equivalents of the classical requisitions so far as college standing is concerned. "We do not at once expect to draw many students through these new channels. To improve methods of teaching and build up new schools is a work of years. But we have the greatest confidence that in time we shall thus be able to increase very greatly both the clientage and the usefulness of the university.

Is this heresy? Is this revolution? Is it not rather the scientific method seeking to work out the best results in education as elsewhere by careful observation and cautious experimenting, unterrified by authority or superstition? Certainly, the philologist must respect our method; for of all the conquests of natural science none is more remarkable than its conquest of the philologists themselves. They have adopted the scientific methods as well as the scientific spirit of investigation; but, while thus widening and classifying their knowledge, they have rendered the critical study of language more abstruse and more difficult; and this is the chief reason why the time of preparation for our college has been so greatly extended during the last twenty-five years. Nominally, the classical schools cover no more ground than formerly, but they cultivate that ground in a vastly more thorough and scientific way.

These increased requirements of modern literary culture suggest another consideration, which we can barely mention on this occasion. How long will the condition of our new country permit its youths to remain in pupilage until the age of twenty-three or twenty-four; on an average at least three years later than in any of the older countries of the civilized world? It is all very well that every educated man should have a certain acquaintance with what have been called the "humanities." But when your system comes to its present results, and demands of the physician, the chemist, and the engineer—whose birthright is a certain social status, which by accident you temporarily control—that he shall pass fully four years of the training period of his life upon technicalities, which, however important to a literary