Self-Government in the High School

P. A. Walker
1907 The Elementary School Teacher  
The statement that "school is life" has been repeated so often that it is high time we were making it an active principle of our educational system, or were relegating it to the past as so much sentiment of the theorist. Sol long as the pupils are not permitted to do the things which make up the duties of the active citizen, our schools are failing to perform their true function in the community. With all the progress in the development of an educational system, we have done very little to
more » ... the character of school government above the field of despotism, or to lay the foundation for practical citizenship. The principle of democratic self-government has been so long recognized in national governments that only the mediaeval institutions of countries like Russia and Turkey fail to permit of the participation of the individual in matters which affect the conduct of the community. But while we have accepted republican government as a principle of our national life, we have made little effort in any practical way to inculcate the idea in our schools. What an opportunity we are missing for teaching practical self-government! We have not gone so far in the development of republican institutions that the pupil knows practical citizenship by instinct; on the contrary, the cry goes out that our citizens manifest a lethargy which bodes such serious ills to our commonwealth that some even say that popular government is doomed to failure. Nor is this wail uttered without some thought of the trend of the times. With our most prominent business men engaging in dishonorable practices, and our statesmen playing the part of the grafter, is it any wonder that the skeptic should cry "failure" at our system of government ? To the forebodings of the pessimist we answer that the hope of the state lies in the public schools. Then let us cease preaching 451 This content downloaded from 080.082.
doi:10.1086/453664 fatcat:pgor4jyzlfg4zm27pimlmicqx4