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Economic Efficiency

workers, schools, life and minds

ECONOMIC EFFICIENCY The discovery and cure of physical defects and a hygienic culture and discipline have characterized the progress of education in the past decades. The next is to see the transformation of the curriculum in the direction of elasticity, with more recognition of actual existing conditions. A more complete linking of the schools to the future working life of the children is one of the most imperative tasks of the teacher at the present moment. This is to be done not for the sake of industry but for the sake of education; not cheap but valuable labor is its end. It is no business of the schools to furnish cheap and skilful hands for the mills if this means that they are to be exploited by employers. But the children are, after all, to grow up to be workers: professional, commercial, industrial, agricultural workers. Their school should from the beginning aim to make them efficient and skilful workers. This is not to say that specialization for a life career should begin in the kindergarten. Trade schools and vocational guidance are not for childhood, but for adolescence. A definite relation between the school and the future active life of the child, however, long antedates the trade school. Useful work and ra tional enjoyment of life are from the beginning the ends in view. Both at long range, which is culture, and at shorter range, which is training, the schools must have the occupations of the community—of the nation and the world also, but more especially of the community—in their mind's eye. Peri

patetic teachers in the home kitchens, perhaps helping to transform the kitchens in a little while to cooperative enterprises, may, for example, be one of the next innovations.

The cultural or disciplinary processes in the schools are not to be undervalued. It is the whole of the accumulated results of civilization that we are to pass on : its noble pleasures, its visions and ideals. But these things cannot stand alone. They can no longer stand on slavery or serfdom or an unmitigated wage system. They must stand on democracy, political and industrial. The work ers must come into possession of them, and to this end they must become cooperative capitalists.

A socialist congressman-elect has recently quoted Lasalle's saying that the proletarian workers and the intellectuals must unite, and has quoted it to disagree, saying that the workers must themselves become intellectual. The workers of the future must be efficient, not under compulsion, but under leadership and direction. They must be able to use their minds no less than their bodies, and neither minds nor bodies in mutilated fragments.