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Recommendations of the Committee
In view of the child welfare situation in the United States at this stage of its evolution, with due regard to its history, its present forms of organization and its inspiring goals; in view of the new opportunity for continuity of programs offered by the form of organization of the Division and that of the Conference, your committee makes these specific recommendations:
First. That without binding the committee in future so that due place may not be given from year to year to the greatest desirable variety of opportunist topics, it is wise at this time to initiate a minimum program of topics that should be carried out as parts of one whole during succeeding years.
Second. That this program should include discussion of at least three kinds.
A. Condensed, authoritative statements by committees of recognized leaders within each field, of the trend, status and minimum standards in respect to at least these forms of child welfare work:
I. Work for Classes Long Recognised as Handicapped.
1. Destitute and dependent children.
2. Physically defective children.
3. Mentally defective children.
4. Delinquent children.
5. Children of unmarried parents.
6. Children in need of protection from cruelty, neglect and improper standards of home care.
II. Child Welfare Movements Based on Handicaps More Recently Recognised.
1. The eugenic and infant welfare movement.
2. The malnutrition movement.
3. The physical diagnosis and physical education movement.
4. The child labor movement.
5. The manual training—vocational guidance and industrial adjustment movement.
6. The mental diagnosis and individualized education movement.
7. The recreation movement.
8. The social hygiene, social efficiency and moral education movements.
Taken together the discussions under A-I and A-II should form a group of historical and critical papers that sum up to date the main trend, status and outlook of actual child welfare achievement.
B. Authoritative discussion of the philosophy and interrelations of our basic and permanent institutions to child welfare work:
1. Philosophy of the family and its interrelations with child welfare work.
2. Philosophy of the school and its interrelations with child welfare work.
3. Philosophy of the state and its interrelations with child welfare work.
4. Philosophy of private initiative and its interrelations with child welfare work.
5. Philosophy of industry and its interrelations with child welfare work. 6. Philosophy of the church and its interrelations with child welfare work.
Taken together, these discussions should sum up the best thought to date concerning the fundamental principles on which child welfare work is based, what its goals are, and what the reciprocal relations of child welfare work and other forms of social work are.
C. Descriptive and interpretative discussions of the most significant current achievements in the technique of any phase of child welfare work in "A-I", "A-II" or "B-l-6".
Here is opportunity for the description and interpretation of actual open fighting or trench warfare in behalf of children by means of
(a) case work
(b) administrative efficiency and research
(d) education of public opinion
(e) co-ordination of effort, etc.
In a word, the committee proposes that the program should be perfectly free in the future as in the past to discuss under "C" all phases of each year's experience in child welfare. All these topics may thrill with the stories of current effort and achievement.
The committee urge, however, that it is the further duty of the Division on Children to help in a systematic way during a period of years to make the reports from the firing line under "C" more and more effective each year by the gradual and systematic consolidation of all the lines of the child welfare forces in accordance with the suggestions of "A-I", "A-II" and "B-l-6"; in other words, to make the front line fighting more effective by supporting it everywhere with adequate tactics and strategy.
It remains merely to point out that in the children's program for this year the committee has made a beginning in the directions above recommended.
For example, the chairmen of four committees make preliminary reports on topics under A, namely: Arthur W. Towne, Minimum Standards of Child Protection and Home Care; Miss H. Ida Curry, the Status of Social Work for Children in Rural Communities; Cheney C. Jones, the Problem of the Child of Unmarried Parents; Mrs. Helen T. Woolley, Physical and Mental Diagnosis of School Children.
As to the discussion of a topic under B it was originally planned to have The Philosophy of the School and Its Interrelations with Child Welfare Work the feature of the general session. It is still hoped that discussions at luncheon on Saturday, May 19, may prove to be introductory to adequate plans for such a discussion another year.
The other topics are specifically of the sort suggested under "C", and are all reports from the front line of child welfare work. The committee believes they are all worth while on their own account and also as data for the more inclusive and summarized discussions recommended under "A".
UNIVERSAL PHYSICAL EDUCATION
Willard S. Small, Specialist in School Hygiene, United States Bureau of Education, Washington
I find it difficult at this time to think or speak of physical education without relating it most intimately to the war in which we are engaged.
The Secretary of War recently asked for an appropriation of $12,000,000,000 to carry on the war for the ensuing year. In the same hearing he declined to set any limit to the number of men that would be needed in the effective use of that $12,000,000,000. Conservative estimates, very conservative, I judge, of the length of the war, vary from three to five years. The most dangerous person in the United States today is not the German spy, is not the pacifist, is not the slacker. The most dangerous person in the United States today is the facile optimist who thinks that somehow a miracle is to be performed to save us from the effort that others know we must put forth in order to win the war.
We are engaged in a life and death struggle, in a struggle as old as history, as old as the human race. Fundamentally it is a struggle between two absolutely irreconcilable theories of life and all that life implies. It is the old, old struggle between slavery and liberty, between fatalism and freedom. In this most modern form it is the struggle on the one hand between slavery and fatalism incarnated in a political system that holds that men must be governed by self-selected hereditary powers; and on the other hand, liberty and freedom incarnated in a political system that holds that men can govern themselves through selfdetermined action. There can be no reconciliation between these two polar opposites. One or the other of these systems must prove itself the stronger.
There is but one meaning to this—it is to be a long war. We must plan for next year, and the next, and the next. The war will ultimately be won by the side having the greatest resources of human power. Flaunting posters tell us that "food will win the war" and "money will win the war" and "ships will win the war." All true, but only as food is transformed into human power; and only as money is transformed into the instruments of war for the use of human power; and only as ships transport human power and these instruments to the scene of war. Our allies and we ourselves are fond of referring to our "unlimited resources." We cannot too soon correct this error. Our resources are very great, but they are not unlimited. The winning fo this war will tax to the utmost our resources of human power—man and woman power—brain and muscle power. England has three quarters of a million women in munition works; France, a half million. Who can say how soon we may have a million?
Revelations of the Draft
The statistics of rejection for physical unfitness in the first draft are an impressive reminder of one limitation of our human resources. The figures show that approximately 35 per cent of the men examined were rejected. It would be easy to exaggerate the significance of these figures. They have been exploited uncritically as indicating progressive physical degeneration of the nation. This jumping conclusion is entirely unwarranted. As the Provost Marshal General points out in his report for 1917 the physical condition of the nation as revealed by these draft examination figures is probably better than was the physical condition of the nation at the time of our Civil War. Further, many of the rejections are on account of undersize and defective vision—neither of which causes argues any general physical unfitness. The important question in this connection is not the exact percentage of rejections, but what percentage of rejections are on account of remediable defects.
No analysis of draft figures has yet been made that warrants a clear answer to that question. From the analysis of a limited number of figures, however, and from what we know of the nature of physical defects of school children, I estimate that the rejections from remediable defect are somewhere between 30 per cent and 40 per cent of the total rejections for physical defect; and I believe it is nearer 40 per cent than 30 per cent. If 35 per cent are rejected, then 350,000 out of every million are rejected; if 40 per cent of these rejections are for remediable defects, then about 140,000 out of every million are lost to military service because we as a nation have failed to do our social duty; for it is obvious that all such defective conditions could have been remedied by an adequate system of physical education of school children—a system that centers itself in sufficient and scientifically directed physical activity but includes as essential conditions periodic physical examination, corrective work, supervision of health conditions in the equipment and management of schools, and development of habits and ideals of healthful living. Even now, when the exigencies of the war are draining off our physicians and nurses and physical education experts for direct military service, this great task of prevention and promotion of our human power through physical education of children of school age challenges us.
Immediate Measures of Reform
The present emergency demands careful distinction of projects that may be immediately attained from those that will require time, study, and extensive readjustments.
As measures that can be put into effect at once in many communities, the three following are of great practical moment and are closely related.
Intensive physical education in the high schools.
It may be excusable that it was left to the first draft to discover the 34 per cent of physical incompetence in the male population between 21 and 30 years of age. At any rate, that water has gone over the dam. It may be excusable if it is left to the draft machinery for the next two years to discover the physical incompetence of the boys now 19 and 20 years of age who annually will be taken up by the draft. It may be that it is excusable for these two years to lay upon the over-burdened army machinery the task not only of discovering defects, but also the heavier tasks of repairing defects and of giving that elementary physical conditioning without which military training is impossible; but I submit that it is the wisdom of the fool to stand idly watching the splendid procession of boys of high school age marching by to the terrible and searching realities of the next few years and take no steps to prepare them for the test.
Under.the revised regulations of the Provost Marshal General, there is a fourfold physical classification of drafted men. Class I consists of men who are free from incapacitating physical defects and are fit for immediate service. Class II consists of men unfit for immediate service by reason of remediable physical defect.
There are approximately 5,000,000 boys of high school age. Of these, there were enrolled in secondary schools in 1916 730,000, or approximately 15 per cent. These are the selected group. These boys now in high school will play an active and vital part in the war; on the battlefield, on the seas, in munition works, in ship yards, in scientific research—in all military, semi-military, industrial and civil services. It is of the highest importance to develop to its fullest capacity this potential man power.
There should be no high school graduates in Class II. After the present year no high school should permit a diploma to be conferred upon any boy with a remediable defect. It is practicable and feasible; it involves only two things—the examination of all high school boys, and insistence by the school authorities and those who back the school authorities upon the fullest physical fitness possible for the individual as a condition to graduation.
The same program can and should be put into effect for girls. Wouldn't it be a blessed thing if it could—if those poor little girls toddling about on their stilted shoes, powdering their noses and painting their faces in the mistaken idea that cosmetics, as one of them told me, "is something ladies put on to be pretty"—if somehow it could be gotten into the heads and hearts and arms and legs of those girls that beauty and grace come from inside out and are not something that is pasted from the outside on? But this would reach only about one-tenth of the population of high school age, of that army of boys and girls who are coming up to serve their country, if the war lasts, in its most vital need.
This is a selected tenth. The program should be extended to boys and girls of high school age in industry. An iridescent dream, you say? That all depends upon you—the American people—whether it is an iridescent dream or a practical matter. It can be done. I suspect it is more important, vastly so, to make war upon the neglect of the physical welfare of our boys and girls than it is to make war upon the German language. Mind you, I hold no brief for teaching of the German language, because I am fully convinced, and have been convinced for years that most of the modern language teaching in our high schools in the last twenty-five years has been utterly futile—the method and purpose