Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/617

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THE GERMANS AT SCHOOL

shop or in the business. But the nineteenth century changed those paternalizing conditions and brought complete freedom. The result was a steadily growing insubordination and obstinacy, frivolous breaches of contracts and unreliability, together with a craving for enjoyment on the moral side, and a lack of careful training on the professional side. The community felt this inability to get hold of the boys who had left school as one of the most serious national dangers. In response to this need the continuation schools were founded which are to develop the youth after the school years in moral, practical and intellectual respects. The essential difference from all other schools lies of course in the fact that these take only a fraction of the boy's time in order not to interfere with his work. But they receive their real social background by the legal obligation of the employer to give to every boy the opportunity to attend these school classes. Compared with the general elementary school, the continuation school is professional, while the other is a humanistic school. On the other hand, compared with the real technical schools both lower and higher, it combines the technical instruction with general education. But, above all, the technical schools demand for some years the whole working time of the pupils, while the continuation schools are only supplementary to the chief business of the boy. The technical schools, such as for instance all the agricultural schools or the special industrial schools or the commercial schools, are strictly professional; the continuation schools are essentially educational. It may be said that even the technical element in them becomes subordinated to the aim of making a whole man and not only a skilful worker out of the boy who has left the school in his fourteenth year. The principle of this continuation school has conquered all Germany, but the realization of it looks very different in the various parts of the country. In some, the communities are forced by law to establish such schools, in other parts the towns are free to arrange them according to the local needs. On the whole this difference seems less important, as the continuation schools are flourishing wonderfully in some parts in which the laws give large freedom in the matter to the community. The point about which the discussion at present seems much more excited is the question whether the school teacher or the man of practical life, the master in the arts and crafts, the business man, the farmer, the industrial specialist, is to be the decisive factor. The men of the workshop complain that these schools become worthless as soon as the methods and the points of view of the school teacher control them, and the opposite party believes that the highest value is missed if the spirit of the factory and not that of the schoolroom enters into them.

As the continuation schools were to serve the needs of young people in many different walks of practical life, the schools themselves had to develop an almost unlimited manifoldness. A subtle adjustment to the local conditions as well as to the varieties of industry and trade had to