Fundamental Needs. The most fundamental need in Indian education is a change in point of view. Whatever may have been the official governmental attitude, education for the Indian in the past has proceeded largely on the theory that it is necessary to remove the Indian child as far as possible from his home environment; whereas the modern point of view in education and social work lays stress on upbringing in the natural setting of home and family life. The Indian educational enterprise is peculiarly in need of the kind of approach that recognizes this principle; that is, less concerned with a conventional school system and more with the understanding of human beings. It is impossible to visit Indian schools without feeling that on the whole they have been less touched than have better public schools by the newer knowledge of human behavior; that they reflect, for the most part, an attitude toward children characteristic of older city schools or of rural schools in backward sections; that they are distinctly below the accepted social and educational standards of school systems in most cities and the better rural communities.
Recognition of the Individual. It is true in all education, but especially in the education of people situated as are the American Indians, that methods must be adapted to individual abilities, interests, and needs. A standard course of study, routine classroom methods, traditional types of schools, even if they were adequately suppliedand they are notwould not solve the problem. The methods of the average public school in the United States cannot safely be taken over bodily and applied to Indian education. Indian tribes and individual Indians within the tribes vary so much that a standard content and method of education, no matter how carefully they might be prepared, would be worse than futile. Moreover, the standard course of study for Indian schools and the system of uniform examinations based upon it represent a procedure now no longer accepted by schools throughout the United States.1
Better Personnel. The standards that are worthwhile in education are minimum standards, and the most successful American experience has made these apply, not primarily to courses of study and examination, but to qualifications of personnel. The surest way to achieve the change in point of view that is imperative in Indian education is to raise the qualifications of teachers and other employees. After all is said that can be said about the skill and devotion of some employees, the fact remains that the government of the United States regularly takes into the instructional staff of its Indian schools teachers whose credentials would not be accepted in good public school systems, and into the institutional side of these schools key employeesmatrons and the likewho could not meet the standards set up by modern social agencies. A modernly equipped personnel would do more than any other one thing to bring necessary improvement.
Salary Schedules. Better personnel cannot be obtained at present salaries, which are lower than for any comparable positions in or out of the government service. In many of the positions, however, it is not so much higher entrance salaries that are needed as high qualifications and a real salary schedule based upon training and successful experience. Public school systems long ago learned that good teachers could be attracted partly by good entrance salaries, but even more by salary schedules assuring increases to the capablea principle already written into law by Congress, but apparently never made effective in the Indian Service.
The Question of Cost. Although high entrance salaries are not the essential factor in getting and keeping better employees, it would be idle to expect that a better educational program will not cost money. It will cost more money than the present program, for the reason that the present cost is too low for safety. The real choice before the government is between doing a mediocre job, thereby piling up for the future serious problems in poverty, disease, and crime, and spending more money for an acceptable social and educational program that will make the Indian cease to be a special case in a comparatively short time. At a time when states and cities everywhere and the national government likewise have found it necessary to adjust expenditures to a new price scale, the Indian school service has been kept as near as possible to the old level, with very unfortunate effects. Cheapness in education is expensive. Boarding schools that are operated on a per capita cost for all purposes of something over two hundred dollars a year and feed their children from eleven to eighteen cents worth of food a day may fairly be said to be operated below any reasonable standard of health and decency. From the point of view of education, the Indian Service is almost literally a "starved " service.
Education and the Indian Problem as a Whole. That the whole Indian problem is essentially an educational one has repeatedly been stated by those who have dealt with Indian affairs. Commissioner Burke says in his foreword to "The Red Man in the United States ":
Practically all our work for the civilization of the Indian has become educational: Teaching the language he must of necessity adopt, the academic knowledge essential to ordinary business transactions, the common arts and crafts of the home and the field, how to provide a settled dwelling and elevate its domestic quality, how to get well when he is sick and how to stay well, how to make the best use of his land and the water accessible to it, how to raise the right kind of live-stock, how to work for a living, save money, and start a bank account, how to want something he can call his own, a material possession with the happiness and comforts of family life and a pride in the prosperity of his children.
Similarly, Mr. Malcolm McDowell, secretary of the Board of Indian Commissioners, points out in his statement, issued following the conference of Secretary Work's Committee of One Hundred, that the program for the Indian centers on "the training of all Indians for the best type of American citizenship, looking to their absorption into the general citizenship of the Nation" essentially an educational policy.
Importance of Home and Family Life. Just what pronouncements like these should mean in actual practice has never, however, been clearly defined. None of the statements usually made, for example, takes into consideration home and family life as an essential part of the process of educating the Indian, yet this, as has already been suggested, is fundamental. "However important may be the contribution of the schools," says Dean James E. Russell, "the atmosphere and conditions of the home are, especially in the early days of the child's life, the primary determinant in the development of the child, and, since it is the parents who determine these conditions and create that atmosphere, it is they who are of necessity the most important educational factors in the lives of their children." A recent statement adopted by representatives of many nations places education for family and community as a first requisite in any educational program.
More Than Mere Schooling Necessary. The Indian educational program cannot simply take over the traditional type of school; it must set up its own objectives, finding out in general and for each reservation or tribal group the things that need to be done. It cannot too positively be stated that mere schooling, of the unrelated academic type, is not the educational answer to the Indian problem. The Indian Office has recognized this principle in part in its efforts to set up a school industrial program. As tools the three R's still have a place for the Indian, as for others, but they should by no means be the main objective, and, moreover, they cannot be taught to Indian children in the usual conventional way. Confusion on this point in the leadership of Indian education has led to an unjustifiable insistence by Indian school staffs upon learning English as the main objective of the elementary school. Even in the acquisition of this language tool, the older methods are relatively ineffective with Indians. Of what use is a classroom drill and technique with children, some of whom may never have spoken a word in school because of shyness ? In such cases what the teacher has to deal with is a home and family condition far more important than any mere skill in speech.
Adults in the Education Program. No matter how much may be done in schools, or how much the educational program may center about the school, as it very well may, a genuine educational program will have to comprise the adults of the community as well as the children. Several of the superintendents have realized this keenly and have started adult education campaigns of one sort or another that are deservedly praised in various parts of this report. Such a community program must include, as Commissioner Burke says, teaching how to farm; it must include a thorough campaign to eliminate illiteracy; it must teach interdependence and reliance upon their own efforts to a people who have been largely miseducated in this direction for several generations. It must put health and morals ahead of external attainments. Even the business side of the Indian enterprise has to be predominantly educational. Merely conserving the Indian's property and funds will not suffice. Every transaction with an Indian should be viewed not as a mere item in the daily routine of business, but as to its effect in putting the Indian on his feet. Some of the best of the superintendents act upon this principle, utilizing money advances, for example, to inculcate lessons in financial management and gradually extending responsibility with demonstrated ability to assume it, as with the Osages. The Osage situation also illustrates, however, the lack of a real social and educational approach in Indian affairs. The agency building at Pawhuska is itself symbolic of the way the task has been viewed. The first floor is like a beautiful city bank, and upstairs are the well-appointed meeting rooms for councils, directors, and the like. Down in the basement, occupying a corner in one small office, is the day school inspector, representing the only approach there is to a real social and educational program in a place which needs such a programschool, health, welfare, recreationabove everything else.
Civic Education Through Directed Experiences. It will take courage as well as skill to do some of the things that belong in a comprehensive educational programsuch as, for example, helping the Indian to understand that many of the privileges for which he now asks, many of the unwise governmental promises he insists upon having kept, are in reality bad for him and for his own sake should not be granted. Instead of tolerating the Indian's dislike of paying taxes, for example, those in charge of Indian affairs will have to help the Indian to see that taxpaying is an essential part of the duty of citizenship, desirable and necessary if he is to be eventually freed from a system that will otherwise hold him permanently in the "irresponsibility of childhood." Such a change in point of view cannot be imposed upon Indians from above; it cannot be taught by doing things for Indians. The Indian will have to learn it, as others have, through actual experiences; and it is the business of education to furnish and direct these experiences.
Education and Other Indian "Business." If the whole Indian problem is to be regarded as educational, there will have to be radical changes in personnel, as has already been intimated. The so-called "farmers," for example, many of whom are in reality poorly paid sub-agents and clerks, will have to become real agricultural teachers, with qualifications and compensation similar to those white communities demand when they employ farm demonstration agents. The whole situation will have to be viewed as an educational rather than a clerical or administrative one, and superintendents will have to be appointed on this basis. Everything in the Indian life and surroundings will have to tie into the educational program in a manner now seldom observed. At present it is not at all unusual to see the schools teaching one thing and the school plant and agency exemplifying something else. This is especially true in health teaching, where a conscientious teacher will be found instructing her children in the necessities of a good simple diet, and the school dining room will be violating most of the principles laid down, serving coffee and tea instead of milk and seldom furnishing the vegetables and fruits called for in the sample menus the children have learned in the classroom.
Undesirable Effects of Routinization. The whole machinery of routinized boarding school and agency life works against the kind of initiative and independence, the development of which should be the chief concern of Indian education in and out of school. What all wish for is Indians who can take their place as independent citizens. The routinization characteristic of the boarding schools, with everything scheduled, no time left to be used at one's own initiative, every movement determined by a signal or an order, leads just the other way. It symbolizes a manner of treating Indians which will have to be abandoned if Indians, children and adults alike, are ever to become self-reliant members of the American community.
Can the Indian be "Educated"? It is necessary at this point to consider one question that is always raised in connection with an educational program for Indians: Is it really worth while to do anything for Indians, or are they an "inferior" race? Can the Indian be "educated"?
The question as usually asked implies, it should be noted, the restricted notion of education as mere formal schooling against which caution has already been pronounced; but whether schooling of the intellectual type is meant or education in the broader sense of desirable individual and social changes, the answer can be given unequivocally: The Indian is essentially capable of education.
Evidence of Intelligence Tests. Like members of other races, the Indian has recently been subjected to intelligence tests. Without entering into the objections sometimes raised to these attempts to measure inherent ability, it may be said at once that the record made by the Indian children in the tests, while usually lower on the average than that of white children, has never been low enough to justify any concern as to whether they can be "educated," even in the sense of ordinary abstract schooling. T.R. Garth, of the University of Denver, who is generally credited with having done more than any one else in the study of racial psychology of Indians, found in a study of over a thousand full-blood children of the Southwestern and plains tribes that the ratio between the Indian mental age and that of the whites was 100 to 114, or that the whites were 14 percent better than the Indians. Miss Goodenough, who tested California Indians with a drawing test intended to be less linguistic than the ordinary group test, reports a median score of 85.6 for Indians, as compared with 100.3 for American-born whites, a score for Indians that is higher than that for Negroes, about the same for Spanish-Mexican children, and somewhat lower than for European, Japanese, and Chinese children, but obviously not below a workable point for even schooling of the conventional sort. Furthermore, Garth calls attention to the fact that there is a constant tendency for "I.Q.'s " as found to increase with education, and he concludes that "because of differences in social status and temperament" even the differences in intelligence quotients probably lose much of their significance.
Experience of Teachers and Others. The experience of teachers in the public schools having Indian children is almost exactly what one would expect from these experimental data. It shows clearly the ability of Indian children to do school work. Indian children, in both government and public schools, are usually abnormally old for their grade, but statistics collected during the present investigation show that this over-ageness is almost wholly a matter of late starting to school, combined with the half-time plan in use in government boarding schools. By far the great majority of public school teachers who have Indian children in their classes say that there is no essential difference in ability; that on the whole they get along satisfactorily and do the work. Once language handicaps, social status, and attendance difficulties are overcome, ability differences that seemed more or less real tend to disappear. Interviews with the teachers of the eighty-eight Osage children in the schools of Fairfax, Oklahoma (about one-tenth the total number of pupils in the school system), indicated that these children were doing just about the normal work that would be expected of white children. Fifty-six of the eighty-eight are full-bloods. The boy ranking second in scholarship in the senior high school in this community last year was a full-blood Osage. Graduates of the American Indian Institute, Wichita, Kansas, representing fifteen different tribes, a majority of them full-bloods, have in the past four years done successful work in higher institutions of learning in eight states. Among the nearly two hundred Indian students of varying degree of blood at the University of Oklahoma are students of every possible scholarship rank, including at least one member of Phi Beta Kappa, the honorary scholarship fraternity. Few people who have handled Indian children in public schools, who have observed their remarkable talents in the arts, who have worked with university students of Indian blood, or who have sat in Indian councils, have any doubts as to the inherent ability, mental and otherwise, of the Indian people.
Indian "Psychology." Differences in psychology there may be; but the resemblances are more striking than the differences. Garth quotes a chief of the Cheyennes and Sioux as saying:
There are birds of many colorsred, blue, green, yellowyet all one bird. There are horses of many colorsbrown, black, yellow, whiteyet all one horse. So cattle; so all living thingsanimals, flowers, trees. So men; in this land where once were only Indians are now men of every colorwhite, black, yellow, redyet all one people.
Much more important for the educational problem than the evidence of so-called intelligence tests is evidence as to the adaptability of the Indian for learning in the broader sense, for making those changes in individual, family, and community life that are necessary if the Indian is to maintain himself and progress as he should. Is the Indian capable of change in this sense? Can he take on new ways where necessary? While there is not the same type of experimental evidence available on this point that there is with regard to ability to do school work, there are at least strong indications that the Indian is indeed adaptable; that if anything, the Indian is probably more adaptable, more docile, than is good for him. The submissiveness of Indian children to boarding school routine, the patience of Indians under difficult conditions, their willingness to surrender, at times, their most cherished cultural heritage, suggest that, without inquiring too deeply into the racial historical cause of it, the Indian of today is more than ordinarily susceptible to the changes the white man offers him under the label of education. This is simply another way of emphasizing, of course, the responsibility of those in charge of educating the Indian. Whether certain Indian characteristics of today are racial or merely the natural result of experiencesand the probabilities are strongly in favor of the latter assumptionit is the task of education to help the Indian, not by assuming that he is fundamentally different, but that he is a human being very much like the rest of us, with a cultural background quite worthwhile for its own sake and as a basis for changes needed in adjusting to modern life. Moreover, it is essential for those in charge of education for the Indian to remember that the Indians' attitudes towards society have been determined largely by his experiences, and that these can, wherever necessary, be changed to desirable social attitudes by exposing him to a corresponding set of right experiences in the relationships of home, family, and community life. A normal human attitude toward the Indian boy and girl in school and toward Indian parents as human beings, not essentially different from the rest of us, is justified by the evidence and is indispensable for teachers and others who direct Indian education.
The Amount of Schooling. One of the first tests of any educational enterprise is the number of children attending school in proportion to the total number of children of school age. Modern educational systems put as their first task that of finding out precisely how many children there are and of what ages. Unfortunately, this simple test cannot be applied satisfactorily to Indian education for the reason that there are no reliable statistics of Indian population of the United States.
Need for Indian School Census. The statement of a qualified observer that "probably the most accurate count that has ever been made of our Indian population can best be characterized as a reasonably good guess" applies to Indian school children. The official figures show a curious discrepancy between general population and population of school age. According to these figures, the total Indian population increased from 318,209 in 1922 to 355,070 in 1926, but in the same period the number of Indian children of school age is reported to have decreased from 91,968 to 84,553. Recently government officers have been making special efforts to get an accurate census of Indian children. "We were able during the past year to cut down the number of children of which we had no record from approximately one hundred and fifty to twenty," says a typical 1926 statement by an agency superintendent whose total population is only a few thousands. "A further effort will be made this fall," he adds, "and I believe that one more clean-up will get an accurate record of our children." No really systematic attack upon the educational problem of the Indian can be made until a thorough school census is actually established.
Enrollment Below Normal Still. Such evidence as there is indicates real improvement in getting Indian children into school, though the figures still show that enrollment of Indian children is below that of the white population of the United States. Of the 84,553 children of school age reported in 1926 by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 69,892 are attending some kind of school. This percentage of 82.7 is creditable as compared with that found in other similar situations, but not as satisfactory as most of the states have been able to achieve. The Bureau of Education figures for the various states give the ratio of public school enrollment to population of school age; private school enrollment is omitted. The percentage of children in private schools for Indians is about the same as in the general population. If the Indian school figure is corrected accordingly, the figure for the Indian children for 1926 would be, in terms of a decimal, 0.736 as compared with 0.830 for the entire United States. This is an improvement over 1925 and 1924 when the figures would have been .695 and .655, respectively. Actually the federal government is now getting 83 percent of the known Indian children 5 to 17 years of age into some kind of school, as compared with about 90 percent for the general population. Of course, the Indian figure does not equal the record of states like California and Washington, which, by making abundant provision at both ends of the educational program, kindergarten and high school, are enrolling practically all of their boys and girls of school age in school. Of the forty-eight states, forty-one had better records in 1925 (the last year for which general statistics are available) than the Indian school record of 1926.
In considering the present efforts to enroll children in school, it is necessary to take into account the difficulties of overcoming the slump in attendance that accompanied the war. Up to very recently the lowest number of "eligible" children not in school, according to Indian Office records, was in 1913, when all but 14,743 of the known 82,470 children of school age were in school. The number not in school reached its peak in 1918, when nearly 23,000 Indian children were reported as not in any school, and it was not until 1924 that the number of absentees began perceptibly to diminish.
The essential weaknesses in the Indian situation are that the total number of children is really not known; that the government tolerates a far larger number of "ineligibles" than city and state school systems ordinarily have, especially of children physically unable to attend; and that these figures are probably unduly optimistic in that they report enrollment only and say nothing of the serious irregularities of attendance that are found among the full-bloods nearly everywhere. Day school inspectors have helped this situation very much, but they are handicapped by the enormous territory they have to cover, and there are some regions where Indian children, especially full-bloods, simply are not attending school.
"Over-Age" Children and Attendance. The heavy "over-ageness" among present Indian school children reflects the failure to get children into school during the past dozen years. Of 16,257 Indian pupils studied in detail in the present investigation, only 1043 were at the normal grade for their age; 2170 were one year retarded; 2951, two years; 3125, three years; 2491, four years; 1778, five years; 1160, six years; 665, seven years; and 810, eight years or more, with only 264 pupils ahead of their normal grade. That this over-ageness is not, however, due primarily to slow progress as much as it is to failure to get children into school is shown by the fact that 4192 have reached the grade appropriate for the number of years they have been in school, and 6199 others are only two years or less behind the point where their years of schooling would normally put them. This is almost exactly the discrepancy between attendance and grade that is normally found in state school systems.
Illiteracy Among Indians. Another customary measure of extent of schooling is the amount of illiteracy. Here again there are conflicting figures, but the census returns make possible some rather striking comparisons. Whereas the rate of illiteracy for the entire United States was 6 percent in 1920, for Indians of sixteen states having large Indian populations, it was nearly 36 percent. In three of these sixteen states the Indian illiteracy rate exceeded 60 percent, as compared with rates only a fraction of this for other groups that usually show high illiteracy, namely, rural population and foreign-born whites. In Arizona, where the Indian illiteracy was 67.8 percent, the rate among the rural population was 20.4 and among foreign-born whites 32.9; in Utah, with an Indian rate of 61.6 percent, the rural illiteracy rate was but 2.5 and the foreign-born 8.3. In North Dakota rural illiteracy was only 2.2 percent, but the Indians showed 29.6. In Oregon rural illiteracy of 1.4 percent may be contrasted with nearly 23 percent for Indians.
These are 1920 census figures, of course, and are now more than seven years old. Furthermore, they include all persons over 10 years of age. A more significant age-group from the point of view of recent schooling would be that between 10 and 20. The Indian rate for the sixteen states is 17 percent. It reaches 52.5 percent in Arizona, 40.8 in Utah, and 33.6 in New Mexico, but it goes as low as 1.8 in Oregon, 2.1 in Nebraska, and 2.6 in Washington and Wyoming. In South Dakota only 3.4 percent of the Indians of this age-group were illiterate, as compared with 30.2 percent for Indians 21 years and over. In California the corresponding figures are 9.1 percent for the younger group and 46.2 percent for the group over 21 years old. Montana shows a rate for Indians in the 10- to 20-year group of only 6.8 percent as compared with 48 percent for persons over 21. The 17 percent illiteracy for 1920 for Indians of this age-group represented improvement over 1910, when the census illiteracy rate for Indians in the same sixteen states 10 to 20 years of age was 25 percent.2
Heavy Increases in Enrollment Likely. Those in charge of the education of Indians are looking forward to heavy increases in school attendance, particularly the more advanced grades, in the very near future, and such increases are sure to come. One may seriously question the building of new boarding schools as the means of caring for the increase, yet commend strongly the foresight shown in expecting heavy enrollment. It is bound to come. The old day of the two or three years of elementary schooling for Indian boys and girls, many of whom were 15 and 16 years of age before they even started to school, is past. To an increasing extent Indian children will be found going to school at the normal age for white children and remaining in school as long as whites. Up to within a few years ago, it was unusual for Indian children to go on into high school, but now the figures show students in many jurisdictions not only attending high school but also completing the course and going on to college and university.
Better Attendance a Home and School Problem. As the government intensifies its efforts to get the Indian children into school and keep them there, it will more and more find it necessary to use other methods of securing full and regular attendance than those now in vogue. Merely using police methods may perhaps be defended as a necessary step at one stage, but long experience in city and rural school administration, with children situated very much as Indian children are, has shown that attendance officers of the school social worker type rather than of the police officer kind are needed for this work. It is, indeed, much more than a matter of mere school attendance. What has to be worked out is a home and school relation whereby the parents will be enlisted in having their children go to school regularly and the home in return will be directly affected by the school.
The Educational Personnel of the Indian Service. Properly equipped personnel is the most urgent, immediate need in the Indian education service. At the present time the government is attempting to do a highly technical job with untrained, and to a certain extent even uneducated, people. It is not necessary to attempt to place the blame for this situation, but it is essential to recognize it and to change it.
Amount of Training for Teachers. Standards for teachers and school principals in government schools should be raised to the level of at least the better public school systems. At present only a comparatively small number of the teachers and principals in the Indian Service could qualify on this basis. Public school systems which are regarded as meeting even minimum standards require elementary teachers to have graduated from a teacher-training course of two years beyond high school and an increasing number of the better communities are employing teachers who have completed the work in three-year and four-year teacher training institutions. This is for elementary teachers. For high school teachers communities everywhere have for many years demanded at least college graduation. The chief reason government Indian schools have not been accepted by state and regional accrediting agencies in the past is that they do not have secondary school teachers who meet this minimum requirement. But children in elementary Indian schools require just as well-prepared teachers as do high school students. For work similar to that needed with Indian children there is a distinct tendency within public and private schools to employ teachers for all levels who are college or university graduates, with special preparation in the underlying social and other sciences. A good argument could be made for the point of view that the national government should in its own work take the lead in raising standards, but in any case it is not too much to ask that the government's standards shall be at least as high as those of the better states and communities. Not only are they not as high at present; there is even some evidence that the Indian Service is receiving teachers who have been forced out of the schools of their own states because they could not meet the raised standards of those states. The national government could do no better single thing for Indian education than to insist upon the completion of an accepted college or university course, including special preparation for teaching, as the minimum entrance requirement for all educational positions in Indian schools or with Indian people.
Salaries Abnormally Low. The need of higher salaries in the Indian education service is evident when comparison is made with the conditions in public school systems. High pay and school teaching have never gone together, but Indian school salaries are below any ordinary standards. The uniform elementary salary of $1200 in the Indian Service should be compared with the salaries of elementary school teachers in the fifty-nine cities studied by the National Education Association, which in 1926 ranged as high as $3400, with a large number between $2800 and $2900, and a "median" (average) salary of slightly over $2000. Principals of elementary schools in these same cities averaged over $3000, with the largest number of positions between $3600 and $3800; whereas the salary for principal in an Indian school is usually $1560. High school salaries in the Indian Service have been increased somewhat, so that the $1560 that may be paid is not a bad beginning salary to teachers without experience, though considerably below what the best well-trained beginners receive, but in order to get and keep qualified high school teachers, school systems are paying as high as $3000 to $4000, with nearly $2600 as a median for regular teachers and over $3000 for department heads.
Vocational teachers in public schools under the Smith-Hughes Act usually receive more than other teachers in high schools, and persons having the qualifications called for under such positions as matrons and "disciplinarians" in Indian schools would, if adequate training were insisted upon, command salaries from two to four times what is now paid in Indian schools.
It is sometimes argued that there are plenty of candidates for certain of the positions, particularly teaching. This is a familiar phenomenon to students of occupations. It merely means that standards are so low that anybody may apply. As soon as standards are raised and salaries improved, only the qualified can apply. The Indian school service throughout is an excellent example of the disastrous effects of lack of training standards.
One result of the low salaries is the amount of turnover in some of the schools. In one school visited in March 1927, there had been twenty-six teachers since September for the eight school rooms. One room up to that time had had ten different teachers. Only two of the eight rooms had in March the teachers they started with in September. What this means for morale and educational progress is easy to see. It would be a serious matter in any school; with Navajo Indian children, in dire need of the kind of understanding that comes only after a slow process of getting thoroughly acquainted, it seemed almost to nullify any good effects that might accrue from maintaining a school at all.
Matrons and "Disciplinarians." One of the best illustrations of the need for better equipped personnel is in the case of such positions as "matron" and "disciplinarian." The very words reflect an erroneous conception of the task that needs to be done; but whatever they are called, the positions need to be filled by people with appropriate training for this work. The matron of an Indian school influences the lives of boys and girls probably more than any other person on the staff. Education is essentially changing human behavior, for good or ill, and the manner in which the matron and disciplinarian handle the children in their care determines very largely the habits and attitudes that will go to make up what the outside world regards as their personality and character.
It seems almost incredible that for a position as matron the educational requirement is only eighth gradeand even this eighth grade standard is comparatively new. The statement of duties in a recent civil service examination for matron reads as follows:
Appointees, under general direction or supervision, will have charge of the home life of students in Indian boarding school, including the performance of one or more of the following tasks: Directing the household departments of the institution; supervising or directing or promoting the social life of students, training or guiding them in correct habits of health, self-discipline, ethics of right living, physical training or recreational work; teaching vocational guidance, housekeeping, care and repair of clothing. Appointees may be required to serve on a vocational guidance committee. The head matron's duties are chiefly supervisory and executive in character.
One would expect, in view of this statement of duties, training requirements that would include high school and college and certain specific training for handling children. As a matter of fact, however, all that is required in addition to the schooling of eight grades or the "equivalent" is one of the following:
a. 6 months training or experience in four of the following: institution child welfare, social service, home nursing or visiting nurse, home management or general housekeeping, domestic science, general cookery, family sewing, care of children, teaching
b. 1 year as matron
c. 2 years normal training
d. 2 years nurse training
e. 2 years home economics
Professional Qualifications Necessary. It will be noted that a woman so poorly educated as to have only eight grades, not even the present average of the population of the United States, would be eligible for any of these positions, provided she could qualify with six months' experience "in home management or general housekeeping, general cookery, family sewing, or care of children." In other words, practically any woman who had ever had anything to do with a household would be eligible for a position which really requires not only a good general education but high ability and special professional training. For this work head matrons ordinarily receive $1320 and other matrons and assistant matrons from $780 to $1140.3 It is a tribute to humanity in general that under such a scheme the matrons have been even as good as they are. At a time when business, nursing, and practically all fields open to women are insisting upon high school graduation as the minimum prerequisite for any specialized training and when the types of work such as are described under the position of matron are more and more being prepared for by special professional courses in colleges and universities, it seems incredible that the government of the United States should invite as candidates people with no schooling beyond the elementary grades and no real technical preparation.
It is easily possible to describe these positions as to qualifications and training in such a way that workers specially prepared to do the work can be obtained. National associations in the various educational and social fields have done considerable work on qualifications of personnel and would undoubtedly be willing to lend their material to assist the government in the effort to bring government conditions more nearly up to what a modern community would expect. One difficulty is that in practice certain positions, especially those of assistants to disciplinarians and matrons, have apparently been set aside for Indians exclusively. This would seem to be an extremely doubtful procedure, of no real benefit to the Indians from the point of view of employment and decidedly objectionable from the point of view of the welfare of children in Indian schools. Capable Indians should most certainly be encouraged to get the necessary general and special preparation for such positions as these, but the positions should not be assigned to Indians solely because they are Indians.
Methods of Appointment. Certain appointment peculiarities in the Indian educational service also need to be carefully considered. For example, appointments in the Indian Service are seldom made at the time of year best calculated to get good candidates. American school heads make a practice of selecting most of their teachers for the following year between February and June, thereby assuring themselves of experienced teachers who have made good and also of the best new candidates available from the colleges, universities, and teacher-training institutions generally. In contrast to this, Indian Service examinations have been held comparatively late, and appointments not made until so far along that most of the good candidates have already accepted positions. Again, the modern school head almost invariably interviews the candidate for a position in his school and either sees the candidate in action or gets first-hand information from qualified persons who have. It may not be possible under government conditions to do the thing on such a personal basis as this, but it would be highly desirable if competent heads of schools in the Indian Service could have the same opportunity public school superintendents and heads of private schools have of seeing to it that a teacher is selected who fits the special conditions of his employment. In any case, it should be possible so to place the examination and selection that all the really worthwhile candidates will not be gone by the time the Indian Service comes around.
Furthermore, the probationary period of six months customary in the national civil service is not adapted to Indian schools. If an appointment is made late in the spring, as frequently happens under the methods that prevail, the teacher has but a few weeks at the end of the school year, when conditions are hardly normal, and a few more weeks in the fall, to demonstrate his abilities. Schools that have given careful attention to their personnel problem usually insist upon a full school year as the minimum time in which to judge of a teacher's success in his work.
These and other special difficulties in Indian educational service appointments point to the necessity for a personnel agency at the Washington office which will work on this task of recruiting the right kind of personnel for the Indian Service. Whatever success has attended other efforts in the recruiting of teachers and other educational employees, notably in the case of the Philippines and Puerto Rico, was brought about by special attention to this problem.
Chief Changes Needed in Personnel Provisions. In the sections that follow other changes that are needed to improve Indian Service educational personnel are briefly summarized:
1. Superintendents of reservations as well as of schools should be held to at least as high qualifications as superintendents of public schools or directors of extension work.
The position of superintendent is an educational one in the broad sense of the term, requiring qualifications similar to those demanded of persons occupying positions in the two fields indicated. At the present time no public school board would think of employing a superintendent of schools who was not at least a college graduate, with special training and experience for his work, and many communities now demand considerable advanced special work beyond college graduation. This is not a theoretical matter; school boards have simply learned that educational administration is a profession requiring special preparation and that it is a practical procedure to pay sufficient salary to get qualified people. It is true that the Indian Service has as superintendents of both schools and reservations some very able men who do not have the qualifications here suggested. This is merely because they are the product of the period when this training was not provided to the extent that it is now. The Indian Service can no longer hope, under present changed conditions with regard to training everywhere, to bring in superintendents of a high type unless better educational qualifications are set up.
2. The principle of the salary schedule should be applied to the Indian education service, so that professionally qualified teachers and other members of the educational staff entering the service can count upon salary increases for capable work.
At the present time, while the entrance salary for elementary teachers is low as compared with better American school communities, the greatest difficulty is not the low entrance salary so much as the fact that advancement is almost unknown. It was the clear purpose of the application of reclassification to the field service to insure promotion within the grade upon satisfactory work, but it is the regular thing to find everywhere in the Indian Service elementary teachers of many years' experience receiving the same $1200 paid to the beginning teacher. Nothing could be so destructive of morale as this. In a good city school system, entrance salaries for the type of work required by the Indian Service would ordinarily be more than $1200, but what is even more important, there would be, in any case, a salary schedule in effect which would provide systematic increases. The Indian school service is almost alone among modern educational systems in not having a definite salary schedule. The Research Division of the National Education Association, which has made a special study of the matter, is authority for the statement that practically all large cities and approximately 70 percent of all communities over 2500 population have salary schedules for the school system.
3. The present "educational leave" should be extended to cover at least the six weeks required for a minimum university summer session.
One of the obvious disadvantages of teaching in a government Indian school has for years been that whereas teachers elsewhere have the long summer vacation in which to travel or do summer school work, the Indian Service teacher had only the thirty days allowed other civil service employees. A commendable change was made when "educational leave" began to be granted. At present, however, this amounts to only four weeks, which means that unless the teacher or principal uses also his annual leave, which is given him for another purpose, he cannot remain for the full summer course. It is to the credit of the teachers in Indian schools that many of them surrender their annual leave in order to complete regular six weeks' courses. This, however, is not necessary or desirable. Educational leave is not to be regarded as a special privilege for the employee, but rather as a necessity for the government, which thereby sees to it that the teaching staff is kept in touch with current theory and practice in education. Some of the most encouraging teaching seen in Indian schools has been by teachers who have made the most of their opportunity at summer schools while on educational leave.
The principle involved in "educational leave" should also be recognized to the extent of detailing an employee to visit other schools, whether in the government service or not; to study employment of other conditions having to do with his educational work; in other words, to secure any supplementary equipment from time to time that will enable him to do a better job. This principle has long been recognized by private business and by other government services, national, state, and local, and application of it is especially needed in the Indian Service. In particular the attendance of teachers and other educational officials at educational meetings should be encouraged and not made practically impossible, as at present. Public school boards and state educational departments regularly send superintendents and other school employees to educational meetings at public expense because of the obvious advantage to the school system itself of keeping in touch with the work other schools and school systems are doing. No one can visit an Indian school without realizing how much the government work is handicapped by the fact that the government does not provide similarly for attendance of Indian school people at educational meetings.
4. There is a need for a definite program of pre-service training for Indian school work.
Just as modern corporations provide training for their employees because they have found it economy to do so, the government would find it very useful to undertake a brief period of pre-service training to acquaint appointees or prospective appointees with some of the conditions they will find in the Indian Service. Indian schools and Indian educational programs generally need not be as different from those used elsewhere as some people assume, but there are conditions that can and should be made known to teachers and others about to enter the service. This training should include a short time spent at the Indian Office to familiarize the appointee with the general organization and certain of the problems from the central office's point of view; probably a short survey of other bureaus of the national government that have any bearing on the education of the Indian; and brief visits to several schools or reservations in different parts of the United States. Too frequently a teacher is deposited at an Indian school with no previous knowledge whatever of Indian life, of the part of the country where the work is located, or of the special conditions that prevail. This pre-service training might well be an integral part of the appointment and probationary service previously suggested.
5. Personnel standards will have to be raised for other employees as well as for members of the strictly "teaching" staff. The most promising feature of Indian educational policy, namely, the determination to provide an educational program that will include as an integral factor industrial and other activities, falls down almost completely as a result of the low standards of training. The so-called platoon or "work-study-play" plan, for example, which many American communities have found helpful because it compels consideration of a richer educational program than might otherwise be furnished, cannot possibly succeed in Indian schools unless those in charge of the "auditorium" features, the farm, the dairy, the shop, and unless other activities are resourceful and well prepared for the work. The success of much of the home economics work in the boarding schools in the face of almost insurmountable difficulties is due to an insistence upon training standards for home-economics teachers that, while by no means ideal, are far ahead of shop and other industrial workers, matrons, and ordinary academic teachers. In only a handful of instances in the entire Indian Service could the teacher of agriculture or industrial work qualify for the corresponding type of work in a public vocational secondary school as stipulated by act of Congress and the regulations of the Federal Board for Vocational Education. In the case of vocational teachers, one department of the national government thereby fails to carry out or even approximate the standards set up by another agency of the government created by Congress for the express purpose of establishing such standards.
6. More attention will need to be paid to service conditions aside from compensation.
The difficulties of getting and retaining qualified employees for the educational service are not confined to salary and salary schedules, important though these are. It would be difficult to find an educational work where the hours are as confining, the amount of free time as nearly nil, the conditions of housing as poor, as in the Indian educational service. In the boarding schools the teachers and other staff persons are almost literally on a twenty-four-hour service basis, seven days in the week. The summer school provision recently made means that teachers are obliged to teach in the summer session without additional paya condition that obtains so far as is known, nowhere else in the United States and one that could only be justified by higher compensation. In the day schools, the teachers are obliged to go almost entirely without any of the congenial companionship that is an essential to morale.
Living conditions at many Indian agencies and schools represent a survival of primitive rural conditions of forty years ago, of a type no longer existent in quite such an extreme form even in the remote rural districts of states in which the agencies are located. Sometimes, for example, there are only oil or gasoline lamps; it is impossible to get to town; roads are so inferior to the surrounding highways of the state and nation that the agency is inaccessible certain months of the year, or automobiles have to be pulled through by teams. The road leading from a town to an Indian agency is usually reasonably good until the government reservation property is reached, when it becomes very bad. Better salaries and a salary schedule would draw qualified teachers to an Indian reservation ninety miles from the railroad, but unless some care is taken to make living and working conditions worthwhile, even better pay will not hold them long. It is worth noting that there are some localities where the efforts to improve living conditions have helped tenure and morale notably even with the present low salaries and impossibility of promotion.
New Educational Positions Needed. As better-qualified teachers and principals begin to be provided for Indian schools, it will gradually be possible to shift the emphasis from mere administration and inspection, as at present, to real professional direction and supervision. In this respect the Indian Service is about where most states were a quarter of a century ago, when adequate state leadership in education first began. At that period the state departments of education began adding to their staffs specialists in secondary education, in vocational education, and in various other fields, until today, a typical state department of public instruction will consist very largely of a well-equipped technical staff whose task is that of providing help and direction to the schools of the state, the schools accepting this aid, not because they are required toindeed compulsion is often entirely lackingbut because it is valuable to them. The state, in its turn, finds it is good policy to accompany state financial aid with the technical assistance necessary to see that the money is expended as far as possible in accordance with the best educational practice.
In the Indian Service, application of the same principle would mean that instead of a largely administrative and clerical service at the Washington office, whose time is necessarily taken up to a very considerable extent with insignificant and often irritating details, there would be in addition a comparatively small scientifically trained educational staff, such as other government bureaus have, whose task it would be to furnish the necessary professional direction now so often lacking for the broad educational program of the Indian Service. This educational staff at Washington should comprise, in addition to the already existent positions (which include school administration, home economics, and nursing education), other temporary or permanent specialists in health education; vocational education, including agriculture and farm and home demonstration; vocational guidance; adult education; and school social work of the visiting teacher type. The total number of such positions would be small, and the aggregate expense a mere fraction of the total appropriation for education, but there can be little doubt that the effect would be similar to that experienced by state departments of public instruction, which have found this to be the economical way of making appropriations bring maximum results.
New types of employees are also needed for the schools and the reservations, either for present positions or in addition to them. The titles of "disciplinarian" and "matron" should be abolished in the Indian schools and the names of the positions created in their stead should designate the real character of the duties performed. Persons in other educational fields have difficulty in understanding how such a position as "disciplinarian" can exist. The poorest "disciplinarians" are an obstacle to Indian progress; the best try very hard to be directors of boys' activities or even "deans," to use a word that secondary schools have taken from the colleges. The position should be on at least as high a level in training and salary as other educational positions in the school. In public schools coaches and athletic directors nowadays are almost invariably college graduates, and there is a decided tendency to require special qualifications for this work because of its recognized importance for character training. The corresponding position in an Indian school carries even greater responsibilities than those of the school athletic director since the whole social and individual life of the boys is affected, day and night, and special social and racial factors are involved that few athletic directors, even of the better type, would know anything about. Directors and staffs of modern summer camps come nearer what is required of the boys' director in an Indian school.
As the public schools develop and the boarding schools cease to be the prominent feature of Indian education they have been, there will be more and more need for community workers in health and education, especially social workers with family case-work training to make the necessary connection between the schools and the homes. There is nothing visionary about this. It is already being done successfully in a number of urban communities, and there are social agencies engaged in training persons for this type of work. The principle upon which these positions should be established is that of having as few positions as possible, but well paid and responsible, with college and special training insisted upon, even if it becomes necessary to fill positions slowly, rather than to fill a lot of positions with inadequately trained people. In the creation of needed new positions, the government should avoid its previous mistakes in the Indian Service and set up high standards of personnel.
The Course of Study for Indian Schools. The adoption of a course of study is a step in advance for any educational enterprise. It means that objectives have been set up and that united effort is to be made to attain these objectives. The Indian Office is to be commended, therefore, for its effort to make a course of study for Indian schools. It should be understood, however, that this is only an intermediate step. No course of study should remain static; it should be constantly revised in terms of children's needs and aptitudes; and no course of study should be made uniform in details over a vast territory of widely differing conditions. These are the chief difficulties with the present course of study for Indian schools, which was originally prepared in 1915 and is now very much in need of revision.
Suggestion Rather Than Prescription. Present-day practice regards a course of study as mainly suggestive rather than prescriptive. It usually lays down certain minimum requirements, or may suggest minimum attainments; but it is careful to leave considerable latitude to the teacher and to local communities. It is doubtful if any state nowadays in compiling a course of study even for its comparatively limited territory would do what the national government has attempted to do, that is to adopt a uniform course of study for the entire Indian Service and require it to be carried out in detail. The Indian school course of study is clearly not adaptable to different tribes and different individuals; it is built mainly in imitation of a somewhat older type of public school curricula now recognized as unsatisfactory, even for white schools, instead of being created out of the lives of Indian people, as it should be; and it is administered by a poorly equipped teaching force under inadequate professional direction.
Program Versus Actuality. Like most courses of study of this type, the Indian school course has many excellent statements. Justifiable emphasis is placed upon health, for example, but health education of the comprehensive character therein described can only be accomplished with a wealth of qualified personnel, which is almost wholly lacking. Vocational guidance is frequently stressed, but scarcely anybody in the Indian Service has any real conception of what guidance means, to say nothing of real training in this field. The Indian school course of study contains excellent statements about the "use and scope of the library," but there are, in fact, practically no libraries worthy of the name in the Indian Service, almost no provision for acquiring worthwhile new books and few, if any, trained librarians or teacher-librarians to carry out the plans. Anyone who reads the statements in the course of study is bound to get a shock when he goes to the schools and sees the most elementary health principles violated and not even sufficient nourishing food supplied; when he finds that the industrial training provided often has very little to do with the future work of the boys who are taking it; when he finds that except in a few rare instances the library, where there is one, consists mainly of sets of old textbooks, a few books for teachers, and some miscellaneous volumes, usually kept under lock and key in the principal's office and seldom used in the way a modern school library is used continuously by pupils in the school.
A Special Curriculum Opportunity. The special curriculum opportunity in Indian schools is for material based upon the ascertained needs of Indian boys and girls and adapted to their aptitudes and interests. Emphasis upon "community surveys" in the circulars of the general superintendent is a step in the right direction. There is so much that might, however, in the hands of curriculum specialists and wise teachers, make admirable content material for Indian schools. Such excellent opportunity exists for community civics based upon both Indian and white community life instead of the old-time "Civil Government," long since abandoned in better American public schools and especially meaningless for the Indian, who needs to have his own tribal, social, and civic life used as the basis for an understanding of his place in modern society. Interesting opportunity abounds for Indian geography as a substitute approach for the formal geography of continents, oceans, and urban locations; for Indian history as a means of understanding other history and for its own importance in helping Indians understand the past and future of their own people. The possibilities of Indian arts would make a book in themselves; already in one or two places, notably among the Hopis, Indian children have given a convincing demonstration of what they can do with color and design when the school gives them a chance to create for themselves. There is such a chance to build up for the Indian schools reading material that shall have some relation to Indian interests, not merely Indian legends, which are good and susceptible of considerable development, but actual stories of modern Indian experiences, as, for example, the success or failure of this or that returned student; how this particular Indian handled his allotment; how So-and-So cleaned up his house, what he did in the "Five-Years' Program." These are real things that Indians are experiencing and that have everyday significance for them.
The Real Objectives of Education. Study of modern curriculum investigations will show that, while there are conflicting views as to whether the content of education shall be mainly quantities of subject matter transmitted or mainly experiences that will provide the child with means of development, yet there are certain principles hitherto disregarded that will have to be considered in any basic revision of the Indian school curriculum. One has already been referred tothe principle that emphasizes suggestion rather than prescription and allows teachers to adapt content to the needs and aptitudes of the children. Still another has to do with the objectives of education. The present course of study, notwithstanding its preliminary statements, in reality accepts the old notion of the "three R's" as fundamental in education. It is historically a mistake to say, as the Indian School Course of Study does, that from primitive times reading, writing, and arithmetic have formed the foundation of education." They have been the tools, undoubtedly, but long before they were used as tools there was education of the most important sort. The real goals of education are not "reading, writing, and arithmetic"not even teaching Indians to speak English, though that is importantbut sound health, both mental and physical, good citizenship in the sense of an understanding participation in community life, ability to earn one's own living honestly and efficiently in a socially worthwhile vocation, comfortable and desirable home and family life, and good character. These are the real aims of education; reading, writing, numbers, geography, history, and other "subjects" or skills are only useful to the extent that they contribute directly or indirectly to these fundamental objectives. With a course of study such as that provided for the Indian Service, with the limited time in which to carry it out as compared with ordinary schools, with teachers below the level of standard professional preparation, and with uniform old-type examinations at the end of the year as the only real goal at which to aim, the almost inevitable result is a highly mechanical content of education handled in a mechanical way.
Timeliness of Curriculum Revision. The present is a particularly good time to undertake the revision of the curriculum of the Indian schools on a fundamental basis, not only because such a revision is so urgently needed but because curriculum revision is one of the most prominent features of current educational activity, and it would be more possible now than at any time previously to get the advantage of various national movements. These movements range from a simple practical interchange of courses of study and the more systematic attempts at enrichment and simplification, as recorded in recent yearbooks of the Department of Superintendence of the National Education Association, all the way to searching inquiries into the whole philosophy of curriculum construction, such as are reported in the 1927 Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education. Some American cities have spent many thousands of dollars on special studies of the curriculum, and those in charge of educational work for the Indians could easily utilize these studies in making their own curricula. "The teaching profession at work on its problems" is one of the mottoes of the largest organization of teachers in the United States; and the testimony of this body and of separate school systems working on curriculum revision is that nothing is quite so effective in educating the teachers themselves to the changes that are going on. Many of the teachers now in the Indian Service have, by reading, by attendance at summer sessions, and in other ways, obtained the kind of a professional start that would make a cooperative study of the curriculum practical and valuable. Such a study would be impossible, however, without staff specialists in education at the Washington office who are professionally equipped to direct such a study.
School Organization in the Indian Service. In an effort to furnish Indian boys and girls with a type of education that would be practical and cost little, the government years ago adopted for the boarding schools a half-time plan whereby pupils spend half the school day in "academic" subjects and the remaining half day in work about the institution. Some of the best educational programs for any people have been built upon some such provision of work opportunities. As administered at present in the Indian Service, however, this otherwise useful method has lost much of its effectiveness and has probably become a menace to both health and education.
Half-Time Plan Not Feasible for All Children. If the labor of the boarding school is to be done by the pupils, it is essential that the pupils be old enough and strong enough to do institutional work. Whatever may once have been the case, Indian children are now coming into the boarding schools much too young for heavy institutional labor. It is the stated policy of the government to discourage attendance of young children at the larger boarding schools, but even in these schools there are numbers of young children, and in the reservation boarding schools the children are conspicuously small. At Leupp, for instance, one hundred of the 191 girls are 11 years of age or under. The result is that the institutional work, instead of being done wholly by able-bodied youths of 15 to 20 nominally enrolled in the early grades, has to be done, in part at least, by very small childrenchildren, moreover, who, according to competent medical opinion, are malnourished. Indian Office reports speak of the introduction of laborsaving devices as if they were an accomplished fact, but actually little has been done in this direction; there is no money. In nearly every boarding school one will find children of 10, 11, and 12 spending four hours a day in more or less heavy industrial workdairy, kitchen work, laundry, shop. The work is bad for children of this age, especially children not physically well-nourished; most of it is in no sense educational since the operations are large-scale and bear little relation to either home or industrial life outside; and it is admittedly unsatisfactory even from the point of view of getting the work done. To make a half-day program feasible, even for older students, a plan of direct pay for actual work is probably better, such as has been in operation at the Santee Normal Training School, Santee, Nebraska. Undoubtedly, all pupils should have a hand in the institutional work as part of "civic" training, but for this a comparatively small amount of time would suffice, an hour a day, perhaps. At present the half-day plan is felt to be necessary, not because it can be defended on health or educational grounds, for it cannot, but because the small amount of money allowed for food and clothes makes it necessary to use child labor. The official Course of Study for Indian Schools says frankly:
In our Indian schools a large amount of productive work is necessary. They could not possibly be maintained on the amounts appropriated by Congress for their support were it not for the fact that students [i.e., children] are required to do the washing, ironing, baking, cooking, sewing; to care for the dairy, farm, garden, grounds, buildings, etc.an amount of labor that has in the aggregate a very appreciable monetary value.4
The term "child labor" is used advisedly. The labor of children as carried on in Indian boarding schools would, it is believed, constitute a violation of child labor laws in most states.
A Full-Day Educational Program Needed. Pupils of the first six grades in Indian schools should be in school all day. Indeed, if the right kind of educational program is provided, that is, not limited to "academic" subjects, it may safely be said that, except for conspicuously over-age children, the Indian school should as a minimum approximate the opportunities for other children by regarding the years through 14, at least, as primarily for education, and not for "work" in the adult sense.
In Indian schools, as in all good modern school systems, a full-day educational program should continue through the first six years or grades. This should not be a mere three-R's academic program which would be just as bad a mistake as the present system, but one that will offer to all pupils abundant provision for play and recreation, work activities of a useful and educational nature, and creative opportunities in art and music. This should be followed by a semi-industrial junior or middle school period of approximately three years with plenty of industrial choices and specific vocational training for chronologically older boys, but a period, after all, the content of which shall be determined by general educational aims rather than by the needs of the institution or even vocational aims except in the case of older children. This, in turn, should be followed by three years of senior high school work, specifically vocational for some students, sufficiently general in the case of others to leave the way clear for further education in college and university for students who show that they could profit by it. No special magic, of course, inheres in this division into three-year periods, but an Indian school whose organization followed this plan would be reasonably certain of tying in with the junior high school movement that has been developing everywhere in the United States and at the same time coming closest to what is probably the best type of organization for schools that has so far been devised: a primary and elementary school designed to give certain needed skills, information, habits, attitudes, behavior; a junior high school for all children that goes more definitely and directly into the field of citizenship, vocations, physical education, and conduct control; and a senior school that will prepare specifically for future careers.
The Platoon Plan. "The boarding school program," says the 1926 report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, "has been so modified that there shall be assigned each week one half-time for classroom instruction, one-fourth for vocational instruction, and one-fourth for institutional work details of pupils. . . . The school program is essentially the platoon system of organization."
The platoon plan, however, has been tried out in only a few schools so far, but it clearly represents a commendable effort to give Indian children more of a chance at a real education than they now have. As carried out in the few schools that have tried it, the plan is not the platoon system of organization as that system is understood by the large number of cities that have adopted it for their public school systems, chiefly because the national government has not put into it anything like the resources that public school systems have found necessary. It should be said, however, that anything that will release Indian boarding school children from what the Commissioner of Indian Affairs himself appropriately calls "noneducational routine labor" is a step in the right direction. At one school visited, the heads of the work departments objected at first to the plan because it gave them the children for only two-hour work periods instead of four, but later in the year they withdrew their objection because, as they said, they found the children did as much labor in two hours as they had previously done in four, and the morale was better. Of course, production aims should not control in the education of Indians, any more than they should in the education of whites, but the entire half-day plan has been controlled by the necessity of production, and the platoon plan will not be able to develop into what it should unless an educational, rather than a production, aim is definitely accepted for Indian education and the funds are provided to get it.
The Personnel Problem Again. Furthermore, the personnel problem that affects everything in the Indian Service is involved; the platoon plan requires people who have, besides a good general education, special training in directing the assembly periods that are characteristic of the platoon plan at its best, capable health education directors to handle the all-round play and health education features that are provided for every child, qualified teachers of industries, and other special workers. The Indian schools have the activities in part, but they need the personnel. Principals, teachers, and staff people who are responsible for carrying out the platoon plan of organization should keep constantly in touch with the work that is being done all over the United States, visiting other platoon schools, and utilizing the resources of the United States Bureau of Education, the recently formed Platoon School Association, and other agencies that are active in this field.
It is only fair to say, too, that certain objections to the platoon or work-study-play plan apply with special force to the Indian Service. Unless the right kind of teachers are secured and they integrate their activities to make a well-rounded educational program, there is danger that the various parts of the work will be as unrelated to each other as they are now. But the platoon plan, even without the features that should attend it, represents an improvement over the present organization in the boarding schools, which produces a school and work day that would be too long for adults and is indefensible for growing children.
Teaching Methods in Indian Schools. An understanding of modern, less formal methods of teaching is greatly needed in the Indian Service. Indian schools should at least reach the level of better public schools in this respect. This is especially necessary because the best modern teaching, especially with young children, takes into account the kind of personality problems that are basic in the education of Indians.
Need for Knowledge of Modern Methods. Although there are some striking exceptions, principals and teachers in Indian schools as a rule are not acquainted with modern developments in teaching, though "educational leave" has brought some improvement. The impression a visitor almost inevitably gets upon entering the classroom of an Indian school is that here is a survival of methods and schoolroom organization belonging in the main to a former periodthe nailed-down desks, in rows; the old-type "recitation"; the unnatural formality between teacher and pupil, the use of mechanistic words and devices as "class rise!," "class pass!"; the lack of enriching materials, such as reading books and out-of-doors material, all suggesting a type of school-keeping that still exists, of course, but has been greatly modified in most modern school systems, if not abandoned altogether, as the result of what has been made known in the past twenty-five years about learning and behavior.
This condition is, of course, only what one would expect from what has already been said about personnel. If methods of teaching in Indian schools, with a few conspicuous exceptions, are old-fashioned, without, for the most part, the redeeming quality of "thoroughness" that some of the old-time teaching is supposed to have had, it is due almost entirely to the lack of training standards and professional personnel. An encouraging feature of the situation is that here and there one does find interesting and successful efforts to get away from the formal and routine in teaching; a first-grade teacher trained under Montessori getting a delightful spontaneous activity out of her little Indian children; young college women coming back from a summer-session demonstration school touched with the newer way and struggling to put the new ideas into practice; still other teachers using the Indian interest and talent in art to give Indians a creative opportunity; a principal and group of boarding school teachers demonstrating that Navajo children, proverbially so shy that they hang their heads and will not speak in the presence of visitors, can in a few short months, with the abandonment of the stiff furniture and stiffer military routine characteristic of government boarding schools, become as lively human beings as any white children. These suggest the possibilities if personnel can be improved, if teachers can be helped by supervisors and staff specialists who know better methods, and if every effort is made to keep the education of the Indian in the stream of modern education development instead of isolated from it.
Study of the Individual Child. Perhaps the most characteristic fact about modern education is the attention given to study of the individual child and the effort to meet his needs. This is the real justification for intelligence testing and for the whole measurement movement. Given more knowledge on the part of the school and teacher of the health of the child, of his abilities, of the home conditions from which he comes, it should be possible to help him more satisfactorily to capitalize on what he has for his own sake and for the sake of society. So little measurement work has been done in government Indian schools that one danger in the measurement movement has not developed to any extent, but it needs to be borne in mind: Testing, particularly intelligence testing, should never be used in a school as a means of denying opportunity, but only as a means of directing opportunities more wisely. Most of the talk about some Indian children "not being worthy of an education beyond the grades" is indefensible. It is based on a misconception of the reason why society furnishes schooling at all. Discovery of low mental ability in any child, white or Indian, no more relieves society of the responsibility of educating him than diagnosis of a weak heart by a physician would relieve society from giving the person thus diagnosed a chance at lifein both cases the diagnosis becomes the first step in a process of improvement. It is at least as necessary in the case of Indian youth as in the case of white, perhaps more necessary, that the Indian's capacities and traits, whatever they are, shall be developed to the full; that he may become an asset rather than a liability to the community.
Using Tests in the "Regular Subjects." In the Indian schools not even the most elementary use has as yet been made of either intelligence testing or objective tests of achievement in the types of knowledge and skills that are usually referred to as the "regular school subjects." Thus reading, the one basic tool for the intellectual processes, is seldom taught with the resources that modern research in this field has put at the disposal of teachers. "Silent reading" is seldom understood or utilized, and the large number of supplementary readers that are always available for the use of children in a good modern primary room are almost never found in an Indian school. Some of the texts used in teaching reading antedate modern scientific work in this field, and even teachers who have recently been at summer schools and know better find it difficult to get what they need. Few, if any, of the teachers in Indian schools develop their own reading materials out of the life about them, as do many successful primary teachers of the newer type.
Almost the only use made of achievement tests with Indian children is found in public schools, though such testing is almost the only way in which questions as to the effectiveness of the half-day plan, the platoon plan, and other schemes involving the tool subjects can be answered. A practical way to improve this situation, apart from encouraging attendance upon summer sessions and visits to other schools, would be to develop close relations between Indian schools and nearby universities, such as already has been begun at Haskell Institute. Perhaps the most obvious example of the lack of utilization of the modern testing movement is in connection with the annual examinations. If examinations are to be used at all in this way, they should at least be formulated in accord with modern principles. A staff person at Washington familiar with measurement procedure could straighten out this testing business and direct considerable valuable work in the schools by teachers and other workers.
Emotional Behavior and Teaching Methods. Recently efforts to analyze and measure "mental ability," or intelligence in the restricted sense, have been supplemented by a very great interest in understanding other elements in the lives of human beings that are usually described as "emotional behavior" and "personality." Although the terms may be subject to criticism, there can be no question as to the significance of the thing itself. Important though it is that human society should be interested in "intelligence" in the narrow sense, and especially make better opportunities for gifted children than it now does, the fact remains that for the everyday concerns of life, emotional reactions are much more important. Unless teaching methods take these into account they cannot succeed in the fundamental educational task of affecting human behavior to better ends. Members of the survey staff were struck with the fact that this is particularly the case with regard to Indians, but that Indian schools and those in charge of Indian affairs generally have given almost no attention to the problems that are involved. Nearly every boarding school visited furnished disquieting illustrations of failure to understand the underlying principles of human behavior. Punishments of the most harmful sort are bestowed in sheer ignorance, often in a sincere attempt to be of help. Routinization is the one method used for everything; though all that we know indicates its weakness as a method in education. If there were any real knowledge of how human beings are developed through their behavior, we should not have in the Indian boarding schools the mass movements from dormitory to dining room, from dining room to classroom, from classroom back again, all completely controlled by external authority; we should hardly have children from the smallest to the largest of both sexes lined up in military formation; and we would certainly find a better way of handling boys and girls than to lock the door to the fire-escape of the girls' dormitory.
Methods Depend Upon Personnel. Teachers already in service can be helped to better teaching methods to some extent, but in the end the problem of method comes back again to that of personnel. Teachers prepared in the better teachers' colleges and schools of education would not have to be told that there are more scientific methods than are now used in Indian schools. Their training would lead them to keep constantly in touch with educational journals and other sources of information on changes in education. If, in turn, the principals of schools were better equipped they would know how to direct more effectively the efforts of teachers who already understand better methods. And unless the administration of the Indian jurisdiction is in the hands of a superintendent sufficiently trained to understand how to let qualified technicians in health, education, and social work do their own work, even properly equipped employees cannot carry on their activities effectively. The matter reaches still further back, of course, to the office at Washington. With staff specialists constantly in touch with educational changes, ready to advise and encourage in experimentation and prepared to help teachers keep alive on developments, newer methods are bound to come. It is significant that the few signs of better methods in the Indian schools are in those fields, namely in domestic arts and in nursing, where there is the beginning of professional aid at the central office.
Industrial and Agricultural Education. The first need in industrial and agricultural education in Indian schools is a survey to find out what Indian young people are doing when they get out of school and what the occupational opportunities for them are. This involves a study of new industries as well as the adaptation of old ones, and the establishment of a training program based upon the findings. The Course of Study and the literature generally of the Indian Office insist that Indian education is essentially "vocational," and "vocational guidance" is regarded as "of such great moment that each school is directed to establish a vocational guidance committee which shall consist of the superintendent as chairman and not less than three other members appointed by him." Actually, however, very little of the work provided in Indian boarding schools is directly vocational in the sense that it is aimed at a specific vocation which the youngster is to pursue or based upon a study of known industrial opportunities, and vocational direction in the form of proper guidance, placement, and follow-up hardly exists at all.
Need for Industrial Survey. It is axiomatic in modern education that any industrial training program must be rooted in economic life. All the worthwhile vocational programs which eventuated in the basic federal legislation of 1916, the Smith-Hughes Act, were preceded by vocational surveys of states and local communities to determine what the occupations were for which training could most profitably be given, and programs adopted since have been similarly based upon real economic situations. No such industrial inventory has preceded or accompanied the vocational training of the Indian schools. This is not because the field man of the service or the Washington office have failed to recognize the necessary tie-up between education and industry. Indeed, Commissioners of Indian Affairs have generally shown enlightenment on this point, and at the present time one of the supervisors in the field is deservedly known for his emphasis upon a practical economic basis for the whole education scheme. Failure to make the requisite industrial survey is due in part to the fact that the program was adopted before the practice of preliminary occupational study was established; in part to the fact that the present vocational program is inextricably tied up with institutional needs, and production in terms of the institution itself is all that can be considered; and in still larger part to the absence of properly equipped personnel that has been repeatedly referred to in this report.
Types of Training in the Schools. A glance at some of the work activities of the boarding schools will illustrate the need for a more thorough understanding of vocational possibilities. Harness making is still carried on in many of the schools; in at least one school visited there was harness making but no automobile mechanics. It is true that recently shoe-repair machinery has been introduced into the harness shops in the effort to replace the vanishing trade of harness making with that of shoe repairing, but even here there will be little likelihood of vocational success unless careful preliminary study is made to determine what the actual opportunities are in shoe repairing and unless supervision and direct help can be provided to the young Indian in setting up in business. Again, a good deal of excellent printing work is done at a few of the schools, in some cases under well-prepared printing instructors using modern material. In this case the weakness is not due so much to lack of proper instruction or materials, or even to excessive quantity productionthough this is a difficulty in some instancesbut to the fact that no efforts have been made to make the necessary contacts outside. The printing trades are highly organized, and, however good a craftsman the Indian printer may be, unless the way is paved for him to enter union ranks through regular apprenticeship, his way is made unnecessarily hard. The situation is particularly difficult because of the sensitive nature of the Indian and his lack of the aggressive qualities that would make a certain type of white man fight for his place even against handicapping labor conditions. Very few of the many Indians trained in printing are found actually earning their living in the printing trades.
Vocational Agriculture. From some points of view, agriculture is the most important vocation for which Indian schools could give vocational training. It is already the occupation of the majority of Indians; the schools usually have land; and the Indian himself generally has an opportunity to apply on his own land what he learns in school. On the other hand, agriculture at an Indian school is rarely taught in terms of what the Indian boy will need when he gets out. The old notion persists that farming is a desirable occupation into which more people should be sent, whereas the Department of Agriculture has recently issued warnings to the effect that there are already too many persons engaged in certain kinds of agriculture; but in Indian schools institutional needs for farm products are so immediately pressing that production becomes almost the only aim.
Even schools that have unusually good dairy herds and other stock are unable under present conditions to utilize them to the extent they should for agricultural instruction. Poultry-raising, for example, is almost always taught, not as a possible business or as a supplement to the usual farmer's resources, but as an enterprise directly necessary for the maintenance of the institution, the students merely doing the chores connected with it. At one school, Chilocco, the important step has been taken of furnishing a limited number of boys with enough land apiece to reproduce individual farm management conditions, but even here it has not been possible to press the opportunity to the point where this might become a thoroughly workable vocational agricultural project.
The fact that practically all the school farm, dairy, and poultry work is done as part of the common task with no visible financial returnso that the Indian boys and girls never get the fundamental relation of labor and ability to livewould further vitiate it as vocational training, even if other conditions were improved. Some plan of payment for services, with purchase by the student of at least clothes and food, would make the work much more real, though even here the risk of mere production rather than vocational training would have to be avoided.
The difficulty goes back once more to the question of personnel. One or two schools have managed to secure properly qualified agricultural teachers with agricultural college training, but on the whole the school farmers are seldom any better equipped than are agency farmers as teachers of agriculture. The legal requirement whereby presidents or deans of agricultural colleges are supposed to certify as to the ability of the candidate to teach "practical agriculture" is almost worthless as far as securing agricultural teachers is concerned.
Some of the supervisors and others in the Service have realized the necessity of making the agricultural instruction meet definitely the requirements of particular regions. General gardening crops, poultry, and milk cows are a few types of agriculture found almost universally, though instruction in them would necessarily vary somewhat from place to place. On the other hand, special regional opportunities exist that need to be studied for given schools and localitiesfruits in California; cotton in Oklahoma and in the Yuma country; corn at Winnebago, Fort Peck, Fort Hall, and elsewhere; alfalfa in Oklahoma at Winnebago, Pine Ridge and Rosebud, Fort Belknap, and Yakima; wheat among the Papagos at Winnebago and among the Crows; and cattle, sheep, and goats at numerous places. This is in no sense intended as a complete or even accurate listing of agricultural opportunities, but rather to indicate the necessity of careful study of each locality by agricultural experts as the basis for a training program at a particular school. In certain cases, notably at Sacaton, it is possible to secure directly the valuable aid of Department of Agriculture experimental farms. No general farm program of the sort at present attempted in most boarding schools will get very far in solving the problem of genuine vocational training in agriculture.
Vocational Training for Girls. The work opportunities of an Indian school offer few opportunities for specific vocational training for girls. In recent years the schools have wisely decided against individual laundry and kitchen methods in favor of machine methods for getting the institutional labor done, but this of necessity removes both vocational and home-use values from it. Home economics courses are beginning to approach good standards for home training, however, in some instances for work that may be regarded as specifically vocational. The contrast between the valuable home economics work in some of the better schools and the mere drudgery of the institution is often striking. An honest superintendent will show the visitor the excellent work done in sewing, for example, under the home economics department, and next take him to the room where garment-making and garment repair of the old-fashioned uneconomical type are going on at a great rate.5 He will say frankly that this is production only, with no educational value, and he will admit that he would throw it out of his school instantly if he had the chance.
In a few schools millinery has made something of a place as a type of vocational training. In one school embroidery of Indian designs suggests possibilities. In at least one school, Navajo rug weaving has been put on a real basis, with a qualified native weaver in charge, and the head of the school expressed himself as eager to do the same thing with pottery making, if he could get a good pottery maker as teacher. Study of women's opportunities as a basis for a training program by people who know the educational and marketing factors involved would undoubtedly lead to other types of vocational training for women. Nursing is recommended as a vocation by many physicians and others who have observed Indian girls in this type of work. The tendency to train Indian girls largely for domestic service has unfortunate features that are mentioned more particularly in the chapter dealing with women's work.6
Variety of Occupations Necessary. On the whole the range of vocational opportunities in Indian schools is singularly limited. In addition to those so far mentioned, carpentry and mason work find a place. Some of the work in building trades is creditable; a few good-looking buildings in the Indian service were built entirely by Indian school boys. The eight or ten occupations that are found at the very best schools, however, are only a small fraction of the hundreds or even thousands of distinctive vocations that are represented in modern industrial life. Indians themselves are represented in a surprisingly large number of gainful occupations. Data supplied by 16,534 pupils in Indian schools regarding the employment of their fathers showed that 10,011 of them are engaged in agriculture as "farmers" or "ranchers." The next largest group was laborers, 856, followed by carpenters, 151, railroad employees, 142, and lumbermen 138, with the rest scattered among some eighty-six distinctive occupations.
It is not expected, of course, that each Indian boarding school should have within its own campus training opportunities for all or even a large number of these various occupations. It is customary in modern vocational programs to do at the school certain basic work in wood and metal that is not itself vocational, but preliminary to vocation; and then to supplement the few vocations that can be trained for at the school with a cooperative training plan arranged with the adult world outside. As a recent writer on curriculum puts it:
This is often the easier method of the two, because of the frequent practical impossibility of transferring the actual responsibility to the schools. As a result of this recognition we are substituting home gardening for training purposes for the old ineffective school-gardening; the home-project type of agriculture for the school farm; and part-time work in shops, stores, offices, etc., for mere drill exercises in school shops and commercial rooms.7
Half-Time and Vocational Training. The claim is sometimes made that the half-time plan in use in Indian boarding schools is essentially the same as the "cooperative" part-time plan of vocational training just referred to. Admittedly an external resemblance exists between the Indian program and the plans in use at the University of Cincinnati and many technical colleges and secondary schools, in that students under this plan spend half their time at school and half at work on an alternating scheme. Fundamental differences, however, exist between this and the Indian program. In the first place, the plan is specific vocational training carried on with relatively mature secondary school or college studentsnever below ninth grade. The work under all these plans is, moreover, carried on outside the school under genuine employment conditions; and, above all, a careful plan of coordination has been worked out between the school and industry, whereby a well-trained educational official known as a "coordinator" sees to it that the "work" and the "education" are related to each other, and that the work opportunities are genuinely educational. Even in the Antioch plan, where the objective is "general" rather than "vocational" education, these three conditions are carefully met. They are almost never met in an Indian school, where the children are too young or too backward in school to have any general educational background, where occupational conditions are artificial, if not archaic, and where there is almost no effort at educational coordination.
Even under those conditions where an internal half-time plan has been most carefully worked out in an Indian school, as at Haskell, in the case of business training, nursing, and teacher training, it has apparently proved necessary to operate it in such a way that vital features are missing: The business material on which the students practice is necessarily limited to the operations of the school or to artificial materials furnished for instructional purposes and with no real experience actually in outside business; the general education behind the nursing course is lower than standard requirements call for; and in the case of teacher training, young teachers from Haskell will find themselves eligible only for Indian schools or for other positions having low certification requirements, unless the training can be erected definitely into something beyond secondary school grade. These forms of training hold out a very real promise, however, and it is to be hoped that they can be developed in the light of what has been said with regard to the necessity for higher standards.
In order to make the half-time program of the Indian boarding school approximate successful cooperative part-time plans of vocational training elsewhere, it will be necessary to investigate outside occupations where Indian boys and girls might find a place; to confine the plan to older and more advanced students for whom a specific period of vocational training is clearly the next step; and to employ as directors and teachers of trades persons professionally trained for such work at least to the level of federally aided public vocational schools of secondary grade. Employment in real adult situations outside would also bring payment for actual service, thereby giving part of the much-needed reality that is lacking in a school where pupils work but are not paid for working and cannot see the relation between labor and life.
The Outing System. The nearest approach in the Indian Service to the cooperative part-time plan is the so-called "outing system," which, originally established at the old Carlisle School, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, is still praised by graduates of that institution wherever one finds them. Its possibilities for specific vocational training have hardly ever been given a fair trial. Whatever it may have been in the past, at present the outing system is mainly a plan for hiring out boys for odd jobs and girls for domestic service, seldom a plan for providing real vocational training.
Values for Indian boys and girls quite beyond those of ordinary vocational training might be found in some modification of the outing system, if it could be administered as part of a coordinated program of education and placement by trained vocational people. It might help materially to bridge the gap between school and life, in particular aiding the Indian to overcome the personality handicaps that interfere seriously with his employment possibilities. The old Carlisle plan, if the recollections of those who took part in it are to be trusted, was specially strong in this, that it brought Indian boys and girls into touch with better types of whites and gave them confidence in their ability to get along with other people out in everyday life. It is certainly true that some of the most successful Indians met with are those who were on the outing system at Carlisle or had similar training at Hampton Institute.
Vocational Guidance, Placement, and Follow-up. Vocational guidance needs are rightly stressed in the Indian Service course of study, but the one thing necessary to realize the aims there set forth, trained personnel, is lacking. The public school systems that have set up successful programs of guidance and placement have been particularly careful to put only trained people in charge of the work, university graduates with special preparation. The field is an unusually difficult and delicate one. Whatever is done in the Indian Service should not only be national in scope, under the direction of a staff technician who knows vocational opportunities nationally and can work with the various other federal agencies engaged in placement, but should also be carried out by subordinates in the field who have had the requisite training in occupations.
Indian Service experience in this type of work so far has been exceedingly unfortunate. For example, as a result of lack of professional handling of vocational guidance and placement, Indian school children as young as 11 years of age have been sent to the beet fields of Colorado and Kansas. The official circular from the Phoenix office of the Indian Service, under date of March 24, 1927, describes this work in the beet fields as "light work, though tedious." The beet thinning, the circular explains, "is all done in stooping over or on the hands and knees." "Small boys are very well-adapted to this work, and it can be done very nicely by the boy of from 13 to 14 years of age." "It is preferred to take boys of only school age." In some cases the date of beginning is several weeks before the close of school. No escorts are sent with the boys, experience having shown, says the circular, that the older Indian boys are better for this task than an employee. The piece-work system prevails. The boys have to pay one of their number as foreman, and another as cook; they are charged a dollar a season for the company hoes they use in thinning the beets and a dollar a month for hospital, and they have to "find" their own groceries, fuel, and clothes. They are charged $20 for transportation to and from the fields in the Government Transportation Unit trucks, and precautions are taken to have good equipment and drivers so that "if an accident occurs it will be simply a matter of regret and not of remorse."8
No one familiar with employment conditions can read official statements like this without realizing the dangers of placement work for Indians in the hands of persons who, however excellent their intentions, have so little conception of the right relation between education and industry.
Education and Economic Wealth. One of the arguments that was most effective in securing the passage by Congress of the Smith-Hughes Vocational Educational Act of 1916 was that which indicated the definite relation between education and economic wealth. It has been shown repeatedly that effective development of economic resources is almost directly dependent upon programs of training. The Indian population of the United States is particularly in need of the kind of vocational training that will lead directly to increased wealth. As shown in the chapter on economic conditions of this report, the case of a very few well-to-do Indians has obscured the fact that on the whole Indians are in a bad economic situation. They need to have education applied to such resources as they have. A comprehensive program to this end would include, besides the school vocational training already suggested, a study of the special industrial opportunities in certain regions, similar to the sheep and goat enterprises recommended by Supervisor Faris; a marketing scheme for genuine Indian products, such as Navajo rugs and Hopi pottery, that will preserve the original craft values and yet give the Indians the full benefit of their skill and creative genius; a utilization of part of Indian capital resources, oil and lumber, in particular, for permanent support of education after tribal capital is gone; and especially the kind of community adult education in agriculture that forms part of such efforts as the "Five-year Program" described elsewhere in this report.
Health Education. One of the most helpful signs in recent Indian school administration is the interest shown in health education. The Indian Office has shown a commendable desire to put into the schools a health education program based on the recommendations of such national agencies as the American Child Health Association, the National Tuberculosis Association, and the American Junior Red Cross, and many teachers have sincerely tried to carry out the directions as to weight charts, diet suggestions, and other aids applicable to the school room. The program has, however, fallen down almost everywhere in actual practice because the unsatisfactory school plant and the meager food and milk supply nearly always negative any health instruction given in the classroom.
Health Conditions at the Schools. The deplorable health conditions at most of the schools have been sufficiently described in the chapter on Health of this report.9 Old buildings, often kept in use long after they should have been pulled down, and admittedly bad fire-risks in many instances; crowded dormitories; conditions of sanitation that are usually perhaps as good as they can be under the circumstances, but certainly below accepted standards; boilers and machinery out-of-date and in some instances unsafe, to the point of having long since been condemned, but never replaced; many medical officers who are of low standards of training and relatively unacquainted with the methods of modern medicine, to say nothing of health education for children; lack of milk sufficient to give children anything like the official "standard" of a quart per child per day, almost none of the fresh fruits and vegetables that are recommended as necessary in the menus taught to the children in the classroom; the serious malnutrition, due to the lack of food and use of wrong foods; schoolrooms seldom showing knowledge of modern principles of lighting and ventilating; lack of recreational opportunities, except athletics for a relatively small number in the larger schools; an abnormally long day, which cuts to a dangerous point the normal allowance for sleep and rest, especially for small children; and the generally routinized nature of the institutional life with its formalism in classrooms, its marching and dress parades, its annihilation of initiative, its lack of beauty, its almost complete negation of normal family life, all of which have disastrous effects upon mental health and the development of wholesome personality: These are some of the conditions that make even the best classroom teaching of health ineffective. Building up of health habits is at the basis of any genuine health educational program, and right health habits cannot develop where all the surroundings pull the other way. Some conspicuous exceptions, of course, must be noted to this general indictment: a few schools where there is milk in abundance; possibly one or two where most of the buildings are in good condition; and an occasional one where the children show the effect of natural human handling and are not as restrained and shy as they usually are. In almost no case, however, could a reasonably clean bill of health be given to any one school. It happens that a school with one of the finest-looking plants in the service is at the same time one of the least satisfactory in the physical condition of its children and in routinization; and in one school, that is conspicuous for its delightful handling of orphan children, the school authorities recently stopped testing their water supply because it regularly showed contamination.
What Should be Included in a Health Education Program. The recommendations of a group of health education experts who studied conditions in a number of medium-sized communities in 1925 for the American Child Health Association were as follows:
1. Every community should provide at least once in the course of the school career a thorough and complete physical examination of every school child. This examination should be educational in its character, interpreted to parent and teacher, carefully followed up by nurses and teachers to secure maximum results.
2. The school medical service should recognize the importance of standardizing the physical examination procedure so as to make possible the comparison of findings and results.
3. Health training and instruction should be developed in a manner to interest the pupils and to maintain a balance between sound basic instruction and stimulation of proper habit formation.
4. School buildings should be built and maintained with due regard for the hygiene of the school child. Items demanding particular attention are:
As shown more in detail in the chapter on Health, Indian schools do not meet the minimum standards here suggested, largely because they have not had the personnel or the necessary funds.
A program that can be readily adapted to Indian schools if requisite medical and other personnel can be provided is that of the United States Bureau of Education, which covers nearly a score of points: (1) Thorough physical and mental examination at school entrance, in the presence of a teacher and parent; (2) individual health training throughout all the grades; (3) weighing and measuring school children regularly and sending records home to the parents; (4) arousing pleasure in teaching health habits; (5) using every school opportunity, as cleanliness of blackboards, for example; (6) daily inspection by teacher or committee of pupils; (7) enlisting cooperation of parents and the rest of the community; (8) connecting health teaching with citizenship; (9) physical exercise and play, with adequate play space; (10) mental hygiene; (11) school physician, but emphasizing vigorous health rather than disease; (12) school nurses; (13) standards of promotion dependent in part upon correction of remediable defects; (14) teacher to exemplify perfect cheerfulness and health; (15) special health classes for malnourished children; (16) domestic science courses for health teaching; (17) school furnitureadjustable and adjusted; (18) eye and ear care; (19) care of teeth in every grade.
Physical Education and Recreation. Modern emphasis in physical education is upon the recreational and play-type of activity rather than upon the formal and military. In accordance with this principle, playground apparatus has been installed at Indian schools and directions have been issued from the Washington office intended to provide recreational opportunities for all school children. Lack of qualified personnel, however, has made it possible to develop this program only partially. The result is that Indian schools for the most part have as the only system of physical training applicable to all pupils a scheme of military drilling that is largely obsolete even in Army training camps. Whatever the advantages of military drill for boys of high school age (and this is a controverted matter even among military experts), few advocates of military training would find any value for girls and little children in the formal type of drill insisted upon in most Indian boarding schools. Fortunately, in actual practice the rigors of this drilling are often considerably modified, especially in smaller schools, but it does seem as if the necessary financial support might be given to making the physical education and recreation program more nearly in accord with modern educational practice.
One of the advantages of the work-study-play or platoon plan as carried out in public school systems is that it makes a definite place for play and recreation as an integral part of education. The larger Indian boarding schools have developed athletics extensively, but it is almost wholly athletics of the specialist type, in which only the "star" athletes, or those approaching stardom sufficiently to make the first teams, have any chance at participation. Senior girls at one of the large schools, when asked what present lack of their school they would like best to have met, spoke almost unanimously in favor of play space for tennis and other sports for girls. Instead of play space, play time, and recreational athletic opportunities for all pupils, the larger Indian schools emphasize first-team athletics of the spectacular sort, accompanied in some cases by the evils American athletic leaders are trying hard to eliminate. Haskell Institute, for example, has been harboring athletes of the most dubious kind; and while the administration of the school has cleaned up the worst part of the situation, the school has apparently continued to feel under the necessity of deliberately "recruiting" athletes for its teams the present year. The presence of an elaborate stadium in an institution distressingly in need of other educational features can doubtless be defended, but it seems a pity that at a time when both private and public colleges and schools everywhere in the United States are engaged in a clean-up of athletics the national government, in one of the few educational institutions for which it is directly responsible, should openly countenance the abuses of a previous athletic period. Haskell and other Indian schools should as soon as possible adopt the standards of other schools in respect to eligibility. Many desirable and practical methods are now available for carrying on athletics without the old abuses, such as, for example, a program of athletic participation of all students, boys and girls; physical education under competent medical and athletic direction; scouting, both for boys and girls, and other outside activities. Haskell's beginning in the training of physical directors is in the right direction, but even this may prove unfortunate unless the work is on a sufficiently high level to get beyond the present undesirable methods.
Religious Education. Religious education is in a sense the basis of all education, should permeate all. "We find a consensus of opinion that religion, being a vital experience, is an essential factor in education, and that no development of skill or knowledge can compensate for lack of religion," says a recent statement by a representative interdenominational committee. For the Indian this is especially important, since he has an attitude of reverence to begin with. That the government should have endeavored to meet the religious need is therefore natural and commendable; that the religious education provided should have shown so little success is hardly the fault of the government, but can be traced to failure on the part of religious organizations to apply to the Indian situation methods they have found successful in other fields, to the relatively poor type of religious worker supplied on so many reservations, and to inability on the part of many missionaries to connect religion with Indian life in any real way. Exceptions are found, of course, but in the main the religious education of the Indian has been anything but successful from whatever point of view it is examined.
Types of Religious Education. Some experienced leaders in religious education would attribute the comparative ineffectiveness of religious education among Indians to a too great dependence by the missionaries upon the purely preaching and evangelistic side of their work as compared with the practice of everyday Christianity. The point will perhaps be clearer if one realizes that most kinds of education sooner or later pass through three stages: one of "information" and sermonizing; a second, devoted mainly to habit formation; and a third combining information, habit, and attitude to make what might be termed the stage of discriminating choice," where right conduct results from a well-reasoned decision to do the right thing. To illustrate from another field, health education was at one time largely taught in the purely informational way, on the erroneous assumption that knowledge of what is right in health necessarily leads to right action in health matters. This has recently been followed by an emphasis upon the building up of health habits in young children, as part and parcel of their everyday lives, leading eventually to a sound structure of habit and attitude in adults throughout life. Leaders in religious education make the same point with regard to religion, and recent experience in religious education has tended to emphasize the direct practice of fundamental religious principles through everyday activities rather than dependence upon the information type of instruction alone. In accordance with this principle, the more significant work of missions generally in recent years has combined with the original evangelistic message practical exemplification of the religious life in hospitals, schools, and social service. Among Indians, however, much of the missionary work is still almost exclusively confined to the purely evangelistic side. Thus at one school visited, the children attended religious services for two hours Wednesday evenings, two hours Thursday evenings10 and twice on Sunday. Even the fact that the preaching was better than average cannot save this type of religious education from defeating its own purpose, especially with the compulsory attendance feature that is attached. The boys and girls of this and other Indian schools need a real program of religious education, which would include relatively little forced church-going and Sunday-school attendance but a large amount of scouting, club work, and other activities that will help make religion part of their daily lives and connect with their homes. Few of the missionaries on the Indian field are equipped by training or experience to make the personal and community contacts that are essential in a modern program.
Missions and a Social Viewpoint. Pioneer Indian missionaries, both Catholic and Protestant, were conspicuous for their ability to live with the Indian people, know the lives of individual Indians, and build on what they found. This is the reason, doubtless, why some of the best missionary education still seen among Indians is the direct continuation of their work. Judged educationally, current religious efforts among Indians fall down at precisely this point; knowing little of Indian religion or life, many missionaries begin on the erroneous theory that it is first of all necessary to destroy what the Indian has, rather than to use what he has as a starting point for something else. The fact that some of the denominations have apparently sent to many Indian jurisdictions weaker-than-average workers brings it about that instead of the broad handling of the religious background that one finds on other mission fields, involving recognition and even appreciation of the religious impulses and traditions of a people, the Indian missionary is only too likely to be a person who, however honest his intentions and earnest his zeal (and there are places in the Indian field where even these must be questioned), puts most of his energies into non-essentials. One finds him fighting tribal ceremonies without really knowing whether they are good or bad, interfering with the innocent amusements of agency employees, or fussing over matters affecting mainly his own convenience. It is hardly to be wondered that, after many years of work, this type of missionary has little to show in building up personal character among Indians or developing the religious life of the community.
Here again one must admit some striking exceptions. Certain women missionaries have carried out the best traditions of their calling in healing the sick and caring for the unfortunate; three or four Catholic and Protestant mission schools show a better knowledge of underlying human nature than any government schools; in one or two places mission efforts have outdone all others in getting at the essential economic life; one or two missionaries have caught the spirit of community houses, home visiting, and other types of social service; but they are few and far between.
It is here that the churches have a special opportunity. One of the greatest needs of Indian education is for community workers with family case work training and experience for service between school and home. As Indian education becomes more and more a home and community task, rather than a boarding school task, it will be necessary to have high-grade field workers of the visiting-teacher type to supply what many public schools are not yet ready to furnish and help build up the normal family life that has been all but destroyed under the boarding school policy. The churches have done something of this sort in a few urban localities; they could do an important pioneer service by undertaking it with Indians.
Adult Education. No educational program is complete that does not include efforts to reach adults as well as children. This is especially true with Indians, where the rate of adult illiteracy is abnormally high, where economic salvation is largely dependent upon better agricultural methods, where health conditions are serious, and where a boarding school policy in education has tended to leave the adult members of the family isolated from necessary social change.
Elimination of Illiteracy. Elimination of illiteracy among adults, while a difficult task anywhere, is no more impossible with Indians than with other groups in the population. It can be accomplished by such methods as have been worked out in the mountains of Kentucky, in the adult day schools of South Carolina, in evening schools in cities, in industrial corporations, in the army training camps during war time, and in prisons. The principles and technique are now available, and any determined effort by the government would have the assistance of organizations like the "National Illiteracy Crusade," which is especially interested in Indian illiteracy, and the various states where campaigns of illiteracy have been carried on in recent years. Experiments already undertaken on Blackfeet and at Cass Lake show what can be done with Indians. Some of the states would be especially glad to cooperate with the national government in this work, since in some instances Indians remain the one single group to be reached. North Dakota, for example, reduced its illiteracy rate to two-tenths of one percent as the result of efforts put forth between 1924 and 1926, and many of the nearly three thousand illiterates not yet reached when this report was made are Indians. Only a small amount of money would be needed to wipe out a large part of the illiteracy among Indians, but the work would have to be directed from the Washington office by someone acquainted with modern methods in adult education.
Illiteracy is only one part of adult education, of course. Mere literacy is not education. Just as with the three R's in elementary education, ability to read and write among adults is only a tool, though a necessary tool. In the case of adult Indians, as some of the workers in Superintendent Campbell's "Five-year Program" discovered, the most valuable result of eliminating illiteracy is the element of encouragement it provides. It removes one more barrier; it makes the adult Indian feel that he is accomplishing something; it helps overcome a sense of inferiority that can become fatal to all progress.
Other Forms of Adult Education. Some of the more important forms of adult education that need to be provided for Indians are those that affect directly home and community. The work of the field matron in the Indian Service was intended to furnish this, and has undoubtedly done so in a few rare instances. On the whole, however, the low training requirements, poor pay, and lack of intelligent direction have defeated the purpose of the position; too often the field matron has simply been "the wife of the farmer." A few field matrons have, however, shown what can be done by this type of work in improving health and home conditions. Community nurses, social workers accustomed to helping build up families economically and socially, visiting teachers from the schools who influence both home and school: these are indispensable types of adult education that have hardly begun to be provided for Indians. A whole series of problems which seemed to Congress and the states important enough to warrant federal legislation in the Shepherd-Towner Maternity Act for cooperation with the states suggest that something of the same sort should be done for Indians, who need it more than the general population. Here again the work for Indians done in the name of the national government is far behind the standards set up by Congress and operated through other federal agencies.
Community organization of social life for Indians, based upon the principle of participation by Indians themselves, is also a real need. The government has, in effect, destroyed Indian tribal and community life without substituting anything valuable for it. Tribal councils are seldom utilized by the superintendent of an Indian reservation, though they are one of the best natural training schools for citizenship. Indian play and games offer an opportunity for social life that is likely to be both objected to and exploited with almost no effort to find an in-between arrangement that will preserve what is worthwhile and yet interfere, as little as necessary, with work that must be done. One of the most valuable efforts in this direction with Indians is the formation of the "farm chapters" and "women's auxiliaries" that are especially conspicuous in the " Five-year Program," and while the motive for this is largely agricultural education, actually the results enter into every phase of home and family life.
The need for programs of community betterment is not confined to poor Indians on the farms; probably no situation anywhere is more tragic than the wasted lives of most Osage Indians, for whom the government has conserved material wealth but has done nothing else to help them help themselves, where deterioration has clearly set in, and where the only hope is for a social and recreational program that may educate the Osages to want better and more important things, both for themselves and for less wealthy Indians elsewhere in the United States.
Community Participation. Indians do not, as a rule, have even the community participation involved in parent-teacher associations and school-board membership. Most superintendents of reservations and agency employees generally do not understand the fundamental educational principle that the Indian must learn to do things for himself, even if he makes mistakes in the effort. They do not seem to realize that almost no change can be permanent that is imposed from above, that no "progress," so called, will persist and continue if it is not directly the result of the wish and effort of the individual himself. Indians are not fundamentally different from other people in this. Some of the housing plans that look most promising are likely to have this fatal defect: Unless the Indian wants the house himself, and works for it, his occupancy will be short-lived, or he will manage to have poorer health and home conditions than he had in a less-imposing looking dwelling that actually grew out of his own limited needs and the community life. Long experience with housing conditions in cities has demonstrated this principle beyond the shadow of a doubt; it needs very much to be recognized in the Indian Service. The problem is to restore and recreate community life through the Indians' own activities, helped and guided only as far as is absolutely necessary by others.
One superintendent who does understand the educational principle of self-activity as applied to adults as well as to children put it to the Indians of his jurisdiction in the following blunt fashion last spring after a particularly severe snow storm had done considerable damage:
I am more firmly convinced than ever that the solution of the Indian's problem and the welfare of himself and his family rest almost entirely with him. I want to put this fact before you as forcibly as possible; the Indian must accept his responsibility. He must meet the situation, must do the best he can with what he has. It is his only salvation. There is no other way out. Neither the efforts of the Indian office nor myself will avail, unless the Indian himself realizes the gravity of the situation and makes an effort.
That adults Indians will rise to appeals like this is evident from comments by Indians of the Blackfeet tribe on the "Five-year Program"; "Bear Head spoke about not working but waiting," said one. "If we wait we get nowhere. Let us work and get somewhere." Said another: "I tell my children to do all they can for the Five-year Program. It is all we have to fall back on. I urged my people this year to work hard to get stock to build root cellars. I advised them not to depend upon their big claim alone, but to work and supply their own homes."
The principle of participation applies to all Indian activities. It applies to plans for community centers, which are far more a matter of individual and group activity under competent leadership than of buildings. It applies to schemes for giving returned students special opportunities on the reservations, which will profit by frank discussion in which all concerned can take part. And one of the chief values of the corporate plan for managing tribal affairs discussed elsewhere in this report is the training it would afford for undertaking responsibility in business and other matters.
The Non-Reservation Boarding School. Although the present Indian Office policy rightly favors elimination of small children from the non-reservation boarding schools and the admission of Indian children wherever possible to public day schools, the boarding school, especially the non-reservation school, is still the most prominent feature of Government Indian education. Of the 69,892 Indian children reported by the Indian Office as enrolled in some kind of schools in 1926, 27,361, or slightly less than two-fifths, were in government and other boarding schools; and of the 26,659 enrolled in government schools, 22,099, or more than four-fifths, were in boarding schools, about evenly divided between non-reservation and reservation schools. The opening of the new school at Fort Wingate, New Mexico, this year increases the number of non-reservation boarding schools from eighteen to nineteen. Among no other people, so far as is known, are as large a proportion of the total number of children of school age located in institutions away from their homes as among Indians under the boarding school policy.
Place of the Non-Reservation School. Whatever the necessity may once have been, the philosophy underlying the establishment of Indian boarding schools, that the way to "civilize" the Indian is to take Indian children, even very young children, as completely as possible away from their home and family life, is at variance with modern views of education and social work, which regard home and family as essential social institutions from which it is generally undesirable to uproot children.11 "One who has observed the devastating effect of the large congregate institution or of the crowded classroom upon the personality of children," says a leading authority on social case work, "begins to understand somewhat better the relation of natural ties, of affection and undivided attention to the normal development of the human being." This is particularly true of the non-reservation boarding school.
It does not follow that non-reservation boarding schools should be immediately abandoned, but the burden of proof rests heavily upon proposals to establish new ones, or to add to the numbers of pupils in existing schools. As quickly as possible the non-reservation boarding schools should be reserved for pupils above sixth grade, and probably soon thereafter for pupils of ninth grade and above. This would leave local schoolspublic schools wherever possible, government day schools or even small boarding schools where no other arrangement can be madeto take care of all elementary schooling. Indian parents nearly everywhere ask to have their children during the early years, and they are right. The regrettable situations are not those of Indians who want their children at home, but of those who do not, and there is apparently a growing class of Indian parents who have become so used to being fed and clothed by the government that they are glad to get rid of the expense and care of their children by turning them over to the boarding school.
Entirely too many children are already crowded into the non-reservation boarding schools. Many of the schools regularly enroll one-fifth more than their rated capacity, and the "rated capacity" of an Indian school is in excess of ordinary standards. Members of the survey staff were repeatedly told at schools with a rated capacity of around 850 that it was the practice to enroll a thousand or more, even if there was no place to put them, so that the average attendance would meet the requirements for securing the necessary Congressional appropriation. If this is true, the situation should be clearly presented to the Budget Bureau and to Congress, so that better methods of financing may be adopted.
Furthermore, more and more Indian children are coming along for junior and senior high school work, and even if the non-reservation boarding schools were to continue indefinitely on their present enrollment basis, for which there would be no excuse, they would find they had large numbers of older children to replace the smaller grade pupils. But it is admittedly quite possible and desirable, so far as the great mass of Indian boys and girls are concerned, that we should look forward to a time not far distant when special United States boarding schools for Indian children, as such, will be no more needed than would special United States boarding schools for Italian children, or for German children, or for Spanish children.
Special Opportunities. The non-reservation boarding schools have, however, other opportunities than merely housing and providing schooling for children above the elementary grades. Each of the non-reservation schools should be studied to see what its possibilities are as a special school. Haskell Institute has for some time been making a commendable effort to see its task as one for bringing together widely different Indian racial strains and for undertaking higher training in certain fields. Chilocco is specializing in agriculture in a hopeful fashion. Albuquerque is starting to capitalize the arts and crafts of the Indians of the Southwest. These are examples of what needs to be done for all the placescareful study in the light of the whole Indian population to see what particular contribution each school might make to Indian progress through education. One of the tasks in the inauguration of a comprehensive vocational training program for Indians would be to examine the resources of each school to see what vocational training it could best take on. Rather than to have a number of schools all going in rather heavily for printing, for example (assuming that printing after investigation proves to be a practicable vocation for school training), one or two might specialize in it, and Indian boys wishing to learn the trade thoroughly would know where to go for it.
Some of these schools might well become special schools for distinctive groups of children: For the mentally defective who are beyond the point of ordinary home and school care; for trachoma or tuberculosis groups, such as are already under treatment at one of the reservation schools; for extreme "behavior problem" cases, thereby relieving the general boarding schools from a certain number of their pupils whose record is that of delinquents, who complicate unnecessarily the discipline problem, and for whom special treatment is clearly indicated. In addition, there will for a long time to come be a need for schools for children who come from reservations without economic possibilities or from socially submerged homes. Eventually, Indians should have this kind of care in state institutions, or under state placement arrangements; but there are still states where Indian children would not have a fair opportunity, where even now they are completely forgotten in the limbo of national and state concern for Indians, and where Indian children will need special attention. It is said that a large proportion of the children in the Mt. Pleasant School, for example, are orphans for whom it would be exceedingly difficult to reconstruct any kind of home life.
Needed Changes. While non-reservation boarding schools are not the place for young children, there is an admitted value for older children quite apart from the special opportunities here suggested, namely, in furnishing new contacts and in adjusting adolescents to conditions different from those found on the reservation or within the narrow boundaries of the community or the tribe. If the schools are to be what they should be in this and other respects, however, very great improvements will have to be made. Almost without exception Indian boarding schools are "institutional" to an extreme degree. This is especially true of those non-reservation boarding schools that have upwards of a thousand students, where the numbers and general stiffness of the organization create problems that would be bad in any school but are especially serious in Indian schools. Much more attention should be given to boys and girls as individuals rather than in the mass. This will necessitate rooms for two to four students, for example, rather than the immense open dormitory system that prevails so generally; much more adequate health care than is now provided; smaller classes; less of the marching and regimentation that look showy to the outside visitor but hide real dangers; better qualified teachers, matrons, and other workers.
Comment has already been made upon the low training standards of boarding school employees. One advantage the non-reservation schools have in this respect is that they are better located and have more prestige than reservation boarding schools and, therefore, attract a somewhat better type of person, but lack of training is still conspicuous in the ignorance with which sex problems are handled; in the failure to understand even the rudiments of modern treatment of behavior difficulties; in the constant violations of children's personalityopening pupil's mail from home, for example. Boarding schools should experiment with the cottage plan and other possibilities for overcoming the very bad features of institutionalism which are present in an extraordinary degree in non-reservation boarding schools.
The Returned Student. The problem of the "returned student" is mainly a problem of the non-reservation boarding school. The theory held by some that Indians should be "civilized" by removing them completely from their own environment in childhood has already been described in preceding paragraphs as erroneous. To carry it out with some show of success, however, an elaborate program of guidance, placement, and follow-up would have had to be devised. This was intended to be provided and doubtless was, in part, in the old "outing" system at Carlisle; but at present, with almost no attempt whatever to follow up those who leave the non-reservation boarding school, either before or at graduation, it is a small wonder that tragic situations result.12 To uproot a child from his natural environment without making any effort to teach him how to adjust himself to a new environment, and then send him back to the old, especially with a people at a stage of civilization where the influence of family and home would normally be all-controlling, is to invite disaster. We have learned in all education, and the lesson needs especially to be applied by the government in its handling of Indians, that no educational process is complete with the mere finishing of a certain school or course of study, that for young people the public educational organization must make the transition from school to outside as carefully as possible, only gradually releasing youth to undertake full responsibilities.
Other departments of the national government have already developed methods of handling this problem, and the Indian Service should have the benefit of them. Junior employment service work as carried out in many cities and described by federal agencies in available public documents13 furnishes a necessary basis on which the professional leadership proposed for the Washington office could build up a policy that would have a fair chance to work. Some of the plans already found helpful by various units in the Indian Service should be adequately financed and extended. Among these are the returned students' clubs; the agricultural project at Chilocco, which could easily be transformed into a project covering the Indian's own allotment instead of the school land; and building projects for the housing of groups of returned students in communities where the old traditions are strong and the young people would like to get a fresh start without severing themselves completely from their own kindred and community life.
Reservation Boarding Schools. Many of the statements just made with regard to the non-reservation boarding schools apply to the boarding schools on the reservation, except that not quite such large numbers are involved, and the schools are somewhat nearer to the homes of the Indians. Both of these advantages are offset, however, by the fact that recently the reservation boarding schools have become in some cases as large and unwieldy as many of the non-reservation schools, with even greater lacks in trained teachers and other workers, especially because of their isolation, and the children are often so far away from their homes that there is almost as little opportunity for maintaining family life as in the non-reservation school. A Navajo pupil at Keams Canyon or Tuba City, for example, is, for all practical purposes if not actually, further away from his home than if he were a Chippewa or a Sioux Indian at Pipestone, Flandreau, or any one of the smaller non-reservation schools in Minnesota or the Dakotas.
Place of Reservation Boarding Schools. The number of reservation boarding schools shows a commendable tendency to decrease as public school provision begins to be made. There were only fifty-nine of these schools in 1926, as compared with eighty-five in 1916. The number of pupils has increased, however, without facilities to take care of them having increased in anything like a corresponding manner, the result being that congestion is often worse than at the large schools, and housing and health conditions bad.
Ultimately, most of the boarding schools as at present organized should disappear. There should be no wholesale program for getting rid of them, however; each should be considered in the light of its surroundings and with a view to the part it might play in a comprehensive program of Indian education. It seems quite evident that in some instances boarding schools have already been abandoned where they should probably not have been; and some are still in operation that are of little use. Besides the special opportunities of the sort described under the non-reservation schools, most of which are worthy of consideration for boarding schools on the reservation, there is also the possibility of using some of the boarding school plants, with necessary modifications, as boarding homes, where handicapped or underprivileged children may live, getting necessary home care and special treatment but attending public schools. In some places the idea that needs to be kept in mind is that of the central or consolidated school as developed in many parts of the West and South, where most pupils attend as day pupils but where boarding pupils can also be accommodateda central school with boarding facilities.
Undoubtedly boarding schools will have to continue to be maintained in some localities or at least boarding facilities furnished. The Navajo situation is usually referred to in this connection, and at present boarding accommodations are perhaps the only way; but even here those in charge of Indian education should first of all investigate the possibilities of small day schools, schools with some boarding facilities, and even "itinerant teaching," as used in some parts of the United States, before giving up the idea of something better than a boarding school. Another situation that would seem to require a central school with boarding facilities in addition to local schools is among the Mississippi Choctaws. In general, however, the boarding school as such should be abandoned as rapidly as day schools can be provided.
The changes suggested in the non-reservation boarding schools will have to be made in the smaller boarding schools on the reservation, whether maintained, transformed or eventually abolished. In some cases the public might take over the boarding schools for ordinary public school purposes, but in most cases the government plant is not as good as a local community would insist upon in building a new public school. One advantage that ought to be utilized in improving or modifying these boarding schools is the fact that, even with the distances that prevail on Indian reservations, the reservation boarding school is usually smaller and less institutional, is closer to the parents whose children it has, and has better opportunities for developing normal social life.
Mission Schools. From the earliest times the national government has accepted the cooperation of private citizens and private agencies in many of its activities, and there is no reason why it should not continue to do so in the Indian education enterprise. Without attempting to review the long history of missionary efforts for Indians, it would seem that at the present time mission schools might be justified on at least four different grounds: first, as needed supplementary aid to existing facilities; second, to do pioneer work not so likely to be done by public or government schools; third, to furnish school facilities under denominational auspices for those who prefer this; and fourth, to furnish leadership, especially religious leadership, for the Indian people.
Mission Schools as Pioneers. It should not be necessary to depend much longer upon mission schools for the mere purpose of supplementing public facilities for Indians, whether of the state or nation. The total Indian group is so small, in fact less than one-third of 1 percent of the total population of the United States, and the total cost of maintaining school facilities for Indians is so slight in comparison with the total for the nation, that there would seem to be little excuse for failure to provide ordinary school facilities for all. The national government and the states ought to take the necessary steps to do this at once without having to depend upon religious denominations. For the nation as a nation to depend upon weak little denominational schools to bear the burden of elementary schooling, as on some jurisdictions, seems inexcusable.
The pioneering function will remain as the best justification for mission schools and other private educational enterprises. Abundance of opportunity exists for a needed experimentation that would be of direct benefit to the Indians and to other groups as well. Privately maintained schools are usually credited with a certain amount of freedom that sometimes makes it possible to develop experimentation more readily than in public schools. A few mission schools, for example, are already ahead of other schools in methods of handling boys and girls; in making agriculture and other activities more directly applicable to the life of the surrounding region, and in utilizing the work-opportunities of the school as a means of developing financial responsibility and independence. The fact that mission schools and other private educational agencies have a special opportunity in this direction should not, however, bar the possibility of experimentation in government and public schools.
Government Supervision. In general the principle has been accepted in the United States that parents may, if they prefer, have their children schooled under private or denominational auspices. There is no reason why Indian parents should not have the same privilege. Equally definite, however, is the principle that in return for the right of parents to educate their children in private and denominational schools of their own choosing, the community shall hold these schools to certain minimum standards. In the case of Indian mission schools the national government should exert its right, as most of the states now do, to supervise denominational and other private schools. It is important, however, that this supervision be of the tolerant and cooperative sort rather than inspectional in character. Furthermore, the surest way to see to it that private schools are kept on a high plane is for the government to set a standard to which only the best private schools can attain, and to have as its educational representatives persons whose character and professional attainments necessarily command respect.
Leadership and Mission Education. Furnishing leadership, especially religious leadership, for the Indian people is a legitimate aim of the mission schools. Under ordinary conditions leadership of any type is more likely to develop out of schools that are operated with the loftiest religious ideals. This is part of the pioneering function already referred to and needs to be recognized. It was the motive for the work of such schools as that at Santee, Nebraska, which remains one of the best illustrations of what can be done in Indian education.
If the pioneering function of mission schools is to be capitalized, it would seem highly desirable that there be frequent friendly contacts between government schools, both federal and state, and mission schools. At the present time government schools and mission schools are likely to exist side by side without knowing anything of each other's work. Under the right kind of an arrangement, teachers of government and mission schools should be seeing each other frequently, should be attending summer sessions and extension courses together, should be conferring regularly on common problems. Wherever a mission school has undertaken an essential pioneering task, it should be eager to show its experiment to teachers in the government schools; and mission school teachers of the backward type should have a chance to see work of any neighboring government school that happens to be better.
Especially should denominations sponsoring mission enterprises understand the necessity for restricting their effort to work that can be adequately supported and for which adequate standards of personnel can be maintained. Some mission schools are decidedly worse than government schools; these should be as quickly as possible abolished or merged with stronger and more promising institutions.
Government Day Schools. Except for sections where good public schools are open to Indians, the government day schools offer the best opportunity available at present to furnish schooling to Indian children and at the same time build up a needed home and community education. That this opportunity has only been partially realized is due to the usual deficiencies, both in quantity and quality of personnel. Even under present conditions as to pay, qualifications, lack of trained home and community workers, some of the day schools, especially in the Southwest, have come closer to meeting the real requirements than any other types of educational enterprises for Indians. Some places still exist in the Indian Service where day schools would be better than the present boarding schools.
A Home and Community Enterprise. The chief advantage of the day school for Indians, whether maintained by the national government or the state, is that it leaves the child in the home environment, where he belongs. In this way not only does the home retain its rightful place in the whole educational process, but whatever worthwhile changes the school undertakes to make are soon reflected in the home. The boy or girl from boarding school goes back to a home often unchanged from what it was, and the resulting gulf between parents and children is usually more or less tragic. In the day school, on the other hand, the youngster is in the. home and community far more than in the school. Some connection is bound to exist between the home and the school, frequently constant and close connection; ideas of cleanliness, better homekeeping, better standards of living, have their influence almost immediately in the home and community. Thus, parents of children in the Hopi day schools help build roads to make it easier for the children to reach the school; they furnish labor for the school plant; they use the school as the center for community gatherings.
The process in the day school is the same as that by which the American public school has worked a transformation with millions of children from immigrant homes. To be sure, the same risks attend it. We have learned, in the case of children from foreign homes, that there are values in the customs of other peoples that ought to be preserved and not destroyed; so with Indians; there is a contribution from Indian life that likewise needs to be safeguarded and not sacrificed to unnecessary standardization. But even here, the opportunity is better for the day school than for the boarding school. The day school principal and teacher have the parents close at hand and can, if they will, get the interest and point of view of the parents in a way that would be almost out of the question for the boarding school. Thus at Oraibi, Arizona, the school has perpetuated, through the children, the remarkable art gifts of the Hopis. The Hopi day schools generally illustrate the value of schools close to the community; they are essentially community enterprises, involving health through hot lunches, care of teeth, and bathing; canning of fruits; parent-teacher meetings. The very plants themselves, involving from three to seven or eight buildings for from fifty to eighty children, indicate a recognition of the comprehensive nature of the educational program that is rare enough anywhere but is especially needed in the Indian work.
Needs of the Day Schools. The weaknesses of the government day schools are the usual weaknesses of the Indian Service: Low training standards and lack of qualified personnel to work with the families from which the pupils come. A few notably good teachers are found in government day schools for Indians, but the average is low. It has already been pointed out that with salaries and certification requirements as they are now in the public schools of most states, only those teachers as a rule will apply for the Indian Service who cannot meet the newer state requirements. This applies with special force to the day schools, which are usually in very remote places and lack the attractiveness of surroundings characteristic of some of the non-reservation boarding schools. There are exceptions, of course, including a few who by preference teach Indian children and a few others who go into the Indian Service in order to "see the country" or get the benefit of a certain climate; but for the most part the teachers in the day schools do not appear to reach even minimum accepted standards of education, professional training, and personality. Day school teachers should be at least graduates of good normal schools and preferably of colleges and universities.
Furthermore, the one chief opportunity of the day school, that of working with the homes, is missed if the teacher lacks social understanding and if qualified workers of the visiting-teacher type are not provided. In the large majority of the hundred or more government day schools in operation, the school is furnishing a limited three-R's type of schooling, with a poorly prepared teacher, with standards not noticeably better than those of country schools in the more backward sections, and with no notion of the modern way of bringing home and school together.
Even in sections where the schools are better, almost none of the home and community work that is so necessary a part of a program of education for Indians is provided. Some slight beginnings in community nurse work among the Pueblos, Hopis, and Zunis suggest what might be done. A practical plan would be to undertake in these localities, where the situation is favorable, a fairly complete program, including the family case worker, the visiting teacher, and the public health nurse, and then to extend the service as rapidly as possible to other typical situations in California, in Arizona among the Pimas, on the Turtle Mountain Reservation, and among the Mississippi Choctawsall places that are especially in need of work of this type.
Experimentation in the Day School. This and other types of experimentation are especially timely in the government day schools in view of the tendency to place Indian children in local public schools. With the four or five thousand children in government day schools in different parts of the country, it would be possible, under the better-qualified teachers and better professional leadership that are recommended, not only to try out workers of the visiting teacher and public health nurse type, but also to make changes in the course of study, in the methods of teaching, and in the schoolrooms and equipment that will be applicable when the Indian children go into the public schools. The Hopi day schools offer an especially good opportunity for experimental work. It is especially necessary to carry a step further some of the health and other work in the day schools, so that not merely group toothbrush drills, for example, will be done at school but that care of the teeth and other features of personal hygiene will be carried out at home and checked up at school. The whole task of community participation, so important for the Indian, needs to be consciously worked at; for example, the Indians should be serving on school committees in the day school as a means of enlisting their general interest in all that involves the child's education and development, and also as a gradual preparation for service on boards of education. Instead of being behind the better public schools in these and other matters, as at present, the government day schools could then be ahead, making contributions to education as well as helping to solve the Indian problem.
Public Schools and Indian Children. The present plan of the government to put Indian children into public schools wherever possible is commendable as a general policy. It will be necessary to make certain, however: (1) that the step is not taken too hastily in any given situation and as a mere matter of temporary saving of money; (2) that the federal authorities retain sufficient professional direction to make sure the needs of the Indians are met; (3) that the ordinary school facilities are supplemented by health supervision and visiting-teacher worktypes of aid most needed at present among Indians; (4) that adult education and other community activities are provided.
Advantages of the Public School. Like the government day school, the public school has the great advantage that the children are left in their own home and family setting. In addition (and many Indians regard this as especially important) attendance of Indian children at the public school means that the Indian children usually have the chance to associate daily with members of the white race. Any policy for Indians based on the notion that they can or should be kept permanently isolated from other Americans is bound to fail; mingling is inevitable, and Indian children brought up in public schools with white children have the advantage of early contacts with whites while still retaining their connection with their own Indian family and home. This would seem to be a good thing for both sides. Anyone observing Indian children in various types of schoolsboarding schools, day schools, and public schoolsthroughout the country, as members of the survey staff did, is forced to conclude that on the whole Indian children in public schools are getting a better opportunity than others; and it also seems likely that white children who have been used to Indians in the public school will have less difficulty in working with them later.
Furthermore, admission of Indian children to public schools involves the important principle of recognition of the Indian by the state. Many of the difficulties of the Indian at present are that he is regarded as in the twilight zone between federal and state authority; the state's welfare activities, usually in advance of what the national government is doing for the Indian, are not available for him because he is regarded as "a ward of the government." Once the Indian child is admitted to the public schools with other children, the community begins to take a much more active interest in him as a citizen. Parents of other children become excited, for example, over the health conditions of Indians, if only for the selfish and natural reason that the health of their own children may be affected. In ruling that the Indian child must be admitted to the public schools, the California courts have taken the broad ground that any other action would be a violation of the state's constitutional guarantees of equal educational opportunity. If the states are ever to amalgamate the Indians justly and effectively with the rest of their citizenship, they should begin by taking the responsibility for educating Indian children in the public schools.
Danger in Too Rapid Extension. That the government will put Indian children too rapidly into public schools is a real danger, or at least it may fail to follow them up properly when the change takes place. Small though the per capita for Indian boarding schools is, even this is a larger amount than the cost for tuition in a public school. The temptation is, therefore, a very real one for the government to save money and wash its hands of responsibility for the Indian child. The rapid increase in public school attendance in the past few years suggests that the government has perhaps been more concerned with "getting from under" and saving a little money than with furnishing Indian children the kind of education they need. Although the admission of Indian children to public schools is a recent development, 37,730, or more than half of the total of 69,892 Indian children reported attending all schools in 1926, were in public schools. The number has more than doubled since 1912. In California alone, government officers estimate, nearly four thousand Indian children have been put into public schools in the past five years. This is excellent, of course, especially in a state which furnishes as good educational facilities as California does, provided care is taken to see that the children thus enrolled are actually getting the advantages of such schooling as the community affords; and provided, also, the health and other needs of the Indian child are looked after. In the State of Washington, where there is a state school administration especially interested in Indian education, state officers estimate that there are three thousand Indian boys and girls but only two thousand of them attending school. In Oklahoma, where by far the largest numbers of Indian children live, it was clear in some localities that the right to attend public school meant little to full-blood Indians; they were attending irregularly or not at all.
Finance and Supervision. A more carefully thought-out method of financial aid and better governmental supervision would improve the situation considerably in many places, especially in the Oklahoma situations just cited. The rate of tuition paid by the national government is theoretically fixed to cover the loss to the state or local community resulting from non-taxation of Indian lands. Actually the rate varies from ten cents per capita per day among the Five Civilized Tribes to forty or fifty cents or even more in some places. If the intention of the government is to furnish adequate schooling for Indian children, the present tuition practice has obvious limitations. It means often that the high tuition rate is paid to comparatively well-to-do communities, and the low rate to poor school communities. Some of the poorest public school facilities for Indian children are in those parts of Oklahoma where only ten cents per day per child is paidquite insufficient to induce the school authorities to put forth any effort to get and keep Indian children in school. On the other hand, some of the best school opportunities anywhere for Indian children are in the richer districts of Oklahoma. It would seem as if the national government might work out for Indian children a plan of equalization by financial aid similar to plans now in operation in most of the states.
In the Oklahoma state education survey made by the United States Bureau of Education in 1923, it was shown that the loss in school funds to the State of Oklahoma resulting from non-taxation of Indian lands amounted annually to $428,000. It would be a mistake, however, to turn this or any other amount over to the states for Indian education without better guarantees than now exist. Some form of federal supervision is necessary until such time as the states fully accept their Indian citizens. At present the best public school provision for Indian children is usually found in those places where there exists a combination of public conscience on the Indian question and a good full-time "day-school inspector" or supervisor. Notwithstanding the inadequate salaries, the government has in its service some excellent officers supervising public school attendance who have managed to make records for Indian children that would be considered good for any community.
School Social Workers. Although supervisors or attendance officers are needed, especially at certain stages, what is even more necessary in the public school situation is the school social worker of the visiting-teacher type, who, with the public health nurse, can visit the homes and make the essential contact between home and school. Properly qualified workers of this kind, college women with training in family case work and experience in teaching, have been conspicuously successful in handling among foreign-born children in the cities problems that are very similar to those met with among Indians. To hand over the task of Indian schooling to the public school without providing public health nurse service, family visiting, and some oversight of housing, feeding, and clothing, results unfortunately for the Indian child, especially the full-blood. He becomes irregular in school attendance, loses interest, feels that he is inferior, leaves school as soon as possible; or, in some cases, is regarded by the white parents as a disease menace and is barred from school on that ground, though often a little attention by a public health nurse or the school family case worker would clear up the home difficulty and make school attendance normal and regular.
An important by-product of both school nurse and family case work is, of course, the educational effect in the home. Instead of being isolated from the changes that take place, as with boarding school children, the Indian home from which the children go daily to the public school tends to change with the children, especially if the nurse and the school social worker are skillful in making the connection between school and home. This is only one of many kinds of adult education that need to go on in an Indian community even if the ordinary schooling for children is provided in a public school. The policy of the national government should continue to be to get Indian children as rapidly as possible into public schools, but the government should make certain at the same time that the fundamental needs of health care, home betterment. agricultural and industrial instruction, and other kinds of community education are met. Public schools in remote Indian jurisdictions are likely to be lacking in just these newer kinds of child care and community education that better localities provide and that are especially necessary for Indians.
Higher Education and the Indian. More and more Indian youth will go on for education of college and university grade. Already hundreds of Indian men and women are in higher educational institutions; the University of Oklahoma has nearly two hundred students with some Indian blood, and the increasing number of Indian boys and girls in high school will undoubtedly lead to a corresponding growth in applicants for college admission. This should be encouraged, not, however, by setting up special institutions of higher learning for Indians but by furnishing adequate secondary schooling and scholarship and loan aids where necessary for Indian students.
Types of Special Training. Whether it is necessary or desirable to extend upward certain special courses in any of the present non-reservation Indian schools will depend upon the conditions at each school and the opportunities for Indian youth elsewhere. At Haskell Institute efforts have recently been made to provide, at the secondary level and to some extent beyond, teacher training, business schooling, and some institutional service training, particularly in physical education and athletic coaching. Such programs may prove to be desirable: (1) if Indian young men and women find it impossible to get such opportunities elsewhere; (2) if especially good resources are available at the institution itself or in connection with it.14 Under present conditions it is probable that some Indian young men and women could not very well get the special training offered in these courses at other places than Haskell. As to resources, however, Haskell does not have them; and with the University of Kansas nearby, it would seem a sounder policy to depend upon the University to furnish such higher technical training as may be needed rather than to try to provide it with the very limited resources the Indian school has. Haskell and other schools have, in a few cases, been making it possible for qualified Indian students to retain their residence at the school and continue their higher education at the nearby state or other institution, which is a very useful arrangement that ought to be officially recognized and supported.
Adequate Secondary Education Needed. At present the chief bar to the provision of higher education for such Indians as could profit by it is lack of adequate secondary school facilities. Only recently have any of the boarding schools offered schooling beyond the tenth grade.15 Furthermore, the secondary work offered at these schools would hardly be accepted by most reputable universities throughout the United States.16 This is not primarily because of the half-day industrial plan, though this affects the situation somewhat, but mainly because of the difficulty so frequently referred to in this report, namely, low standards of personnel. Almost the first requisite for an "accredited" high school, whether the accrediting is done by the state or by regional associations, is that the teachers shall be graduates of standard four-year colleges with some professional preparation in education courses. So far as can be ascertained, no government Indian school meets this minimum requirement. Indian boys and girls who graduate from these schools at present find it practically impossible to continue their education in acceptable colleges and universities because the colleges cannot take them even when there are people interested in Indian youth who would provide the funds. The Indian young men and young women at the University of Oklahoma and other universities and colleges come almost wholly from public high schools or from specially established preparatory schools, such as the American Indian Institute at Wichita, Kansas.
Scholarship and Other Aids. Plans for higher educational opportunities for Indian young men and women should include scholarship and loan aids for students who show promise of being especially helpful among their own people. Indian teachers and nurses, for example, are likely to have a special field of service for some time to come. It would be a very inexpensive form of investment for the national government to set aside a small sum for scholarships and loans to capable Indian youths. The principle is already recognized in the withholding of portions of the per capita payments of minors for their education. It could very well be one of the functions of a guidance and placement specialist at the Washington office to bring together the available data on scholarships, loans, and work opportunities all over the country for which Indian youth would be eligible. It might prove possible to interest wealthy Indians and Indian tribes in establishing scholarships for other Indians of their own or other tribes who are poor. In any case, however, such aid will not be effective unless the necessary high school facilities are provided for Indian boys and girls so that those who are otherwise qualified may be eligible for college admission.
School Plant and Equipment. For the most part, the buildings and equipment of government Indian schools are below the standards of modern public schools. The Indian Service has some good-looking school plants; there are a few creditable buildings erected by student labor, and there is some ingenious use of very limited resources, as in the Hopi day schools; but most of the school buildings are unattractive and unsuited to present-day educational needs. Furthermore, a policy of patching up out-of-date structures, combined with insufficient repair funds, puts the government school plants at a serious disadvantage. Plant and equipment are not, of course, as important as qualified teachers and other personnel, but they should be better than they are. School architecture is a recognized profession, and an adequately equipped professional staff at the Washington office would include technically trained persons comparable to those employed by state departments of public instruction to supervise school building plans.
Too Many Old Buildings. One of the difficulties of the Indian school service has been the habit of turning over for school use abandoned forts and other government property. There is almost never any real economy in this practice; the recently established Charles H. Burke School at Fort Wingate, New Mexico, for example, has already cost more than adequate new school buildings would probably have cost, and the army barracks and other structures there will never make satisfactory school buildings. Military plants of this sort usually date from long before the modern period of lighting, ventilation, and conveniences, and they are often of poor construction, necessitating continued and expensive repair bills.
The same policy of trying to make old buildings do when it would be wiser economy to erect new ones is illustrated in many other schools besides those that have been military posts. Some buildings at Indian schools should be demolished rather than repaired indefinitely. It is false economy, for example, to repair a building like the boys' dormitory at Flandreau, or certain other buildings, usually dormitories, at places like Colony, Santa Fe, Leupp, and Cheyenne River, where there are dangerous fire hazards. The unsatisfactory character of the government Indian school plant stands out especially in the many communities where the local school authorities have put up a modern public school plant and where the resulting comparison is too often very unfavorable to the Indian school. Even where an enterprising superintendent or some industrial teacher and the Indian boys have erected a satisfactory building with student labor, the lack of qualified architectural direction and guidance is often only too evident in the incongruous array of buildings that results.
Similar to the practice of turning over abandoned forts and other plants to the Indian Service is that of dumping all kinds of salvaged equipment on Indian schools. Occasionally a school gets something useful, but more often the school authorities find themselves embarrassed by having to find some use for such articles as old beds and oversize boots.
Machinery and Other Institutional Equipment. Wherever boarding schools are to be maintained, it will be necessary to make a proper distinction between production and educational requirements and machinery provided accordingly. To get the large-scale institutional work done, good power machinery will need to be installed. The Indian Office has recognized this principle in commendable fashion, but funds have never been provided to carry it into effect. The best educational results with the maximum economy of operation will be obtained if power machinery is used for the non-educational institutional tasks and simple equipment for teaching purposes. Under this principle, for example, a school would have in its laundry three-roll and four-roll mangles of the latest pattern, with approved safety appliances, and in its household-arts cottage or elsewhere the individual gas, electric, or hand iron, or whatever other device is practicable in the household into which the girl goes.
Indian schools are conspicuously lacking in the various types of auxiliary equipment that are characteristic of the best modern schools. The chief needs are: (1) modern school furniture, of the movable type, especially for kindergarten and elementary schools; (2) libraries, laboratories, books, and laboratory equipment; (3) play and athletic facilities for the mass of the pupils. The meagerness of most Indian school classrooms is that of American schools of thirty or forty years ago or of the poorer country schools in remote districts today. What a modern elementary school room should be has recently been summed up by a competent authority as follows:
The classrooms offer interesting signs of the children who work there. Each room seems especially suited to the group for which it is intended. The primary room with its work and play material, tiny chairs, low boards and tables welcomes the small stranger fresh from home and mother; the upper grade rooms seem to say that real work and individual effort and control are in order there. Walls are of soft tan, buff, green, or gray, with light ceilings; furniture and woodwork and window shades tone with them, so that there is no jar on the eye, but instead a genial sense of space, restfulness, and freedom. A rug of plain color, a low, comfortable chair or two for teacher or visitor, sash curtains and flowers or plants, painted or cretonne-covered bookends on a single shelf, or on the book table, a few good pictures in color on the wallall these add to the interest of the room and make for the intangible thing that we call "atmosphere." The blackboard is clean and frankly itself, without any camouflage of chalk pictures, borders, stencils, or calendars, and just high enough for proper reach.
The furniture is movable and arranged in informal groups or pushed against the wall as is best at the moment; of course, there is a workbench or work table. Built-in shelves and boxes or lockers are here to take care of materials for handwork. There is much of this, for the children paint, draw, model, sew, do carpentry work, and garden as well as read and write. Behind a low screen by a corner window is a book table or a shelf with attractive and well-chosen books, and two or three chairs. Other screens or movable cases are used to fence off a "work shop" and to keep chips and unfinished work within bounds; for the teacher in this school knows that it is not necessary to have material all over the place to show a creative spirit and that a disorderly, mussy room is as bad at school as at home. The small movable piano or the phonograph is brought in for a music period and then is passed on to another group.
Everything is conveniently arranged. The book table is off at one side, the bulletin board is in plain view, and cupboards and boxes are where they should be. Paint, brushes and paper, tools, bench, and wood are conveniently close together for the small workers' use.17
Few Indian school classrooms approach this standard in any important particular, though many public schools do.
Freedom to Select Materials and Textbooks. Indian school teachers and principals usually feel that they are more or less helpless in deciding what materials and textbooks to use. Even those who realize the shortcomings of the present materials consider themselves confined practically in their choice to the list of "basic texts," though a few have managed to find ways of getting more modern books. Certain of the textbooks found in use were prepared before the period of scientific study and are not adapted to the needs of the children. Better-qualified personnel would doubtless be entrusted with greater freedom in selection of materials.
It is not necessary for Indian schools to be elaborate in their architecture or luxurious in their equipment. The buildings should be substantial and modern, however, and they should, if possible, help set the fashion for sincerity, simplicity, and usefulness. They should certainly not fall below the accepted public school standards, as most of them now do, nor should the equipment, textbooks, and other materials be less satisfactory than in good public schools, as is the case at present.
Administration of Indian Education. The Indian problem is essentially one of education and social welfare, rather than of land, property, or business, and principles that have been found to be successful in educational administration on a large scale should be applied to it. Instead, therefore, of a mainly clerical and administrative centralization of educational authority at Washington, as at present, responsibility should be localized in the superintendent of the school or reservation. As suggested in the chapters on Organization and Personnel and also earlier in this chapter of the report, there should be in Washington a well-equipped technical staff, of the sort both public education and business have found necessary in recent years, to furnish professional direction for the entire service. This staff should be small, but it should consist of qualified men and women of at least the rank of educational specialists in other government services, such as the Bureau of Education, the Department of Agriculture, and the Federal Board for Vocational Education. It would be the function of this technical group to advise as to educational policies, to map out programs for adult education, health education, and other activities, and to bring to superintendents and other employees in the field recent developments that will help them in their work. Under this plan it would also be necessary to fill vacancies in the superintendencies with qualified educational administrators.18
Indians and Other Government Agencies. If Indian administration is to be effective, it will need to have closer relations than have ever existed before with other federal agencies in education and welfare. A number of federal bureaus and boards do work that is directly related to the needs of the Indian Service and their aid should be enlisted. In the same department with the Indian Office, to use the most striking example of need of cooperation, is the United States Bureau of Education, which already has qualified specialists in the types of work in which Indian Service needs are greatest, namely, health, rural education, industrial training, agricultural education, adult education, primary schooling, secondary education, and other fields. Under reclassification the Bureau of Education, unlike the Indian Office, was treated as a scientific and technical service, with the result that salaries for specialists in the Bureau of Education are from 50 to 75 percent higher than for the non-technical positions carrying corresponding work in the Indian Office. It seems incredible that the Indian problem has never had applied to it to any appreciable extent the professional service that Congress has gradually been making more and more effective in the Bureau of Education. Many of the states have had educational surveys and numerous other types of service from the Bureau of Education; the Indian educational program seems never to have really profited by the fact that the Bureau of Education is in the same department. This professional staff already at work in the Interior Department should at least be called in to help any additional staff that may be created to direct the Indian educational program.
Recently the Public Health Service has been enlisted in the health work of the Indian Office, a commendable instance of the right type of cooperation. Health education will be found, however, to be at least as fundamental a problem as hospitalization and medical service, and for this the work of the Public Health Service officers will need to be supplemented by specialists in health education. In the field of vocational education the Federal Board for Vocational Education has an experience behind it of the past ten years that needs to be applied to the Indian problem. Other federal agencies which should be asked to cooperate as directly as possible in the Indian program are the Department of Agriculture, with its long experience in adult agricultural education, home economics, boys' and girls' club work, and extension work, and the Department of Labor, with such activities as those of the Children's Bureau and the United States Employment Service, vitally necessary in a comprehensive program of Indian education.
Technical Staff Necessary for Cooperation. Certain organizations exist outside the government service with which cooperative arrangements might well be made. The kind of technical staff repeatedly described is essential, however, for any successful cooperative arrangement. With the best intentions in the world, administrative officers cannot alone make professional cooperation amount to anything; there must be in the Indian work technical experts of at least as high qualifications as the employees of the cooperating agency, whether this be another federal department, a state, or an outside association. If, as seems probable, it will become desirable for the national government more and more to enter into cooperative relations with the various states in the handling of school work, health, and social welfare for Indians, a technical staff at the Washington office will be indispensable. States with which the national government is likely to find it practicable to work out cooperative arrangements will usually be those like California, for example, which already have professionally qualified men and women in these fields, and the federal staff will need to be at least as well-qualified. Whatever the outcome may be with regard to the administration of Indian affairs, whether left, as at present, a separate bureau in the Interior Department, consolidated with the Bureau of Education, grouped with a possible colonial administration in the Interior Department, as has been suggested for the Philippines, transferred to some other existing department, or made part of the new Federal Department of Education and Relief proposed by President Coolidge in his annual message, the essential thing will be to bring to bear upon the Indian problem all of the available resources of the national government, the states, and outside organizations.
Financing the Indian Educational Program. The educational program recommended in this report will necessarily cost more than the present educational program. The present cost is dangerously low; it has already resulted in a school provision considerably under accepted standards. To build up a better-equipped personnel, it will be necessary to raise qualifications and increase salaries; to make the educational program adequate in other particulars, more money will be required, and while the increased expenditure will not have to be made effective in a single year, the program to be undertaken will involve considerable ultimate increase in cost. Fortunately, the total amount involved is small, and wise expenditure of funds in the next few years will prove to be real economy, in that such a method will probably settle the problem, whereas the present method will not settle it.
What the Cost is Likely to be. Indian schools and the Indian education program generally are not adequate and it will take money to make them so. Following the World War, school systems throughout the United States adjusted themselves to a new price level. They were obliged to do this, in order to get satisfactory educational results. In accordance with long experience as to the effects of training requirements upon results, they set high requirements and arranged to pay for them. In particular, as pointed out elsewhere in this report, they adopted the plan of a salary schedule, whereby teachers and other educational employees are paid, not only according to certain standards of entrance to the service, but according to experience and the attainment of certain special qualifications. The national government apparently never made this adjustment in the Indian educational service, the entrance salaries still being below the level of the better school systems, and the lack of salary schedule putting the Indian Service in the class of the few school systems anywhere in the United States that are without such a method of securing and keeping efficient teachers.
How much money will be required to make the changes suggested in this report?
While exact figures are impossible because of several varying factors, it seems quite certain that a well-staffed educational program for the Indian Service will cost approximately twice what is now paid. Some indication of what will be necessary is found in the boarding school per capita cost at various periods. For many years the per capita allowed was $167.50. The most careful estimates of change in purchasing power seem to show that $100 in 1900 purchased the equivalent of $224 in 1927. At this rate the boarding school per capita, instead of $225, should be over $375. Even this is lower than for any adequately financed state institutions of which it is possible to get records. The per capita cost of the only state Indian school for which figures are obtainable, the Thomas Indian School on the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation, New York State, is $610. That this itself is not a high figure is indicated by the fact that the lowest-cost boarding schools in the United States charge $700 per annum, while most boarding schools, although almost never operated at a profit, charge much more. Furthermore, the fee charged by ordinary boarding schools does not, as in the case of the Indian schools, include clothing, transportation, and other items. Some economies are undoubtedly possible as a result of government purchasing, and a reasonably low per capita, under normal conditions, would be cause for congratulation, but the present low per capita for government Indian boarding schools is only possible as the result of dangerous economies in food, housing, and education. Indeed, the attention of Congress and the Budget Bureau should be called to the unsatisfactory method involved in the uniform per capita charge; conditions on various jurisdictions differ so that a uniform amount is bound to result unfortunately.
Amount Suggested is Small. Doubling the amount of funds for government Indian education does not involve the expenditure of large amounts of money. The Indian education expenditure is one of the smallest items in the national budget. The procedure suggested is based on the principle that it is good business to spend sufficient amount to get satisfactory results, rather than to do a half-hearted, unsatisfactory job. Spending the recommended amount will not create an ideal educational service; it will, however, bring Indian education up nearer the level of better educational work in the United States, and it should make possible a certain amount of pioneering and leadership in education that one would like to associate with the efforts of the national government.
In the long run the nation will settle the Indian problem or not by its willingness to take hold of the issue in a responsible and business-like way. It is business-like to apply to the task in hand the best methods that can be found. At the time the Indian work began, there were no accepted principles of education and social work that could be used; but in the past forty or fifty years, a body of experience in both education and social work has developed that can and should be applied in order to speed up the solution of the Indian problem. Persons are being trained all over the United States for handling situations very similar to the Indian situation. The major problems of the Indianhealth, social and economic development, as well as education in the more restricted sense of schoolingare all in need of the kind of handling that comes from people who are qualified by special training. It takes more money to get qualified people than is at present paid in the Indian Service, but on the other hand the work of qualified people brings assurance that the task will be effectively done. The nation has a right to expect that Indian education as a special governmental function will eliminate itself in a comparatively few years; this can come about if funds for an adequate program are provided.
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