The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
I believe that every person should have equal opportunity to an education that everyone else has, by that I mean that the same learning opportunities should be available.
Arkansas is a state where each school district has a millage that the voters vote on and whether or not the money is there for student’s new technology or just improve the technology the school has to offer. Whether or not the millage passes is based on the number of parents that vote compared to the number of people that do not have students vote. Money being given to schools is also based on big corporations with kids in those school districts. I visit a number of high schools each year all around the state and I can tell you if a big business, big money, or if the median income of the family is above a certain level based on the classrooms and technology they have available. I see schools that students have their own iPad or laptops and I see schools that do not have any or one class might have them. This can become disheartening for the student and teacher as well, then you will have teachers that lose their zeal for teaching or you lose the student and their drive to learn and be successful in school. I understand that all kids are on different learning levels and some kids can learn from theory while others need the hands on type of education to really grasp what they are learning. I feel that every school across the nation should offer white collar skills and blue collar skills alike. Schools for years have put such a tremendous focus on college and getting a degree that they have overlooked the skilled positions. In a race to put in new computer labs or iPad’s for all they have ignored the type of jobs that certain people are good at. Don’t get me wrong I am not saying technology is bad, on the contrary today’s blue collar jobs can be some of the most highly technology driven jobs in the world. A lot of the metal workers, mechanics, welders, etc. all work with computer driven equipment. Just because I say blue collar doesn’t mean no technology. Numerous reports have stated that in the coming years the number of vacant skilled positions will continue to grow because schools are continually moving away from that type of education. I believe that all students should take an aptitude test that doesn’t just spit out a score but tells them which way they are bent. Let me explain, some students may be exceptional academics while other students are ok but they have a propensity for hands on mechanical type of work, in other words they are good with their hands. To push the hands on mechanical type student to go to a four-year college may turn them out to be unsuccessful, non-rewarding, and set them up for failure.
I have worked and taught in what could be called a skilled white collar job for over 20 years. This is a hybrid of sorts. My job works with very small specimens of tissue, cutting them and putting them on a slide, then I apply different stains to them. This is very tactile driven work hence the skilled portion but I do work in an air conditioned laboratory with lab coats hence the white collar part. I understand that when I go to high schools and speak to classes about what I do that some of the students in that room are going to college and will be fine with that but there are also students that would benefit greatly from a program like mine that is only a year but will give them a career that they can work in for 30 years or use for income to live on while they go further in school when they are ready. I have found some counselors and teachers that will still look over my program and those like it because it is not a college program, but there are those that understand not every student is a four-year college student.
An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. Benjamin Franklin
I believe that this should start on a national level. The government needs to recognize the shortage of the skilled labor set and put into motion a plan that would trickle down to state and then district levels. The money should be set aside to put at least 3 of the skilled sets in to the classroom. For example, you can have mechanics, welding, and plumbing in the same shop classroom at different times of the day. Construction classroom that could include plumbing, roofing, and masonry. I believe you would see a drop in school violence and mischief in class with the addition of this type of hands on classrooms. Think about it, how hard is it to find a car that doesn’t run and needs body work for free. Students could use a car like that to learn mechanics, welding, and even upholstery. The technology comes in when you have to hook up computers the car to figure out why it is not running, or computer models of the body of the car and how to fix it. Construction students would have to follow blueprints on a computer program or even design the building on a laptop or iPad. I understand that some schools have these programs but there are many that do not. This would not take a tremendous amount of money per state but could benefit generations to come
Globally there is actually a shortage of laborers in general. What if we trained the students now and then was able to send them to other countries to train other students in other countries to do these jobs. There are a lot of third world countries that could benefit from this type of help.
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
My plan upon finishing my Master’s Degree is to find the opportunity to take the histology career that I have and use it to educate others around the world. I can go to countries that do not have any formal histology training to teach them how to perform histology and maybe even teach others.
Don’t limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time.