公立學校的狀況

霍勒斯‧曼
(HORACE MANN)

公立學校的狀況
The Case for Public Schools

教育是人類創造的所有設施中最了不起的人類條件等化器,是社會機器上的平衡輪。


當年輕的民族成長時,各個社區都有責任決定為其兒童提供多少學校教育。在許多地區,學校教學質量低下、老師未受到良好的培訓,體罰現象普遍。

麻塞諸塞州的立法機構回應改革者們於1837年提出的要求,創立了州教育委員會。該委員會聘請霍勒斯‧曼(1796─1859)任其秘書。在霍勒斯‧曼任秘書的11年間,曼領導了旨在改善教育的改革運動。於1848年,曼辭去該職,進入國會,成為國會內廢奴主義的鬥士。後來,他出任俄亥俄州安蒂奧克學院的院長。在他逝世前兩個月,曼勸告該學院的四年級學生說:「我懇求你們將我臨終前的這些話珍藏在心裏:只有當你為人類贏得某種勝利後,你才死而無憾。」

本文摘自曼於1848年寫給麻塞諸塞教育委員會的最後一份報告。報告陳述了他的信條。在美國普及教育,使其成為免費的、非宗教性的、人道的和全民的教育鬥爭中,他的名字成了這場鬥爭的同義詞。


……根據歐洲人的理論,人劃分為階級──有的人辛勤勞作,掙錢餬口;另一些人則強取豪奪,揮霍享受。根據馬薩諸塞的理論,人人都有同樣的掙錢機會,都有同樣的權利享受他們的勞動所得。後者有助於平等條件的形成,而前者則有造成最嚴裏的不平等的傾向。……

我建議,凡是將仁愛與政治經濟觀念聯繫在一起的人都應當具有同樣的觀念,即巨大的、盛氣凌人的私有財產是共和國人民的幸福可能面臨的最大危險之一。這種財產將造成新的封建主義,一種比中世紀的封建主義更具壓迫性、更殘酷的封建主義。現在,大部分外國製造商和資本家將他們的技術工人和工人所置於的境地,其淒慘程度遠遠超過當年英國和歐洲大陸的封建君主們將他們的僕人所置於的奴役狀態。儘管他們使用的手段不同,但其結果卻具有驚人的相似之處。過去靠的是權力,而現在靠的是金錢。……

現在,除了全民教育之外,別無其他能夠抵消這種資本統治和奴役勞工傾向的途徑。如果一個階級佔有所有的財富和教育,而社會上的其他成員卻是無知、貧窮的,那麼他們之間的關係被看成什麼都無關緊要;事實上,後者確實將成為前者的奴僕和臣民。但是,如果教育是均衡地分佈的話,教育將成為所有吸引力中最強大的吸引力,將把財富帶給人們,因為一個聰明和實幹的人從來不曾、也不可能永遠貧窮。當財富與勞動分屬於不同的階級時,它們在本質上是對抗性的;但是,當財富與勞動同屬於一個階級時,它們在本質上則是情同兄弟的。麻塞諸塞的人民在某種程度已經領悟到了這個真理。本州的空前繁榮──生活的舒適、可觀的收入、總體智力和道德水平──全得歸功於本州或多或少是完美的教育。本州人人都受到了教育。但是,人們是否意識到一個同樣重要的事實?──也就是,本州人口的三分之二得感激本州的教育,因為是教育使他們今日未像當今歐洲下層人民那樣被野蠻而又強暴地束縛於暴政之下,成為以資本形式出現的暴政的奴僕。教育是人類創造的所有設施中最了不起的人類條件均衡器,是社會機器上的平衡輪。我這裏不是說教育已經將人們的道德本質提高到了不屑並且憎惡對同胞的剝削的程度。這屬於教育的另一種屬性。我指的是教育賦予每個人獨立性和手段,人們可以藉以抵制別人的自私。這比消除窮人對富人的敵意效果好,因為它使人們不至於鬧窮。……通過擴大受教育的階級或階層來普及教育,將開創出一個更廣闊的天地。在這天地裏,社會中的各種情緒將得以緩解。一旦教育成為全民的和全面的,它將能最有效地消除社會中各種人為的差異。

一些政治改革家和革命家的信條中的主要觀點:有些人鬧窮,是因為其他人富有。這種觀點認為,社會財富是一定的,由於採取欺騙或暴力的手段,或由於專斷的法律,這些財富的分配是不平均的;需要解決的問題是如何將這些財富中的一部分從那些據說是過於富有的人手中轉移到那些感到並且知道自己是過於貧窮的人手中。就這一點來說,他們的理論及其前景是改革的中止。然而,教育的改善力是永不枯竭的,即使它以和平方武消除了那些由於巨大的財富與悲慘的貧困並存而造成的一切悲哀,它仍然不會枯竭。教育具有更高的功能。它除了具有分配原有的財富的能力之外,還具有創造新財富的特殊能力。與欺行詐騙相比,它能創造成千倍的利潤;與最成功的領土侵佔相比,它能成千倍增加民族的資源。流氓、竊賊只能攫取原先由別人佔有的財富。但是,教育卻能創造或開拓新的財富──那些未曾為人所佔有或夢想到的財富。……

如果一個未開化的人能夠學會游泳,他就能在脖子上掛上十二磅重的東西,把它送過一條小河,或送過其他中等寬度的水域。如果他發明了斧子或其他工具,就能用它砍倒一棵樹,將樹作為浮體,用他的一隻手或腳作為槳,就能運送許多倍於原先重量的東西,而且運送的距離也將是從前的許多倍。如果掏空樹幹,就可以增加其可以稱作是噸位或磅位的載重能力。而且,通過削尖兩端,它就能更輕鬆地劈水,更快地前進。把幾棵樹捆綁在一起,他便造成一個木筏,從而增加了尚處於胚胎狀態的船舶的浮力。如果將帶有小孔的兩端向上翹起,或者使用肋材而不是筆直的本板,並且通過開槽將肋材拼在一起,或者用某種填料將其空隙封起使其不透水,那麼他也就把粗陋的木筏變成了名副其實的船體了。通過改進船體水下部分,並在船體上安裝上風帆,他就成了令人驕傲的商人,讓風將他從一個大陸送往另一個大陸。但是,即使如此,還不能使具有冒險精神的海運設計師滿意。他用鋼鐵製作船體的框架,用鐵輪來代替槳,帶來了速度上的革命,而且使他的艙比大海還要強大。他在船體的鋼鐵四壁內,安裝上龐大、有力、與火有不解之緣的鋼鐵機器,點燃機器內的一座小型火山。於是,這出自他雙手的絕妙創造物便假有知覺、有理情的生靈一樣,劈波破浪,不畏風暴,載著充滿活力、興高采烈的乘客周遊全球。如果拋開造船師的智慧,那麼人類藝術的奇跡──汽輪,便將淪落回一塊飄浮著的木頭;甚至連這木頭本身也將喪失殆盡,只剩下那未開化的游泳者,背上馱著十二磅重的東西。

這不僅僅在一個部門是如此,在人類各個勞動部門都是如此。就像太陽的毀滅必將帶來黑暗一樣,人類智慧的泯滅必將使整個人類立刻陷入未開化的孱弱與無助之中。一個政府若置其勞動階級的一生於無知之中,就如同創造出像我們這樣的生靈,置之於這個世界,但卻未施予太陽的光明一樣殘酷。…

對財富的創造來說,對於一個富足的人民和富足的國家的存在來說,智慧是唯一重要的條件。當明智的選民(如果我可以這樣稱呼他們的話)增加時,改進者的數量也就增加了。過去,甚至在當今世界的大部分地區,不到百萬分之一的人所受到的教育能使其具備為藝術或科學作出貢獻的可能性。優先發展這種教育,那麼無數不可估量的貢獻就必定接踵而至。如果政治經濟僅關心資本與勞動,供應與需求,利息與租金,貿易的平衡與否,而不考慮普及智力教育,那麼這種政治經濟就完全是天大的蠢事。政治經濟中最偉大的技巧是使消費者變成生產者,次之是增加生產者的生產力──這個目的可以直接通過增強生產者的智力來實現。


The Case for Public Schools

. . . . According to the European theory, men are divided into classes,--some to toil and earn, others to seize and enjoy. According to the Massachusetts theory, all are to have an equal chance for earning, and equal security in the enjoyment of what they earn. The latter tends to equality of condition; the former to the grossest inequalities....

    I suppose it to be the universal sentiment of all those who mingle any ingredient of benevolence with their notions on Political Economy, that vast and overshadowing private fortunes are among the greatest dangers to which the happiness of the people in a republic can be subjected. Such fortunes would create a feudalism of a new kind; but one more oppressive and unrelenting than that of the Middle Ages. The feudal lords in England, and on the continent, never held their retainers in a more abject condition of servitude, than the great majority of foreign manufacturers and capitalists hold their operatives and laborers at the present day. The means employed are different, but the similarity in results is striking. What force did then, money does now. . . .

   Now, surely, nothing but Universal Education can counter-work this tendency to the domination of capital and the servility of labor. If one class possesses all the wealth and the education, while the residue of society is ignorant and poor, it matters not by what name the relation between them may be called; the latter, in fact and in truth, will be the servile dependants and subjects of the former. But if education be equably diffused, it will draw property after it. by the strongest of all attractions; for such a thing never did happen, and never can happen. as that an intelligent and practical body of men should be permanently poor. Property and labor, in different classes, are essentially antagonistic; but property and labor, in the same class, are essentially fraternal. The people of Massachusetts have, in some degree, appreciated the truth, that the unexampled prosperity of the State,--its comfort, its competence, its general intelligence and virtue,--is attributable to the education, more or less perfect, which all its people have received; but are they sensible of a fact equally important?--namely, that it is to this same education that two thirds of the people are indebted for not being, to-day, the vassals of as severe a tyranny, in the form of capital, as the lower classes of Europe are bound to in the form of brute force.

    Education, then, beyond all other devices of human origin. is the great equalizer of the conditions of men--the balance-wheel of the social machinery,. I do not here mean that it so elevates the moral nature as to make men disdain and abhor the oppression of their fellow-men. This idea pertains to another of its attributes. But I mean that it gives each man the independence and the means, by which he can resist the selfishness of other men. It does better than to disarm the poor of their hostility towards the rich; it prevents being poor. . . . The spread of education, by enlarging the cultivated class or caste, will open a wider area over which the social feelings will expand; and, if this education should be universal and complete, it would do more than all things else to obliterate factitious distinctions in society.

    The main idea set forth in the creeds of some political reformers, or revolutionizers, is, that some people are poor because others are rich. This idea supposes a fixed amount of property in the community, which, by fraud or force, or arbitrary law, is unequally divided among men; and the problem presented for solution is, how to transfer a portion of this property from those who are supposed to have too much, to those who feel and know that they have too little. At this point, both their theory and their expectation is of reform stop. But the beneficent power of education would not be exhausted, even though it should peaceably abolish all the miseries that spring from the coexistence, side by side, of enormous wealth and squalid want. It has a higher function. Beyond the power of diffusing old wealth, it has the prerogative of creating new. It is a thousand times more lucrative than fraud; and adds a thousand fold more to a nation's resources than the most successful conquests. Knaves and robbers can obtain only what was before possessed by others. But education creates or develops new treasures,--treasures not before possessed or dreamed of by any one. . . .

    If a savage will learn how to swim, he can fasten a dozen pounds' weight to his back, and transport it across a narrow river, or other body of water of moderate width. If he will invent an axe, or other instrument, by which to cut down a tree, he can use the tree for a float, and one of its limbs for a paddle, and can thus transport many times the former weight, many times the former distance. Hollowing out his log, he will increase, what may be called, its tonnage,--or, rather, its poundage,--and, by sharpening its  ends, it will cleave the water both more easily and more swiftly. Fastening several trees together, he makes a raft, and thus increases the buoyant power of his embryo water-craft. Turning up the ends of small poles, or using knees of timber instead of straight pieces, and grooving them together, or filling up the interstices between them, in some way, so as to make them water-tight, he brings his rude raft literally into ship-shape. Improving upon hull below and rigging above, he makes a proud merchantman, to be wafted by the winds from continent to continent. But, even this does not content the adventurous naval architect. He frames iron arms for his ship; and, for oars, affixes iron wheels, capable of swift revolution, and stronger than the strong sea. Into iron-walled cavities in her bosom, he puts iron organs of massive structure and strength, and of cohesion insoluble by fire. Within these, he kindles a small volcano; and then, like a sentient and rational existence, this wonderful creation of his hands cleaves oceans, breasts tides, defies tempests, and bears its living and jubilant freight around the globe. Now, takeaway intelligence from the ship-builder, and the steamship,--that miracle of human art,--falls back into a floating log; the log itself is lost; and the savage swimmer, bearing his dozen pounds on his back, alone remains.

    And so it is, not in one department only, but in the whole circle of human labors. The annihilation of the sun would no more certainly be followed by darkness, than the extinction of human intelligence would plunge the race at once into the weakness and helplessness of barbarism. To have created such beings as we are, and to have placed them in this world, without the light of the sun, would be no more cruel than for a government to suffer its laboring classes to grow up without knowledge. . . .

    For the creation of wealth, then,--for the existence of a wealthy people and a wealthy nation,--intelligence is the grand condition. The number of improvers will increase, as the intellectual constituency, if I may so call it, increases. In former times, and in most parts of the world even at the present day, not one man in a million has ever had such a development of mind, as made it possible for him to become a contributor to art or science. Let this development precede, and contributions, numberless, and of inestimable value, will be sure to follow. That Political Economy, therefore, which busies itself about capital and labor, supply and demand, interest and rents, favorable and unfavorable balances of trade; but leaves out of account the element of a wide-spread mental development, is nought but stupendous folly. The greatest of all the arts in political economy is, to change a consumer into a producer; and the next greatest is to increase the producer's producing power;--an end to be directly attained, by increasing his intelligence.