In 1901, three years after the Spaniards had surrendered to American troops in the Philippines, an American school was opened on the island of Leyte. I was the American teacher; the pupils were Filipinos, alert, apprehensive, and curious. Many of them had never gone to school before, had never expected to go to school. Now they were pioneers in an experiment without parallel in history; these young Filipinos were embarking on a system of free education on the American plan and throughout their school years they were going to listen and study and recite in a language that was foreign to them. I put up a piece of black oilcloth from the Chinese tienda—the government-issue blackboards did not arrive in time for the opening of school—and the first words I wrote were “A is for Apple.”

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