Motivated by something I read online, I just visited my old high school's
web page and couldn't locate any remnants of wood shop, metal shop, or auto
shop. Have these sorts of classes mostly been removed (across the board)
from high school programs now?
Probably disappeared from most schools, though you might still find
such classes at "career centers*" -- essentially high schools geared to
technical subjects -- though many are skewing to robotics, networking,
and other computer-related subjects.
*There are nine in central Indiana. The best-known is probably
Washington Township's J. Everett Light Career Center. Lawrence, Ben
Davis, Central Nine are the only others that float to mind at the
Struck down by severe cases of profound stupidity, most school
districts have closed their trade schools. My school teacher friends
(one is an Industrial Arts teacher and the other is a teacher career
counselor) have told me that the high schools now consider themselves
college prep schools, not schools that teach life skills as well. In
that light, there is no need to teach people how to weld, do
carpentry, electrical work, A/C work, bake, cook, cater, etc.
After all, the folks that take those classes for any length of time
won't be going to college anyway in their eyes. So the mainstream of
the teachers and administrators are not concerned with them.
To back that up, one of the most prestigious school districts here in
town layed off or moved to other subjects if possible the Industrial
Arts teachers. About 35 of them in the high schools.
Now they proudly have no possible blue collar type individuals that
work on cars or build cabinets.
But if the get that kid to graduate, he will be ready for college!
That is, if his parents can afford it, and if he/she is actually
interested and wants to go.
If you don't choose college as your path in high school these days,
you are screwed.
Personally, I don't get it. I talked with an administrator (roofing
client of mine) for a different district where they serve an average
or better income group of families. He said their classes were always
full, and the kids had to keep their other grades up to stay in. They
literally turn away the kids as they don't have enough classroom/shop
Why they are closing these programs, I don't know. Knowing what my A/
C man makes (holy crap!!) and the guy that works on my truck (had some
of his certifications before he left high school), I don't see why
those aren't viable career paths. They do quite well.
Beats the hell out of me.
You ain't alone Robert. Even though I ended up behind a computer desk
for most of my livelyhood, the most valuable life skills I've retained
are from middle and high school mechanical drawing, metal shop, and wood
shop classes. I've become a fair cook, but I wish it had been
fashionable for guys to take the girly classes as I'm sure I'd be a much
better cook - seems to be an important life skill especially looking at
the girth of many of the younger generations.
Home ec and shop classes are essential, if for nothing else but mental
stability. They get kids off their hind ends and gives their brain a
chance to relax from the stress of memorization. Trying to stuff facts
into a person's head just isn't good for them. They'll either overload
and get things messed up or go nuts.
Humans just are not designed to sit and store and retrieve data all day.
That's the job of a database. They're designed to be flexible and
mobile, in order to deal with a wide variety of problems and issues.
Never teach your apprentice everything you know.
On 22 Apr 2010 08:36:13 GMT, the infamous Puckdropper
Well stated, Pucky. There's a book about that. http://fwd4.me/AtS
Crawford's _Shop Class as Soulcraft_. He writes at a high level, so
it's not a quick or easy book to read. Now that I've got more time,
I'll finish reading it.
...in order that a man may be happy, it is necessary that he should
not only be capable of his work, but a good judge of his work.
-- John Ruskin
On 4/21/2010 11:39 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
It's even worse than that - those who do graduate have no sense of
/possibilities/ other than what they might see that already is...
...and if they should dream up a solution to some problem that requires
them to build something new, they won't have a clue how to go about
doing that, or with what - and once the old-timers are no longer around
to mentor, the solutions and products (some of 'em, anyway) will come
from some other part of the world.
Methinks it was a foolish, expensive choice.
Around here (Oregon) the shop type classes started migrating to the
Community Colleges in the early 1970s. By the 1990s the migration was pretty
much complete. There are some exceptions and some experimentation with
'magnet' schools here and there, but the notion of 'Industrial Arts' is
It's crazy as, even if you're only interested in high tech as a
society (which is insane), industrial arts should still be required
for anyone doing engineering. Engineers (and I'm one) need to know how
to design, draw, and build.
'Pends on what _KIND_ of engineer one is (and I'm one, too :) ).
Spent nearly 40 years in engineering (nuclear and fossil utilities,
nuclear-based analyzer instruments for coal producers/prep plants and
power plants, robotics and controls, instrumentation, ...) and never
drew or directly built a thing in my entire career. I was/am a
physics/math/solver type...designers were for designing and the
manufacturing guys built the stuff... :)
The rule is always proven by the exception?
Pure analysis/math kind of engineering jobs aren't exactly the most
common out there (although academia or particular fields will have
I consider a good engineer to be well rounded and able to handle
engineering situations outside of their speciality. That doesn't mean
that we can do anything though.
I spent only about 10-12 years of the 40 in a field more than remotely
related to my engineering major specialty. In consulting, I rarely did
even a very similar task more than once; in general, my job was always
to work my self _out_of_ a job by solving whatever problem was the
bottleneck or hang up. Sometimes it had to do w/ a product functional
design, sometimes w/ QA/reliability/manufacturing process control, other
times a new instrument process (pulverized coal flow by a novel concept
vis advanced nonlinear signal processing was one); for a while did field
support and nuclear training and site-specific implementation for online
analyzers at coal mines, prep plants and mine-mouth power plants to
adapt the company's base instrument to specific situations, ... While I
worked in analytical fields virtually entire career, it was not in any
one narrow discipline. If I would claim any area of particular
enjoyment it would probably be the application of probabilistic and
statistical techniques to engineering problems and similar.
One thing I _can't_ do is draw well; I avoided the second semester of
drawing as a freshman in uni because I heard the plan was to switch from
two 2-hr courses to a single 3-hr course the following year so I figured
if I had two hours they'd let me substitute something else for the
lacking credit for the four in the curriculum when I enrolled by the
time I was ready to graduate... :)
My first engineering job involved beating other engineers over the head
until they came up with the results that were needed. They really
needed somebody with a management degree, not engineering, for that job.
The next one I was a number cruncher and I was a lot happier with that
one but it didn't last.
My first employer (like many in those days) had two "career ladders" for
engineering; a management and technical supposedly parallel path. The
technical ladder, however, was missing a very large number of rungs of
opportunities for advancement as compared to the managerial side. My
first boss was always searching for ways to provide additional benefits
at annual review time but my choice to stay technical limited the
options of positions available so when ran out of $$ at grade he talked
me into taking the managerial slot. I reluctantly agreed but discovered
I simply was so disinterested in such other tasks that were adjunct to
the position such as yours mentioned above plus the scheduling, progress
reporting, etc., etc., that I soon ceased doing much of it and was
relieved of the position. This happened three times iirc; I much later
at his retirement shindig learned that was his plan all along until I
had accrued the "time in grade" to actually get the Sr Engineer title as
he knew personnel wouldn't make him retract the pay and office once
May "RAT" rest in peace; best man to work for ever (and not a bad
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