A large number of individuals are contributing to the support of educational institutions in our country. To help an inefficient, ill-located, unnecessary school is a waste. I am told by those who have given most careful study to this problem that it is highly probable that enough money has been squandered on unwise educational projects to have built up a national system of higher education adequate to our needs if the money had been properly directed to that end. Many of the good people who bestow their beneficence on education may well give more thought to investigating the character of the enterprises that they are importuned to help, and this study ought to take into account the kind of people who are responsible for their management, their location, and the facilities supplied by other institutions round about. A thorough examination such as this is generally quite impossible for an individual, and he either declines to give from lack of accurate knowledge, or he may give without due consideration. If, however, this work of inquiry is done, and well done, by the General Education Board, through officers of intelligence, skill, and sympathy, trained to the work, important and needed service is rendered. The walls of sectarian exclusiveness are fast disappearing, as they should, and the best people are standing shoulder to shoulder as they attack the great problems of general uplift.
Just here it occurs to me to testify to the fact that the Roman Catholic Church, as I have observed in my experience, has advanced a long way in this direction. I have been surprised to learn how far a given sum of money has gone in the hands of priests and nuns, and how really effective is their use of it. I fully appreciate the splendid service done by other workers in the field, but I have seen the organization of the Roman Church secure better results with a given sum of money than other Church organizations are accustomed to secure from the same expenditure. I speak of this merely to point the value of the principle of organization, in which I believe so heartily. It is unnecessary to dwell upon the centuries of experience which the Church of Rome has gone through to perfect a great power of organization.
Studying these problems has been a source of the greatest interest to me. My assistants, quite distinct from any board, have an organization of sufficient size to investigate the many requests that come to us. This is done from the office of our committee in New York. For an individual to attempt to keep any close watch of single cases would be impossible. I am called upon to explain this fact many times. To read the hundreds of letters daily received at our office would be beyond the power of any one man, and surely, if the many good people who write would only reflect a little, they must realize that it is impossible for me personally to consider their applications.