Editorial | Published:

Educational Aspects of Free Education

Nature volume 44, pages 169170 | Download Citation



AN innocent outsider would naturally suppose that the discussion on a proposal for free education would turn chiefly on educational and social considerations. So long as the question was of merely academic interest, this was, to a large extent, the case. It is true that strong Churchmen viewed with distaste a change which might increase the growing difficulty, found by voluntary school managers, of making both ends meet, or might possibly even sweep them off the board altogether, and that the enthusiasm of many partisans on the other side for the remission of fees was heightened by the hope that such a measure would give a new impetus to the formation of School Boards. But, on the whole, the disputants made at least an attempt in public to discuss the matter in its bearings on the child, the teacher, and the parent. The overburdened parent, the pauperizing effect of partial remission, the child kept from school because of his parents poverty, the teachers converted into tax-collectors—these were the stage properties of the one party; while the stock-in-trade of the other side included the sacred necessity of guarding “parental responsibility,” and the assertion that no one values what he does not pay for, and that to tax the hard-earned savings of the respectable middle-class to free the education of the children of the worthless and unthrifty was a Socialistic proposal of the crudest kind.

About this article

Publication history






    By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

    Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing