The enrollment is far below what should be expected in a city of nearly three-quarters of a million inhabitants. The total number of journeymen, apprentices, and helpers from the skilled manual occupations, receiving trade instruction in the night schools, is considerably less than one per cent of the total number in the city.
A large enrollment is necessary for efficient administration. Success in specializing courses in night schools, as in day schools, requires a large administrative unit. The possible variety of courses is in direct ratio to the number enrolled. In a class of 200 carpenters there would probably be, for example, 10 or 15 men who need specialized instruction in stair-building. On the basis of the present enrollment of 40 or 50 carpenters the class would dwindle to three or four, with the result that the per capita teaching cost becomes prohibitive.
The relatively small result now obtained is not the fault of the schools, but is due principally to the fact that the great field of evening vocational instruction is treated by the school system as a mere side line of the technical high schools. The evening classes are taught by teachers who have already given their best in the day classes. The enrollment cannot be greatly increased so long as this type of education is handled as one of the marginal activities of the school system, manned by tired teachers and directed by tired principals. It is a totally different kind of job from regular day instruction and requires a different administrative organization, with a responsible head vested with sufficient authority to meet quickly and effectively the widely varying demands of its students. This will require the speeding-up of administrative methods in the establishment of courses and the employment of teachers, a freer hand for the principals as regards both expenditures and policy, and most important of all, the organization of all forms of continuation and night school instruction under a separate department.
In considering the general conclusions of the survey as to what should be done in the matter of trade preparatory and trade-extension training in both day and night schools, it must be borne in mind that these two types of vocational training are still in the experimental stage. Their future development will probably involve a wide departure from conventional school methods and the evolution of a special technique through trial and experiment. At the present time we can only formulate certain of the main conditions to which future advance in these fields must conform.