Dziennik Chicagoski -- January 20, 1891The School Question Our Reason for Opposing Bohemian School Agitation (Editorial)
In this article we will point out why we are against the present school agitation in Chicago, originated by Bohemians, by trying to prove that:
(1) The public schools in this country are below the standard of the parochial schools in respect to practical education, and moral training of the children attending them, due to the educational system adopted by the school boards;
(2) It is a duty of the parents, who care for the welfare of their children, to send them to those schools which are most capable of training them for good American citizenship, with moral principles that are steady and unfaultering, and besides, those schools should teach them how to be practical that they may be able not only to find a proper 2station in life, but also become patriots of their own nationality;
(3) If the public schools do not deserve our support, then we should not endeavor to introduce the Polish language into them.
(4) The action taken by the Bohemians is not a good example worthy of imitation, but rather it is a frightening warning;
(5) If we are against the privileges granted to the German language in public schools, and desire to remove them, we can accomplish it much more directly by a protest than indirectly trying to introduce other languages into the public schools.
Public Schools and Parochial Schools
It has been proved many times that the parochial schools give better education than our public schools. This has been proved not by idle 3argumentations, but by actual examples taken from observations. As an example, we will describe an incident which occurred at the end of last month. Mr. E. Dumphy, a Congressman of the 7th congressional district, has announced that he has a vacancy for a boy at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Twenty eight young men applied for this position. The applicants were obliged to undergo a physical examination first, and later, on December 29, they were examined by a commission which determined their mental fitness. This commission was made up ot two assistant superintendents of public schools and a monk, a brother, representing the Roman Catholic parochial schools. The young men were examined in the following subjects: arithmetic, penmanship, spelling, geography, grammar, United States history, and reading. We all know that 100 is the highest percentage obtainable. The boys struggled all day with the examinations. The following were the results: (1) Thomas F. Dwyer; 94 3/4, whose percentage was the highest; (2) John J. Disell; 91 2/7, (3) John Conway; 86 1/7, (4) Joseph Fitzgerald; 86 1/7, (5) A. Sauci; 85 5/7, (6) R. Stewart; 84 6/7, (7) Peter Simcox; 84 1/7, 4(8) Jasmer Kilgore; 84, (9) Pat. Shea; 83 2/7, (10) A. McFarland; 82.
The first four, the seventh, and the eighth boys are graduates of St. Jacobs' parochial schools. The 5th, 6th, 9th, and the 10th, were graduates of the public schools. Then followed the 11th, 12th and the 13th, who are also graduates of St. Jacobs' parochial school. From the 14th to 28th are graduates of public schools.
Naturally, Thomas F. Dwyer was the winner.
If we were publishing a large volume on this question, we could present many examples of this kind, but our space is limited, and we can only add that during the last year six similar examinations were conducted, and in every case, the winner was a graduate of the parochial schools. This is not a coincidence, but an actual proof.5
Let us suppose that we did not have such examples, that these competitive examinations are not held, and that we have no opportunity for comparing the difference. We still could arrive at the same conclusion by examining and comparing both school systems; such comparison would convince us that in reality a boy will learn more in the parochial than in the public school. Let us examine very carefully the parochial school system.
The Educational System
Of course, we cannot describe here the whole school system, because such description would fill volumes. Therefore, we will limit ourselves to the most important points. We are all aware of the fact that there are three kind of schools, namely; elementary, secondary, and higher institutions of learning. Every school belongs to one of the three classes. The public schools in the United States have not reached that state of perfection which is the basis of all education, with one program uniting 6them all very closely. It is not necessary to have a diploma from a grammar school in order to enter a secondary school or college. There is an entrance examination given, and whoever has taken this examination, knows well that the requirements are ridiculously low for entering a college. Higher schools or universities, also have entrance examinations which are proportionately very easy to pass. It is known throughout the world that an education obtained in our American universities has no great value, unless the student works out a balanced program, and follows his studies diligently, or finishes his education in Europe. Americans were angry at the Germans a year ago because physicians who finished their studies in the United States were not allowed to practice in Berlin. Their anger was not justified because it was the fault of our educational system here.
It is entirely different with the parochial schools, because they are conducted on the order of European schools. This, alone, places them very high. It is true that a young man who finishes public schools knows 7something about arithmetic and other subjects, but his knowledge of other subjects, such as geography, history, etc., is limited to facts about the United States only. He has no conception, or a very poor one, about history and geography in general, that is, in other parts of the world. In other words, he has no general education. The school books, we admit are very beautiful, especially in elementary schools, but their contents are meaningless. The artistically ornamented, and beautifully illustrated books will not create a desire in a boy for deep thinking, or for studying different branches of science, as will the books used in parochial schools.
The purpose of the parochial schools, besides furnishing the children with practical knowledge is also to develop in the youth the moral principles. Who, if not the teachers, ought point out to the young man what is right and what is wrong? Who, if not the teachers, ought inocculate the young minds with those principles which some day should mould or develop a child into a respectable man, a good citizen, or a 8patriot? Can the public school teachers do that? No. Not only they cannot, but they are not allowed to do it. They are not allowed to say to the child: do not do this, because you will be locked up in jail, do this, because you will profit by it. But what is the result of such education? It creates selfishness and develops ability to evade justice. It develops monopolistic principles in those who have means, and in those who have no means, it develops nihilistic ideas. Nihilistic, we repeat, because they are nihilistic in the true sense of this word. They recognize neither God nor human rights, neither country nor morality, nihil, nothing, other than themselves. Is it not so?
Let us look deeply at the life of the people around here. Let us take a glance at the youth educated in the public schools. Look at the back stage of our politics, at all machinations of the capitalists on one side, and of the demagogues, clothed in the cloak of philanthropy on the other. Can we find good principles there? Or can we find morality or patriotism? "Oh! You do not say that there are also good citizens, men 9of honor, and good patriots." We know that, but you must judge the whole community, not a few exceptions, who on account of very favorable conditions, entered the right path, as there are people without principles who have received good instruction on morality. If you will take under your observation not only a few individuals, but the whole community you will come to the conclusion that the public schools do contribute to the development of nihilistic ideas, and that the parochial schools encourage and spread the true moral principles, on which the real American patriotism is based.
We know what some, who read this article, will think. They will utter sarcastically: "Clerical Rules" (Clericalism). Yes! The parochial schools in the United States are controlled by the priests. Religion and morality are taught there. And besides these, they also teach other useful subjects, but in a better manner than those used in public schools. Don't the priests deserve gratitude for that? Don't they deserve at least a recognition for their troubles? You say that they 10make money on schools. Let us be serious once, and look at the parish records. What are the profits? Out of the pocketbooks of the people a parish maintains a parochial school. If there were no priests, who would establish private schools with a European system of education? We have no people with higher education who could and would like to devote themselves to that task, and if there are any the number is small. The government will not spend money for building such schools. Every well thinking person will agree that such schools are beneficial and necessary, even if they are acquired by great sacrifices. It is the specific duty of missionaries to establish such schools, and no one desires to be a missionary, especially where the establishment of schools is concerned, except the priests.
There may be other objections: Some one might say that only Irish and English parochial schools are good because they teach English, that the child will not learn the language of the country in Polish parochial schools, and for that reason the Polish children should be sent to the 11public schools. Morality and religion should be taught at home and in the church, only they may say. Such assertions are falsehoods produced either by ill-will, or by lack of understanding of the matter. Such an attitude is dishonest and harmful to children.
I A 2 a, I A 2 b, I B 4, I C
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