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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/695

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SCIENCE IN EDUCATION.

jealousy of the older régime and the strenuous, if sometimes blatant, belligerency of the reformers have not yet been pacified; and, from time to time, within our public schools and universities, there may still be heard the growls of opposition and the shouts of conflict. But these sounds are growing fainter. Even the most conservative don hardly ventures nowadays openly to denounce Science and all her works. Grudgingly, it may be, but yet perforce, he has to admit the teaching of modern science to a place among the subjects which the university embraces, and in which it grants degrees. In our public schools a "modern side" has been introduced, and even on the classical side an increasing share of the curriculum is devoted to oral and practical teaching in science. New colleges have been founded in the more important centers of population, for the purpose, more particularly, of enabling the community to obtain a thorough education in modern science.

The mainspring of this remarkable educational revolution has, doubtless, been the earnest conviction that the older learning was no longer adequate in the changed and changing conditions of our time; that vast new fields of knowledge, opened up by the increased study of Nature, ought to be included in any scheme of instruction intended to fit men for the struggle of modern life, and that in this newer knowledge much might be found to minister to the highest ends of education. Nevertheless, it must be admitted that utilitarian considerations have not been wholly absent from the minds of the reformers. Science has many and far-reaching practical applications. It has called into existence many new trades and professions, and has greatly modified many of those of older date. In a thousand varied ways it has come into the ordinary affairs of everyday life. Its cultivation has brought innumerable material benefits; its neglect would obviously entail many serious industrial disadvantages, and could not fail to leave us behind in the commercial progress of the nations of the globe.

So much have these considerations pressed upon the attention of the public in recent years that, besides all the other educational machinery to which I have referred, technical schools have been established in many towns for the purpose of teaching the theory as well as the practice of various arts and industries, and making artisans understand the nature of the processes with which their trades are concerned.

That this educational transformation, which has been advancing during the century, has resulted in great benefit to the community at large can hardly be denied. Besides the obvious material gains, there has been a widening of the whole range and method of our teaching; the old subjects are better, because more scientifically