This has always been true. Modern life, with cities and the inventions which belittle time and space, has only made it more apparent and action upon it more pressing. No one can think with penetration upon the results of education who does not come at last to a fuller vision of the interdependence of men. That men shall live less and less each for himself, more and more each for the common good, is not merely a consequence of increasing numbers on the earth, but an essential condition of human progress, in the individual as well as in society. It is a poor and meager culture which does not end in greater power to serve. To become a man is to become capable of living effectively with others and for all, in the normal relationships of life—not in subservience to custom, but in devotion to a welfare larger than one’s own, a welfare at least not incompatible, in the end, with the welfare of the world. It is not enough to say that the common interest is at stake in the education of every child; the very process of education is properly a training for effective membership in the common life.

Such is the reasoning behind the great outlay of public money on schools, libraries, museums, and other educational agencies. Civilized communities undertake education as a part of their proper business, not as a charity, but as a necessary public function. Schools are tax supported and education is compulsory. The state claims final authority to prescribe standards and to supervise even private educational ventures. It calls on all citizens for their full support in this task of conserving and developing human resources. It considers every taxpayer as much in duty bound to support ultimate social improvement through education as to direct social improvement through public enterprises of any other sort. Personal return cannot be taken into the account; the good to be achieved is primarily a public good, in which the childless also share. And the problems of education are problems of public policy, involving the whole theory of the state, of government, of the social order, and of civic progress.

All educational questions have thus become increasingly complex. The character of modern life makes even well-rounded personal development a matter of much difficulty, for the life of the individual child is in some ways narrower to-day than it was in simpler times. To secure for modern children the full exercise of body, intellect, imagination, sympathy, and will is in itself a task which calls for insight, energy, and cooperation, to say nothing of money. Yet to provide for the formal cultivation of personal capacities, faculties, and powers, is by no means to solve the problem of education, even for a given child. The results may happen to be good, but the problem has not been solved, for it has not been adequately stated.

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