Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


The Public Pedagogue
by [?]

“The schoolmaster represents the two greatest factors in modern progress–education and organization. These two factors are really one, for education is a means to organization. Power unorganized is no longer power. Organization means strength and progress; individualism means weakness and decay. The English people have risen by organized effort to the mastery of the globe. They have created the cheapest and most efficient government, combining in the highest degree individual liberty and national power. They have created the greatest store of things contributing to the welfare, happiness and refinement of humanity, and in education, literature, science and art have lifted humanity upon the highest plane of civilization. The Irish race is deficient in the faculty of organization, and will be crushed out with the Indian and Negro, by the more highly organized races. Football requires better organization than do other games, a higher order of intellect, hence its popularity with the people. The best universities may be expected to furnish the best football teams. The superior organization of the North enabled it to surpass the South in peace and crush it in war. The public schoolteacher, being the chief factor in organization, to him must be given the credit for the quick recovery of the South from the ravages of civil war. He is the chief power in things material as well as in matters intellectual. He alone can introduce new systems of thought and action in any province of human endeavor.”

Having thus seined President Winston’s rhetorical sea, let us examine our catch and determine what is valuable food and what mere jelly-fish. That the schoolmaster is a very important factor in the social system there can be no question. Let him have all the honor to which he is entitled; but let him not seek to appropriate that which belongs to others. The pedagogue is not the fount of wisdom: he is but the pipe–of large or small caliber as the case may be– through which the wisdom of others flows to fertilize the intellectual fields. How much, prithee, have all the public pedagogues of America–including the president of the Texas ‘varsity–added to the world’s stock of wisdom during the last decade? Does it begin to dawn upon President Winston that there is another very important factor in the world’s progress, viz., the Newtons, Bacons, Koperniks, Watts, Edisons, Shakespeares, Burkes, Keplers, Platos, Jeffersons and others who, by patient research or the outpourings of super-gifted minds have furnished forth the pedagogue’s stock-in-trade? Science and Art, Philosophy and Religion–all that contributes to man’s welfare, material or spiritual, originated in obscure closets and caves, in the open fields, beneath the star-domed vault of night, and during all these ages have received chief furtherance from individual genius or application, the schools but recording the progress made, spreading abroad more or less skillfully, the sacred fire wrested from Heaven by intellectual Titans. Still the pedagogue may well be proud of his profession, for it is a privilege to think–or even think at–the thoughts of men of genius, to officiate as their messengers to mankind. Let these royal heralds flourish their birchrods in every bypath, cry “The King!” and thereby get much honor. Winston says that education and organization are really the same, because one is a means to the other. How that may be I know not. An avowal of love is usually a means to a baby; still it were a work of supererogation to put diapers on a proposal of marriage. Organization is ever education of a certain sort; but education is not always organization. Many of the world’s wisest have stood, like Byron, AMONG men, but not OF them–“In a shroud of thoughts which were not their thoughts.”

Oxen organized in teams may accomplish more than working single; but you cannot yoke Pegasus and a plow- horse–Bellerophon’s winged mount peremptorily refuses to be “organized” and turn rectilinear furrows, but plunges through Time and Space in an orbit of its own making–often mistaken by the patient organizers for a lawless comet, its appearance a dire portent. You cannot drive Shakespeare and Charles Hoyt in double harness, nor make the mock-bird and night-hawk sing in harmony.