A Journal for the Masonic Student
Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society
Vol. 8 No. 8 – August 1922
FEDERAL AID TO EDUCATION, ITS JUSTIFICATION, DEGREE AND METHOD
Brother Horace M. Towner, Iowa
Brother Horace M. Towner, Representative from Iowa, is Chairman of the Committee on Insular Affairs of the House of Representatives at Washington, D.C., and is sponsor in the House for the Towner-Sterling Bill. This address was delivered before the University of Illinois at the recent inauguration of President Finley.
I AM NOT quite sure that President Kinley expected me to discuss the creation of a Department of Education in connection with the subject of Federal Aid to Education. But as the subjects are both included in the legislation to which I am committed, and as they are so closely connected in creation and application, I shall venture to consider them both in my remarks.
The Cabinet was not created by the Constitution. It is an institution of government created solely by legislative enactment. New executive departments are created and new members of the Cabinet added whenever Congress considers it wise that such action should be taken. The first three of the ten now in existence were established in Washington's administration; the last one was created in 1913.
Departments are not created nor members of the Cabinet appointed to control the subjects assigned them. If the general government has the Constitutional power to control the subject, such measure of control may be given the Secretary as Congress deems advisable. For example, the general government is given control of military affairs and the Secretary of War is granted certain powers of control. The general government is given control of postal affairs, and the Postmaster General is given large powers over such matters. The Constitution wives no power to the general government to control agriculture or labor. Hence, the Secretary of Agriculture is charged with the duty of "promoting agriculture." He is not given power to control agriculture. The Secretary of Labor is charged with the duty of "fostering, promoting, and developing the welfare of the wage earners of the United States." He is given no power in any manner to control labor. In like manner, if a Department of Education is created, its Secretary will be given no power to control education, but he may be charged with the duty of conducting studies and investigation in the field of education, he may call educational conferences, and encourage and aid the States in their educational work without exercising any measure of control.
The justification for creating a Department of Education lies primarily in the fact that education is of supreme importance under our system of government, and should receive the recognition its importance merits. It has been a source of wonder to foreign observers of our institutions that the United States has so far failed to give education such recognition. It is almost alone among the nations in that respect. As reported by the Bureau of Efficiency, the National Government expended over $65,000,000 during the year 1920 for educational purposes. The educational activities thus carried on are scattered among the numerous bureaus, divisions, and commissions without any coordination and with numerous duplications of work. The Bureau of Education occupying a subordinate place in the Department of the Interior, and supported by only a small appropriation, has no control or even knowledge of these various activities. It is apparent that in order to secure efficiency and economy in the work already assumed of this character a directing and coordinating head is required.
A Department is needed to coordinate and integrate the scattered educational forces among the States. It is proposed to create and organize a National Council of Education to consult and advise with the Secretary of Education on subjects relating to the promotion and development of education throughout the nation. This Council is to consist of the chief educational authority of each State, twenty-five educators, representing different interests in education, and twenty-five eminent persons, not educators, interested in education from the standpoint of the public. Annual conferences are to be called, at which the entire scope of the educational interests of the nation will be considered.
It is manifest that in order to carry on such work a Secretary of Education is required. Both in the councils of the Cabinet and in leadership and influence with the educational forces throughout the land, such an educational head is necessary to dignify and unify the educational work of the nation. This does not imply nor is it desired if it were possible to take from the States the control of their educational systems, nor does it mean the adoption of a national system of education. It is only to aid and encourage the States to greater educational endeavor, and by mutual conference and discussion to bring to the States most backward the stimulus that will raise their standards to the level of the more forward and advanced.
It is believed that the creation of a Department of Education with its chief a Secretary in the President's Cabinet, will express for the first time in our history the nation's real interest in education; that it will promote by research, investigation, and reports the practical operation of our public school system throughout the United States; that it will by leadership and service stir the States and the people to a greater interest in educational work and to a more comprehensive knowledge of educational needs; and that it will mark the commencement of a new era of educational progress throughout the whole country.
It is further proposed that provisions shall be made to authorize appropriations from the National Treasury to encourage the States in the promotion and support of education. In order to do this effectively certain specific educational needs are considered as being the most important and pressing. Thus, appropriations are to be authorized to encourage the States for the removal of illiteracy, for the Americanization of immigrants, for the preparation of teachers, to promote physical education, and to equalize educational opportunities. It is believed that this selection of objects covers in large measures the most pressing educational needs in which there is an immediate national interest. A State may accept the provisions of any one or more of the respective apportionments by meeting the prescribed requirements and by providing for the expenditures from State or local funds of a sum at least equally as large as the national grant for the particular apportionment authorized.
It is provided that these grants from the National Treasury are not dependent upon executive discretion or favor, but are compulsory when the States meet the conditions specifically stated in the Act.
These requirements are minimum requirements, and there can be no reasonable dissent as to their necessity and fairness. The National Government cannot make a grant without stating the purpose for which the grant is made, and in making a contingent grant it must state specifically the conditions necessary to be met in order to secure the grant. On the other hand, the State is entitled to know just what the requirements necessary to receive its part of the apportionment are, so that it can be assured that if it meets those requirements, and those only, it will not have to appeal for executive favor in order to receive its grant, and will not be required to surrender control of its educational system to a centralized authority.
I presume that these propositions are familiar to you. I presume, also, that most of you are familiar with the arguments that have been advanced in its favor. Let us consider briefly some of the objections that are urged against this proposed legislation.
It is said that the legislation is unnecessary . This objection is urged both against the creation of a Department of Education, and against the proposal to aid the States by subventions from the National Treasury. There is always reluctance about creating a new department. Originally there were but three, State, Treasury, and War. An advisory attorney was selected, and afterward he became a member of the Cabinet. Then came at intervals, Navy, Post Office, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce and Labor, and then, separately, Labor. Now we have ten departments, and our Cabinet is one of the smallest among the nations. The purpose of the creation of all of these executive departments was to give recognition to and secure a more effective realization of our primary and essential National interests. Because the National Government was not given control of education, and because the States have exercised that power does not disparage the fact that education has been throughout our history a primary, almost a paramount interest, of the Nation. In 1785 the National Government made grants of its public lands for the "maintenance of public schools." The Ordinance of 1787 creating the Northwest Territory provided that "Schools and the means of education shall be forever encouraged." From that time down to the present the National Government has recognized education as an important interest of the Nation, and has aided it with grants both of lands and money. If it has been and is a primary interest of the Nation, why should not full recognition be given it by the National Government? It certainly is of equal importance with Commerce, or Agriculture, or Labor.
NATIONAL CONTROL OF SCHOOLS
It is asserted by some objectors that merely to create a Department of Education and select a Secretary will transfer the control of the schools from the States to the Nation ; that in some mysterious manner there will thus be created an autocracy that will reach out and absorb all the educational activities of the Nation; that for some undisclosed and malevolent purpose a conspiracy has been formed of the educators of the country to subvert the Constitution and destroy the liberties of the people. It is unnecessary to say in this presence that there is no effort being made anywhere or by anybody to transfer the control of the schools from the States to the Nation. On the contrary, and in most explicit terms the Secretary is forbidden to exercise any control over the schools within the States, and that power is expressly reserved to the States.
The objection is also urged that merely to grant appropriations from the National Treasury contingent upon conditions, in and of itself transfers control from the States to the Nation ; that the States in order to secure the funds from the National Government will surrender their Constitutional rights; in short, that the Nation offers to buy from the States the control of the schools and assume the power of directing and managing the education of the people.
This objection, strange as it may appear, is the argument most strongly urged by the opponents of the legislation for National aid. It must appear indeed remarkable that such a purpose could have actuated the educators of the country in the formation of their bill. It has not generally been supposed that the school men of the Nation were engaged in a conspiracy to subvert the Constitution and secure control of the Government. It must appear to every reasonable man that there is no desire nor can there be any purpose on the part of the representatives of the Government to take over the control of the schools. It must also be apparent that the people of the States are not so stupid and submissive as to sell their right to control the education of their children for a money bribe.
The legislation is advocated because conditions are urgent and demand action, and because the States are in some cases unable, and in others unwilling, to meet the emergency without help. It is to stimulate the States to greater activity in the education of their own people; it is to aid them in reducing the burden and danger because of the ignorance of their people, that this legislation is urged. The Government has an equal interest with the States in the character of its citizens. The Government has no citizens nor interests within its territory outside the States. Their people are its people, and their citizens are its citizens. If the people of the States are ignorant, so are the people of the Nation. If the peace, prosperity and security of the States must depend upon the intelligence of its citizens, so is it with the Nation. With this community of interest there is a common obligation. So it is proposed to aid the States by granting them funds from the National Treasury, and in effect to say to the States: "The National Government will help you to remove this burden and danger from your people, because your people are my people, and your interests are my interests." In effect, also, the Government declares to the States by this proposed legislation: "This aid is granted you upon the condition that you use it only for the purpose stated in the grant, and that you use it in your own way without dictation or control by the Government."
It may be again stated that all the conditions upon which aid is granted are statutory, and are specifically stated in the Act. These requirements may be changed by Congress, but they cannot be changed by the Secretary or any other executive officer. No additional requirements can be added, and no autocratic, bureaucratic, or centralized control imposed.
It should be further stated that before any State can receive the benefits of the Act such State must by legislative enactment accept its provisions. So that there must be an agreement of the representatives of the people of the Nation with the representatives of the people of the State before the legislation can become effective. Under such circumstances it is not probable, it is not possible, that the State will surrender its rights, or that the Nation will transcend its powers.
Attention is called to the fact that by the provisions of the bill the administration, the application and distribution of the funds within the State are exclusively committed to the State authorities. I think I am justified in saying that in no other legislation of this character ever enacted have the rights of the States been so carefully guarded. Let me call your attention to this provision of the bill, found in Section 13:
"PROVIDED, That courses of study, plans and methods for carrying out the purposes and provisions of this Act within a State, shall be determined by the State and local educational authorities of said State, and this Act shall not be construed to require uniformity of courses of study, plans, and methods in the several States in order to secure the benefits herein provided: AND PROVIDED FURTHER, That all the educational facilities encouraged by the provisions of this Act and accepted by a State shall be organized, supervised, and administered exclusively by the legally constituted State and local educational authorities of said State, and the Secretary of Education shall exercise no authority in relation thereto except as herein provided to insure that all funds apportioned to said State shall be used for the purposes for which they are appropriated by Congress."
If any stronger or more explicit statement can be made to save to the States their right to control their own schools in their own way and to prohibit any interference on the part of the General Government, the friends of the measure would be glad to accent it.
It is said that contributions from the National Treasury are unnecessary , for the States will meet the emergency and provide the necessary means. If that were true, the objection would be good. But is it true?
Take illiteracy, as an example, and consider conditions. The census of 1910 showed that in the United States there were 5,500,000 over ten years of age who could not read or write any language. In addition there were 3,500,00 who could not speak, or read, or write English. This placed us below the standard of most of the civilized nations of the world. But that was not the worst. The examination of the draft registrants for service in the late war showed that of the men called between the ages of 21 and 31, nearly 25 per cent could not read a newspaper, could not write a letter home, and could not read the posted orders about the camps.
The Nation's defense is thus doubly impaired; first, because one-fourth of the sons of America called to the colors are incapacitated for efficient service because of their ignorance; and, second, because the safety of a free country is jeopardized when a determining portion of its voters cannot read the ballots they cast and can only vote as they are told.
Consider the economic loss which Secretary Lane estimates as at least $825,000,000 each year! The Director of the Bureau of Mines states that of the 1,000,000 men engaged in mining in the United States 620,000 are foreigners, and that of these 460,000 cannot speak English. He states that the removal of illiteracy among the miners would save annually 1,000 lives and 150,000 injuries. Investigation has shown that one-half the industrial accidents are the result of ignorance, because the workers cannot read the danger warnings or understand the orders given.
It has been said that illiteracy is a Southern problem. The facts do not warrant that conclusion. Georgia has 389,000 illiterates, but New York has 406,000. Alabama has 352,000, while Pennsylvania has 354,000. Louisiana has 352,000, Mississippi 290,000, and Texas 282,000; but Illinois has 168,000, Ohio 124,000, and even Massachusetts has 141,000.
It is thought that illiteracy is a race problem. But it is much more than that. There are over 1,000,000 more white illiterates in the United States than illiterate negroes.
Is not this clearly a National problem? If the Nation's safety is imperilled, if the lives of its citizens are being lost, and if the States are not able or not willing without help to remove this reproach and danger, is not National aid justified and imperative?
Consider the condition of our immigrant population. We now have over 15,000,000 foreign born people in the United States. More than 5,000,000 cannot speak, read, or write English. More than 2,000,000 cannot read or write any language. Unfortunately, these foreigners often group themselves into alien settlements or colonies, where our language is not spoken, where our journals are not read, and where the whole environment is alien and non-American. These masses of alien ignorance constitute a rich soil for sowing the seeds of unrest and revolt. Revolutionary agitators who come to this country to advocate the destruction of our Government find here their opportunity.
To make the immigrant understand America is the only way to make him love America. He cannot love a country he does not understand. Education is the first requisite of Americanization. Education, first in our language, and then in the nature of our institutions is the best defense against the bolshevik and the anarchist.
This demand is not being met. When great States like Massachusetts and New York and Ohio have actually increased both their percentage and total of illiteracy within the decade from 1900 to 1910 because of their failure to educate their foreign born, we realize that even these enlightened commonwealths need stimulation and aid.
Perhaps no disclosure of the draft examinations carries more reproach to our intelligence than the fact that out of about 2,400,000 young men examined for service 700,000, or nearly one-third, were found disqualified because of physical disability. Ninety per cent of these disabilities could have been prevented by a knowledge of the simplest rules of hygiene and health. It was ignorance, gross ignorance, that in the vast majority of cases was the cause of their incompetence.
There is but one adequate remedy for this disgraceful and distressing condition, — to put into all our schools a system of physical education. Unfortunately, this has not been done. The additional cost deprives thousands of schools and tens of thousands of children of this essential element of education. Here again is the stimulation and help of the Nation needed to remedy the existing unfortunate condition.
EQUALIZING EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES
That gross inequalities in educational opportunities exist within and among the States is well known. In the South almost one-half of the negro children never see the inside of a school room. In the North there is hardly a city that has adequate facilities for all its children. In some rural communities and factory districts the value of the property is so small that local taxation cannot support the schools. On an average the country boy has two months less school than the city boy.
Unfortunately, it is found that where the educational needs are greatest the schools are most inadequate. All over our land the poorest schools are in the poorest communities — just where the best schools are most needed. To equalize educational opportunities is a task that the Nation is especially qualified to undertake. To encourage and aid the backward States to bring their deficiencies up to a reasonable measure of efficiency and service is apparently a National duty. By such stimulation and cooperation we may be able to give to every child in America the advantage of at a least a common school education.
PREPARATION AND PAY OF TEACHERS
The most pressing educational problem confronting the people of the United States at the present time is to obtain competent teachers for our schools. Thousands of schools have been closed because teachers of any kind could not be secured. Tens of thousands of schools are now being taught by incompetent teachers. Three hundred thousand are teaching who have no professional training whatever.
An equally imperative duty is that of providing means for the better preparation of teachers. We need about 700,000 teachers to teach our schools, and this requires about 120,000 new teachers each year to keep the quota full. Our schools and colleges preparing for teaching are turning out but 24,000 each year. Nearly 100,000 must enter the profession each year inadequately prepared. This condition is alarming and must be remedied. In some way we must bring States and the people to a realization of this danger. Unless conditions can be bettered we will have in the present decade even a larger proportion of near-illiterates than was disclosed by the war registration. Indifference as to the character of our schools and their teachers will inevitably lead to a deterioration of our citizenship. We must see to it that every school in the land is taught by a competent teacher. Nothing less than that is safe for either State or Nation.
If illiteracy is a National peril, if ignorance of our language and institutions is a source of danger, if unjustifiable inequalities exist in educational opportunities in our land, if our young men called to the service of their country are incapacitated because of ignorance of the ordinary rules of health, if schools are being closed for want of teachers, and almost one-half are being taught by incompetent teachers, then it can fairly be claimed that National aid for education is justified and necessary.
It is urged as an objection that it is unjust to call upon the stronger States to aid the weaker to educate their children ; that the money derived from the general taxation which would fall heaviest on the richer States should not be used to help the poorer States; that each State should bear the burden and responsibility of educating its own people.
This objection was urged from the beginning against the whole system of public schools. It was argued that parents should have the burden of educating their own children and that taxation to support common schools was unconstitutional and unjust. It was said the rich man was under no obligation to help educate the children of the poor. It was especially urged that those having no children to educate must not be taxed to help educate the children of others. It was still more strenuously insisted that it was especially iniquitous to tax the properly of a bachelor to carry on schools for others' children.
But all those objections were disregarded, and now no one claims that it is unjust to tax the rich man to educate the poor man's children, and the bachelor must pay his taxes to support the schools, whether he wants to or not. It is recognized that the welfare of a community or State depends upon the character of its citizens; that the city or State is concerned for its own safety and peace in the intelligence of all its citizens, and that each must contribute his share to the common good.
So with the Nation. We have seen how its safety may be jeopardized because of the illiteracy and physical incapacity of so many of its young men. We have seen how in a free Government its security and prosperity depend on the intelligence of its entire electorate. Neither illiterates nor alien malcontents can be confined to any one State. And so it is a National problem as well as a State and local problem. Manifestly, it needs the cooperation of all these to find and apply the remedy.
THE NATION CANNOT AFFORD IT
The cost to the Government is urged as an objection to the legislation . To place this additional burden on the Government at this time of extraordinary expenditures would be unwise, it is said. Our people already groaning under the weight of Federal taxes will not approve this addition to the load, it is argued. Granting the full weight of this objection, it must be admitted that the Nation must make choice as to its expenditures. Wise action depends on selecting those objects for National appropriations which are most needed and most important. There is nothing in our scheme of Government more important than the education of the people. Whatever else may be left out, education cannot safely be excluded. And this may be said to the credit of our people, that the one thing that justifies a tax in their judgment is that which strengthens and supports our public schools. There are many millions annually appropriated which in their opinion have much less justification than the appropriations authorized by this bill. We might cut off a hundred million from either the Army or the Navy bills with less danger and more profit than to omit this appropriation. We gave seventy-five millions the other day to the States for good roads. Are good roads of more importance than good schools? We are still spending millions to remove rocks from our harbors and snags from our rivers; to remove hog cholera in Iowa, and cattle ticks in Texas; to remove boll weevil in Alabama, and wheat rust in North Dakota, — are we justified in refusing to spend anything to remove illiteracy from our own American citizens? It is not that the things mentioned are not worthy of consideration, but certainly they are not more worthy of consideration than is the education of our children. Those things are after all but economic ills, while ignorance imperils the safety and endangers the perpetuity of the Nation itself.
There are some outstanding facts regarding the relations of the Nation and the States toward education which it is wise to recognize. There has never been proposed in Congress any legislation which has even suggested that the Nation should take from the States the control of education. No one has ever advocated it, no one now proposes it, no one in or out of Congress desires it. The proposition has no support anywhere by anyone . There is no legal authority for such legislation if anyone did propose it. If a bill carrying such a proposal were introduced, it would immediately be recognized as without Constitutional warrant, and would never even reach the calendar of either Senate or House.
To claim that anyone, sponsor or supporter of the pending educational bill, desires or expects National control of education to follow the enactment of the legislation under consideration is without the slightest sanction. To state that the emphatic and repeated negations expressed in the strongest language that can be used which are incorporated in the very terms of the proposed law mean nothing and will not be effective, is to say that no law can be made effective by its terms.
But while Congress has no desire nor purpose nor Constitutional power to take from the States the control of education, the General Government has the right to aid and encourage the States in the education of their and its citizens, and this right it has exercised repeatedly from the beginning of our history to the passage of the last Appropriation Act. It granted sections of the public lands to the States for schools. It granted townships of land for the creation and support of universities. Lands were given as long as they lasted, and then money was given. Congress gives annually over two and a half million dollars from the National Treasury for the "support and further endowment of colleges of agriculture and mechanic arts." Every year we give tens of millions of dollars from the National Treasury in support of almost every form of education. Why is it that these grants are not opposed? Why is it that where education is so much needed, at the very bottom of our political and social structure, where it enters into the very texture of the fabric of our American citizenship — in form about which there is no controversy and in substance the acknowledged essential — why is it that when it is proposed to strengthen our common school system the proposition is condemned and opposed?
It must be that such opposition is based upon a misconception of the proposed legislation. To think otherwise would be to believe that there were in our country those who really desired the destruction of our common school system. Such a belief no loyal American would desire to entertain.
It is characteristic of the American people to be intensely interested and enthusiastic in the formation and establishment of a particular public service, and then when they have succeeded and have placed it in what they believe competent hands, to go off and forget about it. In a degree that has been true of our common school system. We have been so absorbed in building cities, making railways, plowing prairies, redeeming wildernesses and subduing a continent that we have had little time to give to the humdrum work of the district school. Lately all our minds and hearts, all our energy and activities have been given to save our country and the world from a savage onslaught of outlaw nations. And as a consequence we have allowed twenty-five out of every one hundred of our sons and daughters to sink into deplorable depths of illiteracy and ignorance. We must rescue them. We must see that their successors shall not suffer like neglect and misfortune. We are compelled to realize that an intolerable condition exists which must not be allowed longer to continue. This calls for each of us to bear a part in the work set before us. By the memory of those who throughout all the years of our National life have given so much of thought and service to the upbuilding of the Republic; by the memory of the thousands who by the sacrifice of life itself have rescued the Nation from dishonor and destruction, we are called to meet and will fulfill the responsibilities which now are ours!
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EDUCATION MUST BE CONTINUED INTO ADULT LIFE
"The necessity for continuing education from the schoolroom into daily life is being more and more emphasized in New South Wales and Labor idealists are laying stress on the value of a thorough training which will fit the workers for a bigger part in the control and direction of industry. New South Wales is doubling its facilities for technical education....
"The East Sydney College, which will cover more than four acres and be practically a series of separate colleges, will accommodate the students in drawing, art metal work (including the making of jewelry and watch making) modeling, sculpture, pottery, sanitary engineering and plumbing. One building will be devoted to bread making and pastry with a special laboratory and with costly ovens and machinery. In another building instruction will be given in everything relating to transit by road, rail, sea and air, including the building of aeroplanes and the construction of motor cars and motors. Special attention will be given to the sheep and wool trade. An important portion of the college will be utilized for women's handicrafts, including dressmaking, millinery and costume designing.
"At the conference on the control of industry, Prof. R.F. Irvine of Sydney University declared that the whole educational program would have to be modified if men were to be fitted for making wise choices and initiating great changes, and adult men and women would have to be made to realize that education did not end with school or college, but was a life process. Two things seemed to him to be necessary to fit men for increasing their part in the control of industry and for making wise choices: (1) A revised program of education for young people and adults of all classes; (2) An institution for the collection of data relating to experiments in control, and for the stimulation of such experiments.
"While the bursary system of the state is giving a university training every year to a large number of working class boys, Mr. W. Davies, a member of the Legislative Assembly, declared at the conference that the boys were being made over into 'snobs,' this showing the necessity for a new atmosphere in that institution. He favored the compelling of every boy to attend continuation classes in order that he might be trained for the control of industry and that a spirit of responsibility might be inculcated in him. The necessity for the latter was shown by the large number of disputes in the mining industry caused by irresponsible boys who had never been made conscious of their duty to the rest of the community."
— The Christian Science Monitor, 1921
— M.S.A. Bulletin No. 8.
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FREEMASONRY AND THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS — A GRAND MASTERS' SYMPOSIUM
Why is it that Freemasons have ever been so interested in the public schools? The answer is not far to seek. Free masonry itself is chiefly in existence to foster the growth of democracy and equality among men: other aims it has, but none more paramount than this, or more vital to itself and to the world. If this ideal is ever to be realized in this land it will be realized very largely through the public school system, because the wit of man has never devised, nor could devise, an institution more ideally fitted to organize the lives of men according to the spirit and principles of democracy and equality. Moreover, our Fraternity has very much at stake in the American government, and this government, as everybody knows, has in the public school system one of its principal bulwarks. There are other reasons why Masons, as Masons, are always eager to foster and protect general education but these reasons are sufficient here. In order to do its bit in this worthful cause the National Masonic Research Society has prepared this special public school number of THE BUILDER, and to the end that its account of Freemasonry and the public schools be as representative as possible it has asked the Grand Masters of the country to speak each one for his own jurisdiction, a thing they have done with prompt courtesy, and to good effect, as these communications show.
Let Schools Teach Love of Country.
There can be no grander theme to engross the attention of the Master Mason than that subject which has to do with the public school education of the children of our nation. This is a subject of deepest interest to every citizen, inasmuch as the happiness of all classes is bound up in the common interest of education.
We have come to regard our public schools as the very backbone of our civilization.
The youth who believes it is impossible for him to obtain an education is deemed deficient in courage and energy in this enlightened age, and ignorance is considered a voluntary misfortune.
Our public schools offer to our boys and girls the training that is necessary to prepare them for the common duties of life, and, if they wish, they may delve into the fields of classic lore and polite literature.
Even the most humble has within his reach the opportunity to obtain sufficient education to enable him to appear advantageously in the theatre of life.
Our public schools have made rapid strides in the years that have passed but there is yet much that could be done that would add to their usefulness and efficiency if we are to keep pace with modern civilization.
It is our duty as Masons and citizens to keep in close touch with school affairs in our own community, as well as to inform ourselves on educational matters in general. We should consider it a privilege to aid in any possible way the cause of public education to the end that our schools may be brought up to the highest possible degree of efficiency, and the standard of the teaching profession be upheld upon a higher plane, realizing that there is no interest above that of the children themselves.
In our educational plan we must insist upon the education of the whole man, the body, the mind and the heart, that he may be a complete creature of his kind. Classic lore has its place in education, but is valuable only when linked with a vast amount of practical intelligence that can be fitted for every-day use. Our public schools are valuable only insofar as they train all the faculties in the right direction.
Besides the teaching of the proverbial three R's we must not forget the many important lessons in Patriotism; love of country, respect for all the laws of our land, reverence for things holy and kindred subjects. It is in our public schools that we must depend largely for the study of the psychology of our foreigner, consider his needs and win his loyalty if he is to become a citizen in any real sense.
Is not this work of public education one of inestimable importance, and one which is worth the careful and thoughtful consideration of every Master Mason?
Let us not neglect our duty in so important a matter.
— Henry C. Smith, Grand Master, Montana.
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Rich as Well as Poor Should be Educated in Public Schools.
The progress of civilization has been marked by the progress of education. The height to which any people have been able to attain has been in direct proportion to the dissemination of learning among them. Every means of teaching the young the principles of sterling worth and the knowledge that gives an understanding of the problems of life should be fostered among all right thinking people.
The public schools of America afford the one great channel through which men can effectively aid in preparing the young for useful, patriotic citizenship. Other means of teaching will not reach the masses and, therefore, cannot render the great service that comes through the public schools.
The Federal Bureau of Education provides the following figures: Of 31,981 distinguished Americans only 31 were limited to an elementary education and only 3,110 received merely a high school education; whereas, 28,840 were college graduates. There can be no college graduates without training in grades. Consequently, all of these received lower academic teaching. If we would raise the standard of our citizenship, and produce Americans of real distinction, we must place before the masses of the people educational opportunities. Every man who is committed to this high purpose must favor every move that will lend broader extension and greater efficiency to our public school system.
Aside from the question of providing educational advantages to the young of limited means, I am impressed with the belief that children of wealthier families should also be given training in public schools. It is here that they are brought into contact with the representatives of homes of all classes and are given that association with others of strange environment which will develop the characteristics that have made Americans democratic. Other countries may support the private schools where the so-called aristocracy are trained in manners, culture, dress and snobbishness, but practical America must maintain and develop to the uttermost that school system which, by teaching and association, will best cultivate in the Americans of tomorrow the democratic principles of justice, fairness and tolerance.
— Julian F. Spearman, Grand Master, Alabama.
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Competent Teachers Essential to Good Citizenship.
Our late Brother Theodore Roosevelt, while addressing a vast assemblage of school teachers at Ocean Grove, N.J., once said: "Teachers, in your hands lies the destiny of our nation!" How clearly he saw the truth!
The stability of our government and the welfare of our free institutions developed under it depend entirely upon the character of our citizenship. Our schools impress character upon the youth of the land. This work is in large part actually in the hands of our public school teachers. If they do their work well, the future of the nation is assured! If they are unable to do it well, the nation is in danger.
From a purely patriotic standpoint, therefore, it is clearly our duty to see to it that we have the best school teachers we can obtain, and place at their disposal the necessary equipment to enable them to do their work well. To do this more money must be appropriated for the maintenance of our public schools than is now available. This money will not be forthcoming unless there is an irresistible public demand for it. The public will demand it when it becomes clearly conscious of the necessity for it. This public consciousness can only be aroused by a proper presentation of facts and figures and by intelligent effort on the part of those who are entirely familiar with the various aspects of the problem.
Masonry stands for good citizenship. Every Mason is under an obligation to consider the welfare of his country at all times.
If Masonry as an institution should undertake to bring its individual members to a proper realization of the necessities confronting our various public school systems, and thoroughly familiarize them with the facts, it would furnish the country a group of representative men who can and will arouse public opinion. Shall Masonry undertake this task?
— Charles C. Coombs, Grand Master, Dist. of Columbia.
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Freemasons were Active in Founding Iowa Public Schools.
The public school system of education has ever had the full interest and support of the Masonic fraternity in this commonwealth. The settlement of Iowa and the development of its educational facilities (even during its pioneer days) are a story of absorbing interest; and in the annals of that time we find the leaders of our Craft in the forefront of the movement for general education through public schools maintained at public expense.
The reputation of Iowa schools proves the extent and success of those efforts.
I have no doubt that I speak for all Masons of Iowa as well as for myself when I say that we are emphatically in favor of a state and national system that shall require every child in each commonwealth to have at least an elementary and secondary education in free public schools maintained by general taxation and affording an equal opportunity to all.
Furthermore, that it be mandatory that the English language be used with a uniform course of instruction in these grades; that the ideals and principles of representative American government be taught throughout all the grades; and that training in our public schools be made a necessary qualification for teachers in the same. Furthermore, that the hygienic, physical and moral welfare of the child should have attention as the intellectual development, so that the future citizens of our country may be fully equal to their responsibilities.
— A. N. Alberson, Grand Master, Iowa.
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Masons Must Support the Public School System in its Present Crisis.
The past two years of reaction from the emotional intensity of the World War have given us a breathing space in which to appraise, in some measure, the magnitude of the task of adjusting ourselves to new world conditions.
The summons of peace is not to complacent repose, but to still more strenuous endeavor for enduring good. The task that now confronts us is the conquest of the allied forces of ignorance, selfishness and prejudice. For victory we must look to the armies of peace, the teachers and pupils of the public schools. The forces of the whole nation must be mobilized in their support. Everywhere the Craft is seeking opportunities for service and everywhere instances are multiplying which point to the existing public school crisis as the logical field for Masonic devotion and endeavor.
The subject of public education has ever been close to the hearts of our greatest men and Masons. Our Brother Washington founded at Alexandria and endowed one of the first free schools in Virginia. Our Brother Franklin founded the first free public school at Philadelphia. Indeed, one of Franklin's opponents there has left on record the complaint that "the people who are promoting the free schools are the Grand Masters and Wardens among the Freemasons, their very pillars." Our Brother Dewitt Clinton founded the free public school system of our own great Commonwealth, and our Grand Lodge gave the first New York free school generous patronage and support.
The mingling of children of every race, creed and degree in common schools, publicly supported, tends to bind together the whole population with the strong ties of common customs and a common tongue and to make this a thoroughly united nation. In the language of Brother Washington "the more homogenous our citizens can be made in principles, opinions and manners, the greater will be our prospects of permanent union." These ideas are truly Masonic. The public schools are the only means whereby the prosperity, nay, the very survival, of our beloved Fraternity can be safeguarded, and the perpetuity of the institutions that underlie our civil and religious liberties assured.
Let Freemasons everywhere rally unitedly to their support.
— Robert H. Robinson, Grand Master, New York.
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Education Must be Represented in the President's Cabinet.
Of all the important public questions of interest to the people of the United States, there is none more vital to the future welfare of our country than that of the public schools. It is imperatively necessary that the boys and girls of today, who are to be the citizens of tomorrow, shall acquire in the public schools such a common stock of ideas and ideals that the stability of our government and the perpetuity of our institutions will be assured.
A real democracy can exist with success only if there is true democracy in education, that is, equal educational opportunity for all. It has been clearly demonstrated by the experience of the past that if this equality of educational opportunity is to exist, since the states by themselves are unable to provide this, financial aid from the national government is necessary. If a reasonable amount of financial assistance is given to the several states, each child in the entire country can be assured the minimum amount of education; illiteracy will gradually disappear, and the great work of Americanization can be more vigorously carried on. It will be possible to conduct with greater success other educational activities, such as health education.
The importance and dignity of education in this country demand that this important work be represented in our national government, not by a subordinate bureau but by one of the great departments, with a Secretary at its head, who should be a member of the Cabinet of the President. If all these measures outlined above be adopted, great care should be taken that each state of our Union retain complete control of its educational policy and procedure. All of these provisions are, I understand, carefully included in the Towner-Sterling bill which is now before Congress; if this bill is enacted into law, the beneficial effect upon education in this country will be quickly realized.
— Warren S. Seipp, Grand Master, Maryland.
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Thou Shalt Exalt the Public School.
In viewing the question of public schools, there are certain facts that stand out as self-evident:
(1) Public schools are consistent with and necessary to the maintenance of that liberty and pursuit of happiness guaranteed in the fundamental utterances of our laws. The untutored mind may know license but it cannot have the highest sense of real liberty.
(2) Public schools are necessary to perpetuate the principles and verify the eternal truth proclaimed in the American Declaration of Independence "that all men are created equal" (as to privileges and immunities under the law); and without a system of free schooling supported by the state and so regulated as to perform the most efficient service, the great mass of the people born unequal as to environments, wealth and opportunity would remain in ignorance and thus become a prey to the unscrupulous and the charlatan.
(3) Without an efficient system of free schools, higher education can never become at all general. The free schools must feed the colleges and universities if, indeed, they are to be fed — a necessary nourishment for their growth and usefulness.
The following, constituting the fourth of ten "Home Town Commandments" which appeared in The University of North Carolina News Letter of April 19, 1922, is to be commended:
"Thou shalt exalt thy public school and honor it all the days of thy life with the best of teachers, buildings and equipments, for the school is the cradle of the future. Thy children are here and they shall be the leaders of tomorrow. No training is too good for them and no preparation superfluous."
— James H. Webb, Grand Master, North Carolina.
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The Public School Serves No Scheming Interest at Home or Abroad.
The assertion that the public school is the cornerstone of American liberty has become a truism. We reiterate the declaration at frequent intervals, but many of us fail to realize wherein lies the greatness of this typical American institution.
The public school is remarkable and successful for several reasons. It is the natural outgrowth of American ideals and life and development, a concrete expression of the American spirit and of what we term Americanism. It is democracy in education, and bears much the same position with regard to the other educational systems of the world as does the American theory and system of government to those of the various other nations.
The public school in the United States is great because it is the school of all the people. It is confined to no region, sect, race, color or narrow selfish interest. It is the same in Maine, California, Louisiana or North Dakota. It places one stamp upon the boys and girls who pass through its courses and that mark is the shaping touch that makes an American from whatever state he comes. Unlike many another hallmark, the stamp of the American public school is an evidence of broadening instead of narrowing; of stimulus to thought and initiative and achievement, not stultifying; of personal independence of thought and soul, not attachment to an imposed creed or system; of upward impulsion toward everything clean and wholesome and pure and helpful.
The power of the public school lies largely in the fact that it is pure and single in its purpose. Its sole aims are to train the minds, develop the bodies, make skillful the hands, quicken the hearts and ennoble the souls of the youth it touches. Its one purpose is to make splendid men and women, ideal Americans and exemplary citizens. It has no other purpose and it serves no selfish scheming interest at home or abroad.
— Henry E. Byorum, Grand Master, North Dakota.
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The Schools Make for Democracy.
There is no agency in our American life that is capable of doing more for the advancement of the common welfare of our people than our public school. In that fortress of democracy our children of all classes meet, day after day, from the age of six or seven years, up to the age of from fifteen to eighteen that most impressionable age when character is formed and when the men and women of the tomorrows are shaping their opinions of life, and determining the course they will take.
It is highly important in a country like ours that every man and woman shall understand and appreciate every other man and woman, and recognize the fact that each of us is the "architect of his own fortune." In America opportunity smiles upon all. The names of the men and women prominent in American life today reveal the fact that it is integrity and efficiency that count and not the accident of one's birth. The public school brings the children of all races, of all creeds, of all political beliefs together, and makes Americans of them all; and as American citizens they each and all see the value in others, and come to appreciate that value.
The public school system of America is not perfect. It has perfection for its ideal however, and is moving rapidly in that direction; and therefore its permanency is assured. As the objective of this great American institution is better understood, it will be more loyally supported by all good and true American people. Long live the American public school.
— George C. Williams, Grand Master, Delaware.
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South Dakota is Heartily In Favor of the Towner-Sterling Bill.
I want to say that I am heartily in accord with the movement that is under way to improve the educational system in the United States. I believe that nearly all the Masons of this jurisdiction are of the same mind. It would be a long step for good if we would have a law in every state requiring every child between the ages of six and sixteen inclusive to attend the public school. Of course, those who are physically deficient or who are backward should have special attention and assistance, that all may have an equal chance to gain an education which will fit them for the duties of future citizenship.
With improvement in our public school system will come a higher standard of living, better morals and cleaner lives. As some one has pointed out, every child should have the right to be cleanly bred, rightly fed, and clearly taught.
In this state we have a very good set of school laws and with but little change we could receive the benefits provided for in the Towner-Sterling Bill should it pass our national legislative body. Some objection has been made to this bill on account of the appropriation it carries. I do not know of a better use to which we can apply our funds, and certainly it is better to improve our children and make better citizens, stronger men and women, than to spend all in the improvement of hogs, cattle, etc.
— W. F. R. Whorton, Grand Master, South Dakota.
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Masons Should Interest Themselves in School Elections.
I believe in the American public school — first, last, and all the time. I believe that the greatest influence in our American life today is the public school, and therefore it should be carefully guarded, continually improved and greatly encouraged.
We realize now that we have lacked the vision the founders of our government had when they wrote the constitution of this country, and that we have not consistently used our energies to improve future generations. We have concerned ourselves about the educational system only insofar as it affected our immediate needs.
If we are to remain united as a nation, it is necessary that American ideals be implanted in the youth of the land. The public school is the only agency that can successfully accomplish this. Make elementary education compulsory in the public school and teach the American language only. Compel the child to read, write and think in the American language. Only in proportion as he can think in this language can he appreciate the American spirit, and the American government. The parochial school draws a line of division across the community, and should therefore be eliminated.
Only men and women of the highest ideals can impart the spirit of the country and the teaching profession must be made attractive — better salaries, better teachers, better schools.
Masons everywhere should interest themselves in school elections, placing men on school boards who believe in the American public school system.
In Minnesota we hope that before another year has passed, we shall have had the opportunity to preach the gospel of the public school in every lodge room in the state. Competent speakers, with motion picture outfits, will be sent into every part of the state, and the needs and advantages of the public school will be demonstrated. The Towner-Sterling Bill will be explained and discussed.
I believe that physical education, and instruction in the principles of health and sanitation, should be taught to all children and through the public schools. The future of our country, mentally, morally and spiritually, will depend on the physical condition of the coming generations.
— Herman Held, Grand Master, Minnesota.
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The Schools Should be Bulwarks Against Bolshevism.
While it is the duty of every Mason to be interested in the public schools, it is especially the duty of those of our eastern states to be particularly vigilant, for it is in the east that the obnoxious red doctrines of continental Europe are being secretly, and in some places, publicly taught. Even in some of our standard colleges there have been instances where professors, aided and abetted by parlor radicals living on inherited wealth, have been making covert attacks on American institutions. History teaches us that the school and the lodge were the pioneers and outposts of our civilization, and that our present public school system originated with and was flowered and protected by Masons. Therefore, each of us should constitute himself a committee of one to see that the schools of his town are the best, or at least the equal of any, in the land; and that support and reverence for law and order, and love for the flag, are taught free from any foreign taint or continental influence of any sort.
— Frank L. Wilder, Grand Master, Connecticut.
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Tennessee Stands for the Development of Primary Schools.
A public school number of THE BUILDER just at this time is very essential and timely! Let's make it unanimous! Especially so far as Masons are concerned. Every Grand Master at least should be closely in touch with the educational movement as to be heartily in favor of public schools, and I am sure the only reason that every Mason is not in full sympathy with the course of education is due to the fact that he has not given much thought to this subject.
I am happy to say that the Grand Jurisdiction of Tennessee is squarely behind the idea of developing the primary public schools to the end that every child may have equal opportunity to secure an education. I am of the opinion that no greater movement for good has ever been launched by the Masonic Fraternity and wonderful progress has been made; many rural districts report decided improvement.
The idea carries with it not only the endorsement of public schools, but the education of our own members — nay more — the enlightenment of our members as to what they owe the world and humanity.
I believe the success of the Masonic educational movement is assured in Tennessee as Brother Joseph A. Fowler, our State Chairman, is very earnest in his efforts. He is thoroughly capable and a Mason of splendid ability.
The public schools! By all means — that great democratic institution where children, rich and poor, may mingle together and learn the fact that they are all Americans.
— Walker M. Taylor, Grand Master, Tennessee.
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Free Institutions Cannot Exist Without Schools.
There can be no question of the vital importance to any free government of a comprehensive and effective system of free, public education. It is absolutely impossible that free institutions should exist without the basis of an intelligent electorate. Every citizen should be capable of reading as well as hearing the views and opinions which may be set forth for or against proposed legislation or candidates for office. So far as possible he should be sufficiently educated to understand what he hears and reads, and to weigh and compare conflicting statements. This is a large requirement, but all history shows that it is an irreducible minimum.
Freemasonry is the foe of ignorance, tyranny, and superstition. Education is the only weapon by which these great foes of mankind can be conquered. It is the Masonic duty of every member of our Fraternity to do his best to forge this weapon and strengthen the arms of those who wield it.
Freemasons are bound by their obligations, and by loyalty to the principles of our order, to be good citizens. It is, therefore, their duty to do everything in their power for the promotion of good citizenship. Nothing is more essential to good citizenship than education.
The experience of the great war has shown conclusively that our educational system is not functioning as well as we expected. Discoveries which were made with regard to the illiteracy of the young men in our drafted army were not only surprising but extremely disconcerting. The immediate need of the time is the strengthening of our educational system sufficiently to enable it to do what it should do, and what until 1917 we all thought it was doing.
It is the duty of every Freemason to do everything that he can to help the cause of education in his community, in the state, and in the nation. He should labor in every possible way to exert all the influence he has in all ways in which such influence may be exerted in this good work.
This does not mean that the Masonic Fraternity, as an organization, should put itself behind any specific legislation, or attempt to adopt an educational legislative program. Such a course would do more harm than good both to education and to Freemasonry. It would distinctly lower the plane of discussion and bring into it considerations and antagonisms which would be harmful in the extreme.
If all the members of our great Fraternity can be roused to the sense of personal responsibility and made to feel that each one of them has a sacred duty to perform and that he cannot rest until he has performed it, we need not worry as his right choice of methods and measures.
— Frederick Hamilton, Grand Secretary, Massachusetts.
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Nevada Masonry is Strong for the Public Schools.
From the dawn when man first realized that light and more light would make his world larger, his life broader and his heart happier, he has as with tentacles reached out for truth and more truth. Our present-day public school system has been evolved from that hungering for knowledge. Susceptible of improvement though it be, our public school system is the best on God's footstool and every man and woman, of whatever affiliation or creed, if he or she desires to realize a dream of yet higher civilization should be back of, and ready with instant support for, the public school.
To the forbears of Masonry were entrusted the arts and sciences of their day. Upon them devolved the duty of pointing the way to larger intellectual life. Such through the generations has been the big objective, the star that held the compass by which the fathers of present-day Masonry sailed through the storms that would surely have wrecked them long years ago had their purpose been selfish and the ends of their existence small.
With all the impetus that comes from Masonic traditions and history, teaching as they do that Masons of the past have been the pathfinders, the pioneers in intellectual development, surely Masonry of today is recreant to its trust unless every Mason is alert to defend and support the public schools.
Masonry must be aligned with the forces that seek the us up-building of our educational system, for Masonry can only prosper in the sunlight of education: its enemies prosper only when the black hoodwink of ignorance clouds the vision of men and women. In this jurisdiction Masonry is strong for the public school.
— Louis G. Campbell, Grand Master, Nevada.
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Selection of Teachers Is of Greatest Importance.
The public school question in this country is a live one and every red-blooded American should be vitally interested in it. But the public school is absolutely in no danger from its friends or its enemies. It is the basis upon which are founded our free institutions and it will survive all opposition. True, the system occasionally needs revising, improving and directing. Of this there can be no doubt. In the present day the tendency to drift away from fundamentals is the result of over anxiety on the part of its friends. This, however, is only temporary. As a system it will soon regain its equilibrium and it will continue to go forward in its chosen field.
Any additional legislation for the benefit of the public schools should be undertaken with the greatest care, and its only aim should be to improve the personnel of the teaching force. After all is said and done the teacher is the school and stands for more than expensive equipment and fine buildings. Guard well the entrance to the teacher's ranks, and you will accomplish a work of the utmost importance.
Our law making bodies everywhere are opened with prayer. How much more important it is that our public schools should open each morning with a proper recognition of the Supreme Being. The reading of the Bible should not be denied to the teacher who feels its worth and its usefulness in impressing upon pupils the highest standard of moral and upright living.
— F. A. Jeter, Grand Master, Idaho.
* * *
Religion Cannot be Taught in the Public Schools.
Man is a gregarious animal. For self preservation gregarious creatures have leaders. With the lower animals these leaders occupy their position by physical force: the leadership with man is on a different plane to that of the unthinking creature governed by instinct; his leadership is, or should be, based upon reason. The activities growing out of reason are so varied and numerous that it becomes necessary in order to bring about the greatest success that not a few but all of society must in as great a measure as possible be qualified to become leaders of at least one of these activities.
For quite a time it was mainly the Church that took charge of preparing or educating people for leadership. That a sufficient number of people were not educated under this system to carry on these activities past and present history confirms. The state then for self preservation instituted public schools. Individuals or organizations are loath to surrender what power they may possess, hence the antagonism of the Church to the public schools. Individuals recognizing their interest in humanity have as of yore aided in the work of educating. Since nations that foster the public schools are the most prosperous and efficient we must conclude such schools are beneficial and should be preserved.
"Knowledge is power." The best safeguard against the improper use of that power is moral force. Some religions do not separate morals from religion. Our national Constitution grants no preference to any religion; therefore we can not teach religion in the public schools. The morals of our country are as good as those of any other country. We therefore conclude the public schools are not destructive of morals.
— L. Kirby, Grand Master, Arkansas.
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The Public School is Confronted by Three Ruffians.
It is needless to affirm the statement that all Freemasons must of necessity do everything in their power to support and uphold the public school system. However, just at the present time, our public school system is passing through the most serious condition that it has ever had to face. The present widespread complaint in regard to taxes has brought this subject squarely before every right-thinking citizen.
There are three classes of people who are fighting the public school system; the vicious, the penurious, and the ignorant. In our state, the Lutheran and the Roman Catholic churches have joined hands, after fighting each other for 400 years, and are carrying a case to the Supreme Court of the United States in an endeavor to invalidate our language law. The second class, almost as dangerous as the first, does not want to furnish adequate school buildings and equipment and fight every move to improve the schools. They, together with the third class, who have very little if any education themselves, and do not care whether their children have an equal chance in the world with others or not, continually object to the payment of reasonable salaries to teachers, to proper medical supervision of the children, and to all forms of sanitation. The whole question resolves itself, as I see it, as to whether we are "our brother's keeper" or not. Are we willing that our brother's children shall have the same advantage and opportunity in the world as ours? Who can measure the worth of a child in dollars and cents? It is a time, in my judgment, for every red-blooded American-loving Mason to endeavor to see that the public school system is supported in every manner in his community, keeping distinctly in mind the thought that we ought to be for America first and not America last.
— Lewis E. Smith, Grand Master, Nebraska.
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Masonry at Work in Oregon.
My thoughts on the public school question are embodied in the following Official Circular which I issued to the constituent lodges of this Grand Jurisdiction under date of February 1, 1922:
"The promotion and extension of our free public school system is a logical field for Masonic activity. The progress of every initiate in Masonry is one of advancement from darkness to light. Light and knowledge are synonymous terms in Masonry.
"The history of public school education is closely interwoven with the history of Masonic progress, and to these we owe in a great measure the wonderful progress of our country. Brother George Washington, among his many other great achievements, founded one of the first free schools in Virginia; Brother Franklin, the first free school in Philadelphia; and Brother Dewitt Clinton, the free public school system in the great state of New York. All of these were and are revered as leaders in Ancient Craft Masonry.
"To have a strong and united nation every one must assist in the promotion of public education. This means the bringing of all children into the public school where equality and fraternity will give us men and women who will maintain and defend a united nation.
"Our Grand Lodge, at its 70th Annual Communication, unanimously proclaimed this principle in the following unmistakable terms:
"That we recognize and proclaim our belief in the free and compulsory education of the children of our nation in public primary schools supported by public taxation, upon which all children shall attend and shall be instructed in the English language only without regard to race or creed as the only sure foundation for the perpetuation and preservation of our free institutions, guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, and we pledge the efforts of the membership of this body to promote by all lawful means the organization, extension and development to the highest degree of such schools, and to oppose any and all efforts of any and all who seek to limit, curtail, hinder or destroy the public school system of our land.
"At the 71st Annual Communication the Grand Lodge, by resolution, recommended your Grand Master to use his influence and authority in support of our free and non-sectarian educational system, and unanimously approved the Towner-Sterling Bill (successor to the Smith-Towner Bill) providing for a Department of Education. Our nation today stands alone among the world's great nations as having no separate educational department in its national government.
"Believing that I am only expressing the views of every thoughtful Mason, I invite and request each lodge in this Grand Jurisdiction to set apart and devote one special meeting during the month of February as a Public School Night. I suggest that competent speakers be secured to present to the lodges the great importance of this subject, the qualifications of those who may be called to administer our school system, and also the merits of the Towner-Sterling Bill as a national program for public education. This should also include an opportunity for a discussion by the brethren, of all matters affecting our educational system in open lodge. I furthermore recommend that each lodge appoint a committee to investigate and report upon the condition and needs of the schools in its particular district and also to serve as a means of communication between school authorities and the lodges.
"In compliance with the recommendations of the Grand Lodge your attention is called to this most important matter, and you are directed to read this official circular at the first communication following its receipt and to file a report of the action taken with your District Deputy Grand Master."
— Frank S. Baillie, Grand Master, Oregon.
* * *
Believes that the V. S. L. Should be Taught in Every School.
The public school system of the different states in the Union is of the gravest importance to the whole country. It is the place where, in large measure, the character, hopes and plans of our children are moulded. If America is to remain a free country the rising generation must be properly taught. When we look about us and realize the inroads that have been made by an insidious foe against the freedom of our country it should arouse every man, woman and child to an earnest purpose to do his or her part to throttle this beast.
I believe in the free and compulsory education of the children of the nation, and that the public schools should be supported by taxation. I believe that the Towner-Sterling Educational Bill should have the hearty support of every right thinking man and woman in this country. I believe that the Holy Bible, that great light in Masonry, should be taught in every public school in the whole nation, especially in the state colleges and universities. I believe that every public school teacher should be required by law to qualify to teach the Bible. I believe that the English language should be the only language taught in our public schools.
If those who seek our shores from foreign parts are not willing to adopt our language then send them back from whence they came or let them go where they can find a more congenial people. We want one language, one people!
I am irrevocably in favor of the separation of church and state.
— P. H. Murphy, Grand Master, Mississippi.
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Each State Should Adjust its School System to its Own Resources.
That the public school is of supreme importance throughout our country is, I take it, generally conceded. In a republic where government derives its powers from the governed, where policies are determined and laws enacted by the representatives of the people, it is vitally important that the electorate should be educated. But just how far the state should go, how wide in scope the curriculum of the schools should be, must, it appear to me, be left to the people in the several states to determine. A populous state with ample means at its command would naturally be expected to spend more on its school buildings, pay better salaries to its teachers, and provide for a greater number of schools of the higher grades than could a state sparsely populated and with less means. The question then of the "public school" is one to be determined primarily by the ability of the community to pay.
IN our state we have a splendid school system. In the city in which I live the School Board has the taxing power and I believe that both the state and the city are, considering the enormous burdens of taxation we are all bearing, doing all that should be done in the way of giving education to the masses. I do not believe that the time has yet come when the state ought to attempt to give university education to all the boys and girls. A high school education is ample equipment for the intelligent discharge of the duties of citizenship and I think the every‑day happenings of life demonstrate that high school boys make as good a showing in business and in the professions as do university graduates.
— Abraham M. Beitler, Grand Master, Pennsylvania.
* * *
Sectarian Schools are a Thing of the Past.
To be tolerant is a cardinal principle of Masonry and one of the most blessed virtues of mankind, especially in the matter of being considerate of the opinions of others, but it ceases to be a virtue the moment it fails to hold to principles that will be of the most benefit to the majority.
Viewing the situation as we do, it seems incredible that the public school system, such as we have in the United States and parts of Central Europe, should have an adversary, but the fact remains nevertheless that educational legislation, both state and national, meets with its share of opposition.
While this condition is attributed partly to the matter of economy, we believe this feature is negligible in comparison with other potent factors. The burden of taxation falls on those most able to pay, except in a minority of cases, which is a natural law and could not be otherwise; and while most tax payers believe it to be a special prerogative to complain about the payment of taxes, it is the ignorant or miserly who find fault with judicious expenditure of public funds for educational purposes.
It is gratifying to know that those at the head of corporations employing large numbers of men are rapidly learning that the best results are not obtained by employing the lowly and ignorant from Southern Europe and the Orient, because it is through this class of workmen that the unscrupulous agitator gets his living and creates strife and dissension between the employer and employee and is detrimental to both. This cannot be accomplished among the more enlightened classes of workmen because they do their own thinking. When the thinking is done by the masses, peace and harmony usually prevail and employer and employee are benefited thereby.
The parochial or sectarian schools should be given great credit for the excellent work they have done in the past. They made education possible at times when it could not have otherwise been obscure when there were no others. They pioneered in advance of the public school, but we believe their period of usefulness is at an end, particularly in our country. Humanity has always been benefited with conveniences suitable to the particular period, but conveniences of one period are often found to be detrimental to another.
— E. R. Gibson, Grand Master, Utah.
* * *
The American Public School is the Greatest of all Educational Institutions.
In a republic such as ours where the people are under a Constitution that is the source of all power, and where it was intended that through their chosen representatives they should enact and administer all laws governing our civic relations both intellect and information in the masses are essential to our prosperity and to our perpetuity as a national entity.
Equality of intellect is a natural impossibility, but through education all persons above the class of feeble-mindedness may be brought to a point where they can reasonably exercise the rights of citizens.
The American public school system was evolved for the purpose of giving to the youth of our land the opportunity to acquire the foundation at least for a superstructure of information that would enable them to intelligently perform their duties as citizens.
It has been improved by time and experience until it has reached the point where it stands at the head of all the basic educational systems in the world and it is continually being bettered.
No one claims that it is perfect — being a human institution no one expects perfection — but those who rail against it offer nothing in its stead that can compare with it in the results accomplished or in promises for the future.
The American public school system has been charged in some quarters with inflexibility, and with measuring all growing intellects with the same yardstick; but the products of our grammar and high schools have shown an adaptability to conditions, and a versatility of talents, that compare most favorably with those from private and parochial institutions.
It has also been charged with being Godless in that neither the catechism nor the calendar of saints are chanted as an opening exercise for the day; but here again the records of our criminal courts show that the pupils and the graduates of the American public school are less addicted to infractions of the decalogue than are those of some opposition agencies which are loudest in their condemnations.
Among the many charges against the public school system, one is conspicuous by its absence. It has never been accused of inculcating disloyalty to our government, disrespect to the emblem of our nationality, nor a divided allegiance between the land in which we live and any other government, power or potentate.
— Lucius Dills, Grand Master, New Mexico.
* * *
Masonry Should Take an Active Interest in the Public Schools.
The subject of "Freemasonry's Attitude Toward the Public School System" might be divided into two parts — one being what the attitude actually is, and the other what it should be.
I think that Freemasonry's attitude toward our schools is in most ways quite similar to the attitude of the general public. It is to be hoped that Masons take a little more interest in our schools than other people do, but neither Masons nor those who are not Masons, take the interest they should take.
Some Masons have taken a special interest in our schools, and have carefully studied our public school system. Their attitude might be considered the attitude that Freemasonry should take. In this probably the first point would be that Masons should take a more active interest in our school system, for the work our schools are doing is in accord with the ideas of Masonry. The schools spread knowledge, truth and light. The schools teach our children to be moral and upright, and to be good citizens. Masonry teaches the higher things of life, and so do our public schools. They help fit our children for business, trades, and professions, but the right kind of education is also an education for better living and for culture.
The special teaching that is being done in our schools by giving extra help to those who do not learn readily should be commended by Masonry. This helps give an equal opportunity in later life to those who would otherwise be under a handicap.
To put it briefly I would say that Freemasonry should take an active and keen interest in our public schools. If we take this interest, we will learn what the problems of our schools are, and we will be able to help lead the way in solving them.
— F. A. Holliday, Grand Master, Wyoming.
* * *
The Schools Should not be Used for Propaganda Purposes.
I have been a teacher in secondary schools for twenty-seven years. My opinion regarding the way in which the public school system is functioning in this country will, therefore, differ in viewpoint from most patrons of the public schools.
The public seems to have been gradually putting on the schools, or requiring of them, the performance of functions which a generation ago were well performed in the home. It seems to me that it is putting too heavy a task on the teacher to expect her to give the child not only mental training but also moral and spiritual training as well. I omit physical training, which the school needs to give in order that the child may be trained mentally, in naming those activities the parent has relegated to the teacher. Personally I would hold the teacher to her task of providing mental development, and a broad outlook on life — a means of orientation by which the boy or girl may find himself when he enters his life work. And I would not consider it her task to provide him with a code of good morals or with a practical religion, but would expect the home to be responsible for these most necessary elements of a stood education.
Just a word regarding the use of the schools to promote this or that desirable end, a use which was very extensive during the great war and has not entirely ceased even yet, and which remains in the form of the various "weeks" that schools are depended on to advertise. All this activity intrudes upon the real object of education in school, and in addition to hindering this aim, it is most insidious in its appeal, for no teacher wishes to appear uninterested in these worthy movements. I wish to register a firm protest against using the school for propaganda purposes.
Masons as citizens are of course deeply interested in the progress of the public schools. They can do much to help this progress. They can insist on generous appropriations for school purposes. No school unit in the country, probably, is at present contributing liberally enough to its public school system. Masons can make it their continuing business to see that the school administration is efficient and that the funds are wisely expended. They can visit the schools and learn at first hand how the teachers are doing their work, the work for which all the citizens are paying. Why not have a private committee of Masons who shall make it their business, as citizens of course, to see that the school system is what it ought to be?
There you have a statement. And I have relieved my mind for once of a few of the complaints it harbors.
— A. S. Harriman, Grand Master, Vermont.
* * *
Asks us to Heed President Harding's Warning.
The public school question should be paramount in the minds of the American people. It has been truly said that "Education is a better safeguard to our liberties than a standing army."
Today we are living in a commercial age. Everything seems to be weighed and measured by the "Gold Standard." We are prone to forget that the strength, support and supremacy of our Democracy depends on the virtue, intelligence, and prosperity of its people. Governments may rise and flourish but will surely decay if they do not recognize this fact. Vice, crime, prejudice, ignorance and superstition are the handmaids to anarchy and bolshevism.
The public school is the foundation stone of the liberties and the bulwark of our civilization.
President Harding is quoted as saying, "The Education of the American child has fallen below the standard necessary for the protection of our future." If this be true, it is high time that we arouse ourselves from our lethargy and indifference to the needs of our educational system.
In order to maintain our high ideals as a nation, this government must take as one of its most pressing and serious problems the question of education. Our Government shall not have done its full duty until every child in the United States shall be guaranteed not only Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness but an equal opportunity to develop mentally and physically to the highest possible degree.
Let us give more freely of our thought, service, and substance in developing and maintaining a higher, broader, better and more practical system of education.
— W. F. Weiler, Grand Master, Wisconsin.
* * *
Freemasonry is the Uncompromising Foe of Ignorance and Superstition.
Standing as the uncompromising foe of ignorance and superstition Masonry has ever been a consistent advocate of education and religious tolerance. Combatting the forces of darkness and bigotry with enlightened reason she early became the champion of schools for the diffusion of light and knowledge, and in the growth and development of these schools the resultant public school system of America today stands as a monument to Masonic patronage and influence. Our schools are, and must be, a source of pride to every Mason; but proud as we are of our schools, we cannot complacently sit back and view the work accomplished with a feeling of satisfaction and let it end there. Having made education possible to the humblest child in our land we must see to it that the opportunity is not wasted or the child robbed of its birthright. While the doors of the schools are thrown open to rich and poor alike, some there are who by reason of ill health, limited means, or living at a distance are unable to avail themselves of their educational opportunities. These disadvantages, where possible, must be removed and the child of the poor given every facility to pursue his studies on an equal footing with his more fortunate neighbor. If text books are lacking let us supply them; if clothing is needed have the child comfortably clad; and if undernourished provide good, wholesome food. Medical attention should also be maintained by the schools to keep the children physically fit for their studies. Those living at a distance should have free transportation to and from school, and for the sickly and crippled home study given commensurate faith their strength and ability. Where assistance from the child is required for the support of the family pensions for the mothers, especially those who are widowed, must remove this burden.
The future citizenship of our country is now in the making in our public schools and if the highest type is to be developed equality of opportunity must become an accomplished fact and not a theory. In short, until the state is prepared to take the advanced stand that the child not only belongs to the state but is its chief asset and is therefore entitled to be clothed and fed, if need be, as well as educated at the expense of the state, we must, as Masons, see to it that facilities for an education are made available to every child in our land and that our schools are maintained at the highest efficiency, under the control and domination of the state alone and uninfluenced by sectarian or political interference.
To this end we must scrutinize closely the personnel of the school board and elect only such members as are in sympathy with these ideals; pay salaries adequate to the work required in order to attract men and women of education, refinement and ability to the teaching profession; and encourage intelligent cooperation between the citizens, school board and teachers.
These are some of the essential requirements if equality of opportunity is to be maintained in our public school system. To be sure it means greater expense and increased taxation, but what Mason worthy the name will object to bearing his part of the burden when the money is intelligently spent for the welfare and development of our children.
— Louis G. Moyers, Grand Master, Arizona.
* * *
Freemasonry is Pledged to Active Co-operation with Public Schools.
The evidence of the sympathetic feeling, and indeed active co-operation, of the Masonic fraternity with the public schools of our country is evidenced by the physical monuments thereof appearing in the cornerstones laid for practically every substantial school building throughout the country.
Aside from buildings used for Masonic purposes, all classes of buildings for which Masons lay cornerstones may be grouped under buildings pertaining to the church, the government and the public schools. The engraved emblem of our Fraternity appearing on the public school buildings and the public ceremony in connection therewith, ought to be convincing evidence to all people of the interest and concern which our Fraternity has for that great institution. However, those who are not members of the Order may be assured that the ceremony and emblem is but the outward expression of the genuine inner feelings and conceptions, desires and wishes, of our Order toward the building up and maintaining of our great public school system.
One of the fundamental principles of our Order is education, and throughout our ritual, by words and impressive emblems, we strive to impress upon the candidates the importance of striving to acquire useful knowledge. It therefore may be confidently said that so long as our great Order continues, with the vigorous and fair-minded membership of which it is now composed, the public schools of our land will not only have a friend and defender, but will have back of it a force which will overcome all obstructions, and insure the perpetuity and efficiency of our public schools.
— Samuel T. Spears. Grand Master, West Virginia.
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South Carolina is Solidly Behind the Public Schools.
The Grand Lodge of South Carolina, Ancient Free Masons, recognizes and proclaims its belief in the free and compulsory education of the children of our nation, in public primary schools, supported by public taxation, upon which all children shall attend and be instructed in the English language only, without respect to race or creed, as the only sure agency for the perpetuation and preservation of the free institutions guaranteed by the Constitution of this great country.
I feel that all Masons are ready to pledge their efforts to promote by all lawful means the organization, extension and development of such schools, and to oppose the efforts of any and all who seek to limit, curtail, hinder or destroy the public school system of our land.
I feel that the sentiments above are shared by every Mason.
— J. Campbell Bissell, Grand Master, South Carolina.
* * *
The Enemies of the Public Schools are the Enemies of the Nation.
In my opinion Freemasonry has no attitude toward the public schools. Instead, we have a distinct relationship with the public schools. An attitude is a state of mind, while a relationship implies more.
A relationship implies duties. Freemasonry has the duty of protecting and preserving these bedrocks of our government.
Freemasonry from time immemorial has laid stress upon the fact that Masons are always patriots. Masons everywhere are pointed to with pride mainly because of their interest in their country's welfare.
In my opinion there is no greater patriotic duty incumbent upon Masons of today than to see that our public schools are preserved, increased, strengthened and protected.
The education of its citizens is the paramount duty of the government of a republic or a democracy. Each citizen is an integral part of the government itself, and as such we must enlighten and educate him so that he will be worthy of exercising those powers and prerogatives which are the birthright of every American.
Education is the greatest bulwark the country possesses against radicalism, church influence in government, and the other great dangers that at this time are threatening our institutions and our national unity.
In consideration of these facts it comes to my mind that there can be no greater field of activity to which the Masonic fraternity can lay its hand, than that great work known as education.
Americans and Masons who have been asleep for the last quarter of a century, as far as public school matters are concerned, should be now awake. The enemies of the public school system have thrown off the cowardly cloak of darkness under which they have worked for so many years, and now, confident in the strength of their adherents, are openly attacking the cause of free schools and free education in the halls of our state legislatures, and, sorry to say, also in the halls of the United States Congress and the Senate.
Let the Doubting Thomas read records of petitions and speeches made and presented to the Congress in relation to the Towner-Sterling Bill.
Truly it is time for each and every member of the Fraternity worthy of the name to lay his hand to the plow and dedicate his time and energies to the cause of education, so that the cardinal principles of free speech, free press, and separation of church and state, which are the bedrock of our liberties, may be forever guaranteed to our posterity.
An enemy of the public schools is an enemy of this nation. An enemy of this nation is my enemy and yours. We have evaded the issue long enough. Let us now take up the fight.
— Charles H. Ketchum, Grand Master, Florida.
* * *
An Americanization Program Our One Hope.
Freemasonry must always champion the public schools of America. As true American citizens, successors to the Washingtons and McKinleys, we are bound to encourage that vital institution peculiar to our country.
We discovered during the war that in spite of our boasted free schools there was far too much illiteracy — too many people not properly equipped for citizenship — too many people not acquainted with the literature that makes patriots. How can the man who has not read for himself the history of our land have his heart thrill at the sight of our glorious emblem? True, he may have heard through spoken word and song much to help, but this is not enough. We must try to have all our people intelligent, and the only available way is to see to it that our schools are more and more better equipped with proper buildings and well trained teachers. To this end we must insist that funds shall not be appropriated for educational institutions not free to all; and furthermore, these schools, our schools, should be open alike, as always, to accommodate the children of all without menacing in any way the religious bent of the individual.
In consideration of the thousands who come to our shores ignorant of "The American Idea," ignorant of our language and our law, our only hope is in the fact that our youth must go to school. Every foreign born person ought to go to our schools for a greater or less length of time. This refers not only to children, but to adults who should attend schools for citizenship. Our only hope in a real Americanization program is that Freemasonry and other like institutions shall stand firmly by a program that shall reach every individual.
Furthermore, Freemasonry must insist on a high standard for teachers. We must have men and women in our schools of such high character — character that is culture, honor and high ideals — that they can inspire a manhood and womanhood of which America shall be proud.
Let us as Freemasons always remember that we are at all times to be true to the great American ideals that are destined to bless mankind forever.
— F. W. Ransbottom, Grand Master, Ohio.
* * *
THE BALSAMS OF GOD
Bro. H. L. Haywood, Iowa
When I go down into the house
Where pain sits sullen in the dark,
And near him, bent and dread and stark,
Lean misery sits, which is his spouse;
When these two tie me round with bands,
And wrap me round and round with pains,
And pour their poison through my veins,
And ashes throw on brows and hands;
When there I lie, alone and drear,
The many-hampered slave of ill,
'Tis then there comes that inward thrill
Which telleth me that Thou art near:
Then o'er me fall, around, above,
The many balsams of Thy love.
* * *
MEMORIALS TO GREAT MEN WHO WERE MASONS
Bro. Geo. W. Baird. P.G.M., District of Columbia
GENERAL THOMAS NELSON
AN INTERESTING figure, an unselfish man, and a patriot in the days of the Colonies was General Thomas Nelson, a signer of the Declaration, the friend of Washington and companion of John Marshall, La Fayette and the Randolphs. General Nelson was born in York County, Virginia, in 1738, and died there in 1789; and his grave is still unmarked!
Thomas Nelson's father was, for many years, president of the colonial council, and was in comfortable circumstances. Nelson was sent to England in his 14th year, and was educated in Trinity College, Cambridge. He was married at the age of twenty-four, and made his home at Yorktown, where he spent a good deal of his time in pleasure. He was a member of the provincial council in 1774-5-6 and was in the council which framed the constitution of Virginia; and it was Thomas Nelson who offered the resolution instructing the Virginia delegates in Congress to propose a Declaration of Independence.
He was elected a delegate to Congress, and he signed the Declaration of Independence on the 4th of July, 1776.
His feeble health obliged him to resign his seat in Congress in 1777. In the following August, however, when Admiral Howe of the Royal Navy came inside the capes of Virginia, Thomas Nelson was commissioned a general officer and was ordered to command the Virginia forces. Later he raised a troop of cavalry which he took to Philadelphia. But still later he resumed his seat in the legislature.
Nelson was much opposed to the sequestration of the property of the British on the ground that it would be unjust retaliation of public wrongs on private individuals.
In 1779 he again took his seat in Congress, but soon broke down in health and had again to resign. The following May he was suddenly called into active service again, when he organized a militia to repel the ravages occurring on the Virginia Coast.
Congress called for contributions to provide for the French fleet and armament, for which the Virginia Legislature borrowed $2,000,000; and to help meet this demand General Nelson pledged his fortune, as did others at the time. He never recovered from the losses he met then, and died poor.
He succeeded Jefferson as Governor of the State in 1781, during which incumbency he was obliged to assume dictatorial powers in order to repel the British invasion: but he had the satisfaction of living to see his drastic acts approved by the legislature.
He participated in the siege of Yorktown as commander of militia, and directed that his own house, the largest in Yorktown, be bombarded.
In November, 1781, he resigned, and passed the rest of his life in retirement.
When the cornerstone of the Washington monument was laid in Richmond about the year 1830, the then Grand Master of Masons, Robert G. Scott, said:
"The campaign of this year is ever memorable for the capture of Cornwallis at Yorktown. In that village was lodge No. 9, where, after the siege was ended, Washington, La Fayette, Marshall and Nelson came together and by their union bore abiding testimony to the beautiful tenets of Masonry."
There are no other records of the visit of Nelson to lodge No. 9 on that occasion, but as Grand Master Scott and hosts of other Masons were living at that time who enjoyed a personal and intimate acquaintance with Nelson, there can be no question of the accuracy of the information.
The splendid statue was modeled by the great Crawford, and though it is called the Washington Statue, it is a memorial to Nelson, Jefferson, Patrick Henry, Mason and Lewis as well.
It is mortifying to think that the grave of Nelson is still unmarked. Two other signers lie in unmarked graves in Christ Church Yard, at Philadelphia; and they were Masons.
* * *
Freedom all winged expands,
Nor perches in a narrow place;
Her broad van seeks unplanted lands;
She loves a poor and virtuous race.
Clinging to a colder zone
Whose dark sky sheds the snow-flake down,
The snow-flake is her banner's star,
Her stripes the boreal streamers are.
Long she loved the Northman well;
Now the iron age is done,
She will not refuse to dwell
With the offspring of the Sun.
* * *
THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR AND THE PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM
Bro. Samuel Gompers, President, American Federation Of Labor
The present issue has been transformed into a forum of free opinion concerning the Public School to the end that readers may be enabled to view from many angles a subject in which Masons are peculiarly interested. In consonance with this aim we requested Brother Samuel Gompers, for many years now an active member of the Fraternity, to contribute a statement from the point of view of organized labor. Brethren who may in any way wish to respond to any of his arguments, so refreshingly worded, may do so in these pages: if private correspondence is preferred letters may be forwarded through THE BUILDER.
"It is well known and generally accepted that the public school system of the United States was created because of the insistent demands of our pioneer trade unionists in the early part of last century."
THIS QUOTATION from the report of the Executive Council of the St. Paul Convention in 1918 reflects the interest and the feeling of responsibility of American labor in the public school system of the United States. Practically every convention of the American Federation of Labor contains some resolution supporting extension of our educational system. The pace was set in the first convention in 1881 with the following declaration:
"We are in favor of the passage of such legislative enactments as will enforce, by compulsion, the education of children; that if the state has the right to exact certain compliance with its demands then it is also the right of the state to educate its people to the proper understanding of such demands."
Illiteracy among the workers of this country will be found almost exclusively in sections where they have found no adequate means of expression because they have not been able to effect economic organization. Wherever and whenever they become articulate through organization, the workers have demanded and forwarded their hope for a better opportunity for the coming generations through access to educational facilities for all the children of the country, as well as for adults who have been denied them in their youth.
Whoever will read the proceedings of the American Federation of Labor from year to year will find in them most interesting and conclusive evidence that the American labor movement is abreast or perhaps in advance of similar efforts made by the working people of any other country. I have on my desk now a pamphlet just compiled entitled "Education for All," which is an official record of the American Federation of Labor in the struggle to bring knowledge to the masses.
The headings under which convention proceedings are grouped indicate the progress of our thought in education, a step in advance following each accomplishment. This arrangement was not intentional, merely following chronological order, as follows: Compulsory Education, Free Textbooks, Character of Textbooks, Size of Classes, Teachers' Salaries, Tenure of Position, Democracy in Education, Training for Citizenship, Illiteracy, Teaching of English, Special Classes, Adaptation to Modern Conditions, Physical Education, Wider Use of School Plant, Housing, A Department of Education and Federal Aid, Teachers as Citizens, Night Schools, Continuation Schools, Industrial Education, Vocational Guidance, Labor Representation on Board of Education, Organization of Teachers, Reorganization of the Schools, School Revenues, Technical Education Offered by Unions, Labor Colleges.
With all this accomplishment I feel that we are, after all, only at the threshold of education. A great part of my life and energy has been devoted to combatting wrongheaded notions about the attitude of organized labor with reference to every sort of social and economic questions. These questions have increased in number and in variety with the development of industrial civilization. The need for efficient industrial education for our boys and girls is now more urgent than ever before. Nor is the need of educational training for greater efficiency confined to the factory or the shops; it is manifest in home life and in demands for instruction in domestic economy.
It may be helpful here to give expression to my personal philosophy of education:
Education runs along with the current of life. The goal of education may be expressed something like this — to make the individual conscious of his own resources, that he may be able to release and control the force that is his personality.
The above text does not mean that education of those who earn wages is a problem to be considered separately from the general field of education of other groups of citizens, but rather to get the complete scope of the whole from the point of view of those who work in industry. Education ought not to separate the individual from his fellows, his neighborhood, or his nation, but ought to enable him to contribute to life as it goes on around him, to give him the feeling of "belonging" that distinguishes the alien from the associate.
The school, or the period of formal education, seeks to give the individual the tools or the technique of finding and using himself. All too generally our schools have been organized on the wholesale basis with wholesale results. They have produced types, not individuals. Similar mechanistic methods prevail in shops or factories where the domination of machinery means the submergence and dwarfing of personality, killing the joy and purpose of work and life. This is all wrong, as we in the labor movement know, and to correct these conditions is one of the objectives of our movement. The labor movement stands for opportunity for natural development of the individual. It is not our function to work out the detailed plans to get that result, but we have an understanding of the fundamentals that must underlie any plan. Our experience has taught us that through mutual associations we find opportunity to develop and utilize individuality. Association does not limit rights and opportunities for individuals, but establishes and assures them. Association develops responsibility. This experience of ours in life and work ought to find a place in the minds of those who direct school education, if that education is to help students to more effective living.
WE MUST MAKE LABOR AN EDUCATIVE EXPERIENCE
The part of education upon which the labor movement can speak authoritatively and specifically is that which comes through productive processes. Present day production has come under the mechanistic influences of the repetitive process and machine domination. Such influences do not lead to education. The management must devise methods that enable even those doing repetitive work to use their brains. Such production management becomes an educational force. It brings opportunity and new desire into daily work. Use of brains means skill — creative activity, better quality of work. Fortunately this result which from one point of view is altruistic, is also sound from the business point of view. Management which releases human creative force, has augmented the most important single factor in production. It brings the individual into the production purpose — gives him the feeling of "belonging."
The individual worker can not secure for himself this educational work opportunity. That can come only through the understanding cooperation of management and the work group. The human side of production is only now being appreciated. Some of the institutions which are for the technical training of those who become managers in industry have included consideration of what is called "human engineering." Labor hopes that the day is not far distant when no technical man will assume responsibility of directing work who is ignorant of the problems of cooperation with the human beings who furnish the necessary labor power. Unfortunately, the great majority of the experts with whom we come in contact know only machines and physical forces — they do not know human beings.
Yet everything we do and have is ultimately for the service of humans. Service is the justification for existence. If educational institutions will help to establish this ultimate purpose as the directing control in every activity, it will open the way for immeasurable increase in the power of every individual.
In this work I have sometimes felt that the presumption is always against labor — that it is always assumed as a matter of course that labor is by a sort of "natural depravity" and strange blindness opposed to everything, including everything that is for its own best interests. Sometimes it is assumed that this opposition is due to a pernicious temperament on the part of labor leaders and sometimes that it is due simply to ignorance and incapacity to understand complex social conditions. The workers are essentially honest and sincere, and permit me to assure you that the degree of their ignorance is not so great as the presumptuous and supercilious often assume it to be.
You should know that organized labor does not oppose the development of industrial education in the public schools. Indeed, that would not at all fairly indicate the attitude of organized labor.
The organizations constituting the American Federation of Labor have been for years engaged in the work of systematically providing industrial education to their members. This instruction has been given through the medium of the trade union journals and schools established and maintained by them.
Organized labor has opposed and will continue to oppose some enterprises which have been undertaken in the name of industrial education. It has opposed and will continue to oppose the exploitation of the laborer even when that exploitation is done under the name of industrial education. It may continue to regard with indifference, if not with suspicion, some private schemes of industrial education. With regard to such enterprises where they are instituted by employers, with a single eye to the profit of such employers, organized labor is from Missouri — it will have to be shown that the given enterprise is not a means of exploiting labor — a means of depressing wages by creating an over supply of labor in certain narrow fields of employment.
ORGANIZED LABOR IS OPPOSED TO LOPSIDED EDUCATION
Organized labor cannot favor any scheme of industrial education which is lopsided — any scheme, that is to say, which will bring trained men into any given trade without regard to the demand for labor in that trade. Industrial education must maintain a fair and proper apportionment of the supply of labor power to the demand for labor power in every line of work. Otherwise, its advantages will be entirely neutralized. If, for example, the result of industrial education is to produce in any community a greater number of trained machinists than are needed in the community, those machinists which have been trained cannot derive any benefit from their training since they will not be able to find employment except at economic disadvantage. Under these conditions industrial education is of no advantage to those who have received it, and it is a distinct injury to the journeymen working at the trade who are subjected to a keen competition artificially produced. Industrial education must meet the needs of the workers as well as the requirements of the employer.
I can see that in some respects the most difficult task before industrial education is that of maintaining an equilibrium of supply and demand of efficient artizans, an equilibrium as nearly perfect as physically possible. How shall this most difficult problem be solved? How shall such an equilibrium of labor supply and demand be maintained and industrial education entirely freed from any suspicion of working injury to labor by causing a maladjustment of supply to demand?
The answer to these questions seems obvious. There is in my opinion only one way in which to avoid this difficulty — only one way in which to avoid the danger of working serious injury to labor — working injury in spite of the very best intentions to benefit labor.
The only way to avoid working an injury to labor under the name of industrial education is to find out what is the demand for labor. Industrial education should be in every instance based upon the survey of the industries — upon an accumulation of facts regarding the employments. Upon such a basis the public schools may properly proceed to provide for the particular industrial needs and with such an accumulation of data in hand there can be no excuse if industrial education does not prove to be of undoubted benefit to labor and to the community.
We do not wish to compete with Europe as the Chinese compete with the whole world. We could not do that and retain our standards and our self-respect. We could not do that without adopting Chinese methods of work which would mean a minimum of rest, food, no recreation and a maximum of hours of labor. If we are not willing to adopt Chinese methods, we must adopt the weapon of industrial progress which has enabled European nations to advance in material welfare in competition not only with the Orient, but more specially in competition with the United States and with other countries which have had available as a basis of industrial development vast natural resources. The period is almost past where the United States can depend upon cheap raw materials obtained with comparatively little labor from its mines and virgin fields. It is entering upon a period when it must depend upon the qualities of human labor. Under these conditions industrial decline is the only alternative to industrial education. Do you think that organized labor is going to advocate a policy of industrial decline — a policy of competing on a basis of cheap labor, instead of trained and efficient labor? Do you think it is going to advocate the adoption of Chinese methods in its competition with Europe? Let me assure you that the American workingman will not accept any such solution of the problem. He will insist that competition shall be upon the basis not of cheap men but of intelligent, efficient, skilled, virile manhood, which means that he will in the future, as he has done in the past, insist that instruction in our public schools be made democratic. In a word that the public schools generally shall institute industrial education, and that that education shall be based upon an exhaustive study of industries to determine what sort of industrial training is required, and is most conducive to the physical, mental, material and social welfare of the workers, her citizenship, the perpetuity of our republic and the fulfillment of its mission as the leader in the humanitarianism of the world.
* * *
"FRIDAY NIGHT IS 'MOVIE' NIGHT" AT LOGAN, UTAH, HIGH SCHOOL
"'Our aim in these weekly shows,' says Norman Hamilton, principal, 'is to furnish to the public good, clean motion pictures at a minimum cost; and to educate our audiences to demand better films by teaching them visually what is good.' For the price of a dime the visitor will be directed by a student-usher to a seat in an absolutely up-to-date auditorium with a seating capacity of 700. First comes an educational reel, then a comedy, and then the feature, often based on some well-known book or some historical period. The difference between this entertainment and that of any other 'movie' theatre lies in the attitude of the audience and the character of the program. The financial side has been entirely successful. The students are prepared in the classroom for any film of the evening program that needs preliminary discussion, such as a film based on a classic or having historical background."
— Journal of Education , January 19, 1922, p. 61.
— M.S.A. Bulletin No. 8.
* * *
HOW THE MASONIC IDEAL OF EQUALITY MAY BE REALIZED IN OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Bro. William F. Russell
Dean of the College of Education,
University of Iowa
FROM THE earliest times it has been the hope of all good Masons that the time would soon come when all men would have an unfettered start and a free field in the race of life; when the station arrived at, the honors and dignities won, and the responsibilities shouldered by man would be proportionate to the honest labor, the earnest efforts and tried capabilities of the man himself, rather than to accidents of birth or wealth. Thus we look back with respect to the time when our three chief officers were the great and wise King of Israel, the powerful and wealthy King of Tyre, and the humble son of a poor Phoenician widow who had won his high station through his own great abilities, his high character, and his faithful breast. These three, coordinate in power at the building of the temple, indicate the hopes and ambitions of our Fraternity: — more light for the common man; relief for the poor distressed worthy brother, his widow and orphans; downfall to the oppressor of whatever kind; and liberty, equality and fraternity for all. We meet on the level. In advancing, all travel the same path. No royal roads lead the way, nor are favors granted to the powerful or prosperous. One must be a man, free-born, of lawful age and well recommended, and a believer in a Supreme Being.
Nor has Masonry ever rested content only with its hopes. It is and has been a working institution, striving not only to teach its beliefs, but to put them into practice. A man who does not practice his Masonry deserves no reward. Albert Pike, in referring to this says: "It is because Masonry imposes upon us these duties that it is properly and significantly styled work; and he who imagines that he becomes a Mason, by merely taking the first two or three degrees, and that he may, having leisurely steeped upon that small elevation, thenceforward worthily wear the honors of Masonry, without labor or exertion, or self-denial or sacrifice, and that there is nothing to be done in Masonry, is strangely deceived." [ 1 ]
The Fathers of our Country, most of them Masons, worked and acted as such. Thus John Hancock and the framers of the Declaration of Independence re-affirmed their belief in the self-evident fact that all men are created free and equal, and that all have equal rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. John Mason wrote the Virginia Bill of Rights, specifying and qualifying the equality of man before the law, the incorporation of which in our Constitution at a later date became a conditioning factor in the ratification of that document by the various states. Benjamin Franklin, Paul Revere, George Washington, and John Marshall in their acts and deeds illustrated the work of a Mason, striving to make our country a place where men were to be equal, where they were to have equal opportunities and equal justice, where the common man should hold the reins of power, where our leaders should rise from all ranks of life alike "whose genius and not their ancestry should ennoble them." It was the work of men like these that kept our country from being one "where virtue is persecuted and vice rewarded; where the righteous starve for bread, and the wicked live sumptuously and dress in purple and fine linen; where insolent ignorance rules, and learning and genius serve; where King and Priest trample on liberty and the rights of conscience; where freedom hides in caves and mountains, and sycophancy and servility fawn and thrive; where the cry of the widow and the orphan starving for want of food, and shivering with cold, rises ever to heaven from a million miserable hovels; where men willing to labor and starving, they and their children and the wives of their bosoms, beg plaintively for work when the pampered capitalist stops his mills; where the law punishes her who, starving, steals a loaf, and lets the seducer go free; where the success of a party justifies murder, and violence and rapine go unpunished; and where he who with many years cheating and grinding the faces of the poor grows rich, receives office and honor in life, and after death, brave funeral and a splendid mausoleum." [ 2 ]
WE MUST EARN OUR OWN PROGRESS
Another tenet of our Order is the conviction that no matter how bad things are, they are not all bad; and conversely, no matter how good they are, they are not all good; that we hope there is a gentle progression from the bad toward the good, that more light is in prospect, but only by our own endeavors. We may not rest. We may never hope for complete satisfaction. We must strive onward and upward.
It is also true that as time goes on, new opportunities for work present themselves, and the consummation of old ideals may take a new direction. Consider the matter of education and schooling. We Masons have long believed that men should have an equal chance, that positions of influence should be awarded on account of merit and effort, and not on account of heredity or wealth. As was well said: "To diffuse useful information, to further intellectual refinement, sure forerunner of moral improvement, to hasten the coming of the great day, when the dawn of general knowledge shall chase away the lazy, lingering mists of ignorance and error, even from the base of the great social pyramid, is indeed a high calling, in which the most splendid talents and consummate virtue may well press onward, eager to bear a part. From the Masonic ranks ought to go forth those whose genius and not their ancestry ennoble them, to open to all ranks the temple of science, and by their own example to make the humblest men emulous to climb steps no longer inaccessible, and enter the unfolded gates burning in the sun." [ 3 ]
Only a half century ago this idea was brought forth and urged on all good Masons as a part of their work. In Chapter Ten of his Morals and Dogma, Albert Pike urges upon us the need of giving education and the opportunities for education to all, to suppress ignorance, to break down superstition, to quiet turbulence, to bring more light to the common man. This is in accord with our belief. That is what we wish for today. "One should take the lead," he says, "in the truly noble task of enlightening his countrymen, and leaving his own name encircled, not with barbaric splendor, or attached to courtly gewgaws, but illustrated by the honors most worthy of our rational nature; coupled with the diffusion of knowledge, and gratefully pronounced by a few, at least, whom his wise benefict has rescued from ignorance and vice." This being the case, we are told, "if a lodge cannot aid in founding a school or academy it can still do something. It can educate one boy or girl, at least, the child of some poor departed brother. And it never should be forgotten, that in the poorest unregarded child that seems abandoned to ignorance and vice may slumber the virtues of a Socrates, the intellect of a Bacon or a Bossuet, the genius of a Shakespeare, the capacity to benefit mankind of a Washington; and that in rescuing him from the mire in which he is plunged, and giving him the means of education and development, the lodge that does it may be the direct and immediate means of conferring upon the world as great a boon as that given it by John Faust the boy of Mentz; may perpetuate the liberties of a country and change the destinies of nations, and write a new chapter in the history of the world. For we never know the importance of the act we do. The daughter of Pharaoh little thought what she was doing for the human race, and the vast unimaginable consequences that depended upon her charitable act, when she drew the child of the Hebrew woman from among the rushes that grew along the bank of the Nile, and determined to rear it as if it were her own."
The idea in the time of Albert Pike was merely to try to add a drop or two to the empty bucket by private enterprise or lodge initiative; to make in some small way certain compensations for differences in the prospects of children that were so prevalent. At that time the public school system had not gotten a good start. Compulsory education had not been fully adopted. School terms were short. There were fewer that 100,000 pupils in the public high schools. To secure a real chance for an education and advancement, a child had to be born of well-to-do parents who would help him out. Individual help was about the only means of assistance open to the man or Mason interested in the welfare of all the People.
TIMES HAVE CHANGED
But times have changed. Today we have a well worked out system of schools, enrolling more than twenty-two million pupils. Nearly two million are in high school. We have nearly two hundred state supported normal schools. Nearly all the states, with the exception of a few in the East, have state universities. We have an educational ladder free and open equally to all from the primary grades to the university. We have a system of education supported at public expense for the benefit of the children of our country, designed not for the wealthy, not for the privileged, but for all of us in proportion to our efforts and abilities.
When one considers that American public school system he is inclined to believe that here at last one of Masonry's ideals has been achieved. The poor and rich meet on equal grounds. Everyone has a chance. All he needs is the ambition and the courage to stick to his task. He is apt to think that the promised day has come, that the Word hat been found, and that at last the king's child and the widow's son are on equal terms.
This is not true. While we in America have made large strides toward a state of affairs in which all met are equal, where all children will have a free field and an unfettered start in the race of life, certain grave inequalities still remain, many of which by public effort and community interest we can eliminate.
Educational opportunities are not equal from state to state. More than $59.00 was spent per pupil in Montana in 1918, while less than $8.00 was spent it Mississippi. One state for the support of schools raises more than $5.00 for every $1,000 of estimated market value of its wealth that was taxed, while another raises less than $1.50. If New York were to tax itself for schools as heavily in proportion to its real wealth as Tennessee it would raise five times as much per pupil and Nevada would raise ten times as much. Some states have twenty times as much invested in school property per pupil as others; some pay their teachers five times as much as others; some have school terms three times as long; some care for the health of the pupil, some do not; some require regularly qualified teachers, others do not; some have only one-room schools in rural districts, others consolidated schools; and so on through a long list of items. It remains a fact that today in the United States of America many children are handicapped by being born in certain states, while others are favored. Some states remain poor educationally. No Mason should allow this condition to continue. No community should be allowed to give as poor an education as some school boards would desire. Some communities should not be allowed to offer as limited an education as the community can actually afford. Just as in most of our states we have come to a system of state subsidy for poor districts, and certain standardized state minimal requirements below which no community may go; so we should have national subsidy of education and certain national standards up to which all must come. This is not a matter of politics. It is not a matter of pride. It is merely a guarantee by the nation that no child, on account of accidents of birth, shall be deprived of his opportunity to serve his country and his brother man in the highest way of which he is capable. For this reason, every man should stand firmly for federal subsidy of education and federal control of education up to the point of aiding weaker sections of they country and setting certain minimum standards for all. We should agree to necessary amendment of the Towner-Sterling Bill, so long as the fundamental principles remain the same. But some form of national aid and resultant control should be secured. Here is work for all good citizens.
Nor can we justly say that the American public school system entirely compensates for differences in wealth. The school is free, it is open to all; but so are the mountains of Alaska or the wonders of Honolulu. All we need is the money for transportation, and food, clothing and shelter after we get there. There are many children who, because of poverty at home, are deprived of an education. Their parents cannot afford to purchase books; the work that they can do, especially those of high school age, may be needed at home. If the school is at some distance, transportation may be beyond their means. It costs a good deal to attend high school or college. A school system free to all may not be truly open equally to all. Here and there in our country we see efforts toward the remedying of this condition. Many cities and a few rural districts supply free text books. Payment of transportation is gradually being extended. Tennessee remits carfare to all state university students to and from school once each year. Scholarships are being provided. Correspondence courses are offered in some states at nominal rates of tuition. Mother's pensions, widow's pensions and the like are found occasionally. Some schools give free lunches. Some require simple dress, and inexpensive social events, so that poorer pupils may remain on even terms. Loan funds, scholarships, and prizes are offered. Here is work for the good citizen, man or Mason. We should use all our influence to see to it that no child, however poor, is deprived of a chance for schooling, of any grade to which his intelligence and perseverence may entitle him. Encourage all efforts to compensate for inequalities of wealth at home. It may cost money, it may seem to be a fad or frill, but remember it may open the door of opportunity to some deserving soul, as Albert Pike so eloquently described.
STUDY COURSES FOR ALL
In a similar way, we may say that the American school does not compensate for differences in the ambition of pupils. Just a few years ago, the boy or girl who could work well with his hands was handicapped by being offered opportunity only to study foreign languages or higher mathematics. Too often these pupils were condemned to leave the school that offered them no chance to display their talents or to perfect in them the abilities that God had given. Today we find that most of our schools are offering wider opportunities, teaching homemaking and manual training, agriculture, music, art, commerce, and other vocational subjects. Students likely to leave school early are given special courses in the high school, far different from the traditional college preparatory work. These subjects are being criticized. They cost too much money, say the critics. They are not well organized. Let us return to the good old days. Here is work for the good citizen, man or Mason. Keep a broad course. People are different. Pupils are not alike. You cannot give different people an equal chance if they are all treated alike. Only in differing courses can there be equality of opportunity.
Other differences in the original circumstances of pupils are being compensated for in certain school systems. We differ in ability. Some work quickly; others slowly. Why have all kinds in the same class, the bright develop habits of indolence and the dull become discouraged? Thus we find varied systems of promotion, parallel classes, special teachers, intelligence tests. Fad and frills they appear to some. Sources of expense they seem to the over-burdened taxpayer. In reality they are efforts to adjust educational opportunities equally, and as such they deserve our support.
There are also differences in health. Pupils go rapidly or slowly, progress or fail, too often as they are nourished or undernourished, as they can see or not, hear or not, breathe properly or not. Hookworm and trachoma in the mountain schools of the South have closed the door of opportunity to many a noble soul. So we find medical and dental inspection and care in many school systems, all to give opportunity where before it was denied.
The history of the public school system in the United States is a long story of progress from a condition where only the favored were given a chance toward an ideal where all equally will have their chance. We are only part way on our way. Most of the plan is on the trestleboard. The masters are at work. The foundation has been laid and the superstructure is gradually taking form. But many columns and pillars still lie about us. Many of the stones have not yet been taken from the quarry. It is for us to take up the unfinished work lying before us. It is for us to complete the structure. If we will but weigh carefully our local situation, consider the advantages and disadvantages of proposals before our boards of education, we may at last achieve that which by our own endeavors and their assistance we were in hopes to find.
So, to the true Mason, the American public school system offers a tremendous field of work. It is one of the foundation stones of our liberty; it is dear to the heart of the American people. Today, while representing a distinct advance on our system of former years, and far in the lead of systems of other countries, nevertheless it is only partly doing its work. It is set about with indifferent patrons, with boards of control too often uneducated and unambitious, with short-sighted watch-dogs of the treasury. The advice given by Albert Pike half a century ago to support individuals and to assist in the foundation of schools and academies was splendid in its day. Our schools were then in the making. It had not then been determined whether or not a public high school could be a legal charge upon public funds. It is for us today rather to bend our efforts to assure these opportunities to all the children of all the people, through the betterment of the American public school along the lines suggested above.
Here is work for all. Here is an opportunity for every good Mason. The organization of our schools is perfected. Few communities are without educational facilities. What we need is a guarantee that every boy or girl in our land shall have a chance to secure the education justified by his ability, his character, and his perseverence regardless of the state in which he lives, the financial circumstances of his family, the type of ability he has, whether he wants to work with his hands or head, whether he is quick or slow, sick or well. Let us assist the individual cases that come to our attention. Encourage our lodges to support pupils here and there. But let us by our public interest stand by our public schools so that in some future period an education will be given that in a true sense will be open equally to all. Then only shall we be on the level. Then only in every instance will there be help for the widow's son. Thus by the "labor and exertion, selfdenial and sacrifice" of two and one-half million of us, may we worthily wear the honors of Freemasonry.
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SCHOOLS MUST EQUIP PUPILS FOR LIFE IN THE COMMUNITY
"The modern manner of life is due to the 'industrial revolution,' or in other words the establishment of human society on a basis of machine production, has affected the thought and habit of man more profoundly and universally than any material change in his history since he first learned to use fire and make tools. The main problem of the continuation school is that of building up a type of education adapted to the needs of the citizens in such an industrial democracy.... For the first time in history, a schism has arisen between culture and the crafts, with the result that modern culture tends to be trivial, esoteric, dilettante, while the crafts, from which poet and artist turn away in disgust, are left mean, ugly and formless. In the continuation schools of the future there is an opportunity of doing something to bring these natural allies together once more, and so of furthering the reestablishment of modern civilization upon a sound basis....
"Humanism is as broad as the sum of human thought, interests and endeavor. In education, it means the awakening and liberation of the individual child by cleansing the channels and increasing the flow of his self-expression, by making him conscious of his heritage and of his true function in society, and lastly, by teaching him to take purposeful flight upon the wings of imagination. It embraces, in other words, all those subjects which deal with man as dedicated to the pursuit of beauty, truth and goodness, and as a social being with obligations to his immediate society, his nation, and the whole human race....
". . . The first duty of the continuation school teacher is to make his pupils realize that the world he is dealing with is their world, the actual world in which they live. To do this it is necessary to set out on the journey from the right spot, the spot from which all journeys start — home. And this point of departure will determine the whole character of the course, since it lends it purpose and direction. 'The students set out from home in order to understand home better, and it is the search for that larger comprehension of their own lives and work which directs their footsteps. Moreover, when the journey is over they will return home once more to see what the old place looks like in the light of their accumulated experience. The humanistic course will be something in the nature of a grand tour.' With this underlying intention history and geography based on local lore but extending to remote times and places may be studied, and associated with this course will be a study of modern social and economic problems. Literature is included with the aim of developing a right emotional attitude toward life as a whole.... By working at the problem in the manner above indicated, the industrial activities of the modern world may be made at once significant and joyous, and thus will be laid the foundations of a right culture."
— J. Dover Wilson, His Majesty's Inspector of Schools.
— M.S.A. Bulletin No. 8.
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THE NEEDS OF OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Bulletin No. 8, Masonic Service Association
"We owe it to the childhood of the Nation and the childhood of the agricultural districts of our land to place at its disposal the utmost in educational facilities."
— Warren G. Harding.
"The supreme task of our democracy is the right training of its future citizens. On our success, in this great and complex undertaking depends the future of American civilization."
— Henry Louis Smith.
"The public school is the cornerstone of all American institutions."
— Los Angeles Examiner
FELLOW STOCKHOLDERS: We are going to discuss, for a few moments, the greatest business enterprise in which you and I are jointly engaged. It is practically a new business, having been in existence, in a nation-wide way, only about seventy-five years. The world knew nothing about this business a hundred years ago, and some of our colonial fathers scoffed at it as something which, if it could be attained, was not worth the having. As a business, let us analyze it for ourselves, carefully.
A careful analysis is justified. For this business is one which has a greater capital invested than any other enterprise in America. Tremendous amounts of real estate are owned. Great buildings house the shops. There are officers in every city and town in the country. An army of directors and workers is employed. Upon this business is spent the majority of our peace-time taxes. Into its factories goes the most precious material that our nation yields. Out of it comes a product, the value of which far exceeds our production of foodstuffs and manufactures combined.
This business, fellow stockholders, is the American public school system.
The product of this "factory" is the education of our children — your boys and girls, and mine. Upon this product depends the future of America. We, as a people, invest more money in it than in anything else in which we are interested. The system is a corporation — and you and I own and operate it. When we consider that the high school enrollment jumped from 915,000 to 1,645,000 in eight years, and that only a little more than seventy-five years ago there were no high schools in this entire world, we begin to understand how gigantic an enterprise it is, and how rapidly it is growing.
The analysis that we are to make is not based upon sentiment in any way whatever. Let us think in l terms of invested capital, and dividends; yes, and wear and tear, and operating expense.
It is from these points of view that we want to discuss the public school system. Your child enters the public school — how does he come out? You pay in more actual dollars and cents for the maintenance and upbuilding of the public school than you do for any other peace work that you are interested in as a taxpayer — what dividends do you get back? Your child is graduated from your high school — and what sort of a job does he get? More important still, what kind of a job does he hunt for?
We have the light of any stockholder to see what we are getting for our money. We are going to give credit for every bit of constructive work that enters into the product. We are going to charge every item which properly belongs on the debit side of the ledger. We are not going to admit that our efforts have been in vain, these seventy-five years. We are not going to indict the management, except as we shall find ourselves wanting.
Let us begin our survey.
The community in which we live has invested thousands, hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of dollars, in our "plant." Yet that plant is idle more than three-fourths of the time. We admit that it should be idle a part of the time, perhaps a little more than half. But when the plant operates on a thirty hour a week schedule for only thirty-six weeks, is it not just to say — as stockholders — that the idle time is out of all proportion to the working hours?
We are not saying that the children and their teachers should put in eight hours a day, twelve months in the year. We are talking about our "plant" — the buildings. Are we using them efficiently? Someone may say that they are specially constructed, that they are not adaptable to the production of other things. Are we so sure? Could they not be so adapted?
Then let us consider the managers, superintendents and foremen. They are the faculty. Assuming that they are efficient, how about the way we handle them? Would you permit half or more of your foremen and responsible officers to shift from one plant to another every year? Would you expect them to be satisfied and happy in an environment in which they were unable to become acquainted with their neighbors until the year was up, or practically so? Would you care to have a business in which all your skilled operatives were changing every three years? Yet this is what happens to your teachers. A large percentage of them shift from place to place at the end of the school year; they know little of the community in which they teach until the school year is ended. Does this kind of organization develop efficiency?
The recent war brought out the awful lack of even the most elementary education in the young men of draft age. The percentage of illiteracy was found to be disgracefully high. Our government had to spend billions in training young men to understand and obey orders. We paid an awful price to give elementary education to these adults. Is it sound business sense to allow the next generation to come out of the schools as ignorant as these adults?
Good as our public school system is, we find that there is a tremendous economic waste in its administration. Viewed from a business standpoint, can we afford to let this go on? The public school system ought in any balanced scheme of things to link up very definitely, not only with "higher education" but with the home, business, and community life. Failing in this, there is an economic waste. The percentage of business and professional failures is an index of our school system. The percentage of failures is too high.
No self-respecting citizen, no stockholder in this great corporation of ours, needs to be told that the ideals of educated men and women must more and more be made the ideals of all our people. This is what we ought to mean when we speak of "Americanism." No thinking man or woman owning a share in this "Company" can fail to realize that the cost of education is a productive expenditure of money, that it will pay enormous dividends, and that in no sense of the word is it a charity!
It needs no argument to prove that the public school is not a place where political, religious or educational "axes" are to be ground! There should be no argument to prove that every one of us must understand and appreciate the value of the public service rendered by teachers. They should know us, and mix with us, and acquire a practical knowledge of the problems of life we face, and which our children must face. And it is infinitely more important that we know the teachers into whose care we intrust the minds of our children. It is worth while, from a dollar and cents standpoint, for us to cultivate them, entertain them in our homes and make them feel that they are being relied upon, and that they can rely upon us!
We have spoken of "Americanism." What does it mean? What should it mean to our children? From this standpoint, what are the real needs of the public school?
"Americanism" means "Equality of Opportunity." We live in no feudal age. There are no barons or lords of the manor who hold us as chattels. Each man and woman is a human soul, entitled to a fair chance. Inevitably we are bound to each other by the ties of brotherhood, and the future of our America depends upon every boy and girl growing into a healthy, happy, competent manhood and womanhood, able to cope with the conditions that a citizen must face. Our public school system should fit children to take advantage of their opportunities, and so make of themselves all that ambition and thrift and character may hope to attain.
Universal education, more than anything else, must be the goal of our Republic. Upon this rest the foundations of government, for only through intelligent citizens can our government continue in the years to come.
The bane of factory production is returned goods — goods which have been improperly manufactured and are sent back to be worked over. Do we realize that there can be returned goods in our schools? Have we ever stopped to think that it costs as much to put a child through the same grade twice as it does to put two children through once? Everything which helps the child to learn quickly is real economy. Only if a child is healthy will he do the required work. Otherwise he will hold back his classmates as well as himself. Health becomes the greatest possible economy and if there were no other grounds for asking that supervision of health be exercised over all children, this would be enough.
Our public schools can succeed only in proportion to the co-operation which they receive from the community. We have spoken of effective organization. If this is demanded by the community, we shall get the worth of our money. If a community demands teachers who believe in public education at state expense, the demand will be supplied. If the people of a community are determined that American ideals shall be instilled into the minds of their children, rather than the vaporings of foreign agitators, the schools in that community will have 100% American teachers.
In return for all this the community must do its part. We must give the teacher a place among us. He must feel at home with us because he has come into our homes. It is necessary for the teacher to know the home background of the child if intelligent direction is to be given. We cannot expect wholehearted work without some measure of appreciation.
As individuals we have three ways in which we can become a constructive force for the betterment of the public schools. We can do it as voters, supporting those measures which benefit the public schools, and voting against the measures that are opposed to their welfare.
We can do it by making our lives touch the lives of those directly connected with the schools. This does not mean working through a committee or an association. It means finding out for ourselves what the schools are doing. It means becoming acquainted with, and learning to know, the aspirations and the abilities of the teacher who guides the destinies of our child during school hours.
Finally, we can give our support as parents. The child is a healthy animal as a rule, and has very little natural desire for an education. We must show him that the way to success in the world lies down the long road of education. We must make this road reasonably attractive. We must show him that education is his greatest asset.
The public school which brings the children of the rich and of the poor together is the one great agency which makes for a responsible citizenship. Our children must know that the right to go to a public school has been fought for. They must know what it costs in terms of money and sacrifice. Do we realize that on the organization and influence of the public school system depends the perpetuity of our Republic?
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The art of using modern abilities to advantage wins praise, and often acquires more reputation than actual brilliancy.
— La Rouchefoucauld.
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"NO PEOPLE IN A STATE OF CIVILIZATION CAN STAY IGNORANT AND FREE"
"Thou shalt teach them (your children) the words of the law, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the doorposts of thine house and upon thy gates."
SOCIETIES that choose to remain stationary and fear change or progress deliver their young over, bound hand and foot, into the control of tradition. Boys and girls are made to learn verses from the Analects, Vedas, or the Koran with the assiduity of young animals set to a task for the understanding of which they have neither interest nor capacity: it is deemed sufficient that they grow to maturity with mind and habit glued to the past, — timid, fearful, conventional, inert, and with a veritable horror of change. The early peoples of the world were not wild and free, as fancy has so often ignorantly pictured them, but tame as horses in a treadmill: the great god Taboo held them in charge for thousands of years, and they were as much afraid of climbing out of the smooth grooves of custom as so many processionary caterpillars. Their conception of education was based on a reverence for the past that stereotyped and rendered sacred its most trivial accidents as well as its most fruitful achievements.
It is probable that the gleaming-eyed Greeks, with their vivid sense of originality and their love for the rich surprises of personality, were the first people in the world to discover in education a power for progress, albeit the Spartans were an exception and made use of schooling merely as a means of Prussianizing the citizenship. But the Greeks — glorious as were their powers over the arts — fell short in that they conceived of education solely in terms of the individual: it had its beginning, its end, and its justification in him. Education for the purpose of social control, education for the development of the nation as a nation, — such an ideal never took roots in the Greek genius. For this reason is it that this same Greek genius, while it continues to inspire and shape a few personalities, is helpless to shape peoples and nations: it has neither ideas nor disciplines for this purpose, consequently Greek culture is being absorbed into a larger synthesis by the all-dominant forces of present-day democratic education.
The Roman people never discovered the potency in education as a means of managing great masses of people, else they would have trusted the soldier less, and the pedagogue more. As it was, they put their faith in force rather than in culture, so they built many armies and few schools. Such education as they had was for the few and not the many, and it was imitative, timid, and fruitless, save in the genius of language, and for that one cannot say very much.
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Beginning in the days of Charlemagne, the Middle Ages made feeble attempts at the development of schools and curricula. But everything was against education. There were no nations and consequently all political stability was lost amid the greed of ruling families and the furor of factions. Such education as the Middle Ages did attempt from Alcuin down fell foul of the division that ran like a bridgeless cleft through the Europe of those times, with the Church on the one side and the State on the other always at loggerheads with each other as to which was to rule. At last the Great Compromise was made: since neither was able to overthrow the other, both made terms by dividing human life into two parts — soul and body — the former of which was made over to the Church, the latter to the State. This nonsensical arrangement crystallized itself into the school systems, so that there were many institutions where a person could become a monk, and many others where he could become an artisan, but none in which he could become a man. The control of education gradually fell to pieces so that at last even the trade guilds, down to their small subdivisions, undertook the education of youths, as witness the guild school at Stratford-on-Avon, where William Shakespeare, the butcher lad of that village, got his "little Latin and less Greek."
The Reformation was the starting point of a new educational movement, and that for a most peculiar reason. Until the sixteenth century the Church was the rule and guide of faith for nearly all men, and few had to look elsewhere for a chart of eternity or a guarantee of safety in that mysterious region: with the coming of Luther a change in basis was affected, so that the faith of man was transferred from a complicated but quite commonplace institution to a little-known and very fearful Book. Men had to believe in order to be saved; they had to read the Bible to know what to believe; and they couldn't read the Bible unless they were taught, so schools came everywhere into existence for that purpose.
But the Reformation brought blessings far beyond itself. By smashing the authority of both Church and State over the minds of men it made possible that which would have come centuries earlier had it not been for the paralyzing effects of the old Roman Catholic dogmas — science arrived. There was nothing supernatural or mysterious in its advent, because science is at bottom nothing other than common sense every day methods of doing things. It technologizes human labor and thereby increases to untold degrees the wealth of the world. It needed no other passport to the hearty acceptation of men than that. But science makes it necessary that men rely on reason and experience rather than on myth and magic, consequently it has, in the unconscious unfolding of its own inner nature, trained men altogether away from the close supernaturalistic monkish atmosphere of the Middle Ages. In passing from Roger Bacon to Francis Bacon, the world became a new world and made inevitable the coming of a new education.
Along with science, and by virtue of the same logic of development, there arose out of the matrix period of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries that discovery of mankind by man which we call democracy, and which shares with science responsibility for re-shaping a new civilization out of the old. When St. Bernard passed along Lake Lucerne, he pulled his hood over his eyes in order that the bewitching beauty of his surroundings might not tempt him away from his meditations upon eternity. The act was a significant gesture of the whole genius of the Middle Ages: during that vast period of time men stood gazing into the heavens — their eyes up, their hands folded, their heads empty. Democracy and science together completely destroyed this fruitless otherworldliness, and taught man to turn his eyes, his attention, and his hands to realities.
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It was in keeping with the nature of things that education in this country began with a timid and halfhearted imitation of school methods of the Old World. In Virginia, where Anglicanism held sway, society was graded upwards from the slave and the apprentice to the landlord and his lady, and schools were accordingly designed for the children of the well-to-do. In the New Netherlands, where religion was split into many parties, the parochial system was devised. In Massachusetts, where Calvinism had its own way, and later throughout New England, universal education under public control was attempted. In the beginning schools were for clergymen and gentlemen: after a while lawyers and doctors made their way in: then came the merchants: the way was not opened for everybody until a group of heroic leaders and martyrs compelled the nation to see in education the most powerful of all means of national self-development. James G. Carter, "father of the normal schools"; Horace Mann, "father of the public free school system"; and Henry Barnard, the first Commissioner of Education, are names to be held in everlasting remembrance. The time may possibly come — let us hope it will come soon — when these little-known Makers of America will be given their rightful place in the pantheons along with Lincoln, Grant, Washington, and Jefferson. They were builders of the public mind. They were statesmen of education, and education will continue to thrive and to increase long after our present political fabrics are completely forgotten. As the schools are, so are a people.
"No people in a state of civilization can stay ignorant and free." Of all the wise things said by Thomas Jefferson, this was one of the wisest. Ignorance means superstition: if people are superstitious the priests will rule. Ignorance means poverty: if people are poor, the rich will rule. Ignorance means weakness: if the people are weak, the strong will rule. Ignorance means helplessness: a helpless people are as clay in the hands of a potter, to be thumped, moulded, or discarded as the astute may will. Unless all the people are educated, a few of the people must run things, because it is only the educated who CAN run things. Democracy and education belong to each other like the roots and the branches of a tree: without the one the other cannot survive. If there is no free public school system, democratic institutions will go by the board. if there is no democracy, public schools will be abolished by whatever groups may chance to secure control of things.
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A free people organizing itself through a free public school, that is the ideal to which Freemasonry is committed. Our Fraternity has no educational program whatsoever, so far as pedagogical methods, theories, or experiments are concerned; neither is it exercised over-much about the particular form into which the public school may at any time be cast. It is concerned, and concerned very much, to see that the whole educational institution is not quietly undermined by a swarm of separatist groups every one of which knows that it can never capture control of the nation so long as it leaves the schools free. The schools must never be permitted to fall under the control of the church, the politicians, the rich, the bolshevists, or any other devisive and sectarian party, else the nation will awaken one day to discover that it has of its great public school system nothing left save an empty shell. America does not put her trust in armies, navies, in diplomats, or in gold: her faith is in education because she knows that "no people in a state of civilization can stay ignorant and free."
In the coming of a national Department of Education — it will come sooner or later with the certainty of fate, whatever befall the Towner-Sterling Bill, the dream of the fathers will at last become true. Over and above all, the more visible and material advantages of that great political departure will stand its moral and symbolical value for all time to come, for the seating of a Secretary of Education in the Cabinet of the President will signify to all people the fact that in this land education is nationalized forever, and that private parties everywhere had best keep hands off.
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A statue lies hid in a block of marble, and the art of the statuary only clears away the superfluous matter and removes the rubbish. The figure is in the stone; the sculptor only finds it. What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to a human soul. The philosopher, the saint, or the hero, — the wise, the good, or the great man very often lies hid and concealed in a plebian, which a proper education might have disinterred, and have brought to light.
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Men who undertake considerable things, even in a regular way, ought to give us ground to presume ability.
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"THE MANHOOD OF HUMANITY" — A MIGHTY BOOK
"The Manhood of Humanity" by Count Alfred Korzybski; published in 1921 by E. P. Dutton & Co., 681 Fifth Ave., New York, N. Y. Price $3.00.
HEAR WHAT Cassius J. Keyser, Adrain Professor of Mathematics, Columbia University, and a name somewhat familiar to the readers of these pages, has to say about this extraordinary book:
"Count Korzybski's book, 'Manhood of Humanity,' is a momentous contribution to the best thought of these troubled years. It is momentous in what it contains, even more so in what it suggests, and most of all, I dare say, in the excellent things it will eventually help men and women to say and do. Its core is a great conception of man in terms of Time. Like all really great ideas, it is intelligible and is universal in its interest and appeal. It is, I believe, destined to light the way in all the cardinal concerns of our humankind."
The present writer happens to know of a certainty that this letter, and one that will be quoted later, are genuine expressions and not mere bookselling puffs done to order for a consideration.
The most potent of all present-day schools of thought is composed of a group of mathematical philosophers of whom Professor Keyser is himself a distinguished member, and to which Count Korzybski's book immediately admitted him. Bertrand Russell, Alfred N. Whitehead, Henri Poincare, Jacques Loeb, Charles P. Steinmetz, Robert B. Wolf, H. L. Gantt, Walter A. Polakov, etc., are among the other names notable, or becoming notable, through their connection with this crusade of rigorous thinking in behalf of a more substantial civilization than that on the wreckage of which we are now floundering about. If the reader is curious to learn something about this new method of thinking let him read "Principia Mathematica" by Whitehead and Russell which is so "noble a monument to the critical spirit of science and to the idealism of our time," and which Count Korzybski himself describes as a "monumental work" that "stands alone."
The idea at the core of this new school of thought is mathematical; so also with "The Manhood of Humanity," albeit in the latter case it is couched in what may appear at first to be non-mathematical language. "Time-binding" is the name given to it by the author, a new and a striking term that becomes luminous with meaning as one peruses the book.
What is meant by "time-binding"? Let us ask first what is meant by time. Since I began writing this review, some fifteen minutes, let us say, have elapsed. What do we mean by this phrase "fifteen minutes"? Since I began using this typewriter I have been conscious of a series of sensations in my eyes and muscles; I have had a feeling of the pressure of the chair in which I have been sitting, and this feeling has continued. The crooked marks made on the page by the type have been multiplying and so have the pages on which I have been making them. My three-year old son has twice run up and down the hall outside the door. I have been hearing the while the chug-a-chug of an electric washing machine somewhere in the rear of the house. Outside my window birds have been fluttering about among the rose bushes, and a great palm, farther toward the front of the yard, has been weaving up and down in the wind, and I have been noting it half-consciously out of the tail of my eye. Also I have been aware of certain bodily sensations attendant upon breathing and the like, and when I look about me I can see that the furniture of the room continues to exist. This whole little world in the midst of which I have been sitting is not something apart from me, nor am I something apart from it; I and it are a part of one whole, and I and it, and all in it or in myself, have been changing and continuing. It has all been going on, and my own experience of that going-on is what I call time. The "fifteen minutes" of which I spoke is a familiar and easy way of denoting a certain quantum of that experience I have been having of the going-on of things. Clocks, watches, calendars, and our habits of marking time by daylight and dark are not in themselves time at all, but merely our way of managing this endless stream of our experience of the going-on of things. Time is not something empty and remote, but something full and immediate; it is the very stuff of life itself.
It appears that an animal makes very little use of this on-going of things and experiences, for it apparently remains about the same, save for organic changes, from one "moment" of time to another. With man, however, — and this is the point important to remember — it is different, for his very nature is so constructed this his life itself is an adjustment to this process, and therefore he is able to gather it up and preserve it as it goes along, and anticipate it as it is yet to come. That is to say, he binds it up in himself, and that is why Korzybski calls man a "time-binder." Our family cat, who has just excited the children by a gift of two kittens, has been eating her meals in exactly the same manner since she was born; all the "times" of her eating have left her apparently unchanged. Not so myself — I have learned by "experience," which is another name for time, how better and better to eat, until now, when I sit at a table, I eat by means of the stored-up time that is in my nature. To be able to bind up time this way is that which, according to Korzybski, most differentiates myself from the cat, for, — and this is the formula of the Korzybski philosophy, — man is by essence (he will forgive me for using this abused term here) a time-binding being. Korzybski, it may be noted in passing, stands up and fights when anyone calls man an animal: one may be glad that at last our thinkers are beginning to recover from the silly superstition that so laid hold of nineteenth century thinkers! To call man an animal is to talk nonsense.
The advantage of the time-binding conception is that it offers an understanding of human nature which is rigorously scientific and accurate and which may be dealt with by the precise methods of mathematical science. Therein lies its importance, for it makes it possible hereafter to deal with man in the accurate way in which science deals with anything, and not in the botched and childish way in which — let us say — politics deals with anything.
The exact sciences such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, engineering, etc., have been progressing by rapid strides in geometric ratio, but not so politics and those kindred organized efforts which are beginning to be called the "human" or "social" sciences. These latter are all in a snarl and don't know which way to turn, and that is what is wrong with the world at the present moment. Why is this? It is because the exact sciences are what the name implies, they are exact and precise, — mathematical by their nature, — whereas the so-called social sciences are as yet congeries of passions, prejudices, ignorances, party shibboleths, and superstitions. The only hope out of the muddle of which the Great War was the horrible outcome is by Human Engineering. The social sciences must become exact and passionless like mathematics, not in order that man's own life may become hard and dry but for the exactly opposite reason that human life may become joyous and spontaneous. The Great War is the reply to those who would say, Let us go on by the old methods of party politics and all that: Human Engineering — the phrase explains itself — is the reply of those who say, Let us not, in the name of God, go on in the old way. It is neither revolution nor reaction but science, as benign as it is sure!
In the name of all you hold dear you must read this book; and then you must reread it, and after that read it again and again, for it is not brewed in the vat of the soft best-sellers to be gulped down and forgotten, but it is hewn out of the granite, for the building of new eras. Robert B. Wolf, Vice-President of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, spoke soberly in a letter to the Vice President of E. P. Dutton & Co., when he wrote these words:
"I consider Count Korzybski's discovery of man's place in the great life movement as even more epoch making than Newton's discovery of the law of gravitation. It will have a far greater effect upon the development of the human race.
"His book, 'Manhood of Humanity, The Science and Art of Human Engineering,' is one of great power and originality, and I believe that no thinking man or woman can afford not to be familiar with it. It opens up an entirely new field of thought, and my own keen interest comes, not only from the fact that Count Korzybski proves his theory mathematically, but also, because my own years of practical experience as an industrial manager have proven beyond a question of a doubt, that his theory of man's relationship to Time is absolutely correct."
Count Korzybski is the head of one of the oldest families in Poland. He was a General Staff officer during the Great War, and he knows Europe as do few. He is a man apparently in his fifties, with a close-cropped head, a square jaw, deep-set gray eyes, and walks with a cane; when he talks he does it with his whole nature. Words cannot say how much in earnest he is in helping pull the world out of the mud-hole in which it now finds itself. He is not a Mason himself (as yet) but his family have been for many generations
H. L. Haywood.
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PUBLICATIONS WANTED, FOR SALE, AND EXCHANGE
We are constantly receiving inquiries from readers as to where they may obtain publications on Freemasonry and kindred subjects not offered in our Monthly Book List. Most of the books thus sought are out of print, but it may happen that other readers, owning copies, may be willing to dispose of the same. Therefore this column is set aside each month for such a service. And it is also hoped — and expected — that readers possessing very old or rare Masonic works will communicate the fact to THE BUILDER in behalf of general information.
Post office addresses are here given in order that those buying and selling may communicate directly with each other. Brethren are asked to cancel notices as soon as their wants are supplied.
In no case does THE BUILDER assume any responsibility whatsoever for publications thus bought, sold, exchanged or borrowed.
By Bro. D. D. Berolzheimer, 1 Madison Ave., New York, N. Y.: "Realities of Masonry," Blake, 1879; "Records of the Hole Craft and Fellowship of Masons," Condor, 1894; "Masonic Bibliography," Carson, 1873; "Origin of Freemasonry," Paine, 1811.
By Bro. G. Alfred Lawrence, 142 West 86th St., New York, N. Y.: Proceedings of the Scottish Rite Body founded by Joseph Cerneau in New York City in 1808, of which De Witt Clinton was the first Grand Commander, and which body became united, in 1867, with the Supreme Council of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, A. & A. S. R. Also Proceedings of the Supreme Council founded in New York by De La Motta, in 1813, by authority of the Southern Supreme Council, of which he was Grand Treasurer-General, these Proceedings from 1813 to 1860.
By Bro. Frank R. Johnson, 306 East 10th St., Kansas City, Mo.: "The Year Book," published by the Masonic Constellations, containing the History of the Grand Council, R. & S. M., of Missouri.
By Brother Silas H. Shepherd, Hartland, Wisconsin: "Catalogue of the Masonic Library of Samuel Lawrence"; "Second Edition of Preston's Illustrations of Masonry"; "The Source of Measures," by J. Ralston Skinner 1875, or second edition 1894; "Ars Quatuor Coronatorum," volumes I to XI, inclusive; "Masonic Facts and Fictions," by Henry Sadler; "The Kabbalah Unveiled," by S. L. MacGregor Mathers.
By Bro. Ernest E. Ford, 305 South Wilson Avenue, Alhambra, California: Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, volumes 3, 6 and 7, with St. John's Cards, also St. John's Cards for volumes 4 and 5; "Masonic Review," early volumes; "Voice of Masonry," early volumes; Transactions Supreme Council Southern Jurisdiction for the years 1882 and 1886; Original Proceedings of The General Grand Encampment Knights Templar for the years 1826 and 1835.
By Bro. George A. Lanzarotti, Casilla 126, Rancagua, Chile: All kinds of Masonic literature in Spanish. Write first quoting prices.
By Brother L. Rask, 14 Alvey St., Schenectady, N. Y.: "Remarks upon Alchemy and the Alchemists," by E. A. Hitchcock, Janesville, N. Y., about 186S; "Secret Societies of all Ages," Heckethorn; "Lost Language of Symbology," by Harold Bayley, published by Lippincott; "Sacred Hermeneutics," by Davidson, Edinburgh, 1843; "Solar System of the Ancients Discovered," by J. Wilson, published by Longmans Co., London, 18S6; "The Alphabet," by Isaac Taylor, Kegan, Paul, Trench & Co., 1883, or the edition of 1899 published by Scribners, New York; "Anacalypsis," by Geodfrey Higgins, 1836, published by Green & Longmans, London; "Ars Quatuor Coronatorum," any volume or volumes.
By Bro. J. H. Tatsch, Union Bank & Trust Co., Los Angeles, Calif.: Fascilus 2, "Cementaria Hibernica," by Chetwode Crawley; Volumes 1, 2, 5 and 8, Quatuor Coronati Antigrapha; "Some Memorials of Globe Lodge No. 23," Henry Sadler; "Constitutions of the Freemasons," Hughan, 1869; "Numerical and Medallic Register of Lodges," Hughan, 1878; "History of the Appolo Lodge and the R. A., York," Hughan, 1894; any items on Anti-Masonry, especially tracts, handbills, posters, old newspapers, almanacs, etc., relating to Morgan incident, 1826-1840, and recurrence of same from 1870 to 1885.
By Bro. J.H. Tatsch, Union Bank & Trust Co., Los Angeles, Calif.: Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, volumes 6 to 26, in parts as issued, with St. John Cards; "Masonic Reprints and Revelations," Sadler; "The Natural History of Staffordshire," Dr. Robert Plot, 1686, folio; "The History of Freemasonry," Robert Freke Gould, Yorston edition, 4 volumes; "History of Freemasonry in Europe," Emmanuel Rebold, 1867; "Bibliographie der Freimaurerischen Literatur," August Wolfsteig, 1911-13, two volumes and register, paper, as issued; "History of Freemasonry," Mackey, 7 volumes; "History of Freemasonry and Concordant Orders," Hughan and Stillson; facsimile engraving Picard's "Les Francmassons," 1735, fine copy.
By Brother A. A. Burnand, 690 South Bronson Ave., Los Angeles, California: Various Masonic publications including such as a complete set of "Ars Quatuor Coronatorum"; "History of Freemasonry in Scotland," by D. Murray Lyon, (original edition); Thomas Dunckerley, Laurence Dermott, etc.
By Brother Frank R. Johnson, 306 East 10th St., Kansas City, Mo.: "History of Freemasonry," Mitchell, 2 volumes, sheep; "History of Freemasonry," Robert Freke Gould, 4 volumes, cloth, in good condition; "History of Freemasonry," Albert G. Mackey, 7 volumes, linen cloth, new; Addison's "Knights Templar," Macoy, 1 volume, cloth; "Museum of Antiquity," Yaggy, 1 volume, morocco; "History and Cyclopaedia of Freemasonry," Macoy and Oliver, new, full morocco. Also miscellaneous books.
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THE QUESTION BOX
THE BUILDER is an open forum for free and fraternal discussion. Each of its contributors writes under his own name, and is responsible for his own opinions. Believing that a unity of spirit is better than a uniformity of opinion, the Research Society, as such, does not champion any one school of Masonic thought as over against another, but offers to all alike a medium for fellowship and instruction, leaving each to stand or fall by its own merits.
The Question Box and Correspondence Column are open to all members of the Society at all times. Questions of any nature on Masonic subjects are earnestly invited from our members, particularly those connected with lodges or study clubs which are following our "Bulletin Course of Masonic Study." When requested, questions will be answered promptly by mail before publication in this department.
REMISSNESS OF THE MASONIC PRESS
Since of all the Ancient Mysteries none, perhaps, is of more interest to the Masonic "browser" than those of Mithras, the "find" referred to in the enclosed clipping from Littell's Living Age may be of general interest to the Craft.
I had intended simply to mail you this clipping, but the spirit at present moving me to the carrying out of a resolution of long standing causes me to ask, through you, a question of the Masonic press.
Not at all infrequently are references, like this Mithraic one, met with in current periodicals and newspapers, but very rarely is there a follow up, much less a bare reference to them, in the Masonic press. This possibly is not so surprising regarding a subject like the Mysteries of Mithras; or, to cite another instance which now occurs to me, the semi-official pronouncement of Austria that Masonry was solely responsible for the Great War, then in progress. Not of general interest! Propaganda! Possibly. But how do you account for the following neglect by the American Masonic Press?
The pictorial section of the New York Times for Sunday, May 22, 1921, carried two rotogravures entitled "Screen Version of Laying of Cornerstone of University of Virginia. Reproduced as described in the Minutes of the Charlottesville Lodge of Masons" and "Motion Pictures of the Founding of the University of Virginia which are to be used in connection with the Celebration of the University's Centennial." The first of these shows the white gloves and aprons, the jewels of the three principal officers, the Master "trying" the stone, etc., also, among others, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe.
I do not pretend to possess a news-nose but certainly here the nose knows, yet of the four Masonic publications, regularly read by me, not one carried even a bare mention of this historic event and its modern reproduction, an account of which could not fail to have been of absorbing interest to every American Mason. And now the question: Why?
Frank S. Baker, New York.
The clipping mentioned by Brother Baker is brief, but interesting; it is taken from "The Living Age" for May 28, 1921 and is as follows:
"Two important archeological discoveries have recently been made on the Continent, one relating to the Mithraic Mysteries, the religious cult which during the first four centuries after Christ was the chief rival of Christianity in all parts of the ancient world. While working on the foundations of a ruined house at Arlon, Belgium, workmen uncovered vast bas-reliefs, representing a huge figure followed by a dog and carrying a bull on his shoulders, and a sacrificial scene."
As to the silence of the Masonic press on such subjects and incidents, Brother Baker, the reply can be immediately given. Masonic journals do not (because they cannot) employ staffs of representatives or news services as daily papers and profane periodicals do. A great majority of Masonic magazines and papers are either subsidized by Grand Lodges and edited and managed by one or two men, or they are constantly fighting bankruptcy. Under such conditions it is quite out of the question for them to carry a news service, and the only "news" they can publish is such as the editor may himself chance upon or his readers may send in. THE BUILDER is a unique exception. It is not a magazine in the strict sense of the word, but a journal, edited by and published by and in the interests of The National Masonic Research Society. It has its editor, its business manager, and its editorial staffs, but for the most part it is dependent for its contributions and its knowledge of current events of Masonic interest on the members of the Society. Experience has proved this to be workable and satisfactory as is proved by an ever growing circulation. You yourself, Brother Baker, are one of the editors of THE BUILDER, as is every member of the Society. Whenever your "news-nose" leads you to an item of Masonic importance, let it be on your conscience to send it in. As for the Mysteries of Mithras, they are receiving an ever growing attention from Masonic students, and articles are now in preparation for THE BUILDER on that subject. The Open Court Publishing Company of Chicago has published the best works on the subject; a little book by Pythian Adams, and the complete works by the greatest authority of all, Dr. Franz Cumont, who was in this country last year.
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CONCERNING THE COMACINI
Brother A. E. Waite in his "Secret Tradition in Freemasonry," chapter II, page 80, mentions a "trading association of architects" which appeared during the dark ages under the special authority of the Holy See. He suggests that they were the operative descendants of the architects of Byzantium, but I do not find any other reference to them. Are these to be considered as identical with that other body known as the "Comacine Masters"? If not, who were they?
N. W. J. Haydon, Ontario.
This question was referred to Brother Waite himself who very kindly replied after the following fashion:
"If you will look at my Secret Tradition in Freemasonry, vol. II, pp. 76-80, you will see that I am dealing with various speculations which, in my opinion, have nothing to support them, or shall I say, little at least? They are those of L'Étoile Flamboyante and things analogous thereto. My reference to 'a leading association of architects' under the authority of the Holy See is quoted from one of these sources, and the association in question is not named definitely, that is to say, in the original work. I take it to have meant The Comacini, but it is not easy to determine always what may have been in the minds of some eighteenth century dreamers."
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BOOKS ON CHURCH HISTORY
What book or set of books would you recommend to give an impartial and unbiased history of religion or church history? What I want is a fairly complete reference work for my library.
"The History of the Christian Church," by George Park Fisher, published by Scribner's, contains all the cold facts — often they are pretty cold, too — about the subject, and the book is written, as far as I can see, in a fair and impartial spirit throughout. A more complete account, slightly from a Baptist angle, is found in the two volumes of "A Manual of Church History," by A. H. Newman, published by the American Baptist Publication Society. I have studied this work thoroughly and know it to be good. Neander's Church History, Milman's Latin Christianity, Gieseler's Church History, Hagenbach's History of the Church, and Robertson's History of the Church, are all standard. The best thing on the doctrines involved is, of course, Harnack's History of Dogma in seven volumes. Fisher is as good a one-volume work as you will find.
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The Masonic Journal , of Johannesburg, South Africa, has recently exhumed a most interesting item from an old Masonic periodical. The Masonic Journal , published at Haverhill, Mass., which, in one of its issues in 1858, included this interesting bit of history:
The cognomen of "Brother Jonathan" is of Masonic origin. George Washington, commander-in-chief of the American army in the Revolution, was a Mason, as well as all the other generals, not even excepting Benedict Arnold, the traitor, who attempted to deliver West Point into the hands of the enemy. On one occasion, when the American army had met with some serious reverses, General Washington called his brother officers together to consult in what manner their efforts could be counteracted. Differing as they did in opinion, the commander-in-chief postponed any action on the subject by remarking: "Let us consult 'Brother Jonathan'," referring to Jonathan Trumbull, who was a well-known Mason, and particularly distinguished for "his sound judgment, strict morals, and having the tongue of a good report."
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MORE NOTES ON SOUTH AFRICAN FREEMASONRY
On page 31 of THE BUILDER for January was printed a valuable communication from Brother William Moister, Editor of The Masonic Journal of South Africa , 55 Meischke's Buildings, Johannesburg. Since that letter was printed Brother Moister has written again a letter which contains these notes that may be added to his original contribution.
Rhodesia. There is now an Irish Lodge at Salisbury, which was consecrated a few months ago as you may have seen in the M.J. (under the Prov. Grand Lodge of South Africa.)
Excellent Master and Royal Arch. Since writing you we have a ruling from the Supreme Grand Chapter of Scotland on a point raised by my Chapter (Commonwealth 398 S.C.). It seems that another Scottish Chapter had allowed Irish R. A. Masons to see the whole working including the E.M., while my Chapter had insisted upon their taking the degree and charging them for it. It has been ruled that while English R. A. Masons who have not taken the degree of E.M. must still join a Chapter and have that conferred on them if they wish to see the E.M. work, in the Irish, their ceremony with the veils so closely approximates to the Scottish E.M. degree that a brief affirmation or obligation that whatever may be new to them in the E.M. degree shall be treated as a Masonic secret, will satisfy our requirements, and so we had to return (or offer to) the fees charged. Of course, the brethren concerned promptly told us to apply the amount to benevolence.
Re the other note. I don't think I specifically stated that Dr. Jameson was not a Mason, but that I did not know him to be one.
I am almost sure about John Hays Hammond, the Columbia Lodge umder the English banner being almost entirely composed of Americans at first, although it has now almost entirely lost that national characteristic.
Wm. Moister. Editor. The Masonic Journal of South Africa .
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GREAT SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CRAFTSMEN MOVEMENT
In the March, 1922, issue of THE BUILDER appeared an article by Brother O. N. Pomeroy of Ohio, entitled "The Cleveland Federation of Craftsmen." The formation of organizations of various crafts whose members were composed of Master Masons was briefly described.
I wonder how many of the readers of this magazine realize what an important step this movement is in the productive as well as the social world?
Here, it would seem to me, is the beginning of a renaissance, which I hope may eventually bring about a return to brotherhoods of craftsmen resembling, in spirit at least, the Middle Age guilds.
In a lecture delivered at the Lowell Institute in Boston, Mass., on Nov. 26th, 1919, by Mr. Thomas M. Legge, the Medical Inspector of Factories and Workshops for the British Crown, an urgent plea was offered for a return to just such conditions as had existed during the high-day of the Masonic guilds. He said, "Trade-unions are the inheritors of the traditions of the trade guilds. Let them carry on the tradition of what was best in their great predecessor. A great future lies before them. Let them, then, feel their responsibility. Wages and creature comforts of their members — these, I grant you, must come first, but these happily are now in sight of attainment. Let them look into vistas beyond."
If this should transpire I believe astonishing results would ultimately be obtained, both for employee and employer. An interest and pride in output, which is so lacking today, would elevate the quality of the work produced, and establish a premium for better workmanship.
Master Mason mechanics have this laudable end well within their power to achieve if they continue to organize for the betterment of their craft, as is being done by this Cleveland Federation. Let us hope that it may become national in scope and a return be made to the great brotherhoods of the past!
W. B. Bragdon, New York.
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REGARDING GOETHE — INVESTIGATING COMMITTEES
The article referred to in The London Daily News about which you requested information in the Correspondence Column of the February THE BUILDER, page 64, was read at the 100th anniversary celebration of the raising of Goethe to Masonry, and was published in Leipzig in 1880 under the title:
"Johann Wolfgang Goethe als Freimaurer. Festschrift zum 23. Juni, 1880, dem 100-jaehrigen Freimaurer Jubilaeum Goethes." The author was J. Pietsch. The pamphlet was an octavo of 63 pages and was sold at about fifty cents.
If F.J.K., South Carolina (p. 61, same issue), will write to me he can obtain information about lodge investigating committees. Hanselmann Lodge, 208, Cincinnati, Ohio, of which the writer is a member has for several years had a permanent investigating committee and also a formal printed questionnaire and the lodge has found its methods of great value in the examination of the qualifications of candidates.
Henry E. Wilde, Ohio.
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"THE ENTERED APPRENTICE'S SONG" NOW IN USE
It may interest you and your correspondent "T.F.W., Alabama," in the December issue of THE BUILDER to hear that a revised version of "The Entered Apprentice's Song" is in use in several of the English lodges. The words as used I give below. It will be noted the chief difference is in the first verse. It was thought that "peasant" was a more suitable word than "beggar" as the first section of the first lecture in English lodges reads, "brother to a King, fellow to a prince, and companion to a peasant, if a Freemason and found worthy." Another version gives, "Our wine has a spring." This also has been altered as also the line, "Let's drink, laugh, and sing" as such was considered to have too much of a bacchanalian flavor about it:
Come, let us prepare, we brothers that are
Here met on this happy occasion
We'll quaff and we'll sing; be he peasant or king,
Here's a health to an Accepted Mason.
The world tries in vain our secrets to gain,
And still let them wonder and guess on;
They ne'er can divine a word or a sign,
Of a Free and an Accepted Mason.
Great Kings, Dukes, and Lords have laid by their swords,
Our Myst'ries to put a good grace on;
And have not been ashamed to hear themselves named,
As a Free and an Accepted Mason.
Antiquity's pride we have on our side,
And we keep up our old reputation;
There's nought but what's good to be understood,
By a Free and an Accepted Mason.
We're true and sincere, We're just to the fair;
They'll trust on any occasion;
No mortal can more the ladies adore,
Than a Free and an Accepted Mason.
(All rise and join hands.)
Then join hand in hand, To each other firm stand,
Let's be merry and put a bright face on;
No Order can boast so noble a toast,
As a Free and an Accepted Mason.
In the English lodges previous to opening it is customary to sing a hymn, "Hail Eternal." Another hymn, "Now the Evening Shadows Falling," is sung after the final closing.
In the November issue of THE BUILDER Brother Francis E. White gives some very interesting notes of English Freemasonry. He states there are no official rituals. It is true that there are none which are officially recognized but two are issued which by a long period of use extending to over 100 years have come to be recognized as semi-official. The chief is known as the "Emulation" as practiced and taught by the Emulation Lodge in London while the other is known as the "Standard, or Stability or Muggeridge" and is taught by the Stability Lodge of Instruction, London. No printed ritual or paper is permitted to be used while the lodge is at work. All is performed from memory. Some lodges, one of which is held in the city of Leeds, works an old ritual known as the "York." This is entirely done from memory, no printed ritual existing. There are no lectures attached to the latter working.
J. B. Ward, London.
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THE IRlSH MASONIC MEDALLION, AND BULL-ISSUING POPES
There are a couple of the queries in the April issue of THE BUILDER to which I will essay a reply.
First, regarding the Masonic Medallion, on p. 107. In cut A, the figure above the Sun and Moon I take to be the All-Seeing Eye. The numbers 15, and 16, are simply the date, 1516. I should think that it is really a Coffin represented at the foot of the steps. In cut B. perhaps the winged figure is a Phoenix.
I would be glad if some Brother would interpret the initials in cut B.
Now as to the Bull-issuing popes on p. 126, I would add these:
1814, Pius VII renewed by Edict the Bull of Clement XII.
1825, Leo XII issued the Bull "Quo graviora," concerning which Waite, in the second volume of his New Masonic Encyclopedia, on p. 266, gives seven different condemnations of Freemasonry. Waite errs, however, in his next paragraph, where he attributes the Bull in 1838 to Gregory XII, instead of Gregory XVI.
H. V. A. Parsell, New York.
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ANOTHER DEFINITION OF FREEMASONRY
Reading Dr. K. Bein's "Vertaro de Esperanto," I note this definition of Freemasonry:
"A member of that religious and mystical society whose aim is moral perfection on the basis of general equality and fraternity."
This will probably be of some degree of interest and may also be worth the permanence of print in the columns of THE BUILDER.
Robt. I. Clegg, Illinois.
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MORE ABOUT QUAKERS IN FREEMASONRY
As a church the Quaker, or Friend, organization is opposed to secret societies and especially the Masonic Fraternity, but this feeling of opposition seems to be passing, especially this is true of this community, as we have in our lodge here quite a number of enthusiastic Masons who are also prominent members of the Friends' church.
The party Brother Sadilek refers to is one C.B. Johnson who is now cashier of a bank in Whittier, California. At that time there was quite a little opposition in the church to his move toward Masonry. The writer had the pleasure of raising Brother J. and can say truthfully that he is a first-class man and would suggest that you write or call on him and get his version of the matter.
E. M. Crosswait, Iowa.
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DIVISIONS OF THE DAY
In the March issue of THE BUILDER, page 95, Brother V. M. Irick asks for information as to jurisdictions that do not class the day into three "equal" parts.
Quoting from the monitor approved by the Grand Lodge of Idaho in 1903: "It being divided into twenty-four equal parts is emblematical of the twenty-four hours of the day; which we are taught to divide into three parts...."
S. G. Davis, Idaho.