Carnegie gives fifteen million dollars to provide pensions for superannuated college professors; but the elementary teacher who is not fortunate enough to die in harness must look forward to the almshouse. The people tax themselves for magnificent buildings and luxurious furnishings, but not one cent do they offer for teachers’ pensions. What a blot upon Western civilization is this treatment of the teachers in our lower schools. These people are doing the work that even the savage races universally consider to be of the highest type. Benighted China places her teachers second only to the literati themselves in the place of honor. The Hindus made the teaching profession the highest caste in the social scale. The Jews intrusted the education of their children to their Rabbis, the most learned and the most honored of their race. It is only Western civilization—it is almost only our much-lauded Anglo-Saxon civilization—that denies to the teacher a station in life befitting his importance as a social servant.
But what has all this to do with school supervision? As I view it, the supervisor of schools as the overseer and director of the educational process, is just now confronted with two great problems. The first of these is to keep a clear head in the present muddled condition of educational theory. From the very fact of his position, the supervisor must be a leader, whether he will or not. It is a maxim of our profession that the principal is the school. In our city systems the supervising principal is given almost absolute authority over the school of which he has charge. In him is vested the ultimate responsibility for instruction, for discipline, for the care and condition of the material property. He may be a despot if he wishes, benevolent or otherwise. With this power goes a corresponding opportunity.