Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/68

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children taking elementary studies. One can only wish Godspeed to any denominational board which endeavors to bring order out of such chaos.

The vicious conditions found in large universities exist in smaller colleges, where they are fraught with more of danger. Students' year books tell of football, baseball and other teams; the athletic field is all-important and the official announcements in some cases dwell on its extent and attractiveness with greater gusto than is expended on description of the curriculum—possibly because a man prefers to write the truth. In the small college as in the large physical culture is acquired by proxies—the teams, which are supported under social compulsion. In some, the wandering glee club is present and the inter-collegiate contest is familiar throughout. Most of these "colleges" are coeducational and the number of male students is small, so that the proportion affected injuriously by these advertising schemes is much greater than in the larger colleges. The claim, so often asserted in circulars and advertisements, that the country village is free from vice, whereas that stalks openly in a city, is not in accord with fact. The writer has been professor in both country and city and he knows that there is little difference in this respect; but what difference there may be is in favor of the city as the safer place for the average boy.

Yet the longing, so often expressed by old graduates whose sons are now in college, has much to justify it. There is a wide-spread conviction that the educational condition is lamentably bad. But the longing is not for return to the old college with its lack of equipment; it is for return to the definiteness of the old curriculum, for escape from the aimlessness of the present curriculum. The university has been engrafted upon the college, while the ambition of high-school officials has diverted those schools from their true aim so that they encroach upon the college. Between university and high school, the college or mental gymnasium is threatened with extinction.

The university method of broad selection or of specialization in narrow groups is not for boys without stern intellectual drill. As matters now stand, a lad, crammed to pass an entrance examination, but untrained in the art of thinking, is thrown into university conditions to choose his courses, though neither he nor, in most cases, his parents are competent to determine the selection. The university and the college should be differentiated and the old-time method should be revived. In that, training was the main purpose; it was not, as now, secondary to athletics or tertiary to increased numbers. This is not to say that the narrow curriculum should be revived. That was designed to meet the supposed needs of men looking forward to the