(The 1909 Report of the Public School Fund Commission carried a paper, Our Children, Our Schools, and Our Industries, by Andrew S. Draper, Superintendent of Public Instruction, New York State.)
He noted “We have exploited the fundamental principles of our democracy in our politics and in our religion much, more completely and satisfactorily than in our education or in our industries. The application of those principles to our training and our work of hand is now to be pressed to conclusions.”
“The usefulness of our society to the individual depends upon the character and the efficiency of the units who comprise the mass.”
“The worth of the individual to the State, on the other hand depends upon the common acceptance of the principles of the Golden Rule, as well as upon the ambitions which are inspired by the common thinking and the prevalent anxiety and aptitude of the people for work.”
“Whether the work be intellectual or manual has; nothing to do with the right of the toiler to respect and regard.”
“Individual success and the growing strength of a people must come, if it comes at all, through steady application by growing numbers, through increasing competency, through sound living, and through the slow accretions of goods and of esteem.”
“It would be an appalling and pathetic mistake for a people to think that subtlety and greed can become the basis of either personal or national prosperity.”
“Economic conditions have forced combinations. The disappearance of individual responsibility in the corporation and the labor union, has wrought havoc with old-fashioned thinking and with moral fiber.”
“The time must soon come when the man in the corporation shall be stopped from using the common power of the people to oppress rather than to aid the people, and when the man in the union shall be stopped …”
“… from using the organized strength of his fellows to do the least he can for his wage, and from debasing himself through subtle antagonism to the people for whom he works, or a heavy shadow will rest upon the pathway of the Republic.”
“The man in the union, and all the rest of us, both in this generation and the next, must be aided more completely by the schools, and to do that some radical changes in the basis, the thought, and the plan of the schools seem imperative.”
“The child must have his chance, – an equal, open, hopeful, chance. But he must not be misled. His chance is in work. It is in his becoming accustomed to discipline, to direction, to industry, and to persistence, before he is sixteen years of age.” (Draper 1909)
In that same report the Maine Superintendent of Schools stated, “Of all the larger educational movements of the time probably no other is destined to have so far reaching influence as that which seeks to introduce into our school work a more distinctly utilitarian purpose than has before been recognized.”
“The general object of the introduction of this purpose has been so much under recent discussion that it is hardly necessary to repeat this here. We are learning, however, from the experience of other people, that it pays in every sense to train for efficiency in action as well as for efficiency in thinking, and that, I conceive, is the underlying motive of a right sort of vocational training.”
“We are recognizing that in the discharge of its duty to itself the State is bound to consider as much the man who is to work with his hands as it does him whose labor is to be of the head; indeed that is the rightly organized industrial state …”
“… there can be no complete separation of one from the other, and, therefore, that productive industry is entitled to men trained to co-ordinate hand and brain in a higher, better and, therefore, more profitable workmanship.” (Maine Superintendent)
Draper added several recommendations to his paper, including:
• Require attendance at seven years of age, instead of eight, and let it continue, in elementary school or trades school, to seventeen, but excuse from attendance before eight, at the parents’ request, on the ground of immaturity, and also excuse from attendance whenever the work in the elementary school and trades school is completed, or after fifteen if the child is regularly at work,
• Establish schools for teaching trade vocations, the work to begin at the end of the elementary school course, and continue for three years. Let the trades schools be open both in the day time and evening.
• Establish continuation schools, to be open mainly in the evenings, where the work shall be of a, general character, suited to the needs of youth who are employed through the day and are not doing the work in the trades schools
• In other words, make our evening schools more general and better. Let the work in the continuation schools go perhaps half way or more through the high school course, but with less formalism about it.
• Shorten the time in the elementary schools to seven years. Take out what it is not vital for a child to know in order to learn or to do other things for himself. Assume that he will learn and do things on his own account, if he has the power.
• Strive to give him power, and expect that through it he will get knowledge. Stop reasoning that mere information will give him power. Stop the dress parade and pretense about teaching, which consume time unnecessarily.
• Push the child along and aim to have him finish the elementary school in the fourteenth year. When he is fifteen send him to the trades school whether he has finished the elementary school or not.
• Assume that if the child does not go to the high school, his school work may end with his seventeenth, and not in his fourteenth, year.
• Put into the elementary schools, from the very beginning, some phase of industrial work. Up to the last year or two let it be work that can be done in the schoolroom, at the desks, under the ordinary teachers, and will occupy two or three hours a week. This might proceed from folding paper, molding sand, modeling clay, outlining with a needle, to the simple knife work in wood, plain sewing, knitting, and the like. In the last year or two send the classes to central rooms specially prepared, perhaps to the trade schools, for more complex wood work, cooking, etc. Always emphasize the drawing.
• As the child comes to the end of the elementary schools, expect him to elect whether he will go to the high school, to a trades school, or to work.
• Wherever he goes, expect that the schools will keep track of him until he is at least seventeen. If he goes to the trades school, expect him to get into the possession of the fundamental knowledge and something of the skill of a trade by his seventeenth or eighteenth year.
• If he goes to work in a store or factory, expect him to come to the continuation school till his seventeenth year is completed. Have him and, his parents understand that he is responsible to the schools until he is perhaps eighteen years old.
• Set up trades schools in spacious, but not necessarily ornate buildings. Start the particular kind of trades schools that the business of the town and the interests of the trades call for.
• Let it be understood that wherever there are a sufficient number of children to learn a particular trade, there will be a school to teach it to them. Let the trades school partake more of the character of the shop’ than of the school.
Hawai‘i had continuation schools. “The aims of the continuation school in Hawaii are to give the employed boy or girl, 14 to 18 years of age, a better understanding of the work and world about him, to help him use his leisure time wisely and to give him guidance in his work and other problems.” (US Office of Education, 1935)
“The continuation school is conducted under an instructor furnished by the Territorial department of public instruction. The purpose of the continuation school is to offer an opportunity to those who for some reason or other did not complete or feel that they did not receive as much education as they would like to have had.”
“In order to attend the school, the employee must sacrifice a half day of work each week without pay. This is a hard and fast rule of the continuation school system over which we have no control. Classes are held daily from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., with the exceptions of Saturdays and Sundays, but each class only attends school once a week.”
“For the first semester beginning September 1937, 47 employees have enrolled. English is compulsory. Other subjects are typing, shorthand, community civics, social science, shop work, and journalism.” (Congress, Joint Committee on Hawaii, 1937)
The image shows the Territorial Normal School – it’s not a continuation school, The Normal School is where teachers were taught.