YUBA COUNTY Nuggets
Miss Jennie Malaley
J. C. Ray, Prinicpal
THE FUNCTION OF THE HIGH SCHOOL
Owing to the fact that the high school system as the last of our educational institutions to be developed, there has not been that unanimity of opinion concerning the real function it is to perform, as there has been concerning other units of our educational system.
Until recently the courses of study in our high schools were largely traditional, and at the present time, many still have earmarks of mediaevalism, due in a large measure to the conservatism of the community and to certain requirements for matriculation in the higher institutions of learning. As a result, the high school in its early development became only a ‘feeder’ for the college with little purpose or plan for the students who did not intend to enter the university; and since only a small percentage of the students graduating from high schools entered colleges or higher institutions, and the large number who did not graduate, could not enter, there arose an insistent demand that the high school curricula should include courses for the students who did not contemplate entering college. Thus, a beginning has been made to make the high school what it should be – a real preparatory institution.
The high school to perform its real function must be a preparatory school in the broadest sense of the term. It must prepare, not only for colleges and the higher institutions, but must prepare the student for what he is to do next. It should bring him into harmony with his environment. It should enable him to find himself and to develop the best that is in him.
While it is quite desirable for as many students as possible to go on to higher institutions of learning, however, for the large number who do not and cannot go on, the high school should supply, to the greatest extent possible, the necessary equipment to meet life’s conditions most successfully. The curricula of the schools should contain courses which would lead directly to the business institutions of the community. The schools should be correlated with, and made a part of, community life.
The work in the grammar school should be closely coordinated with that of the high school. The break as it now exists between the “grades” and the High School, should be bridged by means of the intermediate high school; and the gap between the high school and the higher institutions of learning and the business world should be closed by the Junior College.
The high schools today are doing a great deal of the work the colleges and universities did a few years ago. With the necessary and important changes in the courses of study and a closer relation of the department of our school system extending the work over fourteen years instead of twelve, the Grades and the High School could cover a much broader field; and by a closer study of the individual characteristics of the students throughout all their relations of school and home life, the pupils with the aid of the teachers and parents could, at a much earlier age, discover their professional or vocational bent of mind.
The Junior College following the four years’ high school course would give the student an opportunity to remain at home two years longer and at the same time give him the advantages of the equivalent of two years of college work. While we recognize the fact that our high schools of today are much more efficient than they were a few years ago, yet under more ideal conditions – conditions involving a greater interest and a clearer purpose on the part of the student, when he enters and during his high school course – the value of his high school education would be greatly enhanced, and the preparation of the student to meet life’s problems would be perceptibly increased.
The increased interest and the definite purpose on the part of the student may be developed by the concerted action of all the forces of the community acting under the impulse of a common idea that “a generous education is the birthright of every man and woman in America” – that every boy and every girl should have the opportunity to equip himself with the means necessary, not only for his own development, but that he may make his greatest contribution to his civilization.
We hope to see the time come when students may become as enthusiastic about their school work as they are about school play and student activities.
It is the intensity of action that makes lasting impressions, and intensity of action depends upon interest in the thing in hand. School work should be so directed and stimulated that interest would increase with advancement of the knowledge of the subject. The high school age might be termed the “critical period” of the student’s life. The education between fourteen and twenty does more to give direction and purpose to the future career of the individual than any other period. And for this reason the work of the high school is of the first importance. The function of the high school, then, is not only to give capability but a desire on the part of the individual to act and to make his action of the greatest value to himself and to his country. To educate for the broadest and most efficient citizenship expressed in active service should be the aim of our schools.
The old saying that knowledge is power is only a half truth. For the most part knowledge is valuable only as it may be applied. The new thought in education is the application of knowledge gained – the carrying over of thought into action. A thought is not complete until it functions in some form of action.
Hence, if the high school is going to perform its greatest function, it must co-ordinate the work in the school with the work in the office, in the shop, in the home, in fact in all the activities of the communities.
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