Billeder på siden

relief to the iteration of school-work that it is a positive benefit, rather than a detriment, to the course in the other studies."

The Rev. George L. Chaney, the President of the Industrial Association in Boston, submits the following observations in his report of a course of lessons in woodcarving, in regard to expenditure:

A single ward-room like the one used by the school in Church Street, in any city, for the six months from December to May, during which time it usually lies idle, with very little expense beyond the original plant and a moderate salary to the teacher, would meet all the needs of three or four of the largest grammar-schools for boys.

Three such supplementary schools, if used in turn, would amply satisfy all the rightful claims of industrial education of this kind upon the school system of such a city as Boston. At so small an outlay of attention and money might the native aptitude of American youth for manual skill be turned into useful channels. In so simple a way might the needed check be given to that exclusive tendency toward clerical rather than industrial pursuits, which the present school course undoubtedly pro


The School Board of the city of Philadelphia appropriated the sum of $1,500 to defray the first year's expenses of the industrial classes in Mr. Leland's school; and that of Montclair the sum of $1,000 for a teacher and shopinstruction which they associated with the public schools of that town. In his book on "Deterioration and Race Education," Mr. Royce estimates that at an expense of a sum no larger than $20,000 an industrial institution can be equipped for the instruction of seven hundred and sixtyeight pupils to be taken through a three years' course,

besides evening-classes in wood-shops for-1. Carpentry and joinery; 2. Wood-turning; 3. Pattern-making: in iron-shops, for-1. Vise-work; 2. Forging; 3. Foundrywork; 4. Machine-tool work. The annual expense for the industrial education of each student would not exceed ten dollars. He furthermore declares that a shop teaching carpentry and joinery may be furnished-to commence with-for $500; and that the industrial education of the entire youth of the United States need add no more than ten per cent. to the cost of our present school system; but that the addition to the public wealth would make the investment the best the nation ever made.

The Spring Garden Institute, already mentioned, completed a machine-shop for instruction in every branch of mechanical work in metal and wood, except casting, and the general account of the treasurer for the year 1882 sets forth the expense of fitting up the shop as follows:


[blocks in formation]

It is anticipated that, as the pupils advance in work, more expensive materials may be required and an increase in the number of teachers; but even with this inexpensive equipment the technical class is in full activity, and,

as already stated, nearly one half of its one hundred and five pupils are mechanics who work all day and attend the evening classes to obtain instruction which mere shop practice where they are employed fails to afford them. There are unnumbered thousands in our cities and larger towns who would be signally benefited by an industrial training of a kind as simple as this institute can give, who are now utterly helpless and dependent upon any chance job they can get. They consider themselves above labor, because they have no ability to work; but how far elevated above them is the artisan skilled in his profession, and how superior in every respect is his condition to that of the despairing crowds who are clamoring for something or anything to do! How many examples have we seen of young men veneered all over with the learning of our schools and colleges during the twelve or fourteen years which they devoted to study, come out at last without strength or skill in any of the ordinary purposes of life! Their education was addressed almost exclusively to the intellectual nature and its interests, and consequently they present the most pitiable form of helplessness in all that relates to their bodily wants and necessities. Their powers have not been impartially educated. Now, if man was of the spirit only, and if his employments were those of the reason only, he could dispense with the things appertaining to this base and refractory world, and dematerialize his life to that higher form of existence. But, alas! that is only one side of his nature. His wants and desires claim a most important influence not only upon his welfare, but also upon his mental and moral affections. The cosmos itself is his adversary. It. is a globe of wood and stone and iron, of earth and air,

of sound and color; and we find this truth, that in those periods when the ingenuity of our race was dead and dormant, the concrete forms of nature partook of the same immobility. To relieve them of their surplus fragments, to correct their restive or noxious qualities, and to adapt their excellences to the use of man, has been the task of his industry as well as the reward of his intelligence. The relation of education to the first as to the last will be better understood when we are willing to acknowledge that they jointly represent the physical organization of society and the refinement and elevation of human cult


It is estimated that the school-buildings in this country have been erected at a cost of $175,000,000, and that they are supported at a cost of not less than $83,000,000 per annum. Whether any of this immense expenditure can be utilized for giving industrial training is a problem that will be answered either way according to individual prepossessions. One thing, however, appears very certain, which is, that the existing school system has failed to prepare our children for the practical pursuits of life. The reply may be made that it has not undertaken to do so. But I should prefer to think that no one would urge that view, for it would be a cognovit of its decrepitude.

It has passed into a truism that the main object of education is to prepare the pupils for the practical duties of life; and as the common school is for the great mass of the people in order to benefit them, it ought to be directed to this end. We cheerfully acknowledge the vast importance of mental training, but there are other capacities that are essential to useful service, and whose cultivation is not less important to the individual or to the

public good. Upon what principle, then, if any, can the function of public instruction be limited to the cultivation of intelligence alone, and that no portion of the money raised by taxation upon all alike, should be spent in perfecting the manual skill and knowledge upon which the great mass of the children must depend in after-life? The requisites of a true education should contribute to the development of both, and literary courses should correspond with industrial courses, and, after the elementary grades have been passed, there should be no question of precedence, or any objection on the ground of expense. It is as if a legacy were left to two brothers, and one should appropriate the whole to himself. Manual industry is winning its claim to a share in the present school funds, especially since useful instruction in aid of that object can be added, as we have seen, to the public schools without much expenditure, beyond the salaries of skilled workmen to teach, and in some cases additional buildings for shops and machinery.

Perhaps no one ought to object to the creation of high-schools, although they are designed only for those who desire a superior degree of education; but the time has come to require that they should have annexed workshops for the introduction of the manual element as complementary to their theoretical studies. Professor Runkle remarks that if it is thought that a proper manual element should enter into the education of all, then the shops should be attached to the high-school, and serve to strengthen it by attracting students who now do not see any gain in the high-school course unless they have the college or some other particular end in view. "Admitting," he says, "that two three-hours' sessions per week

« ForrigeFortsæt »