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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/533

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529
COLLEGE STANDARDIZATION

tion, with advantage both to themselves and to the public. The enforcement of the laws relating to banks has rarely ever been a hardship except to those that have made themselves unsafe by recklessness. Stockholders and depositors have a right to protection; and this might easily be denied them if the inspection of banks were denied. Such is human nature, that the temptation to dishmonesty is greatly reduced by the consciousness of responsibility and the knowledge that untruthfulness in accounts will be sure to bring its own natural punishment with little delay.

In the work of education the process of standardization is as inevitable as in other great industries, despite the fact that the training of the young is not directly merchantable and that industrial competition is not so conspicuous here as in transportation or manufactures. The American public-school system is an enormous educational industry, divided into as many state corporations as there are states in the union, and with as many subsidiary corporations as there are cities where municipal school systems are supported by local taxation. The growth of this aggregation of school industries since the close of the civil war has been proportioned to our national growth in population. The annual profits can not be expressed in dollars, but the value of the system as a popular investment is manifested by the willingness of the people to pay for the maintenance of such schools. During the twenty years from 1880 to 1900 the population of the United States grew from 50,000,000 to 75,000,000, and the enrolment in schools from 10,000,000 to 15,000,000; in each case an increase of 50 per cent. In the same interval the total estimated property of the country grew from $42,000,000,000 to $94,000,000,000, an increase of 119 per cent.; and the total expenditure for schools from $80,000,000 to $214,000,000, an increase of 162 per cent.

The rate of increase in expenditure for education was thus about one third greater than the rate of increase in wealth. The average expense to each person in the country for the maintenance of schools rose from $1.56 to $3.36. For salaries of teachers and superintendents the outlay rose from $56,000,000 to $137,000,000. A passing comparison may be here made with the amounts paid by the national government to the army of war pensioners; in 1880, $56,000,000; in 1900, $140,000,000. The function of a war pensioner is to teach patriotism, even if he has never been near a battle. His reward has much exceeded that of the teacher who has really earned his salary. There is need for a consistent system of standardization in comparing the value of the war pensioner with that of the teacher.

In most of our country the system of public education is well organized, and through the reports of superintendents every citizen can obtain all the information he wishes regarding school expenditures,