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of teaching German must be revolutionized—but if I were going to be a soldier, especially an officer, in the trenches and had to pit my wits against the wits of the enemy, I believe I would like to know the German language.


The second point of attack is the pupils leaving the elementary schools. There should be established immediately the requirement that all pupils leaving the elementary schools either by graduation or to go to work should be subjected to a physical examination, and further, that only those found physically fit for specific occupations should be permitted to enter those occupations. If that requirement is not adopted and put into effect we are going to have, instead of an upbuilding of our physical strength, a weakening of it. This measure would guarantee the detection of physical incapacity in most of the children under high school age seven years before they are wanted for army purposes.


The third point of attack is adequate, systematic supervision of the physical health of all children in the elementary schools. The first step towards that is the examination of all children upon entrance to the elementary schools. In the majority of cases defective conditions may be detected then. Then, there should be examination of the children while they are in the elementary schools. Few communities in the United States provide this service. There are few cities where medical examination is thorough-going and effective. The development of machinery for this service will be a matter of time. But mere examination is only a negative matter. Unless we have a constructive program it is worthless. The existence of the human organism depends roughly upon three conditions—fuel (food), air and exercise. In the human engine the combination of fuel and air is directly effected by physical exercise. These three things, then—food, air and physical exercise—must be secured to children in proper proportions if normal development is to be expected. Any plan of physical education that magnifies one of these to the neglect of the others is partial and to that extent ineffective.

National Policy Required

But, if there is to be such a thing as universal physical education, it must be conceived and executed as a national policy.

The aim and purpose of physical education should be more fully and thoroughly to prepare the boys and girls of the nation for the duties and responsibilities of citizenship through the development of vigor and muscular strength and skill, bodily and mental poise, and such desirable moral and social qualities as self-control, self-subordination, obedience to authority, co-operation under leadership and the exercise of disciplined initiative; further, through physical examination and the correction of postural and other remediable defects, through the promotion of hygienic school buildings, playgrounds, and athletic fields. That is the purpose of the state laws that have already been enacted. Eight such laws of greater or less force and effectiveness have been enacted, but the big problem is how to get universal physical education—how to get it in all communities, in all states throughout the nation. Weakness in the state or local community is a national weakness.

The draft record shows striking differences between the physical strength of our states. For instance, one state shows 85 per cent of its registrants are physically fit; in another the showing is 56 per cent only. It happens that these two states are practically of the same size. Relatively, one of these states is a much greater national asset than the other. As between the two largest states, there is a difference of about 16 per cent. Is it, or is it not, a problem of national importance? We must guard against the danger of assuming that an adequate and effective national law would entirely eliminate such disparities between the states. But there is no exaggeration in the assumption that an adequate national system of physical education would significantly reduce such disparities. A state matter, you say? Well, of course it is. But what are you going to do if one state, after thorough investigation of the matter, is content with an intelligent and satisfactory understanding of it, and does nothing? What are you going to do if in one state the economic ability is only one-tenth that of another state? What are you going to do if in one state the ratio of the child population to the productive adult population is one-third that of another state? There is only one way of equalizing these disparities and inequalities, and that is by federal aid and a measure of federal control.

The principle of grants from the central government to the local units is about as old as Anglo-Saxon law. It is at least 600 years old in England, and it is not a new thing in this country. The land-grant college is one phase of it. The new Smith-Hughes law for vocational education is another phase of it. The developing tendency is to make these subsidies by the federal government to the state on one basis only, namely: that they are given by the federal government on condition that the state at least duplicates them and fulfills certain conditions that are uniform in all states. That is the basis, I am fully persuaded, upon which we are to federalize physical education in the broad sense in which I have defined it and as it is defined more or less fully in some of the state laws already enacted.

Physical Needs Dominant

I find I am becoming a thief of time and that I must round up very quickly what I have to say on this subject. Let me steal a minute more to say that physical education, if it ever means anything to us, must be interpreted in its broad sense. It must not be understood in the old sense of physical "culture" and "training," which is corrective, but not developmental. The fact of the case is that physical education has to do with physical activity, and physical activity is the very fundamental thing in human development. Before we get through with this we may have to turn some of our values upside down. In education we may come to recognize that physical and spiritual and moral efficiency which comes with true development of physical powers has more importance than grammar, or any other thing. Did you ever stop to think of the contrast between the life of the child the day before he enters school and the day after? If so, you have realized that the day before the child enters school about eight hours of his twelve or thirteen waking hours are given over to muscular activity. At least five or six are given to very energetic exercise of the big muscles, and at least two or three hours of the rest of the eight hours are devoted to manual occupations not requiring very fine adjustments. The day after he enters school there is a complete reversal of things, and only by being a "bad boy," I am afraid, will the child secure to himself those eight hours of energetic muscular activity.

We cannot too soon undertake the program of nationalism. No effort should be spared by earnest men and women to put into effect immediately emergency measures such as suggested, but we should initiate at once a national program that will work well today, and a year from today, and project this into the years beyond. The heart of the old world is dead. Its doom was sounded in July, 1914. Some of us are still going about in a somnambulistic state. We are repeating the old catch words, we are worshipping the old little gods that are very sacred to us. But we are sleepwalkers. The old world is dead. No one will undertake, I fancy, unless he is a true prophet, to prophesy what the new world will be, but I venture this suggestion, that there will be no return to the shameless individualism of thought and action which characterized us before the war. Someone has said the war will be won in 1938. He is right. The nation which then has the finest and strongest body of men and women of twenty years of age will be the winning nation. We are a great nation—or at least we think we are. A great nation that does not grow strong through war is inherently a weak nation. I mean that literally and figuratively, and refer to its physical as well as its moral resources. The demonstration that democracy is safe for the world must come through our ability to understand this hard doctrine and to make it a reality.


This was an entirely informal discussion. Dr. Jessica B. Peixotto of the University of California, at present executive chairman of the department of child welfare of the Woman's Committee of the Council of National Defense, presided.

1. Miss Peixotto, outlined briefly the way in which the program of "The Children's Year" was being put into operation. She told how and why the Woman's Committee of the Council of National Defense had agreed to accept the responsibility for carrying out the thorough-going war program for children set forth by the Federal Children's Bureau to the eleven million women now organized in the state divisions of the Women's Committee of the Council of National Defense. It was explained how the Woman's Committee, acting through its department of child welfare, was not only to share in formulating the program, not only to distribute millions of weighing and measuring cards, thousands of pamphlets and other propaganda and publicity material, but how also and above all, the Woman's Committee was acting as the agent to effect and to maintain a nation-wide organization dedicated in one of its most active departments to the constructive program for the care of the children of the United States, announced by the Federal Children's Bureau. The point of special interest in this collaboration, Dr. Peixotto stated, was that^thereby both parties to the plan are strengthened and the community is assured of democratic work for children. The child welfare department of the Woman's Committee becomes in the best sense an extension of a government bureau. The government bureau investigators, sober, disciplined research workers, will, it is hoped, be greatly aided by the enthusiasm of volunteers rich in eager earnestness. The facts that three months of work had already developed, were given as hopeful signs that "The Children's Year" was to bring a rich harvest of improved health to the children of the nation and improved standards of child care.

2. Miss Julia C. Lathrop, chief of the Federal Children's Bureau, Washington, stated that it had seemed appropriate and necessary that during the second year of the war the United States should heed the warnings which it had received from other countries regarding the safeguarding of children. It was very noticeable that during the second year of the war, England's infant mortality rate was 91, while the mortality rate of the United States at the same time, where no war was raging, was about 100. In the United States 300,000 infants and children under five had died during the year 1917, most of whom could have been saved. In the second year of the war the lives of at least 100,000 under five years of age ought to be saved. Weighing and measuring of children up to the age of five years constitutes the first step in the practical program of Children's Year, and then careful follow-up work. Out of this it may be expected that there will develop a new respect for hygiene and for physical efficiency.

Without care and nurture of a good mother, a child is clearly defrauded, and a social program which does not provide for keeping a good mother with her children is lacking at its very foundation. The mother must be expected and allowed to take care of the children in her own home. Minimum wage laws should do their part. Decent standards of livelihood should be insisted upon, and all the readjustments of daily life made so that a mother can take care of her own. The rural child and the city child need the same chance and should have the same full period of school during the whole of the year.

Another factor of importance is, that recreation for young people must not be suppressed but must be supervised, for it is essential to work and to wholesome living. In closing, Miss Lathrop urged that everyone should work at such a program, and that the result would come from the efforts of the many all over the country.

Miss Lathrop later in the discussion added that altogether the effort of Children's Year was to recognize and to make permanent certain reduceable minimum standards of child welfare.

3. Mrs. Ira Couch Wood of Chicago, director of the Elizabeth McCormick Memorial and chairman of the child welfare department, Illinois Women's Committee of the Council of National Defense, gave a statement of the concrete items that entered into the program of the 2,000 unit groups of women in Illinois. While there were communities in Illinois as in other places who said that they needed nothing more since they had Boy Scouts or needed no child welfare program at all since they were a country community, she felt that the state of Illinois was aroused and that the work that was being undertaken in birth registration, in the development of public health training and in the tuberculosis campaign, was bearing good fruit. It had been their aim to bring together all the various child welfare agencies into coordinate programs, and in Chicago and in other parts of the state the schools had been made centers of organization. Wherever settlements, day nurseries and infant welfare societies existed they had also been made into centers for weighing and measuring tests, the first feature of the program of Children's Year.

4. Lydia Allen DeVilbiss, M. D., director of the division of child hygiene of the State Board of Health of Kansas, stated that forty-eight hours previously her state had been admitted to the birth registration area. The director of the child hygiene division is also chairman of child welfare of the Kansas State Woman's Council of Defense. In this connection the state is well organized by counties, wards and precincts. House-to-house canvasses are being made covering birth registration; registration of expectant mothers in the prenatal correspondence course, conducted by the child hygiene division; registration of defective, crippled and dependent children, who are eligible to receive medical and surgical care at expense of state; and also registration of all mothers of young children in order that they may receive educational literature. The W. C. T. U. and federated clubs are conducting the Children's Year weighing and measuring tests, with complete physical examination in many cases. This movement is sweeping the state. The governor has appointed a commission to report on care of the feebleminded in Kansas. The lieutenant governor has appointed a Children's Code Commission. The Kansas health car Warren has been dedicated to Children's Year and is to be devoted exclusively to a child welfare exhibit. It travels continuously for ten months of the year, starting on its itinerary September 9, 1918.

5. Ellsworth Paris of Iowa City, acting director of the Iowa Child Welfare Research Station, spoke of the progress of the Children's Year campaign in Iowa. The work has been carried on by the women's committee of the Council of National Defense but under the direction of the Research Station located at the state university. The plan in Iowa was to have the largest possible percentage of children examined by physicians, and in some communities, notably Des Moines, Waterloo and Ottumwa, every child in the city of pre-school age had been accorded an examination by a physician. The Child Welfare Station is laying particular emphasis on the permanent character of the follow-up work which is to result from this campaign.

6. Another speaker said that the baby might be made the pampered aristocrat of our various communities, but the death rate of babies can be reduced only by control and getting rid of poverty. The United States government is establishing, first, the principle of an adequate standard of living; secondly, certain elements of social insurance. If this could be more fully applied it might become very effective in removing poverty through health and other insurance.

7. The informal discussion was concluded by Miss Katherine C. Felton of San Francisco.

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