The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Education, Industrial

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Edition of 1920. See also Vocational education on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

EDUCATION, Industrial. Industrial education aims directly at training men and women, both youths above 14 years of age and adults, for progressively intelligent, skilful and economic production of food, clothing luxuries, machinery, structures and all the conveniences of life. It is distinguished from ordinary elementary or secondary education and from technical education by the fact that its purposes and methods are primarily dictated by the need for increased production through developed skill and experience, rather than by a desire to add breadth or culture to the future citizen and producer. Its organization in the United States is very recent and still incomplete and unsystematized.

In a century the United States has changed from a country of less than 10,000,000 people, essentially agricultural, in 1820, to a complex industrial and agricultural nation of 110,000,000, with unmeasured resources. With the development of a complicated factory system of production, machines took the place of much skilled hand labor, and the old apprentice system for training workers broke down. The substitution of school instruction for the former shop methods of training young workers in this country grew up slowly and uncertainly, lagging far behind European provisions for industrial training. The demand for some form of industrial education was expressed very early in the period of the “industrial revolution” in the United States, in fact before the end of the first quarter of the 19th century. But up to 1860 not more than four schools were giving instruction in applied science and two in agriculture. (See Education, Agricultural). The movement which led to the founding of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (q.v.) in 1824 was later supplemented by the beginnings of agricultural education in the foundation of institutions like the Michigan Agricultural College (1857) and the “Illinois Industrial University” (now the University of Illinois). The latter was the result of agitations of the Illinois Industrial League between 1850 and 1860 for the purpose of “bringing education home to the people of the State — the great industrial classes” or, in more concise terms, to produce “thinking laborers” rather than “laborious thinkers.” The passage of the great Morrill act in 1862, which stands to-day as the most important Federal legislation affecting education, provided Federal aid to the States “for the endowment, support and maintenance of at least one college whose leading object shall be . . . to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts . . . in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions of life,” and gave the movement for industrial and technical education its greatest impetus.

While nearly all of the 51 institutions, not exclusively for colored students, which receive aid as land grant colleges, started with the idea of preparing young men and women for agricultural and mechanical industries, they developed, during the 30 years between 1870 and 1900, into technical, rather than industrial, institutions training men for engineering or technological professions. On the other hand the 16 institutions exclusively for colored students still devote their energies mainly to literary instruction and to training in both agriculture and the mechanic arts and not at all to technical education.

Along with this evolution of the aim and organization of the land grant institutions, many experiments in industrial education for both men and women were tried in a great variety of schools and courses which were designed to fit students for immediate betterment of their condition as wage earners and independent producers. Both technical and industrial types of education were at first considered as competitors with the general or liberalizing education of the elementary or secondary schools; both suffered from the lack of specially trained teachers and of a body of organized and tested materials for instruction. The necessity for using teachers trained in the old order caused many a failure but ultimately both types have been recognized as auxiliaries or supplements, not rivals, to the older types of schools and both now receive liberal support on the same basis, namely, the common differentiated service of the whole community in the promotion of an industrial efficiency in America equal to the best in Europe without class distinction and without closing the door of opportunity to any student.

The centennial exhibition of 1876, especially the Russian exhibit, stimulated the introduction of manual training or manual arts into the elementary and secondary public schools of the United States. (See Manual Training). The object of this form of education, however, was not the production of marketable material, but the training of the pupil's hand and eye, as well as his brain, as vitally related to his full personal development. But the demands of the industries in a rapidly expanding, competitive order, which was no longer provided with an apprenticeship system, could not be met by this form of training, and institutions sprang up to provide various forms of special training for vocations like agriculture, carpentry, cooking, iron-working, machine work, painting, plumbing and stenography. By 1900, 144 manual and industrial training schools reported to the United States Bureau of Education from 38 States and Territories showing 41,736 pupils under instruction. From 1900 to 1917 the number of schools devoted primarily to industrial and trade education greatly increased, both through tax-support and through private foundation on a generous scale, for example, the Dunwoody bequest of approximately $3,000,000 for the Dunwoody Institute for free instruction in industrial and mechanic arts for the youth of Minneapolis and Minnesota, a worthy successor in the long line in which Girard College (q.v.) was a pioneer. In 1917 public and private high schools to the number of 2,610 reported 130,734 students in technical and manual training courses. Three thousand five hundred and ninety schools reported 260,413 students in commercial courses and 145,727 students in courses in domestic economy. In the same year, 912 private commercial schools or business colleges enrolled 192,388 students.

The following courses of instruction in Wentworth Institute, opened in Boston in 1911 as a purely industrial, endowed school “for the purpose of furnishing education in the mechanical arts,” will illustrate the scope and method of an extremely and immediately practical type of industrial education confined to building and manufacturing and to printing and graphic arts. Admission to the one-year day course is open to students “at least 16 years of age . . . thoroughly in earnest”; to the two-year day courses, to those who pass examinations in arithmetic and English. One-year day courses are offered in carpentry and building, electric-wiring, plumbing, machine-work, pattern-making, foundry practice, forging, hardening and tempering. The weekly schedules for three terms in the course in machine-work calls for 20 hours of shop practice in machine-tool work, machine construction, bench-work and tool-making; 6 hours of mechanical drafting and blue-print reading; 9 hours of practical mechanics, materials of construction, power transmission, etc.; 5 hours of practical mathematics, machine shop computations. The two-year day courses are for persons who wish to become master mechanics, foremen, etc., and provide instruction in machine construction and tool design, electrical construction, steam and electrical power plant practice, foundry management and operation, and architectural construction. Evening shop courses are provided for persons employed during the day, and are selected from the list just given, together with tool-making, foundry chemistry and advanced plumbing; evening technical courses are for persons employed in building and manufacturing industries and give instruction in practical mathematics, mechanical drawing, machine design, architectural drawing, architectural design, practical mechanics, reinforced concrete and modern fireproof building, applied electricity, care and operation of steam boilers and engineering. There are also day and evening courses in printing and graphic arts, including typographic printing and composition, block printing and etching. Similarly detailed curricula would be found in specialized schools in cities like Lowell, Mass., where textile industries predominate, and Scranton, Pa., in the mining region.

Another form of industrial education is found in the 101 State industrial schools, which reported in 1916 36,976 males and 9,567 female students learning some trade or occupation. Of the type wholly supported by the State are the Iowa Industrial School for Boys and the New Jersey State Home for Boys; of the co-operative type, privately managed but subsidized by the State, for the care and instruction of orphans and delinquents, is the Roman Catholic Home of the Good Shepherd in New York, in which girls are prepared for various occupations.

Still another important group of schools for industrial education is that tor special groups or races, as schools for negroes and Indians. The increase of industrial facilities in colored schools, however, has not been equal to that in white institutions. Among the most notable of these industrial schools is the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute of Virginia, opened in 1868 under the great leadership of Gen. S. C. Armstrong for training of negroes in academic, industrial and agricultural subjects. The institution has national recognition “as a pioneer in the development of the educational value of manual labor and in the correlation of academic subjects with industrial training.” An offshoot or imitator is the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute of Alabama (q.v.), built up, under the leadership of Booker T. Washington, from nothing to a plant and endowment worth $4,000,000, an attendance of nearly 1,400, and a teaching staff, all colored, of 184. These two have been followed in some degree by the 16 land grant schools for negroes and by more than 200 smaller institutions scattered all over the South. One hundred and sixty-three counties in Southern States provide county industrial teachers. Washington, D. C., Charleston, S. C. and Columbus, Ga., are the only cities which maintain industrial schools for negroes. Important among the 109 boarding schools under Federal management, for the general and industrial education of Indians, are the Indian Industrial School of Carlisle, Pa., The Haskell Institute of Lawrence, Kan., and Sherman Institute, Riverside, Cal., in all of which the industrial element is kept strongly predominant.

Other forms of industrial education in process of organization and standardization are the special schools, continuation schools and corporation schools for workers in service. The motto of these schools is “Learn while earning, and earn while learning.” They are conducted as day schools, evening schools or correspondence schools, frequently as parts of the public school system of cities, and have for their four objects (1) the advancement of the individual by special training for more technical work, (2) the prolongation of the period of education for those who would otherwise not go to school at all, (3) the increased efficiency of the student in his present position, (4), the discovery for each student of the kind of work for which he is best fitted. The lower age limit for all of these schools is 14 years. The co-operation between school and employer takes varying forms. In some instances the student is detailed from his regular task to the school for certain hours on his employer's time; in other cases instruction is in the shop with the aid of a paid instructor in addition to the shop superintendent. In still others like the recent “vestibule schools” the employee is intensively trained for a brief period before admission to the regular service of the employer. Twenty-four big corporations in 1917 had special training schools for men in preparation for service of the corporation, the largest of these schools being that of the General Electric Company, which admits 250 to 300 college men per year for a training period of 12 to 15 months. In a similar manner the American Bridge Company receives about 60 college men per year for a course in bridge engineering from one to two years in length. The Boardman Apprentice Shops, part of the public school system of New Haven, Conn., provides industrial education in co-operation with corporations in that city on a plan providing for eight hours of instruction per day, 5½ days per week, and 50 weeks of the year for a two-year period, approximately one-quarter time being devoted to academic subjects and three-quarters to actual trade practice under the instruction of skilled mechanics for the production of salable articles. In some cases in this school, as in others, the boys in pairs alternate between school and the factory in which they are employed, one working in the factory while the other is in school. The significance of this form of industrial education is attested by the formation of the National Association of Corporation Schools in 1913, which had in 1917 104 company members, including such corporations as the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, which reported 37 railway shop schools for apprentices; the American Telephone and Telegraph Company and the International Harvester Company.

The incorporation of industrial or vocational education into the State systems, with provision for State subsidies to vocational or industrial schools, had been provided for in 10 States in 1916: Massachusetts (Department of Vocational Education), New York (Division of Agricultural and Industrial Education), Connecticut (State Superintendent of Trade Education), Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Indiana, California, New Mexico and Maine.

The movement for industrial education received its greatest recent reinforcement in the passage of the so-called Smith-Hughes Act of Congress, 23 Feb. 1917 “to provide for the promotion of vocational education; to provide for co-operation with the States in promotion of such education in agriculture and the trades and industries; to provide for co-operation with the States in the preparation of teachers of vocational subjects,” which made an initial appropriation in 1917 of $1,860,000 to be gradually increased to an annual grant of $7,367,000 after 1926. The allotments to the States for the various purposes of the act are made in the proportion which the rural, urban and total population of each State bears to the corresponding totals for the United States, the allotments to be administered through State boards in accordance with plans approved by the Federal Board for Vocational Education,

Bibliography. — Annual Reports of the Commissioner of Education (especially chapters on “Vocational Education”); Bulletins of Bureau of Education (especially 1916, No. 39, “Negro Education,” 2 vols.); Bulletins of the Federal Board for Vocational Education (especially No. 1, “Statement of Policies”); Annual Reports of the National Society for the Promotion of Industrial Education; The Report of the Committee on Industrial Education, American Federation of Labor (Sen. Doc. No. 36, 2d sess., 62d Congress, 1912); Reports of the meetings of the National Association of Corporation Schools.

Kendric C. Babcock,
Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Illinois.