Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 62.djvu/29

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THE REACTION FROM COEDUCATION.

graduates from coeducational institutions shows that as a class the young men and women trained under these auspices are filling with honor the functions of the various stations to which life has called them. The beauty and sanctity of domestic life does not appear to have been shattered nor indeed shaken. In public station, to which large numbers of them have been summoned, they appear to have acquitted themselves with eminent credit. There is no great interest of any kind throughout the west in which men and women of this type will not be found important factors. This result may of course be in spite of their education, rather than because of it, and a different form of education might have produced better results. Admitting this, however, it remains to point out the fact, that in any event for the vast majority of these persons coeducation has not resulted in the disastrous fashion which it ought, if its critics were wholly correct. It must in this connection be remembered that there are many thousands of these graduates of coeducational colleges, so that the volume of contamination which disturbs the critics should be considerable and not difficult of recognition.

Coeducation has a monopoly of neither the virtues nor the vices of the educational world. It is a safe assertion that many young men and women would be better off in colleges of some other variety. Experience certainly suggests that a coeducational university is a dangerous place to send certain young men and especially certain young women, brought up in schools for boys or girls severally. The sending of certain girls to such coeducational institutions without providing for guardianship of any kind is often in the highest degree reprehensible. But for the average young person brought up in coeducational nurseries and secondary schools the university of this type is capable of supplying a peculiarly valuable training, and one which could be discarded only at great cost. The system represents so much that is intrinsic to the noblest and best spirit of democracy in the commonwealths where it flourishes, that its immediate overthrow would be hardly feasible even were it thought desirable. The state institutions, which furnish much the larger part of the coeducational constituency, could probably take no extreme measures without legislative endorsement, and this would certainly be very slow in coming. Private institutions are less hampered, and we may look to them for experimental research. Leland Stanford in the west has already discovered that while 500 women in an institution are tolerable and even valuable, 501 are not to be endured. Wesleyan University in the East has also seen a light, but one of a different hue from that seen at Stanford. At Wesleyan twenty per cent, of the student body may be women, but educational propriety draws the line at this point.