Items of Interest

What developed from effort made to promote education in the southern United States is summarized in the sixth instalment of the report of the general education board, founded by John D. Rockefeller. It soon became clear, according to the report, that adequate development could not take place until the available resources of the people were enlarged. "These conditions were not primarily due to lack of interest in popular education," the report continues. "While the average annual earnings of individuals engaged in agriculture in the West were upward of one thousand dollars, the average earnings of those similarly engaged in some of the southern states were as low as one hundred and fifty dollars. The great bulk of the people of the southern states simply were not earning enough to provide proper homes and to support good schools." The southern farmer suffered primarily from lack of money, but he also lacked extensive knowledge of farming; and the board therefore proceeded on the theory that if he could be helped in this direction he would gladly support better schools. This program could not be carried out by the federal government, because while it was taking measures to combat the boll weevil, it could not appropriate money for strictly educational purposes. The board decided to work in conjunction with the government.

The cooperation of the general education board brought about an immediate and rapid expansion of the demonstration movement in every direction. In 1906, 545 farms were reached; a year later, 2,834; in 1908, something more than 14,000; in 1910, 63,622; in 1912, 106,621. Twenty-five thousand adults were at the last-named date receiving instruction in Texas; more than 15,000 in Oklahoma; more than 15,000 in Arkansas; 10,500 in Alabama; 6,190 in Mississippi. In summarizing the total cost of the southern work to date, the report says that the government appropriated $1,922,300, and the general education board $925,750, while $1,069,405 was secured from other sources. The value of demonstration has been so clear that the federal government will now take over and extend purely educational farm demonstrations.

In his annual report, John Skelton Williams, comptroller of the currency, recommends to Congress a law to fine banks and bankers for making unlawful and excessive loans to bank employees, officers, and to other interests, through "dummies." "Among the many abuses and violations with which the department has to contend," Mr. Williams says, "are excessive loans, overdrafts, loose and unbusinesslike methods of accounting, excessive borrowing by the banks, investment of the bank's funds in securities not authorized by law, charging of usurious rates of interest, unlawful loans on real estate, excessive loans to officers, clerks, and employees of the bank employing them, loans to banks' officers or employees and others through 'dummies'; loaning money directly or indirectly upon the bank's own stock, transaction of brokerage or commission business by the banks' executive officers, commissions thus collected being sometimes appropriated personally by the officers and sometimes going directly or indirectly to the banks; false statements of directors as to stock ownership, and failure or refusal to charge off bad debts and other ascertained losses."

Man's Place in the First Commandment
January 9, 1915

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