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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
BUREAU OF EDUCATION,
Washington, D. C., August 4, 1874. Sir: The introduction of the study of drawing into the regular course of studies in the public schools has, especially since its adoption by the State of Massachusetts, attracted the attention of educators. From its relation to technical training and to manufactures and on account of its practical value to every child, I have thought it important that the means of forming an intelligent judgment in regard to the wisdom and feasibility of its introduction into the schools should be furnished to school-officials.
With this view, and because I was prevented by want of space from giving to this subject in my annual report as full a consideration as seems desirable, I have had prepared, by I. Edwards Clarke, A. M., of this Bureau, a paper setting forth in brief the views and actions of European nations in securing for their pupils generally a knowledge of drawing. The estimate placed by these nations upon such knowledge of drawing and its direct influence upon the manufactures of a country are shown.
The methods adopted by Massachusetts in introducing the study of drawing in all public schools and in providing technical training for older citizens are stated at length, in order that the citizens of other States may understand the experiment there being tried, which thus far seems a success.
As full a statement as practicable is given of all the institutions in the United States which afford training in industrial, technical, and high art; also a list of public art-museums and galleries.
An effort has been made to state the reasons why a general knowledge of drawing is desirable and to show, from the experience of other countries, that it is practicable; and also to set forth clearly the present state of art-training in this country, with its facilities and deficiencies.
Believing that the information contained in this paper will be found of value to educators, I respectfully recommend its publication as a circular of information. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Commissioner, Hon. C. DELANO,
Secretary of the Interior. Approved, and publication ordered.
THE RELATION OF ART TO EDUCATION.
In the report of the United States Commissioner of Education for 1870 an attempt was made to collect, from those best qualified to judge, evidence as to the influence of such knowledge as can be acquired by the pupils in the public schools of the country, upon their value as workmen in every kind of productive industry—as to whether such knowledge tended to make better workmen, to secure better products as the result of their labor, to procure for the laborers themselves better wages, and to advance in all respects their position. The replies to the questions addressed to workmen, employers, and competent observers are full of interest in themselves and significant in the almost unanimous expression of the opinion that every advance in learning gives corresponding advantage to the laborer, the testimony being that a mere knowledge of the rudiments adds 25 per cent. to the earning capacity of the individual. The establishment of such a fact is at once ample justification, in an economical point of view, for the maintaining by every community of free public schools for the instruction of every child, as is freely conceded by most communities in the United States.
EDUCATION IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS INADEQUATE-CHANGES DEMANDED.
In the rapidly-changing circumstances of the present age, arising in part from increasing facilities for intercommunication between the nations, the competition between the producers of the world grows ever more intense, and demands watchfulness and energy on the part of every country unless it is willing to fall behind in progress and in power. In addition to this universal fact, a new complication has arisen, owing to the abandonment of the old system of apprenticeship, by which young persons were trained to become skillful workmen in the various employments and trades, and from the bitter opposition of trades-unions to the training of youth in their various occupations, so that it has become almost impossible for a parent to procure for his children sur industrial training as will make them skillful artisans.* .
From these and other causes, dissatisfaction has arisen with the present system of common-school-education, just as in superior education there arose a demand for training in the natural sciences, which has resulted in the great schools of science which to-day supplement the colleges and number their students by thousands.
*“ Since apprenticeship has virtually ceased, through the subdivision of labor, it is doubly necessary that the public schools should give the elements, scientific and artistic, which form the basis of a technical education. And they should do this without diminishing the literary culture they now impart. Only by such an enlargement of the common-school-curriculum can the great body of laborers secure the education so essential to their welfare and be kept from degenerating into mere machines for doing a limited variety of work." (Technical Education, p. 115.)
That system of public education which fails to give to its pupils increased ability to perform the duties of life is self-condemned in so far as it so fails. In consequence of the difficulties in the way of parents securing for their children training in remunerative labor, it is felt that the public schools must give instruction that will fit the children for work; that something more and other than the present training is now necessary.
With changing conditions, the forms of education must change; and what is best for one age or country may be very far from meeting the needs of another. While competition in all except the simplest forms of manual labor has been so extended as to bring the productions of the most distant regions and the manufactures of remote neighborhoods face to face, the new discoveries in science, with their varying applications to industrial art, and the manifold inventions of new methods in every department of industry demand increased skill in the laborer, under penalty of utter failure. The best-made goods and the cheapest products of equal quality command the markets of the world.
It is plain that in this country the pressure of this competition must increase and that any wise plan of free public education must take into account, in training the future citizens of the country, the circumstances that are to surround them. Special schools of training for special professions and industries will doubtless be provided as the need arises, as they have been in the past, and with that question we are not now dealing; but the great bulk of the population is to be trained for usefulness in the public schools of the country, and the obvious duty of those in whose charge these schools are placed is to devise a plan by which, during the few years of average attendance, the pupils may be so trained as to be best prepared for the duties of life. It is found that merely to read, to write, and to cipher does not do this. Indispensable as this preliminary training is to the acquisition of other knowledge, something more is requisite, if, as a manufacturing and commercial people, we are to hold our ovn among the nations.
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS OF ART.
In addition to the increased competition arising from steam-carriage, new and cheaper methods of manufacture, and increased productiveness, another element of value has rapidly pervaded all manufactures, an element in which the United States has been and is wofully deficient—the art-element. The element of beauty is found to have pecuniary as well as esthetic value. The training of the hand and of the eye which is given by drawing is found to be of the greatest advantage to the worker in nearly every branch of industry. Whatever trade may be chosen, knowledge of drawing is an advantage and in many occupations is rapidly becoming indispensable.
From a recent work * I take the following paragraphs, setting forth some reasons why it is desirable that drawing should be taught in the pubiic schools.
*"Technical education; what it is, and what American public schools should teach. An essay based on an examination of the methods and results of technical education in Europe, as shown by official reports." By Charles B. Stetson. Boston, Jas. R. Osgood & Co. Pp. 284.
This little book is largely occupied with extracts from the official reports made under the direction of foreign governments upon the subject of teaching drawing and giving special artistic training as generally as possible. It is clear that the subject is regarded by these governments as of great and pressing importance.
“ DRAWING A PART OF POPULAR EDUCATION.—This harmony between education and the demands of the age also requires that drawing should hold a conspicuous place in popular education. Both for the peculiar culture it ir parts and for its practical uses, it should be taught in every public school.” (Page 18.) .
“Almost everything that is well made now is made from a drawing. In the construction of buildings, ships, machinery, bridges, fortifications, nothing is done without drawings. It is not enough that there be draughtsmen to make the drawings : the workmen who are to construct the objects required should be able, without help, to interpret the drawings given for their guidance. This they cannot do without instruction that acquaints them with the principles on which the drawings are made and so trains the imagination as to enable it to form from the given lines a vivid mental picture of the object required. The workman who lacks this knowledge and this ability, as it is probable that nineteen-twentieths of American artisans now do, must work under the constant supervision of another, doing less and inferior work and receiving inferior wages. But it is also essential that the workman himself be able to make at least a rude working-drawing whenever, as frequently happens, an emergency requires it.” (Page 19.)
“It may be accepted as a general truth, the more of an artist the better the artisan, for the work will ever tell of the workman. Hence it is of the utmost importance that instruction in drawing should go far beyond exercises in mere copying ; that the principles of good design should be thoroughly taught; and that the pupils, from an early age, should be systematically trained in the pleasant and intellectually-stimulating production of original designs." (Page 21.)
“Much precious time has already been irretrievably lost; and for a generation to come American laborers must feel the evil consequences. In a matter which depends upon the education of the whole people there must always be patient waiting for results. Nothing can be achieved at a bound.
“While so little has been done for industrial education in America, so much has been done, and is now doing, in other countries, that it must be many years, even with the best possible effort, before American farmers, manufacturers, and artisans, as a body, can equal the skill of many of their foreign competitors.” (Page 25.)
"Since, then, skilled labor is the only sure foundation for prosperous manufactures and since the artisan-class is increasing and must for the reasons given continue to increase, in relative numbers and importance, much more rapidly than the whole population, the proper education of this class becomes with each succeeding year a matter of more vital consequence." (Page 29.)
“Different European governments have been for a series of years making earnest, systematic efforts--and perhaps nothing so engrosses their attention now-for the technical education of workmen, beginning it in primary schools and continuing it through evening-schools, Sunday-schools, apprentice-schools, schools of arts and trades, popular lectures, and museums, with its culmination in great technical universities. To-day it is with educated, skilled laborever the cheapest as it is the best labor—that Europe proposes to meet the world in friendly contest for industrial supremacy. Let America take note that it is the educated, skilled labor of Europe, and not pauper-labor, as so many believe, which she has good reason to fear and against which she can defend herself only by educating her workmen equally well.” (Page 30.)
OUR PUBLIC-SCHOOL-SYSTEM FAVORABLE TO
While the United States lack many things that give to the nations of Europe great advantage in art-culture, they possess, on the other hand, in their system of free public schools, admirable facilities for the speedy, general, and efficient