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window of my room I looked into the darkness and heard
mellow chimes from an invisible church. But in the
morning from the same window I discovered that close by
the six-story hotel was a huddle of what looked like sawed-
off box-cars. This, I learned, was Skidville. When con-
struction was begun, four years before, shacks were run in
on skids to house the workmen. They were still there, and
were still housing somebody. I was told, in various
quarters, that some of these two-room shacks held families
of six, eight, ten, twelve people; that they rented for seven
dollars a month ; that they were only temporary and would
soon be removed. Perhaps they are gone now, but off on
one fringe of the town I found a double row of quite new
and apparently permanent little houses, spaced about three
feet apart, with two or three rooms apiece, and, like
the Skidville cabins, with outdoor toilets to be shared by
several families. The sight was somehow perplexing in a
model town.

The main street of Longview runs from the hotel to a
neat railroad station (a combination that somehow didn't
seem homelike). But from the railroad station, when I
was there, you could go only to the tall timber! The rail-
road gave passenger service only between Longview and
Ryderwood, a remarkable permanent logging camp in the
woods. After building its railroad, Longview asked to have
some passenger trains run over it. But that involved

August 15 September 15, 1927



diverting them from the main line of the Southern Pacific,
which runs through Kelso, Longview's neighbor on the east.
Kelso was there first, and had ambitions of its own. Kelso
does not love Longview, and its trains stayed at home.
And there you are !

The Long-Bell Company hires its workers at approxi-
mately the market rate. Its enormous mills, capable of
sawing a million feet of lumber in a working day, require
many men who are paid not far from $3.50 a day. Its
executives are paid considerably more. To accommodate
families from both extremes of the pay-roll, as well as the
miscellaneous citizenry, Longview must provide a wide
range of housing. It has done so, and has separated one
kind from another in curiously regimented sections. Around
the central part of the city, bordered by a river, a range
of hills, and a park, are a ring of "additions," each with its
name and fixed boundaries, each with its own scale of
rents and minimum building values. As these, and a few
business blocks, are now the only parts of the city that have
filled in to any considerable extent, the effect is that of a
pie which has been methodically cut and then pushed apart
as though the pieces were not quite fit to associate with
each other.

A preplanned town must, of course, anchor its business
section and its civic center and other focal points, and, I
suppose, it must then wait patiently for the interstices to
fill up. But I began to wonder about preplanning of this
sort when I walked, or was driven, over blocks and blocks
of paved but empty streets in Longview. Here stood the
hotel, far from the railroad; there beside it the public
library, far from most of its readers; at the center of town
the shops, far from their customers. A town doesn't

grow that way, left to itself. Is there no middle course
between the wasteful process of spreading, tearing down
and spreading again that most cities go through (but which
is at least organic and natural) and this business of con-
demning your early settlers to live for years with the stark,
gaping skeleton of a city?

Longview is a new town competently developed by busi-
ness enterprise for business purposes and, no doubt, in the
hope of large profits. It is no longer a one-company town,
for the Weyerhauser lumber interests have decided to put
a mill of their own alongside Long-Bell's on the water-
front, which, with the very meager exception of a public
dock, is reserved for industrial exploitation. But the in-
fluence which dominates it is naturally that of Long-Bell
and its president, of whom we read in one of the company's

The library is the gift of Mr. R. A. Long to the city he
founded, as part of the 1925 program of a plan whereby he
intends to spend at least one million dollars of his personal
fortune within the next five to seven years, in the development
of the civic center, the beautification of the city's park system
and in assisting 'the city to establish an exceptionally good
school system.

Longview is a new town oddly combining paternalism
and hard-headed foresight. Mariemont is a new town
deriving its origin from one public-spirited woman. Kings-
port is a new town jointly promoted by a group of manu-
facturers. When will the United States produce a new
town that like the best of the old ones, and like the
English garden-cities of today is the work of a genuinely
cooperative group united first of all by their wish for better


THERE is many a road to Americanization and one of them
leads through gardens, according to the successful work of
Mrs. A. Tucker, Americanization teacher of the Fullerton
(Cal.) Union High School, described in a letter from Blanche
Halbert of the Research Department of Better Homes in
America. For two years little progress in Americanization
had been made with a group of Mexican fruit growers, housed
admirably by the Placentia Orange Growers, but unfamiliar
with American ways and means. Then Mrs. Tucker, with the
aid of a Japanese neighbor trained in flower arrangement,
set out to interest the Mexican women in their homes through
their gardens. Flowers were carefully tended in the common
backyard which had been little more than a dump and with
their use in the home came other improvements, white table-
cloths to make a background for the vases, cleanliness, order.
In 1926 came the Better Homes in America Campaign, and
the enthusiasm for exterior cleaning-up was carried over into
a project to equip a borrowed empty house with discarded
furniture and furnishings to show a model home. The women
mended, painted, upholstered with artistry as well as thrift.
The campaign arranged competitions for the cleanest and best
arranged house, for the prettiest garden, the best needlework,
most artistic flower arrangement, and above all, for the best-
cared-for and best-behaved family in the Fullerton Grammar
School. The prizes were pieces of the reclaimed furniture
from the demonstration cottage. The City Nurse Association
participated with a sideshow of well babies at the Fullerton
Health Center; the High School opened its practice house
every day and evening for inspection, and offered its orchestra
of 70 pieces to play the overture of an operetta given by 100
grammar school children before an audience of 1,700. There

were home garden contests, kitchen contests, home library
contests, essay contests in all of which the schools, civic and
social organizations took part. The whole demonstration cost
the community $39 plus united effort and ingenuity.

SHARING of play in home and backyard by parents and
children is suggested as a permanent major objective in the
recreation program outlined by the Division of Community
Service of the General Federation of Women's Clubs. With
increased emphasis on this, declares Mrs. Dolly Dean Burgess,
chairman of the Division, "the inevitable spread of recreation
to include the neighborhood and the community would be very
much accelerated." The other three points stressed in the
minimum list of objectives are a community self-study, recrea-
tion afternoons or evenings twice a year for the "financially
or physically unable," and a general program once during the
club year carried out in cooperation with local recreation

AS A "first guide" for the reading of people who wish to
become acquainted with some of the fundamental social
problems of today, the Committee on Philanthropic Labor of
the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of Friends has published a
brief bibliography edited by Donald Young of the University
of Pennsylvania. The table of contents includes the unstable
family, child welfare, poverty as a social problem, the com-
munity, alcohol and the drug question, disease control, race
problems, crime and the treatment of criminals, mental
hygiene, populations problems and international peace. Copies
may be obtained from the Central Bureau of the Philadelphia
Yearly Meeting, 154 N. 15 Street, Philadelphia, Pa.


Sharing Ideas With the Country School



IN my early working days when administrative reforms
and efficiency schemes seemed the only objective worth
striving for, I helped survey the rural schools in a
wealthy Connecticut suburb. My chief was a statisti-
cian with a flare for graphic representation and we
evolved a rather startling series of charts and diagrams and
damning photographs portraying the miseries of the poor
schools of this the richest town in America.

We contrasted the elegant garages and stables of the rich
with the humble schoolhouses of the people; we proclaimed
that far more money was spent yearly on gasoline than
upon education; we displayed pictures of schools located in
swamps, with battered leaking roofs and flooded hallways;
we exhibited unsanitary drinking pails and disease breed-
ing dippers; we had diagrams of wretched privies set up-
hill from the school well, and a variety of other flagrant
floutings of the laws of health and common decency.

We arranged our exhibit in the central school in town,
and succeeded in arousing so much popular feeling
that the board of councillors at its next meeting voted
a quarter million dollars for a new school plant.

"But," asked one iconoclastic survey worker, when
the chief told the news, "what's the use of all those
nice new schools if they are just going to do the
same old things as before?"

Which under the circumstances was hardly a
gracious question.

Yet 1t is a question not put often enough in all
the agitation of the last decade or more to improve
our country schools. For like too much current
educational discussion, problems of efficiency and
mechanical procedure take first rank. Here, for ex-
ample is a federal bulletin entitled, Constructive
Tendencies in Rural Education. After declaring
that "rural education is still the weak spot in the
American educational system," the author states
that within the last two years "there has been a
decided tendency toward complete emergence of
rural education from the realm of sentimental oratory
to that of statesmanship and professional achieve- child H
ment." In evidence, the pamphlet is devoted entirely
to discussing such matters as equitable school support, certi-
fication and training of teachers, supervision, administrative
units, and school consolidation. "Statesmanship and pro-
fessional achievement" indeed!

Yet there are signs of a different view of things. The
State of Vermont, Dorothy Canfield Fisher says, is taking
a new look at the long despised little school at the cross-
roads. (See The Survey, June i, 1926, p. 293.) People
there are discovering that just because it is small and in-
formal and real, with its roots sunk deep in the soil of each


local community, it offers opportunities in the way of educa-
tion which modern educators seek vainly in the large, well
equipped, but artificial, graded schools of the city. Instead
of striving to eliminate district schools as so many states are
doing, "everybody that is anybody in Vermont" is seeking
to improve them materially, to raise salaries, secure better
teachers, supply better books and maps and other equipment.
In the State of New York, this same discovery of the
intrinsic value of the country school is also being made by
alert women. One of them lives in a midstate county which
I shall call Indian County, and she has been making her
discoveries and acting upon them for a term of years. The
kind of work that Mrs. Russell has been doing is one which
if it could be developed and duplicated by groups of women
throughout the state might well revolutionize rural living.
I say rural living advisedly, not merely rural schools. For
as most of our schools are conducted, schooling is one thing
and living is another. It is living that interests Mrs. Russell,
living as an art, not as a business or a pedagogical

In these one-teacher schools that Mrs. Russell has
been visiting, despite intolerable physical neglect,
scantiness of supplies, and bleak isolation, she found
teachers and children living together with a vitality
and a spontaneity never achieved in the sterilized at-
mosphere of most city schools.

Yet their living she saw was not nearly so fruitful
as it might be made. Abject poverty and neglect are
serious handicaps, and so are the clogging traditions
of school routine. To Mrs. Russell's unpedagogical
eye, it did not seem so very serious that children in
any tidily graded school can out-spell or out-read or
out-memorize these country girls and boys a fact
made much of in official treatises on the rural school
problem. There are other gains in a country child's
education that are perhaps even more important than
speed in acquiring literacy. What is a tragedy is that
most country teachers and pupils are entirely cut off
from the dynamic ideas that are animating the world.
They are starved for supplies it is true in many
places such elementary requirements as blackboards,
globes, maps and books are conspicuous by their absence
but they are far more starved for content, for ideas on
which their minds and spirits can feed.

But first a word more about Mrs. Russell who has some-
how become the Conveyor of Content to great numbers of
spiritually hungry people up and down the country side.
She has the means to give lavishly and her private benevo-
lences are many. But she prefers to share the good things of
life with people. The best things of life she sees quite clearly
are ideas. So the thing she is doing most persistently and in

August 15 September 15, 1927


ways altogether unique is to share ideas with others. For
years, despite serious ill health she has opened her home to
large public meetings on every liberal subject on earth. She
has induced prominent men and women on both sides of the
Atlantic to speak on international affairs, on British labor,
on reconstruction, on peace, on strikes, on birth control, on
civil liberties, on education, etc. For several summers, she
has held at her summer home a most unusual conference on
Human Values, to which are invited not only a hundred
or so friends and townspeople but the most promising stu-
dents of a dozen or more colleges. This desire to share ideas
led Mrs. Russell into the district schools of Indian County.

SHE went to them with material on international good
will, thinking that this kind of matter might prove useful
in teaching history. And then she became interested in these
little forgotten groups of teachers, each with a handful of
children, set down on this impassable road or that, visited
by no one, save once a year by the county superintendent ;
given a lordly syllabus to follow, but skimped lamentably
as to equipment and supplies and in general despised by
everyone and by no one so much as by themselves, as filling
a job of no importance. She became interested, but she was
also appalled by what she saw. She came upon broken and
infirm old men of seventy holding down the teacher's chair,
or brash untrained girls and boys, not even high-school
graduates, taking on the work for a term or two to save
money for "a real job." There were schoolhouses so bat-
tered and ancient that she wondered how they were still
standing. One, located in a swamp, was condemned and
ordered to be moved, but the trustees found that it would
fall apart if they tried to take it to high ground so they
left it where it was. In this place eight children were being
"educated" in seats too small for them, under the tutelage
of a youth entirely destitute of any intelligence in outlook.
Treatises on agriculture dated 1839 were the only supple-
mentary reading matter in many schools, or there were no
books at all. "No, I have no globe or maps and no prospects
of getting any, for taxes are coming in slow," one teacher
declared. Many indeed told of going down regularly into
ill-lined pockets to buy needed books and supplies.

A hopeless task to help such schools, you say? Perhaps,
to anyone less intrepid or possibly more worldly wise. But
Mrs. Russell went on from one school to another, to thirty
in all, keeping in touch with the teachers constantly, win-
ning their confidence, filling in the worst of their gaps as
regards equipment, and pricking them constantly with sug-
gestions of better ways of accomplishing what they wished
to do. Her observations were often the unexpected. "I have
only eight children this year, and last winter I had sixteen,"
one girl complained. "Why, my dear, you are to be con-
gratulated," Mrs. Russell told her, "you can do twice as
much for the eight as you could for the sixteen !"

HER interest in these schools set Mrs. Russell to study-
ing the principles of the "new" education. She began
to see how admirably these principles might be applied in
these small informal country groups. Both teachers and
pupils live in a tangible world which offers as much educa-
tion outside the school as in. Jo Hicks works a farm along
with "keeping school"; Daisy Herring, whose brothers have
all left home, dons knickers after school hours and helps

her father plough ; not a boy or girl but does farm chores
of one sort or another. It needed no pedagogue to tell Mrs.
Russell what a deal of education is implicit in these homely
tasks, or how comparatively easy it would be to make the
book learning relate naturally to the work of home and farm.

Moreover inside the school, just because groups were
small, life could move with the naturalness and spontaneity
that modern educators crave for children. "My children
are not all here now," one teacher explained, "two boys
are out chasing up a lost cow, but they'll be in real soon."
Another teacher wrote of her school situated with a lovely
view of the Catskills, and only half a mile from a place
called High Rocks, "where we used to go last year for
noon hour picnics." Still another described the cozy home-
like hot lunches she and the children got together over
their stove, the boys and girls taking turns at cooking and
washing the dishes.

Yet naturalness and spontaneity can degenerate into
tedium and insipidity without some source of fruitful
inspiration. And when even the mechanical means of work
are lacking, matters are worse. Mrs. Russell began herself
to supply necessary equipment. A globe here, a blackboard
there, a reading chart in another place. And always books.
Books for the children to read, books for the guidance of
the teacher, books and magazines and pamphlets without
end. For most of the teachers she has subscribed for The
World Tomorrow, and besides she has sent them many
special numbers of the National Geographic Magazine, the
Christian Century, the Survey Graphic, the New Republic,
Progressive Education. She has sent them pictures, curios
from the Orient, posters, suggestive courses of study from
other schools, and publications on world peace. The books
sent one teacher alone included, The New State, by M. P.
Follett, The New Social Order, by Harry Ward, Sanderson
of Oundle, by Wells, An Experiment with a Project Curric-
ulum, by Ellsworth Collings, besides a host of books for the
children of that school, Alice in Wonderland, When We Were
Very Young, Lear's Nonsense Rhymes, J. Russell Smith's
Human Geography, Carpenter's How the World is Fed,
and volumes by Dickens, Scott, Hawthorne and Thackeray.

YET, says Mrs. Russell, all this is but to scratch the
surface of the need. She has not evolved any very clear
philosophy who has? of how the need may best be met.
She is certain merely of one or two things. One is that the
district school belongs in the community and that it might
be made a source of strength and richness rather than re-
maining as now a melancholy relic of the past. Yet most
schemes suggested for its improvement are concerned merely
with material gains. "We think that the way to reform any-
thing is to make it bigger or more efficient," Mrs. Russell
will tell you. "We complain of the drift to the city, yet
we do our best to accelerate the process. We foist city
courses of study on country schools, and when we have at
hand a valid country institution like the district school we
preach consolidation and seek to make it as much like the
city school as possible a steel and concrete building,
elaborate ventilating systems, and grading systems no less

"Instead, the reforms of the country school must come
from within. We need more experiments in them like the
one so productively developed by Professor Collings in a



August 15 September 15, 1927

Missouri rural school, where for four years he dared to
dispense with the formal curriculum as such, and instead
worked out with the children a series of stimulating projects
related both to their ou-n needs and to the needs of the
community. After all the reason why our rural schools are
suffering from pernicious anaemia is because they are not
willing to be truly rural, to become the real center of rural
culture, but follow instead the will-o'-the-wisp of academic
learning. One of the wisest educators of our generation has
said that the community is the true educational institution.
The kind of work the community does, and its attitude to-
ward work, its standards of health, forms of recreation, eco-
nomic and social resources, even its physical topography, all

are influencing the children growing up there far more pro-
foundly than anything that goes on inside the school. The
place for the country teacher to begin is with himseH and
with the myriad ways in which the community is educating
its children for good or for evil ; he must supplement the
good where necessary, and correct the evil as far as possible.
The children will help him mightily in the task. Read how
Professor Ceilings' children dealt with the typhoid danger
in their county. When we have a few such rural schools
operating in the country we shall hear less about the need
of consolidation save perhaps of schools for lder children
and we shall hear less too I fancy about the drift to town.
Country living then will have become too absorbing an

American Education Abroad


ONE of the results of the rapprochement between
Europe and America since the War and the
current era of pretentious good will mixed
with social and political confusion is the new
lease on life that has been given to the edu-
cation of Americans abroad. In former times the sending
of a student to Europe to attend a European school was an
end in itself and marked the finishing off process by which
somehow the defects inherent in American methods were
to be overcome. Latterly there has been an about face. A
school for Americans in Europe has come to require not
merely an American head with a few European teachers
but more and more the staff and the control of the school
must be in the hands of Americans, trained in America
according to American methods and needs. This may sound
chauvinistic, but unless this fact is carefully considered,
any of the conclusions with regard to tendencies in European
educational methods are bound to be misunderstood, for it
reveals not so much that Americans are proudly becoming
content with their own as that Europeans are beginning
to realize that there is something in American methods
for them.

Into the details of European education for European
children we cannot here enter. Rather, we are considering
the problem of Americans who are sending their children
abroad to be educated, not for Oxford and Heidelberg and
the Sorbonne, but for Yale and Harvard. There are
popping up here and there in Europe American schools
that announce not merely the teaching of European lan-
guages in Europe and the finishing off of American youths
with a veneer of European
culture but most emphatical-
ly the preparation for Amer-
ican universities with all the
requisites in sports and hon-
ors. Americans who now go
abroad for culture take a
goodly portion of it along
with them.

Then why do they go
abroad? The education of
Americans for several years

Woodcut by S. R. Ah, courtesy of The Open Road, Inc.

Online LibrarySurvey AssociatesThe Survey (Volume 58) → online text (page 123 of 130)