As I research for my new book, I come across some amazing stuff. Just a couple of weeks ago, I discovered some “gold” on an educational website. It was a document, created in 1918, called: “The Cardinal Principles of Secondary Education.”
Almost a century ago, high schools were a new idea. Some had started, but there were no guiding principles for them. One-room schoolhouses were in decline and enrollment was increasing in the high schools that did exist—so a commission was formed to create a standard for new schools. Along the way, this commission drafted seven cardinal principles (or goals) for teenage students at the schools.
Check these out and see if you don’t agree—we need to return to these relevant standards today:
1. Health – The school should encourage good health habits, instruction and activities for students.
2. Command of Fundamentals – These are writing, reading, oral and written expression and math.
3. Worthy Home Membership – This principle calls for the development of those qualities that make an individual a worthy member of a family.
4. Vocation – Students should get to know themselves and a variety of careers so that they can choose a suitable vocation. Students then understand the relationship between vocation and community.
5. Civic Education – Students should develop an awareness and concern for one’s own community and its needs for social and moral development.
6. Worthy Use of Leisure – Education should give students the skills to enrich their lives with music, art, drama, literature, social issues and recreation.
7. Ethical Character – This involves instilling in students the notion of personal responsibility and initiative in their morals and behaviors.
Wow. I’d sure want my kids to attend a high school that pursued and achieved these goals, wouldn’t you? Perhaps we had the right idea ninety years ago and should return to those fundamentals!