Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 346
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Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 346
 
the ideal one,—it may never be; but the jail, at least, has been cast out of the firm. We have a compulsory education law under which it is possible to punish the parent for the boy’s truancy, as he ought to be if there was room in the school for the lad, and he let him drift. And the day cannot be delayed much longer now when every child shall find the latchstring out on the school door. We have had to put our hands deep into our pockets to get so far, and we shall have to put them in deeper yet a long way. But it is all right. We are beginning to see the true bearing of things. Last week the Board of Estimate and Apportionment appropriated six millions of dollars for new schools—exactly what the battleship Massachusetts cost all complete with guns and fittings, so they told me on board. Battleships are all right when we need them, but even then it is the man behind the gun who tells, and that means the schoolmaster. The Board of Education asked for sixteen millions. They will get the other ten when we have caught our breath. Since the beginning of 1895 1 we have built sixty-nine new public schools in Manhattan and the Bronx, at a cost of 12,038,764, exclusive of cost of sites, furnishings, heating, lighting, and ventilating the buildings, which would add two-thirds at least of that amount, making it a round
Note 1. Up to June, 1902. [ back ]

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