Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 72.djvu/257

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253
TECHNICAL SCHOOLS

THE INFLUENCE OF TECHNICAL SCHOOLS
By Professor JOHN J. STEVENSON

NEW YORK UNIVERSITY

THE increasing strength and efficiency of our applied science schools presages a period of industrial prosperity, marked not only by pecuniary profit to merchants and manufacturers, but also by the constantly improving condition of wage earners. But there are those to whom this prospect brings no comfort, for they see in it the foreshadowing of a period marked by decay of philanthropy and lack of piety, when a materialistic spirit will bring about a selfish individuality destructive of all that is good in society; they see its baneful influence already here, for young men avoid the college courses and rush into applied science to reach money-making as soon as possible; while not a few of them denounce the modernized curriculum in colleges as the disturbing cause and plead for restoration of classical studies to their former preeminent place as an all-important means of defense against the approaching calamity.

Those who have struggled to free the curriculum from medieval shackles would have no cause for mortification if they were responsible for the increasing attendance at schools of applied science; unhappily, they can lay no claim to the credit, since the matter in no wise concerns the contests between classicists and anti-classicists. Existing confusion respecting this matter is due largely to gradual development of the technical school within the college. Even now in the smaller colleges, applied science courses are parallel with those in pure science and in literature; students in all alike meet in many classes, assemble in the same chapel, mingle on the same campus; graduates in applied science receive the degree of bachelor in science as do college students taking pure science, and think of themselves and their fellow students think of them as having graduated from college. The confusion would have been less pronounced had there been a proper difference in degrees.

For, be it understood, the college and the applied science school are wholly different in character and purpose. The latter is a professional school, and its graduate has never been "at college," though he may have received a superior intellectual training and may have become in many ways a stronger, broader man than his friend of equal ability, who has B.S. or A.B. from some college with a narrow group or wide elective system. The applied science school is professional as are schools of