Horace Mann on Education

        Horace Mann was born on May 4, 1796, in Franklin, Massachusetts.  As the son of a farmer he received no more than six weeks of education in a year, but was a frequent patron of the town's library.  Mann entered Brown University in the fall of 1816 and was graduated as class valedictorian in 1819.  He was admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 1821.  Mann's political career began in 1827 when he was elected to serve in the Massachusetts State House of Representatives.  Six years later, in 1833, Mann was elected to the Massachusetts State Senate, where he served as President of the Senate from 1835 to 1837.  In April of 1837 the Massachusetts legislature passed an education bill providing for the employment of a Secretary of a State Board of Education who would report annually to the board.  Mann left his law practice to accept this new post, the first of its kind in the United States.
        In 1838 Mann founded and edited The Common School Journal, in which he articulated his Six Fundamental Propositions of Education.  Mann pioneered and promoted the establishment of state teachers institutions and normal schools to prepare teachers, establishing the first one in Lexington, Massachusetts, in 1839, and two more by 1840.  During his tenure as Secretary to the Massachusetts State Board of Education fifty high schools were created.  Despite severe criticism he activated an 1827 law ending sectarian religious education in public school system.  In 1839 Mann persuaded the Massachusetts legislature to establish a 6 month minimum school year.   Mann toured several European nations in 1843 - England, Ireland, Scotland, Holland, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, and Prussia - to study their educational systems; his observations and comments were reported in his Seventh Annual Report to the Massachusetts State Board of Education.
        In 1848 Horace Mann resigned as Secretary to the Massachusetts State Board of Education to succeed John Quincy Adams, who had died, as a representative from Massachusetts to the House of Representatives in Washington.  In his first speech in the House, Mann presented his anti-slavery agenda and advocated the legislature's right and responsibility to end slavery, commenting "I consider no evil as great as slavery."  Mann was nominated for the position of Governor of Massachusetts on September 15, 1852, the same day he was chosen to be president of the newly established Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio.  He did not succeed in the gubernatorial election and accepted the position of president of Antioch College.  As president of Antioch College, Mann employed the first woman faculty member who was paid on an equal basis with the her male colleagues.  In his final commencement address to the 1859 graduates of Antioch College, Mann challenged them to "Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity." 
        Horace Mann was an American statesman, and a pioneer and leader of American education reform.  Mann articulated and championed the position that universal public education was the best way to turn the nation's children into disciplined, judicious republican citizens.  He promoted and won widespread approval for building public schools, despite opposition from some Boston schoolmasters who strongly disapproved of his innovative pedagogical ideas.  Most states later adopted one version or another of the public education system he established in Massachusetts, especially the program for normal schools to train professional teachers.  As an education pioneer Mann has been credited by historians as the "Father of the Common School Movement", promoting a free and public education for all children.  He died on August 2, 1859, at the age of 53, in Yellow Springs, Ohio.



Six Fundamental Propositions of Education -
        [1] a republic cannot long remain ignorant and free, hence the necessity of universal popular education; [2] such education must be paid for, controlled, and sustained by an interested public; [3] such education is best provided in schools embracing children of all religious, social, and ethnic backgrounds; [4] such education, while profoundly moral in character, must be free of sectarian religious influence; [5] that such education must be permeated throughout by the spirit, methods, and discipline of a free society, which preclude harsh pedagogy in the classroom; and [6] such education can be provided only by well trained professional teachers...



        The lower classes in a school have no abstract standard of excellence, and seldom aim at higher attainment than such as they witness.  All children…rise easily to the common level. There, the mass stop; strong minds only ascend higher.  But raise the standard, and, by a spontaneous movement, the mass will rise again and reach it.  Hence the removal of the most forward scholars from a school is not a small misfortune.  All this inevitably depresses and degrades the common school.  In this depressed and degraded state, another portion of the parents find it, in fitness and adequacy, inferior to their wants; and, as there is now a private school in the neighborhood, the strength of the inducement, and the facility of the transfer, overbalance the objection of increased expense, and the doors of the common school close, at once, upon their children, and upon their interest in its welfare.  Thus another blow is dealt; then others escape; action and reaction alternate, until the common school is left to the management of those, who have not the desire or the power either to improve it or to command a better…

First Annual Report
to the Massachusetts State Board of Education
1837
 


    If any man seeks for greatness, let him forget greatness and ask for truth, and he will find both. 

journal entry 
29 October 1838 



        Language is not merely a necessary instrument of civilization …but it is an indispensable condition of our existence as rational beings. Thucydides makes Pericles to say, that, “one who forms a judgment upon any point, but cannot explain himself clearly to the people, might as well have never thought at all on the subject.”  And for all social purposes, thought and expression are dependent, each upon the other. Ideas without words are valueless to the public; and words without ideas have this mischievous attribute, that they inflict the severest pains and penalties on those who are most innocent of thus abusing them. 
        One preliminary truth is to be kept steadily in view in all the process of teaching, and in the preparation of all its instruments; viz. that, though much may be done by others to aid, yet the effective labor must be performed by the learner himself. Knowledge cannot be poured into a child’s mind, like fluid from one vessel into another.  The pupil may do something by intuition, but generally there must be a conscious effort on his part.   He is not a passive recipient, but an active, voluntary agent. He must do more than admit or welcome; he must reach out, and grasp, and bring home.   It is the duty of the teacher to bring knowledge within arm’s length of the learner; and he must break down its masses into portions so minute, that they can be taken up and appropriated one by one; but the final appropriating act must be the learner’s.  Knowledge is not annexed to the mind like a foreign substance, but the mind assimilates it by its own vital powers. Development of the mind is by growth and organization, not by external accretion. …the acquisition of positive knowledge is not effected by a process of involuntary absorption. 
        If then, in learning, all wills and desires, all costs, labors, efforts, of others, are dependent, at last, upon the will of the learner, the first requisite is the existence in his mind of a desire to learn.  Until a desire to learn exists within the child, some foreign force must constantly be supplied to keep him going; but from the moment that a desire is excited, he is self-motive, and goes alone. 
        The process of learning…is toilsome, and progress will be slow, unless a motive is inspired before instruction is attempted… A desire of learning is better than all external opportunities, because it will find or make opportunities, and then improve them… 
        …the mental part of reading consists in a reproduction in the mind of the reader of whatever was in the mind of the author; so that whether the author describes atoms or worlds, narrates the history of individuals or nations, kindles into sublimity, or melts in pathos, – whatever was in the author’s mind starts into sudden existence in the reader’s mind, as nearly as their different mental constitutions will allow. 
        …reading becomes the noblest instrument of wisdom… 

Second Annual Report 
to the Massachusetts State Board of Education 
1838 



        …for with no books to read, the power of reading will be useless, and with bad books to read, the consequences will be as much worse than ignorance, as wisdom is better. 
        All sciences are the offspring of the intellect.  On the other hand, there cannot be poetry or eloquence without emotion.  From the intellect come order, demonstration, invention, discovery; from the feelings, enthusiasm, pathos, and sublime sentiments in morals and religion.  To become master of an exact, coherent, full set, or complement of ideas, on any important subject, demands fixed attention, patience, study; but emotions or passions flash up suddenly, and while they blaze they are consumed. 
        The real fact to be pondered is, that without diffusing information amongst the people, we shall go on in the same way, smiling at the follies of the last generation, and furnishing anecdotes for the next. 
        It has been frequently remarked by observing men, that towns in which good libraries have been established show a population of intelligence superior to that of towns where none existed. The men and women not having acquired a taste for useful reading when children, have lost it for life. 
        Let good books be read, and the taste for reading bad ones will slough off from the minds of the young, like gangrened flesh from a healing wound. 

Third Annual Report 
to the Massachusetts State Board of Education 
1839 



1st – A Knowledge of Common School Studies 
        The leading, prevailing defect in the intellectual department of our schools, is a want of thoroughness, – a proneness to be satisfied with a verbal memory of rules, instead of a comprehension of principles, – with a knowledge of the names of things, instead of a knowledge of the things themselves; – or, if some knowledge of the things is gained, it is too apt to be a knowledge of them as isolated facts, and unaccompanied by a knowledge of the relations which subsist between them, and bind them into a scientific whole.  That knowledge is hardly worthy of the name, which stops with things, as individuals, without understanding the relations existing between them. 

2nd – Aptness to Teach 
        …the art of teaching. Aptness to teach involves the power of perceiving how far a scholar understands the subject matter to be learned, and what, in the natural order, is the next step to take.   It involves the power of discovering and of solving at the time, the exact difficulty, by which the learner is embarrassed.   The removal of a slight impediment, the drawing aside of the thinnest veil, which happens to divert his steps, or obscure his vision, is worth more to him, than volumes of lore on collateral subjects.   How much does the pupil comprehend of the subject? What should his next step be?  Is his mind looking toward a truth or an error?  The answer to these questions must be intuitive, in the person who is apt to teach.   …the mind of a teacher should migrate, as it were, into those of his pupils, to discover what they know and feel and need; and then, supplying from his own stock, what they require, he should reduce it to such a form, an bring it within such a distance, that they can reach out and seize and appropriate it. …by leading the minds of his pupils onward to such a position in relation to these truths, that they themselves can discover them. He secures to them the natural reward of a new pleasure with every new discovery, which is one of the strongest, as well as most appropriate incitements to future exertion. 
        Aptness to teach includes the presentation of the different parts of a subject, in a natural order. 
        Aptness to teach, in fine, embraces a knowledge of methods and processes. 
        He who is apt to teach is acquainted, not only with common methods for common minds, but with peculiar methods for pupils of peculiar dispositions and temperaments; and he is acquainted with the principles of all methods, whereby he can vary his plan, according to any difference of circumstances. 

3rd – Management, Government, and Discipline of a School 
        Great discretion is necessary in the assignment of lessons, in order to avoid, on the one hand, such shortness in the tasks, as allows time to be idle; and, on the other, such over-assignments, as render thoroughness and accuracy impractical, and thereby to habituate the pupil to make mistakes and imperfections, that he cares little or nothing about committing them.  Lessons, as far as it is possible, should be so adjusted to the capacity of the scholar… 

4th – Good Behavior 
        …how rapidly good or bad manners mature into good or bad morals; …good manners have not only the negative virtue of restraining from vice, but the positive one of leading, by imperceptible gradations, towards the practice of almost all the social virtues.  Good behavior includes the elements of that equity, benevolence, conscience, which, in their great combinations, the moralist treats of in his books of ethics, and the legislator enjoins in his codes of law.  If, then, the manners of the teacher are to be imitated by his pupils…how strong is the necessity, that he should understand those nameless and innumerable practices, in regard to deportment, dress, conversation, and all personal habits, that constitute the difference between a gentleman and a clown. 

5th – Morals 
        …the school committee are sentinels stationed at the door of every schoolhouse in the State, to see that no teacher ever crosses its threshold, who is not clothed, from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot, in garments of virtue…  Every person, therefore, who endorses another’s character, as one befitting a school teacher, stands before the public as his moral bondsman and sponsor, and should be held to a rigid accountability. 
        If the teacher is made acquainted with the peculiarities of the child’s disposition, he will be able to manage him more judiciously, and therefore more successfully, than he otherwise could; he will be able to approach the child’s mind through existing avenues, instead of roughly forcing a new passage to it; and thus, in many instances, to supersede punishment by mild measures. 

Fourth Annual Report
to the Massachusetts State Board of Education 
1840 


 


        …intelligence and virtue are the product of cultivation and training. 
        …our existing means for the promotion of intelligence and virtue are wholly inadequate to the support of a republican government. 
        …laws should be founded in wisdom and equity, and observed with fidelity; and every departure from these great principles, either in the formation or the observance of the laws, must be followed inevitably by a corresponding degree of loss and harm. 
        …whether, when our government was changed from the hereditary right to rule, to the hereditary right to vote, any corresponding measures were taken to prevent irresponsible voters from abusing their power, as irresponsible rulers had abused theirs.  Government is a stewardship, always held by a comparatively small portion of those whose happiness is dependent upon its acts. 
        For every dollar given by the wealthy or the state, to colleges to cultivate the higher branches of knowledge, a hundred should have been given for primary education.  For every acre of land bestowed upon an academy, a province should have been granted to common schools.  Select schools for select children should have been discarded, and universal education joined hands with universal suffrage.  Instead of the old order of nobility…a new order should have been created – an order of teachers, wise, benevolent, filled with…enthusiasm, and rewarded and honored by all – an order looking forwards to a noble line of benefactors whom they might help to rear, rather than backwards to ancestors from whom they had basely degenerated.   In these schools, the first great principle of a republican government, that of native, inborn equality, should have been practically inculcated by their being open to all, good enough for all, and attended by all.  Here too, the second great principle of a republican government should have been taught, that all men, though natively equal, become inherently unequal the moment that one grows wiser or better than his fellow.  Lectures, libraries, lyceums, mechanics institutes, should everywhere have been fostered; scientific tracts gratuitously distributed; and a drowning child should not have been snatched from a watery grave with more promptness and alacrity than an ignorant or an abandoned one should have been sought out and brought under elevating and reforming influences.The noblest public edifices, the most splendid galleries of art, theaters, gardens, monuments, should all have been deemed a reproach to any people, while there was a child amongst them without ample and improved means of education. 
        And until all this work of improvement is done, until this indifference of the wealthy and the educated towards the masses shall cease, …there can be no security for any class or description of men… 
        No longer seek knowledge as the luxury of the few, but dispense it amongst all as the bread of life.  Call down the astronomer from the skies; call up the geologist from his subterranean exploration; summon, if need be, the mightiest intellects from the council chamber of the nation; enter cloistered halls where the scholiast muses over superfluous annotations; dissolve conclave and synod where subtle polemics are vainly discussing their barren dogmas; collect whatever of talent, or erudition, or eloquence, or authority, the broad land can supply, and go forth, and teach this people.  For…it must be proclaimed that licentiousness shall be the liberty; and violence and chicanery shall be the law; and superstition and craft shall be the religion; and the self destructive indulgence of all sensual and unhallowed passions shall be the only happiness of that people who neglect the education of their children. 

An Oration, Boston 
4 July 1842 



[referencing observations made on a school inspection tour of England, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, Holland, Belgium, and France] 

        …the beautiful relation of harmony and affection which subsisted between teacher and pupils. …I never saw a blow struck, I never heard a sharp rebuke given, I never saw a child in tears, nor arraigned at the teacher’s bar for any alleged misconduct.  On the contrary, the relation seemed to be one of duty first, and then affection, on the part of the teacher, – of affection first, and then duty, on the part of the scholar.   The teacher’s manner was better than parental, for it had a parent’s tenderness and vigilance, without the foolish dotings or indulgences to which parental affection is prone.   I heard no child ridiculed, sneered at, or scolded, for making a mistake.  No child was disconcerted, disabled, bereft of his senses through fear.  Nay, generally, at the ends of the answers, the teacher’s practice is to encourage… When a difficult question has been put to a young child, which tasks all his energies, the teacher approaches him with a mingled look of concern and encouragement; he stands before him, the light and shade of hope and fear alternately crossing his countenance…and finally, if the little wrestler with difficulty triumphs, the teacher felicitates him upon his success, perhaps seizes and shakes him by the hand, in token of congratulations; and, when the difficulty has been really formidable, and the effort triumphant, I have seen the teacher catch up the child in his arms and embrace him, as though he were not able to contain his joy.   At another time, I have seen a teacher actually clap his hands with delight at a bright reply; and all this has been done so naturally and unaffectedly as to excite no other feeling in the residue of the children than a desire, by the same means, to win some caresses. 
        I mean no disparagement of our own teachers…  But it was impossible to put down the questionings of my own mind – whether a visitor could spend six weeks in our own schools without ever hearing an angry word spoken, or seeing a blow struck, or witnessing the flow of tears. 

Seventh Annual Report 
to the Massachusetts State Board of Education 
1843 



        The great doctrine which it is desirable to maintain, and carry out, in reference to this subject, is, equality of school-privileges for all the children of the town, whether they belong to a poor district or a rich one, a small district or a large one. 

Ninth Annual Report 
to the Massachusetts State Board of Education 
1845 



        It is not unworthy of remark, that a word of beautiful significance, which is found in the first record on the subject of schools ever made on this continent, has now fallen wholly out of use.  Mr. Purmont was entreated to become a “scholemaster,” not merely for the “teaching,” but for the “nourtering” of children.   If, as is supposed, this word, now obsolete in this connection, implied the disposition and power on the part of the teacher, as far as such an object can be accomplished by human instrumentality, to warm into birth, to foster into strength, and to advance into precedence and predominance, all kindly sympathies towards men, all elevated thoughts respecting the duties and destinies of life, and a supreme reverence for the character and attributes of the Creator, than how many teachers have since been employed who have not nourished the children committed to their care! 
        In 1642, the General Court of the colony [of Massachusetts], by a public act, enjoined upon the municipal authorities the duty of seeing that every child within their respective jurisdictions should be educated. 

Tenth Annual Report 
to the Massachusetts State Board of Education 
1846 



        To induce persons of the highest order of talent to become teachers, and to deter good teachers from abandoning the profession, its emoluments must bear some close analogy to those which the same persons could command in other employments.
        Were nations to embark in the cause of education for the redemption of mankind, as they have in that of war for their destruction, the darkest chapters in the history of earthly calamities would soon be brought to a close.  But where units have been grudged for education, millions have been lavished for war. While, for the one purpose, mankind have refused to part with superfluities, for the other they have not only impoverished themselves, but levied burdensome taxes upon posterity. 

Eleventh Annual Report 
to the Massachusetts State Board of Education 
1847 



        …our means of education are the grand machinery by which the “raw material” of human nature can be worked up into inventors and discoverers, into skilled artisans and scientific farmers, into scholars and jurists, into the founders of benevolent institutions, and the great expounders of ethical and theological science.  By means of early education, those embryos of talent may be quickened…
        …when its [Common School education] faculties shall be fully developed, when it shall be trained to wield its mighty energies for the protection of society against the giant vices which now invade and torment it; – against intemperance, avarice, war slavery, bigotry, the woes of want and the wickedness of waste, – then, there will not be a height to which these enemies of the race can escape, which it will not scale, or a Titan among them all, whom it will not slay.
        Education, then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men – the balance-wheel of the social machinery. …education should be universal and complete, it would do more than all things else to obliterate factitious distinctions in society. 

Twelfth Annual Report 
to the Massachusetts State Board of Education 
1848 



        I affirm, in words as true and literal as any…that the man who withholds knowledge from a child not only works diabolical miracles for the destruction of good, but for the creation of evil also.  He who shuts out truth, by the same act opens the door to all the error that supplies its place.  Ignorance breeds monsters to fill up all the vacuities of the soul that are unoccupied by the verities of knowledge.  The man or the institution, therefore, that withholds knowledge from a child, or from a race of children, exercises the awful power of changing the world in which they are to live, just as much as though he should annihilate all that is most lovely and grand in this planet of ours, or transport the victim of his cruelty to some dark and frigid zone of the universe, where the sweets of knowledge are unknown, and the terrors of ignorance hold their undisputed and remorseless reign. 

speech in the U.S. House of Representatives 
23 February 1849 
published in Slavery : Letters and Speeches 
1851 



        For those who oppose and malign us, our revenge shall be, to make their children wiser, better, and happier than themselves. 

Lectures on Education 
1855 



        Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity. 

Address at Antioch College 
1859 



        Men are not accustomed to buy books unless they want them. If, on visiting the dwelling of a man of slender means, I find the reason why he has cheap carpets and very plain furniture to be that he may purchase books, he rises at once in my esteem.  Books are not made for furniture but there is nothing else that so beautifully furnishes a house. 
        Give me a house furnished with books rather than furniture! Both, if you can, but books at any rate!  To spend several days in a friend’s house and hunger for something to read, while you are treading on costly carpets, sitting upon luxurious chairs and sleeping upon down, is as if one were bribing your body for the sake of cheating your mind. 
        Books are the windows through which the soul looks out.  A house without books is like a room without windows. No man has a right to bring up his children without surrounding them with books, if he has the means to buy them.  It is a wrong to his family.  He cheats them!  Children learn to read by being in the presence of books.  The love of knowledge comes with reading and grows upon it. 
The Duty of Owning Books 
1859 



        A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron. 

The Eclectic Magazine vol. vii 
January - June 1868 



        It is more difficult, and calls on higher energies of soul, to live a martyr than to die one. 

Thoughts Selected from the Writings of Horace Mann 
1872 



        Doing nothing for others is the undoing of ourselves. We must purposely be kind and generous, or we miss the best part of existence. The heart which goes out of itself gets large and full. This is the great secret of the inner life. We do ourselves the most good doing something for others. 



        A human being is not attaining his full heights until he is educated. 



        Intelligence, and wisdom, and virtue, cannot be poured out of one mind into another, like water from a vessel.  The increment comes by assimilation, not transfusion.   Ideas, knowledge, may be brought within reach of the mind, but if they are not digested, and prepared by a process of the spirit itself upon them, they give no more vigor and power to the mind than sacks of grain nourish the jaded beast when they are fastened to his back. 



        In this country we seem to learn our rights quicker than our duties. 



        In every instance where science has revealed a new truth which conflicted, not with the Bible, but with the current interpretations of the Bible, – instead of inquiring whether the alleged discoveries were or were not true, many clergymen have denounced it, and poured vengeance upon its supporters.  Hence a disastrous alienation has ensued between science and religion; or rather; between the disciples of science and the ministers of religion; for between true science and true religion there can never be any conflict. 



    Teachers teach because they care. Teaching young people is what they do best. It requires long hours, patience, and care. 



        You were made to learn. Be sure to learn something every day. If you were to stop eating, would not your bodies pine and famish? If you stop learning, your minds will pine and famish too. 

Letter to School Children 



Extracts from the Common School Journal 
1839 - 1848 

Words, Words, Words -
        The very notion of language is that it is a vehicle of though and feeling, from mind to mind. Without the thought and feeling the vehicle goes empty. To become familiar with things and their properties, without any knowledge of the names by which they are called, would be the part of beings, who had intelligence, but no faculty of speech; but to learn names, without the things or properties signified, is surely the part of beings, who have speech, but no intelligence. Who does not know that he can get ideas both of a man and his name or of a thing and its name, together, tenfold easier than apart. When names and things are only mechanically fastened, instead of being chemically combined, why should they not get jostled and jumbled so that the right idea shall come accompanied by the wrong name; or the right name shall associate the wrong idea; or, what is more probable, shall associate no idea at all? In the first two cases, the result is error; in the last nonsense. 
        If one wished to prepare a boy to work upon a farm, or to be a salesman in a store, would he shut him up in a closet, giving him a list of names of all the farming utensils and seeds and products; or a list of all the commodities in a trader’s invoice, and when he had learned these, send him to his place of destination as one acquainted with the objects, the materials, with which he is to be occupied? If one wished to make a boy personally acquainted with the business community of Boston, would he give him a bare list of their names, unaccompanied by a single suggestion as to person, occupation or character; …and when, after much anguish of spirit, he had learned to spell andpronounce all the names, send him forth into the amrts and exchanges of the city as one acquainted with its people and ready to transact business with them? Or, would he not rather take him to the resorts of business, and when he and the merchants or mechanics stood face to face, acquaint him with the name, occupation, ets., of each; so that name, person, and employment might be mingled into one conception… 


To Teachers -
        During the very first weeks of the school, there should not only be a good understanding, but a friendly intercourse, established between the teacher and the parents. This, it is the duty of the parents to proffer. Their welfare and the welfare of their children require it. Common hospitality requires it. The parents, then, should see acquaintance and proffer hospitality. But if they are neglectful of this obvious duty of common politeness, still the teacher is not to keep his term through, in ignorance of the people among whom he lives. 
        We have said that the teacher ought to seek the acquaintance of the parents of the school children. But this is for an important object, and not for its own sake. …the school-master[‘s]…mission must be to increase an interest in the school-system, and to improve the fixtures, the appurtenances, and all the arrangements of the schools. If the schoolhouse is bad, the teacher can not only explain its imperfections, but he can point out their consequences upon the health and mental activity, the proficiency, the tempers and dispositions even, of the pupils. After making himself thoroughly acquainted with the form, size, structure, accomodations, and benefits of a good schoolhouse, he can exhibit and illustrate these qualities and advantages, in such a manner that no sensible and humane man, in the district, can shut his eyes to the truth and repel conviction. Could the attention of the parents once be steadily fixed upon the condition of their schoolhouses, could they be brought to realize their unfitness for the important purposes to which they are devoted, …two out of every three [schoolhouses] in the State would not survive, in the present condition, for a twelvemonth. 
        If the school, for any reason, is odious or even unattractive to them [students], they will not only avail themselves of every permission to stay away, but they will fabricate a thousand excuses for deserting it. But if the desire of the children to attend is secured, still inconsiderate parents may interfere to disappoint it. In this way, let the teacher convince, or coax or shame every parent, who fails to act like a parent, into the conduct of a parent. 


The Condition of the Children of Laborers on Public Works -
        We can confer the blessings of education upon their children. For, it must be manifest to every forecasting mind, that the children of this people will soon possess the rights of men, whether they possess the characters of men or not. There is a certainty about their future political and social powers, while there is a contingency, depending upon the education they receive, whether those powers shall be exercised for weal or woe. 


Practice Against Theory -
        The Retrogressives look out of the back side of their head. Their natural, but now perverted instinct of advancement, urges them backwards, as it does other people forwards. They labor to restore the past. Some of them would go back further than others; but this is a difference of no consequence; for all would go back from the point where they happened to be; and this involves an infinite series of retrogressions.  
        The retrogressive impulse, often, perhaps generally, exhibits itself in the form of stand-still, or opposition to all progress. 

        In the department of education, and within a few years past, the retrogressive or stationary spirit has developed itself pretty vigorously… The great watch-word under which the party has rallied, is that which we have placed at the head of this article, – Practice Against Theory. Under this Slogan, or war-cry, new things have been denounced as Theoretic, and old things have been defended as Practical. The advocates of new methods have been stigmatized as innovators, theorists, visionaries, dreamers, and so forth; while the defenders of antiquated notions and abuses, have been styled Practical men, in token of honor; and their most doughty champions have been advanced to posts of distinction. Facts and arguments, emanating from the friends of improvement and reform, have been set aside by the shortest of all arguments… 
        All intelligent action includes both theory and practice. 
        Every intelligent man, in every voluntary action he performs, has a theory. He has a purpose; he has an idea of the nature or properties of the object he wishes to affect, or effect; and he has a conception or notion that certain ways are better than other ways for accomplishing his design.  This is Theory. It is the mind going before the hand, and directing its movements with reference to a desired result. If it stops there, then there is no test to show whether it is sound theory, or unsound; and hence the necessity of practice also. 
        Our doctrine then is, that all plans for reform and improvement which appear to the eye of reason to be safe and useful, or which have been successfully tried elsewhere, are entitled to a fair trial among ourselves; and if they be found to pass this ordeal successfully, they should be adopted. In so difficult and delicate work as education, we would introduce no new measure until it is commended by reason, nor consider it established, until actual trial has proved its usefulness. Our creed condemns the credulity that blindly adopts, as much as it does the arrogance or stupidity that blindly rejects. …while we advocate progress…we also hold that in all innovations, or tentative processes, it is better to be too cautious than too courageous. 


Mind and Body -
        The most abundant proof exists, derived from all departments of human industry, that uneducated labor is comparatively unprofitable labor. …increased wages were found in connection with increased intelligence… …those who had a moderate or limited education, occupied a middle ground on the pay-roll; while the intelligent…crowned the list. The larger capital in the form of intelligence yielded the larger income in the form of wages. 


Make Capital Out of Difficult Cases -
        But in the mean time, what measures are taken, what eminent professional talent is employed, what generous emoluments are bestowed, for investigating and expounding the laws of growth and influence, by which thousands of children are developed into the order Beezlebub; into the genus atheist or bigot; and into the species, drunkard, thief, robber, murderer, lyncher. 
        Let teachers, then, be inspired and not discouraged by the difficulties of their work. Whatever increases the difficulty to be overcome, heightens the glory that overcomes it.