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Information bulletin
(September 1950)

Read, James Morgan
Internationalism builds better schools,   pp. 3-4 PDF (1.0 MB)


Page 3


Internationalism Builds
Better Schools
By Dr. JAMES MORGAN READ
Chief, Education. and Cultural Relations Division
Office of Public Affairs, HICOG
SCHOOLTEACHERS - BOTH GERMANS and Ameri-
cans alike - should remember that their mutual re-
lations in the field of feducation did not begin in 1945,
but go back through more than a century of interwoven
interests.
Present German-American educational relationships,
therefore, cannot be viewed in the light of the "occupied"
and the "occupiers," but must be in the spirit of friendly
and willing exchange of ideas as has been the case in the
past.
Americans are always eager to learn. Americans are
not in Germany today to foist upon the Germans our
ideas on the organization of their school system. We are
here in Germany to help and advise the Germans in
their task of developing their educational system into a
living and vital part of a democratic society.
The German educational system of the past had many
good aspects and has contributed to educational methods
now in use in both European countries and in America.
For more than 100 years, American educators have
studied the German educational system with great
interest and have applied many of its better points to
educational processes in the United States.
G ERMAN-AMERICAN RELATIONS in education be-
Ggan in a curious and roundabout way. In 1831 the
French educator, Victor Cousin, wrote a report to his
government on the Prussian school system. Three years
later it was published in English in New
York and parts of it appeared in all peda-
gogical periodicals throughout the United
States.
Through this report the ideas of com-
pulsory school attendance and state pro-
vision for public education first fired
American minds. In Massachusetts, a spe-
cial government department was there-
upon established as early as 1835.
Two years later, the state of Ohio sent
Calvin Stowe, one of its leading educators,
to Germany. Stowe, whose wife, as the
author of "Uncle Tom's Cabin," has been'
widely read in Germany, visited Prussia
and southern Germany. His report, which
the school authorities distributed to every
Sc-io, in Uhio, pointed to the higher eau-  Dr. James
cational standards of the teachers and the
SEPTEMBER 1950
; Morl
(PRD
3
better educational methods employed in primary schools
in Germany.
The report gained wide attention and was later
published in five other states and distributed among
schools and educators. This marked the beginning of a
mutually beneficial intercourse in the educational field
between the United States and Germany.
Later in the century, one of America's most prominent
educators, Horace Mann, visited Europe on a tour of
educational methods. He returned to the United States
with a report on the school systems of England, Scot-
land, France, Belgium, Holland and Germany which be-
longs to the classic American literature on pedagogy.
I N AMERICA, HOWEVER, Mann's report failed to win
wholehearted approval and in numerous cases gave
rise to vehement protests, especially from Boston school
teachers. There were some, as there are in every
country, whose national feelings were hurt by the
assertion that certain things abroad were better than
they were at home.
To them Horace Mann retorted:
"I would think it extremely strange, if we could not
find valuable hints for our own work in other countries,
whether these be warnings or good examples. There are
many things abroad, from which we could learn to our
advantage. If the Prussian school teachers have better
methods of teaching reading, writing, grammar and
geography and thus obtain better results
in half the time, we should adopt these
methods. This does not mean that we
should simultaneously adopt their attitude
of absolute submission to the government
and blind acquiescence in church dogmas."
This progressive view that we'can profit
by studying the educational systems of
other countries and adapting their best
features to home conditions has gradually
gained ground in the minds of American
school teachers. Today we owe an enor-
mous debt to other nations whose educa-
tional achievements we have adopted.
The German democrats who came to
America during and after the German
revolution in the middle of the last cen-
tury brought us the institution of the Kin-
gan Read. U    eIYULVIL WILLckl l~th 1"LdJtlS U eWr
) HICOG photo)  name and spread throughout the country.
INFORMATION BULLETIN


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