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7. Connecticut 8. Utah 9. Massachusetts IO. Michigan IIy Washington 12. Minnesota 13. Wisconsin 14. New York 15. Illinois 16. Wyoming 17. Vermont 18. South Dakota 19.
New Jersey 22. Idaho 23. Colorado 24. New Hampshire 25. District of Columbia 26. Rhode Island 27. Montana 28. Maine 29. North Dakota 30. Oklahoma 31.
Delaware 33. Maryland 34. West Virginia 35. Nevada 36. Kentucky 37. Texas 38. Florida 39.
Tennessee 40. Virginia 41.
Arkansas 42. New Mexico 43. North Carolina 44. Arizona 45. Mississippi 46. Georgia 47. Indian Territory 48. Alabama 49. South Carolina 50. Louisiana
99.43 99.34 99.33 99.30 99.30 99.29 99.27 .99.26 .99.18
99.08 .99.05 .99.00 .98.99 .98.99 .98.81 ..98.77 .98.48 .98.31 .98.25 .98.12
98.07 .97.92 .97.65 .97.26 .96.64 .95.49 ..95.36 .94.74 .91.88 .91.56 ..90.74 .86.24 .85.08 .84.33 .83.80 .80.07 .78.25 . 77.79 .77.62
77.21 .75.61 . 71.11 .70.44 .67.12
.98.75. 7 .98.62. 8 .98.35. 9 .98.21. .98.20. .98.17. 12 ..98.00. 13 .97.93. 14 .97.86. 15 .97.82. 16 .97.75 17 .97.57. 18
97.57. 19 .97.55. 20
97.21. 21 .96.63. 22 .96.47. 23 .96.24. 24 .96.23. 25 .96.18. 26 ..96.03. 27 ..95.58. 28 . 94.61. 29 94.48. 30 92.83. 31 91.81. 32 90.96. 33
90.54. 34 .89.16. 35 .85.55. 36 .85.17. 37 82.43. 38 .80.94. 39 -79.62. 40 - 77.89. 41
77.32. 42 73.47. 43 72.04. 44 .69.38. 45 .66.73. 46 .64.50. 47 .61.03. 48 .57.26. 49
It may be urged that the relative illiteracy is not a fair test of the excellence of the laws for the protection of children; for the agricultural states of the Northwest, having neither vast foreign immigration nor highly developed manufacture and commerce, are confronted by no such task as the education of the immigrant children who flood Chicago and are tempted to remain illiterate by reason of the opportunities for employment for all comers. Granting, for the sake of argument, that the task of Washington, or of Nebraska, may be lighter than that of Illinois, what is to be said of the present relation of Illinois to New York? Why should New York stand higher in the percentage scale than Illinois? Why should it have, in fact, only 704 more illiterate children between the ages of ten and fourteen years than Illinois? New York has more immigrants, inore manufacture, more commerce, of the character which absorbs the labor of children; why, then, should it have only 704 more illiterate children between the ages of ten and fourteen years, and stand higher in the percentage table than Illinois ?
The answer to this is that its laws have long been, and still are, better than those of Illinois in one important particular; namely, the requirement that children under the age of sixteen years must be able to read and write English before they begin to work in manufacture. This law has been in force since 1892. For twelve years, therefore, the schools of New York city have been flooded with pupils between the ages of six and sixteen years, eager to learn to read and write English in order to be able to go to work. And the results are visible in the decennial census
It is, however, not immigration, nor commerce, nor manufacture, which determines the amount of illiteracy among children; but the excellence or the defects of the laws of the states. If immigration, manufacture, and commerce made the burden of illiteracy too great for the laws to master, New York should stand at the foot of all the states, for it has all three in greater degree than any other state. Instead of this, however, we find at the bottom of the list of all the states exactly those which are crying out for more immigration, commerce, and manufacture; namely, the great agricultural states of the South.
The second test — the departure of the pupils from the schools and their recorded acquirement at the moment of departure — can be applied at any moment, in any city, by a scrutiny of the rolls of the different classes in the public schools.
Colorado requires the completion of the work of the first eight years of the public schools, or an equivalent in work done in other schools or at home. The pupils must be ready to enter the high schools. An examination of the rolls, showing the age and the class reached by all the pupils at the time of leaving school,
would settle the question of school attendance between Colorado and Illinois. It is much to be wished that such an examination might be made in both states, but especially in Chicago.
Meanwhile it is obvious that that statute which requires them to complete the whole work of the first eight years of the schools affords better protection to the children than that which, like the statutes of Illinois, merely requires pupils to attend school until they reach the age of fourteen years, regardless of what they learn or fail to learn, and supplements this perfunctory attendance by the demand that such as have not learned to read and write must thereafter attend a night school. Reading fuently and writing legibly are very elastic terms. Children are sometimes described as able to read fluently when they can repeat in parrot fashion a few lines of the first reader. It is related that, after a change of administration in New York city, the reader used for testing children who came to get their “working papers changed by the examiner at the office of the board of health, and many children failed during the next week because they had been taught by their older brothers and sisters to read just that portion of the previous reader which had been used for years as the test for all comers. In Chicago the writer has known many pupils who dropped out of the third-year class in the schools, nominally able to read, but so little habituated to reading that after two or three years they had wholly lost the art.
New York, while requiring a smaller amount of completed school work than Colorado, goes much farther in this direction than Illinois; for New York requires that, before leaving school, pupils shall have had, since the thirteenth birthday, 130 days' attendance in school, in which they must have received instruction in “reading, writing, geography, English grammar, and the fundamental principles of arithmetic up to and including fractions." This is the work which a child would normally complete
a who entered school at the age of six years and was regularly promoted to the age of twelve years. The statute having taken effect in 1903, it appears that the number of pupils is very large who have spent the years in school, but have not completed the required work and achieved the required promotions.
The immediate effect of this beneficent statute is to stimulate teachers to get the pupils along more regularly and speedily through the grades and toward the completion of the required minimum of work.
Equally marked is the effect of the new law upon the board of education and the superintendents as a stimulus toward providing means for helping the pupils forward.
By the establishment of special classes for the deaf, the dull, the crippled, and the recent immigrants over the age of twelve years, the normal children are freed from the presence of those who might be dragging backward, and wasting the time of the teacher and the normal children, hindering their regular advancement. School nurses to the number of forty, co-operating with the school physicians in New York city, follow up the pupils dismissed by reason of contagion or vermin, and get them back into school at the earliest possible moment, thus playing the part of scientific attendance agents, improving the regularity of attendance at school, and helping the pupils to cover the required work before the arrival of the fourteenth birthday.
Play centers, where the pupils spend in peaceful, useful, directed play the afternoons, evenings, and Saturdays (formerly so fruitful of that idleness which leads to petty offending), contribute to the intelligence and good behavior of the school children and to their ability to cover the required work before reaching the age of fourteen years. It is necessary to visit the roof gardens on the school buildings in the summer evenings, and to see the thousands of children under the direction of teachers and caretakers, dancing happily and decorously to the music of the bands furnished by the board of education of New York city, before it is possible to appreciate what New York is doing for the protection of its children from the temptations of the streets.
Excellent as is the effect of the statutory requirement of specified school work to be completed before the child leaves school, in stimulating efforts of teachers, superintendents, and members of the board of education, it is perhaps more far-reaching in its influence upon parents of pupils who are to be wage-earners, inducing them to keep the children in school with greater regularity than ever before, in order that they may not miss the required promotions and thus be detained in school after the fourteenth birthday. The laws of Colorado and New York by this means place a premium upon regularity in attending school from the day of entrance at the age of six years, saying virtually to the parent: “Your child must go to school until the sixteenth birthday. If, however, you keep him up to his work so well that he completes a certain portion of the curriculum by the time the fourteenth birthday arrives, he may then leave school and begin to work.” Both states enforce fines and imprisonment upon parents who disobey the compulsory-attendance law. The parent is thus treated in both these states according to the methods of the best modern pedagogy—the reward of virtue and the penalty of evildoing following rationally upon the line of conduct selected by the parent.
Illinois, on the other hand, ends the term of compulsory school attendance at the age of fourteen years for all who can read and write, and requires beyond that merely attendance at night school. Thus, although parents are punished by fine or imprisonment if pupils play truant, exactly as in New York and Colorado, they have none of the stimulus, such as fathers in those states enjoy, for getting the pupils forward through a required amount of school work. While Illinois punished three hundred parents in one year for the truancy of their children, New York and Colorado (while they, too, punished parents of truants) were stimulating thousands of fathers, mothers, and children to regular school attendance on the part of the children in order that these might complete the allotted task by the arrival of the fourteenth birthday.
One of the proverbial difficulties in the way of the perfect enforcement of child-labor and compulsory-education laws is that of proving the age of the child which is alleged to be fourteen or sixteen years old, and therefore exempt from further school requirements or restrictions upon its work, while in truth the child may be but eleven or twelve years old. The demand that the child must, in addition to being fourteen years old, have completed a certain amount of school work is found, in practice, to