Friday, February 19, 2016

Voc Ed

I saw this at The Lonely Libertarian:

Support Voc Ed in your local public schools
 If you're forced to pay school taxes, then you should have a voice in what programs are offered. My old high school started phasing out vocational programs in the mid-90s and was very proud of being named one of Texas' premier college prep schools. The problem was, in the following decade, they saw a rapid increase in drop-outs. They were shocked, SHOCKED, and immediately launched a committee to study the issue. One of my classmates, Gary Crabtree owner and master mechanic of Crabtree Automotive, was included as he was considered a successful businessman and graduate. Nothing was mentioned about the fact that he spends his time, under hoods and on creepers, covered in grease fixing the cars of bankers, doctors and lawyers. He was a "businessman".
In their first committee meeting, Gary brought up the issue that not all students were cut out for college, their interests and aptitudes were in the vocational arts which the school district decided to ax due to "budget" and "lack of interest". He pointed out that forcing a teenager who wanted to work on HVAC unit to study Shakespeare and calculus was like making a fish climb a tree because that's evolution.  Around 2009, vocational programs started making a comeback in the local schools. Programs were designed in partnership with local community college to offer dual enrollment for not only academic classes, but also vocational programs. Now you can graduate high school with most of the work done for a CNA, paramedic/EMT, plumber's apprentice, automotive, diesel, etc. Enrollment and matriculation is back up. Success is about more than GPAs and how many students get accepted to tier 1 colleges. It's about preparing ALL students for life, regardless of the path they choose.

It's better than OK. It's getting to the point it had better be mandatory even if you want to be a doctor or lawyer. There was just an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal discussing the current and forecast shortage of doctors. It's a long haul from high school to practicing physician. Starting salary is somewhere in the range of $75,000 but most are saddled with big college loan debt. Being a pipefitter or boilermaker is looking better all the time.

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