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CHAPMAN AND HALL, LIMITED,
II, HENRIETTA STREET, COVENT GARDEN, W.C.
[The Right of Translation is reserved.]
No. CCV. NEW SERIES.-JANUARY 1, 1884.
THE RADICAL PROGRAMME.
THERE is a manifest reluctance to renew the education controversy. The struggle of 1870-76 was lacerating and exhausting, and repose was welcome on almost any terms. But the result was a compromise, which left in our school system elements of partiality, injustice, and inefficiency. The final honcurs of the contest remained with the reactionary party; but it was a truce and not a peace which was concluded, and the Liberal party expressly reserved its right to reopen the question when a favourable opportunity should offer. Twelve years have gone by since Mr. Forster's Act was passed; much laborious work has been done; a large field has been planted; a vast array of figures have accumulated, representing, without doubt, a great advance and supplying a primâ facie answer to any attempt to disturb the basis on which the system rests. But although the statistics in the Blue Book stand for much, and especially prove how criminally neglectful the nation had previously been, it is not improper to ask whether they are not showy in a great degree, and whether they do not conceal a large amount of friction, extravagance, and waste of power, which might easily be removed or reduced. Granting that the results are in a great measure tangible, are they not obtained at a disproportionate cost? Is the system economical in the true sense, that the best product is obtained with the least necessary outlay and effort? If it can be shown that it fails in the two essentials of economy and efficiency, the nation will not refuse to look the question fairly in the face, or will not be satisfied short of obtaining a thorough rather than an ostentatious system of education. Here is another reason why the existing arrangements will soon have to be reconsidered. Those who bear the brunt and burden of the compulsory school law are threatened with a fresh turn of the screw. The school boards are at a deadlock about fees, and some of them are asking for summary powers to enforce payment of them. At the same time the chiefs of the
VOL. XXXV. N.S.