Tuesday, April 21, 2009
"Idle hands are the devil's workshop." Remember that saying from our childhood?
Today in the news more idle hands are being planned across the country. We are fighting hard to keep our fine agricultural education programs intact in Ohio. That is no easy struggle with looming budget cuts.
"California School District May Eliminate Woodshop Amid Budget Concerns.
California's Press-Enterprise (4/20, Johnson) reported, "The Colton Joint Unified School District" in Southern California "may cut its woodshop programs at both Bloomington and Colton high schools because of budget concerns." Other "Inland school districts, from Riverside to Lake Elsinore, have reduced or eliminated woodshop programs, citing costs and a lack of qualified teachers." Several other schools in the area have "morphed what once were hobby courses into career academy programs aimed at giving teens experience in jobs such as construction, carpentry and cabinet making." According to the Press-Enterprise, the "main reasons the programs disappear are a greater emphasis on testing, which keeps students from taking electives, and a teaching-credential requirement that industrial arts instructors have industry experience."
Wood shop is all but gone in Ohio. The result is kids who still can't pass the state test but can't even measure, cut and nail a board, either.
Now I know we can't afford all the "frills" some people consider ag and shop classes to be but look at our graduates when we cut these programs. No wonder we are in the mess we are in!
I use my limited shop class experience every day. I saw the need for shop so much in my career I took 19 quarter hours of Agricultural Engineering at Ohio State in my baccalaureate program. That was enough classes for a minor in Ag Engineering and something I use each and every day.
Look at our lifestyle. We depend on machines but we don't understand them, let alone be able to troubleshoot them and repair them. So we get frustrated when we have to hire "some flunky" to try and keep our machinery running.
Part of my success is my respect of mechanics. I am too impatient to stay sane during breakdowns when you need a machine. But the respect of mechanics and preventive maintenance has kept me safe and efficient while employing many of my successful graduates. What are we going to do without them, farm like the beloved Amish? That wouldn't feed this world but those folks know more about life and machines than our fancy curriculum's could ever hope to teach.
Give me shop class. Every child should have to take at least one introductory shop and agriculture class to graduate in Ed's World.
This is my take on the world today. What is your take? Keep the comments and emails and phone calls coming. Yesterday's post rose to Best Blog for some of you. The Prize Winners will be announced soon. Some of you want soil consulting, some innoculants, some want help on buying and/or improving a farm. I guess that wasn't such a bad post either!