Oregon High School Discovers Hidden Benefits in Shop Class

Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 5 months, 3 weeks ago to Education
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Come to think about it, I've used all the skills I learned shop class, woodworking, metal fabrication and electricity.

Did you have shop class?, do your kids, and what did you build.
SOURCE URL: http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/blog/oregon-high-school-discovers-hidden-benefits-shop-class


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  • Posted by  $  Susanne 5 months, 2 weeks ago
    Home Ec and Shop (and Sewing and Cooking and typing and P.E. and (gasp) even Gregg Shorthand., etc.) were all electives when I was in high school... I had somehow got into an "Exploratory Industrial Arts" class in Junior high school... and fell in love with being able to take raw materials and turn them into something useful and aesthetically pleasing... I became a shop junky, taking Metals, Auto shop, Ag shop (THAT was a hoot!), Woodworking, and electronics. Got into an ROP (Regional Occupational Program) class in my senior year working on "small gas engines" - led to a number of amazing jobs, and I ended up getting my current (30 year) career because of what I learned in shop class. Worse yet (yes, it does get worse), it prompted me to buy an abandoned blacksmithy and bring it back to life in my spare time!

    Foods would have been fun, but I knew how to cook already... Sewing (to me) was a waste, as I could earn money and buy nice clothes... I would have liked to take Shorthand and Typing (my stepmom was extremely fluent in Gregg, and could make the ubiquitous IBM Selectric II literally purr - IIRC she was well over 100 WPM) but the problem was there were only so many periods in a school day, and which class would I have given up for it? Yeah... right!

    Shop also taught responsibility, organization, critical thinking, basic trig, and job planning (eg time organization). And, damnit, it was FUN! Problem was - the nanny-state lawyercentric school board and teachers were worried "someone would sue"... the "shop" teachers they hired my last year were all bookworm and don't touch the dangerous machines and equipment types (which is why I went to ROP)... and we wonder WHY we lost our manufacturing edge? We were too busy truing to keep our 3 year old high school babys all safe and cuddly and warm, instead of letting them explore and LEARN and have fun.
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    • Posted by  $  5 months, 2 weeks ago
      Your so right, those that can balance physical skills with inter-lectual ones grow the most connections in the brain, not to mention, integration's in the mind.

      Glad I took typing, (req) helped me in college and had to do some in the Army too. Just wish I took short hand...would be helping me now with my writing from notes.
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  • Posted by  $  WilliamShipley 5 months, 3 weeks ago
    In my school we had shop for boys and home ec for girls -- at least the ones who were non college bound. There were exceptions, of course.

    Lately, when I see how inept very intelligent people are with simple physical things and that people can't prepare meals I'm thinking that shop and home ec should be a required course for everyone.
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  • Posted by  $  nickursis 5 months, 2 weeks ago
    Well, I took shop in HS and we had to make a metal piece of furniture. I made a hanging lamp from wrought iron. But we also had Automotive shop, where they would buy a junk car at the beginning of the year, totally rebuild it, including interior and paint, and then auction it at the end of the year, with the money going towards the next years class. There is no doubt in my military mind that the Progressive Education establishment has been working a program of removing anything that leads to independent thought, critical thinking, and rational decision making, over the last 40 years, and shop is one of the main targets. There is a reason a metric butt ton of parents either home school or private school, and that just lest the Progressive Education establishment work that much harder to program the ones that are left.
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    • Posted by  $  5 months, 2 weeks ago
      True,
      In metal shop, I made a Guitar Stand for my Guild Artist Award Guitar.
      There is nothing more mentally relaxing and satisfying than building something or banging a piece of metal into shape.
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  • Posted by salta 5 months, 2 weeks ago
    We had woodworking, and I've used what I learned many times. Growing up on a farm makes you very practical as well.
    One thing I missed out on is any education about food and cooking, which I've learned more recently (in my 40s and 50s) after a chronic nutrition-linked illness. Looking at the food pyramid today and official gov advice on diet, I expect any classes at school would have been a waste of time anyway. Better to learn from traditional sources.
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  • Posted by a59430802sojourner 5 months, 2 weeks ago
    When i was in high school in the fifties i was a math and science student. I also took Latin in preparation for college. However, i also took wood and metal shop. I quickly learned i had very little ability in that area. I also took sewing and cooking. I had about the same ability in sewing as metal and wood shops. But i learned my cooking skills were very good. I also took typing, which proved to be a boon in college.
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    • Posted by  $  nickursis 5 months, 2 weeks ago
      i remember typing. We had an old nasty bat named "Mrs Sklar", who would punish you with redoing things until perfect, as well as teaching each letter with the term "feel that reach".
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      • Posted by  $  5 months, 2 weeks ago
        Laughing out loud.
        funny, those old typewriters had a lot of play in the keys...very similar to a cheap warped guitar, only it is easier to lower the action on a guitar than shortening the throw on a typewriter.
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  • Posted by preimert1 5 months, 2 weeks ago
    You have hit a sore spot with me. Our local high school, Mira Costa, in Manhattan Beach has destroyed all vestiges of shop classes and all its beautiful shops just as sure as ISIS destroyed Palmira. Emphasis is on the music and drama programs (they do excel in these subjects however) and preparation for college. El Camino Jr. College and SC Regional Occupation Center are the only sources for hands-on crafts training now. I predict in a few years skilled mechanics, machinists, plumbers and such will routinely be making more money than most college graduates
    while enjoying life free of onerous student loans.

    My own rural Georgia high school was woefully lacking shop facilities, but offered Home Ec and
    business prep classes. Only two or three of my
    class-mates and I went on to college. But at Georgia Tech, in addition to math and physics and engineering courses we all learned green sand moulding, gas and arc welding, machine shop, engineering drafting, etc. (a legacy from when it startes as North Avenue Trade School in the late 1800s). Tech also offered a co-op program where students could alternate academic work quarter by quarter with internships at participating industrial corporations thus getting real-world experience.

    I really believe our young folks are getting a royal shafting by today's education systems.
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  • Posted by  $  alan 5 months, 2 weeks ago
    To the dismay of my high school guidance counselors, I took one year of shop which covered metal working, woodworking, printing, auto mechanics, electricity, and drafting. Also took shorthand as a lark.I eventually utilized all of those skills later in life, such as machining a non-standard valve for my 1950 MGTD.

    I also took accounting and law in high school, plus all the other courses needed for the university. . . and had almost a straight A average.

    Well, I eventually, became a CPA, then a management consultant, a writer for several business publications, became one of the first VPs of information technology back in the 160s, co-wrote a few college textbooks on computer programming, founded a company which became one of the largest dealers in the US for one of the computer manufacturers, retired (?), then in my free time became an airplane pilot currently flying patients for medical treatment, conduct wildlife research, and serve on several boards of directors.

    If I had to do it over, I would not have changed anything . . . because I learned I could do almost anything I wanted to if I put my interests and effort into it.
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  • Posted by jimjamesjames 5 months, 2 weeks ago
    I still have, and use, my "pig board," a kitchen cutting board, made from pine, in the shape of a pig, made in "wood shop" in 1957. I also got an "A" in autoshop (which was the highlight of my ability and knowledge of internal combustion engines and why I really appreciate competent mechanics)
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  • Posted by freedomforall 5 months, 3 weeks ago
    No shop in my education when young.
    Priority is software, not hardware, in my case.
    Probably was a good choice, although I have learned some of the shop activities through home repairs and minor construction projects.
    I know I would have benefited from more exposure to reality in my education though, if I had known what direction I was going;^)
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  • Posted by evlwhtguy 5 months, 2 weeks ago
    If they got rid of those BS art classes.....they would have plenty of time for shop!
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    • Posted by  $  5 months, 2 weeks ago
      Balance my friend, balanced education is important. I learned a lot of useful skills sets...even though I am terrible at art it still enhanced my ability to make my structural drawings come to life...I was pretty good at drawing cars though...just an ole gear head, me.
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      • Posted by TheRealBill 5 months, 2 weeks ago
        To me, a "balanced education" is as mythical and devoid of support as the "balanced diet". The idea of a balanced education requires that there be important aspects "missing" or bad if not counterbalanced by their opposite. But I find this untenable. Pardon, if you would, a bit of a rant, but it is somewhat needed to explain that assertion.

        A person can not excel at all things. The notion that we all need to be "well rounded" individuals is not one in accordance with what history teaches us. The most significant and life-altering advances were not made by "well rounded" people with "balanced education" - but by people who know what their strengths were and leveraged those. Teams that are the most productive are not teams of "well rounded" people, but of a variety of complementary strengths. Ok, now back to schooling.

        If young students find they have an aptitude for something, they should be encouraged and permitted to build on those strengths. If that means more academic work, so be it. If that means one of the various shop classes, home economics, or some other means of production, all the better. Simultaneously they need to be exposed to various aspects of reality such as economics - home and otherwise - in order to round out their experience and introduction to things that they are not particularly talented in. What follows next is highly opinionated, and assumes the present structure of school persists (government run/funded, 12 years to graduation, etc.).

        That means they should be taught reading, writing, math, science foundations, and critical thinking by sixth grade. From there on, the next six years should be the following:

        Exploration
        Going into 7th grade is were you either already know what "you want to do", or are starting to figure it out. So exposing children to the various aspects would have the most benefit. One semester of a tradition art such as drawing, painting, or sculpting; one of a performing art such as playa music or theater; one of "creative writing" (logical and persuasive should already have been covered". Note the emphasis is on doing, not "appreciation". This is important because "appreciating" art can lead to "a passion" for something you suck at - which is not a fun life. Not to mention it is telling someone what to think about various tings and wide open to a teacher pushing their views on "art" onto moldable children.

        Along with the actual arts must come exposure to the manual crafts. Here we have the various "shop" classes. A semester of such things as wood or metal shop or, ideally, a semester that mixes them; a semester of "construction" which can include things like drafting and how to do the site work: leveling, concrete, plumbing, framing etc.; and a semester of the "soft labor" trades often associated with "home-ec" - gardening, food prep, sewing, etc..

        Finally we have the more intellectually oriented exposure. Here we are talking the hard sciences such as physics, chemistry, and engineering but also the softer ones such as economics. A semester of hard and a semester of soft ought to do.

        The "middle/school" or "junior high" (depending on where you are) should be about taking what you've learned so far and finding what you may be good at. It is highly elective, while continuing certain aspects such as basic statistics, more advanced reading composition, etc.. Then you enter high school with a fairly broad exposure to various things you might good at, thus ready to focus on those. In this sense we treat high school similarly to the way we used to treat college.

        High school is where you get to expand on what you've discovered. You did well in shop? Then here are courses that build on that. Oh, you excelled at the construction oriented classes? Here is a four year line of classes that provide you the opportunity to graduate with a solid grounding of those skills. Oh look, you did really well at physics, so here is a track aimed at making you even better at it.

        Not everyone will find something. Thus you also have a more "vocational tech" track that gives them the opportunity to learn a more non-specific trade. Some schools have this and, frankly, I'm rather envious of the opportunities my daughters have in high school. Our high school ("Ronald Reagan H.S.") provides a track for students to graduate with the needed training and certification (right down to an apprenticeship!) to be a pharmacy technician. Thus right out of high school my daughters could (my oldest didn't take that route, my youngest still can) graduate with the ability to walk into a $36,000+ job. I think the option to take a four year apprenticeship alongside the minimum core high school classes should be there as well. But I lament the loss of apprenticeship for a lot of other reasons.

        You still continue with a core set of classes for things such as reading/writing, some P.E., and foundational classes such as biology, government, history, math, etc., and you have some electives to provide additional nuances or mixing of topics. An example might be a budding chemist who likes to play the flute or do woodcrafting. And of course "remedial" classes for those who struggled with the foundations. But you shift the system away from what to think, and orient it (back?) to being a productive and civil member of "society".

        Of course, to go along with that we have to drop the mindsets that "smart people go to college", "if you don't go to college you aren't as smart", and "vo-tech is for losers". Mike Rowe does some amazing work in this direction with what he refers to as the skills gap. That gap is also part of why I think so many of us are, as Rowe puts it, "disconnected" with that makes our society function.

        Personally, because my father was military and we thus moved a lot I - a solidly scientific minded child - took shop (both metal and wood - the latter included a semester where we mass-manufactured and sold breadboxes), "agricultural tech" (we built a baseball dugout for our school, did welding, etc.), "mechanical drawing" (drafting), orchestra (violin) and band (trombone) alongside my more advanced economics and physics classes. I credit this with my more broad understanding and appreciation of these talents than the average scientist.

        However, I am certain my economic life would have been greatly improved had I been allowed/encouraged to pursue the path my economics had taught me would be better: get a trade, then get a degree. Even the teenager me would have taken the aforementioned pharmacy tech path while taking my science classes. The heavy parental/familial obsession with the "first family member who can go to college did me in, which is part of why I think we need to eliminate this negative association with "vo-tech", or trade skills, training and overly focused "ZOMG go to college!" mindset.

        So that was rather longer-winded than I intended but, then again, I tend to be so about these particular subjects. Now a funny thought occurs to me: could you imagine the sudden wild opposition to "common core" from the current proponents if the above was "common core"? :D

        Mike Rowe's "skill gap" is large, growing, and addressing it has the potential to cushion the coming "college bubble bursting", all while producing a more solid economic foundation and more robust economy. Frankly, he is probably the one guy I would want to see as Secretary of the Department of Labor. I don't think we could do any better than him in that role. If Trump had/were to nominate him he would virtually have block on the next election. We don't need to create more jobs, we need people who can fill the nearly six million open ones we have. For perspective, the current official "unemployed person" count is around seven million.
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        • Posted by  $  5 months, 2 weeks ago
          I see your point but what I have observed is that those that have been exposed to a wide variety of information and experience will likely be more integrated. There is a big difference between specialized compartmentalized knowledge and those more integrated with a driven propensity toward a particular area of knowledge and proficiency. We call the latter: one's essence.

          Lets look at an example. Tesla, for instance. Although a lot of things we know today were not known then. My point is not to denigrate Tesla, I'm just showing the difference in being well rounded, not proficient at all things and only being profoundly proficient in one area having no knowledge of other related things.
          So, lets look at his passion to send electricity into the air so everyone would be able to power their homes and business anywhere on the planet from one source. Had he been a bit more integrated with knowing that the sun and the cosmos frequently charges our atmosphere and the earth itself electrically, causing changes in brain activity in humans and animals, causing earthquakes from area's of earth that link up electrically with the sun's coronal hole streams; he would not have wasted so much time on that project and might of spent more time on perfecting individual units or at least found a way to "Amp-lify" the existing electricity normally in our atmosphere to be used as power and ways inwhich they could withstand an overcharging event like the Carrington event in 1860 that took our the telegraph lines.
          Had he had knowledge of the natural cycles where it can be proven through history that these naturally occurring events correspond to mass chaos and collapses of civilization and food production he definitely would of changed course.
          What I am referring to is wisdom from the mind opposed to just brain smart. One whom has wisdom, may make a mistake, but will recognize it and compensate...doing the right thing; where the brain only smart one's are more likely to just double down on the same way of doing things with no conscience.

          This is why I say that we all should be at least exposed to as many things as possible with a heavy dose of the basics; and yes, as you state, at some point one would realize one's own propensity, attraction, passion or proficiency toward a particular area.
          Kids and many adults are sadly not integrated in thought and knowledge and instead, highly compartmentalized with brain only knowledge and we can observe the many problems that creates.
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        • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 5 months, 2 weeks ago
          I do agree, of course, with your minor thesis, that division of labor gives each individual an opportunity to profit by making the world a better place. It is mathematically provable (with 9th grade algebra) that if two people take on two tasks and if one person does both better than the other, it is still in the interest to divide and specialize the jobs.
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        • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 5 months, 2 weeks ago
          That is quite an outline. I am not going to argue against its wider thesis. I could take issue with many particulars. You do, however, seem to support, not deny, the basic assertion here, that shop, like math, science, language, art, and, gym, are all important as spheres of exploration in which the individual finds their strengths and interests.

          That said, you do not need to be good at something to benefit from exposure to it. In college, I took art electives: B+ in Art History; D in Studio. I am not an artist, but I know good art when I see it -- and I know what it takes to create it (which I cannot).
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          • Posted by  $  5 months, 2 weeks ago
            Exactly my point.
            Additionally, all these activities build brain connections that are timelessly important, not to mention a "seat of your pants" feel for things.

            I worry about the coming "driverless" computer driven cars...I think without the "Choice" to drive or ride, not to mention the lack of safety measures in a catastrophic failure scenario we might loose something very physiologically valuable in the long run.

            I can see a business opportunity here though...maybe a recreation area for the average folks, (not professional sports) to gain and enjoy these skills. ( I realize there are such things now but far and few between- sounds like an opportunity to expand these business).
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      • Posted by evlwhtguy 5 months, 2 weeks ago
        We have no balance....all most schools have is the Art. While it might have some value....learning how to change the oil in your car first is much more valuable. Art by itself will do nothing for you....learning to change the oil by itself will!
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        • Posted by  $  Dobrien 5 months, 2 weeks ago
          I have to respectfully disagree. As an artist , I sell
          My paintings on a commission basis. I sell to people looking for a special gift to give , I also sell to realtors a painting of the house they just sold or bought as a closing gift for the customers. Many very emotional reactions creating a long term connection and referrals for future business. I paint realistic images trying to match the subject as best I can.
          I am also a stockbroker. Both jobs require planning , preparation , and problem solving
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          • Posted by evlwhtguy 5 months, 2 weeks ago
            Fabulous....you could say the same thing about sports.....I mean some make millions throwing a ball around.....but it isn't a good plan for a career as so few actually earn a living at it.....The changing the oil...etc. [I am speaking generally about shop type skills here] is applicable to everyone.

            By the way.....just so I am not misunderstood....I do not believe that "art" should be entirely eliminated. It is just that "Shop" seems to have been eliminated in favor of art. I can understand why...Art is easy....no one can look at the little darlings effort and say...that is a POS you didn't get it right....because there is not the same absolute standard of success in art as there is in changing the proverbial oil. If you don't do the oil right you blow the engine. And god forbid that anyone would ever point out to little Johnny that he didn't do something right!

            In closing let me say Art is nice but should only come after the practical things have been adequately covered.
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            • Posted by  $  Dobrien 5 months, 2 weeks ago
              Hi evlwhtguy,
              You have some valid points . I will say that we are given this 1 life to live. With that said , fill your life to the brim and experience all that practical knowledge with the pleasure of self reliance.
              Be happy.
              Creativity is very visible in art.
              To start with a blank canvass , my paint , my brushes , my hand , my eyes ,and my mind and to
              Turn that into cash. To create a value , it is a very satisfying Accomplishment.
              As Samuel Butler said "Any fool can paint a picture , but it takes a wise person to sell it."
              I believe art also encompasses music , design, literature , theater , dance.
              Taste in art is as taste in food , widely varied.
              But creativity is an enabling force in improving all human life.
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        • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 5 months, 2 weeks ago
          Art does nothing for you? You seem to have the philosophy of a "muscle mystic" someone who thinks that physical objects have special power. The basic flaw in that thinking leaves people as zombies, material entities without spirit.

          Would you deny music? Philosophy?

          As for the oil change, yes, back in the 1960s and even the early 1980s, being able to care for your own car was important for the average person. But I have not bothered with that for 30 years.

          I do agree that having learned the basics made a difference in some cases, when I patched something that the dealership screwed up. That does not invalidate the critical importance of Art and Music to the development of a young person's Self.
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          • Posted by CircuitGuy 5 months, 2 weeks ago
            If my kids could only learn art or oil changes, I would unequivocally say they should learn art
            Some books relevant to this:
            A Whole New Mind - It talks about how so much value is in the industrial design (ID) (i.e. look-and-fee).
            Linchpin: Are you Indispensable? - It talks about the more easily a task can be automated or put into a simple set of instructions, like changing oil, the more commodiatized (less valueable) it becomes
            The Lean Startup - First chapter is about how we have the ability to produce more than enough of the basics, and now the heard thing about business/investing is finding new ways to create value, not more efficient ways to make food and shelter.
            The Innovator's Dilemma - More tangentially related, but I love its discussion of the cycle of commoditization/demcommoditization.

            There is great value in art. As a simple example from my world, companies sometimes spend more money and effort on ID than the hardware or software development.

            As the world gets more specialized, there is less value in learning a specific task like changing oil. It's not at all bad to learn. It's better, though, if you can learn to create inventions (e.g. elements of the look-and-feel of an iPhone) than how to preform tasks.
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            • Posted by  $  5 months, 2 weeks ago
              Hmm, the art of the oil change...just had mind done at a local Monroe and the manager was amazed that one of his employees stabs the filter with a straight screwdriver to drain it without making a mess trying to unscrew it, getting oil all over the car and your hands...now that's the art of the change.
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          • Posted by evlwhtguy 5 months, 2 weeks ago
            You are using the typical liberal technique of suggesting I am somehow less than others because I am not erudite enough to understand the deep mysticism of art, music and ...apparently philosophy. How philosophy got in the discussion I don’t know, I can only assume you are painting me with the "broad brush" and assuming a lesser person such as myself will also be unaware of the deep joys of philosophy.

            We can further see that you are in fact greater than me because you tell me ...."..in the..... 1980s, being able to care for your own car was important for the average person. But I have not bothered with that for 30 years."

            Gee willikers...I guess that as one of the unwashed knuckle dragging plebeians I must totally accept your argument.
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            • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 5 months, 2 weeks ago
              Art and music are rational. Music is mathematics expressed as sound. Art began as decoration created by hunters either in celebration or preparation. Art was not spatially oriented until the invention of writing. (See here: http://necessaryfacts.blogspot.com/20... Now, we "read" it.

              Ayn Rand only touched on this briefly in Romantic Manifesto and it was only a line in Atlas Shrugged. She was a writer and did not come to spatial art until her husband took it up. But it has not much to do with emotions, but with understanding. By Rand's theory of epistemology, emotions are automatic summation of your ideas: thinking defines feeling.

              In my family, my brother and I were always college bound while our cousins were blue collar. It was a class distinction that held into middle age. Then, when working in robotics with Ford Motor Co. as my employer's primary customer, I stopped in to visit my cousin who was 30 years into his time at Ford as a welder. We had not seen each other in decades.I called him to let him know that I was coming over. When I got to his house, he was just pulling into the driveway. In the 45 minutes it took me to get there, he had changed the transmission on a car. I would have spent those 45 minutes with the owner's manual. Moreover, he showed me his old Bridgeport milling machine. "I can only do thousandths," he said, "but it is good enough." He made custom parts for dragsters. But... he was surprised to learn that I checked his address in Cleveland, by stopping in at a branch library in Toledo while driving down from Lansing. He had no idea that libraries had telephone directories. The last time he was in a library was when they took the class in the 3rd grade. I realized that we just knew different stuff. When I returned to work, I had a new perspective on my work as a technical writer and trainer.

              If your mantle of virtue is embroidered with ignorance for art, music, and philosophy, and all you want to do is rant at liberals, the choice is yours.

              I never liked practicing the piano, or the coronet, or the French horn, though I did learn to read music. My cousin did practice and said that going to a bar and sitting down at the piano was a great way to get picked up by women. "I just play mechanically," he said. "I have no talent for it." He seemed pretty talented to me...
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              • Posted by evlwhtguy 5 months, 2 weeks ago
                "
                If your mantle of virtue is embroidered with ignorance for art, music, and philosophy, and all you want to do is rant at liberals, the choice is yours."

                You just can't lay aside the impulse to be demeaninig, dismissive and insulting can you. I think it is reasonable to call you now a liberal as you so label youself. This dismissive and high handed attitude is why the trupster won the election. We Plebes in flyover country unfortunately still have the vote.
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  • Posted by Owlsrayne 5 months, 2 weeks ago
    I believe have already wrote about what happened hear in Sedona Az. to the fledgling vocational program in the High School which I was involved with. I was disappointed when the Board of Education (loades with Artsy Fartsies) decided to do away the popular Auto Shop and offering Drama and Art Classes. They even got a grant to to build a full fledged two story Theater facility with moveable backgrounds, klege lighting assemblies and moveable stage. There was no effort made to provide vocational education.
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  • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 5 months, 3 weeks ago
    As I explained to OldUglyCarl, in our school system, it was junior high that came with 4 semesters of shop classes. We also had mandatory chorale (2 semesters) to and 2 semesters of art studio. For our four shop classes, girls had home economics, alternating between sewing and cooking.

    We also had gym every semester, 2 days a week in junior high, 3 in high school, and 5 days a week in the 12th grade.

    I grew up in Cleveland, which always was a center of progress since its founding in 1796. John D. Rockefeller attended Central High School for a year before going to a business college. They were early adopters of the "High School movement" in the 19th century. They also launched "Major Work" as an instantiation of Lewis Terman's eugenics program. They don't mention that now, but they still have Major Work. (http://clevelandmetroschools.org/Page...) Back in the day, the kids were called "Super Normals." In addition to being smart, they had to be physically fit and socially integrated.
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  • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 5 months, 3 weeks ago
    It is nothing new, this claim that math and English testing relegated shop class to lower status. Pretty much all of "academic" education has been at the expense of "crafts" going back to the Greeks.

    In my day, bright kids were put into Honors and Advanced Placement tracks. Shop was for dumb kids who would work with their hands. I graduated high school in 1967. No one then foresaw that 1991-1993, I would need two years to learn how to tear down and re-assemble a six-axis robot. While teaching operations and programming, I learned mechanical maintenance.
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    • Posted by  $  5 months, 3 weeks ago
      At my High school every guy took shop, didn't matter your grades...it was to balance your education...which is something kids don't get these days.
      Did not matter what you were going be when you grew up...still needed to understand basic electricity and use a screwdriver, hammer and wrench.
      Even though I had many different trades and jobs that weren't physical, it was enjoyable to use these skills at home.
      The home I live in now is one I designed and built myself in 97 and it was a process I enjoyed cause it wasn't a job. It was just to see if I could do it, start to finish.
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      • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 5 months, 3 weeks ago
        For us, actually, it was junior high. We had wood, mechanical drawing, metal or plastic, and printing or plastic. Printing was the only shop class that stuck with me. And I use it even today. We set type by hand and ran mechanical presses that we powered with foot levers and our weight. (In Printing 2, you got to turn the electric motor on.) I learned why we have Upper Case and Lower Case letters, leads, slugs, mollies, and nancies. As a technical writer in the computer age, I am often amazed at the clumsy way people use word processing because they do not know printing.

        Printing in junior high also tied forward to another elective: journalism. I had it for four years. We did not print our school newspapers at school, but sent them to a commercial printer. So, again, I got a fundamental working relationship that became important to my career. I just had a conversation with our purchasing department about 3,000 catalogs: "What do we tell the printer?"

        Congratulations on your home.
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        • Posted by  $  5 months, 2 weeks ago
          I spent 20 years, on and off in the printing trade...did everything all the way up from the bottom, most of that time in stripping but that gave me an overview of everything else. I was General Manager of a 5 color shop when the trade collapsed when Macs came around. I consulted after that. Always said that we should of taught the craftsmen the computer part not expect computer geeks to understand the printing process...the industry flailed terribly for a while.
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          • Posted by  $  Snezzy 5 months, 2 weeks ago
            Computer geeks think a font is a typeface. Anyone who's even watched a Linotype operator (etaoin shrdlu) or someone doing handset knows the difference.
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            • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 5 months, 2 weeks ago
              When I saw it, linotype was already passé, but that made it affordable for small shops. eaotin shrdlu, pot of melted lead, and lines of type at a newspaper run by Rumanians for some ethnic populations with weekly newspapers.
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  • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 5 months, 2 weeks ago
    My latest fix-it story.

    Our junior high - high school (7 to 12) had electricity classes. I did not take it then, but I did have a couple of electronics classes at a community college in the 1970s. One was general and I dropped it halfway. The other was Circuits and I completed it, and got the most out of it over the course of my life, working with computers and factory automation.

    So... I took our 2005 Civic to a local Honda dealer for a broad tune-up. I took over the car from my wife and I was willing to spend several hundred on a lot of small stuff. At 150,000 they wanted to change the spark plugs, but at $479 for that, I balked. Apparently, that pissed off the mechanic. (In case you don't know, they are often paid by the job, based on fixed pricing that they bid against. Depends on the state laws and union rules.) The car ran rough. I could get it to smooth out, but any accel or decel and it shook a bit. At the auto parts store, I discovered what I did not know about spark plugs. Not like my 1972 Pinto, these puppies are like aircraft magnetos with induction coils. And the coils cost extra...

    Removing the spark plugs, I found one with two coils jammed together and one with no coil. The mechanic had slapped it back together.

    Easiest and cheapest thing for me, I cleaned everything up, found wire in my junk box of almost the right gauge, and made my own magnetos.
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    • Posted by  $  5 months, 2 weeks ago
      Cool...a perfect example of what we are talking about.
      Those junk boxes sure come in handy...I have three in my workshop at home...can make or fix a lot of stuff better that it was in the first place.
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