The usual course of study in commercial schools is suitable for girls and unsuitable for boys.
A girl needs, chiefly, specific training in some one line of work. She has a choice among stenography, bookkeeping, and machine operating.
A boy needs, chiefly, general education putting emphasis on writing, figuring, and spelling; general information; and the development of certain qualities and standards.
For students electing to go into commercial work, general education may be taught more effectively through the medium of commercial subjects than through academic ones.
Boys’ training looks forward to both clerical work and business administration; but as clerical work is a preparation for business and is likely to occupy the first few years of wage earning, training should aim especially to meet the needs of clerical positions.
Clerical positions for boys cover a variety of work which cannot be definitely anticipated and cannot therefore be specifically trained for. But certain fundamental needs are common to all.
Most of the specialized training for boys should be given in night continuation classes.
Girl stenographers need a full high school course for its educational value and for maturity. Girls going into other clerical positions can qualify with a year or two less of education; but immaturity in any case puts them at a disadvantage.
Boys’ training, for those who cannot remain in school, should be compressed into fewer than four years. Immaturity in the case of boys is not a great disadvantage.
Bookkeeping has general value in the information it gives about business methods and for its drill in accuracy. To some extent it may aid in the development of reasoning.
Much of the bookkeeping in actual use in business consists in making entries of one kind only and in checking and verifying. Understanding of debit and credit, posting, and trial balance, is the maximum practical need of the younger workers.
Penmanship demands compactness, legibility, neatness, and ease in writing; also, the correct writing and placing of figures.
The chief demand of business in arithmetic is for fundamental operations—adding and multiplying—also for ability to make calculations and to verify results mentally.
Undergraduate experience in school or business offices may be a valuable method of acquainting students with office practice and routine and with business organization and business standards.