This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
By Dalton Dorr, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art.
This is an appeal for an effort in the direction of higher art education, and the establishment of industrial education. The interesting facts gathered together in this pamphlet must be of great value to all who desire to study these great questions. But the weak point of the treatise is in its lack of any feasible plan of operations. There is the usual vague suggestions, about the State's duty, and municipal duty, and the duty of citizens, and the very common recommendation with every thing under the sun that "it be introduced into the public schools." The fact is no one disputes the needs or advantages of industrial education. The real question is, what is the best method of introducing it? And it is the misfortune of this as of all good subjects that they are ruined by the introduction of crude and ill-digested plans. For instance, the State of Pennsylvania gave in 1873, $1,500,000 to erect a hall in Fairmount Park as an industrial museum, but not one dollar to sustain it afterwards. The present prospects are that the hall will be closed before many more years elapse.
In like manner those who clamor for the introduction of such teaching in the public schools have no practical knowledge of school management. There are but about five school hours, and already in the primaries and secondaries of Philadelphia there are about ten different branches of study, or only about a half hour to each. It is no uncommon circumstance as the writer of this knows from actual experience as a director of the public schools of Philadelphia, that children pass through all the grades of the primaries and reach the highest in the secondaries, with but a crude knowledge of the three studies of most general importance. The great portion of children want to leave school when they reach the highest grade in the secondaries, and this want should be encouraged by those who desire to see their children thrive by manual labor; but under the present plan of teaching a little of everything, and nothing thoroughly, it is necessary for a child to go through grammar or high schools, and reach the age of eighteen or nineteen perhaps, before he has a thorough knowledge of language or figures, and by which time he has lost all taste for that "industrial" life which is to get him a living by the use of his hands.
These practical questions seldom occur to authors of theoretical works like this before us.