The plan of the survey in advocating types of present preparation based on studies of future prospects seems at first sight so obvious a mode of procedure as hardly to warrant extended explanation. This is far from being the case. The reader who proposes to follow the working-out of the principle and to scrutinize the evidence underlying it must be prepared to scan many a detailed table of statistics and to arrive at most unforeseen conclusions.
For many years past the public has given respectful attention to the arguments of the champions of industrial education. There has been general assent to the proposition that the schools should train for and not away from the industrial age in which we live. We have come to think of the carpenter shop, the machine shop, the forge shop, and the cooking room as necessary and desirable adjuncts of the modern school and to our minds these shops have typified industrial education. All of these have come to be almost synonymous with progressive thought and action in public education. Very generally it has been felt that the problems of industrial education were to be solved through the wider extension of these shop facilities in our public schools.
When these familiar generalizations are submitted to careful analysis their whole structure begins to totter. In Cleveland about 3,700 boys leave school each year and go to work. They represent various stages of advancement from the 4th grade of the elementary school to the 4th year of the high school. They are scattered through more than 100 school buildings. The problem of industrial education is to give these boys with their differing ages, their widely varied school preparation, and their scattered geographical distribution, the best possible preparation for taking their places in the work-a-day world. They represent every grade of intelligence, every stratum of social and economic life, and it is extremely difficult to bring them together for instructional purposes. They are scattered in little groups through more than a thousand classrooms.
Now it is possible to foretell with some certainty what these young people will be doing a few years from now. Almost all of them are of American birth and it is certain that in a few years they will be engaged in doing just about the same sorts of work as are now done in the city of Cleveland by adults of American birth. The data of the United States Census of Occupations show us that among every 100 American born men in Cleveland there are eight who are clerks, seven who are machinists, four who are salesmen, and so on through the list of hundreds of occupations. The number of American born men in each 100 engaged in each of the 10 leading sorts of occupations is approximately as follows: