At a meeting held in the Boston Latin School a few days ago in the interests of education, and particularly of co-operation between preparatory schools and colleges, Presidents Porter and Eliot made addresses. The Herald's reviews of these addresses are reprinted below, but with slight omissions.
"President Porter's subject was 'How can the preparatory schools co-operate more effectively with the colleges.' In Germany, the system of teaching is regulated by law, its methods prescribed by the government, and the preparatory schools and universities necessarily brought into harmony, and for all practical purposes they are one in method. In England, tradition prescribes everything, and tutors, who are college men themselves, perpetuate the traditions of the university. In France, the system is regulated both by tradition and by law. In America, whatever uniformity there is between college and preparatory school methods is mainly fostered and promoted by the fact that the teachers in preparatory schools are generally college graduates, and so bring with them the college methods. The speaker believed that there ought to be a difference between the quality and quantity of studies for those high school pupils whose education is to end in these institutions and those who are to enter the preparatory schools and colleges. A boy who could go no further than the high school ought in the higher classes of that school to be taught classical and modern languages, for instance, in a somewhat different way from one who was to enter the preparatory schools and colleges. It is a prime necessity that the professors in colleges and the principals of preparatory schools should understand each other before they can be able to secure co-operation. There are many difficulties in the path of the preparatory school teacher. He is seldom willing to confine himself exclusively to the drudgery and drill work which the college expects. He is desirous to broaden the understanding of his pupil by cultivating his literary tastes, and sometimes is tempted to neglect the drill work in his efforts to open a wider mental horison for his pupil. Thus, there grows up a want of harmony between the college professor and the fitting school instructor which can be cured only by efforts on the part of both for natural confidence and helpfulness. The fitting school teacher really has the greater task, for he has to deal with the pupil when in the freshness of his youth and the ardor of his hope, and it is the impressions made at this period of life which are the most abiding."
President Eliot discussed particularly "their formality in requisitions for admission to college," and "believed that there are good reasons for diversity in the standard for admission. If uniformity means by the same tests for admission in all cases, it is out of the question." He did not believe that it was necessary that there should be the same number of subjects required for admission in each case, or the same limits exacted in the extent to which studies shall be pursued, nor did he believe that the same strictness in examinations is desirable in all instances. But in all cases where the number of subjects and the limits are the same, there should be a uniformity in the preparation of questions. An elective system in the matter of admission is no bar to uniformity. The speaker believed that the only way to secure the proper degree of uniformity was through the establishment of a board representing all the colleges interested, a board to be intrusted with the preparation and the marking of examination papers for admission in all cases where subjects and limits could be agreed upon. A free expenditure of money is necessary to procure the proper men for so important a board. Oxford and Cambridge have followed this plan successfully for years, but theirs is a board of well paid officers. The community of interest between the schools and the colleges is absolute. The hard drudgery should not belong entirely to the school, and the inspiration to the college. There is no demarkation, with one spirit of education on the one side and another spirit of education on the other. The colleges cannot prosper unless the schools also prosper. The colleges of New England do not keep pace with the growth of the population. Not only is the growth of the colleges alarmingly small, but the progress of the preparatory schools is equally unsatisfactory. President Eliot believed that it is a relaxation on the part of the colleges to admit students by certificate from a large number of schools, and makes admission far too easy,