Before retiring several years ago I worked as an educational consultant. In that capacity, I had the opportunity to visit numerous school systems throughout the Southwest. Although my job had nothing to do with wood tech. curriculum, I always managed to be able to spend some time in those classes. Most were taught by dedicated and knowledgeable teachers. However, in talking to these guys and inspecting their equipment, it seemed apparent that these men had little support from their school boards. Yet, the classes were full of students eager to learn the craft. Most of the teachers were of the opinion that when they retired the classes would no longer be offered. It seems that not enough universities were offering degrees in that area of education. No degrees equals no teachers equals no classes. School boards realize this and, money being tight, they fund other classes. It's shortsighted IMO but, it makes good sense from their standpoint.
On the other hand, there are a few excellent programs that remain vibrant, with good financial support. These programs all offered CAD/CAM, metal fabrication, HVAC, auto, machine shop, and woodworking. Those school systems actively recruit from the few universities that continue to offer the requisite degrees. These school systems have made very heavy investments, as you can imagine. At least one of the teachers I met has procured numerous grants from private sources. He said to me that it was just a matter of self preservation and job security. However, his students' enthusiasm and outstanding product belie his comments. He is one great teacher.
The point of this ramble is to hopefully spark a discussion and, maybe some action by folks to heighten awareness of the need for academic instruction in the various trades. America needs it tradesmen, now more than ever. I truly believe that we have an obligation to our kids to provide them with the opportunity to create with their hands and hearts as well as with their heads.
To borrow a line from a TV talking head "What say you?"
P.S. I'll be posting this in other forums, too.
'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton
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