Spurgeon Book Reviews
The "Ask Spurgeon" Book Reviewer » Suggested Reforms in Public Schools

Suggested Reforms in Public Schools

Author: C. C. Cotterhill
Publisher: W. Blackwood and Sons
Publish Date: 1886

This book is worth reading; worth reading in such sense as a competent witness who volunteers his evidence before a select committee is worth hearing. "Public schools," we are told, "as we know them now may fairly be traced to the genius of Dr. Arnold." It is so. He was head master of Ruby, and died at an age so often fatal to men of genius more than forty years ago. Before him, as a typical character in the same line, was Dr. Busby, hero of the birch, and terror of small boys. Two centuries have transpired since he flourished at Westminster School renowned alike for the soundness of his classics and the severity of his discipline. Education in the old grammar schools though intensely earnest, established little sympathy between the preceptor and the pupils. Happily for the young folk of the present day, the modern idea is to develop all the faculties, recognizing the fact that boys have muscles as well as brains and that both need skillful training. Intellectual culture is ill sought to the prejudice of physical health, perennial cheerfulness or manly robustness of moral character. Suggestions on the subject of education still deserve all the time and attention we can afford to bestow on them.  The problem is not solved yet. Play has come so much to the front that a reaction is pretty sure to set in. Parents are too proud of their sons' successes at cricket, football, or boat racing and too little concerned about their proficiency in Latin, Greek, Euclid, and the Sciences. "Cribs" are tolerated in the classes and "cramming" is practiced for university examinations. We are averse to both. The latest word from an expert is worth listening to, but the last word on this topic has not yet been spoken.