Excerpt from First Report of the Superintendent of Common Schools, of the State of Maine, 1854
Submission, Dauphin, 'tis a mere French word, We English warriors wot not what it means.
The usefulness of many schools is seriously impaired, every win ter, from the want Of this tact on the part of teachers, and Of co-operation on the part of parents. Children, at home, are asking more indulgence, are claiming greater liberty; self-confidence and insubordination are the finite, everywhere discoverable, from yielding to these demands. Parents, who will not deny the importance of discipline, in the abstract, will question its expediency in its personal application to their own children, -like the woman, who raised in her garden hellebore, for a cure for worms in her neighbors' children, but it wrought too roughly to give to any of her own. If parents and guardians will renounce their authority at home, they cannot set for society. A king can only abdicate for his own per son, not for his monarchy; much less should those who surrender authority over their own children, expect to annul all government abroad. The minimum Of punishment is the maximum Of excel lence, everywhere; but so long as society requires government. Our schools will need discipline. Nor can our Common Schools be improved by reversing the natural order Of things, and transferring the reins Of government to the children, or by any such division of labor as would separate the responsibility of government from tlmt of instruction. That golden age, when the State shall need no polity, and the citizen be a law unto himself, can only be introduced through the educational system, - its first approach will be announced by children, its early dawning be witnessed in the District School.
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