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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/426

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422
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

principle of initiative and referendum. That development of democratic government would make it impossible for officers of education to command arbitrarily the inauguration of policies about which neither the people nor the teachers had been consulted.

The power of initiative and referendum resting with the people entirely, or in part with the teachers, would not necessarily be a hindrance to the work of the local boards, but it would keep the interest of all alive to the welfare of the schools. It would encourage and demand greater knowledge of educational questions among the people. It would crush for all time the autocratic spirit that rules sullenly in the seats of a democratic institution. The existence of the officious, overbearing and dictatorial superintendent and principal, and the timid, sycophantic teacher would become impossible. Not only must the relation of the boards to the schools be a democratic one, but the school within itself must be organized on the basis of the same idea. Teachers and pupils have rights which the autocratic principal of to-day tramples upon with impunity, and he is upheld by the officials who created him. The safety of the republic demands the abolition of such a tyrannical condition.

A rehabilitation of organized public education along the lines of the open and just recognition of the rights of all concerned, seems a necessary prerequisite to increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of all persons engaged as agents of education. The fair, honest and public-spirited administration of the schools is a necessary preliminary guarantee to the people that public education is a movement for human progress, and for nothing less.