Page images
PDF
EPUB

technology, schools of agriculture, courses in home economics, etc., are the outcome of a regard for this phase of education."

If we consider the periods of influence of the schools just named, we shall find that classical and formal training schools, the schools that considered primarily and narrowly man and the development of his mind, occupied relatively the most important place until the third quarter of the nineteenth century. From about 1850 on there was an increasing interest in schools of pure science, which attempted to interpret and bring to man's knowledge the facts of the physical universe in which he lives, but towards the close of the nineteenth century there began a marked interest in the problem of applying knowledge of the external world to the needs of man, and so we get our various divisions of applied education. It will be necessary also to keep in mind that hitherto the applied schools have given themselves chiefly to what may be termed the production of wealththe extraction and transforming of the riches of the earth. Schools of engineering and agriculture are of this sort; but more recently commercial schools seek to supplement the other forms of applied education by giving an equipment for the transfer and exchange of the wealth produced.

With the notion that practical education is a sop to a class in the community we should have no patience. Some in England have been bold enough to put their proposition, Industrial education for the peasant class. When a great industrial institute was established a few years since in an American city it was remarked that this school was endowed so that poor people might be taught to serve rich people. If this were the purpose the school deserved to fail. We do not want practical education as a charity; we do not want it as patronage from the snobbish rich. Education as a badge of class distinction has no place in the United States. We cannot afford to have one education for culture and another for commerce, industry, and agriculture. For long in France practical education has been sneered at as bourgeois, and in consequence culture has grown shallow and without the stability of character, while trade and industry have languished. In Germany practical studies are denominated Brodwissenschaften, and there is the early consignment of a life to what is regarded as a higher or lower walk. This sharp division into classes has given a stolidity to German character; such a division also fails to make the most of the individual. When the sciences were introduced at Oxford they were called in derision " stinks and tho there has been much progress of practical education in England her most far-seeing statesmen and her wisest scholars still regard class distinctions based on education as the greatest weakness of the British nation. We cannot then afford to have education for practical affairs as anything short of the highest education.

6.De Garmo, Correlation of studies," EDUCATIONAL REVIEW, May, 1893.

The task of fixing the proper place of applied education may be simplified by saying that it should go in modified forms into schools of all grades and everywhere. The Declaration of Principles of the National Educational Association in 1905 is of interest : “ The association heartily approves of the efforts now being made to determine the proper place of industrial education in the public schools. We believe that the time is rapidly approaching when industrial education should be introduced into all schools and should be made to harmonize with the occupations of the community. These courses when introduced should include instruction in agriculture as well as manual training, etc.” It should be said in this connection, and bearing on the above recommendation, that new subjects. are not imperative to the introduction of a new education. New elements may be introduced thru old subjects, and old subjects given new direction.

First in need at the present time is applied education for rural communities. In addition to agricultural colleges there should be special forms of high schools bringing the science and the art of farming and farm home-making nearer to the people. But this is not all; the common schools in country districts should by instruction stimulate an interest in and dignify the calling to which their pupils will go. Our schools of agriculture have not had the largest success because of neglect of agricultural education in the lower schools. A recent important report on Industrial education for rural communities presented to the National Educational Association, reaches the conclusion: “ This Committee does not hesitate to say that in its judgment the rural schools, which train nearly one-half the school population of this country, so far as school training goes, should definitely recognize the fact that the major part of those being trained will live upon a farm; and that there should be specific, definite, technical training fitting them for the activities of farm life. Such schools will not make farmers nor housekeepers, but they will interest boys and girls in farming and housekeeping and the problems connected with these two important vocations." It has been said, not without reason, that the neglect of applied education for country people is a cause of the too evident dissatisfaction of these people with their lot. By way of suggestion it may be said that the elements of agriculture can be introduced into rural schools in connection with a study of geography and as a substitute for the various forms of science or nature-study already being followed.

Sydney Smith was so annoyed by domestic difficulties that he once wished for a human society modeled after a hive of bees, where all workers were neuters and were born to their station. This was a desperate and futile wish, but it would no doubt be at present echoed by many employers of domestic labor. Present difficulties of labor for the home are, I believe, quite as much the fault of the mistress as of the maid, and in urban and rural communities alike the girls should be given an education to fit them for work as home-makers. Applied education in the direction of home economics has scarcely begun, yet it has gone far enough to show us that here is a field of great practical utility. Sewing, cooking, care of a house, sanitary science, dietetics, home economics, these and other fields are available, and in this way valuable studies in æsthetics, chemistry, and applied economics may be given to the girls of America as a part of their education. Education of the sort here described should be furnished in the seventh and eighth years of the elementary school and during the high

school period. In addition to this more general work which may be given in all schools, there is a place for special industrial education for girls in technical high schools and evening schools. The last-named institutions should certainly be furnished in the larger centers of population.

Industrial education for boys may well be supplied as supplementary training in the seventh and eighth years of the elementary schools and during the high-school period, and also in more technical day and evening schools of mechanics arts, and in advanced institutions of technology and engineering. For the last two years of the elementary school and in the highschool period manual training for boys should find a place as a method in education rather than a means of acquiring skill.. In the period from twelve to eighteen years boys have a rest-lessness and desire for activity which can be given direction and turned to good account in shop work. City boys particularly need this form of education. They have little opportunity to do work with their hands and may be given an all-aroundness of development by the handling of tools and making of useful articles.

Of advanced industrial education in schools of technology and engineering little need be said. The educational and practical work of these institutions has been established by above twenty-five years of experience, so that their place is definite; they are recognized as an integral and necessary part of our higher education.

Two other forms of industrial education should be noted: one is a trade school or school of mechanics arts to serve as a preparation for those who are to become artisans, and the other a technical continuation school for those already employed in the arts. In my opinion the trade school might well be supplied for those of secondary school age, and while such a school need not neglect the elements of a general education these should probably be reduced to a minimum, and the chief emphasis placed on the giving of technical skill. Schools of trades are almost unknown in American education tho they have long existed in Europe, particularly in Germany. The need for trade schools is obvious when we consider that by narrow specialization in industry men are no longer given an opportunity to become expert in the trades, and in addition the trades unions often discourage apprenticeships. From present tendencies we must establish trade schools, or choose between two undesirable alternatives, either be without skilled workmen or import them from abroad. Endowed institutions or public education or both should furnish at our great industrial centers an opportunity to learn thoroly the chief trades practiced at those centers.

The need for the technical continuation schools is already felt, and evening schools of trades, educational centers for working people, and other forms of night schools are quite generally conducted. As a juror at the St. Louis Exposition I had to pass on the exhibits of several of these special schools for adult education. In some cases there was the evidence of an attempt to train and assimilate a recently arrived immigrant class; other schools are for the increased efficiency of American artisans, and others have the technical work reduced to a minimum and are giving much in the direction of general education. The need of these schools is very great; much the larger proportion of our population does not go beyond the elementary school, and if the education of the elementary school is to be retained and turned to good account then there must be provision for rearing an educational superstructure on the foundation which the elementary school has laid. Grave dangers are presented to our body politic if we cannot make an appeal to those who go out from school at or before fourteen years of age. This appeal can be in part for increased economic efficiency, and in part for the continuance of the general education which has been earlier begun. The continuation school of the sort here described makes possible the double use of school buildings and equipment and it can turn the school into a social center for the community in which it is placed.

What has already been said bears with like force upon commercial education. We need higher schools of commerce, and I believe that they should be more liberally conceived than are some that are already existing in this country. We need many secondary schools of commerce in which the general educational element shall predominate over the technical, and we also need in our great commercial centers more highly special

« PreviousContinue »