Educational approaches, methodologies, and strategies have been developed, tried, abandoned, reconstituted, reformed, heralded as brand new, and reapplied so many times that we are often left wondering how really “new” any idea truly is. Studying history is not only about the kings, queens, and wars but could fill libraries with the history of education’s countless experiments in method and emphasis.
One small page of that history could include this letter, written May 16, 1922, by then Vice President Calvin Coolidge to S. D. Green of the Trenton Board of Education replying to administrator Green’s May 9 missive seeking appraisal of the Trenton High School’s latest program of instruction in business principles. Coolidge shares a glimpse of his thought on business education and reminds us that there is always more than the mechanics of transacting commerce. Any program worth the time and effort must appeal to the whole person: body, mind, and spirit. Without this full focus, you will always leave a preparation disproportionate in the student and never fully equipped for life itself. It may sharpen the intellect and feed the stomach but unless the program also nourishes the soul, the individual is not complete and education falls short. A life of service not just top sales records is the soundest measure of success.