6 SEPTEMBER 1890, Page 25


Notes on American Schools and Colleges. By J. G. Fitch. (Mac- millan and Co.)—Mr. Fitch, who knows as much as any man about elementary education in England, made a tour of inspection in the States ; in this volume he records his experiences, giving them frequently in the form of a comparison between American and English systems and results. In his introduction he refutes with signal success an extraordinary statement made by Dr. E. H. Hall to the effect that Massachusetts, with less than two million people, spent on education more than a third of what Great Britain spent on her thirty-five millions; the figures being .£1,200,000 to £3,400,000. The real facts are very different. First, the British expenditure must be raised, by putting in parents' payments, rates, subscriptions, &c., to 17,000,000 ; and, second, it refers to primary schools only. The Massachusetts figures represent the whole cost of higher, intermediate, and elementary education. On the whole, Mr. Fitch, while quite receptive of new ideas, appreciative of all that is being done in the States, and speaking very highly of the intense interest which the Americans take in education, does not think that, after all, they manage things much better over there. " I have not the least reason to believe that American boys and girls are more soundly taught, or are provided with a better intellectual outfit for the business and duties of life, than English children of the same age, who are brought up in a good elementary school." That sums up the whole matter. At the same time, there is much to be learnt from American ways. The patriotic pride which every child learns to feel is an admirable feature, which might with great advantage be introduced here. The School Superintendent would be a useful officer to introduce, especially as here he would not be hampered by the political necessities which he has to reckon with there. One great thing that the States need is the Civil Servant, whether employed by the Federal Government or the State, who is irre- movable quam din se bens gesserit. The system of bribery by publishers, to put the matter plainly, is at work extensively in the States. It is not unknown here, but is probably loss developed. This is a book from which all school-teachers and managers may learn much.