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The Manual Training School

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The city of Philadelphia has taken a most important educational step in the addition of a niiinual-traininjr school to ita public -school aystem. In Chicago, St. Louis, and some other cities, manualtrainlng schools have been etarted and are now in auccessful opcration, but they are not parta of the public system, and are supported by private enterpiiae. In Boston, we believe, the board of educatiim is experimenting with them i a small way and with good resulta. Their adoptlon in Philadelphia, the second larest city in the unión, will glve a fresh impulse to industrial e ducation all over the country. It U time that some attention should be given to the hand as well as to the head, and that children should be taught that it is ju.-t as honorable to live by work as by their wits. The radicaf fault of our public system of education, and indeed of our whole social system, is that the flrst is based upon mere book knowledge and excludes the idea of manual labor, and that the eecond sympathizea with it. It presurosos that every boy is going to niake his living outaide of productiva industry by mental plotting and scheming or by mere niechatiical routine bebind the desk or counter. The manaal-training system will change all tliis. lts flrst result will be to make labor respectable; and as soon as that is accomplished every department of work in the arta and sciences, as well as the various agricultural, mining, engineering and conatructive branches of labor, will be tilled with busy workerg, and the burdens of life will be correspondingly decreased. No one has yet seriousFy consldered bow much of the misery, poverty and crime of this country grows out of this almost universal tendency to live upon ones wits, which is the inmediato outgrowth of our present system of public school, seminary, acadeiny, and university education. Not one of these institutions comprehensively teaches a boy how to work with his hands or even contémplate such a possibility. As the result of such a one-sided system, which fails to put hand and head together, boys are babituated to look down upon manual labor as something disgraceful, and fly from the plow, the lathe, the anvil, and enginery of all description as if tbey were instrunients of torture. They turong into stores as clerks and into business ónices as accountants. They hang around bucketshops and pool-rooms, whence the dtscent to the saloon and jrambling-house is both easy and sure. They haunt boards of trade and stock exchanges, iln-ie lIicj ...o „..., .„..1 itn opuriilation by the success of a few big operators. They swarm into professions already overcrowdeil without any special fitness for them ; and the result is a multitude of poor doctors, lawyere, architects, and clergymen. They are influenced in this not alone by the public school training, but by the home training - for there are few mothers who look upon hand work as respectable elther for their boys or their rirls. Out of a thousand thus trying to live by their wits a handful succeed, and the story of the rest is told in the appalling lists of thefts, embezzlements, and forgeries, in the great multitude of uneniployed who swarin in our cities, and in the homes full of misery, poverty and domestic bitterness growins; out of enforoed idleness. Not every boy who graduates from our present educational system niakes a failure or wreek of hls life; those who succeed are the exceptions and there are not enough of them to prove the rule. The perfect system of education is that which hi'st. enuinR a bov to meet the eiuergencies of life and enablea him to inaster them. It must teach bim to do and produce, inatead of to lire off thoee wIki do and produce. Tliia in a working world, and the boy who is sent into it, unable to work, ignorant of its productive industries and its agricultural, mechanical and scientitic methods, and unskilled in the use of bis bands, is handioapped in the struggle for success and confrontad wlth every chance of failure at tlie very beginning of the race. The manual training school blds fair to supply tliis deflciency. It is still in the experimental stages; but its basis Is a correct one, and the time is not far diatant when no systeui of education will be considered complete without it.


Ann Arbor Courier
Old News