Cornhill Magazine,  3 (1861), 257–69.

A Third Letter from Paterfamilias to the Editor of the "Cornhill Magazine"

Paterfamilias, pseud.  [Matthew J Higgins]




Education, Schools, Mathematics, Class

    Responding to the 'overweening and contemptuous' attitude of 'social and intellectual superiority' exhibited by an assistant-master at Eton (269), the author defends his earlier comments on 'the neglect of mathematics' at the school [see CM1/2/6/1] by quoting from a 'printed paper' describing certain new arrangements, which was 'given to [him] by the father of a boy now at Eton' (265). Even in this new scheme 'the maximum of the regular instruction at Eton appears [...] not to go beyond one book of Euclid', while in 'all the civil service examinations in which mathematics are required, and at the examinations before the Board of Military Education, two books of Euclid are about the minimum accepted'. Also alleges that the pay structure at Eton gives mathematics masters 'a direct interest in keeping the regular standard of instruction as low as possible, in order that they may increase their fixed salaries by numerous extra payments for private tuition'. (266) The present system results in 'extensive public school "crétinism"' (268).


Higgins 1861

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