Our Little Citizens- Primary Education Article, January, 1920 Part 2

Part One was ever so very long ago (almost a year):

From Primary Education, January 1920


Plain Living and High Thinking Let us return to this slogan of the good old Americans. No nation was ever more prosperous than this. If the truth were told about the High Cost of Living, it would be seen that profligate spending and under production due to strikes are the cause of the greater part of the increase in prices.
Use stories of the Pilgrim children to teach thrift. Cooperate with the Government in all its thrift activities. Above all, show how cheap and degrading, how vulgar, profligate spending is. No good American is paying extravagant prices for luxuries. The good Americans are trying to save, to make their earnings last as long as possible to live decently, not extravagantly.
It is the cheap, ignorant, flashy type that is engaged in an orgy of spending. No class is suffering more from this than the teacher. Surely we can put our hearts into teaching a refined, cultured standard of living.
Let us make an inventory of Personal Property Let the children put in everything they possess — toys and all. The idea is to build up in the them concepts of possession and contentment and thrift. Tell them to list damaged toys and then see if these damaged toys can be repaired as a manual training exercise and donated to other children or to hospitals.

It is said that the aliens among us who wish to overthrow our Government get more money in a week now than they used to be able to save in several years. They were contented until the agitators preached to them against our country and now, though some of them make over a hundred dollars a week, they call themselves wage slaves and want to take over the factories for themselves. Their discontent was artificially created by agitators.

Uncle Sam’s Census Tell the children that Uncle Sam takes stock of his people every ten years, and that 1920 is a census year. Tell them the first census bill was passed in 1790 — let them find out how many times the census has been taken. Let them take a census of their own family (fine opportunity for spelling, reading, writing — fine opportunity for teacher to become better acquainted). Tell them that Uncle Sam wants to know everyone’s name, place of birth, age, occupation, whether the children are in school or at work, and whether everyone can read and write English. Stress on this last part may increase interest in Americanization work. We don’t realize our power. What we put into the minds of the children reacts powerfully on their parents. It is a moving and pathetic sight to see little children bring their mothers to evening school to learn English, because some teacher has been inspired to make them want to help their parents understand America. It is good civic teaching to thoroughly explain the census, especially if the children come from foreign homes.
A perfectly accurate census has probably never been taken, but we can help set up a standard of courteous truthful co-operation with the census man.
Explain that with the census as a basis, Congress apportions the number of representatives. If we find that our population has increased in the last ten years, we will have a greater number of people to each representative — the number of representatives may be increased. We have now 435 representatives on a basis of one for each 211,677 persons. Due to the war, and influenza deaths, and the return to foreign lands of a great many of our residents, the population in this census will probably be considerably lower than what might have been the expected growth of a normal ten years.
The children can dramatize:
1 A census taker.
2 The administrator of an estate, who gets three appraisers to make an inventory. (Watch newspaper for such items.)
3 A furniture loan man — loans arc given only on part of the value. They are called “chattel mortgages.”
4 A personal property insurance man.
5 An auctioneer. Use the information gained in their inventories as the basis of their dialogue. They should be encouraged to make inventories of home possessions, to mend and keep in repair home furniture and tools, to get a sense of the money value the family possessions represent, and a feeling of loyalty to this Government, founded to protect them in their rights.
Be sure that Grades III and IV read the clauses of the Constitution that relate to the protection of private property. “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without the due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.” (Fifth Amendment.)
Make them realize that schemes which take away the right to property are un- American. Create a scorn of the ” kicker,” especially of the one who discourages workingmen by telling them lies. The real agitators do not work, they roam about talking.
There are two kinds of discontent in this world — the discontent that wrings its hands and the discontent that works. The first loses what it had — and the second gets what it wants. — – Graham
Note Miss Leighton will answer questions or send references for teaching our Government as contrasted with Sovietism, Socialism, Communism, etc., or the economic fallacies of schemes like the Plumb plan, etc. Address Miss Etta V. Leighton, National Security League, 19 West 44th St., New York City

More about the National Security League here.



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