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School Administration

( Originally Published 1912 )



" As music is not a matter of strings or keys or instruments, and as true oratory does not depend upon the language or color of the orator, so administration is not a matter of forms or method. In its higher sense, it is an atmosphere, an en-folding and life-giving power, which, consciously and unconsciously, acts upon and sways every one within its field of action, and nerves him to do the best that is in him for the common cause." - BIRDSEYE, "The Reorganization of our Colleges," p. 165. of Education," 1 shows that "there are four points of view from which the study of education, in the narrow sense of the term, may be profitably undertaken. Education has a history, an ideal, a practice, and a philosophy." For him the "practice of education " presents three practical problems : (I) how to organize a school or a school system; (2) how to manage, in which the question of discipline is uppermost; and (3) how to supervise. Without giving unqualified assent to this threefold subdivision, it may be said, in general, that it is this practice of education, as distinguished from the other three phases, that constitutes the scope of this volume. Although there is a certain interdependence of the four phases, shown for instance by the fact that the character of the practice of education depends very largely upon the educational ideal, the general term School Administration is here used to encompass all the formal and official relation-ships which the pupil sustains toward those interested in his education.

In America, the trend toward centralization in the various departments of human progress has been particularly accentuated and accelerated in recent years. Population has drifted into great centers, so that a bird's-eye view of our country must remind one of our experiment in physics which shows the congregation of iron filings about magnetic poles, the fact being that to-day about one third of our population is urban.' We

To be exact, in 1900, for the United States, 32.4 per cent, varying greatly by states, from 91.6, Rhode Island; 86.9, Massachusetts ; 71.2, New York ; 67.5, New Jersey, to 5.3, Mississippi ; 5.0, Oklahoma. may not overlook the fact that there are potent influences already urging the tide of migration countryward, or at least suburbanward, and it is possible that a century hence school organization, like all other political organizations, will, on this account, take on quite a different form. This, however, is but speculation, and we concern ourselves with the present facts. Politically, centralization has steadily progressed since the Civil War, with federal powers strengthened, executive departments successfully assertive, and the principle of concentration of authority advanced all along the line. Industrially, also, we note that the compact corporation or trust " is the prevailing form of organization. It is not surprising therefore to see that, educationally, our schools are fast giving place to our school systems, and School Administration has emerged as one of our educational problems.

With this development of the problem itself there has been a corresponding development in the study of the problem and in the bibliography which both results from and helps to guide that study. School Administration as a subject of study is an extremely modern one. As late as 1875 we find Professor Payne, in his "Chapters on School Administration," devoting space to the "nature and value of superintendence " and " the art of grading schools." The necessity for school supervision was subject to discussion, the plea for scientific direction of schools was on the defensive, and the graded school was scarcely more than an experiment. Even in 1881, Dr. Baldwin gave but one chapter of the ten in his "Art of School Management ", to the graded school. It was not until 1903 that educational bibliography recognized the distinction between school and class, which it did then by the publication of Superintendent Taylor's modest volume entitled "The Art of Class Management." Since then, this distinction has been emphasized by some half-dozen writers,' and we may confidently assume that henceforth it will never be forgotten in any discussion of schools and school systems. We had to wait until 1904 for our first published volume recognizing the modern problems of School Administration in the large, when Superintendent Chancellor gave us his "Our Schools-Their Adminstration adn supervision.



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