A Report on Vocational Training in Chicago and in Other Cities

Chapter 1: General Summary and Recommendations

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Chairman of the Sub-committee

In Chicago, as in other cities in America, only a little over one-half of the children complete the elementary course. Forty-three per cent of those who enter the first grade do not reach the eighth grade at all, and 49 per cent do not complete the eighth grade [p. 29 ff]. Under what the school considers normal conditions children enter the first grade at the age of seven, the second at the age of eight, third at nine, fourth at ten, fifth at eleven, sixth at twelve., seventh at thirteen, and the eighth at fourteen. The State laws keep children in school up to the age of fourteen. Thus the normal child may not leave school until he has completed the. eight grades of the elementary school. We find expressed in the age of entrance coupled with yearly promotions, and in the State compulsory education law, the judgment of educators and legislators that the normal child should complete the eight elementary grades before he leaves school. The school curriculum implies as much. By the end of the sixth grade children have become acquainted with the principal operations in arithmetic, and have been trained in the simple use of English. During the seventh and eighth grades they are trained in the application of these principles of number and language and gain some hold upon American History, some knowledge of the city in which they live , besides a little elementary science. It has been generally maintained that unless the child completes this entire course he is unable to retain what he has acquired. Our investigator's report [p. 272 ff]

(2) is decisive upon this for the boys whom he was able to examine. These boys had dropped out of school at all grades from the fifth up. A number were twenty years old and more:. Still a simple fifth grade examination in arithmetic and English revealed the fact that those who had left school before completing the eighth grade had lost most that they had learned in school, though the study of their papers showed that those who remained longer retained relatively more. Every added year in school meant a. little more hold upon what had been once learned, but the whole elementary period was necessary to make even the work of earlier grades a permanent acquisition.

In this study we have then evidence given by Chicago boys, who left school to go to work between the ages of fourteen and sixteen before completing the elementary school. This evidence from our own children confirms the accepted judgment of legislators and educators that our schools can not give the minimum education for American citizenship in less than the eight grades. It is this conclusion that gives serious meaning to elimination statistics. If 43 per cent of our children never reach the eighth grade and 49 per cent never complete it, we must confess that nearly half our children fail to get the minimum education contemplated by our laws, and to a great degree, fail to hold on to what they do get in the schools, and that thus our school system operates at a serious disadvantage, since a large part of its training of intelligence is inevitably lost. Consider these figures from the standpoint of efficiency of operation: of the 43 per cent of our school children who never reach the eighth grade, a fourth.. or 11 per cent of all the children in the schools, do not reach even the sixth grade; nearly one-third of these 43 per cent, or 16 per cent of all, drop gut in the sixth and another third in the seventh grade [p. 29 ff]. just because we recognize the solidarity and articulation of our elementary school, we must recognize that these figures measure unquestioned waste in operation of the public school. They measure not alone the loss of what the children might have learned had they remained in school, but the loss even of a great part of what they have learned; in a word, the loss of that organic whole-an elementary school training. This conclusion brings us face to face with the statistics of " retardation " or more correctly " over-age " in the elementary school. Any child who enters the first grade after his eighth birthday or who is not promoted a grade each year is termed a retarded

(3) child. The term is ambiguous. Its implication in the minds of many is apt to be backwardness in intelligence or defect in character. This implication is not justified by the fact of late entrance nor always by failure in promotion. Many over-hasty generalizations have been drawn from retardation statistics. One conclusion is, however, beyond cavil. Any child who enters a year late or repeats a year - i. e. any over-age child - is free to leave school before he has completed the elementary curriculum. The principal purpose of the compulsory education statute is thwarted by over-age or retardation in our elementary schools. There are approximately 70,000 retarded children in the Chicago elementary schools-or one-third of all the school children [p. 31]. There are nearly 15 per cent over-age children in the first grade and the percentage increases steadily in the succeeding grades up to nearly 4:7 per cent in the fifth grade. It then falls off uniformly up to the end of the eighth grade. The explanation of the drop in the curve of -retardation is that large numbers of over-age children in the fifth and sixth grades have reached the age of fourteen, have obtained the age and school certificates, and have left school with no fear of the truant officer. Retardation makes for elimination and elimination spells defective education.

Measures which reduce retardation or over-age in the elementary schools must reduce elimination and must therefore bring the schools nearer to the goal of giving an effective common school education to all the children in the city. Certain recommendations made in this report have this reduction of the over-age percentage in the schools directly in view [p. 21]. On the other hand we can not expect to meet the loss involved in elimination by reducing the overage percentage to zero. An inference, that can be safely drawn from the over-age of a third of the whole number of elementary school children, is that the two periods, the fourteen-year compulsory education period, and the eight-grade period, do not actually correspond. The curriculum of the elementary school can not he covered in eight grades by a large proportion of our children. If, then, they are to complete their elementary schooling they must do this after they have passed the age of fourteen and out of the jurisdiction of the truant officer.

In a very real sense a boy or girl, especially a boy, over fourteen years of age does not fit into our elementary school curriculum as that curriculum is at present constructed, even with its manual

(4) training and household arts. No better evidence for this can be offered than the large numbers who leave school as soon as the fourteen years compulsory period is passed. This evidence comes of course not from Chicago alone. The investigations in Massachusetts[1] and St. Louis[1] as well as in other communities, have revealed the same large percentage who leave school as soon as the fourteen-year period is reached. These investigations have shown conclusively that the prevailing reason for leaving school is not to be found in the financial need of the family of the fourteen-year old child. The child's own lack of interest in the school as well as that of his parents is the unquestioned reason for the largest part of the elimination in our elementary schools. Other investigations have been so conclusive on this point that this committee has not felt that we needed to undertake a special study of the motives of Chicago children for dropping out of school as soon as the law permits, or those of their parents in allowing this elimination.

Our elementary school curriculum undertakes more than can be accomplished by a large percentage of the children during the period of eight school years. The over-age of one-third of the children is convincing evidence that they can not complete this curriculum inside of the time during which the law keeps them in school; and neither the interest of the child nor that of his parents keeps him there when the law has withdrawn its hand.

It would be possible to meet this situation by restricting the curriculum, and increasing the school time. A curriculum shorter than that of the American elementary schools, and longer school sessions.. are found in the elementary schools of Berlin, Germany. Still retardation and elimination seem to be as high there[2] as in Chicago, and the situation in the Berlin schools is typical of that in the Ger-

(5) -man schools elsewhere. This is instructive, because the German Volkschule -or people's school -is in session some fif teem hundred hours during the year, while the yearly session of the American elementary school is only about a thousand hours. Furthermore, there is no manual training nor, excepting needlework for the girls taken generally during the boy's gymnastic period, are there household arts in the curriculum of the German Volkschule, to -which the American elementary school gives from two to three hours a week. Germany seeks to meet the incompleteness of her common school education by continuation classes for the boys who go from school to work. These continuation classes occupy only from five to ten hours a week, but they continue until the boy has reached the age of eighteen. It is probable that the number of children who drop out from the fifth grade and below in the German Volkschule is smaller than the corresponding number from the American school systems. It is also probable that the permanent acquirements of the eliminated children are greater than in the case of the American eliminated child. Still, with greater rigor of administration, longer school sessions, and a more restricted curriculum Germany has not completely solved this problem. For, the administration of the continuation school, the German manufacturers and merchants raise the same complaints against the unsatisfactory character of the common school education of the German child which we hear in Chicago and elsewhere in America; though the comparison of the results of the German examinations[2] with those presented in Part IV of this report indicates that the German complaints are by no means so fully justified as are those which have been made in Chicago.

In the opinion of your committee, a discussion of the question of reducing the content of the curriculum of the American school or of increasing the school time while the content of the curriculum remains the same would have only academic interest. The influences which have forced continually new material into that curriculum are fundamental influences in our schools and in the community at large. They are as American as are our public schools. There is no reason to believe that the elementary school curriculum will be cut down and school time increased to such an extent that over-age will disappear and thus automatically eliminate elimination. Nor would it be reasonable to simply adopt the other half of the German program and to try to meet the ineffective education which follows upon elimination by continuation classes. Continuation classes will carry on

(6) the use of number and language when a minimum requirement has been reached. They will not supply the minimum requirement. The text books of German shop arithmetics contain simply problems in number work, taken from the trade in which the boy has been apprenticed. Their training in the mother tongue is continued by the writing of letters appropriate to the boy's trade and the use of German in making reports and estimates. In certain of the German continuation schools, notably those of Munich, some richer material than that just mentioned is introduced into the curriculum. In general, however, the work is neither fundamental enough to take the place of continuous schoolwork nor is the course rich enough in other subjects to provide the training which we have come-to believe is essential to an American education. Continuation classes would not replace the training which only a little more than half of the pupils in our elementary schools are able to secure. If the child reaches the fifth, sixth or seventh grade at the age of fourteen other motives must be brought to bear upon him and his parents if he is to be kept in school.

Again, it is the generally accepted judgment of educators that the boy and girl in the neighborhood of fourteen are so much interested in the society into which they expect to enter and the occupations of men and women in that society, that a school which does not appeal to the vocational motive is bound to lose the interest of a great number of these children. It is of course possible that the home atmosphere may be so favorable to continuation in school, and the parents may so influence their children that they will continue to follow even an academic course of study, after they have reached the turning point of the adolescent period. But most of the parents and homes of the eliminated children are not interested in the continuation of the children in school. Very many- accept the compulsory school period as the educational standard of the community. This is not the only instance in which a permissive attitude of the law tends to become a community standard. It is also true that the majority of the parents of these children are mainly interested in their children's occupations. The parents are as; much subject to the vocational motive as are their children.

We are therefore confronted by this situation: an elementary school curriculum which only a half of our children follow to its conclusion, and yet the curriculum is such that those who drop out only imperfectly acquire what they have studied.


The retardation or over-age of our school children takes them beyond the age of compulsory school attendance, and children at this age, as well as the parents, are predominately interested in the jobs they can secure; that is, they are interested in their vocations however narrow their views of their vocations may be.

The recommendation [p. 15] of your committee is that industrial, i.e., vocational work[3] should be introduced into the seventh and eighth grades of the elementary school.

We do not believe that the curriculum should be impoverished for a class of children who wish to go to work when they leave school. We heartily recommend [p. 24] continuation classes for those who have gone to work, but we do not believe that these classes can replace what the child loses by leaving the school before he has completed the whole elementary course.

The first part of our recommendation is, therefore, a plan, worked out in some detail, of a type of school in which half of the time in the seventh and eighth grades may be given to vocational work, while during the other half of the school time we are confident that as much can be accomplished in the academic studies as is accomplished to-day. We recommend for these vocational grades a school day of six hours instead of the present five hours and a rearrangement of the time given to different subjects. From a study of vocational schools elsewhere in America, notably in Rochester [p. 170], Albany [p. 173], and New York City [p. 179], New York., in Fitchburg [p. 164], Newton [p. 177], and Boston [p. 166], Massachusetts, and in Menominee [p. 162], Wisconsin, we have convinced ourselves that vocational work, which is worth the while, can be done in the seventh and eighth grades by children who have reached the age of thirteen. The work done in these schools is not of a manual training character. It consists in actual trade processes and produces articles which have commercial value. The courses do not attempt in the nature of the case to make mechanics or artisans of the children. The training is of a preparatory trade character. It will unquestionably assist the child in his later trade training. It will also help him to select the trade for which he is

(8) adapted. It is our belief that it will hold the child in school who at present finds nothing there that interests him, and will quicken the interest of his parents in his further training. It will hold him in school so that he can permanently acquire what the elementary school should give to every American child, and what it can not give him if he drops out before he has completed all of the grades.

We recognize that such an innovation must be worked out carefully and with selected teachers. We recommend therefore the establishment of not more than three of these schools at first, and lay stress upon the need of well-equipped shops and enthusiastic teachers for these experimental stations. Such schools could pass on its pupils to either the academic or technical high school [p. 19], but it is evident that there should be also trade schools for boys who have reached the age of sixteen. Such schools., similar to the trade schools in the Milwaukee school system, should be established within two years at least after these vocational schools have been instituted [p. 23].

In the meantime there are children below the seventh grade who have reached the age of twelve and thirteen and who need the appeal of the vocational motive. For these children rooms or schools -one perhaps for each of the three sides of the city should be established [p. 21]. We have one that approaches what we recommend in the Farragut school in Chicago [p. 104]. The school for retarded children in Cleveland [p. 168] shows what such training can accomplish. We insist, however, that children in such rooms must have a very large degree of individual attention., and that the aim of the training should be to return them to the grades so that they may complete their elementary school training.

We have recommended changes in our technical high schools which will increase their capacity by one-third [p. 25], which will enable them to give a more advanced form of trade training as well as that which leads up to the technical colleges [p. 25]. We have recommended the introduction of technical training for girls (p. 27] into the boys' technical high schools such as is being undertaken in the Lucy Flower Technical High School for girls.

In the plan which has been outlined, the over-age pupil will be met by vocational work and individual attention below the seventh grade in the schools or rooms for retarded pupils. If the over-age boy or girl has reached the seventh grade he can enter one of the vocational schools, where he will find preparatory trade training that

(9) will appeal directly to his interest in the work of the outside world and yet he will complete his seventh and eighth grade. When he has completed these, the system will open to him the doors either of the academic high school, the technical high school, or the trade school, for this boy will by this time probably have reached the age of sixteen. If he has graduated from the elementary school at the age of fourteen or fifteen, before he can profitably enter the trade school proper, and yet wishes to prepare for the trade school, we have recommended [p. 26] that he be provided with elementary trade training in the first and possible second year of the technical high school.

Our great contention is that vocational training be introduced into our school system as an essential part of its education - in no illiberal sense and with no intention of separating out a class of workingmen's children who are to receive trade training at the expense of academic training. We are convinced by what we have found elsewhere in America, as well as in other countries, that such a division is unnecessary. We are convinced that just as liberal a training can be given in the vocational school as that given in the present academic school. Indeed, we feel that the vocational training will be more liberal if its full educational possibilities are worked out.

We have attempted to indicate in detail how the vocational motive may be introduced, basing our suggestions upon actual experiences and results. We have attempted to find a place for the vocational motive at the points at which the actual condition in the Chicago schools shows the need, and we have indicated how such vocational training introduced into the elementary school can be carried on in the secondary period.

Finally we have taken into account the economic loss to children and their parents if they remain in school after the age of fourteen and are thus deprived of the opportunity of earning. We find that the boys who leave school to go to work between the ages of fourteen and sixteen are idle half of the time, and earn during these two years not more than an average of $2 a week [pp. 34, 37]. We find that they are not needed in the industries of Chicago [p. 35] and that the return which they bring in to their homes is negligible. We find further [p. 46], that which all students of children out of school during these years have found, that they gain no training that is of value for them in later years. On the contrary their idle-

(10) -ness during at least half the time, their frequent passing from one job to another, their lack of any responsibility, necessarily leads to moral, mental, and frequently physical degeneration. During two of the most valuable years for preparation for life they are going backward instead of forward.

On the other hand we find that Chicago industries are in need of trained operatives and mechanics, which Chicago does not provide [p. 42 ff]. From nearly all industries comes the demand for more skilled and responsible workmen. From the trade unions comes the demand for vocational and trade training for their children, if it can be given within the public school system [p. 74 ff].

In the meantime the part-time training in school and shop, such as that already in operation in Lewis Institute [p. 137] should be pushed as far and as rapidly as possible, and we must make use of the other types of continuation schools which have been so valuable to Germany's industries [p. 24], though it would be most shortsighted to expect to accomplish what we must accomplish with the continuation school alone.

We have recommended the introduction of commercial courses as vocational courses in the elementary schools in the seventh and eighth grades [p. 21]. and following upon the example of Boston and Cleveland we have recommended the establishment of a commercial high school [p. 27]. Such commercial high schools bear the same relationship to the preparation for commercial occupations that the technical high schools and trade schools bear to the mechanical occupations. The striking and admirable results attained in Boston and Cleveland leave no doubt, in the minds of those who have studied them, of their value both to the community and to the school system [p. 245 ff] - We have recommended further that the commercial training which must still be given in other high schools should be brought more closely under the control of commercial standards and processes than it is to-day [p. 27]. There is evidence of the unsatisfactory commercial training given in our private commercial colleges and the vast sums which are paid for it by Chicago every year [p. 258 ff. and p. 256].

We find finally that an adequate school system such as we have endeavored to outline will leave no justification for the absence from school of our children between the ages of fourteen and sixteen. The children lose morally, mentally and physically by this premature entrance into industry. The industries have no legitimate need

(11) for them. They bring in an insignificant return to their parents and they have gained no training for later occupations. We recommend therefore that when Chicago has introduced into her school system vocational training appropriate to the fourteen to sixteen year period, she should demand compulsory attendance upon school between the ages of seven and sixteen [p. 25], though we have called attention to the Ohio law which more modestly requires that the children must attend continuation classes during the fourteen to sixteen year period, leaving. however, this requirement to the option of the communities [p. 130].

While we have felt that we should make our recommendations as detailed as possible, we have undertaken to suggest nothing that involves revolutionary procedure. We have asked for experimental stations where the method of introducing vocational training into the schools can be worked out carefully under the most favorable conditions.

In conclusion we again insist that vocational and trade training must appear in the American public school as an essential part of that unique institution. Nothing of the meaning of our own public school system must be lost, nor can we hope to solve this complex and difficult problem by simply copying methods from other communities, not even those of Germany. We make these recommendations with more confidence because they seem to us to be in harmony with the present polio- of the Board of Education of Chicago, and of its Superintendent of Schools, Mrs. Ella Flagg Young. Evidence for this is found in the installation of the Lucy Flower Technical High School for girls : the enlarged and improved course of study for the Apprentice Schools; the increase of vocational work in the technical high schools for boys, and the encouragement of part time work in the last year of these courses; the increase of vocational work in the night schools; the two-year vocational courses offered in all the high schools; the industrial course for retarded children in the Farragut school, and the plan printed in the last " Course of Study " for industrial courses in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades. The movement in the school system itself is toward vocational work. We have endeavored to indicate where and bow vocational work should in our opinion appear as a constituent part of the curriculum, providing not only a considerable portion of its content, but also a method of training and a point of view from which to interpret life.



In the recommendations which follow, the attempt is made to present a fairly complete outline of provisions which should be made in the public schools to meet in an initial way the need for vocational training in the city. The various types of courses recom- mended are intended to meet this need not only for pupils who continue in school for the full twelve grades, but also for those who are likely to leave school at various points before completing the course.

Individuals may be classified into the following five groups with respect to their need for vocational courses in the schools :

(1) Those who leave school in various grades below the high school;

(2) Those who enter the high school but do not finish the course;

(3) Those who complete the high school course but do not enter college;

(4) Those who finish the high school and enter college;

(5) Those who are already at work in the industries.

It is especially important to provide for those who leave school at fourteen years of age (mainly in group (1), above) by giving them the opportunity to take vocational courses one or two years before reaching that age, no matter what grade they are in. The schools of types 1, 2, and 3, below, are intended for such pupils, type 2 primarily for over-age pupils. By appealing in this way to the vocational motive of pupils before they are old enough to leave school it is hoped that they may be aroused to an appreciation of the value of further school training after the compulsory attendance period. These schools may help materially in retaining pupils in school at the point where the greatest and most serious elimination now occurs. Such schools can also do much to help solve the problem of a suitable training for the unskilled worker, for they will take the pupil before he enters the industries and should give him a preliminary training in skill which will serve as capital for his future work, and they should develop a degree of industrial intelligence and adaptability which will enable the worker to rise from unskilled or only slightly skilled occupations to positions requiring skill and intelligence.


Pupils below the high school (group (1) above) who are sixteen years of age (or fourteen years, for girls) may enter the trade schools proper (types 4 and 5, below), provided they have completed grade six. For the boy who completes grade eight at fourteen or fifteen years of age, and who wants to enter the trade school, provision is made by offering special work in the first year or two of the technical high school (see type 10 below) preparatory to the work in the trade school.

For pupils who take a complete high-school course, but who do not enter college (group (3) above), provision is made in the recommendation for a four-year and for a six-year finishing course, with specialization in the latter part of the course, preparing definitely for vocations (type 10, below). A suitable degree of flexibility in this course, together with the two-year vocational courses now offered, will provide also for those high-school pupils who leave school before finishing the course (group (2), above).

For pupils of group (4), those who go on through high school and into college, provision has long been made in the regular course of study. Additional provision has recently been made in the two-year college technical course

For persons already at work in the industries (group (5), above) provision is made in the recommendation for continuation schools (items 6, 7, and 8, below).

The diagram facing page 14 shows in schematic form the articulation of the proposed schools and courses with present schools.

For the schools recommended in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 13, below, it is strongly urged that a separate or independent organization be provided, with a principal and staff of teachers specially fitted for, and giving their attention exclusively to, this work. This is necessary in order to give these schools the distinctive aim and purpose which they should have, and it is of very great importance in the present experimental stage of vocational training, when a content and a method for these courses are still to be developed. Not all teachers have the special training and ability needed for this pioneer work; not all are yet in full sympathy with vocational training. This lack of sympathy on the part of many teachers and principals is well brought out in a recent report of the Superintendent of Chicago Schools[4], and should emphasize the importance of the independent organization here recommended. It is of the utmost importance

14) that vocational courses should preserve their integrity, that they should be really vocational if they pretend to be. The independent organization, established in certain centers of the city, and having a select staff of teachers, could render valuable service in working out a content and method for similar courses to be established later, or simultaneously, in the regular schools in other parts of the city. When vocational training is once thoroughly established, with a definite content and method, it should not be impossible to weld together the various parts of the school system so as to preserve a proper social balance.

The shopwork in the industrial courses recommended should have the character of actual trade work, approximating as closely as possible the best conditions prevailing in the industries themselves. This may be done, as it is at present done in many industrial schools[5], by the making of equipment, apparatus and other articles of a distinctly commercial standard actually needed and put to use in the schools or elsewhere. Shopwork of this character, as over against the more or less dilettante and abstract work of the usual manual training course, gives a definite vocational trend to the industrial courses and thus presents added stimuli to work on the part of the pupils.

The so-called Chicago course at present given in the eighth grade is an example of the richer and more educative kind of academic subject matter which can be introduced not only into the eighth but also into the seventh grade in our schools. The children, by the time they have reached the seventh grade, are able to appreciate in some degree the relation of what they are learning to the life and occupations of the community. This is an opportunity of which the fullest use should be made not only for intellectual, but also for moral education. Vocational training has the great advantage of presenting points of contact between the studies and occupations in the school and the life of the community. By using these the mathematics and elementary science on the one hand and the geography and history on the other can be lifted out of mere text-book studies and become interpretations of the activities and social life of the community. It is the opinion of the committee therefore that while some time can be saved by bringing science and mathematics together, and history and geography together, the curriculum of the vocational courses can give a more thorough intellectual and moral training than the

(15) curricula of courses which lack this immediate connection with the life of the city.

As a result of its study of conditions in Chicago and in twenty-seven other cities, the committee respectfully recommends that the following provisions be made for vocational training in the public schools of the city.

1. Two-year Elementary Vocational Schools

Establish a two-year vocational school admitting boys and girls at thirteen years of age who have had the equivalent of a six-grade training. At least half of the time should be devoted to handwork including drawing, in the elementary phases of some of the trades listed below. The remaining time should be devoted to academic subjects intimately related to the work of the trades. The school (lay should be at least six hours (60 minutes each).

Graduates of this school should be admitted to the trade schools proper (4 and 5, below) and to all courses in the high school.

Pupils with an academic status below that of the sixth grade should also be admitted to this school for special work, at the discretion of the principal. Such special students would not ordinarily be eligible for admission to high-school courses after two years in the vocational school.

The trades furnishing appropriate shop work for the vocational school may be classified in the following groups:


1. Building trades

Carpentry, plumbing, steam and gas fitting, sheet metal. electrical construction, bricklaying, tile setting, concrete work, painting (house, sign, and fresco), paper hanging, architectural drafting

2. Machine trades

Pattern making, foundry work, forge work, bench and vise work, machine practice, machine drafting

3. Furniture trades

Cabinet making, finishing, upholstering

4. Printing trades

Typesetting, bookbinding, engraving, lithography

5. General wood and metal work

Joinery, turning, cabinet making, pattern making, foundry work, forge work, bench and vise work, machine practice



6. Bookbinding, engraving, photography, dressmaking, millinery, garment making, embroidery, laundering, cooking, institutional and lunch room management

Homemaking: cooking, sewing, house sanitation and management, dietetics, care of infants and invalids, house decorating and fitting, household accounts

Specialization in a particular trade for the entire two years should not be permitted. All pupils should he required to work in several related trades in one or more of the above trade groups. Group 5 is intended especially for boys who have not decided upon the particular trade they wish ultimately to follow. Since girls must be girls prepared for their function of homemakers as well as for work in a particular trade, it is important that all girls be required to take work in homemaking in addition to the trade work selected.

In order to maintain a proper standard of shopwork, and to approximate as closely as possible the best conditions in actual trade work, the products made in-the shop should, whenever possible, be those which are actually needed and put to use in the schools or elsewhere. The kind of work here referred to is shown by the following lists of products made in certain industrial schools by students of essentially the same stage of advancement as those for whom the vocational school is intended.


Work benches, looms, and saw-horses constructed. Assisted in making kitchen tables. Making teachers' desks for entire building. Building partitions and 300 lockers [p. 165][6]

  25 large drawing boards   12 umbrella racks
100 primary looms   50 book cases, 2 designs, at $10
  25 pillow looms, with heddles 120 desk chairs
100 drawing kits   20 sanitary teachers' desks
  25 sawhorses   20 music cabinets
  50 sewing boxes     [p. 172]
  36 manual training benches

Three houses were built, in miniature. The smallest., three feet by five feet, is a two-story braced frame with no inside partitions. The middle house, six by eight, is a two-story balloon frame, with staircase and closet on the first floor. The largest, eight feet by fifteen feet, is a three-room bungalow, with full head room, with a chimney and fireplace put up by the bricklaying class, and with plumbing fixtures for or the kitchen


and bath installed by the plumbing class. The large house is to he shingled and clapboarded, upper floors are to be laid, two of the rooms sheathed, and one of them plastered [p. 163]

Building partitions in cellar, teachers' lockers, supply cupboards, porch, storm house; laying floors, moving of portable school building [p. 173]

Painting and finishing

Steam pipes bronzed to match color of the walls. Floors oiled. Chairs for building bought in the white, finished and seated by, pupils. Kitchen, dining-room, wood-working room, locker-rooms painted. Work benches and teachers' desks finished. Library room painted and papered [p. 1651


All the brickwork for a small annex to one of the school buildings done by pupils [p. 164]


Installation of school kitchen and chemical laboratory fixtures,, including the setting up of individual gas stoves, sinks with necessary connections, an instantaneous hot-water heater for the kitchen, and several lead-lined sinks for the laboratory. Structural and rail work with iron piping [p. 164]

Repairing closet tank, automatic tilting tank, broken water pipes, leak in flush pipe, sanitary drinking fountain, basin cocks; connecting gas plate, installing basin bowl, removing stoppage in basin waste [p. 173]

Electrical work

Repairing lights, telephone, fire gongs, motor; installing 5 H-P. motor, and stereopticon lantern [p. 173]

Machine shop

100 drill bases planed
 1,700 drill blanks turned cutting several hundred gears 
300 bronze bushings 
120 binder pulley shafts turned and ground 
100 reverse clutches, bored and turned
50 to 75 lathe tool posts complete several hundred grinder spindles complete
25 sets change gears, 12-inch lathes, complete
12 11-inch engine lathes complete
120 heavy forged screws
   [p. 185]

Carpentry, plumbing, machine shop

All the carpenter work and plumbing required in the remodeling of a factory building purchased for the use of the school has been done by students. The repairing, overhauling, and reinstalling of the machineshop equipment, partially destroyed by a recent fire, has also been done by students. For this work students were paid by the school at a rate per hour determined by their proficiency [p. 182]


Work done by girls

The girls prepare, serve, and manage the finances of the noonday lunch for the school, which is furnished to the students at cost. Pies, bread, etc., are also made by the girls and sold to private families. In the sewing work uniforms are made for the cooking class, overalls for the boys of the shop, curtains and various linen articles for the dining room, bedroom, etc-, and a number of flags for the city school [p. 173].

Binding of 3,000 small notebooks, 100 teachers' manuals, and rebinding of 500 dilapidated books from neighboring school libraries [p. 182]

The weekly time schedule recommended for the vocational school is shown in Table 1, below, with the corresponding schedule for grade 7 of the regular course of study.

Table 1. Time Schedules
Vocational School Regular Course of Study[7]
Grade Seven
Subject[8] No. of minutes per week Subject No of minutes per week
Show work and drawing 900 Industrial arts 180
Art 90
Shop science and shop mathematics 150 Nature study 60
Mathematics 150
Industrial geography-history and civics 150 History and Civics 75[9]
Geography 75
English, penmanship 300 English 300
General use, recesses, physical education, opening exercises, study, music 300 General use, recesses, physical education, opening exercises, study 405
Music 90
Penmanship 75
Total 1800

It is recommended that all the academic subjects in the vocational school be related intimately to industrial needs and conditions, taking their points of departure, where possible, from the trades

19) represented in the school. The science and mathematics should be treated largely as one subject, but not exclusively so. The geography-history and civics should be similarly treated and should include much of what is now offered in the " Chicago course." Specific illustrations of the kind of subject matter here referred to are furnished by the outlines on pages 215-231 of this report, of academic subjects given in certain industrial courses.

The time available for the academic subjects in the vocational school (Table 2, below) is 135 minutes less than in the regular grade 7, but 40 minutes more than that in the elementary industrial course recently provided. It is the opinion of the committee that if the academic subjects are organized and presented as indicated above a much more valuable type of training will result than that which is obtained from the academic subjects as usually presented in the regular grades 7 and 8, and that graduates of the vocational school would be qualified, on the academic side, to do the work of the high school at least as well as graduates of the regular elementary course of study. In Albany, New York, graduates of the vocational school are admitted to all courses in the high school [p. 174]. In Newton Massachusetts, graduates of the vocational school are admitted to the technical courses M the high school [p. 178].

Table 2
In vocational school In regular grade 7 In elementary industrial courses[12]
No. of minutes per week available for the regular academic subjects 600 735[11] 560

The committee believes that a school of this type, in which the vocational impulse of pupils is allowed opportunity for expression under expert direction, would aid boys and girls to " find " themselves. Those pupils who had decided on a particular vocation might here begin to prepare for it and those without definite aim might take a general course, made from the elements of several vocations, for the purpose of gaining a broad outlook that would make easier an intelligent choice in the future. Probably many pupils would thereby discover that they were not fitted for any of the vocations offered, a knowledge that might prevent anguish of soul and loss of time and energy in the future. For the pupil who

20) discovers that his interests or talents do not lie in any of the vocations offered, this course makes easy the transition to business or profession.

The seriousness of this type of school should not be overlooked by the educator. A merely intensified form of manual training will not serve the purposes of the pupils nor of the industrial world. For the purposes of conventional culture the usual type of manual training serves fairly well; but it must not be forgotten that a vocational school is primarily for the purpose of enabling pupils to select and acquire a vocation. If pupils are allowed to dawdle and play with industrial elements they will gain false ideas of industry that will justify the criticism so often made that the schools fail to teach economy of time and effort. True, no school can give the powerful incentive to good industrial work that is forced on the business world by economic stress, but some knowledge of the value of time and well directed energy should be one of the important aims of the vocational school. A dilettante system of manual training with culture as its only aim will defeat the purpose of this school; but if the elementary processes of industry are shown in their relations to mathematics, language, history and science, pupils will feel a joy in work that comes from strength and skill and breadth of knowledge. Is not the belief justified that such a course would tend to Prolong the school life of many boys and girls who would otherwise go into industry at fourteen?

Objections will be made that we are advocating specialization at too early an age. A study of statistics shows, however, that for a large percentage of children fate decrees specialization without preparation, at the end of the compulsory school term. This recommendation would substitute the specialization of school for the specialization of industry. Until the compulsory school age is raised what else can be done to keep pupils in school? And when the age limit is raised will it not still be necessary to give this type of education to the many who are not interested in the traditional academic training? Every attempt to introduce vocational training in this country impels the advocates of culture to protest. Unfortunately they do not show how the schools can give culture to pupils who refuse to attend. The experience of other American cities proves that a specialization that avoids " blind alleys " in education is not only feasible but highly successful. In Germany, according to Kerschensteiner (" Three Lectures on Vocational Training," p. 15),

(21) "as a rule both boys and girls are ready to enter a calling at the close of their fourteenth year. From an educational point of view it is desirable to make fourteen the age for commencing, for there can be no doubt that working at a trade is or might be an essential factor in the formation of character." If Germany is satisfied to begin regular trade apprenticeship at fourteen it would seem that the less highly specialized form of education proposed by the committee might safely be tried at thirteen, especially as a change of purpose is allowed for by the flexibility of the course. It is important that pupils be allowed to take this course before the end of the compulsory period so that their school interests may be strengthened sufficiently to withstand the allurements of immediate wages.

2. Elementary Industrial Schools for Over-age Children Below Grade Seven

In at least three centers of the city, establish an ungraded industrial school for boys and girls in grades below the seventh who are at least twelve years of age and who have lost interest and fallen behind in the regular grade work. At least half of the time should be given to such handwork and drawing as will appeal to the vocational motive and interest of the pupils. The academic subjects should be adapted to the previous attainments of the pupils and should be closely related to the handwork and to industrial needs. The school should aim to develop the pupils on the academic side, largely by individual work, so that they may in time return to regular work in the grades. Thirty hours (60 minutes each) a week.

The shopwork should include the elementary phases of some of the trades listed under type 1, above [p. 15]. In addition, general repair work and the making of equipment and apparatus in large quantities for use in the schools should be introduced. Examples of such shopwork may be found in the detailed description of schools in Chapter VII, especially pages 162-170.

3. Optional Industrial and Commercial Courses in Grades Seven and Eight

In at least three centers of the city, offer a differentiated curriculum in grades 7 and 8, open to pupils who have finished grade 6, and including the following three courses of study[13]:


(1) An industrial course giving one-third of the time to shop work and drawing for boys, and household arts and design for girls, the remainder of the time being devoted to related academic studies. Thirty hours (60 minutes each) a week.

(2) A commercial course giving one-third of the time to bookkeeping, business forms and methods, business arithmetic, typewriting, and handwork, and the remainder of the time to related academic studies. Thirty hours (60 minutes each) a week.

(3) The present course of study regularly provided for grades 7 and 8. Twenty-five hours (60 minutes each) a week.

Graduates of any one of the above three courses should be admitted to any course in the high school.

The weekly time schedule recommended for course (1)[14] is shown in Table 3, below, with the corresponding schedule for the elementary industrial course recently authorized for Chicago schools. The latter course is outlined in the Course of Study, adopted June 29, 1910, but it is not yet actually given in any of the schools.


Table 3. Weekly Time Schedules
Elementary Industrial Course (proposed) Elementary Industrial Course ( recently authorized)
Subject[15] No. of minutes per week Subject No. of minutes per week
Shop work and drawing 600 Art and industrial arts 615[16]
Applied science, applied mathematics 150 Nature study 60[16]
Industrial geography-history and civics, Chicago course 180 English, history, and civics, mathematics, geography, Chicago course (special), penmanship 500
English 300
Penmanship 75
Physical education, study, general use, recesses 405 Physical education, music, study, general use, recesses 325
Music 90
Total 1,800 Total 1,500


Course (1), above, is recommended to take the place of the elementary industrial course recently authorized for grades 6, 7, and 8. The two courses differ in the following three respects: (a) course (1) is not recommended for grade 6; (b) five hours more per week are recommended in course (1), making it possible to give more time to the academic subjects; (c) a more practical kind of shopwork is recommended for course (1).

The committee's reasons for not recommending course (1) for grade 6 are based on two principles fairly well settled in current practice in such courses: in the first place, such courses are not in general offered to pupils below twelve years of age, and in the second place, the completion of the sixth grade is commonly accepted as a standard, on the academic side, for admission to such courses. Retarded pupils who are twelve years of age in grade 6 or below are provided for in the committee's recommendations in type 2, above. It is unnecessary and unwise, in the opinion of the committee, to give so little time to academic subjects as is scheduled in the elementary industrial course recently authorized for Chicago schools. With the time allotted to handwork, the school week can readily be lengthened by five hours without bringing undue fatigue upon pupils, thus providing more tune for academic subjects. The shopwork for course (1) should include the elementary phases of some of the trades listed under type 1, above [p. 15]. In addition, general repair work and the making of equipment and apparatus in large quantities for use in the schools should be introduced. Examples of such shopwork may be found in the detailed descriptions of schools in Chapter VII especially pages 162-170.[17]

The academic subjects in courses (1) and (2) should be closely related_ to industrial and commercial needs and conditions in the manner indicated in the recommendations for the academic subjects under type 1, above [p. 18].

4. Trade School for Boys

Within the next two years establish a trade school for boys, admitting those who have been graduated from the vocational school, and others who have reached the age of sixteen with an academic training equivalent to that of the sixth grade. This school should provide for specialization, for at least two years, in some one of a

(24) number of trades, giving at least two-thirds of the time to shopwork and drawing in the trade selected, and the remaining time to very closely related academic subjects. The school year should be eleven months, and the school day at least seven hours.

5. Trade School for Girls

Establish a trade school for girls, admitting those who have been graduated from the vocational school, and others who have reached the age of four-teen with an academic training equivalent to that of the sixth grade. Specialization in a particular trade should be offered, about two-thirds of the time being devoted to handwork. Further investigation of local industrial needs is necessary to determine the trades to be taught.

6. Apprentice Schools

Investigate the feasibility of establishing apprentice schools for trades other than carpentry.

7. State Legislation for Day Continuation Schools

Endeavor to procure the enactment of a law, similar to the Ohio law, permitting local school authorities to require attendance in day continuation schools of working boys and girls between the ages of fourteen and eighteen, or at least fourteen and sixteen, for at least six hours a week.

8. Cooperation with Employers to Secure Day Continuation Schools

Endeavor to secure for the present the voluntary cooperation of employers in the establishment of day continuation schools in commercial and industrial subjects, for the years fourteen to eighteen. The work in these schools should be of the same general character as that in the continuation schools of Munich, Germany [see pages 119 ff. and 204 ff.], and in the recently revised curriculum of the Chicago apprentice school [see p. 112 ff.].

The following suggestions may be drawn from the experience of other cities with the voluntary cooperation of employers in day continuation schools [see p. 128 ff.].

(a) The alternate week plan of cooperation is most likely to succeed on the high-school level, and in connection with school instruction distinctly technical in character, preparing for positions of responsibility above that of the actual mechanic.


(b) The experience of Cincinnati and Boston [see p. 200 ff.] shows that large numbers of employers are willing to give from four to fifteen hours a week to their employees, on full pay, for day continuation instruction very definitely related to the daily work.

(c) Most of the successful efforts at cooperation have been made through associations of employers and workmen, and have been accompanied by the appointment of advisory committees of employers and unions to secure their continued interest and their criticism and advice on the work of the schools.

(d) Provision should be made for some kind of supervision by the school of the work of the students while in the factory. There are two reasons why this should be done: first, to enable the school to relate its instruction as closely as possible to industrial needs and conditions; second, to afford some protection to the student against possible exploitation by the employer, to see that the student advances on the shop side of his training as rapidly as his ability permits.

9. Legislation to Raise the Compulsory Age Limit

After vocational training is provided for the years fourteen to sixteen, endeavor to procure legislation to raise the compulsory age limit to sixteen years. The statistics on the "wasted years " from fourteen to sixteen, given on pages 33-39 of this report, show the great need for such legislation.

10. Technical and Trade Courses in the High School

In the " manual training course"[18] in the technical high school the time devoted to shopwork and drawing in the first two years should be-increased so that the work which now requires three years for completion may be done in the first two. The school day should be lengthened at least 60 minutes, thus increasing the capacity of the shops - and consequently of the school - by one-third.

In the last two years opportunity should be given for specialization in a particular trade or technical subject, students giving from one-half to two-thirds of the school time to the major subject. Opportunity should also be given, in the last two years, for students intending to enter college engineering courses to take subjects which meet the college admission requirements.


Provision should also be made in the technical high 'school for the boy who has been graduated from the elementary school before the age of sixteen, and who wishes to enter the trade school at sixteen. Such pupils should be permitted in the first year or two of the high-school course to give more than the usual amount of time to such shopwork as will prepare directly for the trade school shop work of the same general character as that recommended for the vocational school [type 1, p. 15].

A thoroughly organized effort should be made to relate the subject matter of the academic studies closely to the shop work and to industrial needs.

The trades furnishing appropriate shopwork for the " manual training " course may be classified in the following groups:

Building trades

Carpentry, plumbing, steamfitting, sheet-metal drafting, electrical construction, tilesetting, concrete work, painting (house, sign, and fresco), architectural drawing

Machine trades

Patternmaking, forge, foundry, bench and vise work, machine practice

Furniture trades

Cabinetmaking, finishing, upholstering

Printing trades

Typesetting, bookbinding, lithography, engraving


Stationary engineering, pharmaceutical and industrial chemistry, commercial design, jewelry, silversmithing, pottery, photography

Parallel to the existing two-year technical college course, which offers a broad training for engineering students, establish in the technical high school more highly specialized two-year college courses for the purpose of preparing students to enter the higher ranks of industry or to become teachers of shopwork or drawing in technical schools. If the industrial Chicago of the future is to keep the promise of its past the schools must produce efficient leaders below the rank of engineers. By training leaders of this type Chicago will receive a quick economic return on her educational investment.

11. Cooperative Courses in the Technical High School

The cooperative plan of alternate weeks in school and factory, now offered in the fourth year of the Lane Technical High School,

(27) should be introduced into the third year also, and should be offered in all technical high schools.

12. Industrial Courses for Girls in the High School

In the Flower Technical High School the time allotted to handwork, including drawing, should be increased so as to occupy from one-half to two-thirds of the school time.

Industrial courses for girls , permitting specialization in the last two years, should also be offered in the remaining technical high schools. In these courses, from one-half to two-thirds of the school time should be given to handwork, including drawing. Opportunity should also be given in the last two years for students intending to enter college technical courses to take subjects necessary to meet the college entrance requirements.

The following occupations are suggested as furnishing appropriate material for the industrial courses for girls:

Dressmaking, millinery, cloakmaking, cooking, catering, lunch-room management, homemaking, house sanitation and management, preparatory courses for nurses, dietetics, care of infants and invalids, house decorating and fitting, laundering, jewelry, silversmithing, pottery, photography, commercial design, bookbinding.

The subject matter of the academic studies should be closely related to the handwork and to industrial needs.

13. Central High School of Commerce

Establish a central high school of commerce, and secure the cooperation and advice of representative business men in organizing a course of study and in providing for part time work of students in business offices. The commercial high schools of Boston and Cleveland [see p. 245 ff.] furnish good illustrations of the organization and type of work here in mind.

14. Present Commercial Courses in the High School

Improve the commercial courses now offered by relating them more closely to present business needs and practices.


  1. We have not overlooked the fact that Chicago's laboring class is predominately unskilled and consequently lives on the lowest wages, and that the family's demand for children's wages in certain localities of Chicago is much greater than it probably is in Massachusetts or in St. Louis. But even after taking these facts into account, we are convinced, in the first place, that the economic motive is not the determining motive of children who drop out of the elementary schools, and in the second place, that no community can afford to recognize an economic situation, in which families must depend upon the earnings of children in the period between fourteen and sixteen, as so legitimate, that this situation should determine its educational policy. No community can afford to permit the interests of child labor to interfere with or cut short the education it can give its children.
  2. See "The Results of Two Examinations of German Pupils," quoted in the report of the Commissioner of Education, 1907, Vol I, p. 175 ff., and a discussion upon these examinations in the German Reichstag, quoted in the report of the Commissioner of Education, 1909, Vol. I, p. 461 ff. For retardation and elimination, see Organisation und Unterrichtserfolge der Staatischen Volksschulen in Deutschland, Emil Schwartz, 1907, Berlin, p. 97 ff.
  3. Vocational work is done as far as possible under the conditions of the occupation outside the school. Its products, so far as possible, are commercial products, and its processes commercial or trade processes. Vocational work in the elementary school can not be trade training in the accepted use of this term, because the children have not yet reached sufficient maturity for the trade school. Vocational work in the elementary school is preparatory trade training, and as such is different in principle from manual training [p. 28].
  4. June 30, 1911, p. 7.
  5. See p. 161 ff.
  6. The page citations refer to the descriptions of schools in Chapter VII, from which the lists of products are taken.
  7. From the Course of Study for Elementary Schools, 1911.
  8. The subjects to be taken by the boys are given in the table. The corresponding subjects for girls should receive the same time allotment.
  9. One hundred and fifty minutes a week during second half-year (semester).
  10. One hundred and fifty minutes a week during first half-year (semester),
  11. Not including the time allotted to music.
  12. See p. 108.
  13. A good example of such a curriculum is found in the Fitchburg grammar school [see p. 164]. A fourth course similar to the Literary Course in the Fitchburg grammar school might well be offered in each of these centers. In this course one-sixth of the time should be given to a modern foreign language, one-sixth to shopwork and drawing for a boys and household arts for girls, and the remaining time to academic studies similar in the main to those in courses (1) and (2). Thirty hours (60 minutes each) a week.
  14. A similar time schedule is recommended for course (2).
  15. The subjects to be taken by the boys are given in the table. The corresponding subjects for the girls should receive the same time allotment.
  16. For purposes of comparison the time assumed to be allotted to nature study is taken from the industrial arts period and is scheduled separately.
  17. A fuller discussion of the questions involved in this paragraph is given on pp. 109-111.
  18. "The name of the course should be changed to " technical course," to conform more closely with the aim Of the course recommended.

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