Saturday, May 20, 2017

Things On A Saturday Morning

From the Indian e-mail I received, Indian once again swept the podium at Phoenix. Racing today at Sacramento. There's a live stream available. If I can remember, I'll see if I can watch a bit of it later today. With the success they're having, I would imagine Indian is working on a street bike to capitalize on that success even as we speak.

I had some success taking care of the last, hopefully, clean up from the raccoons in the shop. I replaced the ceiling sheets and most of the damage was in fact limited to just the two sheets. Judging from the amount of poop, it was either one raccoon that had been getting up there for a long time or it was a whole gaze of raccoons that had been visiting. Quite the mess. It was a little tricky putting the replacement sheets up by myself but I managed. They're 1/2" foil faced foam so they aren't heavy but they are a bit unwieldy when working off a ladder by yourself. I managed, however, with the help of a "Tee" stiff leg I made up out of scrap lumber. Job's done, shop's cleaned up and it smells much better out there now.

There was an editorial in the Wall Street Journal the other day once again addressing the issue of whether college education is really a necessity. The article mentioned welders again, which just warms the cockles of my heart, the amount of money that can be made and the why people are attracted to going into the trades rather than continuing with higher education. Why, most of the young people chose a skilled trade because they didn't like school. No kidding? What a surprise. 

I also saw a story on the internet (but forgot to book mark)  about Baltimore schools. Seems that at several of the schools, no student scored at grade level in math or English. Not a single one. I wonder if the curriculum in those schools includes shop classes? Not STEM or Project Lead The Way but good old fashioned shop classes. If your graduation rate is 50% and no-one is passing the "big test", maybe it's time to rethink the education philosophy and go back to the 3 R's and basic hands-on education - Practical Arts, Manual Training, Industrial Arts, whatever works to get the young people interested enough in school to attend and stick around long enough to graduate. Not to mention, if you can read a tape measure, add and subtract fractions, work with the tools and are reliable, you also are employable. 

I read the other day that Ariens, located in Wisconsin, can't find enough qualified help so they're bringing in Somali refugees to fill the positions. Maybe they should be bringing in refugees from the Baltimore School District, where they spend $16,000 per student per year to educate them, by the way. If you gave me ten of them and the $16K each, at the end of the year I guarantee you as long as the students were willing, I could teach them everything Ariens is looking for at their welder job posting. 

And to cap it all off, the new Secretary of Education gets booed at a commencement ceremony where she's the headliner. This at a Black college, when the Secretary has spent a size-able chunk of her fortune trying to get vouchers and charter schools to help students like those in Baltimore get a decent education that will allow them to get into college. 

It's about time we all start pulling together in this country, whether you're talking education or national politics. Put aside our differences long enough to hash out workable solutions. Sometimes you have to take one for the team. Ask Indian the key to their success. I'm sure teamwork is number one. It sure would be nice to see a "podium sweep" in K-12 education sometime.

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