Welcome Instapundit fans. While I normally write about golf, as you can see on the main pages, the GolfBlogger 19th Hole is my outlet for other writing. Before becoming a public school teacher, I worked for The Heritage Foundation, so my leanings are definitely conservative …
The post you want to see is below:
From a recent Yahoo Finance article:
Workers with specialized skills like electricians, carpenters and welders are in critically short supply in many large economies, a shortfall that marks another obstacle to the global economic recovery, a research paper by Manpower Inc (NYSE:MAN – News) concludes.
“It becomes a real choke-point in future economic growth,” Manpower Chief Executive Jeff Joerres said. “We believe strongly this is really an issue in the labor market.”
As a public school teacher, I’ve been saying for some time that the entire “No Child Left Behind – Every Kid Has To Go To College” mentality would have just this sort of negative, and unintended consequence. Public High school used to have big shop departments—woodshop, auto repair, plumbing, welding, etc. Now, the government’s emphasis on high-stakes academic tests in measuring school quality has resulted in reduction or elimination of non-academic classes. Students are being told that college is their only hope.
It all makes sense from the school’s point of view. Schools need students to buy into the college mentality so they will concentrate on the sort of knowledge and skills that will help them score well on standardized academic tests (in Michigan, that’s the ACT for high school students). Students scores on standardized tests determine whether a school is deemed to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) or is failing. Failing schools suffer a number of sanctions, none of which are pleasant for administrators or teachers.
College prep classes help schools meet AYP and avoid sanctions. Shop classes do not. So the shop classes have to go.
You really can’t blame the schools, though. The Federal Government has set the rules and public schools are simply playing the game. This is just another example of the failure of top down government.
Rather than having the federal government dictate children’s futures, parents and students should have a wide variety of educational avenues available. The truth is that not every kid is meant to go to college, and not every kid should. The trades are honorable, worthwhile, and profitable. Trades require intelligence, hard work and professionalism. As a society, we need tradesmen.
And frankly, tradesmen make more than most college-educated public school teachers.