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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/417

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THE SACRIFICE OF EDUCATION.

books, and give but little of their own personality to their work. It is true that it is necessary to test the work of teachers; but it is not necessary, for the purpose of doing so, to take the whole soul out of teaching. If examinations are to be defended on the ground that they test the efficiency of teachers, then we reply that other and better ways of doing this are to be found, and must be found. We admit quite frankly that they can only be found and pursued at the price of some trouble and experiment on the part both of parents and those responsible for the conduct of teaching; but if trouble and thought and experiment are to be spared in this great matter, we had better at once resign the hope of attaining any moral and intellectual results of real value from what we are doing. It has been suggested that masters and tutors might be induced to publish regularly notes of some of their courses; it has been suggested that some of the periodical examinations of boys and young men by their own masters and professors should be printed—with the questions and answers made—and sold in some cheap form; that parents and others interested should be invited to attend viva voce examinations. It is urged that such publicity would help to enlighten those specially interested as to the teaching given at different schools and colleges; and act as a moderate and healthy stimulus both to teachers and taught, without in any way producing the evil effects of the present fiercely competitive prize-system. We can not here attempt to express any opinion upon such proposals; but every reasonable plan for giving parents some acquaintance with what their sons are learning, and the methods pursued, deserve careful consideration.

In conclusion, we protest against the waste that accompanies the mischievous exaggeration of our present systems of examination. We protest against the great endowments of schools and universities being applied as money rewards for learning, either in the form of scholarships or fellowships, when they might be applied to increasing teaching-power, attracting men of high and varied learning as teachers to the universities, endowing concurrent chairs so as to admit the expression of different schools of thought on the same subjects, lowering to a certain point the fees taken for attendance, carrying the teaching of the universities into many different parts of the country, and assisting education in many other direct and useful ways. We protest against the common mistake of benefactors—anxious to help education—founding new scholarships, and thus intensifying the evil that exists, instead of founding local chairs and local courses of teaching; we renew our protest against the low ideals placed before young men; against the highly artificial competition to which both parents and teachers give their adhesion, and which destroys the real natural competition of method competing against method and type against