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Dennis James


PowerPoint on History of VTAE

Foundation of Vocational Education in Wisconsin in the Late 1800's

After the Civil War, the United States began to remake itself.  The 1890's in particular saw many changes and modernization of our industries and society began full tilt.  The 1890's set a foundation for the Twentieth Century and changed the world.  We moved from an agrarian society (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agrarian ) to an industrialized nation.  

In 1889, the Paris Exposition (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exposition_Universelle_%281889%29 ) gave the world the Eiffel Tower, but more importantly, it introduced the world to a number of new technologies (or new applications of old technologies, such as pneumatics).  In 1893, the United States responded with the Chicago World's Fair (a.k.a. -- The World's Columbian Exposition ("in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue"), also called the White City).  The fair highlighted the best of America's architecture, culture, and technology.

These events plus many other factors changed the educational needs in America as well.  Factors that drove change in educational needs were:

  • The need for reform and change was of national concern
  • Additional education promotes general welfare
  • New needs in preparation of youth & adults for employment
  • Employment requires a sound basic education
  • "Vocational" Education needs to be planned & conducted in close cooperation with business & industry
  • Education needs to provide skills & knowledge valuable in the labor market
  • The educational system should provide for continuing education

These were considerations for Vocational Education in the 1890's and continue to be relevant today.

Origins of Vocational Education

Federal Government Incentive

  • 1862 Morrill Act were statutes that allowed for the creation of land-grant colleges.   President Lincoln cedes federal land to states to sell for money for AG and Mechanical Arts
  • 1887 Hatch Act gave the states money for agriculture research
  • 1890 2nd Morrill Act - More money
  • 1906 Adams Act - More money with no restrictions

In the early 1900’s there was little need for advanced or basic education, we saw the Industrial Revolution moving into high gear, manufacturing processes are becoming more advanced, we have new inventions & machines.  The United States is becoming a world power; Frederick Taylor gives us Scientific Management.  Shop management (1895) uses product specifications to define standards of output performance, inspects defects out of the end product, and discards 'bad product'.  This process was used as a guide for school boards.

Other key dates:

  • 1848 Wisconsin Statehood
  • 1849 State Apprenticeship law
    • indenture to masters
  • 1889 Bennet Law -- 7-14 years old, 12 weeks in school (all instruction in English)
  • 1901 Legislative Reference Law
    • Dr.  Charles McCarthy - Father of WTCS
  • 1906 – Milwaukee School of Trades
    • Sponsored and equipped by the Milwaukee Merchants’ and Manufacturers’ Association
    • Year-long programs
      • plumbing
      • patternmaking
      • moulding
      • machinist trade
      • mechanical drawing math
  • 1907 Chapter 122 -  Local school boards to operate trade schools
    • Separate property tax could be levied
    • Requires Advisory Committees
  • 1909 Trade School for Girls
  • 1917 - Federal Law - Smith-Hughes Act of 1917

Advocacy for change in Wisconsin

  • Milwaukee Merchants’ and Manufacturers’ Association
  • Waukesha Fox Head Brewery
  • National Society for the Promotion of Industrial Education
  • National Association of Manufacturers
  • National Metal Trades Association

Theory Debate (1900-1917)

  • The Social Efficiency
    • “Technocratic training-job specific”
  • The Industrial-Democracy
    • John Dewey
    • “Humanistic-life long learning”

Definitions for Vocational Education

  • Accident Theory (Smith-Hughes)
  • Mold life to what exists
  • Environmental forces are active
  • Individual is a passive variable
  • People “fitted or matched to job”
  • Vocational education was training of less than college grade to fit for useful employment

People and Dates

  • George Hambrecht, State Director (1921-1943)
  • 1930’s Depression
    • Access for all
    • WPA (Work Progress Administration)
  • World War II
    • Vocational Education for National Defense
  • 1955
    • loss of Stout to the UW System
    • State Board was Stout trustee
  • 1950’s Image Challenge
    • “can’t make it” go to vocational school
    • “The School of Last Chance”
    • low-tax low-spend ideologies
    • emphasis on hobby and recreation activities
    • poor public relations
    • mediocre teaching staff
    • facilities poor
  • Clarence Greiber, State Director 1944 - 1970
  • Chapter 453, 1957, bill enabled any area with a population of 20,000 to form a vocational district
    • Provided for a mill tax and for an elected board
  • Chapter 414, 1964, enabled county boards to form VTAE districts
  • Area Reorganization Bill, 1965
    • 18 districts
    • #17 & 18 = Indianhead
    • #7 & 6 merged to form Gateway
  • Vocational Education
    • VE Act 1963
    • Vocational educational means vocational or technical training or retraining - business & office
  • VE Act 1968
    • added “recognized occupations”
    • vocational guidance and counseling

Historical Development
      Trends in educational reform are related to the following:

  • Related to world events
  • Related to technology events
  • Related to social needs

For more on the history of the VTAE in Wisconsin read the Blue Book under Supplemental Materials – Page 58.




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