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In France, since the establishment of the democracy, a most interesting movement in school management has been set on foot. Dur. ing the revolutionary period and under the empire, France was strong in superior and secondary instruction; but had no system of elementary schools antil, through the enthusiastic labors of M. Guizot in 1833, the first primary schools were established by the State. These lived on through years of tardy development mainly as an exotic from Germany, and held back by the imperfect methods of instruction that prevailed in these schools. When, however, Germany came in upon her as a body in 1871, and the empire fell before the superior skill and intelligence of an educated soldiery, the humbled French people determined to wrest the school secret from the hands of their conquerors, and in that way get back the prestige they had lost.
France at this crisis of her history had the advantage of being " the heir of all the ages” in matters civil and scholastic, and how she availed herself of her great occasion will appear in the following significant facts:. In 1881, a law was passed establishing absolute gratuity of instruction in the primary publio schools. Here was a system of free elementary schools for the first time. In 1882 another law was passed, making primary education compulsory and nonreligious, thus presenting the rare spectacle of a nation receiving ready-made from the hands of the surrounding nations a school system, perfected by the long years of trial and experience in which the recipients had no share, and this only five years ago.
What we note now is that a salient feature of the new system is compulsory education, going inseparably with the establishment of free and non-religious schools. It is too early in the history of this great undertaking to reckon on results, but it is a mark of the wisdom of the new order of statesmen, that they have planted their educational system so deep in the virgin soil of the popular government they have founded.
ANOMALOUS ATTITUDE OF ENGLAND.
We have already alluded to the anomalous attitude of England toward any participation on the part of the State government in school affairs.
“In other countries, education has gradually become a subject of
interest to all, and governments especially have deemed their interference essential. In England, on the contrary, the effort to educate has mainly arisen with the churches, and the State has, even to this day, obtained only a subordinate position in the management of the schools."
There is no national system of education in England, in any proper sense of that term, and no absolutely gratuitous instruction in elementary schools. England has been almost as slow in conceiving of responsibility of the State toward its uneducated masses as was France, and is even now so hampered by the religious difficulty as not to be able to participate directly in the management of the schools. The most signal advance made in this direction was in Mr. Foster's bill of 1870, which contained provisions empowering corporations to establish local school boards, impose rates, enact compulsory school laws.
This act was supplemented by the elementary educational act of 1873, in which further important changes were made in 1876, all looking to some efficient method of enforcing attendance on the borough and parish schools. Inquisitorial committees, and day industrial schools, were pąt within the power of these local boards as co ordinate means of carrying the compulsory school law into effect. But then, as now, the attitude of the government was not mandatory but advisory, and so there is wanting the ubiquitous authority of the State in securing attendance upon the schools. Even State aid to the support of the borough and parish schools is not granted, except on the recommendation of an inspector who is appointed by the crown.
COMPULSORY EDUCATION IN GLASGOW-STATISTICS.
Nevertheless, under this clumsy and indirect system, some noteworthy experiments have been made in compulsory education in some of the larger cities, and we subjoin a significant table of statistics illustrating what can be done through the vigoroue execution of a local law. The city of Glascow, Scotland, is selected because the increase of population is not enough to affect the result, and the estimate is made between the dates of 1873 ard 1882.
1873. 1875. 1876. 1877. 1878. :879. 1880. / 1881. 1882.
No. on the roll...
163,79666,5.1865,23767,869 70,202 70,91370,702 70,807|74,024
Per ct. of Av. attendance to No. on roll) 81% 80%
831 81421 83% 81% 8398) 84.281 84.30:
In scanning this table we note the following particulars:
First. In the course of the twelve years the number enrolled has increased from 53,796 to 74,024, being an increase of 20,228 pupils, or 37.6 per cent.
Second. The average number in attendance during these years has increased from 43,803 to 62,467, making a difference of 18,664, or 42.6 per cent.
Third. The per cent of those attending to those on the roll has increased in the same time from 813 per cent in 1873 to 84.39 per cent in 1882.
VISITATION-A MISSIONARY FEATURE.
This is a most creditable showing, and may be regarded as a test case, in circumstances in which the increase of population will not disturb the estimate. But we must consider the expedients resorted to in carrying the law into effect.
First. As a preliminary movement the officers were sent out on a kind of census visitation, from house to house, of every family in the city, to be kept up for two years and upward. The result was, they found more than 20,000 "defaulters"-parents and guardians who were not sending their children to school. The report of the inspector goes on to say, that about seventy-five per cent of these were easily got to school by simply having an officer wait on them, and in case that was not sufficient, sending them a printed form calling their attention to the requirements of the act.
Second. The recalcitrant ones were dealt with by the extreme measure of the law, viz.: Prosecution, fine and imprisonment, only when every other expedient had failed.
And in order that prosecution might be avoided, the board would go among the defaulting parents and hold meetings with them, hearing their excuses, and urging them to send their children to school. In order to awaken in the minds of these ignorant people some sense of the majesty of law, they circulated among them fly-leaves containing statements of the worst cases of prosecution with the penalties inflicted; and it was the opinion of the chairman of the attendance committee that these meetings, and the fly-leaves distributed there, or otherwise the repeated calls of the officer with words of earnest remonstrance and persuasion, were more efficient means toward the successful enforcement of the law, than would have been the sheriff's warrant going directly to the mark. But this is missionary or philanthropic labor supplementing the rigors of the law, and it is an element which we can never safely omit from our most sanguine reckoning as to the practicability of any law coercing children to school. The good and satisfactory results of such a law are best secured by avoiding its execution when that can be done, by resorting to every method of getting the children to school short of coercion, but under the moral or admonitory incitements of such a law.
This important principle should never be lost sight of in discussing this subject. For unless these persuasive agencies go along with the effort to enforce a compulsory law, there is very little ground to hope for suocess. On the other hand, it would be an unpardonable oversight not to credit the law with these voluntary and philanthropio exertions on the part of school authorities, in their attempt to secure the end contemplated by the law, by recovering the offender rather than by punishing the offense.
The experiment in Glasgow furnishes an impressive illustration in point. That board resorted to prosecution only after repeated remonstrance, and in cases of the most stubborn and persistent refusal to comply with the law. And in a table of prosecutions which the inspector drew up it appears that, in the course of ten years, only 530 prosecutions were made; that two of these years witnessed no prosecutions, and in the others the number varied from 18 to 109. This in a city, next to London, the most populous in Great Britain, with a population in 1880 of about 600,000. So effective has been its work on the 20,000 pauper and neglected children, in its peculiar manner of operating its compulsory school law, that it is said there are not now more than 3,000 children of school age in that immense city who are not in attendance on their voluntary or board schools. A result so grand awakens a thrill of exultation in every philanthropio heart. But it must not be forgotten that it was the avowed polioy of the school officers to prosecute defaulters only as a dernier resort, and then to ase these with delinquents for their moral effect.
DAY INDUSTRIAL SCHOOLS.
Another feature of this Glasgow movement, and representing a kind of supplementary effort coming up naturally to the help of a compulsory law, was the establishment of what were called “day in. dustrial schools,” in which a class of children, not easily manageable
in schools of the other kind, were put under a regime suited to their special needs.
In all large cities, and in rural districts as well, there is a class of children who have been ushered into life with the moral damps of evil and criminal associations lying around them, and they grow up through infancy and childhood with the infection in their blood. The children of intemperate parents, of deserted wives or widowers without employment, or of families where disease and poverty and crime have thrown the little ones into the cruel mills of necessity to fight for their very bread on the streets—this class of children are neither morally nor mentally fitted to be classified in the ordinary school-not, at least, until some species of preparatory training has made them ready for the place.
The suggestion, therefore, of day industrial schools for children such as these, grew very naturally out of the effort to secure aniversal attendance upon the schools, and to have such school privileges as would be adapted to all. These schools, however, as being a part of a system of appliances intended to secure attendance upon school, are largely of a reformatory character, and tributary in this way to the certified schools—80 that they must not be identified with what in this country are called industrial schools. They are simply an expedient for pressing the truant and the incorrigible into a willingness to accept the privileges of the other schools. They have, however, stimulated a fruitful line of inquiry and experimentation in Europe and in this country, looking toward the possible modification of our whole school system, by the introduction of some sort of industrial curriculum in our public schools. This is not the place for an extended discussion of a theme like that; but there are certain aspects of it as related to the subject of compulsory education which we cannot afford to pass by.
INDUSTRIAL TRAINING AND COMPULSORY SCHOOL LAW.
As distinguished from day industrial schools, and from reformatory schools generally, it would seem to be one of the valuable lessons to be gleaned from the history of compulsory education, that industrial training as a part of the organic school life, as having a large and definitely outlined place in all elementary instruction and routine, would be the final justification of a compulsory school law. Not for pauper and criminal masses alone would such a curriculum