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Shall The Boy Stay In School

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

THIS is a question which is forcing itself upon the attention of parents everywhere. It is even said to be more insistent now than formerly, because it seems to be harder each year to keep the boys in school. The schools are graduating more girls than boys. The boys are taken with the money germ; they want jobs and to begin to earn. They hear of men who have made, or are making, money, but who had little schooling, and they are ambitious to follow in their steps. They think education not worth while. So the parents have on their hands the problem of deciding either to compel the boy to go to school or permit him to take a job, or to convince him that education has uses he does not yet understand.

An experienced Western educator, Jacob Saunders, thinks it depends on the boy, some boys being manifestly too stupid with books to go beyond the three R's, wherefore it is better for all concerned to let them go to work. But the average boy should be shown clearly the great advantages of a good education, and the serious loss to himself in all his future if he neglects his opportunities to get it.

"The boy who is seized with the desire to set to work at once as a money-maker should be shown that he is in danger of defeating his own ambitions in this very direction by making too early a start with an uncultivated mind. Starting only with an elementary education, he may for a time earn a better living than the boy who studies his books and then has to take time to get started. But the boy with a trained mind will in all probability pass the former boy after a few years in affairs. At thirty the educated man will probably be ahead, and then he will keep ahead. The uneducated boy will find himself thrown later with men of finer training, perhaps first-class education, and he will not be able to compete with them. Also the man of education will always be ahead of the others in the social sphere. The man who quits school too early will find himself at a great disadvantage intellectually among men of better training."

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