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(Salon)   Documentary investigates whether or not a town can be saved by...shop class?   (salon.com) divider line 39
    More: Interesting, computer labs  
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2751 clicks; posted to Main » on 10 Jan 2014 at 9:33 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-01-10 09:34:01 AM  
 
2014-01-10 09:35:59 AM  
They should totally try BMX biking next.
 
d23 [TotalFark]
2014-01-10 09:36:52 AM  
i1.ytimg.com

"I like the smell fresh woodchips and sawdust"
"I put them in my underwear."
 
2014-01-10 09:47:44 AM  
On my right is John Bender who says yes and on my left is Brian Johnson who disagrees.
 
2014-01-10 09:48:43 AM  
I loved metal shop.  Working with the big Bridgeport mill, the lathes, learning to weld both gas and MIG.  Very fun.
 
2014-01-10 09:48:44 AM  
I wish I had taken more shop classes in high school. I only did the Basic Woodworking freshman year. My senior year was loaded up with college prep courses (calc, physics, English IV, etc) and then I joined the Army and never used any of those. Stuff like Home Maintenance or Basic Auto Repair would have come in handy a dozen times over.
 
2014-01-10 09:48:54 AM  
Question mark in the headline?  That town is doomed.
 
2014-01-10 09:57:12 AM  
Don't see how this is a bad idea. Give the kids something to do and let them learn a trade. Win/Win

Took a wood working course in HS and loved it. Would love to do more now and may if I can get my wife's grandfather's old tools. He has a bandsaw and a few others
that haven't been used in 30 years. Curious if I can fix them.
 
2014-01-10 09:57:23 AM  
I grew up in a small town and graduated high school from there 20 years ago.  The school cut way back on shop class 15+ years ago because the administration stated "houses will be built by computers".

The town does a great trade in meth now so I guess that's something that computers can't do.
 
2014-01-10 09:58:44 AM  
I'm gonna take this opportunity to thank my folks for sending me to parochial school instead of the voc school our district offered for free. Exegesis is just so much more useful than wiring or welding in today's job market!
 
2014-01-10 10:00:40 AM  
Might not save it, but things might just run more smoothly.
 
2014-01-10 10:01:45 AM  

Rapmaster2000: I grew up in a small town and graduated high school from there 20 years ago.  The school cut way back on shop class 15+ years ago because the administration stated "houses will be built by computers".

The town does a great trade in meth now so I guess that's something that computers can't do.


Pfft, a computer could replace Heisenberg in a week. It's just a cook.
 
2014-01-10 10:03:37 AM  

Crudbucket: I wish I had taken more shop classes in high school. I only did the Basic Woodworking freshman year. My senior year was loaded up with college prep courses (calc, physics, English IV, etc) and then I joined the Army and never used any of those. Stuff like Home Maintenance or Basic Auto Repair would have come in handy a dozen times over.


Same here.  Currently unemployed (partly by choice, long story) and have been put in a position where I've had to do a lot of my own basic electrical, plumbing, and carpentry work.  It's amazing how many kids these days are way sharper than my age group was about academic subjects, but are probably capable of burning water and electrocuting themselves with a battery.  When I was in HS, they were in the process of phasing out home economics and shop class.  It's a shame, really, because I know so many people who started down their work path in one of these classes, and learned things they didn't learn at home.

I was lucky because Dad is a mechanic and Mom was such a penny pincher that she was able to stay at home throughout much of my early childhood, and my grandma was determined that her grandkids would learn a thing or two about cooking, so I really didn't need those classes to be able to do basic repair or learn basic cooking and budgeting skills (though given my current situation, maybe mom should have beat me over the head with a check ledger.)  Not everybody has a family like that.
 
2014-01-10 10:04:56 AM  
I think there's something to this, actually.

We have long been sold the idea that education is the key to success, but the truth is somewhat more narrow: skill is the key to success. There was a time when most people learned their skills from their parents, starting quite early in life, but those days are long gone. Our grand social experiment in learning skills post-college has also largely failed: except in a very few fields, such as medicine and law, it leaves our children acquiring skills too late in life to ever catch up. Education is a good way to become skilled, but only if it is focused on this.

I don't actually intend this to be a judgment against any particular course of study, per se. Almost any field can yield useful skills, if it is approached with the right attitude. The problem is that current trends in some areas of academia actively discourage this attitude. They treat college as a time to dabble, to learn just to know instead of instead of learning to do. This is not really a new thing: they've been doing this since ancient times, when only the nobility (who would never need to work for a living) had access to education. But in a time when all people have that access, this attitude does great harm, by encouraging people to delay their decisions too long.
 
2014-01-10 10:06:58 AM  

Unoriginal_Username: Don't see how this is a bad idea. Give the kids something to do and let them learn a trade. Win/Win

Took a wood working course in HS and loved it. Would love to do more now and may if I can get my wife's grandfather's old tools. He has a bandsaw and a few others
that haven't been used in 30 years. Curious if I can fix them.


Yes you can rebuild them, you may have to find a company that can rebuild the electric motors but everyone of those tools can be rebuilt unlike modern tools.  Sometimes you can find a new motor with the same specs.  Other than that replace all the cords and plugs, replace the belts, and all modern blades will fit the old stuff.
 
2014-01-10 10:09:34 AM  
Oh look some liberal retard has "discovered" what my blue collar hometown has been doing for almost seventy years now, vocational education. My home town has a good college preparation program, but a state winning vocational education program that turns out students ready to step into apprentice programs in carpentry, plumbing, electrical, iron work, etc...

Yes, those skills are stil need, yes they still allow you to have a middle class life style, and now that the Baby Boomers are reaching retirement good union jobs are opening up.

For example the local steel mill has been begging for people, of course it is hot, dangerous, and technical work. You need to be able to pass algebra, run a computer, and have a willingness to work in a hellish environment. Needless to say they wash out 80-90% of the people that try.
 
2014-01-10 10:10:07 AM  

Millennium: We have long been sold the idea that education is the key to success, but the truth is somewhat more narrow: skill is the key to success


no the problem is we teach preformed ideas and knowledge without a practical frame work to use it. We create jeopardy contestants who learn for a test and than regurgitate what they learned into little tiny bubbles with a #2 pencil. Critical thinking and system building is what is needed, skills can be part of that but teaching systems of thinking should be the real goal.
 
2014-01-10 10:14:14 AM  

Millennium: I think there's something to this, actually.

We have long been sold the idea that education is the key to success, but the truth is somewhat more narrow: skill is the key to success. There was a time when most people learned their skills from their parents, starting quite early in life, but those days are long gone. Our grand social experiment in learning skills post-college has also largely failed: except in a very few fields, such as medicine and law, it leaves our children acquiring skills too late in life to ever catch up. Education is a good way to become skilled, but only if it is focused on this.

I don't actually intend this to be a judgment against any particular course of study, per se. Almost any field can yield useful skills, if it is approached with the right attitude. The problem is that current trends in some areas of academia actively discourage this attitude. They treat college as a time to dabble, to learn just to know instead of instead of learning to do. This is not really a new thing: they've been doing this since ancient times, when only the nobility (who would never need to work for a living) had access to education. But in a time when all people have that access, this attitude does great harm, by encouraging people to delay their decisions too long.


THIS!

It always amazed me the number of my college peers, in the 90's, who did not realize that after college you had two choices more education or get a job. With that in mind you should major in something you can get a job in, that usually means a STEM degree, but artist can always make money.  I double majored in CS and History, specializing in American History (naturally) and in 20 years since college have never used my history degree, but that CS degree gives me a 6 figure salary.
 
2014-01-10 10:28:02 AM  
As someone with a graduate degree (MA, Econ) who has a better career in manual labor... ya, it can be far more rewarding and productive. There's something inherently rewarding about building/fixing stuff that you just don't get from paper-productivity. We need to get our kids away from the idea that "success" inherently means a corner office, a secretary, or whatever. There are plenty of carpenters and electricians who are happier at the end of the day than middle management. Maybe they're making more money, but even that isn't a good determinant of happiness... find something you love to do, then find a way to make money doing it... that's success.
 
2014-01-10 10:37:32 AM  

firefly212: As someone with a graduate degree (MA, Econ) who has a better career in manual labor... ya, it can be far more rewarding and productive. There's something inherently rewarding about building/fixing stuff that you just don't get from paper-productivity. We need to get our kids away from the idea that "success" inherently means a corner office, a secretary, or whatever. There are plenty of carpenters and electricians who are happier at the end of the day than middle management. Maybe they're making more money, but even that isn't a good determinant of happiness... find something you love to do, then find a way to make money doing it... that's success.


I agree, when you drive by a house and know that you constructed that foundation or shingled that roof or built that fence, it does create a sense of self worth.  When you punch keyboards all day and shuffle papers around, I find it much more difficult to really find satisfaction in a job well done.
 
2014-01-10 10:41:18 AM  

HeadLever: firefly212: 

I agree, when you drive by a house and know that you constructed that foundation or shingled that roof or built that fence, it does create a sense of self worth.  When you punch keyboards all day and shuffle papers around, I find it much more difficult to really find satisfaction in a job well done.


Which is why I always used the principles of origami into my printouts.

Here's a unicorn.
Here's a shank.
Here's a baby white rhino.

That kind of thing.
 
d23 [TotalFark]
2014-01-10 10:47:49 AM  

Millennium: We have long been sold the idea that education is the key to success, but the truth is somewhat more narrow: skill is the key to success.


I agree, but most people in the US still make the assumption that we live in a meritocracy.  At best it is only partial.  You don't only need skill and to be smart but you have to have opportunity and, in most cases, luck.  People that are smart and high skills have to *have* to have that opportunity, and the more skill you have the more you can make up for bad luck.

I think for the most part (except, I would say, in the highest part of corporate America which has started to follow some odd, unintelligible version of feudalism) people earn the success they have, but no success is done in a vacuum.  People that are successful will swear up and down they did it themselves, but they were also born into the right country and were able to meet the right people that gave the correct opportunity at the correct time.
 
2014-01-10 10:58:59 AM  
d23:
I think for the most part (except, I would say, in the highest part of corporate America which has started to follow some odd, unintelligible version of feudalism) people earn the success they have, but no success is done in a vacuum.  People that are successful will swear up and down they did it themselves, but they were also born into the right country and were able to meet the right people that gave the correct opportunity at the correct time.

Amen. Though I make (relatively) good money poking a keyboard all day (thanks to the factors mentioned above), I really wish I knew how to weld. My high school didn't even have a wood shop class that I knew of, much less a metal working class.

/OK carpenter thanks to my Dad
 
2014-01-10 11:04:07 AM  

d23: People that are successful will swear up and down they did it themselves,


In the context of decision making, they oftentimes are responsible for 'doing it' themselves.  However, you are right that this is not done in a vacuum and the decisions making process needs to individually address available support systems, opportunity, timing, networking, etc.
 
2014-01-10 11:07:21 AM  
I took bachelor cooking as a science credit one semester. The teacher, one other female student and I daily faced 23 high school males.

Oh, the memories - they taught us how to fold and "kick" one of those triangle paper football things!

/Females couldn't take shop class in my day.
//Old.
 
2014-01-10 11:28:24 AM  

Unoriginal_Username: Don't see how this is a bad idea. Give the kids something to do and let them learn a trade. Win/Win

Took a wood working course in HS and loved it. Would love to do more now and may if I can get my wife's grandfather's old tools. He has a bandsaw and a few others
that haven't been used in 30 years. Curious if I can fix them.


Depending on its size the bandsaw is so versatile. It has its limitations but it's always been my favorite cutting tool. There are some great books devoted to the bandsaw that might help you out. The older tools can be great pieces, I wish you luck.
 
2014-01-10 11:36:20 AM  
Yeah, it's dumb how the default path is to go the college/academic route for everybody, while clearly many people are not academically inclined and would be both happier with and better suited to manual work. Shop class in HS has its place just like AP History, etc. Vocational high schools and technical colleges do, too. We seem to be pretending that everybody is bound for some white-collar button-pushing job, to the point where we're preparing people who are entirely unsuited/unable to do those jobs, while preparing relatively few to perform the many necessary manual jobs.
 
2014-01-10 11:43:08 AM  
Seems like a no-brainer to me. Teach kids that they can actually *gasp* do things themselves and maybe the little
bastages will grow up to be more self sufficient.
 
2014-01-10 12:04:14 PM  

firefly212: As someone with a graduate degree (MA, Econ) who has a better career in manual labor... ya, it can be far more rewarding and productive. There's something inherently rewarding about building/fixing stuff that you just don't get from paper-productivity. We need to get our kids away from the idea that "success" inherently means a corner office, a secretary, or whatever. There are plenty of carpenters and electricians who are happier at the end of the day than middle management. Maybe they're making more money, but even that isn't a good determinant of happiness... find something you love to do, then find a way to make money doing it... that's success.


I dunno where you are, but in many areas, skilled tradespeople can be pretty obnoxiously rednecked. That's going to be a major drawback for someone with any kind of liberal education, art background, females/gays/nonwhites/non-evangelical s. You have to work well with these people, and they have to trust you.
 
2014-01-10 12:14:11 PM  

Millennium: I think there's something to this, actually.

We have long been sold the idea that education is the key to success, but the truth is somewhat more narrow: skill is the key to success. There was a time when most people learned their skills from their parents, starting quite early in life, but those days are long gone. Our grand social experiment in learning skills post-college has also largely failed: except in a very few fields, such as medicine and law, it leaves our children acquiring skills too late in life to ever catch up. Education is a good way to become skilled, but only if it is focused on this.

I don't actually intend this to be a judgment against any particular course of study, per se. Almost any field can yield useful skills, if it is approached with the right attitude. The problem is that current trends in some areas of academia actively discourage this attitude. They treat college as a time to dabble, to learn just to know instead of instead of learning to do. This is not really a new thing: they've been doing this since ancient times, when only the nobility (who would never need to work for a living) had access to education. But in a time when all people have that access, this attitude does great harm, by encouraging people to delay their decisions too long.


I agree so long as the skill you refer to is being born to a wealthy family. The truth is the number one determinate of your net worth is not your skill. Its your parent's net worth. The kids that made this phone I am typing on are much more skilled than me,(and unbelievably harder working) but I faired better in the parent lottery. Sucks to be them.

I don't go around pretending I have the money and they don't because I majored in math though.
 
2014-01-10 12:25:24 PM  
images.tvrage.com

PRINCIPAL MOSS: We don't have money for all these fancy teaching aids, like wood.
HANK: You know, the Carl Moss I knew wouldn't --
PRINCIPAL MOSS: Give it a rest, Hank. All parents care about these days is zero-tolerance drug policies and literacy. "Why can't Johnny read? Why can't Johnny read?" God, that gets old.
HANK: But Carl, shop is the foundation of all learning. And I tell you what, a youngster with a tool in both hands has no hands left to do drugs.
PRINCIPAL MOSS: They can put the tools down if they want to do the drugs bad enough.

/KOTH did it
 
2014-01-10 01:05:12 PM  
I know a little but I curse my dad for not showing me more. At work over the summer I showed some of the kids how to change a tire they looked at me like I was some kind of god. They damn near shiat themselves when I built a cart.
 
2014-01-10 01:08:49 PM  

Just another Heartland Weirdass: The truth is the number one determinate of your net worth is not your skill. Its your parent's net worth.


Net worth is not necessarily the only metric for success.  Just because you inherit a mountain of money does not make you successful at anything other than being rich.
 
2014-01-10 01:59:33 PM  
Not exactly the same as shop class, but the FIRST programs (USFIRST.org) want to get students interested in STEM, and in the skilled trades. Not a panacea, but another step in the right direction.

/last kid is High School senior, building a robot the next 5 weeks
// 2 out of 3 kids going to be Engineers
/// Hope they let me blow the whistle on the train when they get their jobs.
 
2014-01-10 02:12:23 PM  
I know it's a little off topic but is kind of relevant to the thread about how learning a trade and/or skill is sometimes better than getting a college education.All the great craftsmen/tradesmen from my childhood had interesting college degrees that had almost nothing to do with what they do for a living.  From their wikipedia pages they all seem to go a different career route after graduating from college.

From Wikipedia:

Bob Vila star of This Old House:  Journalism degree (Did work for the Peace Corp and learned carpentary)

Norm Abram also star of This Old House / New Yankee Workshop:  Mechanical Engineer and Business Administration Degree

Steve Thomas star of This Old House:  BS philosophy (Seriously read his wikipedia page! Interesting life!)
 
2014-01-10 02:16:47 PM  

Tom_Slick: Unoriginal_Username: Don't see how this is a bad idea. Give the kids something to do and let them learn a trade. Win/Win

Took a wood working course in HS and loved it. Would love to do more now and may if I can get my wife's grandfather's old tools. He has a bandsaw and a few others
that haven't been used in 30 years. Curious if I can fix them.

Yes you can rebuild them, you may have to find a company that can rebuild the electric motors but everyone of those tools can be rebuilt unlike modern tools.  Sometimes you can find a new motor with the same specs.  Other than that replace all the cords and plugs, replace the belts, and all modern blades will fit the old stuff.


Great, thanks. Time to start shopping around.
 
2014-01-10 08:13:46 PM  

digitalrain: Seems like a no-brainer to me. Teach kids that they can actually *gasp* do things themselves and maybe the little
bastages will grow up to be more self sufficient.


Could you please travel back in time and tell this to whoever was running my life when I was ten?!
 
2014-01-11 02:50:10 AM  

Unoriginal_Username: Tom_Slick: Unoriginal_Username: Don't see how this is a bad idea. Give the kids something to do and let them learn a trade. Win/Win

Took a wood working course in HS and loved it. Would love to do more now and may if I can get my wife's grandfather's old tools. He has a bandsaw and a few others
that haven't been used in 30 years. Curious if I can fix them.

Yes you can rebuild them, you may have to find a company that can rebuild the electric motors but everyone of those tools can be rebuilt unlike modern tools.  Sometimes you can find a new motor with the same specs.  Other than that replace all the cords and plugs, replace the belts, and all modern blades will fit the old stuff.

Great, thanks. Time to start shopping around.


You can actually rebuild the electric motors yourself too (kind of like rebuilding an alternator) there are kits and how too stuff all over the place. If they are real old and quality machines you may not have to do a thing but grease a few bearings, replace the belts, and fire `em up. Also tons of info out there about old wood/metal working machines and where you can find parts and what not. Those old machines are quite collectable as well if you'd rather just make a buck .
 
2014-01-11 08:15:53 AM  

el_pilgrim: Unoriginal_Username: Tom_Slick: Unoriginal_Username: Don't see how this is a bad idea. Give the kids something to do and let them learn a trade. Win/Win

Took a wood working course in HS and loved it. Would love to do more now and may if I can get my wife's grandfather's old tools. He has a bandsaw and a few others
that haven't been used in 30 years. Curious if I can fix them.

Yes you can rebuild them, you may have to find a company that can rebuild the electric motors but everyone of those tools can be rebuilt unlike modern tools.  Sometimes you can find a new motor with the same specs.  Other than that replace all the cords and plugs, replace the belts, and all modern blades will fit the old stuff.

Great, thanks. Time to start shopping around.

You can actually rebuild the electric motors yourself too (kind of like rebuilding an alternator) there are kits and how too stuff all over the place. If they are real old and quality machines you may not have to do a thing but grease a few bearings, replace the belts, and fire `em up. Also tons of info out there about old wood/metal working machines and where you can find parts and what not. Those old machines are quite collectable as well if you'd rather just make a buck .


I'm heading over there today to take a look at them. Hopefully I can find model #'s and what not. I think I'd rather keep them in the family.
 
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