MORE THAN TRAINING SCHOOLS
To those who remember President Hopkins' "aristocracy of brains" speech of a year ago, it will not seem remarkable that his address last Thursday fails to strike the powerful note of his former speech. Last September the educational world was seeking a just principle of selective discrimination in handling the entrance problem and President Hopkins was the first to express an idea which has gained great ground and of which we have not heard the last.
President Hopkins is concerned over the modern trend of cynicism and realism in life and politics and by the loss of the flowery idealism of the Victorian Age and the more recent idealism of the war. He deplores "the wide prevalence of the professionalized attitude toward life" and utilizes this attitude as the basis of an attack on the "attempt of extremists who style themselves Liberal with a capital L to exploit in their own interest the field of liberal thought." Doubtless this statement will be seized upon eagerly by a large section of the metropolitan press, but to the untutored reader it is meaningless without more specific illustrations.
The cure for present ills may be found according to President Hopkins in the conservation of a spirit of real study and reflection rather than the fostering of a spirit of action. But perhaps President Hopkins has underestimated the difficulty of making an institution truly educational. Is Amherst, for example, more or less of a training school now that the curriculum has been changed to replace the social and economic courses given under President Meiklejohn by courses in the humanities?
A serious problem, upon which President Hopkins failed to touch, is involved. Unprejudiced observers must admit that the controlling power in the majority of educational institutions of the country is in the hands of men who are either themselves of great wealth or associated with great wealth, a fact which remains unchanged however well that power is exercised. Against any possible encroachment of this power as well as against the agitation of extremists of other persuasions, an educational institution must be constantly on guard; otherwise it will become merely a training school.