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Mr. Ralph Bridgeman, National Council of Parent Education, asked what should be the strategy of eugenics. If the eugenic objective is presented in quantitative terms, as the need for more children, then we are likely to leave in a secondary place the need for better minds, better physiques, and better personalities. We are putting our emphasis on an end which can be misconstrued. But if we stress personality, character, and physique as ends in themselves, we are on safer ground, for these qualities properly developed lead to a eugenic result. The consideration of this point of view opens up the whole question of the indirect attack on eugenics, and deserves more careful development.
Dr. Stearns closed the discussion with a consideration of the effect of the home background on the personality qualities of children as exemplified by the high quality of the children of ministers. Again he advised that the teaching of eugenics should be indirect, not through textbooks but through examples of family life which young people admire. For the breakdown of family life is often due to the lack of high purpose and self-sacrifice.
Eugenic Education in Colleges and Universities
President Henry Noble MacCracken of Vassar College presiding.
President MacCracken opened the session with a statement on the present status of education in the colleges, particularly the women's colleges.
There are two schools of thought with respect to colleges. One believes that education is a matter of the intellect, the other that education should be for the development of the whole personality. Although out of twenty-five colleges for women in New York State fourteen are Roman Catholic, still it is true that the theological emphasis of the past century has been replaced by interest in the social sciences. This change represents a transfer from ethics to the applied field of relations to one's fellows.
College women of the early days were marked women who felt and were taught that they had a mission in life. They carried forward a fight for the equality of women. To some extent, the eugenic ideal received a setback from this early experience directed to politics and reform. This early trend was followed by a new interest in the family, which has resulted in a rise in birthrates among college women. A changed attitude is reflected in recent questionnaires which indicate that marriage and three or more children is increasingly the ideal of college women. An eminent graduate of Vassar in its early days, Miss Lathrop, was one of the older group who spent a lifetime in important outside work but returned finally to Vassar to uphold the home and motherhood as the ideal of women.
Today, reference to the family permeates almost all college courses; a great change from the attitude of early days. Today, the objective of education at the college level is the training of the whole personality for the best form of living. The whole concept of college life must be that of a laboratory for the purpose of consideration and observation.
Dr. MacCracken then spoke of the extraordinary response to a new course of lectures at Vassar on marriage and the family, which had immediately attracted over 500 students. Apparently there is now a real movement for courses