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Reasons for the establishment of the Industrial school 6

The opening of the school 9

Time schedule and course of study 7

Effect of the work upon pupils 10

What some of the pupils had to say 11

Statistical history 15

Conclusion 17

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In his report for the year 1908, Dr. Andrew S. Draper, commissioner of education of the State of New York, established the fact that current school systems still confine themselves too exclusively to preparation for professional life; that, even where they have consented to consider the claims of commerce and of certain technical pursuits, the aim lies toward preparation for positions of management and control; and that neither in the elementary schools nor elsewhere do the trades and the industrial life of the people receive adequate attention.

It is gratifying to note that this inadequacy is more and more keenly felt and that efforts to supplement it are becoming more and more pronounced among public-spirited citizens, among employers and workers, parents and educational leaders. We meet these efforts in the form of private and public trade schools, apprentice schools, continuation schools, industrial schools, and in a variety of provisions for so-called vocational guidance; most hopefully, however, in distinct propositions and experiments looking to a reorganization of the public school with a view of meeting this need without loss, but rather with gain, to other vocational interests and to general liberal culture.

Among these experiments, the Elementary Industrial School of Cleveland challenges more than passing interest, not so much because of vastness of plan or results, but because of the direct bearing of its work upon certain fundamental shortcomings and traditional onesidednesses of current systems.

Its organization was hastened by certain statistical data collated under the direction of Supt. W. H. Elson. He reports that, of the children—

enrolled in the first grade of the lementnry schools for the 10 years between 1892-93 and 1901-2, 3 out of 10 went no further than the fourth grade, 4 out of 10 withdrew before reaching the fifth grade, 5 out of 10 failed to enter the sixth grade, 6 out of 10 failed to reach the seventh grade, while practically 3 out of every 4 were lost to the school before attaining the eighth grade.

Again, he says:

Tiiking the schools of Cleveland as a whole, It is found that of those entering the first grade 95 per cent leave without finishing the high school, 50 per cent withdraw before reaching the fifth grade, and 75 per cent before reaching the eighth grade, while of those who enter the high school 32.64 per cent leave before the second year and 64 per cent drop out before graduation.

With reference to retardation, he reports:

Our records show that In the Cleveland schools last year (1908-8) 17,984 children were behind their grades with respect to age, or 27.6 per cent, while of the total number of retarded pupils 57.12 per cent were behind one year, 26.67 j>er cent two years, 10.33 per cent three years, and 5.86 per cent four or more years. It appears also that every eighth child was during the past year going over his work for the second time, or was a "repeater." In the elementary schools alone there were 8,650 repeaters, or 14.51 per cent of the total registration.

Further analysis of such failure revealed the fact that in the majority of instances these failures were due not so much to lack of ability on the children's part, but rather to failure to consider the needs of hand-minded or practical-minded children on the part of the current system in its one-sided attention to the language-minded and imaginative, in its excessive reliance upon the imagery of words and abstractions rather than upon the actualities of concrete life, both in learning and in doing.

Elsewhere it had been observed that hand-minded children who had gained in their classes the reputation of dullards, and who had themselves lost faith in their powers, were restored to confidence and learned to make satisfactory progress even in previously distasteful subjects, when opportunity came to them to exercise their powers in matters that appealed to their mental constitution and seemed to them worth while. If such children are to be afforded an opportunity to make the best of themselves, they must be approached from the side of the practical; they must learn by doing and in order to do. Thus alone can they be led to the "cultural," to the discovery of the inestimable value of knowledge, of science, of art, and even of the pursuit of these for their own sake. Thus alone can the school hope to place them in full possession of their human inheritance, to reach and to stir into full self-active life every phase of their mental constitution.


Such considerations led the school authorities to undertake the establishment of an Elementary Industrial School in the fall of 1909, as an experiment in the direction indicated. Primarily, by means of suitable differentiation in the course and character of the work with the beginning of the seventh grade, it was to afford practicalminded "dullards " opportunity to find themselves and thus to open

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