The High School Failures

Cover The High School Failures
Genres: Nonfiction

GENERAL INTRODUCTION OF THE SUBJECT1. THE RELEVANCE OF THIS STUDYAs the measuring of the achievements of the public schools has become adistinctive feature of the more recent activities in the educationalfield, the failure in expected accomplishment by the school, and itsproficiency in turning out a negative product, have been forced uponour attention rather emphatically. The striking growth in the number ofschool surveys, measuring scales, questionnaires, and standardizedtests, together with many significant school experiments andreadjustments, bears testimony of our evident demand for a closerdiagnosis of the practices and conditions which are no longer acceptedwith complacency.The American people have expressed their faith in a scheme of universaldemocratic education, and have committed themselves to the support ofthe free public high school. They have been liberal in their financingand strong in their faith regarding this enterprise, so typicallyAmerican, to a degree that a seconda

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ry education may no longer beregarded as a luxury or a heritage of the rich. No longer may the fieldbe treated as either optional or exclusive. The statutes of several ofour states now expressly or impliedly extend their compulsoryattendance requirements beyond the elementary years of school. Many,too, are the lines of more desirable employment for young people whichdemand or give preference to graduates of a high school. At the sametime there has been no decline in the importance of high schoolgraduation for entering the learned or professional pursuits.Accordingly, it seems highly probable that, with such an extended andauthoritative sphere of influence, a stricter business accounting willbe exacted of the public high school, as the great after-war burdensmake the public less willing to depend on faith in financing so greatan experiment. They will ask, ever more insistently, for facts as tothe expenditures, the finished product, the internal adjustments, andthe waste product of our secondary schools. Such inquiries will indeedseem justifiable.It is estimated that the public high schools had 84 per cent of all thepupils (above 1,500,000) enrolled in the secondary schools of theUnited States in 1916.[1] The majority of these pupils are lost fromschool--whatever the cause--before the completion of their courses;and, again, the majority of those who do graduate have on graduationended their school days. Consequently, it becomes more and more evidenthow momentous is the influence of the public high school inconditioning the life activities and opportunities of our youthfulcitizens who have entered its doors. Before being entitled to beconsidered a "big business enterprise,"[2] it seems imperative that our"American High School" must rapidly come to utilize more of businessmethods of accounting and of efficiency, so as to recognize thetremendous waste product of our educational machinery.

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The High School Failures
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