SAYS that great student of Western history, Professor Frederick J. Turner, formerly of Wisconsin, now of Harvard University:--
"Nothing in our educational history is more striking than the steady pressure of democracy upon its universities to adapt them to the requirements of all the people. From the State Universities of the Middle West, shaped under pioneer ideals, have come the fuller recognition of scientific studies, and especially those of applied science devoted to the conquest of nature; the breaking down of the traditional required curriculum; the union of vocational and college work in the same institution; the development of agricultural and engineering colleges and business courses; the training of lawyers, administrators, public men, and journalists--all under the ideal of service to democracy rather than of individual advancement alone. Other universities do the same things; but the head springs and the main current of this great stream of tendency come from the land of the pioneers, the democratic states of the Middle West. And the people themselves, through their boards of trustees and the legislature, are in the last resort the court of appeal as to the directions and conditions of growth . . . have the fountain of income from which these universities derive their existence. . .
"In the transitional conditions of American democracy . . . the mission of the University is most important. The times call for educated leaders. General experience and rule-of-thumb in formation are inadequate for the solution of the problems of a democracy which no longer owns the safety fund of an unlimited quantity of untouched resources. Scientific farming must increase the yield of the soil, scientific forestry must economize the woodlands, scientific experiment and construction by chemist, physicist, biologist and engineer must be applied to all of nature's forces in our complex modern society. The test tube and the microscope are needed rather than axe and rifle in this new ideal of conquest. The very discoveries of science in such fields as public health and manufacturing processes have made it necessary to depend upon the expert, and if the ranks of experts are to be recruited broadly from the democratic masses as well as from those of larger means, the State Universities must furnish at least as liberal opportunities for research and training as the universities based on private endowments furnish. It needs no argument to show that it is not to the advantage of democracy to give over the training of the expert exclusively to privately endowed institutions."
E. L. Luther, Agriculture Extension Agent
The people of Wisconsin have demanded this efficiency and the University of Wisconsin has been noted not only for the philosophy of service to the state which has been maintained but for the practical courses which deal with every factor in the life of the state. That Wisconsin has changed from a wheat-growing state to a great dairy state has been due largely to the fact that the agricultural "short course" in the University of Wisconsin, which has been so popular in the past, has turned out real farmers and real dairymen. In 1905, the University of Wisconsin was placed upon a permanent mill tax basis. Its appropriations are now continuing, so that it can lay plans for the future with a certain hope of maintenance. This does not mean that the legislature cannot modify the plans of the university at any time, but it does mean established continuity. The wisdom of this is shown by the fact that some of the universities and educational institutions of the country have been in a turmoil of strife because under the so-called budget system their appropriations end every two years. They are helpless under the attacks of politicians and have no way to plan ahead. Freedom of speech in the university might have been seriously impaired recently had a minority of the legislature had the power to withhold appropriations for the university. It is evident that, if the legislature every two years passes upon the entire appropriation for an existing institution, a small minority of one house is able to threaten or block an institution so that it cannot extend to its fullest usefulness.
The college of agriculture in Wisconsin has been maintained as a part of the university, and although the state in its early days wasted its public lands reserved for educational institutions in a reckless manner, the state has been generous and cheerfully borne the burden of paying for a university. During the session of 1911 the normal schools also were placed upon a mill tax basis, so that they too have a continuing appropriation. Throughout the state county schools of agriculture have grown up rapidly. Agriculture has been placed in the high schools, manual training has been provided, state inspection and regulation have been secured and a high order of educational enterprise has resulted. A complete industrial program, calling for a separate body to control industrial education and making the most complete plan for an educational system which has ever been considered or introduced in any state of this country, was organized by the legislature in its 1911 session.
The university extension division is the great, powerful link which connects every part of the university with the individual in the state. It must be remembered that this has a potent influence upon the public and the state and that the influence of the university reaches out into the homes of the state through this extension department by means of its correspondence courses, debates, etc., more completely than in any other state. Thus the state through its generous appropriations to this institution has created a powerful instrument of knowledge, not only on public questions but scientific ones as well.
The prosperous agricultural condition in this state to-day stands as the monument to a great genius, William A. Henry, formerly Dean of the School of agriculture, University of Wisconsin.
Agricultural instruction has been given at the university since 1876, but in 1885 the "short course" and the courses which are especially formed for those who did not have the time or educational qualifications to take the long courses, were instituted. These courses have been of enormous help to the entire state; they have been the chief source of the upbuilding of the great dairy industry of the state, now probably second to none in the country.
In 1890 the course especially adapted for creamery and cheese factory operators was started. Hundreds of young men actually engaged in agricultural pursuits attended these courses every year. In 1908 in addition to farmers' institutes, agricultural field work was started; demonstrations of all kinds were held throughout the state. Through this whole agricultural extension movement, probably a closer relation between the farmers and the agricultural department has been instituted in Wisconsin than in any other state and this is just the beginning. The county agricultural schools have aided this work greatly in recent years and are being rapidly established. The following quotation from a recent report shows how rapidly and how efficiently this work is progressing:--
"Besides supplying the real needs of agricultural instruction in their counties, these schools serve a class of people the county and high schools fail to reach; they carry on their own lines of field work among farmers; they organize cow-testing and grain-growing associations; they furnish assistance in planning and creating farm buildings; they hold farmers' meetings; they are the logical centres from which the agricultural field work service, carried on by the State College of Agriculture, radiates."
The following is a list of some of the work and other activities of the agricultural school of the university:--
It has bred pedigree strains of barley, oats and wheat, which have increased the grain crop of the state millions of dollars. These varieties won the world's championship, 1910-1911, at the national corn show.
It has produced a kind of corn which can be grown in the northern part of the state.
It has produced grasses and legumes which formerly could not be bred in the state.
It has made extensive investigations in the sugar beets in relation to the development of that industry in the state.
It has found remedies for noxious weeds.
It has maintained trial orchards in the northern part of the state, so that where formerly very little fruit existed, now all kinds of fruit are growing.
It has discovered new methods of managing marsh soils.
It has worked out new methods of cranberry culture, increasing the product of cranberries from one to ten barrels per acre to seventy to eighty barrels per acre.
It has worked out scientific rations for cattle. Five of the six tests now everywhere used in dairying were discovered by this department.
The Babcock fat test is used all over the world. The moisture test for butter, the Wisconsin curd test, the Farrington acid test and the Hart casein test are the other great improvements which have been worked out.
New methods of making cheese, utilizing butter, have been worked out.
The round wood silo was first used by this station.
A new system of ventilation for stables now universally used was worked out here. Even new methods of blasting and pulling stumps have been discovered.
The agricultural department has demonstrations all over the state; grain growing contests, pedigree high grade seed contests are started and directed.
The fight against tuberculosis in cattle by demonstration has been kept up vigorously.
Fertilizers and feeding stuffs have been inspected and analyzed.
A system of stallion registration has already reduced the percentage of grade stallions over 15 per cent in the state.
Tests of soils have been made on hundreds of farms.
Plans have been made to reclaim 116,000 acres by drainage surveyage within the next five years.
How astonished a college professor of forty years ago would be if he were told that a college would do all these things! Truly we do not have to look in the dictionary now for a definition of what is a university.
The question arises at once, "But isn't all this materialistic? Does the University of Wisconsin spell 'cow'?" And what of it? If the boy comes from the farm, and learns at the university how to make that farm more useful and from the scientific methods which he acquires develops more orderly habits of life, if he receives some inspiration which leads to progress or some ideals which lead to good citizenship, is it not worth while? If he because of his scientific knowledge of farming gained in a short course makes money, his sister may be sent to school, probably a luxury which could not have been afforded otherwise.
In addition to the above an agricultural program has been planned which includes the teaching of agriculture in all the rural schools, in the state graded schools, the township high schools, and the county training schools for teachers, and a greater appropriation for university extension and agricultural demonstration, etc. The foundation of all these things has been put into law.
University extension has long been connected with colleges, but such have been the aristocratic influences of education (and there are no greater aristocrats found anywhere than in education) that it has died down in other states until it has become simply a name.
The increasing spirit in Wisconsin demanded that the university should serve the state and all of its people and that it should be an institution for all the people within the state and not merely for the few who could send their sons and daughters to Madison; thus was brought about the establishment of the extension division about five years ago.
The University of Wisconsin during these few years has shown the world what constitutes real university extension. It has accomplished what many schools have tried to accomplish for many years with but indifferent results. It made what had been an ideal a practical reality. It actually did and does bring the university to every fireside. It actually has shown all universities a means for shedding the light of knowledge from within its walls to every' home. The distinctive feature of this department is that it has a faculty, an administration and an appropriation of its own. It now spends $125,000 a year. Under the old system of university extension, a professor gave part time at the university and delivered a few sporadic lectures in the field. Under this new extension arrangement, professors of the highest rank are sent out into the villages, shops and factories as practically travelling teachers, meanwhile bringing the students in the field in touch with the university by means of correspondence studies. There are several centers or stations from which the work can expand into the surrounding localities established throughout the state for this work. General divisions with regular faculty are formed at the university, notably in engineering, mathematics, drawing, business administration, and to some degree in languages. This is nothing new; private enterprise has been doing this for some time but it is obvious that the state can do more than any private enterprise. Private correspondence schools must make a profit while the state may be satisfied with a profit of improved conditions. The state can well afford to invest vast sums of money, while private enterprise must always take out its dividends. When the state enters into this field the private enterprise cannot long remain a competitor.
Some idea of how extensive and diverse the work of the University Extension division is can be obtained from the following statistics:--
There are now about 5000 active students taking the correspondence work; ninety-eight professors and instructors are supervising this work. Besides this there are fifty-seven local classes in organized districts which the professors visit.
In the department of debating and public discussion about 80,000 articles are lent out annually throughout the state.
In the department of general information and welfare many institutes are held and much diverse work is done. Under its auspices were conducted the Milwaukee bakers' institutes, the institute of municipal and social service of the same city which ran twenty-one weeks last year and 140 conferences and lectures. The Wisconsin conference of criminal law works in connection with this department, as does also the Wisconsin conference of charities and corrections. An anti-tuberculosis exhibit, in coöperation with the Anti-tuberculosis association, was carried on by this department, which reached some 112,000 people in this state. In all, nearly 500 lectures were given under this department. This same department maintains the municipal reference bureau which answers 1500 questions a year from many villages and cities throughout the state and which does much to organize the civic interest of these places.
The bureau of civic and social centre development is also under this division. A national conference was held at Madison, under the auspices of this bureau, and some sixty-four communities or districts were assisted in bettering social centre facilities. A lecture bureau sent out lecturers last year to some ninety communities in the state, with a total of 153 lectures.
There are three organized districts of the extension department in the state, one in Milwaukee, one at Oshkosh and one at La Crosse. The one in Milwaukee has one district representative, four local and travelling instructors, eight local instructors for night classes and four field organizers and thirty-six classes,--a good-sized university in itself. These centres are being rapidly developed throughout the state.
The great public questions of the day are all outlined in these debates. Following are some of the outlines of debates:--
General Statement--Discussions--Themes--Package Libraries.
Principles of Effective Debating.
Debating Societies, organization and procedure.
How to Judge a Debate.
Constitution for Triangular Debating Leagues.
Civic Clubs, organization and programs.
Farmers' Clubs, organization and programs.
Annexation of Cuba, Independence of the Philippines, with references.
Closed vs. Open Shop, with references.
Commission Plan of City Government, with references.
Consolidation of Rural Schools, Free Text Books, with references.
Federal Charter for Interstate Business, with references.
Guaranty of Bank Deposits, with references.
Income Tax, with references.
Increase of Navy, Ship Subsidies, with references.
Inheritance Tax, with references.
Initiative and Referendum, with references.
Parcels Post, with references.
Popular Election of United States Senators, with references.
Postal Savings Banks, with references.
Proportional Representation, with references.
Recall, with references.
Restriction of Immigration, with references.
Simplified Spelling, with references.
Tariff on Trust-Made Steel Articles, with references.
Woman Suffrage, with references.
The university has its endowment from the people and is not seeking endowments from private funds; therefore free speech and service to the state are not denied. It is true that it has been frequently accused of "ruling the state." But as a general rule the professors wait until asked before venturing to give an opinion upon a public question; indeed, they are generally afraid of criticism, and it sometimes requires a great deal of urging upon the part of the legislature to obtain their help. During many years of legislative work the writer has found the members of the legislature glad indeed to confer with the expert professor and ask his advice, be it on a question of tuberculosis, the chemistry of gas or the regulation of monopoly. Such professors are often reviled and censured as endangering the life of the university--accused of throwing it into politics--but never in all that time has the author heard a single comment involving the names of professors who were engaged as well-paid experts by private corporations. No comments were made when a man connected with the university law school, for instance, was registered as the "counsel before the legislature for all public service corporations," and yet at the same time other men whose advice was sought by legislators were attacked fiercely because of unpaid toil. Many attorneys and scientists of both types have been before the legislature but there has been no criticism of the former class; indeed they deserved none, as they were all men of high standing and rendered good service before the legislature, for which they were well paid by private parties.
If the legislature may not secure expert service save that paid for by private interests, it will never reach the scientific basis of these great questions now before us which must be solved by the aid of the expert's technical knowledge. The university should not be blamed for having men upon whom the legislature may call for advice. They are paid from public funds; why should the public not avail itself of their services? * Certainly the teacher of political science or political economy who is worthy of consultation upon governmental matters can give the students a better idea of those great subjects than some mossback whose theoretical learning was acquired by carefully keeping away from the only laboratory which could be of any service to him. We would not have the diseases of cattle taught by a man who has never dissected a steer or observed the course of disease at first hand. Why then have a professor of political economy, political science, teach classes in governmental matters when he has never worked at the practical solution of any of the great economic or political questions of the day?
Indeed, it is a healthy sign--a sign that a department of economics or of political science is not sleeping when its men are constantly attacked by those who, session after session, have crowded the legislative halls in opposition to every constructive piece of legislation.
If the legislation has been safe and sane or has been administered fairly, some of these very men should pause and think and render thanks to the careful professor who has been called in to aid its making or who has assisted in its administration.
The university has a duty to perform and cannot shirk it. It is being supported out of public funds and what better way can it pay its obligation than through the production of -good citizens and expert help. Says Professor Turner:--
"But quite as much in the field of legislation and of public life in general as in the industrial world is the expert needed. The industrial conditions which shape society are too complex, problems of labor, finance, social reform too difficult to be dealt with intelligently and wisely without the leadership of highly educated men familiar with the legislation and literature on social questions in other states and nations.
"By training in science, in law, politics, economics and history the university may supply from the ranks of democracy administrators, legislators, judges and experts for commissions who shall disinterestedly and intelligently mediate between contending interests. When the word 'capitalistic classes' and 'the proletariat' can be used and understood in America, it is surely time to develop such men, with the ideal of service to the state, who may help to break the force of these collisions, to find common grounds between the contestants and to possess the respect and confidence of all parties which are genuinely loyal to the best American ideals. The signs of such development are already plain in the expert commissions of some states; in the increasing proportion of university men in legislatures; in the university men's influence in federal departments and commissions. It is hardly too much to say that the best hope of intelligent and principled progress in economic and social legislation and administration lies in the increasing influence of American universities. By sending out these open-minded experts, by furnishing well-fitted legislators, public leaders and teachers, by graduating successive armies of enlightened citizens accustomed to deal dispassionately with the problems of modern life, able to think for themselves, governed not by ignorance, by prejudice or by impulse, but by knowledge and reason and high-mindedness, the state universities will safeguard democracy. Without such leaders and followers democratic reactions may create revolutions, but they will not be able to produce industrial and social progress. America's problem is not violently to introduce democratic ideals, but to preserve and intrench them by courageous adaption to new conditions. Educated leadership sets bulwarks against both the passionate impulses of the mob, the sinister designs of those who would subordinate public welfare to private greed. Lord Bacon's splendid utterance still rings true: 'The learning of the few is despotism; the learning of the many is liberty. And intelligent and principled liberty is fame, wisdom and power.'
"There is a danger to the universities in this very opportunity. At first pioneer democracy had scant respect for the expert. He believed that 'a fool can put on his coat better than a wise man can do it for him.' There is much truth in the belief; and the educated leader, even he who has been trained under present university conditions, in direct contact with the world about him, will still have to contend with this inherited suspicion of the expert. But if he be well trained and worthy of his training, if he be endowed with creative imagination and personality, he will make good his leadership."
The state supported university as now existing in the middle west is to be the most efficient school of higher education the world has ever seen. It cannot help being so. As its cost increases, those who pay taxes will demand that results be shown and the struggle between old ideals, higher learning and the practical demands of the busy world will cause such a reaction upon reaction that it cannot help producing the real mixture of the ideal and the practical which is so much needed to-day. The by-products of the establishment of a department like the Wisconsin university extension division are perhaps of greater value than the department itself. The professor comes in contact with the needs of the citizen and tempers his theory to practice and the citizen learns to respect the professor--and demands more like him.
Industrial education has been placed under the supervision of an industrial education board to be composed of three employers of labor and three skilled employees, the state superintendent of public instruction, the dean of the extension division of the university and the dean of the college of engineering at the university. Hereafter every child employed between the ages of fourteen and sixteen will have to attend school for five hours a week out of the time of the employer (chapter 660, laws of 1911, chapter 505, laws of 1911). Instead of concentrating upon a few costly trade schools, the plan is to build up a great system of industrial education for those actually in work; to do something, where nothing has been done to help all the workers; that is, the German continuation school in all its essentials has been incorporated into the school system of Wisconsin. The whole system is maintained by a special tax and has a special administrative board, as above described, in order that the boy and girl who is actually working may have as good a chance as the boy or girl who does not have to work, but can attend high school or college. Classes are being established as rapidly as possible, so that the special work in which children happen to be will be provided for. It is specifically provided that hygiene and sanitation must be taught in some way (chapter 615, laws of 1911). It is specifically ordered also, that all illiterates under twenty-one years of age must attend evening schools whenever these evening schools can be reached by them, unless excused because of lack of strength (chapter 522, laws of 1911). An attempt has been made to rehabilitate the old system of apprenticeship by chapter 347, laws of 1911, but it will be noted that the outline of the indenture contains the following which shows the social purpose of this kind of legislation:
"An agreement between the employer and the apprentice that not less than five hours a week of the aforesaid fifty-five hours per week shall be devoted to instruction. Such instruction shall include: two hours a week instruction in English, in citizenship, business practice, physiology, hygiene, and the use of safety devices."
The boy who is to become a bricklayer, while he is in apprenticeship will be taught not only the mere trade but also some essentials which will prepare him for life and a place in the civic body, giving him the opportunity to broaden his outlook that later he may be able to pass from the ranks of manual skill to the ranks of administrative ability. He will be taught not only bricklaying but architecture, buying and correlated subjects. And so in every industry the same general requirements, subject to approval by the state board of industrial education, must be met. A local board of industrial education is also provided and a liberal state aid arrangement is added, the whole machinery constituting the most complete plan of industrial education, compulsory in most of its features, which has ever been attempted by any American state.
That the commission upon the plans for the extension of industrial and agricultural training, appointed by the legislature of 1909 to report in 1911, had a very broad outlook, that it was looking for the improvement of manhood, of womanhood, and of the state, is shown by the following quotation from its report. It is given here because it is full of the spirit of this state and of the movement herein described.
"It was the German philosopher Humboldt who said: 'Whatever you put into the State you must first put into the schools.' If the industrial education advocated by your committee will lead merely to a better economic man, it will not reach its highest aim. It must be judged by its by-products as well as by its result in dollars and cents. It must be judged by its effect upon the life of the people and upon human happiness and a varying number of our great problems, social and economic and moral, with which we have to deal to-day. To be in its truest sense efficient, it must be a truly democratic education, an education which will fit all the needs of all the people. This does not mean, then, that it must be merely utilitarian, but the effect of it must be such that we can answer definitely the question; will it improve the moral situation? Will the boy who is industrially educated under this system be a better man or a better husband? Will he be a better citizen? Will he have a higher sense of moral obligation? Will be be more truthful, honest? Will he have a better physique? Will he be a better factor in our life to-day?
"It is obvious that in order to make this system so that all these questions can be answered in the affirmative, additions must be made to the industrial program. The Germans have not forgotten to do this. They are noted as a law-abiding and patriotic people. There is no doubt that the system by which citizenship is taught in the German continuation schools has its effect upon this spirit in that country.
"In this connection, Dr. George Kerschensteiner of Munich has the following to say: '. . . As you see, professional efficiency is put foremost because those who cannot stand upon their own feet vocationally are unable to help others and prevent them from falling. But in closest contact and intimately related with vocational education must go the second aim of our program; to develop insight into the connection and relation of the interests of all citizens alike, and especially of our country, to take care that that interest manifests itself in the exercise of patriotic self-sacrifice, justice, self-control, coöperative spirit and rational hygiene, sensible frugal habits of living. If we keep the first aim only uppermost in our educational endeavors, then there is danger of training up an excessive professional and individual egotism.
" 'And just here we touch the critical point in our consideration of the value of industrial schools and education. If we instruct the prospective industrial mechanical worker not only in the mechanical-technical part of his trade but likewise introduce him into the mysteries of social and economic conditions, not only of industrial life but with equal interest into the social and economic life of the community and nation of which he is a citizen; if we train him from early youth to make him feel that he is a part, however small a part, of the larger whole of the nation to which he is inseparably tied by all his interests, then he will be more or less able to counteract and modify, if not to annul, the evil tendencies of modern industrial conditions.
" 'We should not forget that economic and social conditions are not only the product of natural laws but to no small degree they are the product of the moral and educational standards of the people. . . .'
"There is no doubt that courses in hygiene, sanitation, protective devices in machinery as well as the courses in citizenship, are indispensable in these schools. They are seldom or never omitted in the best continuation schools abroad. In practically every continuation class in Munich a boy has to take one hour a week of this training for four years. The cumulative effect of this upon citizenship is very great, as well as upon the health and stamina of the race, and cannot be underestimated.
"The combating of political corruption, as well as physical disease, is one of the great by-products of this work, the effect of which has not been fully understood in connection with other correlated movements in Germany. Sanitary conditions of factories, sanitary conditions of homes, progress towards health and the fighting of disease, the economies practiced by the cutting down of injuries and of sickness caused by carelessness in factories, the cheapening of industrial insurance--all come from this source. These are powerful influences which are basic and cannot be omitted. It is but a truism to say that intelligence is aided when disease is curbed and good, cleanly conditions exist in the home.
"Reformers in America are striving to get some knowledge of why corruption is rampant here. We are fighting political corruption and physical disease at the same time. We may have reform periods or spasms; we may create temporary organizations for the purpose of reforming government; we may deliver lectures, or our magazines may lead in pointing out the defects in government, but we will never get a true sense of obligation to the state until we teach that obligation. If we teach this in college or the high school we will not hit the mark. How can we, when four-fifths of the boys and girls do not go to high school or college? We never can completely fight disease, political or physical, unless we teach these four-fifths, in some way, how to fight.
"Our great success in the battle against tuberculosis comes largely from a determined effort to educate our people in a knowledge of that disease, its prevention and cure. We can never eradicate political corruption unless we use the same determination and begin at the time when a young man can be taught something about citizenship. Our lawyers tell us that very little can be done by legislation; that we cannot make people good by law. The Germans look upon the law and the state as great moral forces, but it is doubtful if the lesson of moral obligation would be any more effective in Germany than it is in this country, unless this same foundation in education exists.
"Consider tuberculosis for a moment. We had in America a few years ago awful conditions in the slums of our cities. We had what were known as the 'lung blocks.' It was the custom to allow the poor people who had tuberculosis to die in these horrible unsanitary tenements without doing anything to eradicate the scourge. If a man was seized with tuberculosis, people said: 'Well, what can we do? He will die. We can do nothing.' Scientists had for a long time known that if patients could be segregated and fresh air and cleanliness could be provided, we would stand a good chance of winning the battle against tuberculosis. That terrible disease had its main seats in the horribly overcrowded sections in our cities, inhabited mainly by immigrants or the sons and daughters of immigrants. What was done about it in the end? With desperate odds against us, we began a great campaign of education. We put enormous sums of money into the fight to teach people how to overcome this great plague. Now we are winning the battle and we are driving this disease out of our cities and our country--by education.
"We have eliminated other diseases as the result of this great movement, and as a by-product of our methods. By teaching cleanliness, fresh air, sanitation, we have helped to drive away typhoid fever and pneumonia, and to raise the physical and mental standards of our people. Our political disease goes hand in hand with our physical disease. It comes from the same source. It comes largely from the overcrowded, unsanitary districts in our cities. It comes largely from alien population pouring into the country at the rate of over a million a year. However good the stock from which they came, the great majority of our immigrants know very little about the history of our country; in fact, hardly know what American citizenship is. They come in contact with the worst types of citizenship we have among us; they see the deference to wealth acquired by corruption, and the general carelessness of our ideals concerning government. They naturally form their ideals under these conditions. Is it any wonder that when nothing is done to cure political corruption, it should be as rife in these places as tuberculosis?
"When an immigrant comes to this shore, he has to wait five years before he is naturalized. In those five years what education in citizenship does he obtain? He sees the poor in the slums around him, he realizes the desperate fight for existence, he often finds that his only help in that strife is the political boss or the corrupt politician. He cannot help getting a perverted idea of citizenship. How can we fight this political tuberculosis and have any success? Does it seem possible that any industrial prosperity which comes from industrial education will be of any real use to us in the future, if conditions similar to these exist? If we strive to build up prosperity through industrial education without building up the health of the average man or average woman, and without building up true citizenship, we will not have really democratic education. Any industrial education without these other factors will be a dismal failure. We may pass all the resolutions we want to, but the only way to cure political corruption in our cities is to cure it in the way we are stamping out tuberculosis--by education."
The way in which the university will cooperate with industrial education may be of interest to students of industrial education who are now striving to meet the great problem of how to start a system of this sort. The following excerpt from the report which has now been enacted into law shows how it may be done:--
"The university extension division cannot, from its very nature, do the permanent work of the continuation and trade schools. There is a parallel between its methods and work and those of the early church organizations. It was necessary at first to have some kind of missionary work, as perhaps some little local demand became evident. Then circuit riders were sent around; men who preached one Sunday in one little town and the next Sunday in another; the circuits grew smaller as time went on until churches were built, pastors secured, and permanent organizations established in each town.
"The university extension work can follow the same method. When little centers are established, permanent buildings erected and permanent teachers secured, then the university extension work can be used as a sort of circuit riding organization for the still higher grades of work until the needs of the higher grades are supplied by permanent organization. In this way the university extension work can form the means of building up the whole system from one which deals even with the needs of a single individual in a little community to a complete system for the whole state. This very elasticity, resulting in a variety of results by which different grades of students and different grades of work can be taken care of, is just what made German industrial education successful. With a mistaken policy, some of her educational directors, fortunately, however, not the leaders, have recently tried to grade and qualify this work. This has been defeated and the work saved from becoming static. The present system in that country, with local schools adjusted to local needs, with varying degrees of schools from the lowest continuation school through to the highest technical school, has been a far better arrangement for Germany, and for that matter can be a far better method to start with in this state, than that brought about by a more strict classification. . .
"It is just this element of elasticity which Privy Councillor Dr. von Steefeld advocates, that makes the extension division of peculiar significance. It is fortunate for us at this time that we have this organization in our state. In a state like ours, containing many small villages with one or two manufacturing establishments, the question upon which our whole scheme must fall or must live, is what can we do with industrial education in each little place? The large manufacturer does not have to be discussed. He can teach; he can gather in his apprentices and train them, but most of the factories or mercantile establishments in Wisconsin are not large enough to manage an undertaking of this kind for themselves. Most of our schools in the northern part of the state, especially in the scattered villages, have not enough money to give any kind of an advanced course. If we cannot give these courses by one means we must give them by another, and the only way in which we can give them and reach out to all, is through the extension division, its correspondence methods and its travelling lecturers and teachers. Professor Person in his book upon industrial education says: 'Except in those rare instances of highly centralized states which are able to impose upon their people educational systems created de novo, such an institution must be the result of gradual development. When its scope is enlarged to meet new situations, to reach new classes or to train for new activities, this enlargement should be accomplished neither by creating new instruments unrelated to the general system nor by wholly reconstructing the already existing system. This should be accomplished by developing new members which fit into the existing system and which become integral parts of it.'
"Wisconsin is not a highly centralized state and cannot impose upon its people an educational system created de novo. The university extension division will not interfere in any way with the existing system, but will add a new member which will dovetail into the gaps in the whole. It will not only fit into the gaps of the whole system, but it will be the medium by which the results of the highest economic research and the results of the best economic and industrial methods can be added from time to time. It will be a long time in this state before every city of the third or fourth class can have any very efficient higher industrial education. The elementary grades will necessarily be taken care of first and the simple needs administered to. If the spirit in which this report is written be carried out, the greatest number will be served in a little way until something can be done for those who demand more special work. But it is by means of the extension division that these special cases can be taken care of. If a young man outstrips his competitors and by extraordinary brightness devours the educational opportunities of his prescribed district, there will be only one way in most of the cities and villages to take care of him, and that is by allowing him to expand through the extension division."
Thus the efficiency of the unit is looked after in order that what is done may be well done and will be no sporadic, so-called reform movement. That it will be built on the sound rock of good citizenship and will be safe from fads and fancies not even the most conservative business man can deny.
The state has a system of normal schools with a separate board of regents, provides liberally for its grade and high schools and is gradually developing plans for betterment. Considering the now unsettled condition of large areas of this state, good work has been done in the county training schools for teachers, the teachers' institutes and in the establishment of a good system of regulation and inspection. An investigation is now in progress under the direction of the newly created Board of public affairs with the help of experts from the Bureau of municipal research in New York City, which will result, no doubt, in a thorough readjustment of the system. The means for the enforcement of the truancy laws were greatly strengthened by the 1911 legislature, while severe compulsory education and child labor laws are gradually having good effect. Over fifty laws relating to the betterment of the Wisconsin schools were passed at the session of 1911.
Lack of space forbids going into many interesting educational developments but a word must be said about the travelling libraries of the Wisconsin free library commission. These boxes of books are sent into every far-away section of the state bringing directly to every home in every little community the best literature of the day. They are changed often so that there is always something fresh and new. They have brightened the lives of many toilers and made interesting and instructive the long winter evenings in the little homes on the far-away farms as well as added to the volume of intelligence, citizenship and womanhood. The travelling libraries and the public libraries which have followed after them together with the library school, will remain a truly great monument to a great seer and warm-hearted idealist, Mr. Frank A. Hutchins.
Although Wisconsin was the third state to take up the work of preserving the forests in a successful manner, it was the first great lumber state to do so. With the lumber baron eager in his desire to waste and destroy, there were many difficulties in the establishment of an efficient department and there is nothing of which the state may be more proud, than of its accomplishment. It has now a reserve of 423,000 acres, and plans are made for a reserve of 2,000,000 acres. It is the purpose to preserve the upper waters of the great rivers of the state in order that the water power may be conserved, at the same time helping the wood industry of the state and protecting the beauty of the northern part of the state. The northern part of Wisconsin is a great playground of wonderfully interlaced rivers, lakes and forests. The protection of this region from fire and its redemption because of its effect upon the water power of the future, will save many times its invested value. It has been a difficult fight to maintain this and particularly since the Wisconsin constitution permits no state debt and the state by taxation must pay for this preservation to posterity of the wealth of the state. Wisconsin has dropped from first place in 1900 in the production of forest products to eighth in 1910, a greater loss than any other state. To check this loss is a great task, for without a state debt the burdens are so heavy upon the tax-bearer that it is difficult to convince him of the wisdom of investing for the future. The ordinary settler who has a hard time cutting out a little home for himself in the new regions of the state is indignant at the thought of the state taxing him to preserve the forests. However, the total funds for this department now approximate $125,000 for the forestry department and the beginnings of a system of fire wardens and fire protection throughout the state. In spite of all opposition and considering all the circumstances, no state has made a greater advance in this line. So great indeed has been its progress that the United States government recently established on university land a forest products laboratory for the testing of wood products, an evident appreciation of what has been accomplished.
Conservation and educational development must be considered together. The schools and the university cooperate in this development and in the education and experimentation which lead to a sound public opinion on these matters. In the debates occasioned by the good roads bill, the university extension department sent out special debating material on every phase of the question. After a struggle reaching over many years, the bill was finally passed in the 1911 session in a form which will not allow petty sensational politicians to control but provides for a scientific distribution of state aid to roads as well as scientific aid in the construction of these roads. It will doubtless add millions of dollars to the rural values of this state in a comparatively short time. It is in line with the other great developments which have been set forth in this book. It shows that the people of Wisconsin are striving for that kind of legislation which will lead to both economic and social results. It will make the country better to live in and make the farmers better in an economic sense. It is a great undertaking for a state which has yet some ten million acres of unoccupied land.
* See Appendix for list of men serving both state and university.