The following excerpt is from the Superindentent’s Report to the School Committee, which was printed in the School Committee Report for 1947 and reprinted in Beverly City Documents for 1947.
TRADE SCHOOL EDUCATION
The writer has always’ maintained that training in any trade school course, approved by the Massachusetts Department of Vocational Education, is equivalent to a high school course of any kind. In other words, it is a pair of the secondary field of education and should be rated and so judged.
Unfortunately many educators in our state, and outside, have objected to the Trade School type of education asking what place it has in a high school Program of Studies.
This feeling has been gradually mitigated as the Trade School has been yoked with the High School proper in several places, similar to the set-up in Beverly for the past twenty-three years. This type of education has demonstrated its worth and the trade department its compatibility with the other departments of the school.
While I am keenly aware of the various reasons why Vocational Education in the State Department organization remains a thing apart from the other departments, I am equally sensitive to the losses in the general educational, for youth which accrue from the stand-off attitude of Trade School Directors as reflected from their State Department officers-as far as coordination, and correlation with the high school program of studies and operation is concerned. If we, as principals, are willing and anxious that pupils in the Trade School be established on the same educational and social basis as all other high school pupils, and any vestigial stigma be removed, why do the Trade School officials insist that theirs is in no sense a department of the High School? From the organization and financial standpoint, understandable and acceptable, but from the educational opportunity standpoint, most oppressive of progress!
What I have said above refers to our Trade Schools only in a general way. I believe the State Department will say that Beverly has been one of the most successful and happy liaisons of Trade and High Schools in the state.
A man who is completing almost forty years as a school adm1mstrator may crave the doddering privilege of the longer look, which is the backward one, and waste valuable space in reminiscent thought, significant only to its author and interesting only to those of another and a past generation.
I started teaching, not because I thought I liked it, but because I wanted to earn a little money to continue my education along a specialized line and to enter another profession. I remained a teacher, not because of phenomenal success but because I liked the associations, the invigorating challenge of youth, the daily invitations to new fields of mental discovery, and the ever accumulating satisfaction of aiding in the self-realization and self-expansion of young people.
I have lived to learn in Education’s hard school that school can be only as good as its teachers, and that conversely, a teacher can be only a little better than the school and school system in which he works.
At least some of the best years of my life have been spent in Beverly, over twenty-four of them. My great good fortune in being located here has been in my associations with high type educators, teachers, principals, superintendents and school board members. These have insured high-class schools. Any statement of appreciation, which I might try to make, would hardly indicate the depth of my feelings and their everlasting nature. I can only say, “Thanks for a grand experience!”
F. H. PIERCE,