398 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
Passing through, the systematic routine of instruction in wood- working tools, then the metal-working tools, the instruction in the materials of construction and recording his work systematic- ally in his short-hand the drawing, the boy thus correlates things apparently detached; trains his judgment, and is fully able to supplement through self -study whatsoever special knowledge he would find desirable in a given time. Such a boy is sure not to depend for his living upon a special kind of machine. Why ? Because he has learned how to understand and read machinery. The next point sure to come up, whatsoever we treat in our mod- ern times, would be that of cost. Considering the return of very desirable and highly probable results, the outlay w5ll be very small indeed. Some system, some logical analysis of purpose, some honesty of purpose especially, and we have it. Time and money being the chief considerations in the matter of public schools, a few suggestions may be allowable.
We are far from condemning the instruction, and far from making a crusade against the selection of branches even. Having visited educational institutions in many countries, the writer con- siders the American system superior to the others, and as most as- suredly answering well the purpose intended. The only question is, whether that purpose is desirable. If collegiate education of a non-scientific professional character be the golden door of life's success, then the public-school system is the one wanted ; but if, on the contrary, industry and commerce be accepted as the more im- portant fields, then the system is a failure, not on account of its practice or standard, but simply as not supplying the demand. One of the most enigmatic objections against the innovation intended (emphatically), "The state has no right to prescribe the future occupation of the growing generation," sounds very decisive indeed, but has but little, if any, real bearing on the ques- tion. To answer one generalization by another, the writer may with the same weight put the following query : " Has the state the right to educate for no special occupation, although such is un- avoidable in actual life? Or otherwise, has the state the right to teach the boy first that he is created with equal rights to enjoy life, to teach him what to desire, how to enjoy it, but not how to get it; and then legally crush him for having got, or at least attempted to get, the thing accepted as desirable, the best way he could ? Many an educational veteran may puzzle over it.
Then, again, the argument that the instruction received has helped rather than obstructed many a case of the desired success in technical or commercial career, it may be answered that the proposed change will by no means prevent any individual from becoming a minister, a poet, a teacher, a politician, etc. On the contrary, it appears very plausible to admit that a manually