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he found a system tentative, provisional, and preliminary, and he desired to make it definite and final—a system in which the education of this country could ultimately repose and find peace after so many stormy epochs. He thought the only possible condition under which, without a reckless expenditure of public money, teachers of an inferior class could be employed in the national schools would be on the understanding that there should be some collateral and independent proof that such teachers do their duty; and that could only be in a system of individual examination.


The chief faults he found with the old system, besides this want of check against reckless expenditure, were the partiality of its action, giving most to the wealthiest places; and its complexity, owing to the number of persons it had to deal with, making the correspondence and payments exceedingly complicated, especially as carried on with charitable volunteers. Such a system, he thought, was destructive of the proper control of the House of Commons. I need scarcely stop to ask whether the payment on results' was likely, or in practice has been found, to remedy any one of these faults of expensiveness, partiality, or complexity. The remedy has on all points been far worse than the disease. But Mr. Lowe comprehensively condemned the old mode of payment as having failed to obtain good education, and he came to the conclusion that the kind of inspection incidental to it

was not calculated to test in a crucial manner the merits of a school.' He laid down as a general proposition that inspection, as opposed to examination, is not, and never can be, a test of the efficiency of a system of national education. He found the Reports full of such phrases as “the average proficiency of the children'-nothing relating to a particular child—the moral atmosphere,' the tone,' the 'mental condition,' not of the children, but, as an abstract idea, of the school. The inspection, he thought, failed to ascertain the actual results of the teaching on each individual child; "it vainly supposed that the mechanical results must follow religious and moral training, on which supposition Diogenes might have saved himself his lantern in search of an honest man. He concluded that till a closer examination was introduced into our schools good elementary teaching would never be given to half the children who attended them. But what we have now to consider, by the light of a quarter of a century of experience, is whether the system of paying for education by individual results of examination has led to all the children being equally well taught, or has not rather led to the reverse; also, whether the two systems of payment are fairly compared as in contrast between processes of vague inspection and crucial examination -examination being also incidental to the former process, and the latter being vitally deficient if not accompanied with general inspection.

Mr. Lowe endorsed an opinion of one of his Inspectors, Mr. Watkins, that too many results of instruction could not be expected in the early and short training of such young children. He already began to think the system was overshooting its mark, and therefore missing it; and, so far from wishing to keep workmen's children away from work in order to get fragments of knowledge by heart, he agreed with the Commissioners :

1 Tansard, vol. clxr. pp. 196-9.

Independence is of more importance than school education; if the wages of the child's labour are necessary to keep the parents from the poor-rates or to relieve the pressure of serere and bitter poverty, it is far better that their child should go to work at the earliest age after its first training at which it can bear the physical exertion than that it should remain at school.

Bishop Wilberforce altogether controverted the assumptions on which the “Revised Code' was based. He thought the test of education by sole examination and production of apparent results of individual instruction utterly fallacious, and likely to lead to a mischievous system of cramming. He considered that the very high stamp of men whom we had appointed to inspect our schools indicated an intention of a higher kind of test than by mere examination of mechanical results-'a gauge of the moral, intellectual, and religious training of the school.'? He said :

The result of such an examination honestly and truly reported, could only be gathered from innumerable little incidents which the practised eye of the inspector easily deciphered —the look of the children, the brightness of their countenances, the cleanliness of face and hands, the tidiness, the mutual bearing of child to child and of the children to the pupil-teachers and masters—all these, besides, and coupled with, the examination of school learning, enabled a highly educated and intelligent inspector to say whether the school deserved the Government support and recognition. Under the process of the Revised Code the examination would be only how far each child is up to the officially prescribed mark in the most mechanical part of its training, and each child would get an infinitesimal portion of the inspector's time, and the least benefit of his large judgment.

But, whatever the faults of the original system of public aid to national schools, and whatever the merits of the revised system, we have assuredly much practical experience of the faults of the latter.

By announcing as our scheme of national education a public subvention to primary schools of so many shillings apiece on specified samples of individual instruction, we omit from our entire estimate of education all its principal objects—discipline, moral influence, formation of character, even improvement of intellectual faculties; requiring, only, the production, by hook or by crook, on an advertised exhibition-day, of some apparent fruits of study.

The payment of teachers for show results, no matter the process or incidental culture, might be paralleled by the payment of gardeners for planting, in or out of season, a shrubbery of evergreens for show on a special occasion, no matter its dying off immediately after, or for hanging artificial fruit on barren trees for a gala display.

The minute specification of results to which payment is to be attached, guarded by innumerable securities against trickery and imposture, has ended in involving teacher and taught in a Government labyrinth of syllabus, the puzzling effect of which is, perhaps, its highest exercise of intellect. As for the teachers, they must be absorbed in perpetual anxiety by the consequent precariousness of their income. What is worse, their attention must be naturally concentrated on securing the highest prizes; and children who in any way cease to be the means of winning them attract the less attention --the phrase is, ' are no good to them. The teacher's interest in his work, and command of any special talent he may naturally possess for it, is narrowed within the Government groove of minute specification.

2 Hansard, vol. clxv. pp. 995, 996.)

The very text-books in use are advertised as composed to meet the Code.' Hic meret cera liber Sosiis.

Mr. Matthew Arnold, in a report made after five years' experience, went so far as to say, 'A decline of intellectual life is distinctly due to the mechanical work of examination which the Revised Code has introduced.' 3

The unlimited strain for results of the least valuable kind has actually led to the nervous prostration of the teachers themselves, of which we have heard many complaints lately. This forms a prominent feature of lamentation in the Boston Reports of last year, though in the primary schools of the United States there is no such high pressure for show as in ours.

Mr. Lowe complained of 'partiality' in the action of the old system of Government grants--a fault obviously attaching much more to his substitute of payment on results. The larger the school the easier the production of such results, and the grants made upon them must disproportionately enrich the urban and wealthier districts least needing any aid at all. It is, moreover, as absurd to expect the same results of teaching to be got from children of town artisans and of country labourers as it is to take the same figures to indicate the electoral franchise likely to be made independent use of in town and country; or to assert that equality of right demands an identity of institutions in countries of widely different stages of civilisation and of opposite appreciation of law.

Another evil tendency of payment for education on results of teachings is to exaggerate, in mere vanity and ostentation, the definition of the results intended, both in terms and in the prescribed undertaking. Popularly elected school boards are always urging the Government to magnify their office. Not an annual revision of the Code takes place but the Council Office is pressed to add some new subject to their catalogue. I once heard a Lord President admitting to a deputation so pressing him, that there were many subjects under


3 Education Reports, 1867. 4 See an admirable article in the January number of the London Quarterly Revien. VOL. XV.-No. 84.


heaven worth studying, but deprecating the addition of all of them to the official programme for elementary schools. A fresh “specific subject' is regarded, says Mr. Alderson, by the teachers as a possible streamlet from the Parliamentary milch cow towards which they are guided by an intelligent forecast of its grant-yielding capacity. But it is more from the ambition of managers than the hunger of teachers that the Code gets developed in grandeur. Members of Public Boards become lavish of expenditure which they had grudged from their private pockets; and they gain popularity by great professions in the people's name, neither the nature nor the cost of which they know much about, nor whether the results can be anything but a show; though the expenditure is the same, be the subjects really taught or not. Not a few of the declaimers in the House of Commons for advanced elementary education are the same men as shout the louder applause of any Latin or Greek quotation in debate, the less their glimmer of its meaning. The American Education Reports are full of complaints of a like declamation from doctrinaire politicians.' They lament the ambitious and impracticable programme of study,' and plead that knowledge eren is a useless thing as an end.' 5

The programme of subjects for grants in the Code' is as grand in its terms as misleading in its proposed treatment of them.

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For examples of grand terms, God save the Queen’ is called English literature; quadratic equations, mathematics; cooking a mutton chop, domestic economy.

On the other hand, what might well be popularly taught in the early practice of the art of reading is attempted more showily as incipient scientific study, which is in very rare instances followed up, and the nomenclature of which is an unintelligible jargon committed to temporary memory, wasting the little and precious time due to elementary instruction. For instance, grammar is attempted in the way of scientific analysis of sentences. Botany has no such · Field-book'as is used in the Boston primary schools, but is presented to boys going to work at thirteen as a study of vegetable anatomy and physiology, applied to the classification of plants as monocotyleda, dicotyleda, &c. It was lately officially asserted that there was no difference between primary and secondary instruction except in the ages of the pupils; and, considering that the highest age at our national schools is fourteen, and very few can remain away from work beyond thirteen, the Office could hardly have better exposed its error. More wise is the language of the Massachusetts Report :

6 Massachusetts Board, 43rd Annual Report, 1880 ; and Boston School Document, No. 30, 1879.

The relation elementary holds to secondary education is the one preparing the mind for the other. A knowledge of plants prepares the mind for the science of botany; a general knowledge of language, for the study of grammar; familiarity with the facts of any science, for the scientific study.

The very

It is this indiscriminate and ambitious advertisement of national education by a priced catalogue of show articles that las caused the public provision to be laid hold of by a higher class than that intended to be provided for, and the deprivation of the latter class of their due.

This is the way in which elementary education is being attempted to be stretched over secondary, to the grievous injury of both; the first being neglected, and the second offered as a cheap makeshift to the middle and most important class of the nation's children, who could, and would, otherwise get much sounder education. pseudonym is sneaking into use of higher elementary schools, and tradesmen are getting their children a so-called middle-class education at the aristocratic-eleemosynary price of ninepence a week. At the same time, many of the children intended to be educated by public aid may be seen, in spite of compulsory-attendance enactments, turning as wheels at railway stations for a copper from the passengers, or screaming halfpenny papers about the streets. The middle-class say they have a right to use what they pay for; not seeing that what they pay rates for is elementary education, such as they may take, if they like, in company with those too poor to get it for themselves; but that the secondary education which they hope to make it serve their children for must be a very imperfect secondary education, not at all what they are paying rates for, nor what their children properly want. Independent middle-class schools alone can give them in this country what their children really need beyond elementary education. It is remarkable that in the last Boston Reports the same tendency to lean on substitutes for self-help is thus noted : - The State supplying text-books to parents who plead poverty has revealed an unexpected condition of poverty. We are, in fact, being led into vainly giving advanced education to numbers who ought not to be in these schools at all.'

The last mischief I will note among the vices of our annual catalogue of grants on results is the perpetual and intricate changes it entails. Every new Minister, of course, adds a mark or two of his own spécialité. Every year has its crop of higher advertisement. Vain, indeed, was Mr. Lowe's hope of arriving at finality by his Revised Code. Finality has been the special recommendation of every annual revision since. The last revision was expressly devoted to the extinction of all possible alteration. So grave was the announcement that a year of grace was allowed to prepare men's minds for the acceptance of such an ultimatum. The year of grace, however, was spent in making some of the most important changes yet

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