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The Curtis bill now before Congress, which is intended to create a national Department of Education, shines by light reflected from the halo of universal learning that crowns a democracy. The purely negative argument, that a nation spending about three quarters of its income on past, present, and future wars is able to afford $1,500,000 for education can be strongly urged in favor of the proposal.

But whether the additional expenditure would yield results sufficient to justify itself is an open question. That a jealous Congress and equally egotistic states would care to see the powers of the present Bureau of Education greatly expanded seems unlikely.

Whatever influence, other than of advisory nature, the proposed Department could have would be due to offers of financial help. And at least under the present administration with its slogan of economy, there is little likelihood of extensive monetary aid. Indeed even the idea of creating a new department is inimical to the policy of retrenchment now being followed.

By the study and correlation of new departures in the educational field, the proposed Department could no doubt do helpful work. In the rural districts especially, it could render an important service by helping newly elected school superintendents to solve their administrative problems. But the present Bureau of Education if sufficient funds were provided, ought to be as competent a collector of information and disseminator of advice.

For the restricted activities of the national education service, which Congress could be-brought to authorize, no inherent virtue rests in the departmental form of organization. Apparently the present Bureau can accomplish with less expensive fanfare but equal efficiency, the educational work of the national government.

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