Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/514

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In all that has been said the systems of pensions under consideration have been those which arose gradually. For example, the system adopted by the German government came about after years of agitation and discussion. Pensions in the German universities began with the contributions of the professors themselves, and only after a long period of time and a long discussion of the economic and moral questions involved was the burden of pensions shifted entirely from the shoulders of the teacher to the purse of the government. The system of pensions supported by the Carnegie Foundation in the accepted institutions, in marked contrast to these, is one founded out of hand by the generosity of one man. It has inaugurated a series of pensions which are paid practically through the colleges, for the individual teacher has no occasion to know the Carnegie Foundation at all. He deals simply with his college.

Even when one admits the general good results flowing from a well administered system of pensions, either upon the contributory plan or upon the non-contributory plan, there still remains the question, what is the moral effect of such a pension system as that which has been conducted during the last five years with the funds held by the trustees of the Carnegie Foundation?

The good side of this retiring allowance system is very easy to see. The letters which come from old teachers grown gray in the service of a modest college, speaking of the relief of mind and spirit which has come to them through this protection tell a story so full of human interest and of human happiness that there is no answer to such a recital. There is little danger that a pension will demoralize a man who up to sixty-five or seventy years of age has given his life to the hard and unselfish work of a teacher. Perhaps no feature of the Carnegie pensions has been more appreciated than that provision under which half of the pension of the teacher is paid to his widow. The meaning of this feature of the pension system was vividly stated in a letter which came to the foundation from the widow of an old college teacher in the middle west. Her husband had taught for forty years in a small college. He had accepted a year before a modest pension, and at his death the half of this pension, amounting only to fifty dollars a month, had been allotted to his widow. In acknowledging the receipt of the first payment she wrote, "Perhaps you can not understand how much it means to me to receive what some would consider so modest a sum, but with my little house in this small town this payment means the difference between dependence and independence." It is this which the teacher values most in his old age—independence for himself and for the wife who may survive him. The result of the Carnegie Foundation pensions in this direction has been all that one could wish.

No less evident has been the good effect of the foundation pensions