Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 361
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Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 361
 
only yesterday that he was going to Boston to look into new sources of worriment they have invented there. The world does move in spite of janitors. In two short years our school authorities advanced from the cautious proposition that it “was the sense” of the Board of Superintendents that the schoolhouses might well be used in the cause of education as neighborhood centres, etc., (1897), to the flat declaration that “every rational system of education should make provisions for play” (1899). And to cut off all chance of relapse into the old doubt whether “such things are educational,” that laid so many of our hopes on the dusty shelf of the circumlocution office, the state legislature has expressly declared that the commonwealth will take the chance, which Boards of Education shunned, of a little amusement creeping in. The schools may be used for “purposes of recreation.” To the janitor it must seem that the end of all things is at hand.
 
 
Girls’ Playground on the Roof.
 
  So the schools and their playgrounds were thrown open to the children during the long vacation, with kindergarten teachers to amuse them, and vacation schools tempted the little ones from the street into the cool shade of the classrooms. They wrought in wood and iron, they sang and they played and studied nature,—out of a barrel, to be sure; that came twice a week from Long Island filled with

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