PRESENT NEEDS OF SCIENCE INSTRUCTION IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS

Robert A. Millikan
1920 School Science and Mathematics  
After more than two years of entire absence from the active pursuit of educational matters, it is a real delight to me to be back here in touch with our common problems. We are all exceedingly happy to be through with our war jobs and yet the war did one big thing for many, particularly for those of us who had the opportunity to be in the service with which I was connected, namely, the aviation service. It gave us a chance to get away from the details of our surroundings and to look things over
more » ... to look things over from the point of view of the bird. And if we could glimpse our educational problems too from an airplane I think some of us would see things in a new light. I know that I am not expressing merely an individual opinion when I say that there is a general conviction that something more is needed in our science instruction in the secondary schools than we now have, and I want to give you in ten minutes here what I think this need is. In the November nfeimber of The Atlantic, Mr. Dallas Love Sharp says, "We live on and learn, but the lessons from seventeen to seventy are only a review and an application of those from six to sixteen. In any rational survey of education, therefore, the higher schools and colleges are negligible. Our education as a people is that of the secondary schools. In them, more than in any other American institution, more than in all other American institutions, are the issues of an enlightened national life; issues no longer national merely, for the war has made them vital to the life of the world.)> Never were truer words spoken, and it is because I believe that they are true that I have come here to make a plea. But I wish to go a step farther than Mr. Sharp and consider what at least one of these issues is. I shall speak of only one, but that one is of paramount importance. It is the place of science in our educational scheme. Everyone will agree that this is an age whose tap root is found in the sciences, that it is an age in which that nation which is most effective in ferreting out nature^s secrets and in applying them to her industries and her commerce takes the lead in every line of human endeavor. And yet we in America have not begun as yet to awaken to our need and our opportunity.
doi:10.1111/j.1949-8594.1920.tb12499.x fatcat:myofv2ec6bf3lpf46vanqzawim