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GENERAL SURVEY OF EDUCATION, 1914.
By W. CARSON RYAN, Jr.,
Editor, Bureau of Education.
In round numbers there were 22,000,000 persons enrolled in educational institutions in the United States in 1914. Of these over 19,000,000 were in elementary schools; 1,374,000 in secondary schools, both public and private; and 216,000 in colleges and universities. Close to another hundred thousand were in normal schools preparing to be teachers, 67,000 were in professional schools, and the remainder were scattered through other types of institutions. The teachers for this educational army numbered 700,000, of whom 566,000 were in public schools. In point of rapid growth the public high school still presents the most impressive figures; the enrollment for 1914 is greater by over 84,000 than for the year before.
THE COST OF EDUCATION.
The cost of education for the year, as nearly as can be estimated, was $750,000,000. This three-quarters of a billion is a relatively small amount when compared with other items in the public expense. It is less by $300,000,000 than the cost of running the Federal Government; it is less than one-third the Nation's expenditure for alcoholic liquors; it is only a little over three times the estimated cost of admissions to moving-picture theaters in the United States for the same year. Measured in terms of products of the soil, the United States spent somewhat more for education in 1914 than the value of its cotton crop, somewhat less than the value of its wheat crop, and less than half the value of the annual harvest of corn; while the Nation's bill for education was less by nearly a hundred millions than the value of the exports from the harbor of New York in the calendar year just passed.
1 The purpose of this chapter is to present a summary statement of current educational progress as indicated by information available in the Bureau of Education. For detailed accounts the reader is specifically referred to the various chapters in the two volumes of the report, upon which this review is almost entirely based.
73226°—ED 1914–VOL 1-1
ENROLLMENT, SCHOOL POPULATION, AND LENGTH OF TERM.
It is estimated that there were 25,587,331 children of school age (5 to 18) in 1913, as compared with 25,167,445 in 1912. The enrollment of elementary and secondary pupils increased from 19,922,261 in 1912 to 20,431,609 in 1913. General and school population both remain predominantly rural. By the census estimates for 1913, 46.3 per cent of the population was urban and 53.7 per cent rural, if the census definition of a city as anything over 2,500 population be accepted. In population 6 to 20 years of age the cities have 41.6 per cent of the total, as compared with 58.4 per cent for the rural districts.
Very little increase is yet to be noted in the average term for public schools. Between 1910 and 1913 the increase was from 157.5 days a year to 158.1-a growth of only six-tenths of a day in three years. Attendance has improved, however. The average number of days attended by each person enrolled increased from 113 in 1910 to 115.6 in 1913.
School administration, particularly in cities, is becoming more and more of a science, and the office of superintendent of schools a profession. This is becoming true even in the smaller cities and towns; 614 out of 756 superintendents in cities below 25,000 population say that their school boards are disposed to give them more power. There is still uncertainty of tenure about the office, however, Between 1911 and 1913 there were 348 changes of superintendents in cities between 4,000 and 25,000 population. That the smaller city problem merits the special attention it is receiving may be seen from the fact that in 1913 there were only 229 cities of more than 25,000 population, while there were 2,173 cities between 2,500 and 25,000 containing one-third of the total urban school population. In the larger cities the three most prominent topics in superintendents' reports of the year relate to “definiteness in supervision, changes in grade organization, and vocational training.” Mentioned frequently in city school reports is wider use of the school plant. The survey movement shows little abatement; of the nine formal school surveys reported for the year, six dealt with city school systems.
THE RURAL SCHOOL.
The main lines of rural school progress during the year have centered about the problem of a larger unit of administration and supervision, the movement for consolidation or centralization of schools, and efforts for equalization of educational opportunity by State aid. The county system of administration was adopted for Ohio in 1914. With Wisconsin, which changed from the district system in 1913, there are now 18 States having a more or less definitely organized county system of schools. In addition, several other States have the county unit of taxation.'
Special activity in consolidation of schools is reported from Alabama, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Ohio. Consolidation has not yet operated to reduce the total number of schoolhouses in the United States, however, which increased from 265,474 in 1910 to 277,148 in 1913.
Investigations of the year have emphasized the fact that the rural-school problem is not confined to any one section, though the Southern States, with an overwhelmingly rural population, at present show the most active efforts for improvement. New York State reports that of the 11,642 elementary schools in the State 8,430 are one-room schools; that in 3,580 of these the average attendance was 10 or less; and in nearly half the maximum tax yield at 1 per cent for school purposes would be $400. Of Colorado's 1,725 "third-class" school districts 281 contain fewer than 15 children of school age.
CHILDREN OF PRESCHOOL AGE.
Unmistakable signs of new interest in the special problem of the education of very young children are at hand. A partial indication is to be found in the vigorous growth of kindergartens since 1912, the last year for which figures were gathered.
Between 1912 and 1914 the number of cities or villages having public kindergartens increased from 867 to 1,135. There were 7,365 kindergartens in 1912, with 364,189 children, and 8,856 teachers. The 1914 figures show 8,825 separate kindergartens, 465,868 children enrolled, and 10,569 kindergarten teachers. It is still true, however, that less than half the cities in the United States have kindergartens, and the rural school is as yet little touched by kindergarten influence. From the pedagogical side the dominant note of the year is the movement for the integration of kindergarten work with that of the grades and the reorganization of kindergarten training schools to facilitate this integration.
The Montessori movement has not yet made any appreciable advance in number of schools, but has already exercised a considerable influence in two directions—in stimulating kindergarten teachers to a profitable reexamination of Froebelian theory and practice, and in calling attention generally to the significant and special problem involved in the education of children of preschool age.
1 More recently (1915) Utah has made her optional county administration system mandatory, and Texas has greatly extended the powers and duties of the county boards of education in all counties.
Statistics for 1914 emphasize the fact that private elementary schools in the United States are now confined almost entirely to church schools. The parish school system of the Catholic Church in 1914 comprised 5,403 schools, with 1,429,859 pupils, an increase of 147 schools and 69,098 pupils over the year 1913. Part of this abnormal increase is due to the inclusion for the first time of the Ruthenian Greek Catholics in Roman Catholic population figures.
The Lutheran parochial school system for 1914 reported 4,881 schools, 3,825 teachers, and 259,467 pupils. This is an increase in teachers, but a decrease in schools and pupils. It is estimated that 20 out of every 100 Lutheran children of school age attend a Lutheran parochial school, as compared with 21 in every 100 for 1913. The parochial school has apparently disappeared from the oldest of the general bodies of the American Lutheran Church, the General Synod.
Higher and secondary educational institutions still remain the stronghold of denominational education. Of 567 colleges and universities tabulated in this report, 327 are listed under denominational control; and of the 2,199 private high schools and academies reporting, 1,489 were under the control of religious denominations. Those secondary institutions are maintained by 28 different denominations and have 8,762 instructors and 101,329 students. In the Catholic system special emphasis has been placed on secondary education; there were 863 Catholic high schools in 1914.
There were 13,714 public and private high schools in 1914, with 1,373,661 students. The number of students was an increase of 90,652 over the preceding year and an increase of more than 100 por cent since 1902. Encouraging features are the increased number of high schools having full four-year courses, and the constant betterment in the proportion of students completing the high-school course. In 1914 the fourth-year students numbered 194,704, or 14.27 per cent, of the total enrollment, as compared with 13.94 per cent in 1913, and 11.68 per cent in 1907. Of the 11,515 public high schools, 8,275 have four-year courses. These four-year high schools contain 1,126,456 students, or 92.42 per cent of the public high-school enrollment, as compared with 91.21 per cent in 1913 and 88.3 per cent in 1911. Public high-school students were 88.73 per cent of the total number of public and private high-school students in 1914, as compared with 88.45 per cent in 1913, and 68.13 per cent in 1890. The number of girls exceeded the number of boys in both public and private secondary schools in 1914, the number of girls having increased in slightly greater proportion; 56.03 per cent were girls in 1914, as against 55.46 in 1913.
The junior high school, defined tentatively as "an organization of grades 7 and 8 or 7 to 9, to provide by various means for individual differences, especially by an earlier introduction of prevocational work and of subjects usually taught in the high schools,” was endorsed by all but one of the school surveys published during the year, and by various educational associations. That the movement has advanced from the stage of theory to that of practice is indicated in the fact that 168 cities claim to have junior high schools, and after all deductions are made there remain 57 cities where junior high schools are organized in unmistakable form.
“Reorganizing high schools to meet the needs of all the people, chiefly through vocational subjects," is the note that runs through the reports of State high-school authorities in practically all the States. Introduction of vocational work, particularly agriculture in rural communities, is specifically mentioned by 25 out of 36 State departments answering an inquiry as to the most important development in highschool work in their States.
COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES.
There were 216,493 students in colleges, universities, and technological schools in 1914, an increase of 14,262 over 1913. The bureau's list for 1914 includes 567 institutions, a decrease of 29 over the preceding year. States or municipalities control 93 of the colleges; private corporations control 474. Men still outnumber women in higher education; there were 139,373 men in 1914 and 77,120 women, as compared with 128,644 men and 73,587 women in 1913. Despite rising standards of admission and graduation, college enrollment has more than tripled since 1890.
Receipts during the year totaled $120,579,257, of which $18,422,856 was for endowment. Benefactions to colleges and universities totaled $26,670,017, something over $2,000,000 more than in the year previous. In the past seven years the largest increase in income has come through State and municipal appropriations, and the smallest from tuition and other fees. State and municipal appropriations grew from $9,649,549 in 1908 to $23,400,540 in 1914, while fees for tuition and other educational services increased from $15,390,847 to $22,504,529.
The dominant note of the year in higher education is concentration, both in internal organization and in relation to State authority. The movement in the direction of authoritative classification gained momentum during the year, chiefly through the activities of several voluntary associations. The junior-college movement has roached