Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

and thus an opportunity is lost for cultivating literary tact and discrimination, so essential in picking our way among the ever increasing mass of books, which the publishers submit to us.

"The Place of History in the Secondary Schools" was taken up by Principal Henry P. Warren, of the Albany Academy, Albany, N. Y. This paper dealt especially with that class of historical facts which most naturally excite the interest of younger pupils especially mythology and the accounts of exploration and adventure. Only later ought the pupil to be introduced to the history of Greece and Rome and then of France. Around the history of the latter country almost all the great tendencies of Modern Europe can be grouped.

Mr. Samuel E. Forman, of Baltimore, in a paper on Civics in the Secondary Schools" criticised the action of the Conference at Madison as submitted in the report of the Committee of Ten, in recommending that civil government be made a part of the instruction in history. Civics should be an independent subject, "the end to be attained by the study is ethical," the speaker claimed, “rather than educational," for as a means of mental discipline civil government is of low value. Several suggestions were added in regard to the methods of instruction. A discussion followed in which among others Professor Franklin H. Giddings, of Columbia College, and Mr. Glenn Mead, of the Episcopal Academy, Philadelphia, took part. The afternoon session was devoted to a discussion of the Report on the Requirements for Entrance Examinations in English of the Committee appointed last year by the Association. Very interesting papers were read by Professor Stoddard, of the University of the City of New York; Professor Bright, of Johns Hopkins University; Mr. Farrand, of Newark Academy; Professor Bliss Perry, of Princeton College, and Mr. Chubb, of the Brooklyn Public Schools. The report was accepted by the Association.

Owing to the absence of President Francis L. Patton, the evening address was made by Professor Ira Remsen, of Johns Hopkins University, who spoke especially of the danger arising from the introduction of advanced university methods in the teaching of the less mature students of our colleges.

The session Saturday morning was devoted to "The Future of the College."

Mr. Talcott Williams, of the Philadelphia Press, opened the discussion. From a compilation of interesting statistics, the speaker reached the following deductions: First, the essential influence of great colleges in stimulating the appetite for a college education, and in educating the community "so as to create the soil out of which the college students will grow." Secondly, the figures seem to prove that the colleges have a local command over their attendance, and are not

sought because they are cheap and easy, but because they are near. Competition is thus reduced, and the standard may be safely raised without diminishing the attendance.

President Sharpless, of Haverford College, described the advantages of the small college and the work it should do as contrasted with the university. President Warfield, of Lafayette College, and President Stryker, of Hamilton College, presented papers upon other aspects of the same subject. In the discussion which followed, Professor James, of the University of Pennsylvania, and Principal Johnson, of Friends' School at Wilmington, Del., took part.

The papers and discussion will be printed in full in the Annual Proceedings of the Association, which may be obtained gratis by applying to the secretary, Professor J. Q. Adams, University of Pennsylvania.

NOTES ON MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT.

INTRODUCTION.

Recent events seem to indicate that the interest in municipal affairs has been placed upon a new footing. In the place of intermittent and spasmodic efforts at reform, we can now count upon a continuous and increasingly earnest effort on the part of large classes of our citizens to place the functions of the municipality upon the highest level of efficiency. In order to make these efforts as fruitful of results as possible, it is necessary that the experience of the various cities be placed within the reach of those most interested. It will be the effort of this department of the ANNALS to contribute its share to that end. In this connection it may be well to mention that only such events will be noticed as serve to illustrate the principles which underlie our system of city government. Thus many purely political events must needs be excluded. The obligations of the department to the individual correspondents will receive mention as occasion requires.

AMERICAN CITIES.

Philadelphia.-The estimates of expenditure for the fiscal year, 1895, are at present the subject of discussion in the councils of most of our large cities. The debates upon the various items of expenditure always bring out very clearly our methods, financial and administrative, of dealing with municipal problems. With but little regard to the nature of the particular problem in hand, the estimates of the executive departments are reduced in a purely mechanical way, in order to remain within the limits of possible revenue. Each department is allowed a certain percentage of its estimate, which often means that work of improvement and extension thus done in fragments is expensively and often inefficiently executed. For instance, in the city of Philadelphia, the estimate of departments for improvements and extensions alone was over $14,000,000. The report of the committee makes this a very suggestive recommendation: "The money available will only permit the appropriation of about forty per cent of the amount asked for by the departments for improvements and extensions." While public works, such as the Public Buildings, park improvements and the like, are in process of completion, such reductions mean indefinite delay and often duplication of the work.

Another very significant fact in connection with the financial methods of the city departments is the communication of the Director of Public Works on the question of street cleaning. For this purpose, the city is divided into five districts; bids are received for each district under the separate items of Street Cleaning and Collections of Ashes and Garbage. The award is then made to the lowest bidder. For the year 1895 the aggregate of such bids is nearly $100,000 less than in 1894. Ordinarily, this might be a subject for congratulation. When, however, we come to examine the nature of this particular service, it is evident that the low figures will mean inefficient work. The fact that some seven or eight different contracting companies must be controlled and supervised, is sufficient of itself to prove the fact that anything like strict supervision will be impossible. Under another system where the method of street cleaning has been developed gradually, and with due regard to the needs of a great city, reductions of $100,000 would be absolutely impossible. As the city grows, the requirements of street cleaning become greater, involving a greater financial burden. Were the city to undertake the cleaning of its own streets, the cost would undoubtedly be greater than at present; but, on the other hand, their condition would be far more satisfactory. Thus for the year 1895, Philadelphia will expend some $750,000 for the cleaning of its streets, together with the collection of ashes and garbage. New York, with a street surface less than one-half that of Philadelphia, expends almost three times the amount, and while every one admits that the work is expensively done, the condition of the streets amply repays what, to many, seems an extravagant outlay.

Chicago. The report of the Citizens' Association of Chicago for 1895 contains a number of recommendations, to be embodied in specific measures, which the association will have in view in its work during the coming year. An investigation into the Police Justices' Courts, which was undertaken in 1892, revealed a large number of cases where corruption and bribery had played an important part in the nonenforcement of laws and ordinances. The association advocates a complete remodeling of this branch of the local judiciary. Other recommendations include a change in the law regarding special assessments, the consolidation of the city and county governments, the holding of a Constitutional Convention to effect changes in the administrative system of the city, and a revision of portions of the city

charter.

Boston.* The question of a

Greater Boston" seems to be uppermost in the minds of those most interested in the city's welfare. In *The information concerning Boston has been furnished by Mr. Sylvester Baxter of the Boston Herald.

a number of cases the city and surrounding districts are already organized for purposes of general administration. The Boston Postal District includes six suburban municipalities, with a population, in 1890, of 607,063. The Metropolitan Sewerage District includes seventeen such suburban municipalities, with a population of 744,575. The system of parks is in the hands of a Metropolitan Commission, whose authority extends over a district comprising thirty-seven municipalities, with a population estimated at about 1,000,000. Within the last two years open spaces aggregating some 8000 acres have been laid out by this commission, which, with pre-existing parks, give to the district a total park space of 14,000 acres. A plan for a Metropolitan Water District is also under consideration.

With the close of the present year, Boston is to lose the services of Mr. Nathan Matthews, Jr., as chief executive of the city. During the four years of his incumbency the change in administrative and financial methods has been remarkable. The entire executive work of the city has been brought to a new standard of efficiency. During his term of office reforms in almost every executive department have been effected. One of the main difficulties with which the executive had to contend was the great number of executive departments in the city government; still further complicated by the fact that commissions and boards were, as a rule, at the head of these departments, thus making an effective central executive control almost impossible. To completely cure this evil, a change in the form of city government will be necessary, requiring an act of the legislature. This has not as yet been obtained. Within the limits of the powers given to the city by the charter, however, important changes have taken place. Thus, the various bureaus relating to highways, such as paving, street cleaning, construction and maintenance, have been consolidated and placed under the direction of a Superintendent of Streets. A Board of Survey to determine the line of all new streets upon a definite plan was established, which, together with the reorganization of the Architectural Department of the city, means a radical change in the method of laying out and constructing new streets, especially in the older portions of the city. Mayor Matthews has, furthermore, taken a most decided stand against the gas company, which, until within a few years, enjoyed a monopoly in the city. He succeeded in securing entry for another company (The Brookline Gas Company), and finally in effecting a reorganization of the original company. The price of gas was reduced to $1.00 per 1000 cubic feet in the urban sections. The various gas companies have now entered into a combination, over which the retiring mayor will assume the presidency. In accepting this office, Mr. Matthews expresses

« AnteriorContinuar »