A light, airy, effervescent, blog of grave consequence. (NOT!) Dedicated to those of us who must respond to negative stimuli by Chernobyling (entombing in concrete) our innermost thoughts.

Location: Slaughter, Louisiana, United States

A semi-gruntled corporate reliability engineer trying to make ends meet while keeping my wife happy, and myself out of the asylum.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

An Honest Day's Work...

I've been hearing lately that the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA) is causing secondary schools to drop trade/shop classes in order to focus more energy on improving children's three R's. (Read: They have to teach the standardized test so the kids can pass it and the school can keep their share of my taxes flowing from the feddle gummint's teat.)

Having my son in a local trade school, I can attest that the schools are definitely doing whatever they can to eliminate the bell curve as required by the NCLBA. Academic cycles have been enhanced and shop cycles have been shortened to compensate. It's a bit early in the year, but I am starting to see what is going to happen. Young men and women who have decided to pursue a career that does not involve meeting a rich spouse while obtaining a useless Bachelor of Arts degree at an IV League school paid for by their parents' retirement savings are being shortchanged. They will no longer be receiving the necessary hours of instruction and training required to make them even minimally proficient at their chosen trades. This will, in the long run, cause them to have more difficulty finding an employer who will be willing to spend the time and money required to bring a sub-entry level skilled worker up to entry level proficiency.

This is backwards for two reasons. First, WHO'S GOING TO MAKE THE STUFF WE BUY IF THERE ARE NO SKILLED HANDS TO OPERATE AND MAINTAIN THE PRODUCTION EQUIPMENT? I know, everyone is complaining that all the jobs are being outsourced to foreign countries, blah, blah, blah. The fact is that the number of jobs being outsourced is far outnumbered by the actual number of jobs being created by this economy. (And I'm not talking about, "Would you like fries with that?" jobs.) The capital investment made by corporations that are seeing improved cash-flows because of the Bush tax cuts is purchasing and installing equipment that requires skilled technicians to operate and maintain.

Second, I know that the NCLBA is a bit of "Compassionate Conservatism". (Read: What you can say about a social conservative who spends my tax money like Ted Kennedy drops singles in a nudie bar.) The funny part is, by requiring kids who probably don't have the best aptitude to be taught academics like a college prep class, the republicans are risking driving the little devils into the camp of the academic left.

Eventually, if shop/trade education is cut back to the point that everybody is required to aspire to a college degree, there will be that many more impressionable youths subjected to the horror that is the tenured hippie. Some of them will make it through school without being beaten to the point of political submission but many will cave to the pressure and start a life long leftward drift. Are we willing to take that chance?


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