Remarks on Immigrant Children and Public School Teachers, March 1906

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WE have a stupid way of trying to Americanize the emigrants, the school test of life will not apply in a democratic country, we must make the test broader. Any educational system to be successful among the foreign-speaking people of America must bring out the relation of the past with the humdrum of [today].

It makes my blood boil to see the great chasm widening between the foreign-born children and their parents. The trouble lies with the American people themselves, who refuse to recognize the culture and breadth of view which many foreigners bring to this country with them.

When the little Chicago Italian goes to school on Garibaldi's birthday and is anxious to tell about the great statesman whom his parents reverence, the teacher is just as likely to tell him that Garibaldi was not an American, and instead of letting the boy tell his story he is told of George Washington, and that the boy is an American now.

What the teacher needs is a historic background, a more cosmopolitan culture; she must meet the children on common ground. While teaching him English she is perhaps cutting from under his feet his most precious heritage, the love of his parents for the great men and traditions of their country. -- Jane Addams.

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