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About Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885 | View Entire Issue (Nov. 12, 1886)
useful or creditable citizen of the republic. To be sure,
there arc objections to the society with which the fastidious
mother's children must mingle more or less in the public
schools, but these arc not really very serious, and for the
most part the influences complained of arc far more salutary
than hurtful, and. arc especially needed by the children which
arc most likely to be sent to private schools. The child that
is too good or too polite to get his elementary instruction in
the common schools of Lincoln, and is sent to any private
school here on that account, had better be made over as
soon as possible, and the common school is the very place for
the operation to be performed. Matthew Arnold, in a recent
address at Franklin university, lamented the inferiority of
the English public schools to those of the continent and of
Germany, especially in regard to the training and influences
which "make the children human." He hinted, and with
good reason, that our public schools arc open to the same se
rious criticism. The training and the personal influences
of teachers which would awaken and develop the higher sen
timents and emotions, taste for the beautiful, love of the
truth and a proper religious spirit, are too nearly eliminated
from the rigid formula of our public school instruction, which
tends to make children intellectual acrobats and nothing
more. But there is nothing in the private schools of most
western cities that is as good as this exclusive mental drill.
As the public school pupils approach the higher grades and
departments of the system, they begin to feel the influences
of a higher and broader training which goes "to make the
children human" as well as to bring about the best intellectu
al development. These sentiments arc, of course, not meant
to condemn or find fault with those good people who send
their children to sectarian schools from religious motives.
It is very amusing to watch the efforts of the management
of some of our high schools to spread the erroneous idea that,
although only a high school, they oficr the most thorough and
piactical course tf any school in Nebraska. One cannot help
smiling when, after reading the glowing description of their
use of the most modern methods of teaching the sciences, we
investigate and discover that the most elementary text books
are used, that laboratory work is machine work, not original
and independent investigation, that comparatively no field
work is done and that the recitation is simply repeating the
substance of their text. Such work is altogether too prema
ture. To fill a student of fourteen to sixteen years of age
with so much of text and with so little of the principle in
volved when he is utterly incapable of assimilating much of
what he reads, is nothing but a waste of time. In the first
place, the education in science to be got in even the best of
our high schools is not comprehensive enough to give one a
sufficiently thorough understanding of the subject, nor is it
broad enough to aid us materially. In fact, it hinders, be
cause of the mind being stufled with an unassimilatcd mass,
in pursuing the subject farther. Men who fill the position of
principals of such schools are those who, blind to the progress
of western culture, conreive themselves able to manage effi
ciently what in the west we would call a college, and in pur
suance of that idea try to make their high schools appear as
much like a college as their means and ability will permit. To
examine the printed courses of study of such schools, one
would naturally be led to believe that it was a miniature col
lege, and to produce that impression they put such studies as
Geology, Astronomy, Political Science and English Litera
ture into their courses. The ultimate effect of teaching such
branches wh,ich should only be taught to studjous and well-
read students, is to stunt their minds and render them inca
pable of examining such subjects in any but a narrow way.
Why should not our high schools fill their proper sphere and
prepare students for our colleges instead of giving them the
idea that a completion of their course fits them for any sta
tion in life as well as any Nebraska institution can fit them?
Nebraska schools should form a system and not a collection
of separate and cross-purposed institutions. The vaulting
ambition of some of the principals (or would be presidents)
should be checked and their energies turned, not toward mak
ing their course of study broad and comprehensive, but thor
ough and practical.
Wc are more and more convinced by the efforts of the
Methodists of Nebraska to establish schools that they of all
church organizations are widest awake to the advances mak
ing in systems of education. Their latest move is in the. di
rection of a university that shall not take the place of their
colleges already established, but which shall stand in respect
to them in a similar position to that assumed by our State
University toward the high schools and academies of the
state an institution of higher training which is to be fed by
the academy and the college. This state can and will sup
port such an institution; it is 'ceded for tin, higher theologi
cal training. But the agreeable and most promising feature
of the proposed institution is that it shall be a university.
This, wc consider the wise and promising feature. To di
vide their energies for the support of two or three rival col
leges means only poor success, if not entire failure. To sup
port such colleges as feeders to a university means that they
shall be considered as of secondary importance, that they
shall be made as nearly as possible equal as preparatory
schools, and finally that neither the university nor the prepar
atory schools arc to be only half supported, and hence only
half successful. With the whole matter in the hands of a
single board of trustees, who will be careful that the entire
system from the smallest feeder to the university itself shall
be made the very best, success is necessarily assured. It will
moreover be free from the objectionable feature of a sectar
ian college, founded as it must be upon the broader and more
iberal plan of a university. And finally, there is strong talk
of its being located here. We cannot.answer as to the wisj
domof that move, but apprehend that a better location could
be found in the state.
HEARD IN THE HALLS.
"I know not what the truth may be,
I tell the tale as 'twas told me."
Ask Clark (Bert) about his Plattsmouth trip.
Did you leave a ticket this morning, Mr. Spurlock?
Messrs. Reese and Rcavis report a pleasant trip home.
No, Stephens; we don't believe you talked about the pretty
delegates, but they do!
Ev. Eddy evidently don't know what hooks he has read,
at least so says the Prof. .
The ancient law class got wound up on the "Theory of the
Law of Nature." Poor 'creatures!
Now is the time to buy coal. We don't, get anything for
this but may if you leave your cool house open.
Amos Perrin, the brother of ye editor-in-chief, formerly at .
home on account of fever, is with us again.
Spurlock's record is broken. Thrift.gocs home every day.
Come, George; brace up and speed yourself.
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