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Industrial Education*



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E are told that in this world there appears a duality

in all things. It is a world spiritual and a world W material. This appears in matters educational.

It is part of our heritage to hold that the spiritual rather than the material side of education is the one to which we should adhere. Our educational system has long been one which aimed first and

foremost at culture. But as time has passed the pendulum of change has begun to swing the other way, until now many in the community are laying emphasis on the necessity of an education more material—one which shall give the boy who must make his living with his hands some specific training to this end.

The early history of this continent saw small cities and a wide spread rural population. The country boy's school training was limited indeed; the studies he pursued were few, and the books used fewer. For more than half the year he was out of school, busy on the farm or in the village shop. His education ended soon, so far as school was concerned; albeit, it continued long at the bench or forge. The training which led on and up to college was an education of the few. It was the education of those who were to become leaders, for those who had time and money, as well as brains, to enable them to take advantage of the opportunities offered.

The present sees this idea of educational opportunity grafted upon the democratic ideal, to the end that the doors of the school may be thrown open to all to advance from the primary school to the university. This idea, that all that may thus have

. From an address before the Empire Club of Toronto, Canada

advantages once offered to the few, is beautiful in theory, but works out ill in practice. A late report of the United States Commissioner of Education notes that there were, the year previous, 5,100,000 children in the entering classes of the primary schools. If our democratic system is to be effective the large majority of the children should stay to receive the training freely offered them. At any rate if they cannot afford to go to college they should at least remain through the high school years. What are the figures? By the fifth year of school that army of 5,100,000 has dropped to 1,200,000. Four million children have disappeared to go to work in the first four years. By the sixth year (the twelfth year of the child's age) that million has dropped to 780,000—the "cry of the dollar” has been heard. By the eighth year the number has decreased to 320,000 and by the ninth year to 240,000. This is the number available for the high schools. Not all by any means enter those schools, but of those that do, the total number graduating at seventeen is only 73,000. This, it will be remembered, is for all the states together.

Because our minds conceive millions with difficulty, let us reduce these figures to others that may be easily grasped. Made more tangible, these figures indicate that a school with an entering class of 5,000 children in its lowest primary class would graduate but 73 of these at the end of its high school course! This is the democratic scheme of education in practice. It means simply that the children will not, or cannot, accept the training that is presented. Our historian, John Fiske, pointed that to the lengthened period of his training man owes his superiority in the animal world, and that the more intelligent the human race, the longer with them would be found the educational period. We have thus come to see that the educational process is not one that stops when the child reaches adolescence. It goes on for years thereafter. In the highest types of men it lasts all life through. As has been said “the real student remains a student through life.” The man who leaves school early has this power of application arrested. He never perceives the wider horizon that comes from pursuing his studies through the quickening years of youth. He atrophies instead of developing; learning little, he loses in time, the power of learning more. The early severance of the child from school is not dissimilar to the early weaning of the child from the breast.

German army statistics here are significant. These show that the men of that army are stronger, taller, more intelligent and more enduring, directly in proportion to the number of months they were suckled in infancy. Those drawn from the breast early are the undersized, the indolent, the weaklings.

Between the human mother and the alma mater is a strong resemblance. It is the lengthened time in the lap of the school that counts for future strength. Our artisans, leaving at twelve, cannot later develop into the highest type of workmen. Their ripening has been all too brief. If we are to develop a higher type of skilled workman, one fit to compare with the trained worker of France and Germany, then the period of education for that man must be prolonged, and it cannot be prolonged in the modern high schools. The modern high school is not truly a democratic school. It pretends to offer equal opportunity for all, but falsely translates the words "equal opportunity" into meaning the “same opportunity.” To offer the same work to all is of necessity to make the opportunity for its completion far from equal. To the boy fitted and anxious to become a professional man, the high school opens wide its doors. It rejoices in the fact that it prepares for college. To the boy anxious to become an expert artisan the high school offers no inducements; it is indifferent to the fact that it could prepare a vast army, now ignored, for life. In a truly democratic scheme of education the modern high school as at present organized will find a minor place. It should rather be made to do what it now only pretends to do—offer an opportunity to every pupil willing to remain upon its rolls to school himself to produce the best.

The old apprenticement system has disappeared. It has some evil and some good, but with evil and good—it has gone. The modern shop is not a place where the apprentice can be taught with great success, because of the high differentiation and specialization of processes. A few great concerns like the General Electric Co., at Lynn, Mass., and the Baldwin Locomotive Works, have schools for apprentices, but these reach an infinitesimal fraction of the boys to be aided by such training. The boy from fourteen to sixteen finds that he is not wanted as an apprentice or learner in any trade. He is too immature physically to meet the demands made upon the adult in factory or shop. If admitted to the ordinary work-room, it is only to serve as errand boy or assistant in the performance of some routine of unimportant mechanical work, but as errand boy, feeder or helper, he receives practically no instruction, and is paid a very trifling wage.

There is a serious economic loss both to state and worker under these conditions. The boy has lost school training on the one hand and is unable to recompense hiinself by adequate technical instruction on the other. With such defective preparation he cannot be expected to develop into a workman of value.

If, then, this vocational training is to be given it must be given in such a way as to reach not the limited number prepared to accept it in the form of trade teaching at the age of sixteen or seventeen, but the far larger army who should receive it at the age of twelve or thirteen before they have left the elementary school, and while there is still time to impress upon them the advantages of learning more of vocational work than can be gotten from the routine work of shop or factory. Wurtemburg, a state no larger than New Jersey, has some 280 industrial schools, more than all the United States together. Munich, a city not half the size of Chicago or New York, has over fifty equipments for as many different trades, so that even the baker's boy and chimney sweep must go to school for a certain number of hours a week to perfect the technical knowledge of the business he professes. We, in the United States are behind, and Continental peoples are showing us this in their ability to produce goods of finish better than our own, underbidding our manufacturers in home markets.

Americans think of themselves as a practical people. This is a painfully practical question. Those who have the power to see the future may well view the picture with concern.

In Japan they have already seen a nation awakened, but Japan has but a few millions of skilled artisans. Almost within sight of that island lies a land of close-pressed peoples-one with millions on millions of skilful, patient, docile, intelligent workers, but yet asleep to recent inventions and manufactures. Once roused to the possibilities of modern industrial life, this

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great nation will make the Dominion of Canada and every state throughout the Union thrill to the utmost nerve to meet them in competition. We are behind! Change in our school organization is needed, but this change cannot be brought about in a month or a year. Unless this association and other associations of intelligent business men rouse themselves to the problem of Industrial Education, your children, and your children's children will rue the day that saw you indifferent while this question pressed for solution.

I have but a few moments more, and to be specific in my recommendations, will make some practical suggestions. The years from fourteen to sixteen are the "waste years”—when the boy is drifting about from one shop to another, vainly endeavoring to gain a foothold. From this it might be inferred that the most important part of industrial training would deal with pupils between the ages named. In reality the question is one which should deal with the pupil before the age of fourteen, for unless he has received some definite vocational interest before he has reached the limits of his compulsory schooling, he leaves the elementary school without insight or training or any of the things which make for the successful choice and pursuit of a vocation. While, therefore, trade teaching as such cannot be advocated for the immature pupils of the elementary school, preparatory, vocational, training must come to be seen as a necessary preliminary to the development of a class of pupils prepared later to enter the trade school. The years for such training are the sixth, seventh and eighth years of the elementary school and the two years immediately succeeding. The first three of these are the years when the pupils are most prone to leave school, while the last two years form the period when his services in the trade are as yet undesired. By the sixth

By the sixth year the mental capacity and bent of the pupils may be determined. If those who lean toward vocational work can have their interests met at this stage it may reasonably be expected that a very considerable number of them will be induced to remain in school through the period of the usual elementary schooling, while many will, in addition, continue for one or more of the secondary years, if these offer instruction for the vocationally inclined.

This preparatory work would accept and demand work in

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