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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/543

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539
COLLEGE STANDARDIZATION

sought, even if the facts were attainable. In such matters there is probably no resource but the assurance that the reputation of the institution is obliged in time to suffer if its dealings with the public are not what the public wants. If a high standard of admission is professed and violated, students are quick to detect the fact and to circulate their impressions; and no prying is needed to learn what is generally thought to be the truth. They are the most wide awake and relentless critics that the college can have, and they are more efficient than catalogues, bulletins or commissions in determining the public estimate of its character.

No national law for the protection of genuine educational institutions can be secured, because the control of education is not among the political powers delegated to congress by the constitution of the United States. The case in America is quite different from that in Germany, where professors are commissioned by the imperial minister of education. But within the last few years a national agency of great importance has been brought into existence by the organization of the Carnegie Foundation. The Carnegie board has adopted the New York law as an initial aid in classifying the American educational institutions that seek to secure the benefits of the foundation. The granting of retiring pensions to those who have grown old in the work of college teaching is an uplift that benefits the general cause of education quite as much as the individual beneficiaries of the fund. The annual reports and bulletins of this board have been among the most important contributions to educational progress that have ever been published in this country. In a study of the financial status of the professor in America and in Germany the data were secured by which an illuminating comparison is made between about 160 of our leading educational institutions, including at least two thirds of all those to which the name of college, university or technical school is properly applicable. Although the first wish of the donor was that the fund should be limited to institutions that are not under the legal control of church or state, this limitation has been interpreted with the utmost liberality. The fund has been enlarged to include state institutions of high standard. A college, originally sectarian, may retain with its denomination a relation of "traditional friendship and sympathy, but not one of control." About sixty institutions are already on the accepted list, and others are striving to throw aside denominational shackles or to improve up to the standardized requirements. To attain an end by causing competitors to strive for a prize is better than to make them obey what they may deem a repressive law, even if the law is judicious. The Carnegie Foundation is quietly preparing all the states of the union for improvement in their laws about the chartering of colleges, and it is to-day the most effective agency that tends toward college standardization.