Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Some Worries Date Back Longer Than You Think, Education Edition

...exemplifying the whole spirit of our big colleges -- their insatiable desire for more students and more funds, their readiness to resort to the same methods as those by which hustling business men promote their enterprises, their forgetfulness of the higher and finer aims of learning in the mere perfecting of mechanical means.... Most of our big colleges and universities have drifted into the adoption of methods that are too suggestive of the "drummer" and the advertising man.

-- The Nation, October 7, 1909, p. 321
This is from an unsigned editorial about Harvard president Charles Eliot's Harvard Classics (aka "the five foot shelf"), which had just come out. I can't confirm it, but Hugh Hawkins, in Between Harvard and America: the Educational Leadership of Charles W. Eliot (Oxford, 1973) claims (p. 376, n. 11) that this piece was written by Fabian Franklin (1853 - 1939), at the time the associate editor of the New York Evening Post.

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