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b. AMERICANIZATION AND IMMIGRANT EDUCATION, NEW YORK STATE AND CITY OF NEW YORK*
The state program of Americanization, immigrant education, and educational extension is based upon the legislative action of the past three years.
In substance, the State legislature has conceived Americanization of the foreign-born in the State of New York to be a welldeveloped program of extension education, particularly of the educational service of the public evening schools and annex classes for adults.
Such legislation has placed upon the University of the State of New York and the State Department of Education the responsibility for cooperating with local public educational agencies to meet conditions and needs. Its educational program as authorized by the legislature involves in general the following:
1. The organization and conduct of public evening schools for a minimum number of nights per year, based upon the population. 2. The extending of the educational facilities now provided for adults in evening school buildings into day classes, both day and evening classes in factories, hotels, clubs, churches, settlements and homes.
3. Provisions whereby groups of twenty persons or more may successfully petition their local public school authorities for instruction in English, citizenship, history and similar themes.
4. Compulsory education of minors between sixteen and twentyone years of age unable to read and write English, with penalties attached to the minor himself, guardians, employers or others who would seek to secure the avoidance of this law. Such minors are required to have a reading and writing knowledge of English equal to that of a child in the fifth grade.
5. Specialized training of teachers of evening schools, extension classes and all kinds of education for the foreign-born.
To carry out the intent of these laws last year, the State Board of Regents was authorized to district the state into fifteen zones,† of which Greater New York is one, for the purpose of administration. The Board of Regents was likewise instructed to perfect a
Special bulletins relating to immigrant education in New York State in respect to legislation, organization, program, special features and methods of work have been issued by the Department of Education during the past We are informed that other bulletins are in preparation. All such material may be secured from the special Division on Immigrant Education in the above department.
† See map facing page 2286.
staff of specialists to organize and supervise the work. This has been done. A special appropriation was made to carry out the intent of the law. The State Department of Education expects to continue such activities as a regular part of the State's educational program.
A concurrent resolution now pending in the State Legislature as a proposed amendment to the Constitution of the State would require all persons, upon reaching their majority, to know how to read and write English as a requirement for voting.
The program of state effort involves the following features:
1. Effort for the opening of evening schools and extension classes where they are not now being conducted, and encouragement and assistance to those now in operation.
2. Organization and conduct of factory classes.
3. Organization and conduct of home classes.
4. Co-operative and community types of effort involving the active co-operation of immigrant groups.
5. Co-operation of naturalization authorities in training for citizenship.
6. Training of teachers.
The following table gives the most recent figures obtainable for this work in the State and New York City up to about January 1, 1920:
NUMBER OF STUDENTS REGISTERED IN AMERICANIZATION CLASS IN DECEMBER, 1919
NOTE.- These figures include only such classes in night schools, places of employment, home and community centers as are under the control of public school authorities. They do not include the 10,000 or more people registered in December, 1919, in "Common branch" classes in night schools, many of whom are receiving instruction in elementary English: nor do they include the minors in day continuation classes, some of whom are also being taught elementary English. No class under private control or supervision is included.
An investigation and examination of provisions now made by the schools of New York City for various forms of adult immigrant education to meet needs among the vast numbers of nonEnglish-speaking foreign-born will show them to be wholly inadequate. Not enough evening schools and classes are conducted and requirements for the organization and conduct of such effort are not elastic enough to meet needs. There are not enough competent and trained teachers available, nor are salaries adequate to
secure more of the best kind of teaching which is needed. Moreover, the evening schools are in need of more socializing features to the end that they may become more interesting and effective centers of inspiration and community effort.
It is evident to those most familiar with the situation at the present moment in New York City, where educational needs are more acute than elsewhere in the State, that public educational agencies cannot thoroughly perform their task alone. Until the State is better organized they must have the active support and interest of various industrial, civic, and welfare agencies, submitting to the supervision and direction of the State. In addition, many agencies now doing work in the general field of so-called Americanization should be encouraged to feel that they are doing splendid work but that it is largely of a pioneer nature for which ultimately the, public educational system must suitably provide.
Plans and programs for extension of educational opportunities for all, irrespective of creed, condition, color, or origin are outstanding characteristics of education today. A program of immigrant education is directly in line with these tendencies. In so far as a program of so-called Americanization is one of education, the people of the State should endorse every means whereby its educational institutions, from the primary grades upward, should be made increasingly available to both native and foreign-born, according to their needs. This conception of education is the democratic ideal in education for which this Committee stands unequivocally, and in which it desires to see very material developments. Apparently every reasonable opportunity is offered for the hundreds of thousands of boys and girls in this State within the compulsory school age, who take advantage of them. In view of the fact, however, that approximately no more than twelve or fifteen percent of the children of the State enter high school and not exceeding three or four percent probably finish high school, it is readily apparent that vast numbers of young men and women are leaving the schools each year inadequately prepared for life either as workers or citizens, and thus add to the enormous number of persons in the State who, either of native or foreign birth, are not equipped educationally to cope with the problems of modern industrial and political life.
The Committee has abundant ground, as the result of its investigations, for believing that very material extensions of educational programs and facilities must be made to meet conditions
and needs throughout the State. For many years some of the most progressive communities of the State have made provisions for evening schools and have conducted them with success. It is reported, however, that as late as two years ago 107 cities and school districts in the State falling within the provisions of the new evening school law had previously made no provision whatever for the organization and conduct of evening schools. As a result of the legislative effort in the State this situation is being corrected as rapidly as possible.
Where local conditions in various cities and localities of the State have seemed to warrant, evening school extension has been provided in behalf of non-English-speaking persons, and for others who desire to learn English and to fit themselves for more efficient industrial and civic life. Fortunately, moreover, the State in the past two years has passed legislation particularly emphasizing the necessity for further extension of educational facilities in the form of evening schools and otherwise, particularly designed to meet the needs of immigrants. It is reported that only 50,000 or 60,000 foreign-born persons are in the evening schools of the State. This is but two percent of the foreignborn in the State. This attendance far exceeds that of natives, however.
The extension education law referred to above definitely specifies that extension of education as required under it is provided for immigrants as such, and assumes that the foreign-born will take advantage of suitable educational opportunities when they are offered. The law is mandatory in character, and requires the organization and conduct of night schools in the common branches and additional subjects which are to be taught for a stipulated number of hours, nights, and weeks, throughout the various cities and school districts of the State. The Committee has made an investigation of similar legislation in other states, and is able to report that the following states in general within the past two or three years have developed laws pertaining to the extension of educational facilities within their borders, either general in character or specifically in application, to the needs of the foreign-born. These states are: Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon and Rhode Island. Increasing responsibilities are not only being placed upon the
various school districts of the several states, in the way of extending educational facilities, but responsibility is also placed in most definite ways upon the various state departments of education for promoting and extending ideas and practice in this field. All of this legislation is significant, and is indicative of a tendency in the United States to maintain educational advantages for all, irrespective of age, for the purpose of making up for lost years, to promote productive efficiency, to elevate standards of citizenship, and to promote the general welfare and well-being of the people as inidviduals, and the State at large (depending upon local conditions and circumstances) - such legislation being also accompanied by suitable appropriation for the promotion, administration and general supervision of such efforts.
This Committee unreservedly endorses every public effort that is being made in the State toward the extension of educational facilities to children and adults. It is particularly conscious of the needs for increased facilities for adults, either in evening schools or in extension classes. It believes that the public school buildings of the State should be used increasingly wherever opportunity permits, to meet the needs of communities which these buildings may respectively serve. The Committee approves efforts being made to develop public school community centers in a wholesome way, and recommends that school buildings now erected or in process of construction shall be so arranged and equipped as to provide as much as possible for adults, as well as for children of all ages.
It recommends also that wherever possible suitable changes shall be made in existing school buildings so that they will be more useful and attractive to adults, whom the schools are increasingly expected to serve. When existing educational facilities are not adequate to meet the need, the Committee strongly approves various forms of extra-mural and extension effort under the direction and supervision of public school authorities, involving the organization and conduct of classes and other educational features, particularly among illiterates and non-English-speaking persons of foreign birth, in shops, factories, homes, or public buildings if those responsible for such work believe best results may be thus obtained.
Thorough study of local conditions is recommended to educational authorities throughout the State to the end that adequate educational facilities be provided and that supervision under the