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In the Seventh Annual Report I called attention to a provision in the organic law of the Department relating to the establishment of a system of reports by which, at intervals of not less than two years, the general condition, so far as production is concerned, of the leading industries of the country could be reported. The object of this provision of law was to secure information at brief intervals concerning the volume of production of the country, so that conclusions might be drawn as to whether production was increasing or decreasing, and in either case as to what leading industries were more especially affected. The provision of law cited could not be carried out except by thorough coöperation with the census office, because the statistics of manufactures for 1890 must furnish the basis for any such system. During the past summer an attempt was made to establish the system indicated by law, and to this end the superintendent of census heartily coöperated with this Department. It was soon found, however, that the means at the disposal of the Department of Labor were quite inadequate to the carrying out of the provision of the organic law. Furthermore, the question of the establishment of a permanent census office had been raised by Congress, and the proper committees were considering the propriety of creating a permanent census bureau, These two reasons-a lack of means and the prospect of a permanent census office--caused me to suspend the preliminary labors necessary for the establishment of the system of reports provided for in the organic law of the Department. Should a permanent census office be established this work would be more especially its duty than that of this office. I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
CARROLL D. WRIGHT,
Commissioner. The PRESIDENT.
The investigation, the results of which are summarized in the following pages, was undertaken by this Department, pursuant to an act of Congress appropriating $5,000 “for the investigation of, and report upon, the various industrial school systems, and also technical school systems, of the United States and foreign countries."
The terms of this act have been construed to include the systems of manual training, of apprenticeship, and of technical instruction, in Fogue in the several classes of special schools as well as the public schools, at home and abroad; and the Department has endeavored to execute its commission with full fidelity, so far as the limitation imposed by the amount of the appropriation would permit.
The object kept steadily in view throughout this inquiry has been to compare foreign systems of industrial education with our own, and by this means to obtain from the older civilization of Europe some useful hints for the improvement of American schools; but above all, to ascertain the precise effects of mannal and technical training upon local and national industries, upon the pupil, upon the quality of his work, his capacity for wage earning, his value to his employer, etc.
To define some of the terms which will frequently recur in this report, it may be said that manual training signifies instruction in tool work as an educational discipline. This definition distinguishes and differentiates it from trade school teaching, the sole or primary aim of which is to give the apprentice a thorough and practical knowledge of some handicraft. It is true, the apprentice may incidentally acquire much general information in a trade school; but education is not the main end sought in the apprenticeship school, whereas in the manual training school it is the paramount object. The difference may be illustrated by contrasting the course pursued in the New York Trade Schools, for example, with that of the Saint Louis Manual Training School. In one, the course is of short duration, and is limited to a severe drill in the theory and practice of a trade. The course in the other lasts three years, comprising high school studies, with manual practice in wood and iron work as a coördinate branch of education.
The technical school is a high grade trade school, or a school in which, while a craft is taught, the scientific principles upon which it is grounded are also fully explained and demonstrated in their applications to art and industry. Schools of this class are the weaving schools of Philadelphia, Crefeld, Glasgow, Berlin, etc.