Stripping Our Education To The Bone
by James Glaser
June 25, 2009

I guess when it comes to the essentials for a good education, there are my essentials and there are the government's essentials.

This last Monday and Tuesday I attended a education conference in Mobile, Alabama. I didn't really attend, but I did walk around and look at and talk to the people with booths there who were trying to sell their products to the Alabama School system. The conference was for principals and superintendents from public schools all around the state.

There were people selling every type of office equipment a school would need and every new fangled thing for the class room; people selling books and curriculum, food service equipment companies selling equipment for the cafeteria, and the hot item was a smoothie machine that used only 100% fruit juice.

There were companies that were trying to sell their educational software to help students with any problem from staying in school to teen pregnancy; companies who were working on obesity and healthy eating; and companies who sold the equipment to make pizzas and chocolate chip cookies.

I'll tell you what was missing though. There were no booths for those companies who sell musical instruments or companies who sell art supplies. Nobody selling playground equipment, and nothing at all in the industrial arts field.

So, I guess band and orchestra have lost their funding, and drawing and painting are classes of the past, but no Industrial arts?

I know that only about 60% of the kids who start high school ever graduate, but you can't tell me that all of those 60% are going to go on to college. While nobody ever came out of high school as an electrician, carpenter, or a plumber, young men and women got an idea of what the "trades" were like in shop class, and I know working with their hands kept a lot of kids in school.

A good shop teacher, as well as a good arts or music instructor could show their students how important math, English, and science could be if they wanted to pursue something other than a college career. They could also teach kids that if they wanted to go on, art, music, and yes, even shop could be a major in college.

It looks to me like kids in school today don't have a chance at a well rounded education. Remember how I said there were no booths to sell playground equipment? Well, it seems that in many schools recess is no longer part of the school day.

We have an obesity epidemic going on with our children, and we wonder why. We have cut out the learning of physical skills; we have cut out marching band and the carrying of a musical instrument; we have cut out the physical use of paints and brushes; oh but we have increased the use of eye hand coordination on the computer in our schools.

College is great, and computer jobs are the wave of the future for many, but how many? Fifty percent? Seventy five or more? If we are thinking career, have you ever figured out how much a plumber makes or somebody who works on air conditioning here in the South?

Yes, college is great, but we want to educate all of our kids, and right now we are reaching less than only two thirds of them. We need to reach every one of them, and if all we let them learn are mind games, we are cheating them and ourselves.

Post Script:

Every politician in Washington just loves what is going on in Iran. They even like what is happening to the South Carolina Governor. Anything that takes the voter's mind off what is happening in Washington is a good thing for the politicians.

With the way the media will cover anything other than American problems, you would have to think that they are in cahoots with our elected officials. If you watched the soft ball questions they threw at President Obama in his last news conference, you would know that is true.

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