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of the State rather than to any section, or certainly to any locality. Under these circumstances the obligation to each institution is not to attempt to fulfill a large number of functions, but to excel in those which have been assigned to it.
The commission desires further to point out that the vocational opportunities which sometimes appear quite alluring are very likely of temporary duration. It is said, for example, that coal mining as an industry near Pittsburg has a limited existence. Furthermore, there is nothing clearer in modern educational tendencies than the increasing effort to satisfy through other organized channels, including the public-school system, the neglected field of secondary vocational training. This field has by no means been covered, but the steps already taken account in large measure for the falling off in attendance at the secondary vocational school of agriculture at Manhattan. The commission believes, therefore, that the present demand for vocational training at the normal schools will very likely decrease rather than increase. There is left, then, besides teacher training, only the fields of more direct competition with the university and the agricultural college, which seem especially unwise for the normal schools to enter.
The commission therefore recommends that steps be taken to abandon at the normal schools the trade and vocational courses now in operation. It will, of course, be impossible to take this step immediately, in view of the considerable number of Federal trainees who will doubtless be stationed at Pittsburg for a few years. The normal schools can, however, abandon the other trade and vocational work and devote the funds which have hitherto been expended in this field to improvements in the legitimate functions of the normal schools.
It will then remain for the regular channels of the public school system in conjunction with the Smith-Hughes organization to take care of trade and vocational education in Kansas. The commission believes that as time goes on this method which was devised for this purpose will prove amply able to take care of the demand. If, perchance, there still remains an unsatisfied demand, it should be cared for by budgets entirely separated from the normal-school budgets, in order that the money appropriated to the normal schools may be used entirely for teacher-training purposes.
TRAINING OF VOCATIONAL TEACHERS IN THE NORMAL SCHOOLS.
The commission has already stated its conviction that two years of training for high-school teachers who expect to teach vocational subjects such as agriculture, home economics, music, and manual training as permitted by the present law in Kansas is insufficient, and that the requirements should be increased at once to three years and in a short time to four years.
Anticipating an action of this character, the commission wishes to raise the question whether all of the normal schools should then attempt to give four-year curricula leading to the preparation of high-school teachers for all vocational fields. In this connection it may be well to call attention to the fact that all the curricula for the preparation of vocational teachers under the provisions of the Smith-Hughes Act are four years in length and, furthermore, that for this work there has been made a selection of higher institutions in the State which are believed to be able to give four-year curricula for the preparation of teachers in the vocations of agriculture, home economics, and trades and industries. For the training of vocational home economics teachers the agricultural college and the university have been selected; for trades and industries the State Manual Training Normal School; and for agriculture the State agricultural college. This principle of selecting particular higher institutions for the training of Smith-Hughes high-school teachers conforms with the commission's conception of the university's general leadership in the preparation of secondary teachers and the leadership of the agricultural college in the particular field of agriculture and home economics and also with the policy which ought to be pursued toward the training of all vocational teachers, whether for Smith-Hughes schools or for general vocational purposes.
One of the natural limiting factors to which reference should be made immediately is the number of students who are to be accommodated with properly prepared teachers in each of the vocational fields. The latest reports concerning this matter are the Bureau of Education reports for 1917–18. According to these reports there were in Kansas for that year in trade-training courses, 6 high schools and 92 students; home economics, 145 schools and 3,535 students; agriculture, 140 high schools and 2,641 students; manual training, 89 high schools and 2,668 students; commercial courses, 117 high schools and 4,365 students, as compared to 489 high schools and 33,131 students in the usual academic subjects.
It may be well also to recall that, in establishing the manual training normal school at Pittsburg, it was doubtless assumed that the normal school at Emporia would largely remain what it always had been, namely, an institution whose primary function would be the training of teachers in the older academic subjects. To this conception of its obligations Kansas State Normal School has remained true, so that its expansion into the preparation of teachers of agriculture, home economics, and manual training has been less marked than at either of the other two normal schools. The commission is convinced that concentration on teacher training in the first place and thereafter concentration on teacher training in the academic subjects accounts in no small degree for the excellent work accomplished at Kansas State Normal School. The commission thoroughly commends the clarity and wisdom of this educational policy.
On the other hand, the establishment of the normal school at Pittsburg as a "manual training” normal school doubtless gave to it, in addition to normal-school instruction of the academic type, an obligation to prepare teachers of manual training and home economics.
The Hays Normal School is interested in the preparation of teachers of agriculture. For this reason the institution has advertised not only a two-year curriculum leading to a three-year special certificate to teach agriculture, but also a four-year curriculum for the preparation of Smith-Hughes teachers of agriculture. During the regular year just closed, there were four students majoring in agriculture for teacher-training purposes and one other student majoring in agriculture for general purposes.
The Hays Normal School, by reason of its peculiar foundation, has about 4,000 acres of land, but 300 acres of which it leases out. The extensive demonstration plats and the live stock at the adjoining branch experiment station of the agricultural college are very useful and valuable to students at the normal school. Also occasional use is made of the members of the staff at the branch experiment station. On the other hand, the laboratory equipment in agriculture at the normal school is decidedly meager. The instructors undertake the task of covering the entire field of agricultural instruction in the 20 or more courses offered by the department. The four-year curriculum in vocational agriculture shows the influence of the prevailing practice for students to leave at the end of the sophomore year. The sophomore year is accordingly very heavy on agricultural subjects and the junior year contains subjects which should in reality be prerequisite to substantial instruction in many of the subjects offered in the sophomore year. The minimum change for a good curriculum would be the substantial interchange of the schedules for the sophomore and junior years.
At the Kansas State Normal School there has recently been devised a four-year curriculum in agriculture which suffers from much the same difficulty as the curriculum at Hays, and for the same reason, namely, the tendency of students to leave at the end of two years with special three-year certificates.
Although there are two well-qualified teachers in the department, there is land only for a small garden; there is no live stock of any kind and no poultry. The entire practical training work is done by observation. Laboratory facilities are also meager in extent.
At the State Manual Training Normal School agricultural instruction is practically nonexistent. Again, notwithstanding the catalogue's announcement (p. 57), “The experiment stations consist of about 35 acres devoted to various experiments and tests," there is very little garden land or live stock for demonstration purposes. All the courses are taught by a single instructor, who has less laboratory material than many good high schools. A small number of students have a minor in agriculture and some others take elementary courses during the summer for rural-school work.
In general, the commission is convinced that the normal schools can not develop properly trained teachers of agriculture for the following reasons: (1) The equipment in laboratories, orchards, live stock, and land is wholly insufficient and can not be developed except after years of effort and the expenditure of much money; (2) the faculty in agriculture at each of the normal schools is composed of one or two individuals with general training. It is impossible for any of these men to compare in the preparation with the specialists in each field of agriculture at the agricultural college; (3) the normal schools by reason of meager faculty and equipment and because of no facilities for agricultural extension will be unable to maintain that contact with practical farming which is necessary to the best teaching of any subject, particularly agriculture; (4) the lack of any research facilities at the normal schools make it impossible for the faculty to maintain that connection with the rapid advancement in scientific agriculture which is essential to successful teaching.
To supply adequate conditions for the training of agricultural teachers in four-year curricula at the normal schools would require the expenditure of many hundreds of thousands of dollars. Moreover, if the normal schools are to enter this field, there is every reason why the university should do likewise. The commission can see no reason in the present situation why the State agricultural college can not train all the teachers of agriculture in four-year curricula that are needed in Kansas. To develop such curricula at any other institution in Kansas, therefore, appears to the commission to be an unwarranted expenditure of public money and an unwise educational policy.
Moreover, the commission believes that with the development of agricultural instruction and adequate equipment at the normal schools there would occur in this field the same ambition to serve in other lines of preparation besides teacher training which have already been called into question in the case of trade courses and industrial engineering at the Pittsburg Normal School. There is indeed some evidence already of this tendency at the Hays Normal School, where there are several students studying agriculture who do not intend to go into teaching. Furthermore, plans are now under way there to hold a three weeks' short course for farmers, similar in character to the one held in 1914 in conjunction with the State agricultural college, but without such cooperation in the present undertaking. The commission regards this contemplated action as a grave mistake. Such a short course at Hays for farmers of western Kansas may be highly desirable, but it should by all means be given by members of the agricultural college staff in conjunction with the facilities that the agricultural college has at the Hays experiment station.
In stating that the training of teachers of vocational agriculture should all be done at the agricultural college, the commission wishes to point out that incidental credit of from one to two years toward a degree in agricultural education may be secured through the pursuit of basic arts and science at the normal schools. Moreover, there is an important service in preparing teachers of agriculture which the normal schools can render, that is the giving of general service courses to teachers who are specializing in other lines but who may be called on in high schools to teach one or two courses in general agriculture. Furthermore, it should be recalled that the course of study for the elementary schools in Kansas requires certain elementary instruction in agriculture. The normal schools have an important function to fulfill in training teachers in this as well as other elementary school subjects.
The situation concerning home economics at the normal schools differs to a certain extent from that in agriculture. In the first place, there is at the normal schools the same demand for general cultural courses in home economics for young women as the commission has recognized at the university. Moreover, as has been stated, one of the undoubted purposes of founding the Pittsburg Normal School was to train teachers of home economics as well as manual training. Therefore, there has been developed at that institution an ample staff, sufficiently specialized, with excellent equipment entirely adequate for training high-school teachers. During the second semester of last year there were 79 students majoring in home economics at Pittsburg. Even with so large an enrollment, the registration in advanced classes is small and there is ample equipment for many more students. At the Emporia Normal School there has been a modest development of home economics in faculty, students, and equipment. There are offered both two-year and four-year curricula which are identical during the first two years, thereby encountering the old difficulty of placing in the third year of the four-year curriculum basic courses which should be given prior to some of the applied work scheduled in the sophomore year.
During the last four years the following degrees and certificates in home economics have been given: 1919, degrees, 7, certificates, 7; 1920, degrees 1, certificates, 9; 1921, degrees, 6, certificates, 5; 1922, degrees, 4, certificates, 10.