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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/643

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AN AMERICAN MANUAL TRAINING-SCHOOL.

The Aims of Education.—But to return. I claim for these forms of expression, which I have taken pains to distinguish, more nearly equal care and consideration in the elementary education of every child. Teach language and literature and mathematics with a view to make each child a master of the art of verbal expression. Teach mechanical and free drawing, with the conventions of shade and color, and aim at a mastery of the art of pictorial expression. And, lastly, teach the cunning fingers the wonderful power and use of tools, and aim at nothing less than a mastery of the fundamental mechanical processes. To do all these things while the mind is gaining strength and clearness, and material for thought, is the function of a manual training-school.

Prejudices to be overcome.—The traditions are heavily against us, but the traditions of the fathers must yield to the new dispensation. As was to have been expected, the strongest prejudices against this reform exist in old educational centers.

As President Walker, of the New York Board of Education, frankly admitted at the laying of the corner-stone of Professor Felix Adler's splendid institution, "The Workingman's School and Free Kindergarten," the methods and aims proposed by the advocates of manual training-schools are a criticism upon the methods and aims of the established system, and nothing is more natural than for it to resent the criticism and discourage reform.

No man has done more—nay, no man has done as much—to introduce the manual feature into American education as Professor John D. Runkle, of Boston, and yet the School of Mechanic Arts established by him in connection with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has, after an existence of several years, been apparently almost frozen out in the biting atmosphere of that highly aesthetic city. I doubt if one could find on American soil a more unpromising field for a manual training-school than beneath the lofty elms of Cambridge and New Haven.

Luxuries ix Education.—There are luxuries in education, as in food and dress and equipage, and in wealthy communities the luxuries command the chief attention. At the English Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, a large proportion of the students expect to be gentlemen of leisure. The idea of giving heed to the demands of skilled labor, of preparing for lives of activity and usefulness—the idea of earning one's daily bread and of supporting one's family—scarcely enter their heads. Either they inherit livings, or they seek to get livings through the Church, or they enter the army with commissions purchased by kind friends who wish to get them out of the way, or they go into law or politics. It is no wonder that such men devote themselves largely to the luxuries of education—Greek, astronomy, philology, higher mathematics, Latin hexameters, Italian—in a word, to "polite" learning. In such an atmosphere as that how incongruous