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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 65.djvu/450

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446
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

school students being occupied with each of these subjects in 1900 than in 1890. But the percentage of students taking work in science has actually fallen off. The figures are taken from reports of the Commissioner of Education at Washington.

Greek is the only language that suffered a decline. The falling off in the number pursuing physics and chemistry is out of all harmony with modern industrial demands; students of these subjects in scientific and technical schools are being called to positions before they have graduated. Among those preparing to enter college, the sciences are losing ground, the classics gaining. In 1889-90, 51 per cent, of students preparing for college were preparing to enter the classical course, and 49 per cent, the scientific; in 1895-96, 52 per cent, were preparing for the classical, and 48 per cent, for the scientific; in 1899-00, 56 per cent, were preparing to enter the classical and 44 per cent, the scientific. The number of competent science teachers is now short of the demand, though language teachers are far in excess of it.

Coeducation has its share in forming sentiment and shaping instruction. The high school must suit its curriculum to the needs of its pupils; it has to give what is demanded. Since girls are in a decided

 

PSM V65 D450 Illinois growth of teachers employed between 1857 and 1900.png

Growth in Number of Teachers Employed (1857-1900) in Typical State of Illinois.

 

majority, and the number of women teachers is in excess of the men, it is not strange that cultural courses receive the most attention.

Below the high school a still higher percentage of teachers are women. A circumstance that shows the effect of this on school work occurred to our notice a few years ago in a certain county of California. The attempt was made to introduce a little elementary physics into the ninth grade of grammar schools. The community was mainly rural; and it was thought that since most of the boys left school from that grade, it would be well to teach them the simple mechanical laws of pulley, lever, wheel and axle, screw, etc., to apply to their farm experience. It was a laudable design; but it was a failure. The teachers