Bind Up the Wounds in the Schools
PRACTICAL POSTWAR EDUCATION POLICY
By WILLIAM F. RUSSELL, Dean of Teachers College, New York City
Delivered at the Meeting of the American Association of School Administrators, Seattle, Wash,, January 10, 1944
Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. X, pp. 443-448.
THIS is going to be an unusual talk, I promise you— unusual for me. And, for you, practical school administrators, one that is different and strange. For once in your lives, you realists who fight the daily battle of budgets in the blood and sand are going to hear a college professor discuss a problem in school administration in which he has had as much experience as any of you—and more than most. This talk is no product of an ivied tower; nor does it come from a brain trust. You cannot dismiss what I shall say as mere theory. My suggestions are based upon what I have seen, what I have done, what I have lived. The time has come, right now, to make plans to bind up the wounds of this war. We are at the beginning of the end; possibly near the end of the European phase. Through the smoke of battle, becoming plainer with each passing day, we begin to see the outlines of the postwar world, the shape of things to come. The main problem that is upon us is to discover how to reconstruct our own life and to give all proper aid to others in reconstrucing theirs.
Part of this problem of general reconstruction—an important part—is the rebuilding of the schools. The kind of world in which our children will live, the kind of people they will be, will depend to a considerable degree upon the kind of education we offer. The hopes of the future, for peace, for plenty, for the good life, depend upon the wisdom we can use and the sacrifices we are willing to make in rebuilding, extending, and improving the opportunities for education. This problem faces not only Americans, but all the people in all the world.
The questions that I propose to put to you are these: What is the duty of America in binding up the wounds in the schools of all nations ? What part can we play? What part do other peoples want us to play? What part should we play? What is possible?
We shall not have the foundation upon which to answer these questions until we find the answers to certain other questions. These are: What form of international organization is likely to succeed the League of Nations? What place will education take in this organization? What will be the educational situation following the war? What kind of help from one nation to another, or from all nations to one, will be desired, desirable, and feasible?
No precise answers are possible at this time. We have no omniscient prophet with supernatural powers and extrasensory perception. We can, however, make certain assumptions, provided that we bring to bear all that we have seen, learned, and experienced, personally and vicariously. It is therefore not improper on my part to indulge in guesswork, provided that you know that I am making assumptions. If my guesses seem to you to have merit, then you can follow me to my conclusions, accepting or rejecting them as you think wise.
What Will Be the Postwar International Organization?
I assume that the war will conclude with the unconditional surrender of the Axis and the complete triumph of the Allied Nations. In gaining this victory four powers will have played a preponderant role: the British Empire and Commonwealth of Nations, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the Republic of China, and the United States of America. We may assume that these nations, having played a preponderant role in winning the war, will be preeminent in peace. They will be able to exercise their will on the rest of the world.
The preeminence of the Big Four must be recognized by all who are planning international cooperation in the postwar world. It follows that all policies and actions should have the approval of the four dominant powers.
It is now apparent, from the Cairo and Teheran Conferences, that the Big Four do not plan to quarter the globe, and each administer a huge empire. Rather they plan to join together into some form of international government, to administer certain activities of international importance. This government we shall henceforth term the New League. All the nations of the world will be invited to join the New League, In the Teheran Declaration, Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin extended the invitation in the following words:
We shall seek the cooperation and active participation of all nations, large and small, whose peoples in heart and mind are dedicated, as are our own peoples, to the elimination of tyranny and slavery, oppression and intolerance. We will welcome them as they may choose to come into the world family of democratic nations.
We should be unrealistic, I think, if we should read in this Declaration merely a reconstitution of the old League of Nations. It is true that all nations are invited to join "as they may choose to come"; but the entrance requirements are (1) that they must be democratic, and (2) that they must have the right "heart and mind." The Big Four will write the examinations; the Big Four will mark the papers; the Big Four will hand out the report cards. Within certain limits, each nation will be free; but standards will be set beyond which no nation may go. - We must understand plainly, we must recognize clearly, we must say over and over, that underneath the New League will be the tremendous power of the Big Four, able and ready to act, when any nation, by any action, shall threaten the peace and happiness of the whole.
Thus we can assume that the New League will in fact setcertain limits within which all the nations of the world must learn to live. Self-determination there will be in the great majority of problems, but self-determination within limits. We can expect certain internationally enforced standards with respect to such activities as armies, navies, air forces, armament production, shipping, air lanes, patents, monopolies, exploitation of raw materials, and, to a degree, education.
What Will Be the Place of Education?
We recognize that the seeds of war are sometimes sown in the schools; that the instruments of education can be captured and prostituted to the end that good clean boys and girls can be changed into bloodthirsty, man-hating demons. The schoolroom can be made a preparation for war. Twenty-five years ago, I saw tiny children goose-step on the school playgrounds of Tokio, high school boys snarl in bayonet drill and shout Banzai. Twenty years ago, I saw the outline maps, traced red and green, depicting to the pupils of Belgrade their friends and enemies. I stood in classrooms in Budapest in which facing the class were two maps depicting Hungary before and after the last war; and across the latter in blood-red script, the Hungarian word for Never. I have studied the boastful Axis maps of Europe as it had been, and as they had the effrontery to predict it would be.
I know as well as any person the debasement of education, the persecution of the unwilling teacher, the fraudulent course of study, the abduction by the war lords of children from their parents. Nevertheless, I assert that the conduct of education is not an international matter. It should be within die power of the family, the neighbors, the community, at least within the individual state—not a function of international administration. It has been said that the schools are dear to the hearts of the American people. Schools are dear to the hearts of all people. They love their schools; they like to watch over them; they resent outside interference.
You should have been with me when I reached Vladivostok in the summer of 1918. Those people had been at war since 1914; Kerensky, Brest-Litovsk had been and gone; and the Bolsheviks had been run out by the Czechs and Japs. The Czechs, that gallant band of some 15,000 war prisoners, had seized the guns of their captors, had stolen or made their own equipment, had captured some 6,000 miles of the Trans-Siberian Railway; and were in control from the Urals to the Pacific. The Japs—supposed Allies—were there to take over, with colonist trains as far as 2,000 miles into the interior; and the town was full of French, British, and American soldiers, there, I suppose, to hold the Japs. I looked around for the teachers, but could find none. The schools were billets for the soldiers. Many a laboratory table was lighted by an operating lamp. The pupils roamed the streets at will.
In September the military moved out and the people took over, as well as was possible in a war-ridden, disorganized, impoverished city. Did they wait for help from overseas? Were they waiting for a band of educational Messiahs? Not in the least. For each of some twenty elementary schools and several high schools, committees were organized of former teachers, pupils, local officials, and parents, among whom there was considerable leadership. They swept out the filth, scrubbed the floors, salvaged what books, paper, pens, and ink they could find, and started school. I was there. I saw a school system reconstructed. I watched them plan what to teach—how, by whom—where to get the money, how to pay the bills. I was even called in for a little help, but I soon found out that no good came of giving direct advice. They used me as a pipe line to transmit the results of American experience. They did not want American schools, or foreign schools of any kind. They definitely wanted education of their own choosing.
I learned the same lesson in Bulgaria, where I worked with the Agrarian Party. You remember that in the last war Bulgaria was soundly defeated, and they knew it. Following the defeat, the Quislings fled; and Bulgaria was taken over by a group of progressive, peace-loving, horny-handed peasants, and small-town merchants, teachers, and newspaper men. They knew little of polite society and cared less. They hated the politicians who had sold out their country to the Germans. They loved Bulgaria; they wanted to rebuild it; and they didn't want a Balkan replica of Germany or France or Britain; they wanted a happy, peaceful, self-supporting little country of their own. Stambouliski, the Premier, and Omarchevski, the Minister of Education, studied the schools. Here, they said, we have a history of schools built by the people themselves. Before the liberation from the Turks in 1878, we had local schools in every village, with no central control or support from the capital. At death money would be left to the school, and often land. Almost every small school had its own farm, left by legacy. Yet in 1878, with the independence, a great change had taken place, and the leaders had Germanized the people and with them the schools. This situation it was that Omarchevski resolved to correct. Here was a little country, he said, where 56 per cent of the people lived without recourse to trade—that is, grew their own food, made their own clothes, built their own homes, without having to buy a thing. Why should it have a German school system? So he developed his own program, stressing rural education and work experience, and adjustment to Bulgarian life, customs, and traditions. Out went the crimson cabbage rose designs; back came the Bulgarian embroidery. Out went the Hartz Mountain cucko clocks; back came the Bulgarian wood work. Out went the calisthenics; back came the peasant dances. Out went the classic languages; back came preparation for village life. They wanted no foreign surveyors, no curriculum construction experts. That was where the trouble had been before. I soon found that I could get more than I could give. In fact, in all these years, I have prized what I learned in Bulgaria, and the friends that I made.
I could continue for a long time, telling you tales of how people want to run their own schools. I could describe our difficulties in Puerto Rico and the Philippines, where we had every good intent. I could describe the situation in Java and Hong Kong. I could paint the evil picture of Korea, and particularly of Mukden and Shantung, where I saw the smug Japs sweeping peaceful and happy people into their nets, a process in which the schools played no minor role. Take it as a fact, from one who has seen it at firsthand: people want to plan and run their own schools; and they won't thank you if you try to interfere, even if you mean well.
In fact, the job of carrying educational ideas across national frontiers is one that requires considerable tact, sympathy, and experience. If you go to give, they don't want to take. Sometimes if you go to get, they will take a little of what you have to offer in exchange.
If this analysis, based upon practical experience, is correct, it follows that wise planning for the postwar world will be based upon education as a local, national concern. In a sense it is an instrument of national policy. Consequently an international agency of power should plan to deal only with nations directly, and never with individual schools, teachers, or associations of teachers.
Should a corporation develop a medical formula, capable of healing people anywhere in the world, and should it seek to keep this remedy to itself, the New League should deal,
not with the drug company, but with the government of the nation in question. Should an airline operate contrary to the welfare of the other countries of the world, the New League should deal, not with the company direct, but with the government at the top. So if schools are teaching hate, or war, or prejudice, it is not the schools or the teachers who should be disciplined directly by the New League, but the government at the top which permits such antisocial violations. Consequently, I assume that the New League will in fact setup an International Education Office or Section, and that it will deal with governments at the top, and not with teachers or schools.
The main practical conclusion from this section of my discussion is that there is little merit in the idea of sending bands of inspectors to judge whether in the schools of the various nations warlike ideas are being taught or not. I have just shown why the idea is wrong in theory. Education and the ideas taught are a part of larger national policy. But I should like to add that there is another good reason against an International Educational Gestapo, even if administered by ourselves, and that is that, with the exception of the most obvious cases, a foreigner cannot tell whether teaching is warlike or not. Of course it is plain in the goose-step, the maps, the warlike mottoes; but when it comes to the more delicate emphases, I assure you that the problem is so difficult that I consider it not only impracticable but impossible. After the last war several major studies were made of warlike ideas in textbooks. The Carnegie Foundation published one and Professor Donald Taft of Wells College another. As a professor of international education at the time, and because of my contacts as chairman of your committee on international relations, I attempted to make as thorough and careful study of this problem as possible. I did analyze the textbooks of Britain, Germany, France, and the United States both as to their treatment of the World War and of previous" wars when the nations were lined up differently. I could not bring myself to publish this work for the reason that I did not trust my findings. I knew enough about the way other people teach school to know that over there the textbook means little; and, furthermore, there was one fact that profoundly disturbed me. I knew full well that a modest little understatement in a British textbook would have more influence on an English pupil than a whole paragraph of vituperation in a French textbook on a French boy. Only persons who have had little experience with this problem can state with confidence that it is possible to detect by inspection warlike activities in the schools.
As a matter of fact, one of the curriculums that was most warlike, contributed the most to war, and became a downright breeder of hate was one that in fact seemed to teach its people to love peace, to turn the other cheek, to give one's cloak, to walk the second mile. This curriculum taught this people that there never was an unjust peace. It sounded peaceful enough to pass inspection by an international jury. I refer to the curriculum imposed upon Manchurian schools by the Japanese war lords.
What Will Be the Educational Situation Following the War?
A prophet is not needed to predict the educational situation in the countries which have served as fields of battle or objects of bombing. If one building in five is gone in Britain, I assume that one school building in five has been destroyed; and all over the world there will be the problem of sheer physical replacement of educational facilities.
We know furthermore that war causes progressive deterioration in education. Plants have been taken over for war purposes, budgets cut, and personnel diverted. As Lady Astor once said, "When it comes to economies, Women and Children First."
In addition, the regular educational personnel must have been greatly reduced. Many teachers have been killed; many starved to death; many have been put in concentration camps. The aged and retired have not been replaced by the young. Undoubtedly there will be a great shortage in the personnel trained to work in schools and other educational institutions.
Despite the destruction, deterioration, and shortage of personnel, most countries will be able to reopen their schools and operate them after a fashion. Books and equipment mean relatively little to the foreign teacher. Any kind of building, if necessary, can be made to serve as a school It is likely that there will be a considerable supply of well-educated, though not professionally trained, people, who would like to teach. In the upheaval following the war there will be many former civil servants out of work, and a mass of educated army officers with nothing to do. Certainly this is what we saw in Hungary, Austria, and Germany after the last war. What will be needed will be a program for re-training the teachers, such as that in Bulgaria and in Siberia.
In Bulgaria, a defeated enemy country, it was a group of young progressive men and women who seized the power. Most of them had been products of the elementary schools. There were a few former teachers in secondary schools and universities who had progressive ideas, but most of them came from the people's schools. There was no shortage of potential teachers. The trouble was, as Omarchevski put it, that they needed to know the new educational goals that the Agrarians had in mind, and learn how to put them into operation. So, in Sofia, and in other Bulgarian towns, they took over a high school or technical school and turned it into a Teachers' Institute. Teachers were scheduled to teach but half a day, the other half being devoted to attendance at the Institute. There they attended classes in the new philosophy of education, the new purposes of the schools, adaptation of old subjects of the curriculum to new purposes, the place of work experience, community service, school life, discipline, and the like. I can remember classes in arithmetic for teachers, showing how the subject could prepare pupils not only to be members of village cooperatives but to assist in their administration. I attended classes in How to Repair School Equipment, How to Construct Science Laboratory Apparatus, How to Enlarge Drawings and Maps, How to Operate a School Farm, How to Organize Girls into Mothers' Helpers in a Village.
I saw essentially the same process at work in the Teachers' Institute at Nicholsk in Siberia, a short distance from Vladivostok—the same practical outlook, the same courage in facing a new future, the same intent to train a teacher to be independent of the book and self-sufficient. Like the Bulgarians, the Russians learned how to make a little go a long way.
It was first in Russia, then in Bulgaria, and then substantiated in many visits to many countries shortly after the last war, that I began to see the operation of a principle of history upon which, I am confident, it is safe to count, namely; In a country which has suffered defeat in war—or has come so near defeat as to have passed through the throes of deep fear and despair—when the war is over, the old leaders are thrown out and a new group emerges which is opposite to the one that was in power. If the former leaders were reactionary and warlike, the new will be progressive and peace-loving. The new group then has several years in which to work before the reaction sets in.
In Russia, it was a fine group of progressive men and women whom I met, serving on the various school committees. In Bulgaria, as I have described, it was a grand lot of men, headed by an educational genius. There was no jingoism in their souls. And there was no need for the discipline of warlike activities among these people.
Now that we look back at it, one can detect in the pages of history this principle of After-Defeat Reform. When did the Prussian reforms date from? From the defeat by Napoleon. When did the French reforms date from? From the defeat at Sedan. After the last war, where did the old guard hold sway? So far as education is concerned, it was in England after last war, and in France, and particularly in Scotland, that new ideas from abroad were unwelcome.
If this theory has merit, it follows that we can expect in most of the defeated countries a period of furious and progressive educational advance. The old guard will be dismissed. New leaders, good people, will come to the front; and they will have several years of opportunity before reaction sets in. It would not be until this time of reaction that inspection for warlike activities would be needed.
Even though they are victorious, I expect to see great reform and advance, both in the Soviet Union and Great, Britain. Despite their triumph, each barely escaped annihilation. It was only a little while ago that the Soviet was battling for its life at Stalingrad, with its most favored agricultural and industrial regions occupied by the enemy. It seems only yesterday that the British, their armor lost at Dunkerque, their troops rolled back in North Africa, Greece, and the Orient, seemed to be able to act only "too little and too late." I am told that the British know that they have been through the valley of the shadow. Hitler proclaimed them to be decadent; they could not bring themselves to believe it, although events seemed to justify the judgment. If they were in fact decadent, they couldn't figure out how it had happened; their heads were bloody, and almost bowed.
Now both nations are rolling ahead; but neither their present power nor their victories have left their peoples with full confidence in the old order. This explains recent Soviet announcements of change. This is why Churchill, in important public statements, proudly predicts basic reforms and advances in British education. This is why the White Paper was issued and the education bill is before Parliament.
The most likely locus for reaction, for trust in the good old days, is right here in the USA. Every evidence points to the truth of this statement We have not been scared. We were not told enough about Pearl Harbor to send terror down our spines. We still think:
We don't want to fight;
But, by Jingo, if we do,
We've got the ships, we've got the men,
And we've got the money too.
This arrogance may be our undoing. "Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall."
It is darkly ominous to detect the warm welcome which the American public and press give to the reactionary in education. To receive favorable comment, one need only to come out for medievalism, for the hundred best books, for the Three R's or the McGuffey Readers, or to attack the so-called "fads and frills" or progressive schools. The recent session of the Senate on the Education Bill was particularly depressing. I am not referring to the cheap political trick, apparent from the start, by which the bill was defeated. Nor do I refer to the deplorable ignorance of the function of public education, the lack of understanding of its place in our life, or the callousness to human need displayed by some of our leading senators. The distressing thing was the failure of the American people to show their will, or their lack of will, if this was the true explanation. Senator Millikin reported that not one person, not connected with the schools, had written to him about the bill; and later in the Extension of Remarks he corrected this to only one. Here in America, as we drive on to certain victory, it seems as though the more forward-looking the plan the more widespread is popular opposition.
Who are we, people of the United States, to set ourselves up to teach the other peoples of the world? Certainly we are in no position to play the role of educational Messiahs. Believe me, in the period following the war, we shall have much more to learn than to teach. Our educational ambassadors, sent to far-flung lands, will have the task, if they are wise, like Bacon's Merchants of Light, to bring back to ut the good educational practices and ideas of the peoples of the world.
What Help Can America Give?
America has two surplus commodities which it can export to the postwar world, with satisfaction to ourselves and of use to our neighbors—goods and experience.
So far as material goods are concerned, I assume that our plans have been well laid, that the UNRRA knows its business, that proper procedures have been determined. I know that physical reconstruction of schools is a part of the problem of general reconstruction. What foreign schools will welcome, and need, is not teachers or books or movies in general, but materials that they can use in their own way. Plain paper is better than print; pencils, chalk, and hectographs are better than fabricated equipment.
As a matter of fact, our best stock of goods for future international trade in education is our experience. What this has been, and its usefulness to foreign educators, could be developed at length. Certainly our century and a half of extension of popular education from the grass roots up, and not from central government down, has many lessons to teach; and with this could be included our unique plan of teacher training, our science of education, and the practical turn we have taken in professional and vocational education. I do not need to elaborate these phases of our experience with this audience.
The phase of American experience of greatest value to foreign educators in reconstructing education after the war is our own experience in reconstruction and education in our own southern states, following their defeat in 1865. Here in our own land we faced the problem that shortly is to face many peoples of the world, and we worked out our own solution.
For the South—that great section, as Dr. Buttrick used to put it, south of the Smith and Wesson Line—had made a valiant start toward an excellent system of public schools. Along with the rest of the country in 1820-1850 there was a period of building up state school funds, opening schools, training teachers, which boded well for the future. Large printings of the most popular textbooks bore the imprint of Charleston, South Carolina, or Richmond, Virginia, or Louisville, Kentucky, on the title page. Some of the most progressive ideas in higher education had their origin in Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee before the Civil War.
Then came the great internal conflict, and with it the same destruction of life and property, the same liquidation of capital and diversion of public funds that characterize our present struggle. School funds were lost, schools were destroyed ; and this destruction did not cease with Appomattox, for the so-called Reconstruction Period was in fact a period
of further destruction. The early efforts by the North to reconstruct the South remind one of some of the proposals that are being bandied about today. Charity was extended; institutions were opened up and supported by Northern funds; bands of missionary teachers were sent down to indoctrinate with the "right ideas." But the South held a proud people. All people are proud people. They wanted no foreign schools. They would prefer poor schools, if they were their own.
Certainly public education in the South was in the doldrums for more than! thirty years following the Civil War. If you were to study the statistics at the turn of the century, you would be shocked to see the pitiful educational opportunity offered at public expense in the South: the schools few and far between; the short school year; the inadequate school laws; the paucity of secondary schools; the neglect of the Negro. The low condition of education was only one phase of poor conditions in general. Production was at a low level, housing poor, disease rampant, nutrition inadequate, consumption relatively extravagant; and all this at a high cost to tie taxpayer in proportion to his wealth.
It was plain that the South was in a vicious circle. The inadequate school produced people who could earn but little, who were sickly, who could neither conserve nor save. Thisl generation, in turn, could not find the surplus with which to build a better school—in fact it was worse off—and the vicious spiral curled downward.
How to break the trend, how to start the curve upward, was the problem; and this was the problem that many able men attacked as the last century was drawing to a close and the twentieth century took its start. Direct participation in education, by opening schools and sending teachers, had failed. Local doctors, local preachers, local teachers had been obdurate. How to get at these people who did not know what was for their own good, and were so proud as to resist outside interference—this was a problem for the highest type of social statesmanship.
This statesmanship, fortunately for America, was not lacking. It came from the varied efforts of a large number of men, too numerous to mention here; but mention should at least be made of Wallace Buttrick, John D. Rockefeller (senior and junior), Hollis B. Frissell, Seaman A. Knapp, Walter Hines Page, Robert C. Ogden, Frank Ross Chambers, and the donors of the Phelps-Stokes, Slater, and Jeanes Funds.
To make a long story short, the idea began to find support that the difficulty in reconstruction lay in the devising of a plan to help social welfare to grow from within rather than to superimpose it from without. So far as education was concerned, the people had to come to want it, and to become able to support it. Development of a school system and development of an economic base had to go hand in hand.
To develop an economic base, the people had to learn how to produce more, to live in a more healthy manner, to conserve more, to save more. Neither doctors, ministers, nor teachers would support a campaign for agriculture, home economics, or public health. The farmers didn't want to learn how to farm, the housewives how to run a home. It was here that the idea of working with the children, through boys' and girls' clubs, was adapted to the South. Knapp thought it was not advisable to send teachers or extension workers to deal with ignorant, bigoted, recalcitrant adults, who loved their liberty. I may add parenthetically that they already had a specious form of the Four Freedoms, inasmuch at they worshiped God as they saw fit; being illiterate, they were not troubled with a free or partly free press, and could speak their minds; they could scratch around, catch, or shoot what they needed to eat; and they had no fear of anybody. The way to start to break the vicious circle was through the young.
Funds were secured to develop a program with the children. Into a community would come an extension worker and get the young together to form a corn club, or a pig club, or a canning club. In the corn club each boy would take over a small piece of land, and by seed selection, proper planting, tillage, and fertilization, would apply the best techniques of modern agriculture. The boy's father, of course, scoffed at these new-fangled notions. But come fall, the boy's corn would be tall, his own straggly; and the boy's shocks would be replete with large well-rounded and well-filled ears, while the father husked the usual nubbins. Maybe there was something to it. When the frost was on the pumpkin, the pig, grown from good stock, with proper care and feeding, became good filling for the pork barrel; while those of the father, in from the brush, still plainly visible sidewise, were razor thin when viewed head on. They tell of an agricultural agent, working his wiles upon a mountaineer, who had extolled the virtues of selection, vitamins, feeding, and the like; and rising to the climax of his sales talk, had asserted: "If you will only do what I tell you, you can grow a 200-pound hog in half the time." "Well, stranger," was the reply, "whut do you rekun a hawg's time's wuth, anyhow ?" The clubs taught not only the children, they taught the adults as well. When snow fell, and the family had had fat meat and hominy for breakfast, hominy and fat meat for dinner, and fat meat and hominy for supper, a can of tomatoes brought out by the daughter was a great relief; and mother began to wonder how long this had been going on. These simple little clubs stepped up the community. Therewas more com, more meat, better diet; and more was left over. So there was more money to provide a better school, and with it the basis for a general social advance. This turned the spiral from its vicious course downward, upward, where there need be no limit.
With the economic base in process of becoming adequate, others turned their attention to the problem of how to develop a proper system of schools. Even if they had the means, schools would not develop without leadership. You cannot reconstruct the life of the people without leaders of vision; and these reformers at the turn of the century had seen the failure of sending them in from the outside. Your outside leader can make the trip, he can live in the strange community ; but among free, proud people he will have little influence.
So far as the South was concerned, there were too many "damn yankees,, there already, too many trying to carry the message to the heathen. So the plan was adopted, and funds were secured, to select able young men with good family backgrounds, and enable them to go away to study for a year or two or three. Then the various states of the South were given the money to employ these trained young men to work as the state might direct. Thus for each southern state there was provided by outside funds a man to work on secondary education, another to develop elementary education, and one to develop education among the colored people. These many were supported for a number of years; and by frequent conferences and meetings, learned to work together. It was through this process that Payne, Tate, Maphis, Walker, Doster, and Favrot—to mention but a few—got their start and carried through their notable achievements. It was their work that succeeded in upgrading not only education but also medicine, veterinary medicine, agriculture, home economics, public health, nursing, and conservation.
It is my belief that the United States, in this experience, offers to the world an example of sound statesmanship in the upbuilding of the life of a people. We tried exporting men and goods. It did not succeed. We did the job only when we turned our efforts toward the training of local leaders and the development of an economic base at the grass roots.
The problem of developing education in the postwar period is only partly a problem of repairing the damage caused by the war. In large part it is a problem of building education that would have had to be done, war or no war. As people leave dictatorship behind them and enter the democratic world, they can no longer tolerate widespread ignorance. As societies abandon the agrarian economy and undertake life based upon technology, widespread public education is essential. Whether the problem is one of reconstruction, or construction, or both, I am confident that the nub of the problem will be the very same that we faced in the South a generation ago—the development of an economic base and the training of indigenous leaders.
It is to the most effective solution of these two problems that the Education Section of the New League should direct itself. All other problems, such as war guilt and the like, fade to insignificance in comparison with these. I hope that we will all use every effort to influence our leaders to work in these ways. It is to be hoped that the New League will organize and liberally finance an office or bureau to assist in the interchange and education of indigenous leaders, to select ability early, to guide and support these potential leaders in their advanced education abroad. Certainly, in addition, there should be an office or bureau to disseminate information with regard to, and to stimulate, local programs in medicine, public health, agriculture, veterinary medicine, nursing, nutrition, consumer education, home economics, vocational, industrial, and rural education.
So we come back to our original question: What attitude shall we school administrators—educational realists—take as to American cooperation in reconstruction of education in the postwar world? We can count on the triumph of the Allied Nations, a New League, preeminence of the Big Four, and a firm determination for peace, prosperity, and the good life for all the people of the world. Damages to the schools there have been; reconstruction there must be, and this will be difficult, but it will be accomplished. The big job is construetion; and the process of extending aid will require great tact, wisdom, and experience. There is grave danger that wc, Americans, will become an island of reaction in a world of progress. Certainly the problem of proper construction will be as grave here as anywhere in the civilized world. Only with humility and a sense of our own unworthiness can we embark on a program of joint action with other peoples.
Let us hope that we maintain a practical, realistic attitude and support only a program that is equally realistic. Let us cease to talk of world citizenship as something for other people to adopt, of good will as a message to carry to the heathen, of critical inspection of other people's schools, of universal textbooks, of teaching ideas that are "right." Let's first take the beam out of our own eye. Let us not have the effrontery to talk of educational imperialism. Where we are strong is where America is strong, in our industry, in our public health, in our research, in our technological management; and in education, in our spotty successes, and in our application of science and management to schools. It is here, if anywhere, that America has a surplus to export; and other people will take what we have only as we seek from them what they have to give.
Then with malice toward none, with charity for all, in all humility, we can do our part to bind up the wounds in the schools, so that with God's help we can attain a just and lasting peace among ourselves and all nations.