Doctor Stearns


(Ed. Note--The Crimson does not necessarily endorse opinions expressed in printed communications. No attention will be paid to anonymous letters and only under special conditions, at the request of the writer, will names be withheld.)

To the Editor of the CRIMSON:

As an Andover alumnus and an admirer of Dr. Stearns and his splendid administration, I was interested but scarcely instructed by your editorial of yesterday. . .

So remarkable have been the educational advances which have come from Andover in the past two decades that I can not repress the feeling that your editor failed to comment upon them only because he was unaware of them. In his mad dash for materialism Dr. Stearns turned over the first million dollars received to the raising of the salaries of the faculty. That was in 1920, Six years later he inaugurated a drive that was to bring in a million and a half. This he devoted to the establishment of ten teaching foundations (your "few teaching foundations"). The value of this latter move to secondary school education cannot be overestimated. It meant that for the first time in the history of American schools a secondary institution could afford to pay its instructors College Professor's salaries (each foundation brings eight thousand dollars a year to its recipient). . .

The eventual result will be not merely that the secondary school will be raised to a new level, but so diversified and complete a training will be possible in the schools that only those really qualified and deserving will push on to the more expansive atmosphere of college--an unquestioned advantage to the colleges.


Nor is this the only educational progress of Dr. Stearns' regime. By "Exeter's educational advances" I judge you refer to the division of the classes into small groups and the addition of enough men to the faculty to permit the teaching of these small groups according to capacity and ambition. Here Andover, though not the leader, has kept pace, a fact that your editorial neglects. There are as yet no round tables at Andover, but the classes in at least two divisions, English and Latin, have already been broken up into groups according to ability, and plans are being made to extend this system. That in essence is what Exeter has done. But there is one difference. Before the Andover plan can be completed new teachers will have to be added. This is a move which is being slowly made, and which will not be completed until sufficient money and capable men are both available; for there will always be those of us who question the "educational advance" of adding fifteen or twenty men to a faculty at one fell swoop.

I end my letter with what has been, perhaps, the outstanding forward step in secondary school affairs in the past decade--the building of the Addison Gallery of American Art at Andover and the subsequent training in a field hitherto almost completely neglected by schools. That this beautiful little gallery with its remarkably fine collection will be an inspiration to other schools is certain, that it has been a success at Andover no one who saw the exhibition of student paintings last spring will deny.

I write this letter merely with the feeling that these are facts which should be balanced against your editorial of yesterday. The building of Andover's tremendous plant may have blinded the public gaze to the more subtle changes going on within, but these continued nevertheless. Lee Howard.

(Ed. Note:--The CRIMSON regrets that space requirements prevent a complete reprint of Mr. Howard's letter. But as a reply to the main points, which remain intact, the following should be noted:

1. That the editorial in question was not primarily a review of the Stearns regime; it was rather an examination of Andover's present position.

2. That, regardless of Mr. Howard's defense, Andover has scarcely kept step with Exeter in matters educational, has rather turned her attention to new and expensive equipment.

3. That the CRIMSON still questions the need for an expensive art gallery to interest students in art.)