Saturday, November 07, 2015

Selfishness or misunderstanding? The state of education today

I read Doug Stowe's Wisdom of the Hands blog often and am always inspired by his thoughtfulness.

Doug is an educator and woodworker in Arkansas and amateur education policy historian.  This week he wrote a blog post which explains a turning point in vocational education policy evolution...well worth the read!

Here is my response to his post...

I presented our vision for an Indiana Advanced Manufacturing Certification (IAM-Cert) credential to about 25 students at Atterbury Job Corps on Thursday.

Young men and women enrolled there are learning trades at this residential facility in central Indiana constructed as an internment camp during World War II and repurposed to offer vocational training to students for whom 'regular school' didn't work.

Construction & building trades at Atterbury are promoted as a pathway to secure employment, good wages and a higher quality of life.

It is ironic that very few students today are encouraged to pursue a career in Manual and Industrial Arts when the pride and satisfaction of making things so obviously leads to a 'virtuous cycle' of learning and improving one's skill and value.

I found Doug's post today recounting a key turning point in the evolution of our current education system very interesting; particularly with respect to the political compromises between the two powerful forces of industry and labor.

Today, the education industry, supported by a $73B federal DOE budget, and state budgets which in Indiana account for 63% of state spending, represent a third powerful constituency.  Nobody should be surprised that it has incredible influence over policy.

How then did Industry, Labor and Education allow the state of our schools to veer so far from what works? Was it complicity or incompetence? Selfishness or a simple misunderstanding?

More importantly, how can we change the status quo?  I'd like to help.