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EDUCATING FARMER BOYS FOR EFFICIENCY.
Give the Boy a Training That Will at Once Develop His Pow ers of Thought and Prepare Him for His Life’s Work—Our Present One-Sided System Can Bo Changed Only by Concen trated Effort of the Farmers. By Prof. V. L. Roy, University of Louisiana. THE COMMON schools are the most important institution of our country. They represent the first organized effort of the State to bring to its future citizens the best knowledge that has been gath ered by the experience of the race, to the end that the best citizenship may result. As the years go by, the importance of the common schools increase; the world of society and industry grows more complicated, hence, training and preparation for one’s life work becomes of increas ing importance. The most important thing accom plished during the first few years of the child’s life is the mastery of the three R's—reading, writing and arithmetic,—of which we have so often spoken in terms of alternate praise and ridicule. Versed in these, the boy or girl has at his command the power to profit by the experience of the race and to add continually through his own efforts to the sum total of his education. But, having taught the child the use of these ed ucational tools, what does the school next seek to do? This is what it does in the aver age case: 11 unaeruutes to teacn him geography, history, hygiene, civ ics, nature study and agriculture. To geography and history, the schools of one of the Southern States devote seven times as many hours during the grammar-school years as they do to hygiene, citizenship, agri culture and natural science. No one doubts the importance of knowing something of the geography of the world or of the history of our coun try; but we may well doubt whether we are maintaining a proper bal ance between those subjects and the L other subjects named. It is the lat ■kter that bear directly on the pres Hhent and future life of the child; and we should all come to understand, “ believe and act upon the principle involved. Some of the Things the Average Child Studies. To illustrate: Beginning with the study of Columbus and early Span ish explorers, details of history are studied for several years covering a multitude of facts which it may be edifying to know but which are infinitely less important than other knowledge which the average child should possess. The child must know all about Vasco de Gama, Bal boa. BOOne. Cl&rkfV T.nrrt Raltlmnra he must be able to rehearse the bat tles of the French and Indian Wars, locate each, name the commanders, and number the dead. In geography, he learns, not only that important part which has to do with our State and country, but he invades China, Hindustan, Afghanistan and Monte negro; he can tell you how many mountains rise out of the plateau of Tibet; he knows something of the manners and customs of the Hindu and Hottentot, and of the religions of Confucius and Brahma. Now, all such knowledge is worth while, but the question to determine is whether it is the best knowledge that the schools can offer the farmer boys and girls. Can we not block off, out of the mass of human knowledge, other material for the education, not only of rural but also of urban chil dren, that will educate them just as well as the stufT above named, and yet that will possess the added ad vantage of giving the child an edu cation that will be directly service able to him in earning an honest livelihood and in developing true manhood? 1 believe we can. Some Things He Does Not Study. Can we not educate a boy just as well by teaching him something of the wonderful process of germina tion, of the conditions that deter mine the sprouting seed, of the food that a plant needs, of the root sys tem of the corn plant, how food is made in the leaf of the plant, how water and mineral food are taken in by roots, why water rises in the soil, how it is often wasted, what we must do to conserve it, what the elements of plant food are; or by studying the life history of the ty phoid (bouse) fly, learn where and how it breeds, see how it spreads disease and tilth, and then And out the best means of fighting it; or by studying our government, learning what courts are, why they exist and how they operate, and who some of our county and State oflicials are? Here is indeed a vast body of knowl edge that will serve the ends of edu cation as well as the subject-matter of the average text-book that re lates to distant climes or remote ages. Then, why not use it? The reply to this is that there is a general movement all over the country that has for its purpose the actual introduction of agriculture and other subjects into the schools; but, this movement has not the active support of the farmers everywhere. The farmer is the one who should demand a serious effort to teach agriculture in the common and high schools; he should require that every school of grammar or high school grade located in the country should at once begin to teach agri culture. Until he does, we may well doubt whether any great degree of success will be achieved. In making such a demand of the State, the farmer should know what he wants. He must not expect that the teacher will make the boy skill ful in handling the plow or the mowing machine; for, if that is what he is to learn, he can get it at home. But he has a right to expect tha* his boy will get something of ele mentary science; learn what capil larity is. how it oneratca for ami against the farmer; learn what the ingredients of animal food are and something of how much an animal needs; study the simple principles of breeding; see the phenomenon of osmosis illustrated by experiment; discover the function of sunlight in plant growth; compare different sys tems of crop rotation; or, in case of the girl, that she will learn some thing about textiles, the necessary elements of human food, the compo sition and preparation of food for the table, the simple chemistry of bread-making, the making of gar ments, the ornamentation of the home and home grounds, etc. How the Change is to He Made. How is this to be accomplished? Certainly not by crowding more ma terial into the course of study; but, by a re-adjustment of the several subjects. History, geography, hy giene and civil government should each receive approximately the same time and attention; nature study should be begun in the first year and extend through the fourth or fifth ><‘.ir, agriculture should follow and be taught for two or three years in the grammar school. In the country high school, agri culture should be given an hour or period daily. During the four years of the course, this gives one year each to crops, soils and fertilizers, animal industry, and farm opera tions or economy. Some schools in the country are now offering such courses. Georgia lhas eleven dis tinctively agricultural schools of secondary grade; Alabama has nine; Mississippi is preparing to introduce agriculture into its high schools, partly through State aid; Louisiana has nine schools of secondary grade, in which agriculture is taught by graduates of agricultural colleges. Hut, the South has not yet the tenth part of the schools it needs to teach agriculture and to bring such in struction within the reach of the average farm boy. The Problem of Securing Teachers. So, 1 believe we will pursue the best policy if, independently of the large congressional district agricul tural high school, we begin to teach agriculture in every rural school in tho South, whether such school be a common, a consolidated, or a high school. Our greatest problem is now, and will continue to be, “Where to lind competent teachers?” it will ap parently be several years before any considerable portion of the teaching force of the several States will de termine systematically to prepare itself for service in agricultural schools; but, we may be sure that nothing will give so much promi nence to the demand for such teach ers as the failure of schools to Uml suitable teachers. Teachers of agriculture command higher salaries than other teachers, partly because the supply is so much smaller than the demand; the ap paratus for instruction in the high schools is somewhat expensive, as are the equipmunt, implements* land and buildings of the school farm. Hence State aid is necessary to insure the success of these schools. Here again, tho legislators and authorities of a State are likely to respond only when tho call of the people Is spoken in clear tones. It All I>epen<ls on the Farmers. As long as the agricultural popu lation of the State is not interested in agricultural education, Just so long will progress bo slow. The State Superintendent may he as much of a statesman as you please; the county superintendent may be whollv cnnuerrntnil .1 thoroughly efficient; but without the active support of the people they ran , make no reforms, in present educa tional practice. They are not suffi ciently powerful to overcome the in ertia of a whole people. They may stand in the high places, sound the bugle blast of progress, and point or lead to the battlefields beyond; but they can not command or com pel. The public, consciousness must be awakened to the needs of an edu cation that will make our boyB and girls more efficient, no matter what the life may be that they are de termined to lead. If the demand for agricultural education does not come from the farihs of the country, whence shall it come? Can we ex pect the city merchant or the. en gineer to call for the establishment of agricultural schools? I would not be understood to mean that every farmer boy must continue on the farm, or that we should de velop a system of schools that will not permit him to do anything hut farm. On the contrary, let every boy In the land take up that life work for which hiB natural bent or opportunities best prepare him; let us remember the stories of Davis and Lincoln and thousands of other coun try lads who did great things be sides farming. This, rather, should he our Ideal; Not to let the hoy who will l»o a farmer leave the school until he has learned at least some of the fundamental, elementary principles of agriculture, in order that lie may make a greater success of his farming than ho would other wise; and also to give the town and city boy an opportunity to become a successful farmer, thus escaping from the slavery of city life and proving a blessing to his country. The Lesson of the Corn Club Hoys. That it is possible to teach our boys something of simple science as it applies to agriculture, to interest them in farm operations, and to re veal to them the vast possibilities that lie before the man who begins farming with some knowledge of the science of’agriculture. Is shown by the Boys’ Corn Clubs of the South. To-day forty thousand boys In our Southland aro applying a little sci ence to one farm activity corn I lltr DUnt’hh Ol inf* CIllIlH 18 nothing short of marvelous. The good that flows from them is varied; but best of all, perhaps, Is tho reve lation to the average boy that brain as well as brawn has a part to play on the farm, that Intelligence and not mere brute force must guide and direct the successful farm. When the boy has raised 7.'. or 100 bushels of high-bred corn on one acre, corn becomes to him a subject of vital Interest one full of possibilities; when he hns raised a pure-bred pig or Jersey heifer, has grown a prize winning bushel of potatoes, has used mind ns well as muscle, has applied • bought to his work, the farm ceases to be merely the abode of drudgery, and becomes a spot replete with In terest and charm. Men now seek education, not that they may become leader- In the State and in the church, but, first of nil. that they may become strong men; so that to-day seeing a man at col lege is no Indication that he expects to be a preacher or a politician.— Dr. Charles D. Mdvcr. Breeder's Cards AND Farmers’ Exchange W« Will insert ads for Mr Prrwreeelrs Far m" rr»‘l®r* In this department and in this sty U type at the rate of « rents a word for one work, ten work*. « rente a weed: throe work*. H rente; four weeks. 10 cents; thrwr month* Wi cents; sis months, to rents; Uneruar. mount*. wor,l number or Initial UorJuding ntmr and allrawi) rountmd mass parnte word Kend ra*h with or Ur If the rate nrmi high, mnrmlsr It would rtmt SUO for paetace elans to send your ad. by letter to each home to which w# carry It at this low mU. .Stamp* accepted fur amounts baa* ik.. |L Pure-bred Ramboulllet Ram*. Graham 4 Mc (x»rt|uodalr. Graham. Texaa. ,, Triumph Hwrct Potato Blip* fl.&o ter 1 OtO K B. Anderaon. Marion, A'a. • Wanted Taro rogi,ter«i Southdown Buck*. Thome*ton (attb- Co.. Thomaaton. Ala. HerkaMrea. Very bc«t breetthg. KatUfacliun guaranteed Ch»*. Stalham. Teriy. Mi*a. Hearing Corn llarvraUr and Shredder. One Shepherd Hog. J l„ Jon,.., t kolcna. Mies. I" • old. KcglaU red. tit M) each. I) A O Kelley, He Joseph. In. Uegiatrrrd Collie*. Hitches, fl5 (« io pit, 00• I up*. 110.00 to men. 1. A Kchin*. JeckaonTRa. - Hixotl A Hyat breeders F.ngliah lirrkthlree. None bettor. Some on hand now. Ml Harman. Ixrtiia!ana_ Wanted - Buyer* for t ter. nrw, 40 pound Fcuth rr Bed* at 110.00. The Stokes Furniture Co. Bur lington. N. C. For hale HO acre*, level I Jack land, all In fine timber, mostly oak a»h. poplar, etc. Gao. C. IfogaUiont. Hnstr. Miss I _ “ l'"*,l1T ■ I I II IUUI 1,1 One pro each, Whndr Ularid Bed* and White w*v?Ph«au. h“,f ,,rtc* ,>r b!7 <or purchaae) Jersey Bull. 1H or .1 month* t ld. of go<*l breeding. Ht. Lam Iwrt or Golden Rail preferrtd. N. It Cotton. Ho curlty. I *ii. Hh-acre Delta Farm for »ale. Two miles Indian ola. the < our.ty Seat. AII in cultivation. Haa four good tenant hounea. Kents for *600 00 per annum. Price 12,800. Ttttma 11,000,(0 cash, remainder *600.00 yoar until paid. Write W. T. Pitts. Indian ola. Mlaa.