Dziennik Chicagoski -- January 19, 1891The School Question (Editorial)
We have received information that the Bohemians, together with some Poles, residing in Chicago, are trying to pass a school regulation which would entitle a foreign language of any large group of people the same privilege or representation in the public schools as that of the German language. We have asked many of our countrymen their attitude towards this problem, and whether or not they will participate in the agitation. From the answers received, we have come to a conclusion that there are two factions: one of them is for the agitation, and the other is bitterly opposing it. The first faction is quite small, but the second is very large.
It is easy to find to which faction any group of people belong. Most of the members of the Polish National Alliance have joined that group of Bohemians or faction which originated the agitation. The members of the Polish Roman Catholic Union, however, with the exception of a few, belong 2to the opposing side. There are also Poles who do not belong to either of the two mentioned Polish organizations, and their opinions are also divided. Their number is so small that it should not be taken seriously.
For the first time since Dziennik Chicagoski has come into its existence, we are going to give our view on the question, which has divided the opinions of the members of two great Polish-American organizations. We are doing this for the first time, therefore, we think it is advisable to state for the sake of clearness that we will treat this particular question objectively. If we mention the names of both organizations, it is not because we desire to engage ourselves in an unpleasant controversy between the Polish National Alliance and the Roman Catholic Union, but because we desire to make the argumentation clear.
We have stated that the majority of the members of the Polish National Alliance are for the agitation, and that the members of the Polish Roman 3Catholic Union, with the exception of the few, are against the agitation. This is a fact, and we can prove it. However, some of these opinions are personal convictions, for which neither the Polish National Alliance nor the Polish Roman Catholic Union is responsible. The number of these individuals is very small.
There is a certain number of members in either organization, who have also formed their own opinions, but based on idealistic principles. With these principles, the organization plays a very important part. These members may be classified into several groups, and they support one of the factions for the following reasons: If they belong to the Polish National Alliance, some members, who, for convenience, we will call group No. 1, may see a patriotic act in agitating for a school regulation which would entitle the Polish language the same privilege as that of the German language in the Chicago public schools; but they are prejudiced against the so-called "clerical rule," and (2) for the same reason do not favor parochial schools. They have nothing against the attendance of Polish 4children in the public schools. (3) these members wish to express their indignation on account of the privilege granted to the German language in Chicago schools, and although they know that the Polish language will not be introduced in Chicago public schools, they favor that measure for the purpose of removing the injustice done them. (4) The members of this group are of the opinion that the Polish National Alliance should take an initiative in such "patriotic" undertakings, and as members of the organization, should support the agitation.
On the other hand, the members of the Polish Roman Catholic Union are of the opinion: (1) that there is a risk for the parochial schools in case the Polish language would be introduced in Chicago public schools, especially in Polish settlements; (2) there are members who think that public schools are too dangerous for the young people, because these institutions are bringing up children without religious principles, morals, patriotic feeling, or healthy view on social life; (3) many of our countrymen think that we would disgrace ourselves in the eyes of Americans, 5Irishmen, and even the Germans, for trying to introduce the Polish language in public schools when formerly we used to defend parochial schools so often and so openly; (4) the fourth group is of the opinion that a protest against the privilege of the German language would accomplish more than an agitation for introducing the Polish language in the public schools. The number of the members, either in the Roman Catholic Union or the Polish National Alliance, who have such convictions is very small, although, they deserve attention and respect.
Finally, the majority of the members give support either to this or that group because they think it is their duty to approve or oppose their party, quite often referred to as "church-goers" or "patriots." The number of the supporters mentioned last is the largest, and with them the circumstance of belonging either to the Polish Roman Catholic Union or to the Polish National Alliance, plays the most important part. They have no personal convictions.
As editors of Dziennik Chicagoski, we cannot ignore this important question.6
We must express our opinion on this matter, and as this opinion must agree with one of the two large groups, we are prepared for the accusation that we are opposing one of them. However, we feel that such accusation will be unjust. For this reason, we repeat emphatically that we desire to treat this matter objectively, and if there will ensue any controversy on account of it, let it be limited. We beg you for the sake of the subject only, that is, the school question, let the argumentation be conducted properly, peacefully, and with dignity.
In our opinion, the Poles should not participate in the agitation of the Bohemians.
I A 1 b, I A 2 b, I C, III C
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