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Robinson, Edward Van 

The reorganization of tlie 
grades and the high... 







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Dates: 1912, 

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PRlA ^ 

Robinson, Edward Van Dyke. 

The reorganization of the grades and the high school Th 
[microform] / tc Edward Van Dyke Robinson. ** 

8 260 [S.l. : Tb s.n. , tc 1912?] 

9 300 p. 665-688 ; ▼€ 24 C». 
•- 10 500 Cover title. ^ 

- 11 500 "Reprinted for private circulation from The school review, vol 
XX, no 10, December 1912." 

RESTRICTIONS ON USE: Reproductions may not be made without permission from Columbia University Libraries 




TRACKING # : 3t(nJl'i^ 


president's Office G* 



Reprinted for private circulation from 
The ScHOCa. Review, Vol. XX, No. lo, December igi2 




The University of Minnesota 

At no previous period in the world's history have changes in 
the conditions of life been so rajad as they are today. Caesar and 
Napoleon were separated by some d^teen centuries, yet they 

saw about them essentially the same conditions of labor, of travel, 
and of life. It is now less than a century since the death of Napo- 
leon, yet if he could return today, he would find no essential aspect 
of life, as he knew it, unchanged* Moreover, in America at least, 
these changes have for the most part occurred since the Civil War. 
That in consequence American education today is ill adapted to 
the changed conditions of life, few who are faTni)ia r with modem 
industry, as well as with education, will caie to deny. 

The common schools of today can be traced bade to the writing 
and reckoning schools established in Massachusetts in 1680. These 
corresponded approximately to grades 4, 5, and 6. The lower 
grades, i, 2, and 3, were not generally added until about 1820. 
Grades 7 and 8, or work omieqxmding thereto, were added still 
later, while the high school was at first merely a further extension 
of the conunon schools along the same lines as grades 7 and 8. 
Gradually, however, the high schools became separate in organi- 
zation and administration from the grades bdow them. This 
differentiati<m occuned partly as a result of the growth of towns 
into dties, which rendered it impossible to house all the pupils in 
one central building. It was also due in part to the increasing 
demand on the part of the public that these schools take over the 
business of priming students for c(^ege, which had hitherto 
been a m<mopoly of the private academies. Thus it has come 
about that the American public-school system consists of an ele- 
mentary course of eight or nine years, followed by a secondary 
course of three or four yeaxs^ radically difierent in character, 



organization, and administration. Strictly speaking, it is not a 
system at all, but a historical accident. 

Bi the second place, not only was the Amaican public-school 
system never deliberately planned by anyone, but I venture to 
doubt whether, if it were not already here, any sane man would 
ever {dan it as it now exists. A few of the most obvious objections 
to it may be thus briiefly summarised. 

Neither the common schod rot the high school ha§, under 
existing conditions, any separate task or an> definite purpose. 

The proper aim of the common school is to impart the school 
asts (reading, writing, and arithmetic); but continued drill on 
these si&jects thnHi^pioat ei^t years, with en^hasis on form in 
irface of content, is deadening in its monotony. Moieov^, H the 
unanimous testimony of the business world can be accepted, such 
drill does not produce a marked degree of proficiency in any of the 
arts. Far better resulte are obtained in countries such as Germany 
where atteirticm is eariier shifted from the locm to the amtent 
In so far, however, as such a shift is made in the common school, 
it ceases to have a separate task or a definite purpose. 

The proper aim of the high school, on the other hand, is to map 
the genial divisiwaof the field of human knowledc^ and show the 
methods of approach to each, to the tsA that stUidenta may find 
their way around alone, and likewise find themselves — ^that is, 
choose, as wisely as may be, their life-work. As matters stand, 
the high school is forced to share this task with the grades below, 
which have to OTganiaatioBi whatever im sudh a purpose; and also 
with the college above, where essentially high-school w<»k k cxm- 
tinned during the first year or two of the course. These facts fully 
justify Dr. Dewey's contention that ''the high school be^gpos at 
no di^nite point and ends at none." 

Isk ordflsr to M up the dght-year dementaiy couise, wbm fint 
Wtablished, the conumm school took over from the district schocd 
its coHection of arithmetical and grammatical puzzles, intended 
originally for young men and women, but wholly unsuited to 
cbildcen; and all efforts to dislodge Uus mass of absurdities fiom 
the commcm sehoola have faSed, even thougjii the cunicuhim is 
now seriously overloaded. As a result, the schacAs continxially 
work against, in place of with, nature. 


At the time when pupils' memory is active and their reason 
iindevekq>ed, tb^ are gtmn cooa^^icated arithmetical puzzles to 
solve, or requhred to ddve hi the mjrst^ies of technical English 
grammar, which (as distinguished from practical language work) 
is a highly abstruse subject. Thus it comes to pass that, in the 
words of the Morrison Report, ^'much is learned today with great 
painstaking which, if left until the riper espeneskot d Umamm^ 
would be learned incidentally and witfacwt conacious effrnt.'' 
At a later period, when memory is less active and reason has 
begun to develop, the schools again go counter to nature by 
putting pupils on subjects calling chiefly for memory, such as the 
dements ol &»eign languages. This practice is, moieover, so 
much a part at the system that it can be eluninated only by a 
fundamental reoganization. 

Differentiation of courses is too long delayed. 

The age of twelve usually marks the beginning of adolescence, 
ivhen a pnrfound change, both physical and pqrchical, occurs. 
On the psychic ade this change is maiited by new fedings, new 
interests, and new tastes — ^in a word, by the development of indi- 
viduality. To attempt longer to crowd all children through one 
and the same oouzse cannot but prove disastrous. 

We have heard much of late conceniing ^^retaixlatioQ" and 
"elimination" in the sdhools; and many ingmious reasons have 
been assigned for these phenomena. In point of fact, the matter 
is very simple. We have the testimony of Mr. Ayres, in his epoch- 
making study of LaggaiNis im Our SckoUsy that elimination from 
schod is mo^ noticeaUe after the pupils readhi tJie age of twdve, 
when they are required to take up a "continuation of a wearjdngly 
monotonous curriculum." It cannot be otherwise. A uniform 
curriculum must aim at the "average pupil,^' who is a myth, and 
cannot be adapted to the var^ng tastes and cs|Midties of the 
actual pupils. It ther^ore oi necessity destrojrs biterest, and faSs 
utterly to meet the social and economic needs of the community. 
Such a curriculum in fact, while designed chiefly to prepare for 
high school, is not even weU adapted for that purpose; and it is 
Still less suited to the great majority who never enter sciM>Ql. 

Isi view of these facts, it is dear that no man aad no body of 



men, howevw wise, can cmistruct a course which will be the best 

for all pupils through eight years. Differentiation of courses is 
indispensable, and the logical and psychological moment for such 
differentiation is at the a^e of twelve— that is, the beginning of the 
seventh grade* 

common-school curriculum is hopelessly congested, e^^ 
dally in grades 7 and 8. 

Besides formal drill in the school arts, and the mass of puzzles 
which it inherited from the district school, new subjects are con- 
stantly being introduce, largdiy in response to popular dmands. 
Each class of zealots in the community feels that the safety of the 
country depends upon having the subject in which they are inter- 
ested taught in the common schools. They organize, and agitate, 
andpetition, until the subject is introduced; then parchance, having 
dcme their duty, they forget all about it. Hie ccmgestion, how- 
ever, remains; the teacher, the principal, the superint«ident, and 
the unfortunate pupils cannot forget about it. Thus we have 
algebra, and constructional geometry, and drawing, and music, 
and nature-study, and temperance {diysiologyy and patriotism, 
and shopwork, and sewing, and cooking, and agriculture, dl added 
to an already overcrowded curriculum. Is it a wonder that teachers 
have nervous prostration, or that children are unable to master 
anything because of the multiplicity of things they are called upon 
to study ? 

Many people, sedng this condition of the curriculum, exclaim 
against the *'fads and frills," and demand a return to the "three 
R's"; but the days of the three R's*' have passed away, never 
to return. Conditions of life have become too complex, and the 
demands upon the dttzoi too great, for such a sunple and rudi- 
mentary education. It does not follow, however, because a subject 
is worthy of a place in the course, that all pupils should be com- 
pelled to study it, or that all should study it to the same extent. 
In other words, the remedy for omgestion of the curriculum is not 
exclusion of subjects, but differentiaticm of courses, so that pui& 
may in a measure follow the bent of their tastes and capacities. 

If a uniform course through eight years is bad, promotion by 
grades is worse, es{>ecially after the age of twelve. 


To force all pupils not only to take the same course for eight 
years, but to rqpeat subjects which they have passed, merely 
because they have failed in others in the same grade, is to genoate 
ifiNiifference, if not active hatred, for school. In view of these two 

practices, no one need wonder why so many pupils are retarded" 

or "eliminated"; the only mystery is, that so many sixrvive and 

go through the schools. 

The break between the grades and the his^ school is too sud^ 

and complete. 

This is the case because the pupil usually passes at once from 
the patriarchal (or matriarchal) regime of one room, one teacher, 
a find body of classmates, and a familiar round of studies to the 
regime of various rooms and teachers, a i^ting body of studaits, 
and a series of wholly new subjects. The school mortality in such 
circtunstances is unavoidably heavy. On the other hand, many 
who now fail and leave school would succeed if only the change 
were more gradual. Here again the remedy is diffarcantiatixm of 
courses and promotion by subjects (which of <x>urse involves 
departmental work) in the seventh and eighth grades, before the 
old and familiar studies are wholly discontinued. 

The break betwera the grades and high school, moreover, occurs 
at the worst possible point in the course. 

Under the present plan, this break happens in the very midst 
of adolescence, when the pupil is usually possessed by the greatest 
variety of vagaries and hallucinations. To turn him adrift at 
sudi a time, especially with the additional halludnatioa that in 
finishing the eighth grade he has actually ccnnpleted something, 
is to insure the maximum number of irreparable mistakes. On 
the other hand, if the pupil could be held in the familiar environ- 
ment and under the same influences for a year longer, such mis- 
takes would be greatly reduced. Itis the first year of bigji school 
which is fatal; relativdy few who pass the first year successfully 
go to pieces afterward. 

Again, the break at the end of the eighth grade does not, in 

prc^^ressive states such as Minnesota, OKrr^xmd to the legal age 

for leavii^; school. 

As a result, vast nimtibers either leave school a year m two 



before the legal age, or, if they enter high school under compulsion, 
merely loaf until they are of legal age. In such cases, they are a 
detriment to the school; and they are apt to acquire habits of idle* 
ness which later prove a detrimrat to themselves. In fact, there 
is no doubt that many a boy has been ruined by a year in high 
school, while waiting for time to pass. Even supposing a student 
who b staying only one year in high school does apply himself, 
. what cim he accompliah in that time which is worth while? Cte 
the other hand, he would profit greatly if he could have, in place 
of fragments of two practically unrelated courses (in the grades 
and the high school), a imified three-year course, begixming in 
grade 7 and adjusted to his iq>ecial needs and capacity. Such a 
unified course cannot be ffv&i partly in the grades and partly in 
the high school, in view of the fundamental difference in spirit, 
organization, and personnel which obtains in these schools. A 
redivision of grades and high school is therefore imperative if such 
a course is to be established. 

The break between tiie d^th and ninth grades is especially 
unfortunate in small commimities which cannot properly maintain 
the full high-school course. In such cases the community some- 
times spends money in attempting to maintain a full high-school 
onirse which is sorely needed in the grades, with the result that 
both the grades and the high school are starved, and fhdr efficiency 
suffers. This is the situation in not a few villages in Minnesota. 
On the other hand, it frequently happens that such commimities, 
recogniadng their inability to maintain a full high-school omrse, 
decide to stq[> with ihit d^th grade, notwithstanding their pram* 
larion and taxable property would warrant the addition of 4Hmex 
year. The effect is, in the aggregate, to cut short the education 
of large numbers of children. 

The problem here suggested is of great importance now, and is 
certain to increase hi gravity with the rise of omsoHdated rural 
schools. Indeed, the success of this movement depends in no 
small measure on the proper articulation of rural schools with high 
schools. Such schools caimot, as a rule, carry pupils through the 
high school, yet to stop at the d^th grade is to eaqpoee the pupils 
to ail the dangers (rf the ptment ^stem, multiplied by reason of 


distance, e3q>ense in reaching larger schools, and total unfamiliar- 
ity with town condidons. £tere again the remedy is to diff^enri- 
ate at the beginning of the seventh grade, and offer several unified 
courses running through the ninth. Students completing such 
courses will usually be of legal age to stop school; and those who 
decide to enter high school will be e3^)0sed to far less danger. 

The present ^stem complicates unnecessaifly the problem of 
discipline. The great problem in the grades is to control the big 
boys, and the girls whose minds have begun to run on boys. If 
these could be removed, the benefit would be mutual: first, to the 
lower grades, which would be relieved of a disturbing element; 
second, to the older ptquls thmsdives, who could be brought under 
conditions and methods of discipline more suited to their years. 

Somewhat similar conditions obtain in the high school. It is 
well known that first-year high-school pupils need quite different 
treatment from the ui^per grades. In fact, they have mare in 
ommion with grades 7 and 8 than with the grades above them. 
This fact emphasizes the desirability of a common course and 
administrative organization for grades 7, 8, and g. 

The present system results in inefficient teachers and teaching, 
eaqpedally in the grades. This is not a criticism of the grade teach- 
ers themselves: many among them are most conscientious and 
capable. It is, however, a fundamental criddsm of the system 
under which they work. The grade teacher and the grade prin- 
cipal Me the only surviving persons in this age of specialization 
who are officially expected to know evaything and to teach every- 
thing. The result is that th^ cannot make adequate imparation 
for their work before they begin teaching; and still less can they 
do so after they are once in the treadmill of daily work. On the 
Other hand, with differentiation of courses, promotion by grades, 
and d^Murtmental wcn^ each teacher above the dxth grade could 
devote hecsdf to one or two allied subjects, with a great gain in 

By this plan, moreover, each pupil would come into contact 
with several teachers; and a single inefficient or ovemervous 
teacher could not work the educaticmal ruin of a whole roomful 
of children, as sometimes happais und» the present system. 



It is indeed true that departmeatal work can be carried on 
without the proposed reorganizaticm. It is, howevw, something 

at bottom alien to the present system and dependent everywhere 
upon the will of the superintendent or principal: under the pro- 
posed {dan, it would become an essential part of the system. 

The imsent system is econ<»nicaUy wasteful. 

It is wasteful of teadbers: for it is unavoidable, when sdiools 
are so placed as to be within walking distance for children of five 
or six years of age, that the seventh- and eighth-grade classes will 
vary greatly in size, some bemg too large and others too small. 
Yet no mattar now small these g^es may be, each district insbts 
on having them. Scattering these grades d course runs up the 
per capita cost and compels economies in other directions, such as 
teachers' salaries and material equipment. The wastefulness 
inheraat in the present system thus reacts directly upon the e&* 
dency of the schoob. 

The present system is even more wasteful of mataial equip- 
ment. In the days of the "three R's," when a school consisted 
of four walls and some benches, this factor did not enter into the 
im>blem; but with the introduction of the elements of scira<%, and 
eq)edally the manual subjects — shopwork, cocAing, sewing, and the 
rest — a large material equipment has become indispensable. 

To provide an adequate equipment for these subjects in every 
public school means a practically prohibitive e]q>ense. What is 
more, the equipment would nec^sarily lie idle most of the time. 
This fact has led, in many places, to the establishment of "manual 
training centers" for grades 7 and 8, at certain centrally located 
schools. This device is an open confession that the eight-and- 
f our divisi<m of the public schools no longer correqpcmds to the edu- 
cational needs of the times. Moreover, owing to the inevitable 
loss of time and the administrative disorganization due to the fre- 
quent shifting of pupils from school to school, it is certainly a 
temporary makeshift. In point of fact, it is no doubt the first 
step towud the break-»up of the dght-imd*four plan, and the am- 
centration of grades 7 and 8 at various caitrally located schools, 
where classes can be equalized, workshops, assembly halls, and 
gymnasiums provided, and teachers employed who are especially 


adapted to piqpfls of that age, and especially prq>ared to teach 
certain subjects. 

In view of the objections to the present public-school system, 
of which the foregoing is but a brief and imperfect summary, it 
is not surprising that for many years most thinking men have felt 
that the results obtained from the public schools are not at all 
commaisurate with the time, money, and novmis oiergy spent 
upon them. 

The first striking evidence of this conviction was afforded by 
the famous report of the Committee of Ten, of which President 
Eliot of Harvard was chairman. In 1893 committee rqx>rted 
to the Nati<mal Association in favor of "eariddng" the course oi 
study in grades below the high school, through the introduction 
of various subjects such as algebra and Latin, which had hitherto 
been confined to the high schools. This plan was adopted in many 
schools, but few will claim that the results have been satisfactcny. 
The subjects were introduced without being recast to adapt them to 
a lower grade, without any change in the organization or admin- 
istration of those grades so that the pupils might be adapted to 
new methods of work, and in many cases without adequately 
trained teachers to handle the new subjects. In these circum- 
stances failure was inevitable. The principal effect of this airich- 
ment plan has been further to overload an already congested 

In 1899 the Committee of Thirteen, recognizing that the airich* 
ment plan had &iled, and likewise the reason fwit, reported to the 
National Education Association in favor of a unified six-year high- 
school course, beginning with the seventh grade. This recom- 
mendation, however, like that of the Committee of Ten, came from 
mm who ware for the most part not public-school men, and the 
plan was regarded generally as designed to further coU^mtovsts. 
Some few cities, such as Kansas City and Muskegon, Mich., went 
so far as to transfer the eighth grade into the high school — estab- 
lishing thus a seven-year elementary course, and a five-year high- 
school course. The general testinumy is that this change was a 
dedded improvemeot over f<mner conditicms. No dty, however. 



at that time, adopted tlie fec<mmiieiidati<m of the Qmumttee of 

Thirtera as a whole. 

In 1904 an exposition was held in St. Louis, which brought 
forcibly to the attention of the educators of the United States the 
fact that this is the only civilized country in the world which 
demaiuis eig}it or nine years of school life for the general elementary 
course. It was seen tiiat the English, French, or German boy is 
approximately two years ahead of the American boy. It was 
further noted that England, France, and Japan, which have studied 
the educational systems of all countries with the utmost care, all 
have the six-year elemeritary period, while Germany has in part 
a four-year elementary period. In these circumstances the move- 
ment for the reorganization of our educational system received 
renewed attention. 

At the 1905 meeting d the Naticmal Education Association, a 
onnmittee was appointed to study the question, of whidi commit- 
tee Principal Morrison of St. Louis was chairman. This committee 
and its successors reported in 1907 and subsequent years emphati- 
cally in favor of what is called the six-and-siz plan; that is, a dz* 
year elementary course followed by a six-year high-school course. 

Unlike the rq>ort of the Committee of Thirteen, this movement 
originated with practical school men, the colleges having nothing 
to do with it. As a result of this movement, together with the 
growing dissatisfaction of the public with the traditional system 
d education, there are now some twenty cities in the United States 
having five- or six-year high-school courses, following six- or 
seven-year elementary courses. 

The six-and-six plan has the merit of definiteness and sim- 
plicity- In villages and towns where children of twdve years of 
age can readily readi a central building, it is also the plan most 
easily adopted and most certain to prove efficient in operation. 
In the long run, indeed, these merits may not improbably cause 
it to be generally adopted, though distance and expense are serious 
obstacles to its immediate adoption in the larger cities. 

There is, however, one serious objection to the plan as usually 
framed. Many students must necessarily drop out before the 
end of the high-school course, and the usual six-year plan provides 


no suitable stopping-point for such students, but leaves them with 
a sense of failure and incon^letene^. What is perhaps mme 
important, it leaves them, as the present system does, without a 
well-rounded training for anything in particular. In order to 
meet their needs, it would be necessary to divide the six-year 
course into two three-year cycles, one embracing grades 7-8-9, 
the oHm including grades lo-xi-xa; and then to arrange the 
curriculimi so that few subjects would lap over from one cycle to the 
next, and likewise so that the practical or vocational element 
would be emphasized in grades 9 and 12. For example, while 
English and foreign languages would have to ovorlap, the several 
sciences could be assigned to one or the othar cyde, and hi^-sdiool 
mathematics (algebra, etc.) could be reserved exclurively for the 
upper cycle. Such an arrangement would dispose of the principal 
objection to the six-and-six plan; and, incidentally, it would give 
is^dents completing both cycles a far better training in matfae- 
matics than the preset disjdnted course in that subject Mine- 
over, if shorter periods are thought better for the younger pupils, 
it would be feasible to have thirty-minute recitation periods in the 
y_g-Q group and forty-five-minute periods in the 10-11-12 group 
(three <d one equaling two of the other), and to adjust the wmk 
in other respects to the varying age and capacity of the two ffcovaps. 

Another (very rudimentary) plan of reorganization consists in 
the introduction of different courses in grades 7-8, without sepa- 
rating them from the lower grades* The Education Department 
of the state of New York, for example, has issued a syllabus for 
a six-year elementary coxurse, providing fx differaitiation d 
courses in the seventh grade, but not expressly for any redivision 
of grades. In this case, the reports of the department leave no 
doubt that this six-year syllabus is merely the first step toward 
a thcMTou^ reoigamzaticm d the system. As such, it is most 
promising. There is, however, no reason to eipect any real xtlmn 
so long as grades 7 and 8 are housed and administered with the 
lower grades. All the difficulties enumerated above, except the 
sin|^ imiform course, are likely to continue to exist, even to the 
atrocious ^'lodk^-st^,'' or promotkm by grades* The most that 
can be said in favw of this plan is that it would be easy to adagtt 



because neither grade priacipals nor high-school principals wcmld 
be apt to oppose it. 

A thixd {dan of reorganisation calls for the sq^aration of grades 
7-^ both from the lower grades and from the high school, as at 
Richmond and Goshen, Ind, Separate schools for these grades, 
with proper equipment, personnel, and administration, would 
dybninate many of the abuses the present system; but they 
could not provide for the great number who drop out unnecessarily 
at the end of the eighth grade, or who attend the high school only 
a year. For this reason, they are likely to prove merely a stq) 
toward the six-and-six plan, or toward the establislunent of intar- 
mediate schools conqirising grades 7-8-9. This plan has, however, 
the practical advantage that it would not be apt to antagonize 
high-school interests. 

A fourth plan of reorganization contemplates the establishment 
oi separate intmnediate SGho<^ to include grades 7-&-9, offering 
parallel courses, and {Mtnnotmg by subjects in place of by grades. 
This plan is outlined in a report prepared by the Educational 
Committee of the Minneapolis Commercial Club, which report is 
attached to this paper. Something similar is already in <^)mtion 
in Cokato, Minn., Berkley, Cal., Grand Rapids, Mich., and Kala- 
mazoo, Mich. This {dan is also about to go into effect in Evans- 
ville, Ind., Red Wmg, Minn., and Los Angeles, Cal, It has the 
merit, in a greater degree than any other plan, of providing a strong 
three-year course for the vast numbar who now leave school 
betwera tli^ seventh and tenth grades, prepared fcM- nothing in 
particular and tha:^ore fwr the most part doomed to swell the 
ranks of inefficient and ill-paid laborers. 

In contrast to the present system, the following advantages 
may be claimed for this reorganization of the public-sduxd system: 

1. It would assign a dng^ and distinct aim to the elemratary 
school, and likewise to the high school. 

2. It would force the elimination of non-essentials in the ele- 
mentary curriculum, especially the mass of inherited puzzles. 

3. It would make pwsible the teaching <tf {objects at the time 
iriben the mind is best fitted to receive them. 

4. It would break up the imiform coixrse, the lock-step in pro- 


xnotion, and in general the atbeiiq>t to standardize dbiMxenb^ond 
the sixth grade, in favor of individuality and freedom. 

5. It would consequently go far to solve the problem of the 
laggard in school. 

6. It would likewise tend to hoid in school for a Icmger pmod 
many who now drop out, es^tedally the boys. More would reach 
the md of the ninth grade, and more would consequently continue 
through the high school. 

7. It would relieve the congestion of the curriculum and the 
consequrat ov^ressure on both pupils and teachers. 

8. It would renda: the transition from the one-teacher regune 
to the high school less sudden and less dangerous. 

9. It would shift the breaks in the school course to the natural 
and least dangerous points, whether viewed from the educational, 
the economic, or the legal standpoint— namely, the ends of the 
mxth and ninth grades. 

10. It would favor the wise adjustment of school facilities to 
resources in small communities, and in consohdated rural schools. 

11. It would tend to greater ^Sbdency in administiation and 
in teaching. 

12. It would eliminate waste both of teachers and equipment 
and therefore in operation, making possible better education at 
less (or at least no greater) expense per capita. 

13. It would be better, both for pupils who drop out, and 
equally so for those who continue through the high school, since 
longer sequences of studies and more earnest work would be possible. 

14. It would especially facilitate the development of hand- 
work, in preparation for trade apprenticeship, trade schools, and 
continuation schools af t» the ninth grade. 

15. Above all, while thus meeting the social and economic needs 
of the twentieth century, the proposed plan would maintain, in 
full vigor, the democracy of the American pubUc school. This is 
a matter worthy of most serious consideration. We cannot for- 
ever go on sacrificing educational d&dmcy to a fetish of equality 
r^resented by a uniform course of study. Somehow we must, 
and we shall, adapt our educational system to the new needs of 
a new age. Already in several cities along the Atlantic seaboard 



tlie plan is being tried of sortii^ the seventh 

grade those who are going on to high school, and sending them 

directly into the high school ; or else of sorting out those who are not 
going to high school, and sending them directly into trade or indus- 
trial schools. Either plan is undemocratic in itself, and likewise 
qpen to serious objection, in that it compels an irrevocable decision 
as to the future career of the child at a time when neitha: the 
parent nor the pupil can make such a decision wisely. On the 
other hand, the intermediate (or junior high-) school plan, while 
recognizing fnmkly that all chiklren are not alike in tastes or ability, 
nor destined to follow the same occupations in life, would tend to 
keep all children together through the ninth grade — that is to say, 
for a year or two longer than at present — and would thus the better 
enable them to *'find themselves'' and choose wisely some occu- 
pation for which their tastes and talents fit them, ot haply to defer 
the choice still longer, meantime securing a In^-school education. 

In this connection it is interesting to note that the plan con- 
forms to the ideas expressed by the Committee of the American 
Federation of Labor on Industrial Education, of which committee 
John Mitdidl was diairman; and further, that the intamediate- 
school plan was expressly and unanimously indorsed by the Minne- 
sota Federation of Labor, at the Red Wing meeting in 1909. 

It has been suggested by some that the plan may be adapted 
to large dties, but is not adapted to smaller amununities. This 
I believe to be an error. In a great dty, with a vast sum di money 
invested in buildings constructed for specific purposes, the diffi- 
culty of carrying out such a reorganization is indeed not far from 
insuperable; and yet such a change would call for careful planning, 
scmie extra administrative work while the new system was being 
established, and for a building prc^ram not necessarily larger than 
would otherwise be undertaken, but adjusted to different ideals. 
Moreover, in a great city the forces of educational conservatism 
are apt to be strongly intrenched; and these are sometimes rein- 
fcttced by such as fear that a change might afiect their own impor* 
tance in the syst^. 

In smaller communities, on the other hand, none of these condi- 
tions exist, or if they exist their influence is less pronounced. The 


buildings are fewer, the distances to be travded by the pupils are 
less, and the teaching force is, as a rule, less conservative. Where 
only one building is used for school purposes in the town, the change 
presents no difficulty whatsoever. It is merely a question of 
adminktration. Where two or three buildings only are used, the 
distances are not apt to be so great that pupils from the seventh 
grade upward cannot be sent to the central building. Even where 
there are eight or ten biuldings in a city it will usually be possible 
to take one <rf them for use as an intermediate school in eadbi end 
of the dty. By one metiiod m the other, the problem can be 
solved; and I am fully convinced that to the villages and smaller 
cities we must look, in this vital reorganization of education, for 
educational leadership* 

By way of amfirmation of the advantages claimed lot a redi- 
vision ct the grades and the high school, it is possible to dte the 
experience of various communities which have tried one or the 
other plan. The following statements are taken from letters in 
my possession. Taken together, they seem to indicate that (as 
argued above) almost any division is better than the traditional 
ei^t^d-four divi^on. 


Gary, Ind. 7/17/11. 
We group the children from the kindergarten through the second year 
High School in the same building. Our plan is to provide every inducement 
for keeping the children in school until they are 16 years of age. We increase 
the per capita cost in the 7th. and 8th. grades, but lower it in the 9th. and loth. 
grades, the average being practically constant. The efficiency of school work 
is raised because of the superior character of the work in the common schools. 


CRAwraKDSvnxE, ]ba>. 
December 30, 191 x. 
The six and six plan of dividing the twelve grades is in successful operation 
in the Crawfordsville schools. The upper six grades, seven to twelve indu- 
stve, are located in one plant on an entire dty block. The 7th. and 8th. grades 
are in one building and the 9th. to 12th. grades are in another building erected 
80 that they are connected with each other. The superviidng princqial has 
dkectkm (rf the entire six grades. Fracticail^ all of ^oor paph under the 


TMM scmxa, Rsvim 

seventh grade change buildings Ux the last time before they aze old enough to 
quit school. The grammar glades are organized on the departmental system 
just as the High School. When a pupil Oiice gets bqrond the sevrath gnute 
there is no reason why he should drop out so far as the oiganizatioa <tf the 
nthook is ocMicerned. With our 8th. grade students there is nothing new of 
strange about the Bi^ Schocd. Hiey have been Evuig in it lor two years 
and know the teachers and thdr ways. The gcanunar grade students attend 
lectures, entertainments, and sodal functicms with the High School piqiils* 
All the 7th. grade students that make good records in the 7th. grade Eo^ 
are permitted to dect German <a Latin in the 8th. grade. They are thus 
enaUed to get an early start in their fordgn language work. The grammar 
grade boys who take manual training take it in the W0i Sdiool shop and the 
grsmniar grade girbiAo take sewing take it in the S^Schod^ The 
results are higUy satisfactiny. The percentage of studrats dropi»ng out at 
the end of the Mi. grade k no larger than those dropping out at the end of the 
7tli.,9tli..«aayothergnide. Hi^,Supt. 

Lead, SJ>ak. 

May 4, 1910. 

We are oonqdeting our fifth year under the 6-6 plan and believe results 
moie than justify such an (Hganizaticm. For a dty of our sise it would seon 
to be the b^ter plan. F<» large dties it would seon to me that the 6-3-3 
phrnm^ be pntfenMe to the (Hi plan. ^ ^^^^ ^^^^ 


Denver, Colo. 10/25/11. 
In two of our high schools the first year of the high school is sfparatcd 
from the main buildings. In both cases this has been due to the omgested 
conditions. We find that, contrary to our expcftatifMis, the great majority 
of the parents seem to favor this separation. It seems to me to give a certain 
distinct unity to the school and a feeling of sdidarity on the part of the ptqnls, 
which has apparently been beneficial. It also constitutes a someiAat less 
f<»midaUe break in the elementaty schod woik^ and the popis themsdves 
are not overwhelmed by the presence of older piqdb in the room who are 
strangers to them. We are inclined to tbSaek there are many aigomaits for 
the peraanent scfMoatkm of the lower grade from the h^icff in hi^ sdiod 

C. E. Chadsey, SupL 


»N, Mich. 
June 15, 1911. 

Hie sevmith grade work is dcme in a caitral building on the dq)artmental 
plan. The ^ and 9th. grades are in the Annex of the High School and are 
held under doser s^pmisbn than the regular High School grades. The loth., 


nth., and 12th., grades are considered the High School proper. We now 
bdieve that this is a better division than the old eight and four plan. It gives 
us the apportxadty of doing a differrat dass of work in the 7th. grade and also 
enables us to vary the work in the 8th. and gth. grades so as to keep up the 
Jiitevestof thedddren* Hie results of the seven and five plan are: 

(a) the numb^ leaving sdiool is growing leas and less. 

(b) effidenqr of sdiool work is hecmming greater. 

(c) pamats are now pleased with tiie plan although thgr were sk^idGal 
at first 

(d) there has be»onty a ntmiinal increase of e^enditure. 

lie most striking ^ect is that the attendance in our Sdiools during 
the last ten years has donUed although the dty has decreased in populatkm 
in that time. We abo have man boys than gtrls in the H||^ Schocd. We 
have dqiartmentd work in the 7th. grade and thus i^i^are the cfaiU^ 
tranatkm to the wwk m the EB^ School I bdieve in the plan and would 
be to have it arranged so that we could have the 7th.» 8th., and 9tli., 
grades in a building by themsdves and the xoth, x ith., and rath, in a building 
Iqr themsdves. 

J. M. F1UI6T, 5if#«rHrteN^ 

V. ^V£N-1HK££-AN]>-TW0 PIAK 

Kalamazoo, Mich. 

June 29, 1911. 

The Central High School includes all members of grades 11 and 12 and 
also pupils of the gth. and loth. grades from adjoining territory. We have 
now in three other buildings which are situated in other parts of the town, the 
9th. and loth. grade pupils working in a departmental school with 8th. grade 
pupils and also in one case with 7th. grade pupils. In its working out the plan 
has convinced me, First, that the distribution of high school centers increases 
enrollment; second, that the treatment of the 8th. grade on the same basis 
as the High School, with promotion by subjects, is very effective in helping 
to hold pupils in school over the restless period; third, that the 8th. grade is 
perfectly able to carry on the work on the same plan and by the same instruct- 
ors as the High School. As to the efficiency of the school work, I know that 
the efficiency of the 8th. grade work has been increased and that the efficiency 
of the 9th. grade work has not been injured. 

S. O. Ha&twell, SupL 


Ely, Minn., to/zj/xt 

Our buildings are not sudi htxe as to allow us to try the plan. We 
are organized, however, after a somewhat similar plan with most ei cdicnt 
results. Our grammar sdiool is nmcm the departmental or subJug^ sdbool 
plan. The gramniar school is in the same buildhig as the hig^ sdiool and uses 




he same shops, kitchen, sewing room, etc., and dovetails into the High School 

If we had room on the grammar school floor, I would hold back the fresh- 
man high school class and call the organization an elementary high school. 

It seems to me that the so-called 6-3-3 plan comes nearer to being ideal 
than any other that is suggested. It would certainly help to break up the 
monotony of our exististg gmmnar grades, and to hold the duldiw ia school 

C. H. Baskbs, Suft. 

CtOQUET, MiMN. 10/24/1I 
We have rearranged our courses in the seventh and eighth grades. About 
half of the students take the industrial course. I believe that we have a greater 
number of students entering the high school because of this re-arrangement. 
We are well equipped for all the industrial work. In agriculture we have a 
ten-acre farm and a greenhouse. 

Psmt Olesen, SupL 


June 22, 1911. 

The seventh and eighth grades are together in a building containing gym- 
nasium and laboratory and conducted on the Junior High School plan. This 
plan has done much to keep the grammar schocd pupils in sdiooi^ secorii^; a 
much larger attendance in the Hi^^ Schools. 

T. A. MoiT, Supt. 
G06HBN, £nd. 

Oinr seventh and gtades have be» on the departmental pb^ 
yeais, occiqiiying the buflding formerly used as a High Sdiooi buildmg. It 
has a huge studbr rocMn and separate recitation room and is conducted precisely 
on the Hi^ Sdiool plan being under the charge of a Principal and a number of 
a s si stant teachers. Each teacher gives instruction in two subjects and has 
charge of the assembly room one study period a day. By this arrangement of 
the grammar grade w<»-k, we can easily allow pupils who are capable of com- 
irieting the grammar grade work in a short time, to take up one or more High 
School subjects, and thus shorten the number of years they are in the High 
Schod proper, while the average pupil is not hurried beyond his capabilities. 
We find the transition to the High School made much easier because of the 
departmental work in the grades. The difficulty of becoming accustomed to a 
large study room and the supervision of a number of teachers is eliminated. 
When pupils are promoted to the High School they have only new subjects to 
become familiar with, not new mechanical arrangements. 

LnUAN £. MiCHAEI,, Supu 




Nov. Z5, zQsx. 

Our course has been modified to the six year dementazy plan, with the 
idea of teadiiag all subject matter to compietOMess whenever it is tau^ and 
ddng away with "rdiariiings^' as the pupil progresses. Und» the old scbcme, 
if thesdioob are to get out of the rut diey are in, the 7th. and Stk 
be reorganised, iriiether or not the 6-3-3 phu^ ^ adopted. The 6-3-3 
would not diminish the number carried over from the fth« and 7th. grades. 
We carry ovor all of them now. M(»reov^, the 6-3-3 plsn will hxAA the Sth. 
grader over to the end of the gth. year when he is almost wholfy past the fSSfy 
age and entered the age of responsibility. We find that we have kst only two 
Sth. graders in two years — ^formerly we lost from 20 to 35. Moreover, those 
we lose at the end of the freshman year go to some business or trade sdiooL 
The two who left us went into an intensive business or industrial school last 
year. Moreover, the gth. graders are carried over in large measure into the 
sophomore class. It was so with us. Our present sophomore class came over 
from the freshman class almost as a unit. Further, it is not a valid objection 
to the 6-3-3 pla-n that it calls for differentiation too early. Children differ- 
entiate at that age whether we guide them or not; what we should do is to 
guide them. 

As to whether the new plan would hold in school those who otherwise 
would leave, it is sufficient to say that we have changed the 7th., 8th., 9th., 
and High School attendance from 82 to 175 in two years because we promote 
by subjects, introduce vital material and provide High School instructors to 
treat pupils as individuals rather than as units of a grade. 

Jom Monroe, SupL 

Gkamd Rapids, Mich. 

Nov. 14, 1911. 

The old High School Building is now occupied by the 7th. and Sth. grades 
and probably next February we shall have the 9th. grade there also. Then we 
shall have a Jxmior High School. We are now agitating for a new South End 
High School. When we get that we shall put in that building the 7th., 8th., 
and 9th. grades and then we shall have another Junior High School. In the 
west end there is now in existence one school in which are grades 9 to 1 2 inclu- 
sive. In this school, the change in plan of administration is made between the 
6th. and 7th. grades. I am trying to establish one vital point, namely that the 
change shall come between the 6th. and 7th. grades and not between the Sth. 
and 9th. w. A. Gmasxm, Smp^. 

Berkeley, Cal. 10/28/11. 
(i) It is true that such a plan as we have in operation in Berkeley would 
uvolve a reorganization of the school system, but it is easily possible to over- 



estimate the seriousness of this. In the first place, the only physical change 
involved woxild be that of congregating at central schools the yth. and 8th. 
grades and holding them until the end of the gth. grade. This can be done 
without erectmg new buildings or making any material change in the old, 
through transferring from the central schools a sufficient nimiber of children 
to make room for the 7th. 8th. and gth. grades. Frequently, in older cities, 
buildings near the business section of the city, once situated conveniently to 
masses of children are now partly xmoccupied due to the spread of the business 
section and the withdrawal of the population to outlying districts. In such a 
situation, this change can be brought about with economy to the department. 
As a city grows and new buildings are required, then and then only do there 
need to be erected special buildings for the work of this intermediate cycle. 
As to the time taken to e£fect the transitioii, tbree terms, that is one year and 
a half, saw the plan in complete <^>eration. 

(2) The cost of maintenance would be increased only where an increase 
of the number of buiUings is requiied, but then in this pardcukr the natural 
growth of a dty means an increase in cost of maintenance and hence is sot a 
proper charge against the change in qrstem. l3k <me particular, however, the 
claim of an increased cost of maintaiance is cmect, and that is in teadieis' 
salaries. With us in Berkeley the Board of Educatxm has adjusted salaries 
for the lower high schools in this way: teachers thefdn teadiing on hi|^ sdiool 
certificates receive high schodl salaries; and teachers on gnumnar sdbod cer^ 
tificates, gnunmar school salaries. We are not limiting the nomber teaddng 
on hat^ school certificates waaSty to the 9th. grade but are scattering them 
about in the 7th. and ^ grades as wdL In consequence, the tendenqr is to 
have a larger number of teadiers cm hi|^ sdiool certificate and hence on hi|^ 
sciiocdsafaay than under the trttditkmai plan <rf prooeduie iriiere every teadier 
in the dementary schods is working under the eiem^it^ 

The pcdicy re^)ecting this matt^ of salaries, however, is one to be deter- 
mined the local board <rf educatkm wMch, of course, can exercise its own 
judgment as to how expaasim or how ecmiomical it desires its second cycle of 
work to be in this respect. In Los Angeles, whidi is just organizing its schools 
on this bafis, the matter is being handled ^erently. They have adopted a 
qpedal schedhile for all w<H:king in the hywer hi^ schools, the average salary 
being somewhat lu^ier than in the elemmtary 8cho(^ but h>wCT 
age iA salaries paui in the ui^er hig^ schools. So for as I can see, this is the 
only item wherdn the maintenance e:q)ense of the plan tends to be greater 
than that under the traditional system. 

(3) I have just completed a careful study of the effect of terminating 
a second cycle of work with the ninth year on school attendance. One of the 
theoretical criticisms which we had to face was that it would provide a natural 
stopping place for boys and girls of the ninth grade which would diminish 
instead of increase high school attendance. I have all along held the contrary 
belief. The figures will interest you. Out of a total of 453 pupils who were 


outdled last year, xqxo-xz, in the ninth grade, iz8 are nusnog in Ihe tenth* 
Of thesi^ 20 are repeating their wrak in lAole or in part and hence are stiU 
intheqmtem; a2 have moved to other cities, and are known to have entered 
the 8cho(^ therein; x? are wtxidng; 3 are out <m account of Shiess; 17 went 
to buabess sdioob, convents and pivate sdioob; and 39 have disappeared 
without leaving any due as to their reasons or intentions. Two of these groi^M 
those rqieating wc»rk and those who have entered other pubGc sdioob, aggre> 
gating 42 puids cannot he comddered as a proper charge against the local 
qmtem. For the remaining 76, r^«senting an actual loss <rf 16.7 per cent 
<rf the total, the system must assume rcaponsiMity. Compare this with Ayres' 
stud^ showing over 50 per cent loss in the 9th. grade undo: the old system. 

(4) As I would have courses shaped in the several cydes, it would not be 
necessary for diildren at the beginning <rf the 7th. grade to determine irindi of 
two entirdy different courses he would dioose. In fact, I would be very 
strongly opposed to requiring a child at this time to choose between two rigidly 
defined courses; but this is entirdy unnecessary. 

FSAMK F. Bunker, SupL 



Our JunkMT EBc^ School, Auditorium, gymnasium buildings are still in 
process of cmstructicMa, and the probabilities are that we dnU not be abk to 
start our {dan hebxt Sqptcmbor X9X2. 

The sdiool will ocmsst of the 7th. 8th. and 9th. grades in aniHganization 
apart from the dementary grades conducted on secondary education prin- 
ciples. This sdiool is <m the same blixk with the Senkffhi^ As the 
WKk grows and the dty increases in populatkm, we propose to erect other 
faskx higli sdKWls in various parts ol the city. Ihe community is becoming 
very randi interested in the phm and the sdbool board is a uni^ 

EsMEST P. WnjES, Principal 




MxNNEAPOUB, Minn., Ai»il 5, 1910 

To ihe Honorable Board of Education, 
City of Minneapolis: 
Gentlemen: The Public Affairs Committee of the Minneapolis Com- 
mercial Club by unanimous vote this day approved the following report from 
the Educational Committee of the Club, and respectfully request that you 
adopt the suggestiK»is thereia contained. 

Yours respectfully, 

A. £. ZoNNE, Ckakmm 



Mtwheapous, Ai»il 2, X910 

//le Public Affairs Committee, 

Minneapolis^ Minnesota: 
The Educational Committee respectfully submits the following report 
touching certain proposed changes in the public school system which we 
believe to be in the direction of increased efficiency. In case the report meets 
your approval we would suggest that the Educatioiial Committee be i\^tfhim«Mi 
to j^eieiit tlie pUa to the Soard (tf EdttcaptiM 

I. mm KAir 

A. We teoKiinieiid that intetmediate schocda be eataldblied oomprising 
file aevendi, eighth and ninth grades: lliis tuvotves: 

(a) The hottsuag of Uiese grades together m buSdings exdusively devoted 
to that purpose: 

{h) The estaUisfaiiie^ of sach achninistrative relations between each high 
school and the intermediate schools in its district as to avoid any hiatus 
between them, any duplication of work, or any lowering of the standard in such 
high school subjects as may continue to be offered in the ninth grade. 

We would suggest that this end may be most surely attained by making 
each high school principal the supervisor of the intermediate schools in his 

B. We further recommend that differentiation begin at the seventh grade, 
at least to the extent of offering two parallel courses, one containing much hand 
work and intensive training in practical braacheSi the other emphajazir^g 
preparation for high school. 

C. Finally, we recommend that promotion in the intermediate schools be 
by subjects in place of by grades. 

In our opinion, the foregoing provisions are all equally essential to the 
success of the plan. The reasons for this conclusion are, in brief, as follows: 

1. A thousand pupils drop out of school every year in Minneapolis during 
or at the end of the eighth grade, and another thousand during or at the end 
of the ninth grade, that is before being in high school long enough to accom- 
plish anything worth while. If this combined army of two thousand children 
who now leave school every year in Minneapolis, prepared for nothing in 
particular, could be given a unified course, under one roof, beginning at the 
seventh grade, the effect would be: 

(a) To hold in school through the ninth grade many of those who now 
leave during or at the end of the eighth grade : and 

{b) to give them all a far more vahiable prq;)aratioa for practical life than 
is now possible. 

2. At about twelve years of age, which usually marks the beginning of 
adokaocMe^cfaildEeabeipntod and 


to attempt longer to teach them all, everything offered in these grades, or 
which may profitably be offered there, is in om opinion a grievous waste of 
the pupils* time, the teachers' energy, and the people's money. 

3. In the face of these growing differences between pupils, to compel them 
to repeat subjects which th^ have mastered, merely because they have failed 
in other subjects in the same grade, is to cultivate apathy and distaste for schooL 

4. A large percentage of those who leave school during the eighth and 
ninth years are hoys, and it is well known that many of these now lack interest 
and energy in school work. We believe that such changes as are recommended 
would taul to hold their interest and uKxease thai caargy during these years. 
Moreover, if interest in adbod worit is <mce aroused, many ^o would otherwise 
diqp out at the first opfKMrtimity axe 13e^ 

adbool course. 

5* By oonoentxating the woik of these three grades in rdbttv^ few center^ 
yet so placed as to be withm walking distaaoe f<^ chiUbm twdve to fifteen 
years of age, it would be possible to provide assonl^ halls, gymnashims, and 
ample farilitifff Ux hand w(»:fc ol all kmds* Sudh roms and facilities are 
inq»emtivdty needed fcv chMwn m these 0r^^ 
adequate scale Ux aU sdiool buiidings, eso^ at i«€iiil»tive cost. 

6. By sudh craceEitration it wouM also be possible to equalise dasses, 
avddbg both very large and very small sections. In this wqr, the effidency 
of the work could be notably increased. 

7. By concmtrati<m ci these grades it would fikewsse be posaUe to have 
teachers devote themsdves to lAatever line <rf woA th^ can do best, thus 
reducing the pressure on teachers and improving the quality of their wmk. 

8. By separating the larger from the smaller children, the proidm <tf 
discipline would be materially simplified, since the methods suited to one 
age are not suited to another. In this way the principals would be freed from 
many needless annoyances, and enabled more effectively to supervise the work 
of teaching. 

9. It is impossible, and it would be undesirable if possible, to train boys 

of twelve to fifteen or sixteen years of age for definite trades; but it is possible 
and highly desirable to give them such general training of the hand and eye as 
shall enable them readily to adapt themselves to the requirements of whatever 
occupation they finally enter. This we regard as one of the most important 
ends to be obtained by the provision of a unified course under one roof for 
grades seven, eight and nine. 

10. Finally, the plan proposed would in our opinion make for economy as 
weU as efl&ciency. 

In the first place, assuming the number of chOdren to remain the same, it 
would involve merely the rearrangement of certain district boundaries and 
the provision of assembly halls, gymnasiums and work shops. But some 
schools already have certain of these facilities, and we imderstand that others 
ate Hlff«Q"»g for thenu £ven suppoang that the expense of equipping the 



intennediate schods would be greater than the expense for such other schools 
as would obtain these facilities anyway, it would still be true that the saving 
adiieved by equalizing classes and by using the equipment for hand work up 
to its full capacity, would in the end more than offset such additional expenses 
of equipment. 

In the second place, if the intermediate schools should render school work 
not only more effective, but also so much more attractive as to hold in school 
many who now drop out, and thus increase the number of children to be 
educated, we have fidl confidence that the people of Minneapolis would rejoice 
in the fact and consider money so spent well spent. 

Req>ectfally sulnnitted, 


W. A. Frisbie 
Edwin S. Siatek 


J. E. Meyers 

F. Fayram 
Wm. a. Schaper 
Alfred H. Bright 
D. Edmund Smith 
Chas. W. Drew 
Chas. L. Sawyer 
F. G. McMillan 
J. £. Sutherland