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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 72.djvu/547

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PROGRESS AND EDUCATIONAL ADVANCE

THE RELATION BETWEEN RECENT INDUSTRIAL PROGRESS AND EDUCATIONAL ADVANCE
By FRANK T. CARLTON, Ph.D.

ALBION COLLEGE. MICH.

WRITERS and students who have turned their attention to educational problems have almost without exception given adherence to what may be called the "great-man" theory of educational progress. They have maintained the thesis that educational advance has been chiefly, if not wholly, due to the efforts and the perseverance of certain great personalities, who have pushed their particular contribution upon a reluctant public, by the sheer force of personal ability and merit. During the first period of great educational activity in the United States, according to this theory, our educational progress was attributed to Horace Mann, Henry Barnard, James G. Carter, Samuel Lewis and others. Without in any way depreciating the value of the labors of these able and earnest men, it is just and proper that recognition be given to the underlying social and economic conditions which produced the situation that enabled them to carry their propaganda to a more or less successful issue; and which, indeed, indicated to them the heed of such works and filled them with the zeal and ardor necessary to carry them out in the face of determined and powerful opposition. Mann and his associates exercised a "directive," as Lester Ward expresses it, influence; but a further search must be made for the "impelling" forces. Only when the student comes to the more recent period of manual, scientific and commercial training, and of recreational education, does he find any important recognition of the underlying influence of social and industrial changes. Even in this period little has been done except to point out in a general and casual way, the fact that industrial progress and the growth of cities have led to many hap-hazard additions to the curriculum, and have been the real cause of bitter conflicts between the "reformers" or "fadists," and the "conservatives." The reformer, educational or otherwise, is a product of his time; if he is successful, it is because he has, in a measure, correctly interpreted the hitherto vague and undefined demands of the classes of people which are rapidly rising in influence and importance.

The many striking and important social and industrial changes which have occurred during the last two or three decades, make many new demands upon our educational system. In recent years the broad