The manual training sewing in the fifth and sixth grades cannot be considered as furnishing any important contribution in the training of those who will make their living in the sewing trades. Much the same must be said of the work in the technical high schools. It is taught not for the purpose of securing quick, accurate hand or machine stitching, but to enable the girls to make a few garments for their personal use. Due to the fact that very few of the girls who become wage earners in these trades remain in school after the completion of the elementary course it is doubtful whether the technical high school offers a hopeful field for practical training. The work in the elementary schools is so hampered by lack of equipment that the results, from the standpoint of trade preparation, amount to very little.
The reduction of retardation all through the grades is of fundamental importance to any plan of vocational training. The age of 15 is the final compulsory attendance age for girls, and those who enter at six and seven and make regular progress should be in the first or second high school year by the time they reach this age. Last year there were, however, 1,170 fifteen-year-old girls in the Cleveland schools who were from one to seven grades below normal. Instead of being in the high school, they were scattered from the second grade to the eighth, and they constituted more than half of all the girls of that age in the school system. It is clear that unless the schools can carry them through more nearly on schedule time there is no hope of providing industrial training for a large proportion of them, because they reach the end of the compulsory period before entering the grades in which industrial training can be given effectively and economically.