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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/534

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

courses of instruction, standards of scholarship, and general efficiency. Each state is supreme in the control of education within its own borders, and there is apparently little danger that public education will be made subject to the interstate commerce law and thus become subject to federal control. Although state organization is not equally thorough in all sections, the actual condition of public education in any selected state can be well ascertained by comparison of the reports required by law from all superintendents. Without the power of federal control the national bureau of education prepares and issues an annual report embodying a large mass of statistical information and discussion on education, most of which is gathered by voluntary contribution or by study of reports from all parts of the world.

When we pass from the domain of public education to that of private schools a change becomes perceptible. In the public schools there is well-defined gradation into primary, grammar and high schools, the high school generally including four years of well-adjusted work. In the private school there is no responsibility to the state, and each school fixes its own standards. There is more elasticity than in the public school, better opportunity for adaptation to individual needs, but less opportunity for an outsider to form a judgment of the pupil's attainments on presentation of a certificate of graduation. Much excellent work is done, but the opportunities for comparison between private schools are limited, and the opportunities for undue claims to excellence are great. These schools must continue so long as the need for unusual personal attention remains, or as parents are disposed to pay for the privilege of social exclusiveness. As they are usually not incorporated institutions, they can not be held responsible to the public for their standards, and are hence free from such inspection as is not specially invited. Some of them advertise largely, and pretentiously assume the name of colleges, institutes or military academies. In many parts of our country this is done apparently in obedience to popular demand, and is an index of the lack of local demand for standardization.

When we begin to consider the vast conglomerate of institutions that are incorporated as colleges, universities and technical schools we enter a region of chaos. If a school applies to a state legislature for a charter of incorporation as a college there is at present no standard generally recognized by legislators to determine what is a college. To most of them it means merely a school controlled by trustees who form a corporate body, and whose liberty must not be limited so long as they obey the existing laws of the state. It is greatly the exception to find in any state a law intended to protect the public from fraudulent colleges. Such a law was passed by New York a dozen or more years ago. Its main features are as follows:

For an institution to be chartered as a college, (1) it must have at