The success of any venture in one Association is not a guarantee of its success in another unless similar conditions exist. Particularly is this true of manual work for boys. By way of illustration permit me to cite instances in two cities with the conditions of which I am familiar—
Springfield and Toledo, Ohio. Springfield has no equipment for manual training, either in the grades or in the high school, other than certain elementary instruction in mechanical and free-hand drawing. A boy with a proclivity for working with tools must either supply himself with the necessary equipment and materials or apprentice himself to a mechanical trade. Consequently, the Springfield Boys' Department, either by wisdom or accident, has a fairly good equipment for a limited manual training work.
Toledo, on the other hand, has one large central high school with an almost ideal manual training school equipment and offers to any pupil, boy or girl, as a part of the curriculum, instruction in mechanical and free-hand drawing, clay modeling, wood carving, joinery, forging, beaten metal work, machine work, and cooking and plain sewing for girls. So thorough is the instruction that the boys are enabled to step into positions requiring certain mechanical expert knowledge and manual skill and to advance rapidly above the boys who have not had the advantage of their superior education. In addition, boys in the seventh and eighth grades receive elementaryinstruction in joinery and sloyd.
No great wisdom is necessary to see the dinerence presented by the two situations. Neither case is at all unusual. There are many cities with as few of these facilities as Springfield and many with facilities as good or better than those afforded in Toledo. In the first case there is almost a demand—at least an opportunity to supply a need in the normal boy life and development; in the second there is a possibility of providing an opportunity for those boys who have been tuiable to continue in school, or to establish a centre among boys of esthetic culture and craftsmanship.
A trade school is an essentially different proposition from the foregoing idea. With the increasing demand for skilled workmen and the failure of the present industrial system to develop them rapidly enough, there presents itself to the Association the question, "How may we make our contribution to the solution of the problem?"
The recent agitation and movement for manual training for school boys has its tap root in this economic need.
It is indeed "quite the proper time for us to contribute what we can." The automobile schools, office boys' schools, courses in steam engineering, et cetera, as offered by the educational departments of many associations have shown the desire to read the signs of the times and to come forward with the things most needed.