Dziennik Chicagoski -- February 05, 1891Progressive French (Editorial)
France is the only country in Europe that has non-sectarian schools. Much as in the United States, no catechism or religion is taught in them. But France has more experience than the United States. The French government is aware that children will grow into citizens; that the nation must have good citizens if it desires to keep up with the standards of other countries; and that children must acquire certain ideas, certain basic principles, which will help them develop qualities of good citizenship. Because of this, a course in civics was introduced in French schools. The course embraces the following subjects:
A. Moral Duties: 1. Parent-child relationship: Duties towards parents and elders are obedience, respect, love, gratitude (During this course of study, children are instructed that they should assist their parents with work, and that it is their duty to support them at their old age or during sickness).2
Duties towards brothers and sisters: Children should love one another, and older children should help younger ones. Duties toward other members of the family: Children are taught to treat them with kindness. 2. Child at school: The country, its greatness, its misfortunes. Duty towards the country and community.
3. Duty towards Self: The body, cleanliness, moderation, sobriety, exercises.
4. Possessions: Thrift, avoidance of debts, gambling, love of money, extravagance, miserliness.
5. Industriousness: Time should not be wasted, every person should work; respect for common work.
6. The Soul: Love of truth, sincerity, ugliness of prevarication, self-respect, dignity, that we should not disregard our faults; avoidance of pride; the disgrace of not knowing anything; laziness; bravery in danger; danger of anger; animals should not be mistreated.
7. Duties toward others: Justice and forgiveness. We should not endanger life, property or reputation. Goodness, brotherly love, patience and respect for faith and conviction of other persons.3
B. Duties of a citizen: 1. General knowledge of the government. Citizenship, its duties and privileges. 2. School duty, military duty, the voting privilege. 3. The township, the mayor, the city council, the county, the state, the courts, the country and its judicial body, the executive power, the legislature (These instructions are intended for elementary schools, which teach children 9 to 11 years old).
C. Children from 11 to 13 years old will be taught the following subjects: A thorough knowledge of political, financial and judicial management of the country. The constitution, the president of the Republic, the Senate, the Chamber of Deputies. Government of circuits and towns, public offices, civil laws, army, elementary course of practical law. The community, the rights of the working men, the right of ownership, inheritance, capital, labor, and other subjects.
After reading this plan, especially paragraph A, we come to the conclusion that the subjects are taken either from a catechism or from a prayer book, excluding 4of course all paragraphs referring to Divine service; and that it will be almost impossible for the teachers to teach these subjects without explaining to the children the origin of these - commandments which indeed are God's commandments. Some day the child will ask some one about the origin of these commandments, even if it has learned them.
The "cause in morality" is nothing but the teaching of catechism, but abbreviated and incomplete. The French, after twenty years of teaching without catechism and the supervision of priests, come to the conclusion that in order to avoid cathechism it must be introduced into the schools.
When will Americans make a similar "unexpected" discovery?
This plan will be introduced in Paris public schools and later on in the country, as soon as the teachers receive the necessary authority.
I A 1 a, I A 2 a
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