COMING BACK TO EDUCATION
President Harding has proclaimed December third to tenth to be "education week". But be not afraid, ye loafers, this does not mean required attendance at all classes, special examinations, or a compulsory twelve-hour study day. What "education week" does mean, however, is merely a time for contemplating the need of constantly improving the educational system and for devising means to this end.
Whether in preparation for this week or not, there has recently rolled up from many quarters an extraordinary variety of opinion on education. Mr. A. B. See gave vent to inflammatory wrath against women's colleges in general, when he was asked to contribute to the Adelphi College endowment fund. Mr. See felt that colleges were responsible for "smoking, drinking, cosmetics, French heels, and all other flapperisms among young women", and the only ways out in his opinion was to burn them all to the ground. Then President Butler of Columbia complained in his annual report against "the spirit and temper of journalism, which may perhaps be fairly described as day-to-dayness," and which has "notably invaded American education to its grave undoing."
Professor Dearborn, in the Alumni Bulletin, goes even further to show that education is, in part at least, responsible for criminality which has always been attributed to heredity. President Cutten of Colgate takes up the attack at this point and switches the responsibility of education back to citizenship, for education is the one means of developing intelligence and intelligence is the logical basis of all suffrage. President Cutten claims that democracy is a delusion in that general suffrage is the "greatest and most popular failure." He sees a solution only in some practical form of an intelligence test for every voter.
Of course such a suggestion is vastly unpopular. Millions of citizens would take it as an intolerable personal grievance and an infringement of their rights to be excluded from voting because they thought Henry Ford invented the cotton gin, or that "daylight savings" was a kind of bank. Also it is doubtful whether any fair intelligence test for voters could be devised.
At present the electorate does include ignorant voters, and office-holders are chosen by people unable to discriminate between a whale and a jellyfish. But if a compulsory intelligence requirement is impossible there is an opening left. What cannot be done from authority above can be accomplished by spontaneous efforts at education from beneath. And here again the responsibility can be laid directly at the door of the college man.