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in different parts of the city, while it affords at once a standard and guide in making examinations for promotion."
This work of Dr. Philbrick has sometimes been spoken of as though it was, in his mind, an end ; or, at least, that school organization was an end, and not a means.
Those who make such criticisms fail to take into account, in the first place, the fact that the making of a good programme implies a profound knowledge of education, both philosophic and practical, and in the second place, the fact that, when his programme was made and well applied in the schools under his control, he began to study the ways and means of raising the teachers under his direction to the rank of educational philosophers with as much zeal as he had ever displayed in the construction or introduction of the programme.
It was just at this point that he was misunderstood by his critics. Because he laid a necessary foundation first, and then sought means for erecting the superstructure, it was assumed that he would never build. Shrewdly has Dr. White remarked, “ His apparent conservatism was the poise of deep insight and wide knowledge.” While others would fail on account of moving too soon, he could wait till all contingencies were provided for.
Another important service rendered by Dr. Philbrick was the making of the grammar masters principals of districts. The primary schools of Boston remained ungraded down to 1856; but between that date and 1864 they had been graded into six classes, and, when practicable, a single class was assigned to each teacher. This
arrangement, of course, required promotions to be made every six months, from one primary teacher to another, unless the teachers were sent from grade to grade with their pupils, a plan which was not generally adopted. “ This made it necessary that some one should be charged with the responsibility of supervising the group with reference to the admission of pupils, their proper classification, and their qualifications for promotion, from class to class, and to the grammar schools."
At the same time the number of pupils in each of the grammar schools had become so much larger under the "single-headed” organization that an improvement in the supervision of the lower classes had come to be felt as a necessity. The master was occupied in teaching the first class, and consequently the labors of the subordinate teachers were often undirected, or misdirected, and, consequently, conflicting in their aims. This laid the foundation for “high pressure" in the first class, for the pupils often came up poorly qualified to do the work required. And the more the master tried to remedy the deficiency in his own class, the more he was increasing the evil for the succeeding class by neglecting the classes below. And, beside, the pupils who left school without reaching the first class received little benefit from the superior experience and teaching power of the master.
To remedy all these evils, Dr. Philbrick conceived the plan of relieving the master from the duty of teacħing in the first class, and of making him the principal, not only of the grammar school, but of all the primary schools in his district as well. This scheme had the ever potent
merit of cheapness; and, after a long discussion, and the support of an able report, it was adopted by the Board. The conservative members, however, succeeded in adding a modification to the original plan, to the effect that the new duty of the master should be performed “under the direction of the district committee.” This qualification wrought much harm in some districts for a long time, but in the main the plan soon went into effect.
Nearly ten years later Dr. Philbrick writes :
“ This measure has unified the whole system and greatly increased its strength and efficiency. Without it the new programme would have proved little better than so much waste paper. Each master is now not merely a teacher of one small class, — he is the training master and real director of all the classes in his district. If he does his duty he teaches more or less in every class to show how they should be handled, and so aids and directs the teachers in carrying out the programmes, that their labor may, as far as possible, contribute to the accomplishment of the desired objects.”
But I must hasten on, for time would fail me to treat, with anything like fullness, of all the reforms wrought in the Boston schools, through the wise foresight and patient labor of Dr. Philbrick.
He kept the school expenditures from being reduced to a point that would cripple the efficiency of the schools. He never boasted of cheap schools. The farthest he ever went in this direction was to show the people that school expenses, in the time of high prices, were not increased so rapidly as other city expenses, and that for
the most extravagant use of money for school purposes the school committee were not responsible; but he never so far yielded to the popular clamor for retrenchment as to consent to the reduction of teachers' salaries, or the cheapening of the necessary supplies for the schools. He saw clearly that the schools must cost money if they were to be good, and his motto was, “Schools good enough for the rich are poor enough for the poor.” If the public schools are patronized by the wealthy they are economical, even for them, and so Mr. Philbrick sought to make the public schools better than it is possible to make private schools.
His wise counsels were felt in the construction of schoolhouses. Mr. George A. Clough, the able architect of the Latin and English High School building in Boston, says:
“The earliest impressions that I received upon school architecture were from Dr. Philbrick, as far back as 1871, and now, after fifteen years' experience, I have had an opportunity to see that his views were far in advance of all other writers upon the subject in this country. In reviewing my experience I find myself constantly associated with the early views of Dr. Philbrick."
In the matter of school furniture such a change was wrought under his administration that the effect has been felt all over this country, and even in other countries. To his wisdom are we, perhaps, mainly indebted for the use of a single desk for every scholar, from the primary school to the high.
He was among the first, — perhaps the very first, - of
the leading educators of the country to perceive the value of art education, and to take steps toward its promotion. Mr. John S. Clark, of the firm of Prang & Co., a man as well qualified to speak upon this point as any man in the United States, says:
“The movement for the study of drawing in the public schools . . . . had its beginning in Boston. I do not think I do injustice to the many gentlemen who took a deep interest in starting the movement in Massachusetts when I say that the leading spirit in the movement was Dr. Philbrick. In my various consultations with him he surprised me, not only by the thoroughness of his observation of what had been done abroad, but also by his clear comprehension of what was necessary to be done here before any success could be expected. To Dr. Phil. brick more than to any other one person are we indebted for our Massachusetts Normal Art School.
It was through his instrumentality, mainly, that Mr. Walter Smith was induced to come to Boston in 1872.".
And, I may add that the influence of this movement upon the industrial productions and upon the artistic tastes of the people of this country is beyond computation.
In the department of vocal music great progress was made during Dr. Philbrick's administration. When he took charge of the schools, in 1856, singing was indifferently taught in only a portion of the classes of the grammar schools, and in these it was not taught by the regular teachers. In fact, “there was no prescribed programme of instruction, no harmony of methods, no uniformity of textbooks, no classification, — in fact, no system.” At