"The Schools!" Nine out of ten, I suppose, of those who would assent to my contention, would turn automatically in this direction.
To forestall doubt about my just appraisement of the school, the college, the university, in educating the young, I refer to an article ("Feeling in the Interpretation of Nature," The Popular Science Monthly, August, 1911) in which I have taken the ground that these instruments ought to and could do vastly more than they do toward making the people appreciative of and intelligent toward nature. Here I would insist that no matter how efficiently and broadly the tasks of institutional instruction might be performed, they would still have to be extensively supplemented before the real saving power of knowledge could be realized. This supplementing would have to be done in two places particularly: In the home, for young children before school age is reached; and for grown-ups after the school period is passed.
Our eyes must be opened in some way to the fact that education, taken in the full sweep of its meaning, is too life-and-death a matter for us as a nation to be left to the formalities of the schoolroom, the university lecture hall and the laboratory, even though these be excellent beyond the possibility of improvement. This truth is being forced upon us at a few points. As one instance, it is becoming clear that wider instruction on sex matters is imperative, and that parents and the home primarily, and the school secondarily, must be looked to for the broader, better knowledge. Again the simply incalculable power of the press and the speaker's platform for educating and influencing the voting part of the population are recognized and resorted to upon occasion.
I may now state my views summarily: Biological science, as now developed, contains numerous facts and generalizations of very great moment to the higher intellectual and spiritual life of the people generally. The essence of these can be stated in language readily comprehensive to persons of average intelligence and education. Most, if not all, the facts and generalizations are of such nature as to make their strongest appeal to the majority of people only from their bearings on problems of personal experience, so that in the nature of the case they can be of living interest and significance to such persons only after the period of formal schooling is past and the business of actual living is on. Instruction concerning them must, consequently, be given by other means than the school. Some of the most important instrumentalities for such instruction are the botanical and zoological garden, the natural history museum, the aquarium, the library, the lecture platform and, in some ways most important of all, the public press.
And now for the culminating point: In the main the instruction given through all these instrumentalities must be by professional biologists. It will never be done well, that is, in a manner at the same