Little or no attention was given by the pu lic school systems to industrial education up to 1900. The first work was undertaken by private enterprises and philanthropy about 1850 in the direction of special industnal education when Cooper Union and the Mechanics Insti tute of Philadelphia, the Ohio Mechanics' In stitute of Cincinnati and the Virginia. Me chanics' Institute began to offer instruction at night in drawing, mathematics and science for the benefit of those employed in industrial occupations during the slay time. The first forms of industrial educatwn Amenca open to the general public, but under private super vision and control, thus were supplemental or related courses. Later on shop was offered on a trade extension basis.
The private trade school for boys over 16 years of age represents the first attempt to deal with the problem of industrial training m day school. In 1881 the New York Trade School offered four-month courses in the building trades to young men between the ages of 17 and 24. During the next 20 years a few such schools were founded, such as the Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades, near Phila delphia, the Baron de Hirsch Trade School of New York City and the Milwaukee School of Trades, all under private control.
The report of the Massachusetts C.cantitis sion on Industrial and Technical Education issued in 1906 pointed out that large numbers of boys and girls were leaving school at. the age of 14 and before graduation from the elementary school, and that such children made liule economic progress during the two or three years following. The first trade preparatory schools for children from 14 to 16 years of age were founded in Rochester, N. Y., and Albany, N. Y., in 1908 and 1909. Many of these trade pre,paratory schools have been organized in New York, Massachusetts, Con necticut and other Statei. Special State aid for this type of education was furnished by several States, including New York, Massa chusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Wisconsin and Connecticut.
As a resultant of a long campaign on the part of the National Society for the Promotion of Industrial Education, now called the Na tional Society for Vocational Education, a Fed eral act called the Smith-Hughes Act was in February, 1917 passed by Congress and ap proved by President Wilson. This act pro vides for the promotion of vocational education in agriculture, the trades and industries and homemaking; it also provides for the encour agement of teacher training courses for the preparation of teachers of those subjects. The act provides for extensive annual appropria tions to aid the States in this work under a co-operative plan.
The ternis of the Smith-Hughes Act will determine the course of vocational education in the United States for many years. Under this act the Federal government does not pro pose to undertake organization and immediate direction of vocational training in the States, but does agree to make from year to year sub stantial contribution to its support. It under
takes also to pay over to the States annually certain sums of money, and to co-operate in fostering and promoting vocational training and the training of vocational teachers.
The Federal government bases its reasons for co-operation with the States upon four fundamental ideas: (1) that vocational edu cation being essential to the national welfare it.is a function of the national government to stunulate the States to undertake this new and needed form of service; (2) that Federal funds are necessary in order to equalize the burden of carrying on the work among the States; (3) that since the Federal government is vitally interested in the success of vocational educa tion, it should purchase a degree of partici pation in this work; and (4) that only by cre ating such a relationship between the central and local governments can proper standards of educational efficiency be set up.
The terms of the Smith-Hughes Act are administered by the Federal Board of Voca tional Education, Washington, D. C. This board is also charged with the important duty of the vocational rehabilitation of injured soldiers and sailors who served in the World War. Every State in the Union has accepted the provisions of the Smith-Hughes Act.
There are four types of trade or industrial schools or classes recognized by the Smith Hughes Law: (1) Evening industrial; (2) part-time or continuation; (3) unit trade pre paratory schools; and (4) general industrial schools in cities under 25,000. The evening industrial schools give instruction supplemental to the day employment of persons 16 years of age or over who have entered upon a par ticular trade or industrial pursuit These schools are important and popular everywhere. The unit trade preparatory schools provide trade instruction to chiklre.n 14 years of age and over preparatory to entrance to a specific trade or industrial occupation. The general industrial school in cities of 25,000 and under provides instruction in closely allied industry groups, as the metal trades, the building trades, the printing trades for the preparation of those who wish to prepare themselves ,for useful employment; these schools will be as near like the trade preparatory schools as it is possible to have in the small community. The various classes will furnish appropriate in struction to. children over 14 years of age who have entered upon employment This instruc tion may be trade extension, or supplementary, or general education, and must be given during regular veorking hours, 8 a.m., and 5 P.M., and for not less than 144 hours per year. A large munber of States have compulsory continu ation school laws, including VVisconsin, Penn sylvania, New york, New Jersey.
Lawn A. Wu.sow, Director, Division of Agricsiisral and hulas Wm' I Education, New York State Department of Educatioti.